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Old 12-14-2006, 10:31 PM   #1
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All Clad: Copper core vs. Aluminum core

So can anyone share with me the difference in the cooking experience between All Clad with a copper core versus All Clad with an aluminum core?

thanks.

mack

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Old 12-14-2006, 10:39 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemack
So can anyone share with me the difference in the cooking experience between All Clad with a copper core versus All Clad with an aluminum core?

thanks.

mack
I think you will find little difference in the cooking characteristics. IMO, it is the cosmetic stripe of copper that makes for the difference in price. Personally, I prefer the MC/MC2 line. They cook as well, or better, than the others and they cost less. They do, however, show the signs of use more that the lines with SS on the exterior.
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Old 12-14-2006, 10:40 PM   #3
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Theres the prestige factor, appearance and bragging rights.

Copper is a better conductor than alum.

I'd bet these differences don't have a practical or noticeable impact on what you're cooking.
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:34 AM   #4
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You can then argue about all the layers and the interstitial gaps between them. In my opinion, the best pan would be something along the lines of what Mauviel produces with a nice thick copper body bonded to the stainless cooking surface. Having a pot with five layers introduces a lot of transfer issues. It's the primary reason why I like the MC2 line. It's just an aluminum body with a stainless cooking surface. As mentioned above, it does show wear though with lots of scartches and such (in fact it's pretty much delievered that way). But that gives it some character!

I was going to get the LTD line which is the MC2 line with the outter surface of the aluminum anodized, but at the time the MC2 line was on sale, and I saved a bundle by taking advantage of the discounts. I would have loved a set of Mauviel, but they were outside my price range.
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:33 AM   #5
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MC2, LTD, etc...
OK, I finally understood what all clad means with the SS line but I don't understand what these lines are in how they are different? Are we talking 2 layers here instead of 3 with the SS line, and if so, is the lack of SS on the outside only a cosmetic difference without any dif in the how the cooking goes? Is the SS line just prettier?

mack
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Old 12-15-2006, 09:42 AM   #6
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The primary difference in most of the All-Clad lines is the exterior.

SS=SS inside and out with alum in the middle

MC=Alum on the outside and SS in the interior

LTD=anodized alum on the outside, SS interior

Copper...= copper (and alum?) in the middle SS inside and out.

Only the SS line is dishwasher safe according to A-C. As I said in another post, I don't think there are any practical cooking differences among these different combinations.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:13 AM   #7
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The Stainless, Aluminum, and LTD lines are almost exactly the same. All three are aluminum bodied with a stainless cooking surface. This is what makes "Clad" pans expensive, the bonding process which yields a thick even-heating aluminum body with a thin but durable non-reactive stainless cooking surface. This simple design is what the MC2 line is... aluminum body and stainless lining - nothing more. The exterior is simply brushed for an industrial-like matte finish (as opposed to a shiny polished finish). Raw aluminum scratches easy anyways, so polishing it would be kinda foolish.

The LTD line uses an electrolytic process which causes the exterior of that aluminum body to become ultra-hard (through oxidation). The LTD line is essentially the MC2 line with an extremely durable exterior surface, but is still just "2-Ply" which theoretically provides better heat transfer.

The stainless line adds an extra layer of stainless to the outside of the pot that some people like (primarily for looks). This adds another layer, making it "3-Ply", but the aluminum body still accounts for a solid 80%+ of the thickness. Theoretically it would actually heat less-evenly than the MC2/LTD, but I'm sure you wouldn't be able to tell the difference outside a laboratory.

The "copper-core" adds a thin layer of copper sandwiched between aluminum layers, and then layered inside and out with stainless. I'm sure they function just fine, but I question their purpose, especially all the layers and inherent interstitial flaws.

If you want a good copper-clad pan, Mauviel makes 'em. They are kinda like MC2 pans being "2-Ply", but with a solid copper body rather than aluminum. The exterior of the copper is also polished rather than brushed. But prices are way out there, like $500 for an 8qt pot. I'm just jealous because I don't have them.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:16 AM   #8
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I have just 1 "real" copper pot from France - 2.5 mm thick, stainless lined. It's nearly as heavy as cast iron. If you have a gas stove, the heat transfer is almost instantaneous. Turn that baby on, and it starts cooking. Turn it off, and it's done.

I've also cooked on my sister's AC copper core. The copper core is sandwiched with aluminum, with a stainless exterior - 2 layers of insulation. The effect is nothing like cooking with a pure copper exterior.

Frankly, I couldn't see much performance difference between it and my AC stainless. More of the pieces do have pouring lips, which is an improvement over the straight-sided stainless things, and there is that nifty stripe, and you do get bragging rights.

The Master Chef line is the most practical choice, cost-wise, if you don't mind hand washing your pots. I do mind, which is why I have stainless. Performance-wise, all the AC lines are pretty similar.
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:33 AM   #9
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Ohhh... a 9qt Mauviel 2.5mm copper-bodied pot w/lid. Only $518+Shipping!

Someday when I hit the lottery I'll upgrade from my MC2 "junk".
-----
Texan - I didn't realize the MC2 line wasn't dishwasher safe (I do all my dishes by hand anyways). Why can't you wash them in a DW?
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Old 12-15-2006, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
...The stainless line adds an extra layer of stainless to the outside of the pot that some people like (primarily for looks)...

I disagree. The SS outer shell is much more durable than the aluminum for the very reasons you cited - aluminum is a soft metal and scratches and marks easily. Also, SS inside and out makes the pot dishwasher safe, as aluminum turns black in the DW due to a chemical present in DW soap. The SS line is the only All-Clad line that is DW safe.

The fact that it's shiny bright is just an added benefit.
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