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All Clad HA1 Cookware Set Review
All Clad HA1 cookware is a line of hard anodized cookware. While they made their name with the stainless steel line, the HA1 series is getting more prominent. However, there are several differences between this series and the standard series. The shape, performance, price and even the place of manufacturer are different. This review will go in depth on what difference these difference are.
All Clad HA1 Cookware Set Review Quick Summary
|Categories||All Clad HA1 10 Piece Cookware|
|Compatibility||Gas, Electric, Halogen, Glass Top, Induction|
|Country of Manufacturer||China|
|Thoughts||A hard anodized cookware made by All Clad. More expensive than other non stick lines but that is mostly due to the name. It is not that much different from other Hard Anodized Cookware. A better alternative would be the NS1 Line or even the one by Scanpan.|
|Reviewed Cookware||All Clad 10 Piece Hard Anodized HA1|
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Hard Anodized vs Teflon
There is a lot of confusion on what exactly hard anodized cookware are. Both teflon and hard anodized cookware perform the same. But the method of applying the non stick finish is different. In the standard Teflon coating, the pans are first sand blasted. Then they paint the teflon on the pan and finish sealing the paint by baking it. Almost all manufacturer source the teflon from the same manufacturer.
On the Hard Anodized cookware, they use electroplating to stick on the non stick finish. Electroplating is a process where they use electrochemical process to bond the material to the pan. This effectively makes the aluminum more hard than normal. Apparently it is more durable than the traditional method of applying non stick. The price is certainly more expensive. There are three types of anodizing process but hard anodizing uses only sulfuric acid and addities to complete it. To read more about this process. I recommend reading this pdf about the subject.
All Clad HA1 Cookware Set Design
This section will review the various aspect of All Clad HA1 Cookware Set. We will take a look at the handle, shape, performance and construction of the set. We will also discuss the effectiveness of the cookware set.
For those who are familar with All Clad, we all know the pain of their handle. It is one of the worst designed handle in the industry. I have yet to meet one person who actually likes it. It has two edge that digs into your hand. If you are a professional cook, your hand will become sore and fatigued.
Unfortunately, they have decided to use this same handle design on the HA1 series. While it is a iconic design of All Clad, I would have prefer if they used an updated version. The LTD and the C4 line of All Clad has a rounder more comfortable grip. However, not all is bad. The handle can stay cool for a long period of time. It also helps you maintain grip when you are pouring liquid.
The shape of their pot and pans are vastly different from the traditional line. The skillet resembles that of a french skillet. An inferior design to their traditional line. The ha1 shape sidewall is too tall causing a reduce rate in liquid evaporation. It also makes it difficult to turn food with a spatual. The traditional one has a low sloping side that promotes evaporation and helps turn food.
The pot is also really poor. The base is really wide and it taper inward. This makes it difficult to reach in and move food around. You have to dig and poke your head around. Overtime, this will get very annoying.
There is another nonstick line that follows the design of All Clad traditional shape. Which is the ns1 series, which is better overall but cost slightly more expensive.
The construction of of the ha1 is a little different from other Hard Anodized cookware. Since induction needs a metal with a strong magnetic pull to work. On the base of the cookware, there is a stainless steel base. This also helps by increasing the mass of the pot, helping heat retention and searing capability. This adds to manufacturing cost so not every manufacturer will implement this.
Since this is a nonstick line, they use a glass lid in their cookware. While in theory it sounds good, in reality, its a bad design. When steam starts to accumulate, you cant really see anything. You lose the durability of an all metal design for something that is not really functional. The NS1 line has a metal lid.
All Clad HA1 Cookware 10 Pieces Set
The ten piece set offers the best value for the money. In this set, you get two skillets, one sauce pot, two saute pan and a dutch oven. More than enough to cook whatever you need to. The 13 piece set, just have larger version of the skillet and a smaller dutch oven. Not worth the extra 200. You should also be aware that they include the lid as a piece.
Durability, Health, Safety and Temperature Limit
Durability is the biggest issue of all Non Stick cookware. It doesn’t matter which brand you get, once the coating goes, so does your pan. For that reason, non stick pan do not usually last longer than 1 or 2 years. After that, its probably time to replace it. There are some things you can do to enhance the life, never use metal utensils or the nylon scrubber.
Also, try to keep the temperature below 500 degree Fahrenheit. At temperature of 575 and above, the nonstick coating start to deteriorate rapidly and it can release noxious gas. People who are subjugated to this will start experiencing “Teflon Flu”. You can prevent overheating the pan by adding oil to a cold pan. If you see smoke start coming out, you reached the smoking point of the oil. It is during that time. you should know to lower the heat.
One final thing to note is that the non stick finish is chemically inert. If you ingest it, it will pass through your body with no ill effect. People are often time scared of scratched non stick, but really they should be afraid of the teflon flu.
Even though these pans have a lifetime warranty, they will deny you due to neglect. If you do not follow the recommendation above, your warranty can be denied. There are multiple instance on Amazon reviews stating that theirs got denied due to mistreatment.
All Clad cookware is also not metal utensil safe, so its easy for them to deny you. Company like Scanpan states that theirs are, but I imagine that they just said that to improve sales.
All Clad HA1 Cookware Set Thoughts
The series is alright. The HA1 is made in China and they do not distinct themselves from other non stick manufacturer. Whether you think the cookware set is worth it is dependent on you. I highly recommend the ns1 over this series. You get the traditional design of All Clad cookware.
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