Too Many Acronyms
All Clad D3 vs D5 vs D7, with so many different product name who wouldn’t be confused about All Clad’s nomenclature. Thankfully, the number is a perfect indication of what type of pan it is. Each number denotes the amount of layers that each pan has. D3 has three layers stainless steel aluminum and Stainless steel. With each subsequent increase, the layer amount increase. However, the question is, is all the layer really necessary? I suspect that the D7 is only made to suit a particular niche market.
All Clad D3 vs D5 vs D7 Performance
So does that mean more means better? Not really, it depends on what your intention is. As always, the higher the layer, the more expensive it is. Take that into the account.
D3 The Well Rounded
D5 The Searer
This is great for those who primary task is to cook thick cuts of meats like Steak or Pork chops. It has the extra heft that the d3 does not and its a middle ground for searing between the three version.
D7 The Cast Iron Contender
This pan is designed to compete with Cast Iron pans. All Clad website even state that its 2x more even in heating than enamel cast iron. This pan is great if all you want to do is sear meat. They heat up faster than cast iron but provides the thermal chop of cast iron. If your goal is to sear steak, this is the pan for you.
Something to note, the shape is slightly more raised than your standard pans. It will be a little more difficult to turn food in this pan. Not only that, this pan resembles more of a mix between a saute and a frying pan. This will affect how easy it is to cook.
Another thing to note is that the handle is finally rounded. No more Mark of All Clad. It seems like they finally caved in and try to invest in ergonomic. I am sure that it can still cause some strain but I personally this is a huge improvement over the standard handle.
How does an increase in layer affect cooking?
Generally, with the more amount of layer you have, the heavier the weight. The primary benefit out of a pan with many layer is the increase in Thermal Capacity. An increase in thermal capacity, means that there can be more heat stored in a pan. If you have more heat stored in a pan, the chances of food steaming when you drop cold food into the pan decreases. The caveat to that is that it will also take a long time to heat up. Cast iron, is extremely heavy and a poor conductor of heat, but because of its mass, it has a large thermal capacity. With an increase in layer, I believe that All Clad is trying to capture the essence of what make cast iron so popular, its searing ability.
All Clad D3 vs D5 vs D7 Heat Distribution
There is also another benefit that an increase in mass provide, its even heaving capability. In general, if you have a piece of cookware that has poor distribution of heat, increasing the mass will provide a more even heat distribution. Although some metal are more inherently even in its heat distribution, it still benefit from a thicker metal.
Do the layer increase the durability of the pan? Probably, but you will probably not notice it. America Test Kitchen have done many test where they whack the standard d3 version on a concrete step and found no issue with its denting. The d5 and D7 will probably enforce its durability due to its sheer mass but I doubt the everyday cook will even notice such a thing.
Which one to Buy?
I personally would buy the cheapest one, they are all good pan and you cant go wrong with anyone of them. At msrp, the D3 will be the cheapest and its a perfect all rounder. It will serve most of what you need when you are cooking. It should be the most responsive to heat change also. Which means that its great for making sauces. If however, you manage to find the other model for cheaper, I dont see why you would pass on those pan.
I would only shell out the extra money for the d7 only if you plan on searing steaks constantly. I do because I love steaks, so in my case it might be worth it. But for an average everyday cook, the D3 would work just fine. Remember, more does not always mean better.
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