In this article, you’ll find our in-depth comparison between All-Clad D3 vs D5.
I have to say that both All-Clad D3 and All-Clad D5 cookware sets are excellent options for home cooks and chefs. It all comes down to features and versatility, and in this case, All-Clad D5 is better cookware.
I’ve tested both cookware sets and concluded that 10-Piece All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set is one of the best cookware sets. It’s durable, sturdy, and provides superior performance in terms of cooking over the D3.
As a chef, I prefer durable stainless steel cookware because it’s an excellent long-term investment. Indeed steel has a few disadvantages over nonstick cookware, but once you get used to it, I’m sure you’ll like it as much.
Read along for my in-depth comparison between All-Clad D5 and D3, where I’m covering all the pros and cons. At the very end of the article, you’ll find my All Clad cookware reviews, where I tested two of the best sets in the All Clad cookware lineup.
Table of Contents
- All-Clad D3 vs D5 Comparison Table
- Similarities Between All-Clad D3 and D5
- Difference Between All-Clad D3 and D5
- Cooking Performance: D3 vs. D5
- All-Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better: Our Verdict
- Best All-Clad D5 Cookware Set
- Best All-Clad D5 Cookware Set
All-Clad D3 vs D5 Comparison Table
Take a look at both All-Clad D3 and All-Clad D5 to find differences and similarities.
|All-Clad D3||All-Clad D5|
|Construction||3 Layers||5 Layers|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Lids||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Handles||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Exterior Material||18/0 Stainless Steel||18/0 Stainless Steel|
|Cooking Surface||18/10 Stainless Steel||18/10 Stainless Steel|
As you can see, there’s not much difference between D3 and D5. The only real difference is the performance and weight.
Similarities Between All-Clad D3 and D5
Here’re the similarities between All-Clad D3 and D5.
Materials of Construction
Both All-Clad D3 and D5 are made from the combination of 18/10 stainless steel and 18/0 stainless steel.
The cooking surface in both collections is made from an 18/10 stainless steel layer. This type of metal used for the interior surface consists of two chemical elements: chromium and nickel. It means this clad stainless cookware is incredibly durable, and it’s rust and stain-resistant. It’s also easy to clean and maintain.
The exterior of both D3 and D5 cookware is made from an 18/0 stainless steel layer. However, 18/0 stainless steel does not consist of nickel. Still, the durability of D3 and D5 is excellent, and both are compatible with induction cooktops.
There’s an aluminum layer in both All-Clad D3 and D5 collections between the layers of stainless steel. Bonded aluminum core ensures an even heat distribution since steel is not so good at it. It allows for food to cook evenly and helps cookware to react to temperature changes quicker.
All-Clad is well known in the cookware industry for its full-clad cookware. They perfected the bonded metal technology over the years to perfection. The All-Clad D3 and D5 cookware are indestructible.
But what does full-clad mean? The aluminum core extends throughout the entire pot from the base to the rim. Both D3 and D5 cookware have even thickness all around. It adds extra weight, but it also makes this cookware more durable.
Both D3 and D5 cookware collections can withstand temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven. Both collections are also compatible with induction cooktops. Both have excellent heat distribution due to the aluminum core, which is one of the best heat conductors.
Only the best cookware brands that stand behind their product quality offer a limited lifetime warranty. All-Clad is one of those brands. It provides a limited lifetime warranty because they believe their products can last a lifetime.
Difference Between All-Clad D3 and D5
Take a look at the differences between All-Clad D3 vs D5.
Number of Bonded Layers
One of the main differences between All-Clad D3 and the D5 is the number of layers. As you may already guess, D3 stands for a tri-ply construction ( three bonded layers ) and D5 for a five-ply construction ( five bonded layers ). So to answer it briefly, the number of bonded layers makes these two All-Clad series different. D3 has two stainless steel layers and one aluminum, while D5 comes with five alternating layers: three layers of stainless steel (one being a stainless steel core) and two aluminum layers.
All-Clad D5 being on the premium end of their cookware line offers more than one exterior finish option. You can choose from two different options: a polished or brushed exterior finish. The polished exterior finish gives it a shiny look, while the brushed matte exterior gives it a matte look. D3, on the other hand, is only available in a polished exterior.
All-Clad D5 cookware has thicker handles with an engraved All-Clad Logo. D3 series cookware comes with thin handles without a logo.
Another prominent design feature on D5 is flared rims. D3 has it only on their skillets, frying pans, and some of the saute pans.
Performance is equally great on both the D3 and the D5. Most home cooks are not even going to notice the differences. Only a more skilled chef can identify the differences in performance. The most significant difference between All-Clad D3 and All-Clad D5 in response to temperature changes. Since the D3 has a thinner cooking surface, it responds to temperature changes faster. D5 cookware has a thicker cooking surface which results in a slower response time to temperature changes.
However, All-Clad D5 cooks more evenly because it has two layers of aluminum separated by the thin steel core. It distributes heat more evenly across the pan’s surface.
A more pronounced flare on the D5 makes pouring liquid easier without major accidents all over the cooktop.
All Clad cookware is not cheap by any means. All-Clad D3 is cheaper than All-Clad D5. Nevertheless, both are high-quality cookware, therefore, have a price to match.
Cooking Performance: D3 vs. D5
Let’s take a look at the performance of both All-Clad D3 and D5 and compare it side by side how they performed during our cooking test.
All-Clad D3 Cooking Performance
When it comes to performance, All-Clad D3 cookware is excellent. Steel is not the best at heat conductivity; therefore, you have a responsive aluminum core bonded with high-quality stainless steel. Aluminum compensates for the lack of heat conductivity that steel has.
18/10 stainless steel is used for the interior cooking surface. It’s durable, rust-resistant, and it doesn’t react with acidic foods meaning it’s allergy-free.
For the exterior, All Clad cookware uses 18/0 magnetic stainless steel. It’s also a very durable material that works with all types of stovetops, including the induction cooktop.
Aluminum is one of the best heat conductors used in cookware. All-Clad D3 performs great; food cooks evenly, and cookware reacts to temperature changes instantly. Also, heat dissipates faster when taken away from the heat source. D3 has only three layers of metal sheets, so the heat has fewer levels to travel. It means that searing or browning food takes less time than in D5 cookware. It’s also less forgiving, meaning that it’s easier to burn food.
There’s also a more expensive D3 Armor variant which has a textured stainless steel surface. This textured surface acts as a nonstick layer. Tiny small holes create small air pockets preventing food sticking to the surface.
Overall the cooking experience with All-Clad D3 is excellent. The only downside in comparison to the D5 is that All-Clad D5 has better heat retention due to 5-ply construction.
All-Clad D5 Cooking Performance
Let’s talk about ALl-Clad D5 weight first. This cookware is heavy. When you take a D3 skillet and a D5 skillet, you can feel the weight difference (D5 being heavier). 2 extra layers of metal sheets are noticeable in D5 cookware. Some home cooks prefer lightweight cookware because it’s easier to handle and maneuver around the kitchen with a full pan of food. For me, it doesn’t matter so much, but if you like lighter cookware than D3 in this regard would be a better option since it makes cooking a bit easier.
Since two extra bonded layers in D5 cookware adds extra thickness, this cookware heats up slower. It only takes 30 seconds or a minute more to heat up, but that is the only downside compared to the D3 cookware. On my induction cooktop, it heats up fast. So if you have one and want to have a pot of boiling water in a matter of minutes, induction is a way to go.
The thicker base is less responsive, and it doesn’t give a precise temperature control, but it’s also more forgiving. The food doesn’t stick as quickly. If you haven’t used stainless steel cookware, you should know that food tends to stick easily compared to nonstick cookware. D5 is more forgiving cookware than D3 because the heat has to travel through five alternating layers instead of three.
But things get only better from here. So what makes the All-Clad D5 better than the D3 series? The retention of heat and even heat distribution.
Heat retention makes D5 cookware more versatile. The two aluminum core layers hold heat exceptionally well. D3 does not have such good retention. But why is it so important? Well, when you finish cooking, you want to keep your food warm for a more extended period. It’s handy for restaurants or professional chefs. It is also helpful if you have a dinner party and the guests are late.
Even heating is one of the critical indicators of how well the cookware performs. In this case, All-Clad D5 cookware is better than All-Clad D3. Two additional layers in D5 slows the heat transfer to the stainless steel cooking surface. After the heat reaches the cooking surface, it’s spread evenly across the entire surface. It allows for food to cook evenly. Some cookware brands tend to have hot spots when cooking. It means that some areas on the interior surface of cookware are hotter, creating uneven cooking.
Which is Better In Terms of Performance All-Clad D3 or D5?
For me, as a chef, it all comes down to versatility. All-Clad D5 has more to offer in terms of cooking performance. So I have to say if I have to choose between All-Clad D3 or D5, I would go for D5 cookware.
Visually both All-Clad D3 and D5 are very similar in terms of design. Both cookware look premium and elegant. However, you can notice a few differences between D3 and D5. The exterior finish, rims, and lid handle on the D5 look different from All-Clad D3.
All-Clad D5 offers more than one exterior finish. You can buy them individually or as a set. These exterior finishes come either in a polished stainless steel finish or a brushed matte finish. Both exterior finishes look great; however, I prefer the polished cookware a bit more.
D3, on the other hand, is offered only in a traditional polished stainless steel finish, both as a set or separate pieces. You can’t buy it with a brushed finish.
Another noticeable design difference between ALL-Clad D5 and D3 is flared edges. D5 rims are noticeably more flared than D3s. Also, all pieces in D5 set come with flared rims, unlike the D3. Flared rims are helpful if you want to pour liquid, sauce, or stew from the pot into a container. All-Clad D3 stock pots have a straight edge which is not that great because it makes it more difficult to pour liquids.
Skillets, few saucepans, and frying pans come with flared edges with the All-Clad D3 series.
The D3 and the D5 handles are made from stainless steel; however, the D5 handles are significantly larger and more comfortable to hold. D5 cookware features an All-Clad logo on lid handles, unlike the D3.
Lid handles on the D3 are significantly thinner; however, I find D5 lid handles easier to grab and hold. On both sets, handles are firmly attached with steel rivets which makes them more challenging to clean.
Panhandles on the D3 cookware are completely straight, unlike the D5 cookware, which has a small bump on the bottom side. This bump is there to prevent accidental burns when the hand gets too close to the heat source. I’m wondering why they didn’t include it on D3 cookware as well?
All-Clad D3 Vs D5: Which Is Better: Our Verdict
All-Clad D3 and D5 cookware are both high-quality products that deliver the best cooking results. Both are incredibly durable stainless steel cookware sets that will last a lifetime.
All-Clad D3 three series has a thinner base making it ideal for searing steaks or browning meats, while All-Clad D5 performs better when slow cooking thanks to more even heat distribution. Don’t get me wrong, D5 is also great for searing or browning; however, D3 performs slightly better in this regard.
Overall, All-Clad D5 Cookware is suitable for most cooking types, making it more versatile cookware. D3, on the other hand, performs well when cooking, although it’s not as versatile as the All-Clad D5 cookware. The most significant D3 advantage is the price. I think it’s an excellent value for the money.
If money is not an issue, I would say go for the D5 series. I’m sure you’re not going to be disappointed.
Best All-Clad D3 Cookware Set
Let’s take a look at one of the best All-Clad D3 series cookware sets currently in their lineup.
10-Piece All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set Review
- Material: Steel/Aluminum
- Oven safe: Yes
- Nonstick Surface: No
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
- Induction compatible: Yes
- Come with lids: Yes
- Set Includes: 8 and 10-inch fry pans, 2 and 3-quart saucepans with lids, 3-quart saute pan with lid, and 8-quart stockpot with lid.
This 10-Piece All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set is an excellent choice for home cooks or even professional chefs. It’s cheaper than the All-Clad D5 cookware; however, it still offers almost the same performance.
Build quality of this stainless steel cookware is impressive. It’s sturdy and durable. Riveted stainless steel handles feel solid and give you a lot of confidence when holding a full pan of food.
When you take this All Clad cookware set out of the box, you can instantly feel how heavy it is. Compared to the D5 cookware, this D3 set is lighter, but still, most nonstick cookware feels lightweight compared to both D3 and D5 series.
Lid handles are slim and sleek. Though I advise you to have a towel nearby since lid handles on this set tend to get hot.
3-ply construction by today’s cookware standards is what you expect. Steel is not the best heat conductor. Also, it’s not nonstick, which can be a downside to some home cooks, especially those so used to cooking on nonstick cookware.
The aluminum core layer in between two stainless steel sheets helps to conduct and retain heat better. The performance of this D3 cookware is excellent. Although I have to say food tends to stick to the cooking surface quite easily. To avoid that, cook on low to medium. It can be a mess to clean afterward.
Heat retention is decent as well when compared to the D5 cookware set. If compared to a cast iron or nonstick cookware with a thin base, the D3 outperforms them in this regard.
I like the stainless steel handles. They are comfortable and, due to their shape, are grippy as well. It’s easy to maneuver with the pan around the kitchen, but I have to say I prefer D5s handles better.
D3 only comes in a polished stainless steel exterior, and it’s a fingerprint magnet. You’ll have to spend extra time polishing them to maintain them in spotless condition. Whenever I take a pan or a pot out of the cupboard, I instantly notice fingerprints all over the exterior surface.
Even though this cookware set is dishwasher safe, I highly advise you to clean it by hand. I’ve been using all clad skillet in the restaurant, which was regularly washed in a dishwasher. This skillet discolored, and the flared rims became sharp, probably due to the harsh chemicals used in a dishwasher.
It’s hard to clean burned food off the cooking surface. It tends to stick hard. If that happens, soak your cookware in hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. Then use a soft sponge and avoid steel wool to clean the interior surface.
Also, I highly suggest not to stack pieces this top of each other. I noticed some minor scratches that appeared, and they are not visually pleasing.
- Great design
- Heat conduction
- Works on all stovetops
- Food sticks easily until you get used to it
- Lacks versatility vs D5
Best All-Clad D5 Cookware Set
Let’s take a look at our 10-Piece All-Clad Brushed Finish D5 Stainless Cookware Set review.
10-Piece All-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set Review
- Material: Steel/Aluminum
- Oven safe: Yes
- Nonstick Surface: No
- Dishwasher safe: Yes
- Induction compatible: Yes
- Come with lids: Yes
- Set Includes: 8 and 10-inch fry pan, 1.5 and 3-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart saute pan, and 5.5-quart dutch oven with lid.
A 10-Piece All-Clad Brushed Exterior D5 Stainless Cookware Set is one of the best fully clad stainless steel you can buy. It’s an incredibly versatile, durable, and well-built cookware set that most home cooks and professional chefs would enjoy having in their kitchens.
This clad stainless cookware set is heavy. When I was comparing the D3 series 10-inch fry pan with a D5 series 10-inch fry pan, the extra weight of the D5 was noticeable.
Build quality is impressive. I’m impressed by how sturdy and solid every single piece in the set feels. The 5-ply construction indeed makes this cookware more durable than D3 (even though I think that both D3 and D5 will last a lifetime).
This particular All-Clad D5 is made of brushed stainless steel, which I was skeptical about in the first place. But I have to say I’m starting to like it more and more because it requires less maintenance. It resists fingerprints and water spots way better than a polished stainless steel D3 series does. However, stainless steel lids and pot handles are made from polished stainless steel. Yes, they are shiny and attract fingerprints, but two different finishes compliment each other well.
Steel is one of the worst metals when it comes to heat conductivity. The 5-ply construction in this cookware consists of three bonded layers of stainless steel and two layers of aluminum core. That is two additional layers when compared to D3 cookware. Aluminum has excellent heat conduction, and it also retains heat much better than stainless steel. Therefore this cookware performs exceptionally well.
This cookware will cover the majority of your cooking needs in terms of versatility and performance. I love how well it retains heat and how evenly food cooks. Of Course, it has some downsides as well. First, it doesn’t have a nonstick layer which makes cooking a bit more challenging. Eggs, meat, and fish stick easily if you don’t look after them. However, the 5-ply construction is more forgiving than the All-Clad D3.
I especially love to finish fish or steak from the stovetop in the oven. I noticed that the frypan and saute pan have extra-long handles which barely fit in my oven. It still fits, but these handles are longer than on a standard nonstick pan.
Riveted handles are comfortable, but I warn you that they tend to get hot when using on a gas stove.
All pieces in this set come with flared rims. It makes transferring liquids and stews to storage containers easier and less messy.
I found maintenance to be easier with this All-Clad D5 cookware than with D3. Since it has a brushed stainless steel exterior finish, it doesn’t attract fingerprints as much. Stainless steel interior is still not as easy to clean as nonstick.
If you accidentally burn food on the cooking surface, it’ll be a mess to clean. Avoid using abrasive scrubs or steel wools if you don’t want to damage the surface. Even though it’s steel, it’s still prone to scratching. Metal utensils can scratch the surface as well. Keep in mind these scratches do not affect cooking performance.
I’ve noticed that from stacking pots and pans on top of each other, scratches appeared. So try to keep them separate and if you don’t, at least use a towel or a paper towel to separate each piece.
- Amazing design
- Two additional layers make it a more versatile cookware
- Retains heat exceptionally well on par war with some of the best aluminum cookware
- Cooks evenly
- Extra layers make it more forgiving cookware in terms of accidental food burns.
- Using more stainless steel adds extra weight to this D5 cookware.