Tl;dr is at the bottom
Sorry for yet another one of these budget tri-ply cookware topics. It’s also a wall of text. I feel like there should be a master post or something. I’m trying to replace/supplement my current non stick cookware inventory on a budget while still trying to get something I’ll be happy with for as long as reasonably possible. The options I’m currently looking at are Calphalon Tri-Ply, Cuisinart MCP, and Cooks Standard Multiply Clad. I was originally looking at Tramontina, but when I learned about flared rims I eliminated it from my list. Also it ended up not being that cheap as I had thought it would be after I factored in a few things. I also looked at the Emeril by All-Clad line, but without knowing anything specific objectively about its performance, its offerings seemed to be overall worse for what I’m looking for and for a similar price. I’d be open to more brand suggestions though.
Also, I’m Canadian. Trust me that severely limits my purchasing options. Out of the three options I listed, Calphalon Tri-Ply seems to be the only one I can actually find locally. Amazon.ca isn’t much help either. Sometimes it’s actually cheaper to buy things off amazon.com and pay the exchange rate and horrifically high shipping rates than buy it on amazon.ca. The other problem about being Canadian is that when it comes to warranties, the vast majority of service centres are in the states. It can get cost prohibitive to send things for a warranty claim unless shipping both ways (or at the very least on the way back) is covered. The reason the other two are options though is that I have a friend coming back from living in the states in a couple months and I can theoretically get him to bring me back a set. That also means an exchange rate adjustment of 1.2 and another $35 minimum (possibly much more) for additional checked baggage. Plus I feel bad bothering him to do it. He already has to bring back his own crap let alone mine >_>
But here’s what I’ve been able to come up with.
Calphalon Tri-Ply SS
Cost to me: 460 – 92 (20% off) – 50 (gift card for >$300 calph purchase) = $318 before tax
-I get it sooner xP Whenever the next coupon comes along vs when my friend gets back near the end of summer. Also I don’t have to inconvenience my friend
-I can actually look at/feel the product before purchasing
-I can take advantage of BB&B’s generous warranty/return policy
-I have access to the non set subsidized open stock at BB&B if I want to shell out for a 5qt saute pan or 8qt stockpot in the future. I have a thing for my stuff being matching >_>
-Comes with a 12” skillet which seems to be rare with sets
-It appears to do significantly better than Cooks Standard in their even heating ratings according to centurylife.org
-6qt stockpot is a little small for me sometimes. I’ve been known to cook obscene amounts of pasta and with my current 6qt pot things have gotten a little crowded
-I think I’d rather have a 5qt saute pan instead of a 3qt
-Chef’s pan might be a con, but I might come to love it? I’ve never used one before
-8” skillet is a throwaway
-Glass lids? Tbh I don’t use lids very often and my current pot lids are glass so I can’t compare my peeking habits, but chowhound consensus seems to be SS lids are superior. Calphalon claims the lids are safe to 450. I don’t know when I’d want to cover something at temps higher than that tbh.
-centurylife.org seems to think quite poorly of this line. They say it’s the thinnest of the three I’m considering
Cost to me: 260 + 46 (CDN) – 25 (coupon?) + 72 (12”) + 14 (CDN) + 35 (check-in) = 402 before tax
-centurylife.org seems to think very highly of this line. They say it’s the same thickness as All-Clad Stainless with slightly less aluminum and is only slightly behind in even heating
-12” skillet comes with a helper handle and a lid
-8qt stock pot is closer to what I want I think
-Have to buy the 12” skillet at unsubsidized price although somewhat offset by 8qt stockpot preference
-8” skillet is basically a throwaway
-Same complaint for 3.5qt saute pan
-I can’t seem to find much information about what their warranty is like, only that it exists and it’s lifetime “limited”. Although again, my location makes using warranties challenging sometimes.
Cost to me: 213 + 42 (CDN) + 55 (12”) + 11 + 35 (check in) = 356
-centurylife.org says this line (or at least the skillet) is thicker than the Calphalon line
-Actually comes with a 5qt saute pan and an 8qt stock pot
-Steamer insert, although see cons
-12” skillet comes with a lid
-centurylife.org ranks this line much lower than the other two options I’m looking at in terms of even heating and response
-I can’t find any information on warranties whatsoever
-Have to purchase the 12” skillet unsubsidized, but that’s offset by the 5qt saute pan and 8qt stock pot in the set which are preferable to the smaller versions
-8” skillet is again a bit of a throwaway
-I think the base of that steamer is actually equivalent to the 1.5qt sauce pan, giving it even less working area than the Cuisinart one (which I honestly thought could be a bit small as well)
-I can get the Calphalon line myself from BB&B and it’s the cheapest, but apparently it’s rather thin. Also I’d rather have an 8qt stock pot instead of a 6qt, and a 5qt saute pan instead of 3qt. It has glass lids but I’m not sure if that’s actually a con for me.
-The Cuisinart MCP seems to be the best for performance, but I’d definitely be paying for that. The cost difference with Calphalon is almost enough to cover an additional Calphalon piece (to be fair, the Calphalon option is the only one where I don’t have to automatically purchase another piece to meet my basics). It comes with an 8qt stock pot and a steamer that fits the 3qt saucepan, but has a 3qt saute pan.
-The Cooks Standard seems to be a bit of a wild card. Middle of the line cost and thicker than Calphalon but worse for even heating. I can’t find any brand/warranty information either. However out of all the options it’s the only one that has the 8qt stock pot and a 5qt saute pan. It has a steamer but I question if it’s too small.
So. I’m looking for advice or additional insights. Including if you think I’m thinking about this way too much and/or that somebody of low calibre such as myself (I do not deny this) would hardly notice the difference between any of these product lines apart from their shape. Yes, $50-100 bucks does make a bit of a difference for me but I’m willing to pay it if there’s a discernible difference. This is definitely an investment for me, so I’m also hoping to grow in to it in a sense.