Many cooks have their eyes set on All-Clad cookware mainly because it never failed to deliver quality kitchenware in its almost 5 decades of services. As great as All-Clad kitchenware may be, they have a pool of variants to choose from making it a bit harder for us to decide on which cookware to settle for. One variant, in particular, that is gaining quite a momentum is All Clad’s SteelSeries D3 and D5.
Both models have practically the same design features, however, the primary and distinguishing difference is in the number of bonded metals to create the cookware. D3 is a tri-ply cookware set while D5 is a Penta-ply or 5-layer kitchenware. There is more to learn about these two types of cookware, so let’s dig deeper into the differences between the two and how you can benefit from each type of cookware.
All-Clad D3 Vs D5: The Differences
As mentioned the main difference between the D3 and the D5 is the number of bonded layers in each cookware. Offering a smooth stainless steel exterior, both models have a stunning selection of cookware also suitable as bakeware.
The D3 has a pure aluminum core bonded with a full stainless steel external ply while the D5 has 5 layers of alternating stainless steel and pure aluminum core. The stainless steel surface offers a non-toxic cooking area. This prevents any chemical reactions or any dangerous ingredients from leaching into our food. However, since stainless steel is slow in heating up, the aluminum core speeds up the heating process of the kitchenware.
Most cookware brands have double-ply cookware as their standard and a tri-ply pot or pan as their premium. All-Clad takes that a level higher by offering a triple layer full-metal body increasing its durability and its versatility for outdoor cooking. But with five layers of metal, you’re guaranteed to have world-class quality cookware that can withstand heavy cooking in an intense kitchen.
On the downside, more layers is equivalent to heavier cookware. Though both D3 and D5 are amazing on their own right, D3 is easier for novice cooks to handle because it is lighter and easier to control. But overall, D5 pots and pans offer superior quality and cooking.
These two variants of Stainless Steel cookware sets have two types of finish. The D3 only has a mirror-polished stainless steel surface while the D5 can either be polished or brushed.
The Brushed finish is slightly duller than polished stainless steel. It is less smooth but much easier to maintain. A brushed surface has visible but gentle bristles from the brush used to polish the cookware. Some consumers prefer this because it doesn’t easily show wear and tear on the surface of the pan or pot.
Polished surfaces, on the other hand, offer that smooth mirror-like shimmer. The shiny surface gives a stunning finish attracting many consumers. However, the smooth polish doesn’t last that long especially when you frequently use the dishwasher to clean your kitchenware. Strong detergents strip the mirror-like finish of your pots and pans in the long run.
However, the polish does not affect the performance of your cookware. It is only a consumer’s preference with a slight difference on maintenance where brushed stainless steel is easier to keep than polished metal.
Target Market and Product Range
The D5 is an upgraded version of the D3 model. Nonetheless, the upgrades are made to target home cooks who are already great in the kitchen but would wish for high-end cookware that are easy to maintain. D5 is the perfect set because it offers smooth cooking and easy handling.
The D3, in contrast, is designed for novice cooks who would love to have the best deals that offer amazing quality. The All-Clad D3 is far superior to many cookware brands that offer the same stainless steel pots and pans but at a better value for money.
D3 has more cookware choices since it targets many beginner cooks while D5 has a smaller product range targeting professionals who can utilize various cookware into making an array of dishes.
Various D3 cookware sets offer:
- Frypans (non-stick and stainless steel)
- Dutch ovens
- Grill pans
- French brasiers
- Open Stir fry
- Pasta pentolas
- Griddle pans
Various D5 cookware sets offer:
- Fry pans
- Saute pans
- Pasta pentola
- Dutch oven
- Chicken fryer
The core of the D3 is pure aluminum while the D5 has a tri-ply core alternating stainless steel and aluminum. Overall, the tri-ply core offers better heat conductivity and warp resistance. With a thicker, stronger core, you have a pan or pot that also provides even and steady heat since it takes more time for the pan or pot to cook down than a triple layer of cookware.
Hands down, the D5 is superior when it comes to performance. But this also depends on who the cook is. Many starting home cooks may have trouble handling a D5 because of the weight and the longer yet more consistent heat. Many beginners overcook food often because they underestimate a hot pan’s ability to continuously cook even after taking it out of the stove. This is great for knowledgeable cooks.
Though it's a bit hard to distinguish the difference at first glance, the D3 and D5 have slight design attributes that are distinct from each other. The D5 pan handles are longer. They also have a thicker more ergonomic bolster to improve user grip and control over the cookware. While D3 pan handles are shorter and thinner making it slightly more prone to heating up.
Another difference in design is the lip of the cookware rims. The rims of both D3 and D5 are flared to offer a drip-free transfer of food. However, the lip of the rim for D5 is more defined to make it easier to transfer food out of the pan or pot.
Similarities between the D3 and D5
These All-Clad Stainless Steel Series are very similar when it comes to basic functions. Both of them are:
- Oven safe at 600 degrees
- Induction, ceramic, gas range, and open fire compatible
- Dishwasher safe
- Even heat distribution
- Full metal stainless steel body
- Durable and long-lasting indoor and outdoor kitchen use
- Superb heating as well as amazing cooking experience
All-Clad D3 vs D5: Comparison Table
Bonded stainless steel and aluminum
Mirror polish only
Brushed or polished
Straight and high
Straight, high, and grooved
Up to 600 degrees
Up to 600 degrees
Induction Stove Compatible
Open fire/ outdoor cooking
Novice and Knowledgeable Home Cooks
All-Clad is one of the most highly regarded cookware manufacturers out there and the D3 and D5 are among the great series that they offer. Giving us a non-toxic cooking surface with topnotch performance, they are definitely preferred by many home cooks. However, when it comes to better performance overall, the D5 is far more superior to the D3.
Nonetheless, if you're a starting home cook, then the D3 cookware is ideal since it offers superb quality for great value while the D5 is a better fit for home cooks who are looking for excellent cookware to keep up with their busy kitchen that requires less maintenance. See "All Clad D5 vs Copper Core Cookware" for more information and comparison between All-Clad models.
All-Clad D3 and D5 Cookware Reviews
All-Clad D3 Fry Pan with Lid
On top of the triple-layer full metal body, the D3 fry pan has gently sloping sides for easy pouring and transferring food into and out of your pan. The wide shallow 12-inch pan allows you to fry more food in larger batches.
With a polished surface, it’s much simpler to cook lightly oiled food like crepes and buttered vegetables, and more. The smooth nonstick surface makes maintenance easier while still providing an amazing cooking experience even for first-time cooks.
What’s great about this fry pan is that the nonstick surface lessens messy cleanup but maximizes contact with your food thus shortening cooking time. With an even heating, you’re guaranteed to have a delicious tasting food without worry of burning or overcooking your meals.
On top of that, it allows you to fry, saute and even make light sauces. With a full metal body and sturdy build, you can even turn this pan into a camping cookware for outdoor family fun events.
The D3 is known to have thinner handles making it quite prone to heating. Although the handles allow easier control over your pan, it tends to get very hot easily. Another problem we commonly face with this specific fry pan is the lid’s secured coverage over the pan. Since the pan’s rim is flared, the lid has the tendency to slide off especially when you’re moving your pan from one place to another making it quite a kitchen hazard.
The D3 fry pan is a real staple cookware under 300 that allows even a beginner to make various dishes. This fry pan in particular is light and very easy to manage providing comfort for any cook who’s willing to start learning new recipes.
All-Clad D5 Brushed Fry Pan
Strong and ideal for heavy kitchen use, the D5 brushed fry pan is made for a busy kitchen. With a sturdy build and a smooth cooking surface, this pan offers versatility for cooks who are looking for an all-purpose cookware.
Designed with a flat base and low-profile design, this is a cookware that provides all cooks with easy control and effortless cooking. Its denser core improves even heating throughout the pan from beginning to end. Since it comes with a smooth brushed finish, you can easily wash and rinse your pan. You can also jump from one type of dish to another without the hassle of using another cookware.
The longer grooved handle, you have a more heat resistance grip allowing you to grab hold of your pan throughout the long cooking process without the worry of it heating up at high temperatures.
The denser material has a slower cooldown keeping your food warm for a longer period before serving it. This gives way for more prep time and cook time if you’re planning on making other dishes.
The versatility of this pan makes it all the more desirable because it allows you to use a single cookware for multiple dishes. This lessens the effort of after-meal cleanups as well.
Since it is denser and heavier, it requires a more knowledgeable hand in cooking. With a heavier pan, you need to have more control or have more practice to master cooking with the D5 cookware. With a heavier weight, heat up is relatively slower compared to a D3.
This D5 fry pan is a delight to work with. With a bit of mastery, this can easily become a home cook’s favorite cookware for electric coil stoves or a starting professional’s preferred pan to use. From durability to versatility, this is definitely a pan that’s worth having around in every kitchen.
All-Clad D3 Cookware Set
- 10-inch and 12-inch fry pans
- 2-quart and 3-quart sauce pans with lid
- 3-quart and 6-quart sauté pan with lid
- 12-inch chef's pan
- 8-quart stockpot with lid
This 14-piece cookware offers the staple set every kitchen needs. Do away with a large kitchenware variety and settle with this complete set that lets you cook any dish you want with less clean up.
This D3 cookware set delivers ease of use and handling due to its large ergonomic handles that accommodate different hand sizes. It also provides adaptable cooking making it easier for you to cook various dishes on stove tops and or inside ovens.
What’s great about this set is that you won’t need other cookware because you can already use any of its pieces for a multitude of recipes. Since they are light but durable, you don’t have to worry about your cookware from warping (even when you end up forgetting and burning the food you’re cooking). These pots and pans can handle high heat temperatures allowing you to slow cook food for long hours at a time.
On top of versatile cooking, the full steel body gives you robust cookware but also a stunning display fit as table service pots. With a beautiful set of pans and pots, who needs large serving bowls and plates?
On the downside, the D3 does have its weakness of quickly heating handles that can become dangerously hot especially if you’re cooking on an open flame. Aside from the hot handles, the polished surface is not as dishwasher safe as you’d expect it to be. If you want your polished exterior to last longer then it’s best to hand wash your pots and pans.
This cookware set gives you all the essential pots and pans that every kitchen needs. Rid yourself of space-consuming cookware that you will barely use especially for a less busy kitchen. This durable cookware set is perfect for glass top stoves and all types of household whether you have a highly occupied kitchen or not.
All-Clad Brushed D5 Cookware Set
- 8-inch fry pan
- 10-inch fry pan
- 1.5-quart sauce pan with lid
- 3-quart sauce pan with lid
- 3-quart saute pan with lid
- 8-quart stockpot with lid
Designed to handle heavy use in a busy kitchen, this five-ply cookware offers strength and durability for professional home cooks. The handles are created with larger and ergonomic bolsters to provide you great control over your cooking. Since it has a thicker handle, it is more heat resistant even withstanding long hours on hot stoves which makes it one of the best cookware sets for gas stoves that can also work well in the oven.
The D5 is well suited for those who love to cook and sell home-cooked meals and goodies. These are fit for semi to professional use providing you with low maintenance pots and pans while giving you cookware that can do it all. From sauteing and frying to slow cooking stews, this set has everything you need.
With a heavy and stronger build, you’re assured of its longevity. The brushed surface also provides easy cleanup while offering superb nonstick qualities preventing your food from easily sticking onto its surface. What’s great about this set is that even when you accidentally burn your food, a quick soak is enough to lift the sticky gunk off your pan.
Despite the heavier weight, this D5 set provides great mobility because of the longer handle offering better balance. The pan handles and wider grip space of the pots make it easier for you to move around handling your cookware as you cook.
The weight is not the only downside for those who aren’t used to handling heavier cookware, the size of this D5 cookware set is another disadvantage that can hinder your cooking. The long handle and wider flaring pans cover quite a large area especially if you’re planning on cooking your food inside the oven. This prevents you from cooking more food at a time.
This D5 cookware set really is an all-around cooking set that’s perfect for those who are looking for an ideal kitchenware for induction cooktops to explore new recipes while lessening the burden of heavy clean up duty. It’s great for beginners to grow into and for home chefs to learn new methods and styles of cooking using cookware that fits their skills and level.