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All-Clad D3 vs D5 (2021): What’s the Difference?

All-Clad has been making dependable cookware since time immemorial, most of which have been passed down from generation to generation. That there is a testament to its products’ durability and reliability. Long story short, you’re on the right track if you’ve already set your heart on getting pots or pans from the brand.

Thing is, it has a smorgasbord of options to choose from, so it’s difficult to decide which one to get. At that, the classic D3, aka Tri-Ply, and the newer D5 are two sets that stand out from the pack. But even then, the question remains, which one should you pick?

Here we compare them to help you make a more informed buying decision.

All-Clad D3 vs D5 Comparison Chart

ModelAll-Clad D3All-Clad D5
 All-Clad D3 Compact Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set, 10-Piece, SilverAll-Clad Brushed D5 Stainless Cookware Set, Pots and Pans, 5-Ply Stainless Steel, Professional...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Bonded Layers35
Interior18/10 stainless steel18/10 stainless steel
Exterior18/0 stainless steel18/0 stainless steel
Flared RimsMost modelsAll models
Safe Oven TemperatureUp to 600°FUp to 600°F
Dishwasher SafeYesYes
Induction CompatibleYesYes
Lifetime WarrantyYesYes
VariantsD3 Stainless, D3 Compact, D3 ArmorD5 Polished, D5 Brushed

Design

The All-Clad D3 comes in three variants, while the D5 is available only in two.

All-Clad D3 vs D5 Design
All-Clad fitted the D3 (left) with three bonded layers and the D5 (right) with five.

The All-Clad D3 has three bonded layers: an 18/10 stainless steel interior, aluminum core, and 18/0 stainless steel exterior. Meanwhile, the D5 has five: an 18/10 stainless steel interior, aluminum layer, stainless steel core, another aluminum layer, and 18/0 stainless steel exterior.

Now the D3 is available only with a polished exterior. In other words, it’s shiny. As for the D5, it can have either a polished or brushed exterior, which is something along the lines of a matte finish. The D5 also has thicker lid handles with an engraved logo of All-Clad, while the D3 has thinner handles without the branding.

These cookware collections come in different varieties as well. The D3 is available in three versions: D3 Stainless, the most popular out of the three here; D3 Compact, which is made for easier stacking and storage; and D3 Armor, which has a textured cooking surface so food won’t stick as much. On the other hand, the D5 has two variants: D5 Polished and D5 Brushed, which refer to their exterior design.

Performance

When responding to temperature, the All-Clad D3 is less forgiving than the D5.

All-Clad D3 vs D5 Performance
The All-Clad D3 (left) heats up faster than the D5 (right).

All-Clad is known for its proprietary bonded metal technology, and both cookware sets have that feature.

Put simply, it mixes aluminum’s heat conduction and steel’s durability. Put technically, aluminum can conduct heat better than steel, but it’s not exactly the most durable material. It’s also not the best cooking surface. Steel is more durable, but it takes a while to heat up. Not to mention that it can’t distribute heat evenly nor maintain temperatures that well. All-Clad takes the good of both materials to compensate for what the other lacks. In short, you get the best of both worlds with the D3 or D5.

As mentioned earlier, the D3 has fewer layers than the D5. That means it heats up faster, and it’s more responsive to temperature changes. The D5 heats up slower because it has more layers, and it’s less reactive to temperature changes. In other words, you’re more at risk of overcooking or burning your food on the D3 than on the D5. By the same token, you can whip up a hot meal more quickly with the D3.

Last but not least, their lids do an excellent job of keeping not only heat but also moisture in.

Ease of Use

The All-Clad D3 and D5 are easy to clean and use.

All-Clad D3 vs D5 Ease of Use
Because the All-Clad D3 (left) has fewer layers, it’s lighter and easier to handle than the D5 (right).

The All-Clad D3 weighs less than the D5. That’s no surprise, considering that it has fewer layers. At any rate, it’s easier to cook with because of that. They also have riveted handles that don’t heat up too much, so there’s nothing to worry about on that front.

Both have flared rims to make pouring liquid or transferring food to a plate an easy task. However, not all D3 models have them, and even then, they’re not as defined as the D5’s. That doesn’t mean it’s difficult to do those things with the D3. It’s just easier with the D5.

The two also have an 18/10 stainless steel interior or cooking surface, and that makes cleaning them easy. On the other end, they have an 18/0 stainless steel exterior, making them safe and compatible with induction cookers.

You can use them in an oven or broiler as well, as they’re capable of handling up to 600°F. Speaking of, they’re also dishwasher safe, but it’s recommended to clean them by hand.

Verdict

The All-Clad D3 is popular for a reason.

Both the All-Clad D3 and D5 are built like a tank, so if you’re worried about their longevity, that won’t be an issue. On top of that, they also have a lifetime warranty.

It wasn’t easy trying to pick between the two, but we’ll have to go with the D3 here. For starters, it can get the job done. It also comes in more varieties to boot. Sure, you won’t go wrong getting the D5. It’s more forgiving and distributes heat more evenly, and the only drawback is it heats up slower. However, it’s generally more expensive than the D3, and its advantages aren’t really that much.

FAQs

📌 What’s the difference between the All-Clad D3 and D5?

The main difference between the two is the All-Clad D3 has three bonded layers and the D5 has five. Also, not all D3 models have flared rims, while all D5 models have them.

📌 Is the All-Clad D3 worth it?

Yes, the All-Clad D3 is definitely worth it. The brand’s bonded metal technology makes it durable and capable of conducting heat effectively.

📌 Is the All-Clad D5 worth it?

Yes, the All-Clad D5 is worth the buy. It has five layers of bonded metal, making it so durable that it can last a long time.

📌 Which is better, the All-Clad D3 or the D5?

The All-Clad D3 is better because it’s generally more affordable than the D5. However, the D5 has more bonded metal layers, making it more durable and less likely to overcook or burn food.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.