Are you shopping for cookware but can’t decide between All-Clad D3 and All-Clad Copper Core?
Both collections are high-performing, durable, and made-in-America. So what’s the difference?
In this comparison of All-Clad D3 vs. Copper Core, you’ll learn how these cookware collections stack up in terms of construction, performance, design, price, and more.
By the end, you’ll have all the essential information to decide which cookware is best for you.
Use the links below to navigate this comparison:
- All-Clad D3 vs. Copper Core: Comparison Chart
- Similarities Between All-Clad D3 and Copper Core
- Difference 1: Materials and Construction
- Difference 2: Performance
- Difference 3: Design
- Difference 4: Options
- Difference 5: Price
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy All-Clad D3 or Copper Core?
All-Clad D3 vs. Copper Core: Comparison Chart
If you’re in a hurry, use the chart below to quickly compare All-Clad D3 vs. Copper Core cookware.
|All-Clad D3||All-Clad Copper Core|
|Where Its Made||Canonsburg, Pennsylvania||Canonsburg, Pennsylvania|
|Exterior Material||18/0 Stainless Steel||18/0 Stainless Steel|
|Cooking Surface||18/10 Stainless Steel||18/10 Stainless Steel|
|Core Layer(s)||Aluminum||Copper wrapped in 2 layers of aluminum|
|Lids||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Handles||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Cooking Performance||Fast and even heating||Reacts quickly to temperature changes for precise control.|
|Oven-Safe Temperature||Up to 600°F||Up to 600°F|
|Cleaning||Hand wash recommended||Hand wash recommended|
|Appearance||Uniform polished finish||Polished finish with a copper ring around the lower half of the exterior wall|
|Flared Rims||Yes, besides saucepans||Yes, on all pans|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
|Price||$$$ (Amazon, All-Clad.com)||$$$$$ (Amazon, All-Clad.com)|
Similarities Between All-Clad D3 and Copper Core
Before reviewing the differences between All-Clad D3 and Copper Core cookware, let’s quickly examine the similarities.
The D3 and Copper Core collections are both fully-clad, meaning they’re made by bonding durable exterior layers of steel together with conductive core layers of aluminum or copper.
With this type of cookware, the heat conductive layers extend throughout the pan, from the base to the rim, which encourages fast and even heat distribution.
The cheaper alternative to fully-clad cookware is cookware with an impact-bonded base. With this production technique, the heat conductive metals are bonded to the bottom only, not up the sides (leading to uneven heating and cold spots).
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All-Clad’s founder invented fully-clad stainless steel cookware in the 1970s. Although almost every mid- to high-end cookware brand has adopted the process, All-Clad remains the industry leader, utilizing it across all its stainless steel products.
Both collections utilize high-quality, American-sourced metals, including 18/0 stainless steel for the cookware’s exterior and 18/10 stainless steel for the cooking surface.
18/0 stainless steel consists of 18% chromium and 0% nickel, making it magnetic (thus, induction-compatible). 18/10 stainless steel consists of 18% chromium and 10% nickel and is the ideal cooking surface. The chromium and nickel make the alloy non-reactive, corrosion-resistant, and ultra-durable.
Made in the USA
The D3 and Copper Core collections are oven-safe up to 600°F and broiler-safe, except for the non-stick pans within the D3 collection. Those pieces are oven-safe up to 500°F, and they’re not broiler-safe.
The lids within both collections are not oven-safe.
Due to the 18/0 magnetic steel exteriors, both collections are compatible with all cooktops, including induction.
All-Clad recommends hand-wash its cookware. That is especially important for the Copper Core collection since the dishwasher could tarnish the copper ring.
Like every All-Clad stainless steel cookware, the D3 and Copper Core collections are built to last a lifetime.
Although the surface may dull or get small scratches over the years, you can polish it with products such as Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami to restore the original shiny condition. Just avoid scrubbing the copper ring on Copper Core cookware because these cleaners are abrasive and copper is much more delicate than steel.
Although All-Clad is a significant upfront investment, it’s the type of cookware that you can pass from generation to generation, making the total cost of ownership very reasonable.
Both collections come with a lifetime warranty covering defects in materials, construction, and craftsmanship. If you have any issues, All-Clad will repair or replace the product free of charge.
It’s important to note that the warranty doesn’t cover damage due to misuse, thermal shock (warping), normal wear-and-tear, or damage to the non-stick coatings. To get all the details, check out the full warranty on All-Clad.com.
Now that you understand the similarities between All-Clad D3 and Copper Core cookware, let’s examine the differences.
Difference 1: Materials and Construction
The most significant difference between All-Clad D3 and Copper Core cookware is their materials and construction.
The D3 collection is made with three bonded layers (3-ply), whereas the Copper Collection is made with five bonded layers (5-ply).
Resource: Check out my in-depth comparison of 3-ply vs 5-ply cookware.
The bonded layers that make up D3 cookware include:
- 18/10 stainless steel cooking surface
- Aluminum core
- 18/0 stainless steel exterior
Copper Core, on the other hand, is made of five bonded layers, including:
- 18/10 stainless steel cooking surface
- Aluminum mid-layer
- Copper core
- Aluminum mid-layer
- 18/0 stainless steel exterior
The materials used in the construction impact the cookware’s performance. More on this next.
Difference 2: Performance
As mentioned, the cookware’s materials impact its cooking performance.
Both collections heat up quickly and evenly due to their fully-clad construction and the use of aluminum, a heat conductive metal.
However, the key difference in performance is how quickly they heat (heat distribution) and respond to temperature changes (responsiveness).
Since copper has a higher thermal conductivity than aluminum, Copper Core cookware heats faster and responds to temperature changes quicker than D3. In other words, it’s more agile and precise; you get more control over your cooking with the Copper Core collection.
While that sounds great, copper’s superior responsiveness can be a disadvantage in the hands of a less skilled home cook. For instance, you have to pay closer attention while cooking with Copper Core pans because they’re not as forgiving as D3.
If you turn the heat too high or walk away from the stove for a minute, you can quickly burn your food. That comes into play with delicate ingredients like garlic or ginger.
With D3 and its aluminum core, it heats up and responds to temperature changes quickly, too, but it’s a bit more forgiving. So if you turn the heat too high, you won’t immediately scorch your food.
Although it may take an extra minute to heat a D3 pan compared to Copper Core, you get more leeway and can relax a bit more while you cook.
Difference 3: Design
All-Clad D3 and Copper Core cookware are classy, elegant, and functional — but there are some noticeable design differences.
The D3 collection has a uniform polished stainless steel finish.
Copper Core has a polished finish too, but it also features an elegant copper ring cut out around the bottom half of the cookware’s exterior, a nod to the copper core interior.
Some people prefer the simplicity of D3’s uniform shiny exterior, while others appreciate this subtle detail that you get with Copper Core.
The handles are designed differently, too.
Copper Core’s handles have a small bump on the bottom side, which serves as a warning to not move your hand any closer to the hot base.
It also features a small cutout to disperse heat and keep the handles cool, making your cooking experience safer.
Some D3 handles feature that same warning bump, but others don’t. For example, handles on the saucepans are straight and solid throughout.
Finally, Copper Core cookware has flared rims, which makes pouring easy. D3 does, too, except for the saucepans, which have straight rims, which help keep food contained.
Difference 4: Options
D3 is All-Clad’s most popular and most extensive collection boasting over 50 items, including individual pieces and sets.
The D3 collection is mostly stainless steel, but it also includes fry pans with a non-stick cooking surface for easy food release and cleaning.
Copper Core’s collection is more limited with less than 20 items, but it includes all the essentials, such as frying pans, saute pans, saucepans, and more. Unlike D3, the Copper Core collection doesn’t include any stackable sets or non-stick pans.
Difference 5: Price
Besides the construction, the most significant difference between All-Clad D3 and Copper Core cookware is the price.
Copper Core cookware is significantly more expensive than D3.
The main reason for this is that copper is more expensive than aluminum, and the Copper Core collection is made with five bonded layers (vs. three).
Additionally, the extra details, such as the copper ring, add to the cost.
To give you a better idea of how D3 and Copper Core prices compare, refer to the chart below.
Note: These prices are pulled in real-time from Amazon. Click the chart to view more details.
|All-Clad D3 12-Inch Fry Pan||Amazon|
|All-Clad D3 7.5-Inch Skillet||Amazon|
|All-Clad D3 3-Quart Sauce Pan||Amazon|
|All-Clad D3 8-Quart Stockpot||Amazon|
|All-Clad D3 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|All-Clad Copper Core 3-Quart Sauce Pan||Amazon|
|All-Clad Copper Core 8-Quart Stockpot||Amazon|
|All-Clad Copper Core 12-Inch Chef's Pan||Amazon|
|All-Clad Copper Core 10-Piece Set||Amazon|
|All-Clad Copper Core 2-Quart Saucier Pan||Amazon|
|All-Clad Copper Core 3-Quart Sauté Pan||Amazon|
Bottom Line: Should You Buy All-Clad D3 or Copper Core?
Now that you know all the details about All-Clad D3 and Copper Core cookware, it’s time to make a decision.
The truth is, these collections have a lot in common.
- Both are full-clad
- Both are made in the USA with high-quality steel.
- Both are induction-compatible and oven-safe up to 600°F.
- Both are ultra-durable and come with a lifetime warranty.
However, they also have some significant differences:
Construction: D3 is made with three layers: stainless steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. Copper Core is produced with five layers: stainless steel, aluminum, copper, aluminum, and stainless steel. D3 also has some non-stick options; Copper Core does not.
Performance: Copper Core heats faster and responds to temperature changes more quickly since copper has a higher thermal conductivity than aluminum.
Design: Copper Core and D3 both have a shiny polished exterior, but Copper Core features a signature copper ring that makes it stand out. Copper Core also has safer handles due to the warning bump and the hollowed section to disperse heat.
Options: D3 is All-Clad’s most extensive collection with over 50 pieces. Copper Core has less than 20 pieces, but it includes all the essentials.
Price: Copper Core is significantly more expensive than D3 due to its materials, construction, performance, and design.
The bottom line is D3 is All-Clad’s best-selling collection with the most options. It is one of the best stainless steel cookware collections on the market and performs exceptionally well. With this collection, you won’t be disappointed.
Copper Core is All-Clad’s most premium collection. It has superior responsiveness and heat conduction, giving you ultimate control over your cooking.
For most home cooks, I recommend D3 because it can do everything and costs much less.
However, for more serious chefs and professionals, the responsiveness of copper is helpful for meals that require precise heat control. Is it necessary for most cooks? No. Is it nice to have in some situations? Absolutely.
Ultimately, the right collection comes down to your cooking needs and your budget.
Check out both collections on Amazon to learn more and read dozens of other reviews.
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- 17 Pros and Cons of Copper Cookware: Is It Worth the High Price?