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Sardel vs. All-Clad Cookware: 9 Major Differences

Are you shopping for cookware but can’t decide between Sardel and All-Clad?

Which cookware is better? What are the differences?

In this comparison of Sardel vs. All-Clad, you’ll learn how their cookware differs in construction, design, performance, price, and more.


Use the links below to navigate the article:


Sardel vs. All-Clad: Comparison Chart

The chart below lets you quickly compare Sardel vs. All-Clad across key categories.

SardelAll-Clad
Product OfferingsStainless steel, non-stick, carbon steel (one collection per type)D3, D3 Everyday, D5, Copper Core, HA1, Essentials, G5
Construction5-ply fully-clad stainless steel, carbon steelFully clad stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum non-stick, steel with enamel coating
DesignPolished stainless with rounded steel handles and sealed edgesPolished or brushed stainless steel, copper exterior, black hard-anodized aluminum, or high-gloss colored ceramic
Induction-CompatibilityAll cookware is induction-compatibleAll cookware is induction-compatible except Essentials
Oven-Safe TemperatureNon-stick: 480°F
Stainless & carbon steel: 500°F
Non-stick: 500°F
Stainless steel: 600°F
Metal Utensil SafeYes (except for the non-stick skillets)Yes (except for the H1 and Essentials collections)
Company HistoryFounded in 2019Founded in 1971
Where It’s MadeNorthern ItalyStainless steel: USA
Hard-anodized: China
Enameled: Germany
Top Reasons to BuySealed edges; polished finish; fair pricingDurability, various collections with unique materials and design, non-slip handles
Top Reasons to NOT BuyRounded handles; unprovenUncomfortable handles; expensive
Price$$$ (Sardel or Amazon)$$$$ (All-Clad or Amazon)

Difference 1: Cookware Offerings

One of the most notable differences between Sardel and All-Clad is the type of cookware each makes. Simply put, All-Clad has much more to offer than Sardel.

Here’s a breakdown of both brands’ product offerings.

Sardel:

  • 5-ply stainless steel: This is Sardel’s primary product line. The interior and exterior are stainless steel with a 3-layer aluminum core for improved heat distribution.
Sardel stainless steel pan
Sardel stainless steel pan
  • 5-ply stainless steel with a PTFE non-stick coating: Essentially the same as the 5-ply stainless steel, but with a non-stick coating for easy cooking and cleaning.
Sardel non-stick pan
Sardel non-stick pan
  • Carbon steel: This option is a lighter alternative to cast iron. It heats up rapidly but requires seasoning and reacts with acidic foods (learn more about the pros and cons of carbon steel).
Sardel carbon steel skillet
Sardel carbon steel skillet

View all Sardel’s pots, pans, and sets on SardelKitchen.com.

All-Clad:

All-Clad offers a range of stainless steel, copper, and aluminum non-stick cookware. Here’s a quick overview of each collection.

  • D3 Stainless: As All-Clad’s original and best-selling collection, D3 features 3-ply fully-clad construction with an aluminum core. The exterior is polished, and most pans have flared rims for easy pouring.
All-Clad D3 Stainless Pots and Pans
All-Clad D3 Stainless Pots and Pans
  • D3 Everyday: This collection is a revamped version of D3 with a few design upgrades. For instance, the flat part of the cooking surface is larger, the handle is less concave and more comfortable, and the rims are flared on all pieces (some D3 pans don’t have flared rims). Check out this D3 and D3 Everyday unboxing video to learn more.
All-Clad D3 Everyday skillet
All-Clad D3 Everyday skillet
  • D5 Brushed/D5 Polished: This 5-ply collection is available in two exterior finishes: brushed and polished. It’s All-Clad’s most even-heating collection due to its aluminum inner layers and steel core that diffuses heat transfer (learn more about this unique construction in this guide).
All-Clad D5 12 inch fry pan
All-Clad D5
  • HA1: This is All-Clad’s primary non-stick collection. It’s made of hard-anodized aluminum with a multi-layer PTFE non-stick interior. A steel induction plate is bonded to the bottom to make it warp-proof and compatible with all cooktops.
All-Clad HA1 frying pan
All-Clad HA1 frying pan
  • Essentials: This collection is similar to HA1, but it doesn’t have a steel induction plate on the bottom, it’s not induction-compatible, and it’s less expensive.
All-Clad Essentials cooking surface
All-Clad Essentials cooking surface
  • Copper Core: This is All-Clad’s most premium and expensive collection. It has five bonded layers with a copper core for rapid heat transfer.
All-Clad Copper Core 12 Inch Fry Pan
All-Clad Copper Core
  • C2 Copper: With a 2-ply construction, this collection features a stainless steel interior and a copper exterior for quick and precise heat control.

Check out every All-Clad collection on All-Clad.com.

Difference 2: Handles

Another significant difference between All-Clad and Sardel is their handles.

All-Clad versus Sardel handles
All-Clad (left), Sardel (right)

Sardel’s stainless steel and non-stick cookware handles are smooth and rounded, while All-Clad’s handles in the D3, D5, and HA1 collections are straight and cup-shaped (the top side has a prominent concave groove).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both designs. Sardel’s rounded handles look nice and are comfortable, but they’re prone to slipping and rotating in your hand.

Sardel cookware handle
Sardel cookware handle

Let’s say you’re boiling pasta and grab the handle while wearing an oven mitt. When you tilt the pan to pour the pasta into a strainer, there’s a chance the handle will slip, and you could spit the hot water.

All-Clad’s handles are less comfortable, but the concave design locks it into your hand, providing much more control during tilting and pouring.

All-Clad handle design
All-Clad handle design

If you valve comfort and use caution when pouring or tilting, Sardel handles work fine. But if safety is your primary goal, All-Clad is the clear winner.

Difference 3: Sealed vs. Exposed Edges

Sardel’s cookware edges are carefully sealed to eliminate the risk of delamination or sharp edges. This design aspect might seem minor, but it’s a thoughtful touch that enhances safety.

With sealed edges, you don’t have to worry about layers becoming exposed, a risk that’s been particularly troublesome for All-Clad.

Sardel sealed rims and All-Clad exposed rims
Sardel sealed rims (top) and All-Clad exposed rims (bottom)

All-Clad’s edges are not sealed, allowing you to see the bonded layers. While some appreciate this as an aesthetic feature that showcases the quality of construction, it’s not without issues.

Some customers have found that the aluminum core layer in All-Clad pans can shrink in the dishwasher, causing the thin and sharp steel top and bottom layers to stick out.

All-Clad was sued for this and agreed to a settlement to replace certain pans with sharp edges. Since its legal trouble, All-Clad has declared its pans are not dishwasher safe.

Difference 4: Non-Stick Cooking Surface

Sardel’s non-stick pans feature a unique honeycomb pattern.

Sardel non-stick pan interior
Sardel non-stick pan interior

Sardel claims it “creates a highly effective and durable non-stick surface that’s also incredibly easy to clean.” But when I reached out and asked Sardel about this, they admitted the pattern is more about food release and doesn’t impact durability.

In my hands-on experience, though, I didn’t find Sardel’s food release any better than a traditional smooth non-stick pan like those from All-Clad.

In fact, the honeycomb pattern might even be a drawback. I found that it could make the surface easier to scratch, and food bits and oil got trapped in the grooves, requiring extra effort to clean.

Grease stuck in the grooves of Sardel non-stick honeycomb pattern
Grease stuck in the grooves of Sardel non-stick honeycomb pattern

All-Clad’s non-stick pans have a smooth 3-layer PTFE coating. This traditional approach makes cooking and cleaning easy without the potential issues I encountered with Sardel’s honeycomb pattern.

Cooking eggs in an All-Clad HA1 pan
Cooking eggs in an All-Clad HA1 pan

Difference 5: Heat Conduction and Retention

Every brand I review goes through two controlled experiments to measure its heat conduction and retention. Here’s how Sardel and All-Clad performed in those tests.

Heat Conduction

Heat conduction is about how fast a pan can reach a specific temperature. In this test, I poured two cups of cold water into both Sardel and All-Clad pans, set the stove to high, and timed how long it took for bubbles to appear and then for the water to boil.

Sardel cookware even heating
Sardel cookware even heating

Here are the results:

PanTime to First BubblesTime to Boil
Sardel fry pan1 minute and 41 seconds2 minutes and 46 seconds
All-Clad D3 skillet1 minute and 55 seconds2 minutes and 55 seconds
All-Clad HA1 fry pan2 minutes and 12 seconds2 minutes and 58 seconds

I conduct this test with every brand I review. Here’s how Sardel and All-Clad stack up against the industry:

PanTime to First BubblesTime to Boil
Farberware1 minute and 2 seconds1 minute and 29 seconds
Made In stainless steel fry pan1 minute and 40 seconds2 minutes and 21 seconds
Anolon X pan1 minute and 35 seconds2 minutes and 22 seconds
Misen fry pan1 minute and 50 seconds2 minutes and 25 seconds
Caraway1 minute and 53 seconds2 minutes and 26 seconds
Anolon Advanced fry pan1 minute and 55 seconds2 minutes and 27 seconds
HexClad fry pan1 minute and 40 seconds2 minutes and 30 seconds
Made In non-stick fry pan1 minute and 53 seconds2 minutes and 31 seconds
Zwilling fry pan1 minute and 45 seconds2 minutes and 31 seconds
T-fal fry pan1 minute and 50 seconds2 minutes and 32 seconds
Gotham Steel fry pan1 minute and 58 seconds2 minutes and 32 seconds
Rachael Ray fry pan1 minute and 47 seconds2 minutes and 36 seconds
Viking fry pan1 minute and 42 seconds2 minute and 39 seconds
Calphalon fry pan1 minute and 45 seconds2 minutes and 40 seconds
Sardel fry pan1 minute and 41 seconds2 minute and 46 seconds
Pioneer Woman fry pan2 minute and 2 seconds2 minute and 46 seconds
Hestan fry pan1 minute and 52 seconds2 minutes and 47 seconds
GreenLife pan2 minutes and 11 seconds2 minutes and 47 seconds
Our Place Always Pan2 minutes and 2 seconds2 minutes and 48 seconds
Ninja NeverStick Pan2 minutes and 7 seconds2 minutes and 49 seconds
Tramontina fry pan1 minute and 53 seconds2 minutes and 52 seconds
Circulon fry pan2 minutes and 7 seconds2 minutes and 55 seconds
All-Clad D3 skillet1 minute and 55 seconds2 minutes and 55 seconds
All-Clad HA1 fry pan2 minute and 12 seconds2 minute and 58 seconds
Demeyere Industry fry pan2 minutes and 3 seconds3 minutes and 10 seconds
Ballarini fry pan2 minutes and 15 seconds3 minutes and 12 seconds
Heritage Steel fry pan1 minutes and 59 seconds3 minutes and 15 seconds
Demeyere Atlantis fry pan2 minutes and 11 seconds3 minutes and 25 seconds
Xtrema fry pan3 minutes and 41 seconds6 minutes and 7 seconds

Heat Retention

Heat retention refers to the ability of a  pan to hold or maintain its temperature over time. It’s an important factor in cooking because it affects how evenly and efficiently food is cooked.

To find out which brand retains heat better, I measured the water temperature in Sardel and All-Clad pans at the five- and ten-minute marks after removing them from the heat.

Sardel heat retention test results after 10 minutes
Sardel heat retention test results after 10 minutes
All-Clad HA1 heat retention test results after 10 minutes
All-Clad HA1 heat retention test results after 10 minutes

As you can see in the results below, the All-Clad D3 stainless steel and HA1 non-stick pans retained heat better than Sardel.

PanTemperature After 5 MinutesTemperature After 10 Minutes
All-Clad D3 skillet111.6°F100.9°F
All-Clad HA1 fry pan117.9°F98.1°F
Sardel fry pan114.0°F97.8°F

How do All-Clad and Sardel compare across the industry? Below are the heat retention results of the other brands I’ve tested:

PanTemperature After 5 MinutesTemperature After 10 Minutes
Xtrema fry pan142°F113°F
Made In stainless steel fry pan121.1°F106.6°F
Demeyere Atlantis fry pan122.0°F106.3°F
Made In non-stick fry pan120.2°F105.8°F
Ninja NeverStick Pan130.5°F104.8°F
Misen fry pan118.6°F103.4°F
Zwilling fry pan121.1°F103.0°F
Rachael Ray fry pan126.3°F102.7°F
HexClad fry pan120.7°F102.4°F
Circulon fry pan133.3°F102.0°F
Tramontina fry pan118.5°F101.3°F
Calphalon fry pan112.8°F101.1°F
All-Clad D3 skillet111.6°F100.9°F
Ballarini fry pan120°F99.9°F
Heritage Steel120.1°F98.2°F
All-Clad HA1 fry pan117.9°F98.1°F
Hestan fry pan114.4°F98.0°F
Sardel fry pan114.0°F97.8°F
Demeyere Industry fry pan115.2°F96.6°F
Our Place Always Pan118.0°F96.7°F
Caraway fry pan116.6°F96.4°F
Anolon X pan114.1°F96.0°F
Viking fry pan106.6°F95.9°F
Farberware fry pan112.0°F95.4°F
GreenLife fry pan119.0°F95.0°F
Gotham Steel fry pan113.0°F95.0°F
Anolon Advanced fry pan112.7°F90.9°F
Pioneer Woman fry pan104.3°F90.9°F
T-fal fry pan108.7°F88.0°F

Difference 6: Where It Is Made

All Sardel cookware is crafted in the northern regions of Italy, a country renowned for its culinary arts and high-quality kitchenware.

All-Clad’s manufacturing practices are more varied. Here’s a look at where All-Clad cookware collections are made (read this guide for more details):

CollectionWhere It’s Made
All-Clad D3 StainlessUnited States
All-Clad D3 EverydayUnited States
All-Clad D5 BrushedUnited States
All-Clad D5 PolishedUnited States
All-Clad D7 StainlessUnited States
All-Clad Copper CoreUnited States
All-Clad G5 Graphite CoreUnited States
All-Clad GourmetChina
All-Clad HA1China
All-Clad EssentialsChina

Difference 7: Company History

Sardel is a relatively young player in the cookware industry, founded by the Kamhi brothers in 2019. These brothers have backgrounds in investment banking, software development, and law, but none had experience in manufacturing or cookware.

To fill that gap, they partnered with a multi-generational family-owned manufacturer in northern Italy that’s been making cookware for over 100 years.

Although Sardel doesn’t have a long track record, reviews of the brand are overwhelmingly positive so far.

All-Clad launched in 1971 and has since established itself as the leading premium stainless steel cookware brand. It’s the choice of millions of home cooks and some of the best chefs worldwide.

In 2004, the French company Groupe SEB acquired All-Clad. However, despite the change in ownership, All-Clad continues to manufacture its cookware and operate the brand in the United States, just outside of Pittsburgh.

Difference 8: Price

Sardel offers quality cookware at mid- to high-end prices. All-Clad is considered a high-end brand, but since it has a wide range of collections, some products cost more than Sardel, and some cost less.

For example, All-Clad Copper Core, D3, and D5 pans are more expensive than Sardel, but the HA1 and Essentials collections are cheaper.

Compare current prices at the links below:

Difference 9: Downsides

Let’s dive into the downsides of Sardel and All-Clad.

Sardel Downsides:

  • Slippery Handles: If your hands are wet or greasy, Sardel’s rounded handles are challenging to grip securely. It’s a comfort-versus-control issue that you’ll need to weigh.
  • Honeycomb Design: Though attractive, the honeycomb pattern on its non-stick pans can snag utensils, leading to possible damage. The grooves can also trap food, which requires more cleaning effort and shortens the lifespan of the non-stick coating.
  • Carbon Steel Pans: Unlike most pans that are ready to cook with right away, Sardel’s carbon steel skillets need to be seasoned before the first use — other brands like Made In offer pre-seasoned carbon steel pans.
  • Limited Variety: All its cookware has a similar aesthetic, and the brand doesn’t provide a wide range of sizes or collections.
  • Sold Online Only: Since Sardel cookware is sold exclusively online, you can’t pick up and hold the pans before buying.

All-Clad Downsides:

  • Uncomfortable Handles: Although the cupped design provides a steady grip, it is somewhat awkward and uncomfortable.
  • Confusion About Where It’s Made: While advertised as American-made, lids and handles are produced in China and attached in the US. If you’re seeking fully American-made products, keep this in mind.
  • Price: All-Clad’s quality materials and long track record of performance and durability come with a hefty price tag, particularly in the premium D5 and Copper Core collections.

Bottom Line: Should You Buy Sardel or All-Clad Cookware?

Before I offer my recommendation, let’s recap the main points of this in-depth comparison between Sardel vs. All-Clad cookware:

  • Offerings: All-Clad offers a more diverse range of cookware collections, including various materials and construction types, while Sardel focuses on 5-ply stainless steel and carbon steel.
  • Handles: Sardel’s handles are smooth and rounded. All-Clad’s cup-shaped handles provide more control but may be uncomfortable.
  • Edges: Sardel’s cookware edges are sealed for enhanced safety. There are reports that All-Clad’s exposed edges can become sharp.
  • Non-Stick Surface: Sardel uses a honeycomb pattern for food release, which may cause cleaning issues, while All-Clad employs a traditional smooth non-stick surface.
  • Heat Conduction and Retention: Based on my tests, All-Clad retains heat better, but Sardel heats slightly faster.
  • Where It’s Made: Sardel’s products are made in Italy, while All-Clad’s products are manufactured in various locations, including the United States, China, and Germany.
  • History: Sardel is a younger brand founded in 2019 and works with a family-owned manufacturer in Italy. All-Clad, established in 1971, has a more extensive history and reputation.
  • Price: Sardel is cheaper than All-Clad D3, D5, and Copper Core but more pricey than HA1 and Essentials.

If you’re still undecided, go with All-Clad. Why? Because All-Clad has more variety, safer handles, and a long track record of performance. I’ve thoroughly tested Sardel, and while it cooks like All-Clad, the slippery, rounded handles and unnecessary honeycomb non-stick coating drop it down a level.

If you’re a fan of rounded handles and can remember to use extreme caution when tilting, Sardel offers solid value. It’s similar in price to two brands I highly recommend: Made In and Heritage Steel. So, if you’re thinking about buying Sardel, check out those brands, too (MadeInCookware.com, HeritageSteel.us).

Learn more about All-Clad and Sardel by reading my in-depth reviews (All-Clad review, Sardel review) or check the current prices at the links below.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He began his career in marketing, managing campaigns for dozens of Fortune 500 brands. In 2018, Andrew founded Prudent Reviews and has since reviewed 600+ products. When he’s not testing the latest cookware, kitchen knives, and appliances, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew via emailLinkedIn, or the Prudent Reviews YouTube channel.

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