Learn about the composition of your stainless steel cookware and the benefits it affords you.
Stainless steel itself is a poor conductor of heat, so most stainless pans are composed of layers of metal bonded and stamped together. The term “clad” or “cladding” describes this process of layering metals, which is why we refer to our Stainless Cookware Collection as "Stainless Clad."
All this to say, the main difference between 3- and 5-ply stainless is the number of layers of metal used to create the pan. Here's what else you need to know.
A stainless steel pan should be durable, able to handle high temperatures, and be an excellent conductor and controller of heat. Since stainless steel alone is not able to check all of these off, other metals are brought in to assist—typically copper or alloys containing high levels of aluminum, as both these metals are excellent heat conductors. The number of layers used is where "ply" comes in. A 5-ply pan, like ours, uses 5 different layers, where a 3-ply pan will use 3 layers.
In the cladding process, layers of different metals—in our case, aluminum alloy, pure aluminum, and two types of stainless steel—are stamped together into a single sheet of metal. This sheet is later formed into pots or pan to harness the best qualities of each material, resulting in cookware that performs consistently, responds instantly, and heats quickly.
3-ply, also called tri-ply, refers to stainless steel pans constructed from three different layers of metal. Typically, this consists of stainless steel outer layers bonded to a layer of aluminum core. The third layer is typically anodized aluminum, which is a protective oxidized layer that helps with heat retention and durability.
5-ply cookware refers to stainless steel constructed from five different layers. As mentioned above, we use a blend of pure aluminum and aluminum alloy as the core to capture the excellent heat conduction and control properties of aluminum. We then sandwich that with both 18-10 and high-grade ferritic 430 and 18/10 stainless steel for a durable, safe, and nonreactive cooking surface that evenly heats across the surface.
While 3-ply is slightly less expensive, and slightly lighter weight, there is a reason that 5-ply cookware like ours is used in professional kitchens all over the world.
Once you've used premium 5-ply construction like ours, you may notice a difference in the quality of your finished dish—especially when it comes to achieving the right sear on a steak or making sure a delicate piece of fish has a perfectly crisp skin.
If you're in the market for a new pan, we recommend opting for our 5-ply Stainless Clad Cookware. Combining exceptional heat control and conductivity with a durable build beloved by home chefs and restaurant customers, it's the pan that put us on the map for a reason.
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