When comparing stainless steel cookware you need to first consider what is most important to you. If the lowest price is the most important thing to you then consider shopping for the cheapest stainless steel cookware you can find at Wal-Mart, Costco or other discount stores. There is nothing wrong with shopping at these stores, I do all the time; it is just that you will not find great quality stainless steel cookware at these stores.
With quality stainless steel you get what you pay for as with most quality items. For even heating without hot spots or burning in some areas you need weight. Good stainless steel cookware is heavy. Having a thick bottom layer on the cookware allows for even heat distribution (Sugar Test) and will allow the food to stay hot in the cookware for some time after the heat source is removed.
Surgical Stainless Steel is non-porous so it is healthier and does not leach toxins and poisonous heavy metals into your food.
Comparing Our 17 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware, 5-Ply (9 Element) vs 7-Ply
7-Ply Sets have 2 more layers:
2. Extra Layer of 304 Surgical Stainless Steel
The carbon steel layer gives the 7-ply set better heat distribution and will keep food hotter longer while using less energy to cook the food. The 7-Ply Set works best with "Induction Stoves" due to the carbon steel layer though the 5-Ply (9 Element) Set will work with induction stoves as well. The cost to manufacture the 7-ply cookware is higher.
The other difference is our 7-ply sets - High Dome Cover has a 7-ply bottom so you can use it as a skillet on your cook top. You "cannot" use the High Dome Cover in the 5-ply (9 Element) set on your cook top. You can only use it as a lid for your skillet or your stock pot.
The inside and outside of both the 5-ply (9 Element) and 7-ply sets is 304 Surgical Stainless Steel. Even when you compare our 5-ply (9 Element) stainless steel cookware to sets sold through direct sales waterless cookware companies you will notice that our cookware is heavier.