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Induction cooking for home kitchens.

Magnapro Jan 5, 2007 12:43 PM

I am going to add an induction cooker to my kitchen arsenal. Any thoughts that might help me choose.I have appropriate cookware etc.
Thanks

  1. a
    AggieC May 23, 2008 11:05 AM

    Hi!
    I personally recommend inductions by the spanish manufacturer Fagor, it's the most well known induction brand in Europe and they manufacture inductions for other brands here in the US as well.
    I personally only have a fagor portable induction, not a built-in one, but I know people who own built-in fagor inductions and they're happy. I know I'm happy with the little portable one too, it doesn't heat up my kitchen like my gas stove used to.
    Check out the website: www.fagoramerica.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: AggieC
      m
      macic Jul 17, 2008 01:27 PM

      There is a handy list of manufacturers of induction cooktops at http://www.induction-cooktop.com on the cooktop brands page.

    2. z
      zzMini Apr 1, 2007 07:26 AM

      Has anyone found a comparison of induction burners in terms of time to boil a quart of water?
      One key reason I want one is to very rapidly boil water, and it seems that would be a good baseline comparison across units.
      (I am looking just at a portable unit.)

      Does anyone have ideas here?
      Thanks.

      3 Replies
      1. re: zzMini
        paulj Apr 1, 2007 10:01 AM

        I recently bought one at 99Ranch, Tatung brand. It was something of an impulse purchase, since it was on sale. It requires 1300 watts.

        On the question of boiling water times, that partly depends on the pot shape and size. The induction coil is about 4-5" in diameter. With a small pan just that size (inexpensive blue speckled steel), boil time for coffee water is substantially faster than my electric range. The induction burner starts heating the pan right away, while the range has to bring the element up to temperature before transferring any heat to the pot. Also the induction burner does not waste any heat to the atmosphere. In fact in the time it takes to heat 20 oz of water, the rim of the pot is still cool to the touch.

        I have not done a speed test on larger quantities of water.

        My unit has lots of pushbutton controls - boil, stir-fry, soup, porridge, etc settings, a timer, and temperature. These imply greater sophistication than there really is. As best I can tell, at the lower 'temperature' settings, it just cycles the heat on and off (as many microwaves do), so they really aren't true temperature settings.

        Keep in mind that the burner requires a steel pan. Mine came with a wide stainless steel pan with glass lid. It's not very thick, but I haven't decided whether thick or thin works better. My cast iron skillet works, but the size of the induction coil is very evident. Inexpensive enameled steel seems to do nicely. My French crepe pan also works, but, I have to remember not to lift the pan off the burner to spread the batter. The burner turns off if the pan is removed.

        With some practice I think it will be good for some things, but certainly not a jack-of-all trades. It isn't going to be as good for braising as I'd hoped, but it may work for stir-fries. I may appreciate it more come summer when I don't want to heat up the kitchen.

        paulj

        1. re: zzMini
          paulj Apr 1, 2007 10:37 AM

          Just did a boil test with 1 qt of water, in a covered 2 qt pot. The induction burner brought it to a rolling boil in about 5 minutes, stove top about a minute longer. Excess heat production was substantially different. I could practically touch the sides of the pot on the induction burner, as long as I kept away from the steam. On the range I could feel the heat from the burner and pot at 4 inches.

          Butane hot plate, 3 minutes. At the table for hotpot use, butane is faster, has a better simmer, but produces more side heat. But the induction burner has a noisy cooling fan (for its electronics).

          paulj

          1. re: paulj
            z
            zzMini Apr 1, 2007 06:52 PM

            Excellent - thank you!!
            We had found that same Tatung...keep going back & forth btwn an inexpensive one like this, that will serve as an extra burner for a party, use next to the BBQ outside, etc., or a more expensive, much higher wattage, that would provide way more heat than our GE Profile running on propane.

            Very interesting observation about Butane! And about the crepes as well - woud not have thought of the lifting the pan issue! And I do love making crepes.

            Thanks Paul!

        2. Magnapro Jan 11, 2007 02:49 AM

          Thanks guys but no matter watt you guys decide, I'm going to buy a 120 volt plug in unit for convenience. This will also allow me to experiment at a low cost. E-Bay searches for induction devices show me quite a selection.
          I like the idea of portability with these.
          I'm also an Electrician and refuse get involved in worktalk on my fave foodsite.
          What really has my interest is the efficiency of these devices. But I know That I cannot match the giant flame I get from my largest gas burner when heating up my Wok for example. Without spending large for something like the Magnawave wok induction cooker(3500watt).
          I like the intelligent features of these units with overheat protection and temperature control.
          Also auto shutoff and timeout.
          Its a wonderful application of tech and will probably get a lot more popular as energy costs rise.

          Thank You All

          1. MikeG Jan 10, 2007 06:52 PM

            No, voltage drop is a fairly complicated function of wire size, length, voltage and current draw on the wire in question.

            That's a good point about the coming up to heat though, I'm not used to thinking in terms of magneto-inductive heating. Higher power available to the "burner" doesn't affect heating speed, though? Or just not enough to matter in this case?

            1 Reply
            1. re: MikeG
              Scrapironchef Jan 10, 2007 08:25 PM

              Ohm's Law is complicated? Current draw only matters if you are exceeding the ampacity of the conductor and it is heating up. If that is happening your breaker needs to be replaced with a working one.

              In what way do you mean higher power? My first induction cooktop was a dual voltage unit from Japan that could be switched either 110/220. Either way it was the same output wattage. Dang, I regret not getting it in the divorce.

            2. o
              opuspa Jan 9, 2007 09:21 AM

              check out http://theinductionsite.com for tons of information on induction cooking.

              1. l
                lagoon_lisa Jan 8, 2007 04:56 PM

                Long time lurker, first time poster. This board is fab.

                I installed a De Dietrich (sp.?) 5 burner induction cooktop about three months ago and I absolutely love it. I had to import it, but it was easy to do. It is made in France, but there's a company in England and another one in New Zealand who send them to USA. I used New Zealand, ccokpower.com. Totally painless, though a bit expensive, and it arrived 5 days after I ordered it.

                As to cooking. I have not mastered the various permutations of burner size to heat intensity to pot material yet. In fact, I have been limping along with only a few old pieces of cookware until I decide what I like best. Cast iron and Le Creuset work fabulously, but are so heavy to use daily. I have a couple of large stockpots with strainer inserts from IKEA which work very well - water boils very fast on the 'boost' setting. And I have one old Revereware saucepan in which I boil water for tea faster than I can get the cup and tea etc. ready.

                The unit looks beautiful in my very contemporary kitchen, very sleek, much more so than the other units I had seen. And cleanup is a breeze.

                I did a lot of reading online before buying. There are some very good discussions of the pros and cons of induction elsewhere, including comparisons of how many minutes a given volume of water takes to boil on the different models. I am looking forward to playing around even more with mine, especially on the very slow settings.

                I had piped a gas line into our island during the remodel in case I didn't like the induction unit, or felt that I needed a gas burner as well, but I don't think I'll be needing gas anymore.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lagoon_lisa
                  a
                  arangman Jan 15, 2008 10:55 PM

                  Lagoon lisa,
                  I am purchasing the same cook top you have, we get it in Australia. You mentioned Le Creuset working well with it. Does it brown the onions without slight sticking. I have a large LC fry pan which I haven't used since I got Scan Pan. SP doesn't work on the induction stove, so I am back to drawing board as to what to buy for frying and stewing meats. Or perhaps I'll just get a good electric one again. Please let me know your thoughts.
                  Wallaby

                2. MikeG Jan 8, 2007 04:44 PM

                  Again, sort of, and, it depends. Ovens and ranges always have their own, individual, circuitry, and are much too high current to safely, let alone legally, run to to "regular" outlets. Every house in the US "has" 220V capability - that's the voltage of power coming into the main board. But mostly for historical reasons, 220V circuits have typically been used for special purpose circuitry only.

                  1. MikeG Jan 8, 2007 04:30 PM

                    "the 110/220 is not athe determining factor in power - voltage x amperage = wattage. A 110v unit will draw twice as much amperage as a 220 volt one but give the same heating output."

                    Sort of. Theory smacks into reality, though, and there are a lot of real-world factors that impact this, too. 110V appliances take much longer to come up to full heat and produce greater voltage drop in the wiring, which translates to reduced power to the appliance and usually, greater strain on the appliance as well.

                    220V heating and motor appliances pretty much "always" perform better than their 110V counterparts. Whether the added performance is worth rewiring if necessary, is a separate issue of course.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MikeG
                      b
                      Buckethead Jan 8, 2007 04:39 PM

                      Unless I'm mistaken (as I often am), most big electric appliances like cooktops run on 220V, so if the kitchen currently has a conventional electric range in it, it may already be wired for 220V.

                      1. re: MikeG
                        Scrapironchef Jan 10, 2007 05:29 PM

                        Reality is that induction cooktops don't "come up to heat". They are either on or off, the pan heats up. The wattage induced in the magnetic field is what is being delivered.

                        Yes, 220 is more efficient at transporting power than 110, due to the lower amperage required to deliver the same amount of power. But at the levels we're talking about (15-20 amps home circuits, short runs) the effect is negligible. Heavier loads like ranges/ovens/dryers make it cost effective from a wiring standpoint.

                        Voltage drop is not caused by a device plugged into a circuit, it is a function of the length and resistance of the wire carrying the current. It would be the same drop per length of wire whether you started at 220v or 110v.

                      2. amkirkland Jan 6, 2007 01:10 AM

                        I recently saw an induction top in my asian grocer that was an individual burner, like a buffet warmer. Anyone have any experience with these?

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: amkirkland
                          ChowFun_derek Jan 6, 2007 06:35 AM

                          They only run on 110 current and not 220, so aren't very powerful...I returned mine....

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek
                            Scrapironchef Jan 8, 2007 04:55 AM

                            I have a 1200 watt unit I like very much, the 110/220 is not athe determining factor in power - voltage x amperage = wattage. A 110v unit will draw twice as much amperage as a 220 volt one but give the same heating output.

                            I've used an 1800 watt one in a professional kitchen and own a 1200 watt one at home. The home unit is very capable.

                            1. re: Scrapironchef
                              ChowFun_derek Jan 8, 2007 03:54 PM

                              I returned mine to Sur La Table...my ordinary GE Gas stove boiled water faster....

                              1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                Scrapironchef Jan 10, 2007 05:18 PM

                                But that's an apple to oranges comparison, gas burners are all over the map as far as capacity.

                                My Bodum electric kettle boils water fast.

                                1. re: Scrapironchef
                                  ChowFun_derek Jan 10, 2007 06:17 PM

                                  That is why I specified that I had the ordinary GE gas stove...the "Landlords Standard"
                                  I put up a pot of water that I would normally cook for pasta...measured it and times it.on the stove,..I did exactly the same with the little induction 'burner'..and it boiled faster on the stove...this induction did not have enough power...
                                  Bodum heats up to 57 oz. of water only...not the 4 quarts I used for my test..

                                  1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                    Scrapironchef Jan 10, 2007 06:43 PM

                                    So it came as a surprise to you that the bigger burner heats up water faster?

                                    My original reply was in regards to the voltage not making as much difference as the rated wattage. If you had purchased a cooktop with a wattage rating equivalent to the BTU's the gas stove could put out it wouldn't matter if it was 110 or 220.

                                    1. re: Scrapironchef
                                      ChowFun_derek Jan 10, 2007 07:43 PM

                                      Who said it was BIGGER? It was physically similar sized...I used the same pot with the same amount of water....The Induction sites always promote the speed of cooking and the power of their units for a kitchen...all I am stating was that this portable unit did not meet those parameters...nor did any of the portable units I researched...
                                      and what does this have to do with your Bodum?

                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                        Scrapironchef Jan 10, 2007 08:08 PM

                                        Bigger as in heating capacity - Gas burners are usually higher BTU rates, physical size may not indicate heating capacity.

                                        1. re: Scrapironchef
                                          ChowFun_derek Jan 11, 2007 05:26 AM

                                          That is the point!!!
                                          Although Induction stoves have been hyped as very powerful, with high BTU rates, the portable one does not even reach the BTU capacity of an ordinary stove, which is why it was returned.
                                          I really don't think this is such a difficult concept to get....if you are saying that you have found a 110v portable Induction burner with more btu's than the one I found, do let us know..if not then you are just restating the obvious..

                                          1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                            Scrapironchef Jan 11, 2007 04:02 PM

                                            The portable one _you_ bought was not what you wanted, there are others that might have met your needs. Your original statement -"They only run on 110 current and not 220, so aren't very powerful...I returned mine...." implies that they are all the same. They're not - that's a simple concept I get.

                                            Too determine what size burner would match you gas stove - Btu/hour=Watts x 3.413.

                                            1. re: Scrapironchef
                                              ChowFun_derek Jan 11, 2007 04:29 PM

                                              You seem SO knowledgable...do you know of a 110 volt portable induction heater with more btu's than a standard gas burner?

                                              1. re: ChowFun_derek
                                                Scrapironchef Jan 11, 2007 07:01 PM

                                                How many btus/hour are the gas burner?

                                                I don't know everything, just the ancient art of Google-fu.

                        2. o
                          opuspa Jan 5, 2007 05:13 PM

                          There are more products available now than last year. Check out:
                          WindCrest (www.windcrestcnp.com
                          )Diva (www.divainduction.com
                          )Viking (www.vikingrange.com
                          )Thermador (www.thermador.com
                          )If you can wait until Fall 2007, Miele hints their induction cooktop will be released by that time.

                          1. b
                            Buckethead Jan 5, 2007 04:33 PM

                            Your options are kind of limited in the US, unless you want to import it yourself. Sears has a nice 4-element model on sale right now for about $1500, it is made for them by Electrolux. If you haven't already, visit http://theinductionsite.com , they have tons of information on how induction works, and specifications on the various units that are available in the US, and they sell some of them too.

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