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Induction burners

I have gas stove with small burners and it doesn't heat my pans to the edge. I also have a Lodge cast iron wok that I really like (though it weighs about 12 lbs). My burners don't keep the wok up to temperture and I don't think my stir fries are as good as the could be if I could keep the heat better. All my cook ware is cast iron or enameled cast iron so I know it would work on an induction burners

I have been thinking about an freestanding induction burner but I have some questions to see if it would solve some cooking problems.

1. Is there enough power to keep a wok up to 350-400 degrees (or recover quickly) when the food is put in?

2. Does it keep a pan at constant temperture once you have it set? For example if you were to set it at 250 degrees would it stay at that tempture or would it keep increasing like gas?

3. Will it heat a 12" skillet all the way to the outside?

4. My wife is blind, would it be easy to use? Do you know of any models that would be any easier to use than others? My wife would prefer something with knobs but I understand that digital controls would be probably something we would have to settle for? Are there any brands that talk to you? We can label things in Braille and have glue on dots that we use so she can use the oven and the toaster oven. Would an induction burner be easier and safer for a blind person? My wife can't control the gas that well so she tends towards the toaster oven or the slowcooker when she cooks. She uses the gas burners for for heating water for tea or for heating the Indian Food boil in the bag entrees where all you have to do is turn it on high. Would this give her more control over the heat?

5. Is there a brick and mortar store that would carry them? I live in the Ann Arbor area so I have access to most major chain stores. I would like to see them in person.

6. How good are they at heating a pot of water? My gas burners are so slow when I want pasta or cook corn.

I am wondering if an induction burner would be worth it and make a difference in my kitchen. My wife's leader dog thinks I am a great chef with what we have.

I have enjoyed the discourse and have learned a lot from the various threads. I appreciate having a place to ask questions and having all this experience and knowledge to draw from.

Thanks,

Charlie

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  1. My brother just redid his kitchen, and installed an induction cooktop. It can bring a big pot of water up to a boil in 3 minutes. I'm jealous (although I would have to re-figure all my pasta recipes where I start with putting a pot of water on to boil)!

    10 Replies
    1. re: firecooked

      "It can bring a big pot of water up to a boil in 3 minutes."

      Perhaps you're exaggerating just a wee bit?

      http://www.applianceadvisor.com/our%2...
      .
      .

      1. re: Joe Blowe

        My 1300 w unit took 13 minutes to make the 90 F change for 1 gallon of water. Considering that the other induction burners on that list are in the 3kw range, I am satisified.

        paulj

        1. re: paulj

          Paulj, I noticed your post Aug 4, 2007 concerning the 1300 induction burner unit. I found a Tatung I believe is the name which is the same wattage wise. I had the Viking and it did not work at all on a nondedicated line in my kitchen. Just plain stopped working after one time. I can not rewire this area. Do you use your induction burner at a regular outlet? I read your review somewhere else and it mentioned another named product but I forgot the name. Please give me some help. I would like one that I could at least use a 10 inch skillet on without worrying about the center being the only heating area of the pan. I think you said 6 inches is the only amount of heating area that the unit produces. In other words a 12 inch skillet would just not be okey to use at all. Appreciate your help. Just an add on note. Found your note below. You are using a Tatung. Are you happy with it. I read where Fagor and others are just not good at all. Anyhow it seems you can use this at any outlet in a home. Are you happy with it?

          1. re: Tinker

            Mine has rounded surfaces, and a 9" circular cooking surface, with a slight rim. That is big enough to hold a 10" Lodge skillet, but nothing larger. I don't know if Tatung still sells this or not. The Tatung that 99Ranch now sells is 1500w, and has the square cooking surface common to other brands. I have, though seen a GE model at Walmart that is identical to mine, except for the labeling on the controls.

            I have removed a couple of burners from my old electric stove, and keep the induction burner permanently on an half sheet pan in their place. As a result I end up using it as often as the remaining conventional burners.

            It works fine on a regular 110v 20 amp circuit. In fact I can use it and the microwave at the same time. At 1300w it isn't the fastest, but still better than the conventional burner, especially when heating a quart of water or less.

            My favorite pans are ones that I found at TJMaxx - a couple of induction-ready stainless steel sauce pans, and a couple of cast aluminum, nonstick pans, with steel dots embedded in the base. The case aluminum heats quickly and evenly, so the limited size of the induction coil is not a problem.

            I also use cheap enamel steel (blue speckled camp gear) pans, especially a small one for coffee water. A carbon steel pan also works, but the burner sometimes shuts itself off with this (with an error code), probably because pan was getting too hot.

            One draw back to this inexpensive burner is that it shuts itself off (with a beep) if the pan is removed. I guess they all do that, but this does not turn back on when the pan is placed back on. That means I can't use it for crepes, since I can't pick the pan up to distribute the batter. And can't pick the pan up to toss the food.

            1. re: paulj

              Newegg carries it for $90 and is square, 1500 watts. I am going to see about the GE model at Walmarts. Not in a rush but looking for the best deal for the dollar and I am not in the over $150 anymore price range. I have got to be reasonable with this purchase. I have the induction pans. Anyhow, I do not like the induction unit that shuts off and you can not turn it back on in a reasonable length of time. Are you saying your shuts off and you have to wait for a period of time to turn it back on such as half an hour or something. Or does it shut off and you have to reset all back and burner has to pull back up heat wise?. I bought a refurbished Viking for 2/3 cost of a new one and I was lucky I got a refund. Once they cut off they stay off but due to my outlet I had to use and it was only applliance on it at that. I think it blew something internal in the Viking. How is the quality of the unit itself? For this price I doubt it is stainless steel and more plastic? Appreciate your fast response you gave and the information.

              1. re: Tinker

                You can turn it back on right away. Apparently some of the more expensive units remember your settings, and turn the coil back on if you put the pan back in place with a matter of seconds.

                I think the nature of the cooking surface is more important than the over all case. Mine claims to have some sort of high temperature ceramic. Others may use some sort of tempered glass. I think all that matters about the rest of the body is that it does not allow spills to get into the controls or electronics.

                The Newegg price of $89 is a good deal; though it wouldn't hurt to read all the reviews. The Walmart GE is $59. I'd choose the more expensive one, unless I really needed to save the $30. The controls on the 1500w one are simpler (just power levels), which is fine. The 1300w unit has some presettings (boil, simmer, stirfry, etc) that don't work that well; I normally just use the power levels.

              2. re: paulj

                Just got an induction yesterday, Paul!!!j. My papers said not to operate on steel. I just read where yours is operating on a half sheet pan. Of course maybe not the same type metal as they are stressing. Anyhow, I found one finally at Sears for $75 off and on top of it all it came with an 12 inch Kenmore non-stick skillet that weighs a ton naturally. I also ended up with a $20 gift certificate but would have rather had cash off naturally but no way. It was on sale for $60 off, than a 10percent off entire cost if use Sears charge, a $20 gift certificate if spend over $100. It is 1500 watts and works great so far. We finally started throwing the breakers too, Paulj, and found a line between stove and wall phone that has no other outlet on that line but the one and only that I can use it on so I call that dedicated I guess. It is of course 120v. The one I used before runs by the micro, toaster oven and I even think disposal probably works on it. The end of counter side outlet is the one that threw the refurbished Viking out of whack. Warranty is 5 years if we can believe this(did not find that until I got home) but I picked up the 3 year warranty for $15 where you just carry it in and no mailing deal or taking to a repair shop if I am correct. There went my 10 percent but worth it. I just hope they do not stop carrying them. Probably a Electrolux or Frigidaire made unit with their name on it. We will see. I am so happy to finally have one. Keep your fingers crossed. It is a little more than I wanted to spend. Liked the $69 deal on your make Max Burton but did you read those reviews? You were certainly fortunate to get one in good shape and works super of course. I hope I will have the same luck as you have. Just happened to have to go in Sears and there it was. I was still searching on computer you know.

                1. re: Tinker

                  I hadn't thought about possible problems with setting the burner on steel. Energy from the coil might reach the steel and produce heating. My sheet pan is aluminum (the usual restaurant style).

                  20 amps, 120v should be enough for 2400W. With 1300w for mine, that leaves 900w for other use. My microwave is old enough that it might fit that criteria. Some things take more power when the start up, or cycle on/off. Two 1500w units would be too much.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Thanks, I appreciate the input on the wattage. I never knew what caused the Viking 1800 watt to go. Micro was probably operated during the cooking period of the induction unit. It was just a Sears medium priced one at that and not built in and low wattage when I researched it. Could have been power interruption also. They never sent me a message as to what occurred but did not have a second one. If it had been repaired then same thing could have happened again when I used it. I can tell you I was relieved to get a refund on the item as I had only had it a couple days when this occurred, I shipped it back the immediately the next day.

                    I figured your sheet was most likely aluminum. My half sheet is aluminum as it is a Wearever. I ordered it a long time ago from Amazon and many people still search for this type I noticed as it is the heavy one that is some times hard to find. Possibly safer than stainless steel do you think for a rack under the induction. I am using a heavy wooden board right now on my stove top for it to sit on. I had rather use the aluminum half sheet to be honest.

                    Notice person looking for one of these back in 2007 wanted to know if a 12 inch pan will work. I was surprised this one is a 12 inch one that came with the induction unit. I thought only up to about 9 or 10 inches worked. I will check it out later as I have a 12 inch fry pan already and rather keep this one wrapped in the cardboard it came in until I am sure this induction unit is going to be satisfactory. The one that came with it is the type that has the large metal disk on the bottom.

          2. re: Joe Blowe

            Not too much... My guess is that it was closer to a 1/2 gallon than 1 gallon, and its Arizona, so we are probably starting at 80F, not 65F. And we defined a boil when we started to see bubbles (so technically more of a simmer).. my guess is that are are looking at just over a 100F rise on half the amount.. this would be in line with reference material.

        2. 1. A wok may not work very well on induction due to its shape. A wok is designed to be used over a big flame with heat being applied to the sides as well as the flat bottom. On an induction burner, only the flat bottom will be heated.

          3. Not sure what you mean exactly. It will only heat the part of the pan that's directly over the burner, just like a regular electric burner but much more efficiently. But of course, if your skillet has an aluminum or copper disc base, that will help spread the heat around.

          6. Induction is very efficient and doesn't waste much heat, since the magnetic field actually causes the pan to generate the heat. That means that if you're putting the same amount of thermal energy into an induction burner as you'd put into another type of burner, the induction element will heat faster because less heat is wasted heating the air around the burner. Of course, comparing the electrical energy used by a countertop induction burner and the energy contained in the gas being burned by a gas element is beyond my abilities, but I've read that induction is around 85% efficient vs. under 50% for gas and conventional electric.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Buckethead

            According to Chow's gear review, aluminum and copper typically don't work with induction.

            http://www.chow.com/stories/10440

            "Stainless steel pots and pans, as well as cast iron and enameled iron cookware, all work on an induction stovetop because they’re magnetic. What won’t work, generally, are aluminum, copper, and definitely not glass, including Pyrex. For a quick compatibility test, try sticking a magnet to your cookware. If it sticks, that cookware should work; if it doesn’t, the piece probably won’t. But don’t worry, nothing will explode if you put an incompatible pot on an induction cooktop—it just won’t heat."

            1. re: MilliVanilli

              That's true, what I was referring to was a copper or aluminum disc *base*, sandwiched between two layers of magnetic stainless steel. A clad stainless pan with a copper or aluminum core would serve the same purpose.

              Actually the Chow article is in error, not all stainless steel cookware will work on induction. I have a Wolfgang Puck bistro collection pan that is stainless yet not magnetic, I guess it has to do with the specific formulation of the stainless steel. I think some All-Clad stainless doesn't work on induction either. The magnet test will tell.

              1. re: Buckethead

                I have a Tatung one that I bought at 99Ranch for under $100. Its power consumption is 1300 W. So it can be plugged into any outlet, but it has no where near the heating power of a commercial burner.

                While the surface is 9+" in diameter, the induction coil is only 6". It will work with a steel or iron pan in this size range. It seems most efficient a heating water in a 6" pan. With a larger pan, such as a cast iron skillet, you can see the size of the heat ring.

                This unit has some sort of sensor circuit that keeps it from operating without a pan, or with an incompatible one. If you take the pan off the burner, it turns itself off (with a warning beap). It refuses to work with a stainsless pan with aluminum disk bottom.

                It has a number of power settings, but the lower ones operate like a microwave - cycling on and off. Some of the controls are marked with a temperature, but there is not evidence of it having a temperature sensor.

                WIth a cooling fan for the electronics, it is on the noisy side. Still I've used it some at the table as a hot pot heater. Mostly though, I use it to boil water on warm days when I don't want to heat up the kitchen any more than necessary.

                paulj

                1. re: paulj

                  Thanks for all the helpful answers.

                  I measured my gas burners, they are all 2 one half inches in diameter and when turned on high not more that 4 inches in diameter so I am not getting the efficency I need. It sounds like efficency of the induction burner would be an improvement to the gas. So even if the induction coil is just six inches it would be a big improvement over my 4 inch gas.

            2. re: Buckethead

              1. With the size of my gas burner (2 1/2 inches ring size, 4 inches turned on high) I am not getting the wok heated on the sides with the gas. The so I would probably get better results with the efficiency and I would at least heat to edge of the flat bottom which is not happening now. Since my wok is cast iron it should store heat pretty well.

              3. I see what you are saying , the diameter of the coil will determine how much of the pan it will heat directly (like paulj said below). I have a cast iron enameled skillet so it should spread the heat around.

              6. So the efficiency will make it perform better plus I will get a larger coverage area as compared to my gas burners.

              1. re: Buckethead

                I once saw a cooking show years ago with an Asian chef who had a wok-shaped, freestanding, induction burner. The wok fit perfectly. Has anyone seen these?

                  1. re: RGC1982

                    Yes, I have.... it's cooking guru Ken Hom... and the heat output seemed to be very high... high enough possibly to impart a flavour (not US spelling) of ' wok hei ' that's so characteristic of Chinese restaurants as to their stir-fried dishes....such very high temperatures, however, unlikely to be replicated in the ordinary domestic stove-top in my experience.

                1. After rereading your questions I'll add a few more thoughts.

                  First, the one I have is a relatively inexpensive one, and was probably designed for the Chinese home market. The power draw is not high. It has a lot of safety features that prevent its misuse. The controls are labelled for Chinese cooking: porridge (power level 2), hot pot(3), stir fry(6 - max power), etc. It also has a timer, and default times for the various cooking functions. And it beeps a lot.

                  The buttons are membrane covered bubbles, so it is relatively spill proof and easy to clean. You might indeed be able to mark them with dots. It might be one of the safest stoves for a blind person. Only the bottom of the pan heats up. When I boil water for a mug of coffee, the rim of the 1 qt sauce pan remains cool to the touch.

                  For a mug of water it is much faster than my electric range. I don't think I've done a time test on a gallon of water. I don't think the advantage will be as great with that quantity.

                  It comes with a stainless steel pan, with rounded sides, 7" diameter flat bottom, glass lid. It is kind of thin, though the base has an extra layer. It is best for the hot pot use,

                  I don't know if it would work well for stir frying with your cast iron wok. It may be a bit low on power. For that a commercial grade unit would be better.

                  paulj

                  p.s. It took 15 minutes to boil 6 cups of water. Not very fast, but remember it is only a 1300 W unit.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: paulj

                    All this information helps, after considering all the post it does seem like it would be worth pursuing. I found a web site http://theinductionsite.com/ that has a lot of information. I found out they even make a wok induction burner. I may just get one like you have to play and understand (and to have for camping and potlucks) and save up for a comercial one if I really like it. Again, thanks for the information

                    1. re: cookingwithcharlie

                      Through 'theinductionsite' I found this Tataug link. The power level of this 1300w unit is quite a bit less than the ones that Induction Site carries. Still, as you say, it could be worth it as a way of testing the water.

                      http://www.tatungusa.com/tatungusa/pr...

                      1. re: paulj

                        Thanks for the website. Do you have any suggestion on stores that might carry them? I would like see one physically. I live in the Ann Arbor area. I really like the cooktec but that would require me to save a while. For now the 1.3 kw one would be doable.

                        1. re: cookingwithcharlie

                          i live in ann arbor as well. have you found a good place to see induction cooktops? am interested in a rangetop with combo gas and induction.

                  2. I bought an induction cooktop. An Asian grocery store had them. I settled on a brand called "Myland" it has 1.5 kw and was $88. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles. It has a simple timer with 10 min increment to 2 hrs. It has a Hot pot/steam setting and a fry/ stirfry setting with 6 setting for temp (from 70degrees C to 220 C)(I will have to convert to F). They also had the Sunpentown 1881 for $129 (I checked around on the web and the prices were around $179) so the these prices were very good. I chose the Myland simply on power (1.5 kw vs 1.2 kw) and the price ($40 cheaper).

                    I boilded some eggs and heated up some pulled pork. It seemed to do a good job. The pot heated very quickly. I will have to work at it some to figure out my temp. The manual has just basic info to keep from killing or maiming your self and not a lot of cooking tips or info. I have something to play with and I will see how I like it. We are going to a music festival later in the week and I plan to take it with see how we do with hot dogs and simple food.

                    I will do the gallon water boil test (I have an infared thermometer which I use a lot so I know what temp I started at and what I ended at) on the induction burner and my gas burner to which one is the winner. If I get home from work at a decent time, I plan to fire up the wok (which is one of the main reason I got it) and see what kind of results I get.

                    Thanks again for the information.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: cookingwithcharlie

                      Keep us posted on this Myland. I have had a couple recommending I buy a Max Burton 6000 but I can not find one local and they seem to arrive broken from Amazon. C I recommends the MB highly. People using them recommend them highly where I searching for answers. Sunpentown has had problems with theirs. What is the wattage of the Myland? I need to know from any of you whether the Max Burton 6000 is better or the Tatung quality of materials wise also. I think PaulJ has one of the above and would certainly appreciate recommendations from anyone.

                      1. re: Tinker

                        I have Max Burton 6000. I purchased it based on CI review. It works fine when I use cookware with a "smaller" base. Judging by the water bubbles, the induction coil is no more than 5" in diameter (I'd say, 4.5"). That creates a problem when using larger cookware (>8"). I tested it using All Clad SS and Demeyere Proline. (According to folks on this and some other web-sites, it does not get better than Demeyere when it comes to unduction cookware). While I was able to make it work OK with my Demeyere pan, the edges never got really hot.

                        Is there such thing as portable induction with a larger coil? I believe I have searched "high and low" but still couldn't find one.

                        Please let me know if you know of any!!!

                        I really want to keep the pan...

                        Thanks in advance.

                        1. re: eleena

                          I expect that would be cheaper (and easier) to find an induction ready cast aluminum pan, that has good heat distribution regardless of the induction coil size.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Paul, could you please name a few? I have never heard of induction compatible aluminum.

                            1. re: eleena

                              I mention them back in an Aug 3 post (4th from the top). The 2 I have are Berndez (German company) and Red Rose (English). They embed some steel dots in the base to generate the heat.

                              1. re: paulj

                                Thank you!

                                I typed and posted my other mesage beffore seeing your reply, sorry.

                                I have just gotten off the phone with Berndes.

                                They said their induction comaptible cast aluminum line Coquere has a non-stick coating and a stainless base with embedded aluminum "dots".

                                Is it better than a multi-ply cookware that has aluminum layer(s) sandwiched between stainless steel?

                                1. re: eleena

                                  I was assuming the dots were steel, but didn't look closely or test anything. But looking more carefully at the color, and testing with a magnet confirms that most of the base is steel. The dots may just help bond the two materials, and give better heat transfer on conventional surfaces.

                                  A thicker aluminum layer gives better conduction of heat from the heated area to the edges of the pan. The rim and the base of the handle on the aluminum pans gets noticeably hotter than on my stainless steel pots.

                              2. re: eleena

                                A couple of brands of induction-capable aluminum cookware that you might want to check out are Swiss Diamond (they have a new induction series), Infinite Circulon, Hackman, and Archetun. (I have pans from all of these makers except for Hackman, and they all heat up very nicely out to the edges on my induction cooktop.)

                              3. re: paulj

                                OK, I did some Google search and found Fagor cast aluminum skillets but the reviews were not very favorable. Plus, I am not a fan of cast aluminum.

                                And I have just spent $$$ on cookware!

                                I think I had read EVERY post and review of induction cookware I could find plus talked to several online store owners before purchasing Demeyere. Isn't it supposed to have really good conductivity?

                                All-Clad SS was worse. it simply burnt food where the coil was - and I only used low-medium setting.

                                But everyone else seems happy with AC for inudction. I am guessing that built-in units have different (wider?) coils or more than one coil. Any thoughts?

                                1. re: eleena

                                  This is very odd behaviour for All-Clad SS on induction; I have used mine on various units (cooktops, portable) and it's been consistent regardless of unit.

                                  Demeyere is pretty nice stuff though.

                                  1. re: wattacetti

                                    Wattacetti,

                                    Was your AC SS 3-ply?

                                    And, more importantly, which portable units did you use???

                                    I agree - it was not what I had expected from AC. Not in my wildest dreams I thought I'd pay the price of Demeyere cookware. But it is so hot now that I am determined to use induction - portable (for now) or not (after the kitchen remodel, hopefully).

                                    1. re: eleena

                                      Confirmed: All-Clad stainless steel, 3-ply.

                                      Portable units: Viking, Vollrath, Mr. Induction, Supentown, Tatung.

                        2. My Emeril's by All Clad is not magnetic, but my ss pans from Ikea are.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: junescook

                            So far I have not had any burning with All Clad. I do no set the induction too high heat wise. I am just in the testing the induction unit itself phase so far. There are a few All-Clad SS that will not work. Seems like the wok does not work well because of the shape??. I am not for certain it is even magnetic. Has anyone tried the All -Clad wok? My smallest sauce pan works perfect. It is 5 inches across the bottom. I understand that is the smallest size you are allowed to use base inches wise. I have a smaller AC for melting chocolate and butter but will not use it because of the 5 inch requirement.