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Mar 8, 2008 02:14 PM

induction cooktops - do I convert?

redoing the kitchen, out comes 1980. right now there is an electric range, but there is gas in our road that we could tap into. maybe it's nerdy, but I love the idea of induction, the efficency, the clean surface, the speed I wrong to want this?
what happens when we want to do completely ordinary things like pancakes, which we now cook on a large griddle that goes over 2 burners - can we do that on induction, if the griddle is iron/ magnetic? will i have any issues using my griswold iron skillets, which I rely on daily?
thank you all, for any advice you can offer.

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  1. If you want a sleek look then induction probably looks nice, but if you want the best environment to cook - the old fashion way (gas) is best. From what I understand is that induction is more prone to having to be serviced.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cacruden

      From what do you understand that? We're pondering kitchen appliances, too so I'd love to know. Thanks.

      1. re: ccbweb

        I have to make a correction (of sorts). I believe my source was Consumer Reports, and I went back to check (more than a year since last I read). It basically says that the reliability is not proven - not that it is a problem. I had read about it a while ago, but I did not want unproven technology and I believe I might have remembered it as being unreliable.

        I moved from electric to gas 10 years ago - and I would never want to go back to electric. Induction sounds interesting, but has several drawbacks for me - including the surface is flat and I prefer cooking on the surface using a wok. Induction will limit the selection of pots that you may use on the stove to those that cast iron or enameled steel. Aluminum and copper cannot be used. To test if a pot will work on it - put a magnet to the pot and see if it sticks.

        1. re: cacruden

          All-Clad stainless steel and various other stainless steel cookware will work with induction ranges in addition to cast iron or enameled steel.

          To the OP's question about using a two burner griddle; from what I've read about induction ranges, they're quite flexible in terms of which pieces you can turn on and off and, in fact, many have settings for just such a griddle or two burner use. I think they're certainly worth looking into.

    2. I have experimented with an induction "burner", so I can't generalize my cooking results to a real cooktop. At 120 volts, the unit simply wasn't sufficiently powerful to be worth keeping. However, my cookware experiences were instructive, and very surprising.

      In short, the magnet test isn't reliable. Some pots that held a magnet strongly did not heat. Other ferrous pots heated very well. Some pots that did not hold a magnet got hot anyway. All in all, very confusing and beyond my understanding of the physics at work.

      The only pan that cooked more quickly than our residential level gas stove was a crappy, thin steel pot provided with the burner and obviously engineered to show it off. While I would never have considered cooking in this, it did heat and cool almost instantly. As such, it would probably have provided better cooking performance with induction than it would have on gas burners or electric elements.

      I CAN confirm that induction requires a very flat, solid bottom to work with any degree of efficiency.

      2 Replies
      1. re: embee

        It might heat quicker than gas -- but given a gas unit with substantial BTU - I doubt that it would differ by much. Cooling it cannot be better than gas (only equal) -- off -- gives off no heat on gas (as opposed to electric where the burner continues providing heat). Consumers Reports does mention one experience which limits the ability to turn all the burners on high -- but I would never find that a problem (I only have all burners on high when creating massive amounts of stock - maybe a couple of times in my lifetime at most).

        I went with Wolf recently, but I would seriously consider the Bluestar the next time (based on reviews on this board). The only electric gadget on the stove is a light indicating that the oven is heated -- which based on my experience with my parents electric stove -- is fantastic. I remember them having repair people coming in for elements in the oven, for the built in thermometer - just more hassle than it is worth (and I have lots of electronic gadgets - no matter where you are in my place there is one electrical gadget within 2 meters of you.... I am not kidding :p)

        1. re: cacruden

          I beg to differ, an induction hob can be off faster than a gas stove. There are tons of metal parts all around the burner on a gas stove, these retain heat and continue to transfer heat into the pan even though the burner is off. You wouldn't touch the burner just after you turned it off would you? This may be a minimal amount of heat, but it is heat nevertheless. On an induction hob, the second it goes off the only heat retained is what is in the pan.

          The difference is probably minute, but if you were making a hollandaise or a bearnaise, it might be enough to make a difference.

      2. I've have both high BTU gas and induction ranges. Induction is much faster to heat, more responsive (temperature changes are almost instantaneous) and induction does a better job with very low heat. I've had used gas for years but now much prefer induction. No problems using my cast iron skillets. Can't speak to the griddle issue but it should work.

        1. I was gifted with an induction range at the holidays. I loved my gas range at the custom-built house I previously owned. Coming off replacing an older, electric coil burner stove that never cooked well at this house, I have to say I love the flat-top for responsive cooking temperatures. I quickly learned to cook only on medium to high for a short period (I've never needed to turn it on to high) followed by medium to medium-low to finish the dishes. I keep it spotless, never let pots boil over, and don't use it as a trivet. I polished up my older stainless cookware and bought some new pieces of tri-ply and non-stick pieces. All have worked well on the stove. I did read extensively comments others left on the web even though it was after the fact. This gave me some sense of what (if any) problems, I might encounter. I also watch for the hot surface light and polish/clean up if needed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Judi0044

            I just don't like induction burners at all. For some reason I feel much more in control of either gas or good, ol' fashioned electric burners. Not sure why I wasn't getting good performance from the induction. I don't know if it was this particular make(Kenmore), or induction in general.

            1. re: Judi0044

              What type of range do you have?

            2. Last year I built a new home and did a lot of research on this. I found that the only negetive comments on inductive stoves came from people who never used one or were so attached to their pots that they can't justify converting. After having used it now I can say that I can't believe that everyone is not using one. I love to impress visitors with the amazing speed it boils liquids and then pick up the pot, throw down a paper towel, replace the pot and continue boiling. My Kitchen Aid copper/aluminum imbedded stainless pots still look like new on the bottom (never got that off an electric or gas burners). But I was wondering if you or anyone ever tried a 2 burner griddle? These stoves are smart and analyze the pot size so before grabbing one I'd like to make sure the burner will come on that way.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Texnician

                I know this is about a year after your comment but we recently got an induction cooktop at my house and we have a griddle that will go over two burners and works fine. It does get hot spots where the burners are but it certainly works. Im still getting used to adjusting cooking times and temperatures. Our old electric cooktop would do nothing on high and boil on warm so its all kinds of awesomeness to have a reliable cooktop.