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Induction cooktop

Getting ready to finally do the remodel. Had been leaning toward high end gas cooktop like Wolf. Friend is urging that I consider induction instead . . . more efficient / easier to control / less polluting / less heat generating. Totally aware of the need for iron based cookware - but already use LeCreuset and cast iron . . . Would love to hear from those who use induction.

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  1. maggilyn, what is it that you want to hear?

    Induction is the best way to heat food outside of an oven. Your friend is right. Your friend omitted to mention (or you failed to relay) another advantage: spills and overflows from a pot can be wiped up immediately from the merely warm cooktop surface and do not burn onto the surface.

    There are major differences among induction cooktops; the maximum wattage of the largest burner is one of the least significant; the depth of the cooktop below the cooking surface is one of the most important. All induction cooktops have cooling fans, and where those fans vent into the kitchen may affect your architecture: most vent into the cabinet below the cooktop, but some vent above the cooktop surface.

    If possible, locate your oven somewhere other than directly below the induction cooktop to reduce the amount of heat migrating upward into the electronics.

    1. A friend whose name may not be mentioned here recently installed the Wolf induction cooktop in his kitchen and bought a set of Demeyere Atlantis cookware. The combination apparently rocks. Water boils in seconds.

      Me, I'm a Luddite. Thog want fire. But the notion of being able to cook a pot of pasta in the summertime without having to crank up the a/c certainly has its appeal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        "Thog want fire."

        LOL. Me too. Every time I hear about induction ranges, I feel faintly skeptical, even though everything I've heard sounds great. I like me a nice fire in the kitchen.

        Plus, during a thunderstorm last night, we lost power. With our gas stove, we were still able to make a hot dinner (just lit it with matches, instead of with the internal lighter). But I don't suppose people buy their ranges for that one night every ten years when the power is out...

        1. re: Indirect Heat

          Well, I've got an outdoor propane stove, a side burner on the gas grill, and a couple of white gas camping stoves, so going without hot food isn't the issue. Despite my initial reaction, the more I learn about induction, the interesteder I get.

      2. There was a thread about the advantages of induction here last week. You might want to check it out if you haven't read it yet.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/680049

        1. I have the big, five burner, frameless Wolf Induction cooktop. I decided on it because I wanted it flush to my work surfaces, ie, the countertop. I didn't want buttons or gizmos sticking up. This ruled out most units.
          I got more than I realized. Yes, you can read all about induction all over the place. It is great and is cool and virtually noiseless. Boiling water or frying makes much more noise. I don't notice the sounds much at all.
          What I got was counterspace. I can lay anything, anywhere on the cooktop, except for over the controls. I end up plating food on it. When you turn it off it's like having extra countertop! Lay stuff anywhere!
          I recommend the Wolf. It works beautifully and simply. It has a 3K and 4K (watt) power burners. I think this is one of the two most powerful out there and I do not care for the Viking knobs or frame; you may.
          Some say "it's not gas". That's so true. The advantage of lifting, swirling, etc. while you still have heat underneath is the only advantage I see so far. The Wolf will stay on for 30 seconds while you play with your pan, remove food or add things. While you are doing that it is not giving off heat and when you put the pan back down the heat is immediate, just like gas.
          I can get a rolling boil of two cups of (room temp), water in 80 seconds if I use max power. Much faster than our powerful microwave oven! A nice option is I can then move the water to a smaller, lower powered burner and it is heating again instantly.
          If you can lay out the bucks I don't think anyone would be disappointed. Some add one or two gas burners off to the side. I doubt that I will do that just to satisfy the wok. They also have metal plates that you can sit your non-magnetic cookware on, if you must. That would create a hot object that you would possibly have to deal with.

          4 Replies
          1. re: All Dente

            All Dente: "I recommend the Wolf."

            At nearly $4,000, the Wolf is beyond the reach of much of the hoi polloi, but, aside from the price, it requires a 50 amp electrical feed, doesn't it? Not many homes have 50 amp electrical service.

            1. re: Politeness

              The 5 element Wolf is certainly a nice cooktop but pretty pricey. If you like the brand and can afford it, go ahead but Fagor, Diva are two others that can be considered.

              And if they're doing a kitchen reno anyway, the 50 Amp line can be put in.

              1. re: wattacetti

                watacetti: "If you like the brand and can afford it, go ahead but Fagor, Diva are two others that can be considered."

                Or an LG 30845 for much less than one-half the price of the 5 element Wolf.

                1. re: Politeness

                  True, though you're looking at something other than that LG if 5 elements are required.

          2. I have a Miele 4 element and love it. I have not been able to find any faults during my first 4 months of use. There's a learning curve definitely. I knew it heats up much faster than anything else, but I didn't expect it to be that fast!

            Other than boiling water, I don't need to use power boost at all.

            Do I miss using gas? Not at all.

            - Happy induction user with 3-ply All Clad stainless steel, deBuyer carbon steel, Staub, and Lodge.

            1. I've been cooking with induction for almost 2 years and I will never go back to gas. Water for coffee boils in about a minute. My pot handles never get hot due to waste heat from burning gas. My kitchen doesn't get overheated in the summer. On my cooktop's lowest setting, I can melt chocolate without a double boiler. I can lay my utensils right on the cooktop next to the pot I'm using them in. I can even keep the ingredients I'm going to add right next to the pot.

              Mine is a Kenmore Elite 4-burner, model #42800, they can be had for around $1500 and are rebadged Electrolux units.

              1. I have been researching as well for my in process kitchen remodel. I was "absolutely gas" until I began reading more on Gardenweb. It seems that most people that switch from gas do not regret it.

                The Induction Site is good for info on brands. Local dealer highly recommended Miele over Wolf and Diva. He said Diva is having problems right now in North America. Consumer Reports, if you believe them, likes Kenmore (they always like Kenmore) and Electrolux. Gaggenau gets good reviews too but is quite expensive.

                Can anyone answer the griddle issue - can you put a griddle over two induction burners to do pancakes?

                5 Replies
                1. re: gratindauphinois

                  Not specifically pancakes... I've put a roaster over two burners and make turkey gravy... does that count? And the LG model that Politeness mentioned before has the burners setup specifically for rectangular griddles.

                  1. re: cutipie721

                    cutipie 721: "And the LG model that Politeness mentioned before has the burners setup specifically for rectangular griddles."

                    In fact, the LG comes with, as part of the package, a bright and very shiny stainless steel griddle that exactly fits the left side two burners. There also is a fifth, bridge, element, also induction, that comes into operation when the two left burners are used together. The stainless griddle, however, is made of the world's softest stainless steel, which acquires tiny scratches very easily. The scratches do not impair function, but it takes only a couple of uses of the griddle for the original shiny polished surface to acquire a burnished look. While we are waffle, not pancake, people, we love doing bacon on the griddle, because we can lay the strips out straight, without having to bend them to fit a frypan's interior.

                    gratindauphinois: "Consumer Reports, if you believe them, likes Kenmore (they always like Kenmore) and Electrolux."

                    One of the problems with Consumers Union is tunnel vision focus, in this instance looking only at the cooktop's electronic function. While electronic function is very important, we dismissed the Electrolux (IIRC, the Kenmore is a rebadged Electrolux) as a candidate when we discovered that the electronics of the cooktop extend 4-3/8" below the counter surface, and that Electrolux installation instructions state that there should be an additional 12" of unobstructed space in the cabinet below that. (The cooling fan of the Electolus exhausts into the cabinet below the cooktop.) That's a LOT of wasted space in a location within the kitchen where we want to use all of the space as efficiently as possible, and -- in our opinion -- is directly related to function -- our function as cooks.

                    The winning argument for the LG for us was that it takes up less than 2" of space below the counter and exhausts above the counter (at the rear edge of the decorative trim). We have a drawer full of spatulas and spoons and pot tops immediately below the cooktop, and we use the contents of that drawer all the time while cooking.

                    1. re: Politeness

                      Thanks politeness. I will look into the LG.

                      1. re: Politeness

                        My Kenmore #42800 (which is a rebadged Electrolux) exhausts above the counter as well, not below it, so you don't need to leave empty space in the cabinet below when you install it. I don't know which cooktop CR was looking at. I have a deep drawer under mine where I keep most of my pots and pans, stored on their edge.

                    2. Many thanks to all for your insights. Definitely leaning toward induction - this was helpful.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: maggielyn

                        If I might muddy the water a little, I just bought a Samsung range with induction cooktop and convection oven. Here's the link:

                        http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/ap...

                        I'm replacing a range with a range so it makes it so much easier for me. In an adjacent space I'm also putting in a large MW/convection oven so I have double oven capability.

                        I was like you regarding gas - never thought I'd change but after reading and listening, induction offered no drawbacks for me except for the rare (not even once a year) power outage where I can cook on my grill. Not a deal breaker.

                      2. Whoa! Hold on! Induction is definitely the best option when it comes to electricity, but there are some quirks that no one ever seems to discuss. I replaced an old 30" conventional element top with a 36" Bosch induction top I found at Appliance Smart for $1100. (They had a hardcore Viking 36"er there for $2500 just to let you know the kind of deals you can find, I can't find a scratch on my Bosch). Having lived in many apartments, etc., over the years I have come across every type of Western cooking surface imaginable and hence didn't really give a second thought to installing induction. The little annoyances I've found only pertain, however, to my Bosh, but I've seen how they could translate to nearly every other induction top out there depending on your circumstances.

                        1. Induction tops can be noisy depending on the pan, everyone knows this, it's no big deal for me..

                        2. I wired mine in myself, copper cable is expensive, 40 foot of the required gauge was over $100, I can only imagine how much an electrician would charge...

                        3. My Bosch controls are very poorly designed, and from what I've seen, most induction controls are really poorly designed. They rely on capacitive touch controls similar to an iPhone. But naturally these panels don't have the processing horsepower of an iPhone so they tend to be sluggish and unresponsive. One of induction's advantages is it's heat responsiveness, when it takes 10 seconds to turn the heat down from high to medium low the advantage isn't really there anymore. After using the Bosch for a couple of months, I find myself longing for old regular knobs.

                        Finally, and I never saw this one coming, is that I spend an inordinate amount of time making sure my pans are, in fact, on the elements! Induction tops currently give no signal as to where the element is apart from the paint used on the glass top. My pans are pretty tight fitting so I'm constantly bending and craning to make sure that the pan is within the white circles! Perhaps I am just an idiot in this regard, but I find it very cumbersome! Sorry for the long winded reply, but for something that you will use daily for years these things can become major annoyances. I like my Bosch, but if I ever need to replace it, I think I might just run a gas line and go that route...

                        P.S. In my experience, the whole time to boil water thing seems to increase exponentially with the amount of water to be boiled. I can get my asparagus steamer running in seconds, but 4Qts in a stock pot may be marginal over other methods at best...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: aldgate west

                          Wow... that's a whole lot of problem that you're having. I don't mention them because I never experienced them myself.

                          Regarding the noise: have you talked to anyone at Bosch? Are you sure your unit isn't defective? Yes, mine makes some noise, but not "noisy".

                          Regarding putting the pot on the right spot - how is it different from making sure your pan is sitting properly on a regular stove? I don't quite get this part.

                          My controls are pretty sensitive...

                          1. re: cutipie721

                            The noise is pan specific. Annoyingly enough, my All-Clad pans whistle and hum, but my girlfriend's Racheal Ray set is totally silent.

                            As far as element indication, again I realize I may be an idiot here, but a conventional coil element is raised above the cooking surface, hence you can clearly "feel" the pan sitting on top of it. A standard ceramic radiant cook top produces light under the element, hence you can easily see if the pan is not sitting on top of it correctly. And gas flame will nip up the side of an askew pan...Again, centering a pan is normally a reactive thing that no one ever cognitively thinks about while cooking. It's just an odd little detail I've had to get used to...

                        2. You do have to be fussy about your pots and pans. Obviously you need magnetic material, but also be careful about irregularities on the bottom like logos etc. because they will scratch the surface. I've done this with a cast iron skillet. Someone mentioned issues with the controls, which do take some getting used to, but the precision and consistency of my Kenmore Elite is remarkable. You can actually do something else while cooking on this thing without having to worry about burning or having to adjust the temp.
                          I highly recommend an induction stove top or range.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Fahzz

                            Fahzz: "You do have to be fussy about your pots and pans. Obviously you need magnetic material, but also be careful about irregularities on the bottom like logos etc. because they will scratch the surface. I've done this with a cast iron skillet."

                            I have to say I really do not understand this. First, it is an issue with any "glass" (all "glass" cooktops are Schott Ceran) surface; it has nothing to do with the energy source.

                            Second, we have had an induction cooktop for over ten years. We use it with cast iron pots and pans daily. Some of our Japanese Iwachu Nambu cast iron pots are far from flat on the bottom: they sit on discreet "feet" (nubs). http://www.chow.com/photos/318806
                            http://www.chow.com/photos/318813

                            We have never had any scratches on our cooktop. None. In ten+ years. We do take reasonable care not to slide pots across the cooktop; we lift rather than slide; but we are not anally retentive about it. Schott Ceran is very, very hard. With just reasonable precautions, scratching should simply not be an issue

                            1. re: Politeness

                              You're part of the reason I bought an induction range. Thanks. I have a question about scratches. Are they just cosmetic? I will certainly be careful but a scratch wouldn't compromise the cookability, would it?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                c_oliver:: "scratches. Are they just cosmetic?"

                                I guess it would depend on the depth pf the scratch. The kind of shallow scuffing that might come from pots and pans being slid across the surface should not affect the structural integrity of the ceramic sheet, but I can imagine that a deep gouge could. As the Ceran is completely transparent to the magnetic waves, scratches would have zero effect on cooking; in fact, in theory, if you could figure out a way to suspend the pot above the inverter with no Ceran sheet at all, the heat still would be induced in the pot.

                              2. re: Politeness

                                If anyone is really worried about scratching just throw a rag or towel underneath your pan--Induction only tho!!!

                                1. re: aldgate west

                                  Isn't that funny? Why did I think of that?

                                  1. re: aldgate west

                                    Kitchen parchment works too and causes less anxiety of fire (for me). I've also read of people using newspaper, which has the added benefit of making cleanup a snap.

                                    1. re: Buckethead

                                      I like that even better. I just did some beer-battered fish last night. Once my new range is in I'll definitely be doing that. Way cool.