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Apr 7, 2010 02:12 PM

New Kitchen - Can I get away with just 2 induction burners?

We are building a very small house with a small kitchen (L-shaped, about 13' x 9' with a small rolling island in the middle). We're going with an OTR microwave, a wall-oven, and (until yesterday, we thought) an induction cooktop. In reading the NY Times article on induction yesterday, I remembered seeing a cooking demo recently where the chef used 4 single-pan free standing induction burner units set on top of the counter, then removing them when he was done. So I thought ... why couldn't we do that? It seems like it would save lots of counterspace and also $$.

My question: what do you think - can I cook without a traditional range/cooktop? Can I get away with 2 (ok, maybe 3) of those countertop induction units?

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  1. Good luck ever trying to sell the house. Serously, while this idea may work for you, it won't for most people, Oh and before you buy the island, live with the kitchen a bit and make sure you have room for it. I bet you change your mind. Sorry. to be the one to say this, but it really needs to be said.

    Good luck with the new home!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Prettypoodle

      I think you make a good point and I'd like to carry it a step further. Can you even get your final inspection signed off on if you don't have a range?

      As far as can you operate with two burners, sure. I've done it many times, esp. in other countries when renting for a week or so. And I used a two-burner hot plate for weeks when we were remodeling. But I'd say if you're at all into cooking, you're probably not going to be happy long term. BTW, I bought a free standing range with induction cooktop and convection/regular oven for $1750 so it's not all that expensive. Plus your induction cooktop essentially is extra counter space when not in use.

      And, yes, congrats on the new house.

      1. re: c oliver

        The builder is checking into the local code requirements for us. We will likely have the electrician put wiring in the wall behind the cabinet so we could in the future just cut a hole in the countertop and drop in a conventional cooktop (there will be a wall oven so no concern there).

        1. re: c oliver

          My understanding is, lenders will not mortgage a house that lacks working, safe cooking appliance[s] that is "permanent".
          What that looks like is variable. It could be a range w/ burners and oven, or a separate cook top and oven. Not even sure an oven is required.
          I know of NO minimum size/capacity requirement in Code so far---only that appliance[s] exist, are safe/sound/secure to operate to cook with---that look like they belong to the house--not just sitting on the counter loose.
          Just make sure the wiring is there to plug a real stove into, later--that requires at least one 220 volt 40 amp circuit or better, so a future buyer can put in a stove if they want.

      2. Yes, I think most people can survive with two burners. Seriously, how often do you cook with 4 pots at the same time? I usually cook with one and sometime two.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I almost always use two, frequently use three and rarely use four.

          1. re: c oliver

            :) I guess I just eat less than you do, huh? ;)

            1. re: c oliver

              I also commonly use more than two. Even for a simple meal I might have pasta in one pot, sauce in a second, and a side vegetable sauteing in a third.

              1. re: BobB

                That's pretty much how I thought about it. We spend time in Rio and, although the stove is 4-burner, it's only 24" wide. I can't cook the sauce and boil the water at the same time. So I make the sauce up ahead, cook the pasta, reheat the sauce in the MW. It's a pain, IMO.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I very rarely use more than 2 burners. We're thinking of getting a Vollrath high-end large one and two smaller (and way cheaper) Max Burtons.

              1. re: bluegoat

                If you use this Vollrath countertop unit, lack of power won't be a problem:


                1. re: alanbarnes

                  Thanks - that's the same one the cooking demo I saw used. It's about $1,100 though so I'll have to see.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      You're right, I was thinking of the 69520 model.

            3. bluegoat: "Can I get away with 2 (ok, maybe 3) of those countertop induction units?"

              You will be limited much more by the wattage than by the number. Almost all countertop induction units are designed to work on 15 amp 110-120V circuits, and very few deliver more than 1500 watts (those that do deliver only a very few watts more). Many are 1300 watts. That kind of wattage will serve you well for most frying and small saucepan work, but when you need to fix pasta, you are going to want to bring a 3 or 4 quart pot of water to which salt has been added to a rolling boil, and you will find yourself at the outer limits of the capability of a countertop unit.

              Built-in induction cooktops and ranges, on the other hand, usually operate on 30 amp or 40 amp 220-230V circuits, and typically have at least one burner that delivers over 3000 watts. Sometimes you need that.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Politeness

                There are several 1,800 watt units on the market & you can get a 2,400 watt unit for around $700 (you will need a 220 outlet, though).

                1. re: JayL

                  But I got a four burner cooktop with my convection oven for $1750. And the cooktop acts as counter space. That math doesn't work for me.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I don't think I'd use the cooktop as counter space, is my point. I see what you mean about the math there - it's more a matter of which set-up is more convenient.

                    1. re: bluegoat

                      Ah well. Your OP stated that one concern was counterspace so I just thought.... I guess you mean you're looking for few linear feet of counterspace. But you'd still need room for all those stand alone burners if you got them. I don't see where you'd save any room. And when you're cooking, then you'd have even LESS counterspace. I guess I'm just confused is what I am :) Do you just not cook very much and very often? In that case, then you're probably fine. But if you're going to install a cooktop later, then why not now? Again, I'm just having a confused morning :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Good point about the storage issue for the burners - I figured they'd just fit in a shallow-ish drawer right under the spot where I'd use them (under the hood). I should have been more clear on the use of the counterspace - I need space to roll out dough and make pasta, etc. I was thinking the small rolling island would be helpful but I don't think it can be big enough and still fit in the small space.

              2. I think an induction range is the best choice for a small kitchen. It provides extra counter space when it's not in use, it's safer because there is no open flame in a cramped area, and it doesn't heat up a small kitchen nearly as much as other types of cooktops.

                Maybe as a compromise you could get a 2-burner built-in induction cooktop and supplement it with 1 or 2 extra portable induction pads.

                1. This is slightly off-topic, but (and I know you're dealing with space issues) I have always felt that the micro over the range is a really bad idea. For two reasons:

                  If you're vertically challenged - as I am - it's never a good idea to lean over burners to reach and remove something from the micro, esp if it's a container of hot liquid or whatever.

                  Second, I've never seen them placed high enough to allow for easy access to the back burners. I know so many people who now regret doing the OTR because they didn't realize it until it was installed. If you raise it up to standard height for a vent, you're again creating a risk for anyone needing to use it. Especially children.

                  My sister just contracted to completely re-do her kitchen and the designer, yes, you guessed it - put the micro over the range. I told her don' oh. She then had the designer do the same thing I have: 30" convection wall oven placed a bit lower and the micro above that. No worries about gas flames or leaning toward a full pot of boiling water, etc.

                  Just my two cents. (I also have a smaller kitchen - pretty challenging.)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: breadchick

                    I have an above the range microwave. We use the back burners with ease. Ours is a smooth top electric range. An induction would be even safer. Our microwave replaced the original hood. Plenty of clearance for big stockpots on back burners. I'm about five-four and have no problem getting stuff into or out of the microwave. Of course, I don't cook the Thanksgiving turkey in it.

                    1. re: breadchick

                      I think you're two cents are worth a nickel easily. We were determined not to do a full remodel of a kitchen that was only done five years ago. I got lots of good advice from a Chow-buddy. What I wound up doing was buying the induction range and then a HUGE MW/convection oven. It could have been installed over the range but, as it's convection also, I DO want to safely put heavy things in it. We already had that 6' tall, metal shelving unit that Costco sells for $100. The MW has always been on it so that's where we put the new MW/convection. So I have the equivalent of an induction cooktop, two ovens and a MW and it was all about $2300. It works like a dream.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Hi, c oliver. Mind if I ask the make and model of your MW/Conv oven?

                        1. re: KansasKate

                          It's a Samsung, model SMK9175. After using it for a year, I really, really like it. I don't use the convection aspect ALL that often, but when I need it I need it. And the inside is really large and the turntable is programmable to not rotate so I can MW large containers.

                      2. re: breadchick

                        We've had OTR units in almost every place we've lived in, and have been very happy with them. My husband and I are both over 5'8" though so maybe that's more of a comfort thing. We find it a huge space saver in a small kitchen. Good point about kids though ... not currently an issue in our house but perhaps some day.