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Sep 23, 2010 02:33 PM

Durability of Induction Ranges

I'm quite interested in the option of an induction range instead of gas.
However I'm concerned about the durability of these ranges given how electronic the components are. Does anyone have any thoughts on how these ranges might compare to a similar gas model in terms of reliability, service issues, etc?

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  1. My observation is this -- induction is very reliable, but just about any failure will be a cato (which is to say you will have a completely inoperable range). Gas ranges are less reliable, but most of the problems are with the ignition. You will very likely be able to make due until the unit is serviced.

    Bigger issue for you has to do with your electric and/or gas service. If you have electric now, no troubles putting in induction, but you may need to run a gas line if you want to put in a gas appliance. If you have a gas stove now, you may need to upgrade your electrical service to handle any sort of electrical appliance.

    21 Replies
    1. re: MikeB3542

      MikeB3542: " ... induction is very reliable, but just about any failure will be a cato (which is to say you will have a completely inoperable range)"

      Not really disagreeing, but in our eleven year experience, the failure is limited to individual units. We had a Jenn-Air hybrid (two induction, two ribbon radiant, cooking areas) cooktop for the first eight of those years; we used the induction side for 90 percent of our cooking, using the ribbon radiants only a few times a week, if that often. The induction side was taken care of by a single module with two "burners."

      Immediately (a month or two) after installing the cooktop, one of the two induction cooking areas of the Jenn-Air went on the fritz. Of course, the unit was covered under warranty, and when the repair person came, he noted that the color coding on two of the wires connecting the induction inverter unit to the central controls appeared to be reversed. The only repair allowed by Jenn-Air was a replacement of the complete two-burner induction module, and when he hooked that new unit up, the repairman attached the two color-reversed wires in the same manner as they had been attached to the first module. The repair person was afraid -- I guess that is the right word -- to second-guess the way that the original (and originally working) unit had been wired, and so duplicated the original connections.

      A couple of years later -- the unit no longer was under warranty -- the same "burner" went out again. This time when the (different) repairman came, he opined that he was pretty sure that the two color-coded wires were not the cause of the failure. However, when he called in to find the cost of a replacement module for the two burners -- Jenn-Air did not acknowledge that any field service could be performed at the sub-module level -- there was only one module in the area (it was in a warehouse in Seattle, and we are in Portland), and the price for the replacement module alone exceeded the price that we had paid for the entire cooktop, so we did not get the module replaced. We limped along with one induction cooking area (on which we still did the majority of our cooking) and two ribbon radiant cooking areas (which we used more than before because there was only one working induction cooking area) for about five or six years.

      The remaining induction cooking area failed about six or seven years later, and by that time Whirlpool had purchased and liquidated Maytag and Maytag's Jenn-Air subsidiary. In trying to find if a replacement induction module for the Jenn-Air could be located, Whirlpool told me that it had not even retained a list of model numbers for pre-Whirlpool Maytag and Jenn-Air products, much less a list of parts numbers, and much, much less any inventory of the parts themselves or even a list of secondary sources where parts might be found. Our unit had been truly and thoroughly abandoned. Not willing to go with ribbon radiant-only cooking, we replaced the cooktop (with an LG all-induction unit).

      Back to your point, however, our experience is that, as to any individual cooking area induction inverter, the failure is likely to be complete. However the failure of one induction burner on our Jenn-Air did not cause the other induction burner -- even though it was on the same module -- to fail.

      1. re: Politeness

        Add yet another variable to detract from the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of induction--sort of like totalling a car because the airbag went off.

        My 1953 GE Airliner's still plugging along...

        1. re: kaleokahu

          kaleokahu: " ... yet another variable to detract from the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of induction ..."

          Erm. No. It is a comment on Jenn-Air (not an induction specialist), generally, and Whirlpool -- which has no clue in the world about customer service -- specifically. If I thought that our experience with the 20th century Jenn-Air hybrid cooktop reflected on induction technology, then there is no way that we would have replaced the Jenn-Air with another induction cooktop (from another maker).

          1. re: Politeness

            Maybe so. But still, my point remains: the useful life and "cato" potential of induction units needs to be considered in assessing their energy and cost efficiencies. If the modules (or whole units) need replacement every few years, the true efficiencies are lower than DOE and the manufacturers/sellers/panmongers claim.

            I think that something like what you experienced is what Islandgirl was asking about--and hoping to avoid--when she originally posted.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              The problem in today's world where electronics are concerned is not in the reliability of the electronics designs but in the application of manufacturing techniques that so very frequently compromises them! In today's market, I dare say there are as many failures of smooth top ribbon element electric cook tops as there are induction failure when you "pro rate' them. Possibly a lot more.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Hi, Car:

                Good point. But the fancier we get (e.g., rain-sensing headlight wipers), the more s@#t there is to break or fail. Used to be, when something broke, it was a $20 part that you could replace yourself. Now it's a $200 "module" and another $200 service call (and maybe a firmware upgrade).

                I read a week or so ago about a new induction cooktop where THE WHOLE COOKTOP is a "burner", and the HAL 9000 inside SENSES the size of the pan and only lights up that part of the cooktop. How much you think THAT would cost to replace when it goes gunnysack? And what would you cook on while you waited for the module to arrive from China?

                That's why I'm keeping my '53 GE Airliner even AFTER I get my AGA.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  When I was a kid, drugstores had a 'tube tester', and replacement vacuum tubes for your radio. You had to replace tubes about as often as you replaced light bulbs. Yes it was easy (and relatively cheap) to replace parts like this, but you had to do it quite often.

                  My 20 yr old coil electric stove doesn't have any electronic parts that need replacing, but I've had trouble finding replacement plastic control knobs. I ended up replacing two of the burners with a table top induction burner that cost less than $100.

                  1. re: paulj

                    "...plastic control knobs" That about says it. Perhaps the mfr. WANTED you to melt or break those plastic knobs so you'd buy another stove?

                    It's nice some things you can find on eBay to restore old stuff. I found an OEM replacement Thermowell pot for my range, and the shipping cost more than the pot.

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    Something that has yet to be taken into account directly here is whether or not the trade offs made in order to deliver smaller and far far less expensive (comparitively) appliances is worth while.

                    Let me change lanes and switch from cook tops to microwave ovens. The very first microwave oven hit the market in 1947, it was the size of a refrigerator at 5 1/2 feet tall, the magnetron had to be water cooled, meaning it required plumbing, it was for commercial use and sold for $5,000.00, or $48,948.88 in 2010 dollars. In 1952, Tappan introduced the first home model microwave oven for the measley sum of $1,295.00, or $10,668.45 in today's dollars. Today, and in today's dollars, I can go on line and buy a 1 cu ft l,l00 watt Sharp counter top microwave oven with a 12" turntable and 23 automatic settings on a 4 digit two color display for (in TODAY'S dollars!) the grand sum of $89.00. So which century do you want to live in?

                    Which is absolutely NOT to say that miniaturization and printed circuits are the best possible choice overall. Everything has its place. For example are you aware that during the Cold War, had a Soviet fighter aircraft and a U.S. fighter aircraft both been in line-of-sigh range of a thermonuclear weapon, the electromagentic pulse would wipe out all of the elctronics of the U.S. aircraft (dropping it from the sky), but leave the Soviet aircraft unscathed? Why? Because the Soviet Union could not afford to go with printed circuits and miniaturization, so they stayed with hard wiring and vacuum tubes. Old fashioned fully insulated hard wired instruments are pretty much unaffected by an electromagnet pulse. Nobody has yet thought about dipping a damned printed circuit in an insulating bath before shipping.

                    So sometimes the "old fashioned way" has distinct advantages. But I would not want to move a 1947 commercial model microwave two feet. They weighed over 750 pounds! When it came time to get my kids cars, I insisted they have used cars with a carburetor and an engine they could work on themselves because I wanted to fraud proof them as much as possible. It really helped! It also spurred them on to work part time to "upgrade" to a car of their choice. Mothers are wily people. Yes we are! '-)

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Caroline: Very insightful (and perhaps in a secondary, unintended way. I HAVE one of the 1952 Amana Radarranges. I do not use it regularly, because the controls are pretty limited and it has no turntable. But I DO use it whenever the next, "greatest" MW craps out, which is more often than rarely. And I actually prefer the old, all-SS RR over the other 5 I've had for some things.

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Well, as long as we're exploring the possibilities and impact of appliance design, here's another area that has been given short shrift in this discussion. Aesthetics!

                        The variety of designs available for today's kitchen appliances provide more aesthetic options than have ever been available in the entire history of the world! If you want your kitchen to look like you've stepped through a magic door that leads from your home to a full fledged restaurant kitchen, you can certainly do that. For a price. If retro is your thing, you can get a modern refrigerator that looks like it was built in 1948, not to mention a fully restore 1948 refrigerator if that's your thing.

                        If you want a fairly "invisible" kitchen, hey, you can match your counter top color to your cook top (black or white are the current options) and it nearly disappears, face your refrigerator and dishwasher and trash compactor to match your cabinets, and with a little ingenuity you can make your kitchen look a lot more like a family/dining room than a kitchen. About forty or so years ago, I designed a fiber glass dining table with "chandelier" that had a built in dishwasher. You never actually cleared the table, you just took away any candles and napkins, then pushed a button, the "chandelier' lowered and tented the table securely and the interior dishwasher and blow dryer did the rest. It was good looking too. But I never found a manufacturer who wanted to put it into production because it was a pretty difficult "retrofit."

                        My point is that today's appliances open up vast design possibilities that yesteryear's appliances did not.

                2. re: kaleokahu

                  I'm not sure what your point is, except for an excuse to keep living in the past. The original poster had a defective unit; that happens with everything. I'm sure it happened a whole lot more with your ancient range that you're so proud of name checking than it does with any modern appliance. Surviorship bias is something that vintage fetishists don't seem to believe in.

                  1. re: dscheidt

                    No, the OP was asking about the durability of induction in an effort to help her decide between gas and induction.

                    Learn to read, or comprehend, and you can see above what my point is.

                    We all have our biases, I suppose. I like what works well and hasn't needed to be fixed in 57 years, you saw that. I also like how much less waste and energy goes into keeping functional things, especially simple ones. From your tone, dscheidt, my guess is your principal bias (or fetish--your word, not mine) is toward newness for its own sake. Add in a little confirmation bias, and you about have it, I think.

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Owned it since new, have you? Else how do you know it's not been repaired in 57 years? In any event, the durability of something made 57 years ago has not a thing to do with a modern range, which is what the question is about.

                      1. re: dscheidt

                        Well, in a way I HAVE owned it since new. I was a mere zygote when my parents purchased it, but they were Depression Babies, and kept EVERYTHING--including 29-cent repair receipts. Mom told me before she passed at age 90 that they had never spent a cent on it, and it was one of the best buys they ever made.

                        No, the durability of one production unit of one old technology IS instructive, in a limited way. It certainly is anecdotal, and tells us nothing certain about the longevity of any other individual unit. But since you consider my range a relic, it is a relic of a time when things were built to last. Just as with gas, electric ranges have a record over time, whatever it may be, of functional durability. Induction is relatively new, and it's record is shorter, and therefore more suspect when it comes to durability. In fact, the OP is the first person of whom I'm aware to actually pose the question. And based on the failures listed by other responders to her query (also anecdotal), induction's short history is not only checkered in terms of longevity but also indicates high cost of repair.

                        So, if induction ranges show this kind of record generally, that has EVERYTHING to do with a modern range. But then that's INDUCTIVE LOGIC, isn't it?

                      2. re: kaleokahu

                        kaleokahu: "I like what works well and hasn't needed to be fixed in 57 years, you saw that. I also like how much less waste and energy goes into keeping functional things, especially simple ones."

                        I think that you are conflating some disparate factors. If you visit the appliances forum, you will see innumerable threads about the unreliability of 21st century refrigerators. The fact is, if you bought the then latest model of major brand American refrigerator/freezer in, say, 1990, you had a reasonable expectation, borne out now, 20 years later, that the appliance would last 15+ years with occasional servicing. The average life expectancy of a new 2010 refrigerator is somewhere between five and ten years. There are three factors contributing to that decline in longevity. The first is an increase in "features" and complication: the component most likely to fail in a 2010 refrigerator is "water & ice through the door," a feature absent in 1990. The second is Energy Star: it is difficult to sell a new refrigerator in 2010 that is not Energy Star compliant, but to achieve that efficiency, appliance manufacturers are using smaller compressors working harder in place of the less efficient old slow-turning compressors of two decades ago, and at the current state of the art the little compressors do not last as long as the big old ones did. The third is globalization and manufacturing efficiency. Newer refrigerators are lighter (to save on shipping costs) and if a resistor in the electronics that costs 2.2 cents can be replaced by a resistor that costs 2.17 cents, then the cheaper resistor is substituted on the assembly line for the more expensive one. As a result, newer refrigerators are lighter ("more flimsy") and have a lower percentage of premium ("overbuilt") parts inside.

                        But modernization is not all bad. My parents' automobiles -- like all gasoline-powered vehicles of the time -- parceled out fuel by means of carburetors, which were fussy and finicky and subject to the weather. Every gasoline-powered new vehicle sold in North America today has electronic fuel injection, which has excellent reliability and adaptability to differing weather conditions. Despite orders of magnitude greater complication, the amount of time a modern automobile owner spends over the life of the car worrying about the engine's fuel delivery subsystem is a tiny fraction of the time previous generations spent tuning their carburetors.

                        On the other hand, when back in the day a headlight on my 1970 Saab 99E burned out, I could go to any auto parts store and buy a standard replacement sealed beam unit, which I could then swap in for the burned-out one almost as easily as changing a light bulb in a table lamp. Today, one of the headlights in our 21st century Mazda6 has burned out; I have ordered a replacement H1 bulb from Candlepower in Maryland by mail order -- it cost me $15.50 plus shipping -- and when it arrives, I will spend a couple hours turning the air blue with cursing as I use a dentist's hand mirror to see my way to the little door on the back of the headlight housing under the hood and buried deep underneath the coolant reservoir through which I must thread my fingers to unclip the burned-out bulb and remove it and put in the new bulb and attach its electrical wires. The "simple" bulb replacement will be a much bigger deal on the 21st century Mazda6 than it ever was on the 20th century Saab 99E.

                        In my opinion, the analogy between the evolution from carburetors to electronic fuel injection on the one hand and on the other hand the evolution from gas cooking surfaces to induction is a valid, if not perfect, one. In the past I lived with carburetors, and now I have electronic fuel injection, and I have no desire whatsoever to go back. I have had gas cooking and now I have induction, and there is no way I ever voluntarily will go back.

                        You, on the other hand, see in the move from gas to induction a better analogy to the evolution of refrigerators. I understand. As with many other aspects of modern life, either the glass is half empty or the glass is half full. As long as the contents of the glass are a good Montefalco Rosso, I will happily convert that glass, whether half-empty or half-full, to a toast to your good health. Cin cin! Kampai! Cheers!

                        1. re: Politeness

                          You guys have not actually gotten to the main points of the OP. How often an induction range breaks vs a gas stove? How expensive to fix them?

                          I don't think the carburertor to electronic fuel injection is a good comparison. A carburertor is a physical moving part component. Physical moving components experience wear and tear. It is mechanical vs electronic comparison. A gas stove vs an induction stove is different. Gas stove is not a mechnical device. If anything, the induction stove is the one which has a physical moving component: a cooling fan.

                          Anyhow, there must be some stats on the durability of induction stovetop and the average cost for repairment. My guess is that the repairment cost of induction stovetop will be higher because of the cost of components and the few numbers of people able to fix them. Maybe contacting a manufacturer is a better approach here, as they have the average time for service.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Chemicalkinetics: "Anyhow, there must be some stats on the durability of induction stovetop and the average cost for repairment."

                            There _may_ be some stats, but they would be meaningless. Gas stoves have been in common use in American kitchens for a century. Even so, you would have a devil of a time in 2010 to find parts for an O'Keefe & Merrit or Tappan gas range, the two leading models of gas range in the 1950s.

                            Consumer level induction cooktops have been in American kitchens for under two decades. The companies that offered consumer induction units in the 1990s never promoted them; ten years ago, GE had a model of induction cooktop for sale, but did you ever see an ad for one? There were no GE induction units in dealer showrooms they were always special-order units. It was not until two or three years ago, when some of the European makers like Bosch and Electrolux, and some upstart Asian makers like LG, decided to test the market, that sales began to be made, and induction remains a small fraction of the market.

                            So there are two problems: there are very few consumers out there who have had an induction cooktop long enough to know how long they will last; and the older units -- like our 1990s Jenn-Air -- were first-time (and in the case of Jenn-Air, last-time) experiments in a field that their manufacturers did not yet understand. Induction units sold today are second-, third-, fourth-generation models. And they are being produced and sold in commercial quantity, meaning that repair personnel will be familiar with them and repair modules will be stocked in warehouses.

                            We now know that quartz wristwatches using tiny batteries as energy sources are as reliable as pre-electronic Swiss escapement movement wristwatches. Would we have had statistics on that in 1980? In 1980, we had reliable statistics for Swiss escapements, but what experience had we then with miniature watch batteries? Even now, if battery replacement is considered a "repair," do we have a handle on whether electronic quartz watches cost less to repair than escapement mechanism watches do over the course of a watch's lifetime?

                            1. re: Politeness

                              Well, the stats may be meaningless if the numbes are close, but if the difference between the gas vs induction is huge, then it matters less. Pretty much the same idea that you need a small standard deviation (tight numbers) to determine significant difference for small difference, but a large standard deviation will do for large difference. Probably the original poster doesn't care about small difference like 10%. If (I mean if) the true useful lifespan of an induction cooktop is only 1/3rd of that of gas stoves, then I doubt we need a large numbers of sampling point to call a significant difference.

                              1. re: Politeness

                                Oh, I missed the watch analogy, and I LOVE that...

                                My Casio keeps much better time than my self-winder Rolex`Oyster, even when tuned (at $300 a pop). My hometown jeweler replaces watch batteries--normally costing $7--gratis. And I think it's a safe assumption that there is no "fixing" my Casio when it dies. So it's clearly more cost-efficient AND accurate. And versatile--it has stopwatch and heart monitor functions. But which watch will I be confident will work underwater or below freezing indefinitely or continue to function when I pull it out of my safe after 2 years disuse? Which will hold a value, and please more when it's bequeathed?

                                The better watch analogy to induction may be the newer sunlight-charging quartz movement watches, e.g., Citizen's Eco-Drive. The watches cost enough to warrant repairs, almost as much as a used Rolex or other fine escapement watch. If the photo-electronics in the Citizen go south, what's it gonna cost? Can it be repaired at all? It's here that you have to be a little cautious, like with the longevity of induction cooking appliances. We don't yet know, but the trends aren't all encouraging.

                            2. re: Politeness

                              Well guys and gals, let's explore those reefer and auto fuel delivery analogies and look for conflations...

                              Let me say at the outset that I am NEITHER a hater nor a worshiper of the new for newness' sake. I'm an empiricist. I have no problem replacing things that don't work or won't last or aren't cost effective. Threads on this board have proven to me the first of that triad, and the jury's still out on the other two. One way to "peek around the corner", to prognosticate intelligently on the jury's future verdict, is to observe general technological, marketing and manufacturing trends, and compare their products across time.

                              Now then, reefers... You observe that a 1990 reefer could be expected to last 15+ years, and let's say you're spot on (as you usually are!). That sounds GOOD to those who are used to paying for a new unit every 5-10 years, right? IME, that "modern" figure is probably closer to replacement every 4-5 years, but that's beside the point. What if you and I could design and build and produce an Energy Star-compliant refrigerator that would last FIFTY years because it was well-designed and -featured and we didn't scrimp 2 cents on a resistor? We'd probably sell a few, and everyone who bought one would love it for 50 years, but we probably would also go out of business because we didn't have the PREDATORY mindset, or didn't listen to the marketeers.

                              My 1950-something Frigidaire has been in full, continuous use since it was first plugged in. Never seen a serviceman, but I've replaced the light bulb and door gasket. I still see them all over--mostly in shops, garages and cabins. To those of us who have them, fifteen years longevity doesn't sound so good, and 5-10 sounds outrageous.

                              I don't (yet) have a watt meter, so I can't measure how much juice my reefer drinks. My power bills are low (and I have electric heat, range, 2 chest freezers, HWH and a second reefer), around $130/mo. Now, if I had replaced my reefer(s) and freezer(s) every 10 years with the "modern" appliances of the day (pick your decade), 6 decades times 4 cooling appliances times $1K equals A LOT of electricity, especially considering that Energy Star appliances aren't all THAT stingy with the juice. And the oft-ignored factors of the social costs of making, transporting, freon-extracting, and disposing of 24 derelict reefers and freezers is not inconsiderable.

                              Now, carburators v. fuel injection... I believe this analogy is less than apt, but still instructive. It is inapposite for the simple reason that no one has ever had to tune their refrigerator. But it IS instructive, because we are led to believe that fuel injection is hands- and worry-free. This is wrong. Time between tune-ups is less frequent, that's for sure. But--as with induction--we are taught that that is all of the story. Two days ago I rode with a friend in an '09 injected Chevy Silverado 1T dually, and the subject of gas mileage came up. He was ecstatic because after 3 years at 13MPG he had instantly brought his mileage up to 19. How'd he do it? Well, he had to spend $300 on a chip programmer and software. Now, I'm not saying a carburated fuel system could have delivered the same 19MPG on that truck, but I KNOW such an old system, properly tuned, could come close. And that kind of tuning used to come at the turn of a screwdriver, not through a tortuous logistical trail of semiconductor manufacture, software development, marketing, transport, and $$$.

                              I understand your preferences for FI over carb, and induction over gas. That's great, and not unreasonable. I mean only to provoke discussion of the oft-neglected hidden costs and drags on efficiencies that come with replacing old technologies with new ones. Especially if you don't have to.

                              Your well wishes are appreciated. We`should toast our health and compare those Sangioveses. Proust!

              2. I was just reading that induction ranges/cooktops have a min and max pot size for each element to work. We use small Bialetti Moka pots to make our coffee each morning and the diameter is only about 4 inchs (if that). i'm guessing that's not going to work on an induction surface. Is that correct?

                2 Replies
                1. re: islandgirl

                  Diameter may indeed be a problem. But it can also be a problem with coil electrics or even some gas stoves where the pot supports don't cross in the middle. Is the Moka pot aluminum or steel? Unless it is a magnetic steel it won't work on the induction burner, regardless of diameter.

                  1. re: islandgirl

                    islandgirl: "I was just reading that induction ranges/cooktops have a min and max pot size for each element to work. We use small Bialetti Moka pots to make our coffee each morning and the diameter is only about 4 inchs (if that). i'm guessing that's not going to work on an induction surface. Is that correct?"

                    Most Bialettis are made of cast aluminum, which is not induction-friendly. Among the steel Bialetti models, many are made in India, and have a poor reputation for quality control (relative to made-in-Italy Bialettis). DOS Tip: VeV Vigano Kontessa Nuovo instead. It has a 4-3/4" diameter "triple induction" base.

                    VeV-USA's own retail website (called Casa Solo) claims (I have not tested the claim) a 100% price "match."

                    First check the prices at then see what your options are.

                  2. Prompted by your original post, and prodded by others (OK, in some instances, goaded) into it, I visited a high-end appliance store (Wolf, Thermidore, Viking, Gaggenau, LG, et al., to ask the guys who are selling and servicing induction ranges and cooktops about longevity and service.

                    I learned a lot, like the difference between the effects of induction and magnetic hysteresis losses in pans, and heat absorbed by the Ceran surfaces. The manager--who has been selling induction appliances since 1985--was very informative and honest. He "popped the hoods" so to speak for me on a number of cooktops and ranges, and showed me the copper coils and circuit boards. I was amazed at the complexity revealed: LARGE printed circuit boards (about 20% of the cooktops' total surface area!), containing as many as four large semiconductor chips and HUNDREDS of resistors thyristors, mini-caps, transistors and solder connections. In comparison, my desktop computer boards looks primitive.

                    I asked him what his experience was in terms of longevity and the "cato" effect (failure=total failure/replacement). His respective answers: (1) "You can expect 5-6 years before failure." (2) "Yep, when they go they tend to go--look at the electronics [imagine shoulder-shrugging]."

                    Perhaps most tellingly of all, he confided that his reps are instructed NOT to try to sell extended warranty plans for induction appliances. What's that tell you?

                    41 Replies
                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      I think you are correct to check with the manufacturers/distributors for data. They keep track of the manfunction data more extensive than any individual user. Induction cooktop is definitely more complicate. Not only it has to deliver an alternative current, it has to able detect if a cookware is on top or not. Induction cooktop has to able to shut itself off if there is no "load". It is definitely nothing like an electric resistance stovetop.


                      I won't say it is more complicate than a computer....

                      Now "expecting 5-6 years before failure" actually can mean the average timeline for first failure is 8-9 years. For example, the average male lifespan in US is ~75, but I won't say that I can expect 75 years before I die. The cost for fixing an induction cooktop will be much higher than a gas stovetop. Sometime, it is not worth fixing because it will be so expensive that you might as well get another one.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        With respect, what incentive did the SELLERS of these inductive appliances have to MINIMIZE the historical longevity to me? Yes, as the lawyers write: "Individual results may vary", but if this (along with the kibosh on warranties past 1 year) is not a red flag, I don't know what is!

                        Re: "[D]etect[ing] if a cookware is on top or not", I specifically asked about the "innovation" of that detection circuitry (now offered ONLY by Thermadore, and unavailable in stores until next year) and ALL FOUR salesmen rolled their eyes like it was going to be a nightmare for everyone.

                        1. re: kaleokahu


                          No no, I didn't mean to say these sellers try to minimize the historical longevity to you. I mean "You can expect 5-6 years before failure" does not mean "5-6 years is the average year". I am guessing that is "aveage year" minus "one standard deviation".

                          Yes, the detection thing is important. If it starts to fail, then the lifetime of the induction cooktop will be shortern.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            LOL.... I will defer to any statistician--subject to Samuel Clemens' dictum on three genera of lies: "Lies, damn lies and statistics."

                            My friend, my point was that these sellers, who one would expect would have every incentive to MAXIMIZE the expected longevity, don't. When a person who's selling something rolls their eyes in derision, what is the consumer to conclude?

                            You have a nice rest of the weekend, OK?

                      2. re: kaleokahu

                        Yep. And there are also home warranties that EXCLUDE induction cook tops from their coverage. HOWEVER.... If you want the super high heat and fast response of a commercial (restaurant) stove without the ambient room heat or hulking mass of those appliances you cannot beat induction!

                        However, your trip to the appliance store raises another critically overlooked point in this discussion! The GREAT dilemma in today's world is that we live with a spiky, unreliable, overworked and outdated electrical grid system in the United States. I am convinced that many many many of the "appliance failures" of today are not the fault of the appliances as much as they are the fault of the power delivery system. Consider: If the electronics of an induction cook top make your computer's mother board look clunky by comparison, why on earth would you insist your computer be set up with a UPS/surge protector, then just throw your induction cook top to the wolves? I think people are blaming the guiltless while the guilty go free.


                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Car, God Bless You, but TX is a third world country when it comes to electrical power. I really feel sorry for you.

                          The dealership and salesmen I'm talking about sell and service in Seattle, where we DON'T have spikes, surges, brownouts and an outdated grid.

                          Therefore, in TX you can expect 5-6 years if you install a whole-house surge system, and maybe 15 minutes if you don't.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Honey Bunch, I have a question for you... Are you the president of your local chapter of Anachronistic Is Us? '-)

                            Not all the world is Seattle, nor is all the world Plano, but the fact is that when a planet is subject to the electrical storms and other phenomena that plague this good earth, there ARE gonna be power surges. And to complicate things further, I'm not all that convinced that the shop owner/general manager/salesmen of any dealership are an unbiased and accurate resource. But hey, you tried and I thank you for that!

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Car: Chronologically misplaced, me? Nah.

                              LOL, I can see now that the US should send TX some Peace Corps volunteers to help straighten out your electrical generation, distribution and sales. Then again, you might have to charge TAXES to pay for something for the common good, and that's never gonna play in Plano. Never mind.

                              I was just trying to save the OP (and you, because I remember you're shopping for induction cooktops) some trouble and money in reporting what I learned at the dealer. What`earthly reason would the manager and salesmen have to be biased or be inaccurate AGAINST induction?

                              For someone to proceed with an expensive home investment--knowing that investment is likely short-lived and unlikely to ever pay off--is irrational for anyone who cares about their money. Look at this another way. Would you persist in replacing the heat system in your house with one that the manufacturer admits will only last 5 years (and won't warrant after 1 year, and probably must be entirely replaced when it fails), just because it is made of something new that heats special CLOTHES rather than your house? Would you throw away all your other beautiful clothes and buy the new "special" ones to make the system work regardless of fit or quality?

                              That's the road you're on. If you need me, I'll be down at the AIU chapterhouse; we welcome new members. Come visit when you're through with services at the Church of Technology.

                              1. re: kaleokahu


                                I think it is great that you reported what you learned from the induction salemen. Sometime people get so focus on the details that they lost sight of the bigger picture (and sometime the other way, which also is bad). Anyhow, Steve Wozniak (apple cofounder) buys one new Prius every year. How environmental is that?

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics



                                  Yep. The real green is sometimes hidden, rarely straightforward.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    If Steve's driving doesn't short the useful life of each Prius, it doesn't matter how frequently he changes them In effect he's just renting them on an annual basis.

                                    1. re: paulj


                                      I suppose if his castoff Priuses are kept in service, all is not wasted, even if it is wasteful. Not so for prematurely broken and effectively unfixable kitchen appliances. Much more waste and inefficiency there, and ironically in the name of green.

                                      1. re: kaleokahu


                                        I don't think most people here think an induction cooktop is far greener than a gas stovetop. I am guessing that most people buy the induction for cooking performance. A few of us have discussed this green topic before. It is true that induction cooking is very efficieny (>90%) at converting electrical energy from the wall to the thermal heating of your pan. Meanwhile, gas cooking only has 40% efficieny at converting the raw gas chemical energy to the thermal energy of your pan -- much of it goes to the rest of your house. However, electricity is not a raw energy source, unlike coal or gas. Consequently, gas and coal are first needed to burn in order to convert to electricity at the power plants before it can be send to our houses and this process is not 100%. Electrical power plants have a ~40% efficiency for coverting gas/coal into electricity.

                                        All in all, the overall efficiencies are the same from the two cooking methods in today soceity. For gas cooking, much of energy is wasted in your house. For induction cooking, much of energy lost is at the power plants.

                                        The argument is really about "in the future". In the future, power plants in US may use greener technologies and therefore the electricity is generated from cleaner source, so will induction cooking improve. Gas cooking will not improve because it will always use gas. For now, I think it will be difficult use the green argument.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          I think your argument that induction isn't any "greener" than a standard cook top doesn't hold up when you get down to a one-to-one level between the two electrical cooking appliances. I wholly agree that electric power production in the United States today is a dirty smudgy brown, at best. FAR from being green! And I am personally really ticked at President Obama for signing on to build a new nuclear power plant in this country. It is short term green, long term disaster, and you don't even want to get me started on the sheer idiocy of using nuclear energy to boil water to run a freaking turbine! <deep breath> Sorry. I'm okay now.

                                          When you compare the AMOUNT of very dirty smudgy American electric power an induction cook top uses with the amount of energy any of the "old fashioned' electric cook tops, whether ribbon under glass, coil, or solid plate, use to cook the same item, the induction cook top uses *significantly* less power, therefore from this vantage point, it is absolutely a "green" appliance. And if you do a whole lot of stove top cooking, it will greatly lighten (pun intended) your electric bill. This is fact, and not wishful thinking on my part.

                                          1. re: Caroline1


                                            I agree. I think induction cooking is cleaner of the other electric stovetops. That is because all electrical stovetop (including induction) use electricity, so they all suffer at the power plants. For the energy efficiency between the stove the pan, induction is better than glass/coil/solid plate.

                                            It is just that the original poster wonder between gas and induction and I think that is a tricky point. Induction is more efficiency at the stovetop, but it requies something (gas/electric/nuclear...) to convert to electric energy and there is a lost of energy right there. On may argue that in the future, the electric power plants can use a green energy source, but for now, at this very moment, most US power plants are run by coal and gas and they are 40% efficiency. As such, it is no different than the efficiency that a gas stove has, only that the gas stove makes its energy lost in the kitchens.

                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                            I have previously pointed out in this thread that burning gas or oil to make the electricity used to cook on induction is a drag on efficiency overall, but your reiteration is a good thing.

                                            However, depending on where you live, your conclusion that "overall efficiencies are the same..." needs two important qualifiers. First, for those of us whose homes are powered by hydroelectricity, the efficiency picture is a little different. That is, traditional electric appliances run off of dams' turbines may be closer to, or even be more efficient overall than, induction run on combustion-generated juice. I feel pretty responsible using that greener, renewable electricity even on an old resistance stove, especially since I use copper cookware and a thermowell a lot. Second, I live where a little extra heat put into the room or house is a good thing, for about 10 months of the year. I know that's not especially efficient, but the leaked heat energy is definitely not wasted, and does keep the thermostat from kicking on my main heat as often as it would otherwise.

                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              Hydroelectricity may be cleaner from a hydrocarbon point of view, but dams have their own share of problems in environment.

                                              Your leaked heat argument has also been discussed before. We came to the conclusion that leak heat from gas is not (less) wasted in a cold environment than in a hot environment. Actually it may be slightly more efficient to burn your gas on your stovetop for heat, then burn the gas in your main heater and have it delivers to your houses through ducts.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Yes, dams have their own problems, but efficiency is not one of them.

                                                Would you please explain why my kitchen in January is warmer when I'm cooking and my central electric heat isn't kicking on as often? It sure FEELS like the heat is less wasted in a cold environment.

                                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                                Don't be too proud of your hydroelectric energy because it has come with a GREAT cost, and is NOT green in the overall picture of things. By the 1970s, every major and not-so-major river on the west coast of the U.S., all the way from Canada to Mexico, with the exception of one, had been dammed for hydroelectric power. This prevented the rivers from carrying sand into the Pacific, where it fed the beaches all the way to the tip of Baja California and beyond, through what oceanographers and geologists call long shore drift. My second husband and I lived on the beach in Del Mar, California, and saw our beach wander away. Condos built on the bluff in Solana Beach, just north of Del Mar, fell into the ocean because there was no sand being brought to the beaches by the natural process nature had built through eons, so the pounding surf undercut the bluffs, and one day... <<<PLOP>>> millions of dollars worth of condos fell into the water. When my kids were in K-3, we used to walk south to the tide pools along the narrow strip of beach that was still at the foot of the Torrey Pines bluffs. You cannot do that today. I'm told not even at low tide, but I don't go back to California any more because it is too devastating for me to see.

                                                Bottom line, there is a VERY "ungreen" price attached to hydro-electric power. It is long term, and it is very expensive. But television news coverage tells me that an effort is being made to undo some of the damage. Some dams are being destroyed and removed. It's good for the salmon now. It's good for the beaches and the ecology over all in the long term if enough of them are removed.

                                                The continuing and repeated error of man is that he does not look far enough into the future before making a great leap. Thanks to that flaw, we have global warming, greatly diminished beaches in many parts of the world, tons of nuclear waste to store, some of which has half lives that stretch millions of years into the future, and for a quick pay off, we have mad cow disease and high cholesterol problems from messing with the natural diet of cows. Mankind, take a bow!

                                                1. re: Caroline1


                                                  Your last post is great, and there's not much there to argue with. I especially liked "the continuing and repeated error of man" part concerning great leaps without looking far enough into the future. I would only add that the same error also applies to failing to learn from the past.

                                                  It's a much smaller issue, of course, but trying to learn something about the past of induction appliances prior to leaping into a purchase was what this thread was started to inquire about.

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    Yeah, yeah. George Santayana and all that good stuff. Except when it comes to induction cook tops the past is too recent to be past on a truly meaningful scale. My feeling is that while both kinds of electric stoves -- induction and resistance -- may well use the same dirty electricity, cutting back on just how much dirty electricity we use may well be the most meaningful effort we can put forth at this very moment.

                                                    The whole problem with being ecologically conscientious on this big blue planet of a life boat we live on is that you're stuck in it with all thise other people who are sitting there trying to carve their names in the bottom of the boat with no concern as to whether it can stay afloat if punctured! I haven't used an aerosol spray since 1974, the downstairs of my house is 100% CFLs and LED light bulbs, all of my appliances that are available in Energy Star formulations are, but here I am in 2010 stuck with global warming and the whole enchilada that somebody else has made. And they ARE NOT good cooks....!!!

                                                    Here's a little thought for you up there in glorious Seattle. Global warming is real. It's time to plan houses for maximum summer comfort because you can always put on another sweater in the wintertime, but you can only get so naked when it's ridiculously hot. You sure you want a kitchen stove that can't be turned off?

                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                      Let face it the best way to be environmental is to have less kids.

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        Santayana? I think I have a couple of his early albums. Great picker! (JK)

                                                        Good on you for your efforts to conserve energy. But we all keep our "dirty little energy secrets", don't we? Seems I remember a really funny, smart and nice lady from TX with a master electrician son, who uses her Advantium oven to thaw meat, but maybe that was a dream I had.

                                                        "[N]aked when it's ridiculously hot"--works for me! Seriously though, it doesn't get ridiculously hot here, maybe a few days a year at 90 or a bit above, almost never close to 100 and low humidity. That's no reason to be profligate with electricity, I admit, but simply opening a window here is successful planning for maximum comfort.

                                                        I'm only considering the "always on" or pelletized woodstove options for when the monthly outside temps require something more than a sweater. In our short temperate summer here, I'd just use an electric or gas companion burner unit, and fire up an oven only rarely. MAYBE I'd even get a little INDUCTION cookplate (every 5 years or so) with the money I've saved being anachronistic.

                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                          "Good on you for your efforts to conserve energy. But we all keep our "dirty little energy secrets", don't we? Seems I remember a really funny, smart and nice lady from TX with a master electrician son, who uses her Advantium oven to thaw meat, but maybe that was a dream I had.".....................kaleokahu

                                                          Flattery by the bucketful won't get you off that easy! Maybe you ought to truck yourself back on down to Ye Olde Appliance Shoppe and check out the energy consumption of "Auto Defrost" in an Advantium Oven before you go leaping off that high bridge of erroneous conclusions again. One of these days you could break your neck!

                                                          Have you thought about giving Anachronists Anonymous a shot? It's a twelve step program that helps people move forward into the present. Try it, you'll LIKE it...! '-)

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            Do tell... (Whatever I'm told by people who know, you wouldn't believe anyway)

                                                            What IS the energy consumption of an Advantiumaximus on Auto Defrost, and how much lower IS that number than thawing in a panful of water or on an aluminum trivet? Does a professionally-intstalled, whole-house surge suppressor lower it below zero? Does it put sand on the beach? Does it take the cold and put it in your fridge? I'll share your answers with my AA group.

                                                            And I don't dole flattery by the bucket. It's barrels.

                                        2. re: kaleokahu

                                          Okay, one more response, and if I get a pat on the head for this one, I will give up and go off to other topics. You think your chat with the good old boys at the appliance store is scientific inquiry that should hold true for the entire rest of the world? Let me just drop a few rhetorical questions on you, because I tend to think there's not a lot in it for me to continue this discussion. So here goes:

                                          1. You say Seattle, where you live, has no power surges and that I live in the backwaters of polluted civilization. I have but one question for you. Do you use a surge protector between any of your computers and/or peripherals and the raw naked electrical current as it comes out of a wall socket?

                                          2. A power surge doesn't have to be much more than an acceptable "power fluctuation" to something like a light bulb or a toaster, but it just might play hell with electronics. Electronic appliances and electrical appliances are not the same animal, and an induction cook top is not an electrical appliance. It is an electronic appliance.

                                          3. Your little excursion to the appliance store reveals nothing solid. How many induction brands do they sell, and how many of each brand? What is the failure rate for each individual brand? Who does the installation for them, a store "technician" or a licensed master electrician? Is the electrical wiring system of the home between the meter and the appliance checked and determined to be up to code? There are a ton of variables that render your chat with the guys at the appliance store questionable.

                                          Forgive me, but I do get rather irritable with people who think a chat with a salesman is valid information across the board for the entire country or the entire world. Sorry about that, but it's just me. I try terribly hard not to leap from cliffs of misinformation on my own, and don't take lightly to being pushed. From where I sit, the chaps at the appliance store rendered opinions, not facts.

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            Hi, Car:

                                            Sorry you're irritated by the cracks developing in your confirmation bias. I'll try to answer your questions, which aren't rhetorical.

                                            1. I have a few surge suppressors, but they're the kind that trip when there's a surge. So far, so good, no trips, no resets, no electronic failures, even when someone or lightning knocks down a power pole.

                                            2. This isn't really a question, but you get that pat on the head for pointing out that an induction appliance will be MORE subject to destruction from power fluctuations than another fuel appliance. Add that to our growing list of reasons not to buy one.

                                            3. My "little excursion" revealed that some people selling induction appliances--those who have been selling and servicing them for 25 years--have more experience with them, I'd wager, than me, you, or your master electrician son. Yes, my query was at one location and hardly scientific. But could you believe ANY survey, e.g., one of every sales rep in every appliance outlet in America, if its conclusion varied from your as-yet-untested--opinion?

                                            I think the store had 5 or six different brands of induction on display, one or two demo models of each brand, all very high-end stuff, and they sell lots of all the models (and others by special order). The store has been serving the area's luxury appliance demand for many years. I doubt their installations are done by a licensed master electrician, but I'm confident that the existence of a dedicated circuit of sufficient capacity, and everything spec'd by the manufacturer is verified. If you or your son consider a licensed master electrician a necessity, that will be yet another reason (for others, you're lucky to get it for free) to choose something else or decrease its cost-effectiveness and economy.

                                            I DO forgive you your irritability. You REALLY want induction, and so you should have it, regardless of the issues or the facts. I gather many other CHs feel the same as you do. I hope your induction cooktop lasts many years and gives you great pleasure. I also hope that if it does not, you share with us CHs without embarrassment or fear of an "I Told You So."

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              Longtime lurker on these forums. OP, you should know that some people on here are very biased, e.g., very pro-copper/anti-induction. Without fail.

                                              An effort to offer a counterpoint:

                                              Induction has a huge array of advantages over natural gas and efficiency is just one of them. Gas requires more ventilation (costs money and energy), combustion products aren't good to breathe in, and the buildup of crud you get with natural gas on your cookware and on the actual gas range takes time, effort, money, and probably chemicals that aren't good for the environment to get rid of. Induction is safer (esp. with kids and pets around), for obvious reasons. Induction accuracy is literally numeric and repeatable, gas not so much. As an electric grid greens, the greenness of induction greens with it. Natural gas is a bridge fuel that will likely get more expensive and still spits out plenty of CO2, not to mention that methane is by far a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, so the line losses from leaks and cracked concrete casings in frac wells and such makes natural gas barely any better than coal when it comes to overall industrial impact on climate change.

                                              Gas has its own advantages like being able to cook if the power goes out, but as was said, the electric grid in the USA is embarrassingly decrepit, so if we fixed that we wouldn't worry so much about power outages and surges in the first place.

                                              If you're so worried about longevity, OP, buy a Costco induction range or something. The Maytag 10 year warranty and Costco guarantee ought to help. Inductive technology is still evolving, from new IGBT switch designs to conformal coatings and such that have driven prices for induction down. As induction gains traction in the US, economies of scale will also drive induction range prices lower. No matter how much technology progresses, there will always be cheap, bad electronics made, like we see in the computer power supply industry, but you shouldn't be buying that junk anyway so there's little point in discussing junky induction ranges that are not representative of quality units built today and in the future.

                                              1. re: blastingcap

                                                Hi, blastingcap:

                                                Sorry to be the bearer of more emetic...

                                                Among the other errors in your post, Sitram Catering is not induction compatible. If you think it is, the design engineers at Sitram would like to know how to do it dependably.

                                                Regarding the OP's question of nearly 3 years ago, not a lot has changed. If a shopper is of a mind that 3-5 years is "long" enough (and they can deal with the other reasons to avoid induction), then they *might* be happy. People are getting that way with cars, phones, and other electronics-laden things. But they still shouldn't expect decades of trouble-free use, repair or easy parts availability past that point.

                                                You also raise an excellent point concerning what is "representative". Even now, after 23 years of dedicated marketing, there is no standardization, and little apparent effort at attaining longevity. Frankly, the only hope I see (for longevity, since the intrinsic problems remain) is that the makers of lower-end commercial units will increasingly break into the home market with rugged, simplified, affordable-for-value units.

                                                For future reference, which present units do you view to be "representative"?


                                            2. re: kaleokahu

                                              kaleokahu: "Chronologically misplaced, me? Nah."

                                              The more I read the papers, the less I comprehend.
                                              The world and all it's capers, and how it all will end.
                                              Nothing seems to be lasting, but that isn't our affair.
                                              We've got something permanent,
                                              I mean . . . in the way we care.


                                              The radio and the telephone.
                                              And the movies that we know.
                                              May just be passing fancies and in time may go.

                                              But, oh my dear.

                                              Our love is here to stay.
                                              Together w'ere
                                              Going a long, long way.
                                              In time the Rockies may crumble,
                                              Gibraltar may tumble,
                                              They're only made of clay.

                                              Our love is here to stay.

                                              (apologies to George and Ira Gershwin)

                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                        I also appreciate your time to find out this information. However, induction cooktops did not officially become mainstream until 2008, 23 years after that store started selling them. Let's see...

                                        Miele released induction in the US in 2008.
                                        Wolf, Fagor, Viking, Thermador released theirs in 2005/2006.
                                        Bosch - 2007
                                        Diva - 2004
                                        Samsung - 2010
                                        Even Ikea has it now.

                                        I have been keeping my mouth shut on this topic since I'm only a 1-year old induction cooktop user. However, are we supposed to believe that there have been no improvements on reliability over the past 20 years? These players have a pretty good reputation in the industry. Do they really want to release something that will break in 5-6 years just to tarnish their legacy?

                                        Meanwhile, some things to look into:

                                        “They are really hot now,” Rocco said. “The resurgence is due to the fact that the cost has come down substantially and reliability has gone up.”

                                        “Most of the information was passed down, but it's my understanding that the first ones were extremely expensive and a little more prone to quality issues,” says Lori Wood, Sears' buyer of cooking appliances. “If one element went bad, you would need a new cooktop, and it was costly to repair.” But Wood says the technology has been greatly improved and consumers are buying.

                                        " will take some time before data is available on the reliability of the new induction cooktops"

                                        Only time will tell.

                                        1. re: cutipie721

                                          cutipie721: " ...induction cooktops did not officially become mainstream until 2008, 23 years after that store started selling them. Let's see...

                                          Miele released induction in the US in 2008.
                                          Wolf, Fagor, Viking, Thermador released theirs in 2005/2006.
                                          Bosch - 2007
                                          Diva - 2004
                                          Samsung - 2010
                                          Even Ikea has it now."

                                          You make a very important point, cp721. Some hay has been made in this thread about our less than stellar experience with the only model -- late decade of the 1990s vintage -- induction unit that Jenn-Air ever sold.

                                          Not disingenuously, I am certain, Chemicalkinetics suggested in one post that " ... the stats may be meaningless if the numbes are close, but if the difference between the gas vs induction is huge, then it matters less. Pretty much the same idea that you need a small standard deviation (tight numbers) to determine significant difference for small difference, but a large standard deviation will do for large difference."

                                          But the specific units that populate sample sets DO make a very big difference. If you are comparing the relative repair rates of American-made vs. European made automobiles, do you or don't you include Yugos and Trabants?

                                          Previously in this thread, I have analogized to carburetors vs. electronic fuel injection and to Swiss escapement wristwatch mechanisms vs. watches powered by tiny batteries. Allow me to introduce a third: hard disk drives for computers.

                                          In about 1983, smoking in any room that had a hard disk was forbidden, because cigarette smoke could get into a hard disk and cause it to crash fatally. Mountings for computer hard drives were rife with shock absorbing mechanisms, because the drives were so sensitive to vibrations. Even so, the huge 10MB disks -- with the capacity of 40 5.25" floppies! -- of 1983 tended to crash sooner rather than later. (We had one.)

                                          Now, suppose someone had started a thread in 1985 -- two years later -- on the durability of hard disk drives, and the responders in the thread had suggested that they be compared to cassette tape drives. Surely, the manufacturers of both cassette tape drives and hard disk drives have statistics that they can share?

                                          I suggest that looking to our 1990s generation Jenn-Air induction cooktop's history for a clue as to how durable or expensive to repair a 21st century induction cooktop will prove to be is like looking to a 1983 Rodime disk drive's MTBF for clues as to the durability of a 2010 hard disk drive.

                                          1. re: cutipie721


                                            Perhaps you misunderstood. The sellers I talked with yesterday HAVE BEEN SELLING THESE CONTINUOUSLY SINCE 1985. Their opinions on longevity were not limited to, or informed exclusively by, the original units. If we're up to "Inducton 5.0" in 2010, they are selling and servicing those NOW, and their opinions apply to them all.

                                            I neglected to ask them an important question, though. I should have asked what rough percentage of consumers who buy induction either return or replace their units with gas or electric out of dissatisfaction. I know with tankless HWHs vs. conventional, that percentage is higher than one would expect.

                                            I guess we'll see as time and money goes by.

                                            1. re: kaleokahu


                                              I fully understood that the seller you spoke to has been continuously selling induction units since 1985. However, I doubt their experience with a variety of brand names and modern units up until 5 years ago, unless they operate a black market that import non US certified units from Europe and Asia.

                                              It could be the US stringent certification process, or it could be because these people took their time to continue to make products that represents their legacies. Induction cooking has been available since 197x. I learned about it since I was a kid 20 years ago, still remember seeing a TV ad with a half cut up pan, one side with 1/2 a cooked egg, and the other side with the other 1/2 egg raw. Why didn't Miele jump in 15 years ago already, why just now?

                                              And how could I have forgotten to mention this! I did have my unit service at the very early stage of ownership. I think it was more of a cosmetic thing than operation fault, since I was still able to use the cooktop.

                                              I attached a picture of my opened-up cooktop. You see the white surface that was cracked. Probably just some insulating material I guess... Anyway, I'm assuming that the whole disc is the induction coil. The repairman brought a brand new disc to replace it. Took 5 mins.

                                              As far as I can tell, the whole induction cooktop consists of 4 discs and the circuit board for touch pad controls. I am not convinced that if one part fails I'd have to throw the whole thing out.

                                              You don't have to go too far to ask, just google "I F HATE MY INDUCTION COOKTOP" and see what others users have to say. :-)

                                              I'd say let's give induction cooking a fresh look, starting from 5 years ago.

                                              1. re: cutipie721


                                                OK, a fresh look's fair. I guess we're now--5 years into "5 years ago"--at today. So, IF the dealers' experience holds true, they are seeing and will continue to see 5-6 year lifespans, except with a quantitative spike commensurate with induction going mainstream.

                                                Suppose that spike happens as history suggests it might (which I really hope it does not), and it's now 9/28/11 or -/14. If this thread is still alive (and I hope it's NOT), there will be posters who will say something like: "Oh, well, that was the OLD units. The Induction 46.0 units are so more electronic and sophisticated, OF COURSE they're gonna last."

                                                The historical trend with kitchen appliances--as with power tools--is not heavier, more durable, simpler. It is lighter, ever more fragile, more complicated, more cheaply made, even disposable. I think of microwaves and refrigerators an examples of an appliances that while ever more versatile continue to show increasingly lower longevity, more complexity, and less chance of fixing when it breaks.

                                                So I guess we will see, or continue to, as time and money go by...

                                          2. re: kaleokahu

                                            I've never had an appliance salesman tell me anything resembling the truth. They say what they think you want to hear, modified by what they have to sell. (I've very often been told that something, which I know exists, and which I've got a model number for, doesn't exist, simply because the shop doesn't have one.). They make used car salesmen and politicians look like the sort of person Diogenes was after.

                                            And all those individual, discrete electronic components make the thing a whole heck of a lot easier to fix. Not by your typical appliance repair guy, who is a part fitter, and if my experience is typical, not even very good at it. But someone who knows how to repair electronics can do it.

                                            1. re: dscheidt

                                              "And all those individual, discrete electronic components make the thing a whole heck of a lot easier to fix. Not by your typical appliance repair guy, who is a part fitter, and if my experience is typical, not even very good at it. But someone who knows how to repair electronics can do it."

                                              Yes, and no. In a way, what you said is true, however, it may become impractical. We use a lot of scientific instruments at my works. When our instruments go down, we have to send in the vendor engineers to fix them, not just any regular repair guys can do them. The cost for these guys coming down is huge. Hundreds of dollar per hour for service, not including components. They also charge the travel and on-the-road fee.

                                              I am not saying the electricians will charge hundreds of dollar per hour, but you get my point.

                                            2. re: kaleokahu

                                              kaleokahu: "Perhaps most tellingly of all, he confided that his reps are instructed NOT to try to sell extended warranty plans for induction appliances. What's that tell you?"

                                              Almost two years ago, we replaced our Jenn-Air cooktop with an LG all-induction cooktop. We bought the LG at Best Buy. The LG 30845 comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty.

                                              Best Buy really wanted us to purchase an extended warranty. (We didn't.)

                                              LG really, really, REALLY wants us to purchase an extended warranty. LG's imprecations -- almost weekly -- have continued long after the expiry of the original warranty.

                                              As a wise poster once wrote, "What's that tell you?"

                                              1. re: Politeness

                                                I think what it tells me is that Box Store executives are willing to risk taking their chains down like Circuit City just to up the profits/cash flow from thousands of extended warranties. They can just move on, leaving everyone else holding the bag.

                                                As for LG, maybe their imprecations are partially profit-driven and partly prophylactic: "Hey, why are you complaining your cooktop died after two years? We DID offer you an extended warranty, and you turned us down."

                                                Out of curiosity, what did the LG unit cost, and what do they want for a warranty out past 5 years? I would be surprised if they will go past 3.

                                                In contrast, the independent local guys who've been in biz for 60 years won't take those kinds of risks.

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  kaleokahu: "Out of curiosity, what did the LG unit cost, ..."

                                                  I forget the exact price tag, but it was between $1,200 and $1,300.

                                                  "... and what do they want for a warranty out past 5 years?"

                                                  I never inquired. Let us put it this way: if you -- by signing up for an extended warranty with LG -- place yourself on the hands of LG Customer (anti)Service, you are doing the equivalent of designating Dr. Jack Kervorkian as your gerentologist, with power of attorney. It is possible that never in the history of the world has there existed a company that approaches the obligation of customer service more cynically than LG. Never, ever, deal with LG customer service if you have an alternative.

                                                  That said, LG makes some excellent consumer electronics hardware, really top notch.

                                                  1. re: Politeness

                                                    Gee, $1,200 makes the digital watch analogy a little more apt. On my store visit, I don't think I saw an induction top or range that was under double that.

                                                    You are a wiser, more self-actualized person than I, because if I have a bad CS experience, I lose the powers of distinction you display and lapse into dark, bloody thought. I reward bad customer service by dissing the company hither and yon. Are you the true Panchen Lama?

                                            3. Thanks to everyone who responded. I hadnt' realized this would spark so much debate.
                                              I appreciate all your feedback.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: islandgirl

                                                They are not debates. They are merely the two voices in your head. :)

                                              2. I've read this entire thread and will just make a few statements.
                                                o I bought an induction range not cooktop for $1700 earlier this year. So not crazy expensive and I sold my old gas range on craigslist so no waste.
                                                o The appliance salesperson has been in the business for a few decades and is VERY excited about induction. To the point that he got rid of his HUGELY expensive gas to get induction.
                                                o The purchase came with a $200 set of Circulon cookware which I love. They're plenty heavy but I can still lift them.
                                                o The purchase also came with a $100 mail in rebate.
                                                o Oh, and the store was so postive about induction cooking that they GAVE me the extended warranty at no charge.
                                                o Politeness is the person who had the knowledge I was looking for when I started considering this change and Ive read no one else who appears more knowledgeable.
                                                o I love this range. The sensitivity of the burners is amazing, its incredibly fast (how many times have I waited too long to start the pasta water? No longer a problem). I sigh with happiness when cleaning it and so does my husband who too often got stuck with that mean job. I think its terrific to not have knobs or buttons. No cleaning those either. Like others have said, I'd be kicking and screaming if you tried to take it away from me.
                                                o Oops, forgot. I have a flat bottom steel wok that worked just fine when I tried it. This "tool" continues to knock my socks off.

                                                I admit that I LIKE new technology. I dont want to crank the window down on my car and give a hand signal when turning. But there are people who like staying in the past and that's just as valid.

                                                Need to go now. Use my keyless entry, automatic tranmission, air-conditioned, CD-equipped, etc., etc. car. J/K.

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Good on you. I hope you get a lot of good use out of your range and Circulon, for at least four more years. And yes, Politeness is full of good information on many subjects.

                                                  What was the term (duration) of the free extended warranty?

                                                  Would you give one to a dear friend or family member if it wasn't on their bridal registry? ;)

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    1. I do too.
                                                    2. Yes, he is.
                                                    3. Five years.
                                                    4. No

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      That's a GREAT deal. You should share the make and model #. Others will be interested, especially with the mfgr. standing behind their induction ranges for 5 years--for free.

                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        It's a Samsung FTQ307NWGX and the extended factory warranty was given me by the store as a sign of their confidence in the quality of the product.

                                                        Editted to avoid confrontation.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          That's great. Samsung even has a review site, and most people's there are positive.

                                                          Do you not think we're all looking for knowledge and experienced opinions?

                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                        c oliver: "2. Yes, he is."

                                                        In the year or two I have been posting here, I have been very cautious to be gender-neutral (although one frequent poster on this forum knows me from another Internet dimension in which my gender is not concealed). On this forum, I refer to my spouse as "my spouse," So why do you surmise I am a "he?

                                                        1. re: Politeness

                                                          Must be the facial hair :) No idea why. You're one of my heroes even if you ARE a man!!!!

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            c oliver: "Must be the facial hair :)"

                                                            Aha! It's my avatar! Yes, Melo, the wonder dog, 13+ years old and 79.99 pounds (he never will reach 80), is male. But that does nor mean that I necessarily am!

                                                            Melo is Italian for apple tree; we named him that because Italian for apple -- his predecessor in our household was a German Shepherd named Apfel -- is mela, and mela is a feminine noun. But there was no way that Melo could have lived out his life with a feminine name.

                                                            "You're one of my heroes even if you ARE a man!!!!"

                                                            Why, thank you. But I'm not saying that I am, and not saying that I am not. ;-)

                                                            1. re: Politeness

                                                              At least you're not an Airedale. ;)

                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                Have you ever seen Airedale teeth?????

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  LOL. There are teeth in there somewhere? It looks like baleen.

                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                      So, four years later, how's that range going?