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Why would anyone.........

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install an electric cooktop? Isn't gas the standard because it cooks better and is cheaper to use?
We're looking to buy a house and this particular one is the only one we've ever run across that had an electric cooktop. If we buy, should I replace it with gas?

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  1. I don't like Electric Cooktops, but, two of the main reasons why some people like Electric cooktops is:
    1. How easy it is to clean
    2. That modern look

    1. Well, I live in an area with limited natural gas service. Some towns have it, others do not and it simply isn't available outside of town.

      The lack of availability has created generations fo people that don't "know" gas and therefore, they don't even consider propane. Electric is all they have ever known.

      I am one of these people. When we bought a weekend house, I was convinced that I was going to blow up the house everytime I used the propane stove.

      Now that I am comfortable with it, I can't wait to replace my home electric cooktop with gas when we eventually remodel the kitchen.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cleobeach

        And I believe that the newist gas stovetops are sealed units also. We were looking at them not too long ago in Sears. I'd replace my 20 yr old gas stove with one any day.

      2. Not all areas have gas service. Electric cooktops have their problem, but they also have some advantages. No gas leak to worry about, no smell, cheaper, less heat lost to the surrounding....

        16 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          it IS cheaper??? That's a surprise. I would have thought it more expensive than gas.
          TO ALL: the house is located in an area that is served by the local gas co. so it is readily available but, I'm wondering if this particular house is connected. Obviously I will have to find out. Either way, this shouldn't affect our decision to buy.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            When we moved into our house, everything was electric and they had just run gas into the subdivision. I was thrilled to change over to gas but now I might consider induction if I had to have electric.

            1. re: mucho gordo

              "it IS cheaper??? That's a surprise."

              Why is it a surprise? It is cheaper to purchase an electric stove over a gas stove.

              http://www.wisegeek.com/should-i-buy-...
              http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Thanks, Chem. I wouldn't have known. I haven't been pricing them. Electric would probably be sufficient for our needs; it's just that we haven't had to think about it before.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  But you can't blister a tortilla on an induction cooktop -- only reason I'm holding out.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    Even with gas I always use a griddle anyway - it takes a few seconds to warm up, but you get much more even heating.

                  2. re: mucho gordo

                    mucho,

                    While you asked for some counterarguments for electric stoves and I have given some, I also want to concede your points. I think many people do agree with your feeling when you wrote "Isn't gas the standard because it cooks better and is cheaper to use?"

                    I have ran across several polls and many people do share that opinions/views that gas is the standard for cooking because it fits their styles of cooking and in the long run it is cheaper to operate gas than electric -- at least in many areas. So yes, you are correct about these opinions.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks for that, Chem.

                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Hey Chem
                    Up here in canada gas stoves and cooktops are either the same price or gas is cheaper

                    1. re: Dave5440

                      :) Thanks. I think electric stoves are generally cheaper in the US. That is not to say the cheapest electric stoves are cheaper than the cheapest gas stoves. It is just that when we look around the stores and online, there are many more lower budget electric stoves around.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I just checked Home D for the same model range in gas and electric GE and most LG's where the same price. Gas cooktops where also cheaper than all the electrics. When I bought my GE gas dryer it was less than 1/2 the price of electric for the same model.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Given all the bells and whistles available on stoves now, it would be difficult to compare the relative costs of gas and electric stoves. You'd have to pick a narrowly defined pair, e.g. 30" slidein, no frills etc...

                        2. re: Dave5440

                          Hi, Dave5445 and Chem:

                          I may have unintentionally created this sub-issue (re: lowest price). I did not mean to say that coil electric ranges are necessarily less expensive. What I meant to convey was that someone who was choosing between a rock-bottom model of each could very rationally choose coil over gas. I made that statement on the basis that even a widely wound resistive element will generally give a more even heat than a crappy single-ring gas hob. What I meant by acquisition cost is that, generally, one would have to pay more $$ to obtain a gas hobbed stove that is equivalent to a resistive coil for evenness.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            :) You think you started this sub-topic, but looking at the timeline. My post on "cheap" was earlier than yours How do I get out of this mess (about price) now. I got it. I can talk about knives to Dave :P

                      2. re: mucho gordo

                        Our street has gas but it was never run to the house. In order to get the gas run from the street to our house is several thousands of dollars. Then it needs to be plumbed into and under the house.

                        We are young and have other cosmetic issues to address with the house before even considering spending that kind of money. We have a smoothtop range and when it starts failing, we'll buy induction.

                        I'd like a gas range, but I'd like hardwood floors more.

                        1. re: LaureltQ

                          You're lucky. When I bought my all-electric house, I figured paying the city to bring in a gas main would be worth it because then I could cook on gas and put gas logs in the fireplace and never have to shovel ashes again! The cheapest route to get a gas main to me would have cost me $70,000.00! I have a ceramic cook top.

                    2. It would be about 1/4 mile to pipe gas into our house. I would dearly love gas in our kitchen but when we moved here(Phoenix suburbs) nearly all the neighborhoods we were considering were electric only. I have mostly copper cookware so induction is out...so we live with a flat top cooking surface and I've learned how to adapt well to it over the years(typically using multiple burners for temperature control when I need it).

                      I'd still love to have gas...we've talked about trying to pipe the house for a propane tank but aren't committed to this house long term so haven't gone to the expense(though it's already been a ten year "short term" commitment).

                      In cities like Phoenix that saw so much growth in the mid 70's forward electric only homes aren't really that uncommon.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ziggylu

                        i have a 20+ y.o. sealed, glass, gas cooktop. It is GE Monogram and it has served me well. The burners sit above the glass. Ease of cleaning is a big plus. I have considered buying a double burner induction cooker, but have realized it is one more thing I really don't need. Pots and pans are not a problem with induction. Burtpn, Fagpr,Swiss Diamond and Mauviel all make interface discs so that any cookware can be used on induction. I am pretty wedded to gas. If we were to move to a neighborhood or area that did not have gas available I would consider propane as long as the covenants and restrictions don't prohibit it. In that case I might consider induction or I might just keep looking. No gas could be a deal breaker for me.

                        1. re: Candy

                          Phoenix really can be a difficult market to find gas in. First and foremost on our "must" list when we mvoed here was 15 min or less commute, this put us in a suburban area that was built up primarily in the 70s-early 90s which made finding a gas piped house that met our other criteria(including price range - though even high end homes from this era are often electric only out here) just about impossible. I was disappointed but with a decent quality flat top electric I've learned to adapt over the years.

                          It's not my ideal kitchen but it's also not my last. Humans are amazingly adaptable creatures and it turns out you can in fact turn out pretty high quality meals from an electric kitchen. ;)

                      2. Heat, though specifically the installation of an induction cooktop. The induction unit will throw significantly less heat than a gas cooktop which makes the kitchen a whole lot more bearable.

                        1. I'm in the country, no natural gas service within many miles. When building an addition to the house with the dream kitchen and dining room, I got a propane tank that's now rusting and ugly. The entire kitchen layout was dictated by positioning the big cooktop, hood, and exterior venting. Providing the ample ventilation needed creates a source of heat loss, wind noise, and other issues. In very cold weather propane loses heat capacity very noticeably, more so than does natural gas.

                          The installation was extensive and time-consuming, and it adds points of maintenance to the house. I can easily see how other people with different priorities would greatly prefer the ease of installation and care of an electric cooktop, especially if their aesthetic sense prefers that look. Many people do not appreciate the advantages of cooking on a flame enough to justify the additional expense and complication of a properly-engineered gas cooktop center.

                          1. In San Francisco, it is almost impossible to rent a new apartment with gas - because the fires from the earthquakes were compounded by all the broken gas lines, getting gas installed is really, really hard. Only the older homes and apartments (and those willing to spend the money on conversion) are able to have gas.

                            1. Hi, mucho gordo:

                              One would install an electric cooktop if you were on a budget (cheap gas hobs can be worse than cheap electric coils or radiant) and/or wanted a closed-hob setup.

                              I say cook on it for awhile before you decide.

                              Kaleo

                              40 Replies
                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                I would never have thought electric would be cheaper than gas. There must be a reason gas is the standard from high-end restaurants down to the lowly greasy spoon. Aside from cost, my other concern was that I can't control the temperature as well with electric which is probably one of the main reasons gas is std.

                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                  I think gas used to be cheaper but depending where you live electric may be now.

                                  1. re: wekick

                                    The relative prices of electricity and natural gas can vary significantly, both varying with the market and regulations. They can also vary with market. At a wholesale level I believe natural gas prices are low, due to a plentiful supply, but I don't know whether consumers see that. We don't have a natural gas connection (PNW).

                                    I suspect that for cooking, the relative cost of the two isn't that important. For hot water and heating it would matter more. If you have gas heat and hot water, then gas probably is cheaper all around.

                                  2. re: mucho gordo

                                    In urban areas like Chicago there are also instances where electric was use despite the ready availability of natural gas. For apartment buildings/condos the electric utilities used to offer (and may still) substantial financial incentives to developers to use electric for heat/cooking. The developers would walk away and the homeowners/renters would be stuck with significantly higher heating bills than anticipated. (Landlords especially liked the all-electric because you could easily split off the heating bills to renters).

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      Actually, Chicago is very much a "gas" town. It goes back to the day when gas was produces as a by-product of the coke industry (coke, as in fuel, not the beverage) which served the steel industries in town. You don't have to be to old to remember the huge gas tanks rising and falling like enormous concertinas.

                                      Anyhow, electric in the Midwest is very expensive since it produced almost entirely from coal (not the local coal either, which can't be burned cleanly) and nuclear.

                                      Anyhow, the landlords in the apartments that I have rented are more than happy to have the gas company put a whole bunch of gas meters.

                                    2. re: mucho gordo

                                      Hi, mucho gordo:

                                      I think I'm in agreement with others here that it is the acquisition cost that makes electric cheaper. I think the fuel costs are pretty much a wash. Energy used in cooking isn't even a big component of most people's utility bills. And--before anyone starts bragging about induction's efficiency too much--remember that there are not yet ANY of these appliances that are Energy Star certified.

                                      Having said that, I'd prefer gas if I could afford a unit with really good hobs.

                                      Kaleo

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        There isn't even a stove category in the Energy Star program.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          Hi, paulj:

                                          I'm repeating here what an appliance salesman told me when I asked about induction's realized efficiency. And I have read that a few commercial ranges and hoods have the rating. But if there's no category, I guess it doesn't mean much, but it raises the question of why isn't there a category when there are categories for most other major home appliances?

                                          Kaleo

                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                            I based the 'no category' comment on the government Star website.

                                            An important issue is, how are you going to measure efficiency of a stove? Obviously properly equiped lab can measure the power in, whether kwhrs or cubic feet of gas (and convert them to the same energy units). They can also check that the gas combustion is complete (minumum of CO). But how do you standardize a measure of the heat transfer to the food?

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              Hi, paulj:

                                              How to measure stove efficiency? I dunno, exactly. There are a lot of variables, aren't there? The efficiency in Fukushima and all of Japan right now isn't so good, I bet.

                                              But you could come pretty close to meaning by setting some arbitrary standards and assumptions. Like pegging the retail prices of gas and electricity at average national rates, standardize an official test pot (as the Japanese apparently do), agree on a few measurable cooking tests, and meter the energy use. Testing heat leakage from the ovens, testing the "pan as room heater" hypothesis, etc.

                                              Even if the test is something like boiling water, there might be surprises. If induction's typically-higher wattage ratings are adjusted downward to match gas and coil outputs, induction's effective efficiency would shrink. So would it when a highly conductive pan is used on gas or resistive and tested against CI or SS. Or Cu atop a converter disk on induction.

                                              What I was told was that no stoves are presently efficient enough to get the rating. I don't know if that is the reason there is no stove category or not.

                                              But it sure would be useful to have some sort of efficiency rating based on real-world testing (something that goes beyond the old DOE test).

                                            2. re: kaleokahu

                                              Paul may have a point. I think the problem is that a stove is only part of a cooking system.

                                              The energy you put into a gas stove or an electric stove can be easily measured, but the thermal energy captured by the cookware depends more on the cookware than the stoves. A copper cookware will capture more of the combustion energy from a gas stove than a ceramic cookware will. A cast iron cookware will utilize more of the electric energy from an induction stove than an aluminum cookware will. So the thermal energy we can get out of a stove will probably depend on the material and the shape of the cookware more than the stove.

                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                Range hoods can be Energy Star rated. Cooktops, stoves and ovens are not.

                                                http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c...

                                                Coincidentally I'm reading an article from last summer in Dwell magaine (July/August) called The Power Is Yours. Based on data from American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration and Energy Star. Cooking uses only 2.3% of a house's annual energy. The only ones lower were clothes washers (0.6%), freezers (1.7%) and dishwashers (1.9%) I don't think energy efficiency even enters the equation when selecting what technology one wants to use to cook. Maybe others disagree.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Hi, c oliver:

                                                  Really good point. I don't disagree at all.

                                                  It is interesting to run the theoretical efficiency numbers for gas, electric and induction against that 2.3%. Let's see, the average monthly American electric bill is $95.66... 2.3% of that is $2.20 or $26.40 per year attributable to cooking

                                                  Now, IF induction is 30% more efficient than gas or resistive (which I doubt that it is in reality), that'd be pulling your % down to 1.6% or $1.53 per month--$18.42 a year. Net average savings: $7.98 per year, or 66 cents per month,

                                                  Hmmm.... $1,500 induction cooktop.... Time to recoup investment in energy savings @$7.98 per year?: About 188 YEARS (not including interest on your money) .

                                                  Let's say you're sensible and eco-respsonible, and you kept your electric until it died, and now want to REPLACE it with an induction range that costs $400 more than a resistive one (nevermind the shorter oven) . GOOD NEWS! ONLY 50 YEARS to recoup!

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    kaleokahu, I believe I mentioned that energy efficiency didn't enter into my decision AT ALL. I use it because of all those other real-life things that get brought up regularly. I gave those statistics to make that point. The gas range I replaced? I sold it so there was no waste in that regard.

                                                    PS: I'm not going to discuss this with you. You just go ahead and hold tight buddy :)

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Hi, c oliver:

                                                      I admire your recognition that the energy efficiency didn't enter into it. You are always straightforward.

                                                      I just wanted *others* to understand how minuscule the savings are of one hob over another so they can ignore the claims that it makes any real difference...

                                                      Holding Tight, ;)
                                                      Kaleo

                                            3. re: kaleokahu

                                              I've never even contemplated using electric, Kaleo,; the topic never came up. In my mind gas worked better and an electric appliance would require a tremendous amount of power usage. Plus, with gas, I would be able to cook when power failed.
                                              Now that I think of it, we do use a small convection oven and it doesn't seem to draw that much juice so, maybe I could be happy with electric for the small amount of actual cooking I do.

                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                Hi, mucho gordo:

                                                I really don't have a dog in this fight; I have electric and gas, and like them both. I like judging the heat by the flame, so all things being equal, I'd pick gas. But resistive electric gets such vehement slams here, and induction gets such uncritical, zealous praise, that a little reality is a good addition.

                                                I'm also counterculture insofar as I value my cookware's contribution at least as highly (within wide limits) as I do the appliance or heat source. IMO, going with induction is like playing the Junior Varsity instead of putting the best players in the game.

                                                So I'm back to my original answer to your OP--cook on the electric for a month or two and then decide what you want to do.

                                                Aloha,
                                                Kaleo

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  Thanks, Kaleo. Assuming we're able to buy the house, that sounds like the most sensible thing to do.

                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                    The "Junior Varsity"? Do you really think that Thomas Keller put induction cooktops in the kitchen at The French Laundry because he can't tell the difference between cooking methods that work and those that don't? That the staff at Daniel "makes do" with induction but wishes that Mr. Boulud had installed resistant electric elements? That the folks who cook at Alinea would really prefer to be cooking on a woodstove? No, induction is popular among professional cooks because it works very, very well.

                                                    To continue your sports analogy, a squad that's small and fast is different than but not inherently inferior to one that's taller but slower; a batting order that's oriented toward slugging and one that's got speed on the bases are both viable options; and a defense that's geared to stuff the run is sometimes preferable, while other times you want to shut down the passing game.

                                                    Gas and induction are different. For some applications, one works better than the other. But nobody who knows what they're talking about would ever claim that either of them is significantly inferior to the other.

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      Hi, alanbarnes:

                                                      Actually, I don't think induction is all that popular among professional cooks. I bet statistically, the market share for induction hobs in pro kitchens is lower than the share in the residential market.

                                                      But you missed my point about the JV, which is despite what merits induction has (and there are several), IMO it excludes use of the best cookware. No one needs to cook on induction to conclude that. You are content with that limitation; I'm not, so go in peace.

                                                      Kaleo

                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        If you include every diner and fast food restaurant in America in your definition of "pro kitchens," I'm sure you're right. Applebee's and Burger King don't have much call for induction cooktops. But they're commonplace in fine-dining restaurants - far more so than in residential kitchens.

                                                        As far as "the best cookware," I completely disagree with your premise that better pans make better food. Let's look at a top-tier commercial kitchen again. The cooks there don't use expensive French copper or 37-layer name-brand department-store clad crap.

                                                        Seriously, the best cooks in the country - those who cook for a living and consistently turn out innovative, delicious, and technically perfect food - tend to rave about induction cooking. But they generally aren't impressed by overpriced cookware.

                                                        Again, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. If you've got something that works for you, go for it. But please don't be so dismissive of those who disagree with you. That group includes a lot of people who've forgotten more about food and cooking than either of us will ever know.

                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                          I recently went to a restaurant supply store and bought an induction-compatible, 20 qt. stock pot for $60. The All-Clad, non-induction one was in the $400 range. I don't think my double recipe of pho broth could tell the difference :) Oh, right, it wouldn't have worked in that particular All-Clad one. Dang.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            A $400 All-Clad stock pot? Puh-leeze. You think you can actually make decent food in that thing? Repeat after me: better cookware makes for better food and more enjoyable cooking. Now get out there and drop $1,500 on a copper kettle.

                                                          2. re: alanbarnes

                                                            Hi, alanbarnes: "But please don't be so dismissive of those who disagree with you. That group includes a lot of people who've forgotten more about food and cooking than either of us will ever know."

                                                            With respect, the only person dismissed here for disagreement is... me. Equating preference for gas with Applebee's and Burger King? The fact remains that far more chefs and restaurants across broad spectra of reputation and reviewed quality have stuck with gas over induction.

                                                            I never said categorically that better pans make better food. Actually, I said great cooks can make the best food in almost anything, however crappy. It is my *opinion* that, among the whole population of home cooks, better cookware generally makes for better food and more enjoyable cooking, and that copper and aluminum cookware is generally better than clad and cast iron in this regard. But induction precludes those. Again, just my opinion.

                                                            Aloha,
                                                            Kaleo

                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                              "It is my *opinion* that, among the whole population of home cooks, better cookware generally makes for better food and more enjoyable cooking"

                                                              Come to think of it. Really great cooks probably do not need the high performance cookware to make good foods. Their good sense and skill help them overcome heat unevenness and slow heat response. Yet, really bad cooks also probably cannot take advantages of the good cookware. Ironically, probably the immediate cooks make the most of good cookware? Maybe. Assuming it is like sharpening stones..... really good knife sharpeners do not need the most expensive stones to sharpen knives and really bad knife sharpenerrs.... same. It is the immediate people who reply most on the stones.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Chem: You are always so good at refining what I should have written. I should have taken into account the "burns water" subset.

                                                                This is actually a great topic. I get great pleasure out of watching Jamie Oliver and the Two Fat Ladies casually whomping up their excellent food in and on old, banged-up cookware and appliances (and in Oliver's case, open fires). Haven't seen either show featuring latest-model cookware or induction, either, come to think of it...

                                                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                You seem to be reading a lot into other peoples' posts that just isn't there. Nobody is claiming that gas stoves don't work well, or that everybody should rip out what they have and install induction. Gas works very well. But induction does too, and you seem to be unwilling or unable to grasp that fact despite the fact despite the opinions of virtually everyone who has used it.

                                                                Nobody here is a zealot. Nobody here is claiming that induction is the second coming and without fault or flaw. Nobody is threatening to march into your house, take away your gas stove, and force you to use this new-fangled technology. But plenty of folks who know what they're talking about believe that induction cooking is highly effective. Why is that so hard for you to accept?

                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                  "Nobody here is a zealot. Nobody here is claiming that induction is the second coming..."

                                                                  Cough, cough.

                                                                  Really? I guess you haven't been reading the same threads I have (including this one.)

                                                                  1. re: flourgirl

                                                                    Being a zealot is more than just acknowledging a preference, or even voicing the opinion that one thing is better than another. It requires fanaticism and an unwillingness to tolerate other people's views.

                                                                    The vast majority of those who have actually used induction strongly prefer it to gas. But calling them zealots for that is like calling someone a zealot for preferring a flush toilet to an outhouse.

                                                                    On this thread, I haven't seen a single advocate of induction disparaging those who prefer gas stoves. But there's been plenty of name-calling (most of which the moderators have thankfully deleted) directed at those who describe their own positive experiences with and preferences for induction. The intolerance seems to be all be on one side of the argument. So really, now, who's the zealot?

                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                      Hi again alanbarnes:

                                                                      "Being a zealot is more than just acknowledging a preference, or even voicing the opinion that one thing is better than another. It requires fanaticism and an unwillingness to tolerate other people's views."

                                                                      Yep, exactly. Let me be clear, the zealotry to which I refer is the strong *negative* reactions whenever someone here points out the faults, flaws, tradeoffs and uncertainties involved with induction. Not anyone's positive expression of their preferences.

                                                                      And for the record, I accept that induction cooks well. Never said otherwise.

                                                                      Aloha, Kaleo

                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                        What "strong *negative* reactions"? I haven't seen any on this thread. Can you identify one for me, or are you just making stuff up?

                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          Hi, alanbarnes:

                                                                          I said "strong negative reactions".

                                                                          Not taking the bait, it wouldn't be about cookware. Hit the Expand All button here, search "Induction", and/or search your profile's listings. You'll have to remember what has been removed.

                                                                          Aloha,
                                                                          Kaleo

                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                            Alan: the response to my reasonable uses for a direct gas flame (roasting single chiles and warming tortillas) was basically "Well, you shouldn't be doing those things anyway and they'll be better if you did them on induction," even though the chile one especially just doesn't work as well without the direct flame.

                                                                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                              Jenny, I read those comments, and think you're mischaracterizing them. You said that you like to heat tortillas and char peppers on a gas flame; someone else pointed out that you can do that on an induction stove by using a griddle. Your response was that you can have a dozen tortillas hot and ready to go in less time than it takes you to pre-heat your comal.

                                                                              Frankly, gas works better than induction for the applications you mentioned. And I never saw a comment saying a post that said you shouldn't be using your gas stove for those things. To the contrary, those who responded to you acknowledged that induction requires a work-around.

                                                                              Maybe there were posts that got deleted before I saw them. But from what I saw, nobody chided you for using gas. They just said that induction can work, too.

                                                            2. re: alanbarnes

                                                              To add to your pro-induction arguments - and not to take away from gas, particularly since I see no reason to choose between the two, as modular units are only marginally more expensive than ranges, given the same number of total burners - we've been using induction in laboratories since the 80's when we need a fast, accurate temperature response, as well as the ability to accurately sustain a set temperature over a long period of time, that gas just can't provide.

                                                              1. re: gadfly

                                                                Good point, gadfly. I'm sure the units used in labs are quite finely calibrated but even my home version amazes me. When making Hazan's Bolognese sauce, she instructs to cook where only the occasional bubble breaks the surface. When I made it with my gas cooktop, even using a foil "donut" to diffuse the heat, to get THAT low, too often the flame went out. Not a problem with the induction. It's low and simmer are very, very low indeed.

                                                        2. re: kaleokahu

                                                          'The Science of Good Food', Joachim and Schloss, 2008 (Canadian publisher) under Heat, subsection Induction Heating gives these estimates:
                                                          "The chief advantage of induction heat is that only 10% of the heat that is generated is lost to the air, compared with a 30% heat loss ffom electric coil burners and up to 65% heat loss from gas burners." p302

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            Hi, paulj: Good to know. Is that *part* of the DOE efficiency differential or separate and apart? Is there a citation given for this?

                                                            Thanks

                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                              No citations.

                                                            2. re: paulj

                                                              Thanks, paulj. 'Course many of us already know that but it's good to add emphasis.

                                                      2. Unless you use the flames from the burner directly to toast/char, it shouldn't be a big factor. The big advantage of gas is the instant control, but the average cook isn't going to need something that precise often. The other factors are a wash over their lifetimes.

                                                        1. Induction. I've been cooking with it for over a year now and could never go back to gas! If I were looking at houses to buy and found one with gas, it wouldn't be a deal breaker but I'd sell the gas cooktop/range on craigslist and replace it with induction. There's plenty of info here and elsewhere on it.

                                                          1. For the generation who were young adults in the 1950s when the "totally electric home" was a big deal, gas may seem old fashioned.

                                                            People who aren't really "into" cooking probably don't care.

                                                            In some areas, electric companies sell electricity at a cheaper rate to people with all-electric homes.

                                                            And perhaps the newest reason: induction.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: KansasKate

                                                              Hi, KK:

                                                              You omitted perhaps the biggest reason: Developers want to scrimp by not installing gas infrastructure, and "convince" the permitting agencies to allow *not* piping developments and multi-unit buildings for gas.

                                                              Kaleo

                                                            2. mucho gordo: "Isn't gas the standard because it cooks better and is cheaper to use?"

                                                              Possibly -- just possibly -- it is cheaper to use. "Better"? No way, if induction (energy source is electric) is part of the equation.

                                                              "We're looking to buy a house and this particular one is the only one we've ever run across that had an electric cooktop. If we buy, should I replace it with gas?"

                                                              That would be the first option if the street outside your house were filled with horse-drawn carriages. This is the 21st century; induction has left gas behind as 1080p HD digital television has left analog CRT-based television behind.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: Politeness

                                                                Your probably right, Politeness. I'm really not very knowledgeable about this newfangled induction stuff and it hadn't even entered my thoughts as a viable alternative. it's sort of like back in the '60's when "radar ranges" were the new rage.

                                                                1. re: Politeness

                                                                  I just gave myself a crash course in induction cooking and noted that I would need special cookware to use one. In addition to the cost of the cooktop, I would have to replace all the pots and pans, which can't be that cheap.

                                                                  1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                    All of your pots and pans are non ferrous ??

                                                                    I can only think of 1-2 pots and pans that i have that aren't induction friendly. And i almost never is them, so it wouldn't be any real loss.

                                                                    1. re: LaureltQ

                                                                      On 2nd thought, I might be alright with what I have . If anything, I'd need 1 or 2 pans.

                                                                    2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                      All your cast iron, if any, works great. I bought a entire set of induction-compatible cookware at Costco for $200. I gave some good but no longer useable cookware to one of our daughters. She described it as "Christmas in February" :)

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        Hi, c oliver:

                                                                        CI works great unless you have a certain manufacturer (Viking). They claim to have debugged this.

                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                    3. re: Politeness

                                                                      Ok, Politeness, the thought just entered my mind: Basically, my only options are gas or electric. Isn't induction just a new-fangled electric stove or is there a gas option?

                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                        Induction burners run on electricity, so in that sense it's just a "new-fangled electric stove." The way it works is fundamentally different than a resistant electric coil, though, so some folks would argue that it's a third technology that's separate from the other two. But that's just semantics.

                                                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                          And not really so "new-fangled" :) It's been around for decades according to some websites but more in Europe. Then commercial kitchens. And now homes. When I saw the one at Ikea for $1K, I thought 'okay, it's now going mainstream.' I'm better a 'nicer' electric cooktop would be that price probably.

                                                                    4. >>"Isn't gas the standard because it cooks better and is cheaper to use?"<<

                                                                      No. Induction is the standard because it cooks better and is cheaper to use.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                        Cheaper to use....NOT. Between the cost of electricity (which in this neck of the woods is high-cost Western coal and nuclear) and the additional cost of the stove, which is not insignificant, and the cost of replacing incompatible cookware, gas is a winner here.

                                                                        As far as which "cooks better", I would argue that the type of stove doesn't really matter, since heat is heat. Gas and induction both respond quickly, which is nice, but they won't make you a better cook. Sorry.

                                                                        Environmentally, the relative impact of stoves varies depending on where you are at. In the US, the AVERAGE consumer will produce around half the CO2 using gas vs. induction. (See the link at the bottom of the page). Too much electricity in this country is produced by burning fossil fuels, and too much electricity is produced far, far away from the consumer, meaning a substantial (around a third) of the power produced is lost in the transmission of electricity.

                                                                        I think induction is an awesome option, particularly if you're options are limited to electric.

                                                                        http://www.sixlinks.org/People/Steven...

                                                                        1. re: MikeB3542

                                                                          Okay, one thing at a time...

                                                                          Operation costs - the article you linked to found that "Induction comes out the clear winner in energy usage." If electricity is much more expensive than gas where you live, then maybe the operating cost of a gas stove will be lower. But the price difference would have to be pretty huge for that to be the case.

                                                                          Cookware replacement - induction cooking doesn't require special pots and pans. No, you can't use aluminum or copper, but aside from that most everything works.

                                                                          Stove cost - induction stoves are less expensive than similarly-powered gas stoves. Well, not really, since no residential gas stove has burners that match the output of an average induction stove (see below), but you get the idea. Also, a high-powered gas stove requires a much more expensive ventilation system.

                                                                          Environmental impact - I'm not sure how much CO2 comes from residential cooking as opposed to other source; I agree that we produce too much electricity by burning coal. But there's no way to burn gas without releasing greenhouse gases; as we derive more of our electricity from sustainable sources, the environmental impact will tend to favor induction.

                                                                          "Cooking better" - generally speaking, induction burners generate more heat than residential gas burners. A 3600w induction element is the equivalent of a 26,000btu gas burner. Whether you're searing a steak or boiling pasta water, that's a good thing. Also, a typical induction element can be turned down lower than most residential gas burners, which is better for simmering, etc.

                                                                          While I believe that current induction cooking technology is superior to gas, reasonable people can and do disagree. But induction stoves are getting better and cheaper with each passing year, so it's a fair bet that the gap will widen over time.

                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                            Hi, alanbarnes:

                                                                            "induction cooking doesn't require special pots and pans. No, you can't use aluminum or copper, but aside from that most everything works."

                                                                            Not really. Not all SS is induction compatible. The magnet test kinda works, but still the only way to tell for sure before you shell out $$$ for the induction range is to TEST YOUR OWN PANS.

                                                                            As for efficiency, the only meaningful study I've seen is a British one that compared energy and payback costs for a small restaurant switching from gas to induction. Its conclusion was that it would take 2-7 YEARS (of serving 250 lunches and 250 dinners daily) to recoup the costs of conversion.

                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                              While it's true that not all stainless steel is induction-compatible, most of it always has been, and nearly everything that's being made now is.

                                                                              As for efficiency, the study you recall makes my point for me - it's less costly to operate an induction cooktop than one that burns gas. The difference may be small compared to the purchase price, and I never claimed that the savings would justify ripping out a perfectly good gas stove. But when it comes to the cooktops I'm interested in, induction is less expensive to purchase, to install, and to operate. What's not to like?

                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                To give a couple of examples, Ikea is selling an induction cooktop for $1K and I just bought a second range with induction cooktop and convection oven for $1800.

                                                                                I get so weary when all these semantics get thrown around on this subject. Induction is IT in my book. Witness the fact that I just bought it a second time.

                                                                          2. re: MikeB3542

                                                                            http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/tools/faqs/f...
                                                                            estimates that T&D (transmission and distribution) losses in the USA are about 6.5%. Long distance transmission is done at very high voltages for the very purpose of minimizing transmission losses.

                                                                            Most natural gas is produced far away from consumers as well, and requires pipelines and energy consuming compression. If electricity is produced locally, it is most likely done with natural gas burning gas turbines.

                                                                            http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/tools/faqs/f...
                                                                            According to this table cooking accounts for 2.3% of total residential electrical consumption. Cooling, lighting and heating are the big uses.

                                                                        2. If you have a cooktop w/ separate wall ovens, you could wait to replace the cooktop. I don't think it will be long until there are some good combo (gas + induction) cooktops in the US. There are already several options in Europe & Australia. Both the KitchenAid KHMF9010 "Step" and the Highland HT3CIN look pretty good. Why not have the best of both worlds?

                                                                          If what you have is an electric range, you could replace it with an induction (all electric) range or a dual-fuel range (gas burners + electric oven). Either one would be a big improvement over a range w/ electric coils.

                                                                          1. Show me the induction range that allows me to roast chiles and warm tortillas directly on top of the burner and maybe we'll discuss it. Until then: gas.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                                                              My 'gas' solution is a butane hotplate.

                                                                            2. I grew up with electricity, and gas has always struck me as dangerous and unhealthy.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                I grew up with electric, and even as a kid, I hated cooking on it. I couldn't wait to get a place with a gas range.

                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                  Same with me.

                                                                              2. Living in a coastal area prone to hurricanes, natural gas is not available. Propane tanks can be used, but for the house we're in the process of buying even a propane tank is prohibited. Only electric or induction are possible, and were I to get an induction range I'd have to replace most all my cookware - at least all the cookware I use daily. I'm rather fond of my cookware so that leaves electric as the only option. I'd really prefer gas, and would even accept propane, but for this particular house the fabulous oceanfront location outweighs the disadvantage of an electric range. Besides, I've been cooking on electric for many years, and have learned to use it to good advantage.

                                                                                1. My wife (who is the self-admitted non-cook of the family) would MUCH prefer to not have gas, simply becaue she's paranoid about blowing up! (There was a gas explosion last month about 5 minutes from our house - I think 5 people were killed and most of a block was destroyed.)

                                                                                  We also had a weird experience a few weeks after that explosion. I was cooking in the kitchen (on our gas stove) and we both smelled the scent of kerosene or something similar. We couldn't explain it, and then my wife Googled it. We had our hardwood floors refinished that week, and the fumes from the polyutrethane gave off a scent similar to kerosense when they interacted with the flame from the stove. Freaked us both out... Go figure!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                    I had a similar thing happen when we redid our kitchen (and had new wooden floors put in). I was sure they'd hooked up our gas stove incorrectly, because I smelled something odd when I was cooking on it. Turned out to be the floor, just as you had smelled.

                                                                                  2. Because there's no gas in our neighborhood, and if I had to wrestle propane cylinders, I'd quit cooking.

                                                                                    22 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Makes sense to me.

                                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                        it's weird -- only once in my life have I ever lived in a house that had a gas stove, or even had gas available...Wasn't ever a plan, it just worked out that way.

                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          And I was never exposed to an electric stove except that my aunt had one back in the '40's. They had money and, at my very young age then, I assumed that an electric stove was one of the perks of wealth.

                                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                            I am living proof that one can have an electric stove/cooktop and not be wealthy...! :D

                                                                                            I did get the chance in the last move to step up from the crappy old coils to a glasstop cooktop...and while I had a learning curve(doesn't every new cooking appliance) I'm very pleased with it...and wouldn't go back to coils for love nor money.

                                                                                            I don't know how much of a disaster I'd create at this point if I had to cook on gas, after not using it for most of my life!

                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                              We're going to take our first look at the house on Sunday. Checking out the cooktop will be tops on my list.

                                                                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                Hope you like it. But I'd put many more things on the list ahead of that. IT can be changed :)

                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                  Fer sure. Uppermost on our list is overall size ( the house is bigger than what we have now) and kitchen size. We have very little counter/prep space now. No room for more than 2 small appliances on the counter. Photos of the new one look great.

                                                                                                2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                  Hi mucho gordo,

                                                                                                  While you're at it, you might want to check to see if there is possibly gas stubbed out in the kitchen. Or, for that matter, if there is gas to the property.

                                                                                                  I don't know where you are but, in Texas, where I'm planning to move, there are lots and lots of electric stoves and cooktops. Heating systems, though, are almost exclusively gas. That's a plus for me since I should be able to move my gas stove there and get it installed without a whole bunch of hoo-haw. At most, a coupla pipes run through the attic.

                                                                                                  (I hope...)

                                                                                                  Lucy

                                                                                                  1. re: I used to know how to cook...

                                                                                                    The house is plumbed for gas; the fireplace in the LR has a gas starter. I'll be sure to check the kitchen.

                                                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                      Excellent!

                                                                                                      Lots of options for you...

                                                                                                      Lucy

                                                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                        Good news. When you check the electrical, see if the range circuit is 50 amp.

                                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                          AHA! Thanks, kaleo. I wouldn't have known to check on that.

                                                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                            If you decide to convert to gas, it won't be an issue. Even if you stick with electric, a 40-amp circuit is probably enough (emphasis on "probably"). You can even get by pretty well with less. But if you've got 50 amps, the juice will never be a limiting factor.

                                                                                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                              Hi, mucho:

                                                                                                              A substantial percentage of the induction appliances offered at theinductionsite.com require 50A circuits. Just check your circuit against what you're shopping for.

                                                                                                              Kaleo

                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                Isn't 50 amp pretty standard, at least in somewhat newer construction?

                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                  Our LG LCE30845 requires 32 amps. It is not underpowered. Most modern (reistive) electric ranges want 50 amps.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Politeness

                                                                                                                    I don't have my installation manual handy for my Samsung. But we did a big, whole house remodel six years ago when I was still using gas and the breakers are 50.

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      Was looking everywhere for a paper that I didn't find but did come across the installation manual for the range. 40 amps.

                                                                                                                  2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                    Just to clarify a bit, a four-element 30" cooktop will work fine with a 40-amp circuit. Most 36" cooktops have 5 elements and require 50 amps; exceptions are pretty rare. Ranges are split about equally - you'll have choices, but power supply will be a limiting factor.

                                                                                                                    http://theinductionsite.com/north-ame...

                                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                      Thanks, ab. Mine is a 30", 4 burner.

                                                                                                              2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                Sounds like you've got lots of good options then. Good luck with the new place.

                                                                                                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                  Thanks, Alan. Let's hope the house suits us and our bid is accepted. According to our cousin, who is representing us both as a broker and attorney, the house is in 'move-in' condition. We'll find out Sunday. 20 years in this place is way too long.

                                                                                                3. Gas isn't available here and I'm afraid of the small propane tanks like you use on a gas grill, which is what I would have to use. I don't have a gas grill either, only charcoal.