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Why don't more Americans use induction?

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I recently got a new range with induction cooktop, and have been absolutely blown away by its capabilities. It far outperforms any electric range on the market with its instant responsiveness (here it replaced a halogen flattop that had been driving me crazy since we moved into this place). It outperforms gas at both ends of the temperature spectrum, with the ability to hold a steady ultra-low simmer AND get hotter on its largest burner than the hottest legal-for-home-use gas ranges like the Capital Culinarian and Blue Star. All while being so easy to clean up it's crazy - you can even lay sheets of paper towels under your pans while you're cooking to catch spatters and spills.

Add to that the safety and energy-efficiency aspects, and it's hard to imagine using anything else.

Granted there are two drawbacks: you can't use a round-bottomed wok very effectively (I don't do wok cooking), and you must use ferrous cookware (but that just gave me an excuse to go out and buy some dream items that I'd wanted but couldn't justify getting because I already had pretty good versions in the house).

Induction has been around for well over 75 years. It's hugely popular in Europe and Australia, is catching on fast in restaurant kitchens and high-end homes, but according to the statistics I've been able to glean from the Web, only some 2% - 5% of American homes currently have induction cooktops. What gives?

  1. Comfort level. People who cook with gas like the visual feedback. And they also like the ability to use whatever pots/pans they may already own. For anyone updating an electric cooktop then, for me at least, it's the more obvious choice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      I was forced to move to induction from gas when I moved (condo in new country does not allow gas - condo in Toronto was one of the few with gas). I still prefer gas, primarily because I use a wok. I did find a curved induction surface to use with a traditional wok but it is near impossible to properly season the thing on induction since the heat rises - and induction shuts off very quickly (I don't have an oven most condo's here in Thailand don't have it and I am renting). I still prefer gas, but I could also see myself installing a gas jet wok with a few induction cooking surfaces.

      1. re: ferret

        Additionally - certain cookware like a brass wok (for deserts) -- probably would not work on induction :o

      2. Most don't use it because they already have a range which works for them, and do not wish to incur the cost of replacement until necessary. Others avoid switching during a kitchen upgrade because they already have a gas connection, and do not want to incur the cost of adding a 220v outlet for an electric range of any type. Then there's the problem of cookware. Also, they might just like gas.

        I am in the latter category. I expect to replace my gas range soon with another gas range. But I like the idea of a supplemental portable induction cooktop, so will probably get one of those.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GH1618

          Hey GH, I've just GOT to send you an email off-line - please send me something that I can reply-to in my profile. I think that you'll find it really funny.

        2. Here's a link to a recent New York Times piece on the subject:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/din...

          4 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            Good article, thanks. Though that one guy who complains of his pots boiling over just needs to learn to keep the heat lower - I've only had mine for two weeks, but already I've learned that unless I'm boiling water, I never turn the burners higher than 6 (on a scale of 1 to 10). On the largest burner, using my Le Creuset cast iron skillet, even 6 was almost too high to sear some steaks, after I flipped them I had to turn it down to 5. But I'm quickly figuring out what number works for what.

            1. re: BobB

              Hi, Bob:

              I find this very interesting. If consumers don't have need for Settings 7-10, that means these induction appliances really have only six power settings available to them. Gas and most resistive electrics have infinitely-adjustable controls and hence the ability to interpolate between discrete settings.

              Do you have finer gradations (e.g., 1-100, so that you have many steps from 1-60), or are you cooking with 1-6? If it's the latter, it's the equivalent of having detent switches like my 1953 GE Airliner has.

              This will get me flames, I'm sure, but to answer your OP question in a way that no one yet has, I think there are a lot of people who consider cooking on induction somewhat soulless compared with gas. Many people find gas flames alive, cheery and intimate, and they may find induction to be cold, sterile and somewhat detached. This is not a completely rational thing, but I believe it is a demographic truth. Just as I don't get the same rewards and feelings of involvement cooking things in a MW that I do otherwise, so I think I wouldn't with an induction cooktop.

              I think I still may pick up an Aroma induction hotplate at Costco for $50, though.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu

                Kaleo, I do hope you pick up the induction hotplate at Costco - what a good buy iMO.

                I bought a new glass cooktop range 5-6 years ago and would have replaced it within the last year if I could find a range that had the areas of cooktop that my range has. I see 2-3 slide-in ranges that are induction, but so far they are skimpy on the areas used for induction cooking. Every now and then I check them out, and am waiting.

            2. re: GH1618

              Late to the party, but great article. Thanks!

            3. Because we are an energy rich countries compare to Europe and Australia. The energy cost in US is lower than those countries.

              The energy efficiency argument is very subjective for the induction cooking. It isn't necessary more efficient than gas -- if you account from beginning to end.

              With all due respect, I am impressed with induction cooking. I am just saying that the picture is not so one-sided.

              52 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I agree that one should at the total picture. For axample, in California, a lot of electricity is produced from natural gas anyway. An induction hob is more efficient in putting more of the energy into the pot and the food than into the surrounding air, compared to gas, but I heat my home with gas anyway. When I cook during heating season, the heat of cooking is just part of my heating system. This would be true even if I heated with something other than gas.

                1. re: GH1618

                  Exactly. I agree with you. The induction cooking hob itself is more efficient, but the power plants have to convert something (coal, gas...etc) to electricity first, and there is a ~60% energy loss at the plants.

                  So really this is the situation (spelling out for other readers)

                  Induction cooking: energy loss occurs at the power plants
                  Gas cooking: energy loss occurs at your home.

                  Both are about 50-60% energy loss.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    "When I cook during heating season, the heat of cooking is just part of my heating system. "

                    True, but it's the opposite in summer, when the heat of cooking puts an extra strain on the AC system. So I guess we should all have two stoves and use gas in the winter, induction in the summer.

                    1. re: BobB

                      To make it simpler and forget about heater and AC, an induction cooktop simply is not more energy-efficient than a gas stove.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        But it's much much more efficient than any other electric alternative. Plus it allows for much more precise cooking and it's much safer.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          CK, what criteria are you using when you say induction cooking is not more efficient than gas cooking? Energy consumption? How much it heats the ambient air around the cooking vessel? What's your criteria? Curious minds and all that jazz!

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Wow, I really haven't been reading this thread for a long time.

                            I meant that the induction cooking is not more efficient than gas cooking since they are about the same for energy consumption. I think we have this discussion before. Induction is very efficient from the stove to the pans (>90% efficient), but electricity is not a raw fuel, and it has to be generated in the first place. So the raw power of coal or gas has to be generated wtih a 60% loss at power plants. Gas cooking, on the other hand, is not very efficient from the stove to the pan, but it itself is a raw material/fuel, so the lost of gas transferring to your house is small.

                            The simplist comparison would be gas generated electricity for induction. For gas to convert to electricity, there is a 60% loss at the power plants, and then we have another <10% loss at your stove.

                            For gas cooking, you will have a 40% of heat going to the pans, and 60% goes to the surrounding, thus 60% loss. Yet, there is gas loss in the pipeline is small.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Gas itself is a " raw product " ?

                              No processing, flaring of resiudal gases, removal of water and other impurities, and additives ( like tert-Butylthiol, the "smell additive" for safety ) ?

                              That would make the oil and fuel industry obsolete.

                              I share your concern about usage of more efficient sources of power, but there are significant expenses involved in the production and distribution of both electricity and household " natural " gas.

                              A better concern is which power source IN YOUR REGION is more efficient, and less costly to deliver and use in the kitchen.

                              Someone near hydroelectic or wind-powered, and possibly water-action power sources might actually be better served by induction cooking. Conversely, anyone living near a refinery may find that " natural gas " may be better to use at home, and even for powering vehicles.

                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                <No processing, flaring of resiudal gases, removal of water and other impurities, and additives ( like tert-Butylthiol, the "smell additive" for safety ) ? >

                                In that line of argument, even oil is not a raw energy source. I was discussing what many of us call primary energy sources which contain raw energy fuels. This includes natural gas.

                                http://www.eoearth.org/article/Primar...

                                Gas is a more purified form of its origin, but it is not transformed as electricity. You cannot purify something and get electricity, right? Electricity is a secondary energy, not primary. You got to appreciate that electricity can be generated from gas, which means electricity is one more level beyond gas.

                                Most Americans electricity is powered by coal. So, for most people, the energy efficiency loss at the power plant is 60%, right out of the power plant.

                                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                  The by-products of natural gas are not lost in the process, but captured and used in other products. The capture of the by-products allows for the manufacture of some plastics and organic chemicals. But more importantly, this process is not only necessary for household use, it's also required for use to generate electricity, thus, if it's a strike against the use of natural gas for home use, it's a double strike for the use of electricity where there is the additional loss of efficiency.

                                  World-wide, coal is the most common fuel for electricty and the carbon emmissions associated with the burning of coal to generate electricity should give everyone pause.

                                  You can make a regional argument, but since the origional topic is American, I would say that natural gas is less expensive even if hydroeletric power plants are within sight as is the case in the Buffalo, NY area. Natural gas was still much less expensive than hydro electircity. This may not be the case in Europe, but that's not the topic at hand.

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  You seem to be thinking that utility prices, whether gas, electric, or water/sewer rates, are the same everywhere. They are NOT...! If you can point me in a direction where it will cost the same to cook down a demi-glace on gas as it will on induction, (that's about a day and a half of simmering) let me know because i'll move there!

                                  From many approaches, and for many reasons, at this juncture in time, induction is the most economical method for stove-top cooking. And with this climate change taking place and hotter summers in our future, any cooking method that does not release additional heat into the kitchen besides what vents off the actual cooking vessel and contents has to to be a blessing!

                                  But I can understand how someone might miss the visuals of gas cooking when they are adapting to induction. Even though my house is all electric, I do still cook with gas occasionally with my 25 year old gas hot plate. It is nice to see a clear blue flame licking the bottom of my copper pots. My induction does not like my copper ware. <sigh> However, if I erroneously leave a cloth pot holder leaning against the pot over a gas flame, the cloth pot holder will soon be in flames as well. But that' won't happen with a pot on an induction burner. Induction heats the pan, not the house.

                                  As for why more Americans don't take advantage of the reduced operating costs and greater responsiveness of induction over gas OR radiant electric, I have to assume it's for the same reason Americans don't drive more energy efficient cars than we do. I believe it is a trait called, "collective stupidity." '-)

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    <You seem to be thinking that utility prices,>

                                    I wasn't thinking about prices, just % of energy loss.

                                    <... I have to assume it's for the same reason Americans don't drive more energy efficient cars than we do. I believe it is a trait called, "collective stupidity." '-)>

                                    I won't call it stupidity, especially about the cars. I think it is about "needs" and "priority". We don't see the need to use electric cars. We don't see the need to live in a small house with third generations together. Let me throw this back to you. Is it not more environmental and material efficient to just use one pan and one pot like many people around the world? Why then do we Americans have 10-15 pieces cookware sets? And toss them out every so often Because we can afford them. I don't think poorer people in other countries cook with one pot and one pan because they are trying to environmental. They are doing so because they cannot afford 30 pots.

                                    Conversely, I think Europeans would drive larger cars if their gas prices are not more than twice as expensive as ours.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      When I was quite young my maternal grandparents lived in a small cabin in the woods of NW Wisconsin. They had an oil burning furnace. I don't remember what kind of stove they had and I certainly don't know if their water heater was gas or electric. The curious thing is why they did have the oil burning furnace at all because my grandfather was the operator of a small hydroelectric dam that was on the river about 100 yards behind their cabin.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        Interesting story. Maybe your mother know...? Maybe not.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          My father and I were talking about my grandparents, his in-laws, just the other day (my mother died 4 years ago). I think the topic was the cost of heating and cooling our houses. Anyway, it seemed logical to me that they would have had all electric appliances including their furnace. It turns out they did not, but why is still a mystery. Maybe the cabin predated the dam, I don't know. The place was tiny. I have a distinct memory of taking a bath in a galvanized washtub on the back porch as a very young child because there was no tub in the cabin, just a shower.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            John,

                                            The water heater and stove may have used LP. Just a guess. I know they still to this day use LP for those types of appliances in the less populous parts of WI.

                                            1. re: Fowler

                                              When I was referring to gas I actually meant LP. Even the small towns in rural areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin don't have natural gas lines.

                                        2. re: John E.

                                          Bet the fuel for that furnace was about $0.28 a gallon at the time and if it was $4.00 a gallon as it is now, his choice would be different.

                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                        Like I said in another post, nat gas in the Middle Appalachians is cheap, dirt cheap.

                                        1. re: kendunn

                                          I don't know. Dirt is very cheap. :) Just kidding.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Last time i bought dirt I spent $250 for a load of topsoil for a low spot in my yard but it only cost $50 to fill up my propane tank, lol

                                        2. re: Caroline1

                                          I'm very interested in your statement about the cost to cook down a demi-glace. Could you provide an example of how you made the calculation on the cost of natural gas vs the cost of the electric induction range? I assume you converted the cost of a cubic foot of gas to something like BTUs and then determined how many BTUs it would take to cook down a demi-glace. Then I would assume you took the cost of electricity in KWh and based on the effeciency of your induction cooktop determined how many KWh would be required to perform the same task. Then comparing the cost of both methods you determined which was most cost efficient. So how did you determine how many BTUs of gas it took and how many KWh it took? I'd like to be able to make the same calculations as you have made in your example above. Thank you,

                                          1. re: mikie

                                            Mikie, please read what I wrote again. I said there is no reliable way I know of to calculate the cost to make a demi-glace with induction against the cost of making a demi-glace with natural gas or radiant electric BECAUSE those prices are not unform in all locations. I hope you understand now. There is NO "one size fits all" in this matter.

                                            However, FOR ME, I can absolutely assure you that the most economical way for me to cook is with induction. It has cut my electric bill by about $30.00 a month below what it was when I cooked with radiant electric. Gas, FOR ME, is prohibitively expensive because last time I priced bringing in gas when I bought my house, it would have cost me $70,000.00 just for getting a gas meter on my property.

                                            I'm VERY happy with induction.

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              I did read very very carefully what you wrote, and you stated you would go wherever it was cheaper to cook with gas. Actually "... If you can point me in a direction where it will cost the same to cook down a demi-glace on gas as it will on induction, (that's about a day and a half of simmering) let me know because i'll move there! " Well if you don't know where the bar is, how can I point you in that direction? Furthermore, if you have not used gas (in this house) how can you make a statement that induction is less expensive than gas. Is this based on the $70,000 gas line installation cost, that's not hardly a fair comparison of the actual cost of cooking. I understand induction is less expensive than radiant electric, but you're making claims about the cost of cooking with gas and on your own admission, you have no data. Yet you criticize others for a lack of data. "... I understand what both you and Chemicalkinetics are saying. But just because you guys are saying it, that doesn't make it true! "

                                  2. re: BobB

                                    I don't have A/C and cook less in hot weather.

                                  3. re: GH1618

                                    If you buy an induction unit because it's "energy efficient" you will get one hell of a suprise when you get your hydro bill if you switched from gas, at least up here in ontario

                                    1. re: GH1618

                                      Thinking about energetical problems, in big cities like NYC, using electricity for cooking is not such a good idea: there is already a problem with electricity overuse for heating in winter and air conditioning in the summer. Stoves, - like everything that heats or makes cold -, are big offenders in this area.

                                      Something that I don't understand is, most makers sell induction stoves that are way too powerful, epecially with good quality pans and pots: I use a 2kW burner and it's already way sufficient for normal usage (2kW very roughly corresponds to 270°C/518°F for oil), but most stoves have burners that are 2.5 up to 3.5 kW. This is insane. Not only is it useless, it's actually a drawback, because you may damage or reduce the lifetime of your pots by heating them with such powers. Cold cast iron will very likely crack if you use such power. And as BoBB said, you have a smaller range of powers for precise cooking. In fact, with my brand new set of pots (Beka), it's so effective that it's a problem for me: when cooking rice, even at the lowest power (300W), it's too hot and the water boils. I need a 100 and a 200W power settings.

                                      Now, if in the summer, when air conditioning is working full time, 1 million of kitchens turn on their 3 kW stoves at the same time, that's the full power of 5 nuclear reactors. So maybe keeping gas is not a bad idea here. Or at least, the induction brands should reduce their power ratings by half.

                                      1. re: KissesFromParis

                                        Ummmm.... Wow. You do pole vault to some interesting conclusions. But I think you're wrong. Here's why:

                                        1. Induction is the most energy efficient means of cooking with electricity OR gas. You have to cook. Well, unless you can afford to eat out every meal, but wouldn't that be a drag? So since you have to cook anyway, why not use the most energy efficient method possible? Unless you're advocating doing all of your cooking in a solar oven. Good luck with that if you want a grilled cheese sandwich on a cloudy day!

                                        2. It takes a different amount of energy to bring things to a boil in a 1.5 quart saucepan than it does in a 7 gallon stock pot. Are you against making soup? If your particular induction range can't maintain a simmer for you, try a diffuser plate under your pot. Works for me! EVERY new-to-you cooking method requires some getting used to. You'll enjoy cooking a lot more if you learn how to use your equipment well.

                                        3. If it takes 5 nuclear reactors to meet the demand of 1 million kitchens using 3kw induction stoves, how many nuclear power plants would it take to serve 1 million kitchens cooking with radiant electric stoves?

                                        My point is that, even if you don't, some people do make soups and cook large quantities in large pots. Some people learn to use their induction cooktops to best advantage. Some people prefer to use the most energy efficient means to cook they can afford. Nothing wrong with induction the way it is now, except I do wish they would hurry up and widely distribute full surface all metal induction cook tops. Except they'll probably be in the price range of the U.S. national debt when they first come out. <sigh> Live happy!

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Hi Car,

                                          >> I do wish they would hurry up and widely distribute full surface all metal induction cook tops.

                                          Out of curiousity. If they carried these here but they were only (and I expect this to be the case) not more than 40-50% efficient - kinda like gas or conventional electric. Would you bother? Or only if they can do it and also be 90% ...?

                                          1. re: PepinRocks

                                            I don't expect them to be 90% efficient, but I can hope! I doubt they will be as inneficient as 50%. If I'm reading the information that is available about them on the web correctly, the models currently being marketed in Japan seem to have a dual operating system that includes the efficiency available in the US today and that requires ferrous metal *OR* you can manually select a dual frequency magnetic wave setting in which the harmonics of the magnetic field make it heat up aluminum, copper, and other non-ferrous metals, but NOT glass/china. No information that I've come across on how energy efficient that dual mode all metal frequency is, but hey, I wouldn't HAVE to cook with my copper pots ALL of the time... But sometimes sure would be nice. I can ONLY make risotto in my copper pans because my induction pans are too shallow for my StirChef to work in them, and damned if I'm going to stand and stir risotto by hand. No way!!! '-)

                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                            Don't get me wrong, I LOVE induction. But my point was, if most people use gas for cooking, if they all turn to electricity, even 90% efficient, it would mean new electricity problems.
                                            I know there has been cuts in the north of the US, and today we in France face the same sort of problems: even though France is the world's most nuclearised country (and we used to export our excess of production to neighbouring countries), we now need to import electricity in cold winters, because there was a big campaign for electric heating in the 90's. The idea of the national electricity company was to sell their excess production to households. So most new houses were equipped with electric heating instead of gas heating, and now, when the temperature goes down, the internal demand exceeds our production capacity. That was a particularly stupid move. So I envisioned the same kind of problem if everybody in the US turns from gas to electric stoves.

                                            1. re: KissesFromParis

                                              Which is exactly why (if my pockets were only deep enough!) I would produce my own electricity if I could afford it. The advances in photovoltaics have not been as accelerated as in wind turbines, to my regret. But you no longer have to have big beds of panels on your roof or in your yard. They now make collectors that also do double duty as shingles on your roof, so they lay flat and you don't have to worry too much about "lift" if the wind hits them just right (except I live in tornado country) and they do a good job. Wind turbines have really come down in price and gone up in design and efficiency. When I first moved here six years ago, it was an all electric house (still is) and while I had completely upgraded the kitchen, I hadn't yet started on the air conditioning and heating. The unit was not the most efficient, BUT... If I could produce 90 to 100 percent of the elctricity I was using, what did it matter if my AC was 7 SEER or 18 SEER? The problem was that in a metropolis of 8 million people, I could not find ONE photovoltaic installer who gave me any indication he know what he was doing. Same problem when I wanted to put in a geothermal heat pump system. The "engineer" (and I use the term loosely) who came to give me an estimate didn't know as much about geothermal as I did. Anyway, if you produce your own electricity, EVERYTHING is green. Even incandescent light bulbs! '-)

                                              1. re: KissesFromParis

                                                Probably true, but it wouldn't change that fast. Most people keep major appliances for a long time, replacing them when they are worn out or as part of a kitchen upgrade (an infrequent event). Then a lot of people replacing a gas range will stick with gas. Some will change, but if there is a trend to conversion, it will be gradual, I expect.

                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                There is a difference in efficiency and cost to operate. Yes induction is more efficient that gas, but natural gas may or may not be much cheaper than electric in your area. WHere I live there is a lot of nat gas, and a lot of people get it free because their is a well on their land and that was part of the deal. For the life of me I can't figure out why these people don't drive Civic hydrogen cars.....

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  Induction is nearly 100% efficient as far as energy to pan, like a microwave, whereas gas is more like 70%, BUT according to national averages nat gas costs about a third as much as electricity. You could figure in the added cost of the added AC to remove the added heat, but even with that I still think gas is much cheaper. http://www.erpud.com/comparison.htm.
                                                  Think of it this way, nat gas is used to generate electricity that runs your induction burner, add onto the costs of gas used to power these plants (which is a small part of the cost of electricity) the distribution costs, lost efficiency in the generator, paying for a power plant, etc, and you will see what I am talking about.

                                                  1. re: kendunn

                                                    I understand what both you and Chemicalkinetics are saying. But just because you guys are saying it, that doesn't make it true! '-)

                                                    Look, my induction hotplate is capable of pulling 1800 watts. However, that's way way too hot, even to just boil water. Mine has 10 heat settings and I very rarely use more than #4, and that's for searing sous vide beef in a cast iron pan. It's HOT...! I can tell you from experience, that getting equivalent heat from any of the non-commercial gas ranges and cook tops that I've used in my life time required full bore to match that heat "in the pan." So what *IS* the cost difference to produce X amount of heat "in the pan" for 1 hour via induction and the same amount of "in the pan" heat for one hour using natural gas on a home range? Truth is the answer will vary from location to location. Neither natural gas nor electricity costs are uniform in all states or countries.

                                                    So my point is that you two are throwing out "authoritative" statements that really have no meaning when it comes right down to it because there are too many variables to get a consistent answer that will work for everyone.

                                                    That said, and being a well seasoned cook (pun intended) with gas, electric, induction, alcohol burner, coal, and campfire, given my druthers, I would live in a house that produces all of it's own utilities across the board (electric, water,sewage treatment) and go with induction for cooking that has the maximum number of heat settings available. At this writing, the highest presets (and all inductions work on preset temps, afik) comes from GE, with 17 presets on their induction cook tops. I have searched high and low for more on units available in the USA. I cannot find one. Other countries...? Japan....? The answer may be different.

                                                    I do believe that when induction manufacturers finally figure out how to make an induction unit that simulates infinite variability that you get with a gas or radiant electric unit, then induction will take off.

                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                      You're not making an apples to apples comparison with statements like I set this one on 4 and the gas all the way up (watch the Spinal Tap "this one goes up to 11" clip on you-tube). I was a heating contractor for many years and had to work with both gas and electric. You have to compare BTU to BTU input and then factor in efficiency to get BTU out, which is what I was doing. Doesn't matter if its gas, electric, or whatever. Induction is very efficient because it only heats the pan and not the surrounding air, but if electricity costs more then you start loosing that benefit. Your 1800 watt burner is about the equivalent of an 10,000 btu burner when you factor in efficiency. (3.4 BTW per watt plus about 70% more efficient when maxed out, better at lower temps)

                                                      1. re: kendunn

                                                        It's actually about 90% efficient (for ferromagnetic materials). Some heat is lost in the induction unit.

                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                          I agree with that approximation, GH.

                                                        2. re: kendunn

                                                          Yes, I understand that, but it seems you're not understanding my point. Have you ever cooked using induction? It has variables that do not come into play when you cook with gas or radiant electric. With induction, I control how efficiently my cooking vessels produce heat at a single specific setting by choosing what percent of iron molecules are in the material I cook in.. In otherwords, at a preset of 2 I get a different heat result from a cast iron pan than I do from an induction-friendly stainless steel pan. The cast iron will curl and crisp the edges of a frying egg while my induction friendly stainless steel will slow cook and sweat an egg at the identical preset. The corrolation used for producing BTUs with radiant electric cooking or with gas cooking are pretty constant. With induction there is a variance determined by the material of the vessel that is chosen. So what I'm saying is that some of the abstracts being used here just don't ring true for me.

                                                          1. re: kendunn

                                                            This whole argument about more efficiency of gas vs induction is all just an attempt of fanboys to come up with arguments after they have already decided what they like. Induction is more efficient than gas at the cooking unit, but generated electricity can lose up to 50% of generated power (until superconductors are usable for that purpose -- maybe 20 - 30 years from now) between supplier and you -- so it is a wash.

                                                            I have used gas for a long time, and now I have been forced to use induction for the last 3 years since condo rules will not allow gas here -- so I have used both. Most of my cooking is stir-frys so that is the viewpoint I come from. I was finally able to find a reasonable priced (2000W) round bottom wok induction hotplate. It is better than coil ranges, but still a real pain compared to gas. I had to season my woks to begin with -- and induction was near impossible. It takes a good 10 minutes to start the process but induction has a heat sensitive top.... which means the unit has to shut off when the pot heats up to much (ok for cooking, but not for seasoning an empty pan). I would be able to do small portions before the pan would get too hot and induction would have to shut down for safety reasons (the pan at that point will be easily able to scratch the surface). I can only use certain pans on the induction, which is not as much of a pain but there are certain non-metal cooking containers that it excludes. Induction is useful in a low tempurtature cooking requirement environment, but for most of my requirements it is more of a pain for me. In an ideal kitchen I would probably have maybe one or two induction burners and gas mixed - each has it's advantages - but it is not one size fits all. It is funny, they did an Iron Chef local competition for local chefs in my parents city -- they had to use commercial induction cooktops..... at the end one of the audience members asked all the competitors which they preferred -- gas or induction in their restaurants.... they all picked gas (mind you they had limited exposure to induction). And no, induction at 1800W is not too hot.... If I had the extra money I would have gotten an industrial induction unit but would require three phase wiring - which was cost prohibitive (those were 3000 - 5000 watts). You just have to learn to move quicker :o

                                                            1. re: cacruden

                                                              Great post! But when it comes to seasoning/curing a wok I find that the best method is in the oven. Through the years I have used gas, electric, and even a barbecue grill to season a wok. Oven curing wins my vote hands down because it cures evenly right up to the top edge of the wok in a way I cannot manage stove top, no matter how I twist and turn with a wok ring. With my newest, smallest, flat bottomed wok I even cured the outside of it, which retards rusting.

                                                              And much as I love induction, I would not give up my gas hotplate. Ever! But I wouldn't mind finding one one with even more BTUs that runs on butane or propane canisters. <sigh> Some people are never happy. It seems I'm one of them...

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                Did not have an oven at the time, and even now it is smaller than the larger of the two woks. I would prefer having an outdoor (Thai) kitchen here, but right now I am in a condo so I have limitations (in Canada it would be too cold for an outdoor kitchen). I prefer gas for cooking, charcoal for BBQ, although induction for some things is good too -- and coils for nothing :p

                                                    2. re: KissesFromParis

                                                      Paris,

                                                      Just an fyi - that's not quite how it would work out for electricity. The MAX rated watts will only be pulled if you have ALL burners on full, they are in active mode, and have pots/pans that fully cover the elements. Most of the time, they are pulling a small fraction of the rated amps/watts.

                                                      Similarly my portable gas burners can do at max 7650 BTU per hour. I rarely run them anywhere close to high, except boiling water for coffee - and that takes 90-120 sec.

                                                      And THAT aside, I agree with you - in cities gas stoves make a lot of sense ... the pipes are already there and the gas is pretty cheap. In other parts of the world they may not have our options.

                                                      Heck ... out in Carol's suburb of Dallas TX - she can only get electric. It's pretty ironic, I think. They are probably pumping oil within 10-20 miles (pumps are hidden throughout the greater Dallas area - you'd be surprised) and yet ... only electric at her house.

                                                      1. re: KissesFromParis

                                                        I suppose it will horrify you then to hear that the largest hob on my range goes to 3.7kW. I rarely use it at this level, but far from being insane, it's actually quite practical when you're trying to bring a large pot of liquid to a boil quickly. Heating water for pasta or for boiling lobsters, for example, or warming a big pot of stock.

                                                        When I was first looking into getting a new range I was looking at gas, and plenty of people on the boards were touting the fact that the "superstar" gas ranges like Capital and Blue Star can put out 22,000 or even 23,000 BTU, saying that anything less wasn't worth having. My 3.7 kW hob puts out the equivalent of over 26,000 BTU, no home-legal gas stove can match it.

                                                        But while that power is nice to have, I rarely use it at this level. I do much more cooking at low to medium heat, and there induction outperforms gas as well. There are endless threads on sites like GardenWeb complaining about those superstar gas ranges' inability to hold a really low simmer without the need for some kind of heat diffuser. No such issues on my induction. But then, from what I've read it appears that a decent all-induction cooktop is just more versatile in terms of heat settings than stand-alone induction hotplates. That may not be true of all of them, but you're not the first poster I've seen lamenting the fact that their induction hotplate doesn't go low enough; I've yet to see any full range/cooktop owner complain of that. At the lowest setting on my smallest hob, I can safely melt chocolate without the need to use a double-boiler.

                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          Bob, if you wouldn't mind sharing, what brand is your induction cooktop? It sounds wonderful! Meantime, I'm consoling myself with the price drops that will come along the longer I stay with my Max Burton. Thanks!

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            Mine is a complete range, not a cooktop, the GE Profile slide-in model PHS925STSS. There's an extensive thread on GardenWeb about it, on which I posted some photos (on that site I'm username saltimbocca).

                                                            http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                              Thanks, Bob! Good looking stove and very helpful information! Most of my kitchen is GE Profile (Advantium oven, Trivection oven, cook top) and the GE induction cook top will fit in my granite cut out with no need for further modification. But I've had questions about how well the Profile induction works. You've set my mind at ease. I don't know that I'm going to jump in and do it any time soon, especially if there's a chance that waiting will land me an all metal, all surface induction cook top. But then there's the question of just how affordable that will be? Would I rather spend the money on a new Masaratti? Decisions, decisions, decisions. '-)

                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                I'm going to have to take another look at this GE induction slide in. I've looked at two, but I can't remember what brand they are now, but I felt that the induction cooking area was quite less than my cooktop range is now. Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm going to make a template to put into the car.

                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                  Good thinking. And good luck!

                                                              2. re: BobB

                                                                I see you have the digital controls like I do on the Kitchenaid. That's the only thing I wish were different...I worry that those will become problematic in the long run. I don't like having to remember to tell it which burner I'm looking at when I want to adjust the heat. minor quibble, though, compared with how well I like it overall.

                                                                Here's a terrible cell phone pic

                                                                 
                                                    3. $$$$$$$ for the appliance

                                                      66 Replies
                                                      1. re: sr44

                                                        One problem with that argument is: Why then can Europeans and Australians afford the induction cooktop -- considering the fact that the an average Americans have a higher disposable income.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          Could it be that people outside the US buy two burner appliances and there is a large demand for those so therefore lower price? Just wondering.

                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                            Could be, but I also thinking about our energy sources. It is my understanding that Europeans have more nontraditional power plants like the nuclear plants, whereas we (Americans) have much more access to gas, coal and oil. It is all relative, I think. If our natural gas price jumps 3-fold tomorrow, then probably you will see more induction burners.

                                                            As for now, I am not really sure an induction cooktop will save you more money than a gas cooktop.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I wonder how many American people actually do make a choice to buy an induction burner/range based on world power plant costs.

                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                Maybe not many, but more the reason why it is important to illustrate this fact, as the statement stands on its own merit. That is: induction cooking is not more energy-efficient than gas cooking.

                                                                An analogy. The planet Earth is spherical (round). It really does not matter if one people believe it or a million people believe it -- the Earth is still round.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  Sorry, but I've already lost track of "the statement that stands on its own merit."

                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                    Just considered the fact that I was responding to sr44 and escondido123.

                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Inequality-adjusted standard of living (or human development index, as it is now measured) might be a better indicator of what the bulk of a population can actually afford than 'disposable income.'
                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                                                            There, you'll find America falls below most of Western Europe, and well below Australia.

                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                              Inequality may be, but if we are talking about average household can afford it. For example, I know plenty of people who has no problem with buying iPhone, but has trouble buying induction cooktop, and I am sure you have sensed the same attitude here on CHOWHOUND. Many people here can afford a coolection of Le Cresuset cookware, and are not willing to pay for an induction cooktop.

                                                              I don't know many people say "I like to have induction cooktop, but I cannot afford it". Most go the other way: "I can pay for it, but I don't want it".

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                I think induction manufacturers haven't done a very good job in educating the American public on what can and can't be done on their cooktop. I'm sure I spent just as much on my 36" Electrolux Icon gas range top as a good induction top, so I could afford induction. BUT, my wife makes candy a few times a year and she didn't know if induction would work for her, so no induction. She knew that gas would work, so we bought a very nice gas range top instead. Our pots and pans for the most part are old, so that really wasn't a stumbeling block, they could and are being replaced little by little. But, not knowing how it would work with a particular cooking task was enough to rule it out. I should also add, we had an electric coil cooktop that was replaced, so we had electricity, but there was also a gas line there as well.

                                                                1. re: mikie

                                                                  Induction might well be better for candy-making, but in that case a portable induction unit would do. These are so inexpensive that one can have both gas and induction.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    Well I know little more about the specifics of induction ranges beyond what I read here. I can tell you that making carmel from scratch takes very precise temperature management. I'm not sure just how precise you can control temperature when you only have 6 or 8 settings with an induction range. On the other hand gas is infinately adjustable.

                                                                    1. re: mikie

                                                                      My induction (GE, nothing fancy) has 19 levels - more, actually, when you consider that there are three different sizes/powers of burners and each one of them provides a different range of potential heat, so from lowest to highest that may be as many as 30 or more levels. It'll do caramel.

                                                                    2. re: GH1618

                                                                      And yet, many are not interested.

                                                                    3. re: mikie

                                                                      For future reference, there is nothing that gas can do that induction can't with the exception of round-bottomed wok cooking and anything where you actually need an open flame, such as for charring peppers (I do that on my outdoor grill). In range of temperatures, stability of temperatures, and speed of changing temperatures, it equals or exceeds gas.

                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                        There are induction units now designed specifically for round-bottomed woks, by the way.

                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                          Yeah, the technology is evolving. I was quite limited in my options as we needed a full range (cooktop plus oven), and while there are lots of induction cooktops out there, there are only a handful of ranges. It would have been nice to get one of those "zoneless" cooktops, where the entire surface is capable of heating a pan and it automatically senses the location, size and shape of any pan you put on it. But no range maker currently offers that. Sigh. Oh well, next house...

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            Hi, Bob:

                                                                            I understand the "zoneless" concept, but could you (or anyone) please explain what the coils in these things look like under the Ceran? Are they all the same size and shape, layed out in arrays that the sensors then configure and control? How many such coils are there, typically, 10? 50? 500? If you put something like a fish poacher on a "zoneless" 'top, are the only coils *completely* under the pan energized, or do coils protruding beyond the pan's edges also fire up? Could you, eg., put two such pans side-by-side or diagonal to each other and heat them differently?

                                                                            Aloha,
                                                                            Kaleo

                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                              I don't know the details of how zoneless works, but it wouldn't really matter (except in terms of marginal energy consumption) whether it only turns on the coils that are completely below a pan or those at the edges as well, since only the pan itself gets hot.

                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                Hi, Bob:

                                                                                Well, there are safety concerns, detection concerns, evenness concerns, bleeding and overlap concerns, and complexity of repair/longevity concerns, but other than those, maybe it doesn't matter.

                                                                                So much of this stuff requires a level of blind faith that what lies beneath the Ceran surface is (and works) as claimed. I mean, are we talking about concentric rings of coils, irregularly-shaped puzzle pieces, a mosaic of little postage-stamp areas, or a carpet of pixels? If I was goingto spend $$$ on one of these, I'd want to know how it works.

                                                                                Aloha,
                                                                                Kaleo

                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                  I think you're going a little over the top there, Kaleo. Safety concerns? How so? Only the pan gets hot. Repair/longevity maybe - I can see the potential for that, which is why I got a relatively inexpensive extended warranty on mine. I don't even know what you mean by bleeding and overlap - who cares if the magnets are turned on a bit beyond the edge of the pan (not that it necessarily does that, as I said I don't know exactly how they set up the zoneless system). Magnetic fields dissipate extremely rapidly with distance, unless you're planning to leave your credit cards lying on the cooktop I don't see the issue.

                                                                                  I do agree that before buying a zoneless cooktop I'd look more deeply into exactly how it works, but since that was not an option for me, I didn't bother. Hopefully someone who knows more about them will chime in.

                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                    Hi, Bob:

                                                                                    Oh, I think if an active zone isn't completely covered by the pan, you can have other ferrous things (utensils, other pans, etc.) get heated unintentionally, causing burn hazards. Yes, the field falls off rapidly with distance, but in this situation believing that "Only the pan gets hot" might get you or a loved one branded.

                                                                                    By bleeding and overlap, I mean that two pans ostensibly on separate zones (and different settings) might be sharing--in whole or in part--the energy from one zone. Visualize your pasta pot placed next to your chocolate pan--how do you know the latter isn't going to get some of the (high) energy you order up for the former?

                                                                                    Maybe all the fingers and chocolate were burned in testing, and our Far-East engineering friends have this all figured out. But common sense tells me that the sensors, switching, processors and multiple coils that run these things are going to be orders of magnitude more complex than what's on current models (which themselves may not have been completely debugged).

                                                                                    Anyone who finds one, please post a review of the zoneless induction and how it works.

                                                                                    Aloha,
                                                                                    Kaleo

                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                      Some interesting info here on a recently-released zoneless: http://www.dedietrich.co.uk/piano/about

                                                                                      Looks like one of the safety features they've included is a "small object detector" so it won't heat up something like a stainless spoon you happen to have set down on the cooktop.

                                                                                      I do think you'd need to leave a few inches between pots for each to heat correctly, but since the entire surface is available for use that shouldn't be a problem.

                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                        Hi, Bob:

                                                                                        Thanks, now we're getting somewhere! This is interesting, and at least De Deitrich shows us the coils...

                                                                                        It looks like there are twelve, nested triangular coils. These triangles each also have 3 little lobes within them, so it's not clear to me whether there are effectively 12 coils or 36. Whichever it is, if you superimpose the "triangle" photo onto the photos showing the pans on the hob, you should understand what I meant about bleeding and overlap.

                                                                                        For instance, consider the "Piano Mode" photo with its three pans. What happens if the center pan is shifted 3/4 inch off-center, and/or the flanking pans are bumped inward? And in the "Expert Mode", it looks like some of the triangles must be shared; are the shared areas disabled somehow? Does a triangle or lobe need to be entirely covered by a pan to get energized, or just the dots? I know you don't know the answers to these questions, I'm just wondering out loud. If this works the way it appears, it also has ramifications for cookware performance.

                                                                                        What comes through to me loud and clear here is the attempt to duplicate the effects of a solid-surface cooktop, albeit with more flexibility. Frankly, I'd be more impressed if this thing had few (or no) controls, and just continuously varied the heat output from one side to the other--e.g., put you pot on the extreme left, it's gonna boil; on the extreme right, it'll barely simmer; and infinite gradations in between. Something like..... the wood cookstoves that have been around since the 19th Century (At least my Monarch doesn't have a "small object detector")

                                                                                        Thanks again for posting that. Kinda looks like a copy machine, doesn't it?

                                                                                        Aloha,
                                                                                        Kaleo

                                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                          I encourage everyone to watch the videos of this Piano cooktop. Manipulating the controls looks anything but simple; I hope it comes with "flight simulator" software. And I hope that their detection circuitry is better than their spelling.

                                                                                      2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                        You forgot to mention how people seem to get freaked out by being around wifi, the new windmills, high tension hydro lines , yet spend hours a day on cell phones and now add induction coils to the mix

                                                                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                          That's a generalization that probably doesn't hold up. You seem to be assuming that all people who fear one sort of electrmagnetic radiation or another all fit under one umbrella, and exhibit commpn inconsistencies. If you are going to accuse someone of inconsistency or hypocrisy, it ought to be a particular person for a particular inconsistency.

                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                            I'm sure there's one person on here that fits the description, and my generalization comes from watching the news up here, where all the parents are up in arms because there's wifi in their kids high school, yet I'd bet 95% of the kids and parents are glued to a cell .
                                                                                            I also believe once induction does become more mainstream you'll see some clown on the news saying his/her stove is causing health issues

                                                                                            1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                              wifi in the high school..... our students are given a $1,000 laptop when they enter 6th grade, checked out to them. They bring them to class and are expected to be able to use them. Teachers used to reprimand kids because they didn't bring a pen/pencil with them, and now I have found myself reprimanding kids for not having their laptops charged, or leaving the charger at home and they can't do the assignment at the end of the day because their laptop isn't charged.
                                                                                              The times, they are a changin', eh?
                                                                                              They'll either be claiming health issues (induction caused), harming them, or it will be the new cure for arthritis.

                                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                The times, they are a changin', eh?
                                                                                                It blows my mind when I think of how much has changed just in half of my life

                                                                                        2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                          All the induction units I've read about, from the cheapest portable to the fanciest built-in, have some form of detection that prevents the magnets from going on if the object on the surface is not "pot-shaped", exactly in order to prevent a utensil or fork left on the surface from being heated up.

                                                                                          Gaggenau makes a zoneless cooktop, which has been sold in Europe for some years, and is introducing it to the U.S. this year. But discussion on some forum (probably Garden Web, though I don't remember if it was in Appliances or Kitchens) made me realize that there are two kinds of 'zoneless', and that the simpler-electronics-but-not-as-flexible is what will be on offer in the U.S. market.

                                                                                          But I'm really at a loss to understand why you seem to think the technology is at a primitive and unproven stage given the extent of induction use in Europe. Your questions are good ones, but it would pay you to get answers from the companies that have been manufacturing them for the last two decades.

                                                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                                                            Many times I put the fork tin upside down on the outside area from where the pot is cooking away, and resting the end of the fork on the counter. It has not heated the fork.

                                                                                            I mention this as yesterday I was cooking using all burners on the glass top, as well as two induction hobs, and layed down a large fork on top of the glass top as I often do. Since there was so much cooking going on, the fork got pushed into a turned-off burner area - yes, of course, I minor-ly burned my hand picking it up. This burn incident may have happened on an induction unit, but I don't believe the residual heat from the pan on an induction area would ever be as hot as a cooling-down burner on a glass-cooktop.

                                                                                            To finish up the story, stupid me, I started to pick up the flung-down fork from the floor. Synapses and neurons not working properly!!

                                                                                            1. re: ellabee

                                                                                              Hi, ellabee:

                                                                                              Having a safety sensor is basically the same question as what will fool the sensor. My understanding is that a small ferrous object (and some nonferrous ones, like aluminum foil) left or dropped sufficiently close to a live induction coil (read: sensor already tripped by adjacent pan) can heat. And others here have said that ferrous utensils *in the pan* can get quite hot.

                                                                                              I *don't* think induction technology is primitive; it's quite advanced, the most advanced we have IMO. But I do think it is a little immature, by virtue of its relative newness to the consumer market and its complexity. That complexity has, so far anyway, resulted in reliability, repairability, longevity and cost-benefit concerns that detract from claims that induction appliances are panacea for all our cooking problems. I just find it irksome that any new technology is accorded superior status simply by virtue of its arrival (Akin to awarding a person the Nobel Peace Prize for giving a speech about what they *plan* to do). I'm irked mostly because that prejudice inculcates in people an ignorant disrespect (if not complete unawareness) of old technologies that work quite well and sometimes better.

                                                                                              Rather than getting answers from the Euro companies who make these (What's the prosaic American expression... "Wouldn't say sh#t if they had a mouthful"?), we should be getting answers from the service and repair cohort and statistics on longevity and true performance (rather than convenience and necessity). I mean, I love Europe and European people and things more than most, but it's never a good answer to just emulate them *because* they're European.

                                                                                              I think we agree that time will tell. My own prediction is that induction is here to stay, will be a useful tool, and will be progressively debugged and refined. Hopefully we will not outsmart ourselves.

                                                                                              Aloha,
                                                                                              Kaleo

                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                  I don't think that induction is being accorded superior status simply by virtue of its arrival, and I certainly don't think anyone should emulate European items because they're European... I mean that the technology has been in widespread enough use in Europe for long enough so that it has been debugged and refined quite a bit already. Agreed that we could benefit from service and repair info from that large installed base, but you were asking questions about the workings, which can and should be answered by the manufacturer.

                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                    Hi, ellabee:

                                                                                                    We simply disagree about the neotech- and Euro-philia. IMO, both are rampant, and a factor second only to convenience as for why people go that route.

                                                                                                    I think SWISSAIRE'S contributions here should give us all pause to reflect on exactly *how* widespread and debugged induction really is in Europe. Making the judgment of "widespread enough" and "long enough" is a subjective call. More widespread and longer *than here*? Sure, point taken.

                                                                                                    I will take your suggestion and contact De Deitrich to attempt to get some answers as to faetures.

                                                                                                    Aloha,
                                                                                                    Kaleo

                                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                      Geesus where to start on the "experts" where right , smoking tobacco is good for you1950's cocaine is good for you,1970's california doctors no less, put butter on a burn(my mother still insists this is right) my point is be very suspicious

                                                                                  2. re: GH1618

                                                                                    Kind of yes, but kind of no. The problem of the round bottomed induction stoves are that they are designed for a specific wok shape, but woks do not just come in one size and one shape.

                                                                                  3. re: BobB

                                                                                    I concur. In fact, I timed boiling half a liter of water on my induction and my gas cooktop in a de Buyer carbon steel pan. Carbon steel are extremely fast on induction. Induction came out winner, boiling water 50% faster than my gas stove.

                                                                                    BTW, cast iron does work on induction, but one must be very careful to heat it slowly, by gradually increasing power, else your cast iron may crack.

                                                                                  4. re: mikie

                                                                                    >I think induction manufacturers haven't done a very good job in educating the American public on what can and can't be done on their cooktop.<

                                                                                    This would be me. I never even heard of it until I got on this board. If the Chef's on TV would start using them, you might see more people going for it. I see most of the Chef's using gas, so that makes me think it is better. I have an electric stove, but may very well change to gas when the time comes. If nothing else, just so I can cook when my electricity goes off. Nothing ticks me off more than to be in the middle of cooking when the electricity goes off. It can totaly ruin your dinner. When we heated with a wood stove, I loved cooking on top of that.
                                                                                    Maybe it was psycological, but the food tasted better too.

                                                                                  5. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    " For example, I know plenty of people who has no problem with buying iPhone, but has trouble buying induction cooktop, and I am sure you have sensed the same attitude here on CHOWHOUND. Many people here can afford a coolection of Le Cresuset cookware, and are not willing to pay for an induction cooktop."
                                                                                    ________
                                                                                    This is true. But talking about individuals is different from talking about populations. It's not a matter of whether people can literally afford to buy a $1500 stovetop, but one of whether greater wealth as a population increases the likelihood of said $1500 stovetop being popular and commonplace. Intuitively, I think it does.

                                                                                    I wrote below about some of the more specific reasons I think induction is less common in the US, btw. I think it has a lot to do with not only wealth and class structure in the US, but also the cooking and eating trends among different classes.

                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                      The individuals are merely for illustration to show that even for people who can easily afford induction stovetop, they are not doing it. This begs the question if we (Americans) are really limited because we don't have enough money to buy induction stovetop or we just don't want them.

                                                                                      Also US gas price is much lower than European gas price. For many Americans getting an induction stovetop isn't necessary going to cut cost. For Europeans, an induction stovetop will save them money.

                                                                                      Electric cars will be more popular in Europe than in US.

                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        Those are valid points. I'm sure there's more than one reason that induction hasn't caught on here. Gas prices and access are perfectly good reasons.

                                                                                        But that doesn't mean that comparative wealth and wealth distribution have nothing to do with the matter. It's more popular in countries that have higher standards of living, larger middle classes. Seems obvious to me that standard of living would have some bearing on the popularity of an item that's largely considered a luxury.

                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        Wow! Class, wealth, world power costs discussion.

                                                                                        People who watched "Mad Men" should be aware that advertising might fall somewhere into this discussion.
                                                                                        I suppose there have been surveys of people who 'did' purchase induction. But alas, that is not the crux of this discussion. Would those people who did purchase induction fall under the auspices of 'world power plants," and 'class'?
                                                                                        Making me wonder just what category I might fall nto.
                                                                                        Awaiting viewing of the survey :-))

                                                                                      3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        Really the percentage of home cooks who own Le Creuset or similar, has to be small. I imagine there are more who do afford an Iphone or Ipad, than see the need for induction. But I feel that induction is frightfully expensive, in a market where appliances have become generally more expensive, and unreliable. And I don't think that induction is considered a necessary and fun tool, the way smart phones and tablets have become.

                                                                                        I disagree with you about the reasoning behind not choosing induction. If my cooktop goes out, there is no way I can afford an induction replacement, and I don't think I am in a minority.

                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                          Since this is a cooking/eating board, I would take exception that more people have an Iphone/Ipad than LC or similar cookware. For the general population, you are probably correct, but I personally only have a low cost Ipod, but have 4 pices of Staub enameled cast iron. For a cooking/eating board, I don't think I'm an exception.

                                                                                          For the past 20 years every time our cheap coil cooktop went out I fixed it rather than buy a new one because we have had a kitchen rmomdel in the future for a very long time. But when it was time to buy, the additional cost of induction was not a factor, but I think that has to do with what we were comparing to. To keep comparisons as fair as possible, I'll stick to one brand and one size top. We bought an Electrolux Icon 36" gas slide in range top, internet price today $2000. The highest end model Electrolux Icon 36" gas slide in range top has a price today of $2700. Same brand 36" Induction cook top is $2200 and a 36" gas drop in from Electrolux Icon series is $1300. For us, at least, the induction top fell between the two gas range tops we looked at and was actually less expensive than some other brands we considered. And the $200 difference between what we bought and the induction unit was not an issue. I will grant that this is a fair amount of money for an appliance and the induction unit is $900 more than the drop in cooktop, and that would be enough to influence a purchasing decision. But on a message board that's all about cooking and food, I think if people really wanted induction and really thought there was a significant advantage, many would spend the extra money. I'm not trying to sound eletist, what I spent on a range top is nothing compared to what people are spending on Capital, or Bluestar, or Wolf, and those are obviously not in everyone's budget or on everyone's bucket list. I just think the population on CH is differrent than the general population when it comes to passion for cookware.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            Induction doesn't have to be expensive. Here in Europe, it isn't. Prices have dropped with selling numbers.

                                                                                            1. re: KissesFromParis

                                                                                              I think selling prices always drop as a function of the economies of scale. Take ranges in general, they sell more freestanding ranges than any other kind, so even though you need to have finished sides on them they are less expensive than the drop in or slide in models where there are no sides. It just hasn't been pushed in the US for a number of reasons, like it has been in Europe, again, for a number of reasons, so it's still more expensive here than a comparable radient heat electric stove or a gas stove. When glass/ceramic tops came out they were much more expensive than the open calrod models, not so much now.

                                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          "Inequality-adjusted standard of living (or human development index, as it is now measured) might be a better indicator of what the bulk of a population can actually afford than 'disposable income.'
                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_..."

                                                                                          The cost of living is exceedingly high in most of the top countries you listed. Norway, to take as an example, has shockingly high food and housing costs and most Norwegians are hardly flaunting large volumes of disposable wealth. My Norwegian friends ate out and drank less frequently than Americans did and lived much more quiet lives in smaller houses and apartments simply because everything was so expensive. So I wouldn't take the list as a good indicator of the actual wealth or disposal income available to a typical citizen of the said nation.

                                                                                          That aside, the advantage of the induction cookers is that it can cook food much more quickly but that comes with its own limits. I gather that most people who cook are pretty comfortable with the times required and have little interest in something that cooks even more quickly. Those who are genuinely time starved = eat out or takeaway. On top of that the article makes clear that you do have to pay close attention to the cooking process due to the high heat involved, something which wouldn't appeal to a lazy cook or a typical cook. In its own way the traditional stove buys you time when cooking, time you can devote to other cooking tasks, and I'm not sure if I want to give up that time.

                                                                                          What would be ideal for me is a traditional gas range top with an electric oven, and a separate induction burner for pasta water.

                                                                                          1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                            "you do have to pay close attention to the cooking process due to the high heat involved"

                                                                                            Say what? That's absurd - once you learn how much heat you get at each temperature setting you simply select the right setting, from the lowest occasional-bubble simmer to the highest boil-me-now-baby insanity.

                                                                                            Yes, induction burners CAN get hotter than gas or electric, but only if you turn them way up. They can also hold steady LOWER temperatures than many other cooktops, especially the high-end gas ones.

                                                                                            1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                              "The cost of living is exceedingly high in most of the top countries you listed. Norway, to take as an example, has shockingly high food and housing costs and most Norwegians are hardly flaunting large volumes of disposable wealth."
                                                                                              _______
                                                                                              Take another look at the methodology of the income-adjusted HDI. Cost of living is factored in. Anyway, the fact that food and housing costs are high entails that local food and housing providers are well-paid (incidentally, higher cost of housing might also make induction more popular in apartments). No one will deny that an American doctor, partnered lawyer, business exec, etc is financially better off than their Norwegian counterpart. I'm talking about the bulk of the population.

                                                                                              If you're still not convinced, then try hanging around with some truly impoverished Americans. There's a lot more of em than you seem to realize.

                                                                                              As far as the appeal of induction goes, at this point I think it does appeal mainly to people who are very interested in cooking but are also somewhat budget-conscious. A high-output, well-controlled gas range costs more than a comparably high-output induction range. That's why i argued below that the strength and size of a country's middle class will have some bearing on the popularity of induction - the genuinely poor cannot reasonably afford it, and the rich are guided by other concerns.

                                                                                              I'll accept that class distinctions and wealth distribution may be dwarfed as a factor next to energy infrastructure. But not that low cost of food and board means that poor Americans are better off or can afford better gadgetry.

                                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                I have had the privilege of living overseas for prolonged periods of time, first in Europe then Asia and now the Middle East. All with long stints in between in the US. So I absolutely have a very good idea of the actual cost of living and food expenditures in the various parts of the world and the lifestyle of the typical resident in Western Europe, Scandinavia, the UK, Indonesia and now the UAE and how they compare to the US.

                                                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                                                                                                You can see that ranking by income and ranking by purchasing power isn't the same. The US does very well, especially considering it's a huge and diverse country of 300+ million people, including a large immigration population, and the only countries that are "richer" both on per capita and by PPP are much smaller, much more homogenous countries or city states with a few million people.

                                                                                                Europe was unquestionably the most expensive place for us to live and Scandinavia and Switzerland the most expensive within Europe. As much as $50 for a mediocre takeaway pizza was the norm in Oslo.

                                                                                                http://www.stavangerexpats.com/cultur...

                                                                                                Given the high utilities costs in Europe induction cooking is probably preferred as a means to save money rather than because it's a fancy new technology. But we are drifting away from the main topic of this thread and the Chowhound Team will no doubt be along to reprimand us.

                                                                                                1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                  In a very basic sense, you're still comparing how well off the respective middle and upper classes are in said countries, while I was comparing, in a basic sense, the size of the middle class as a proportion of the whole population. They're very different questions.

                                                                                                  "Given the high utilities costs in Europe induction cooking is probably preferred as a means to save money rather than because it's a fancy new technology. "
                                                                                                  _________
                                                                                                  I agree, generally. Mikie has made a very convincing argument that energy infrastructure in Europe tends to favor induction. I still don't know a whole lot about the energy infrastructure in Australia, and I would be surprised if other factors didn't also play a role, but I think we can agree that low availability of gas, high price for electric, and low voltage in households all tend to favor induction.

                                                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            Do the induction stoves in Europe start at $1800 and go up from there? I too think the second biggest reason induction stovetops are not more prevalent in the U.S. is because of the high cost. The biggest reason is that they are new to the U.S. market and change is a hard thing to overcome in the marketing process.

                                                                                          3. re: sr44

                                                                                            Not any more - you can get a full cooktop for ~$1500, or a partial for even less. Plus there are plenty of people out here discussing the relative merits of high-end ranges like Wolf, Viking, Capital etc, which can easily cost more than a good induction unit.

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              I bought a Blue Star, but it's a complete range not just a cooktop. (My sister bought an induction cooktop last year, has already had it repaired three times and couldn't use it in the weeks involved.)

                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                The relatively few people buying high-end ranges are a small part of the equation. I suspect that they are greatly overrepresented on this website.

                                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                                  I think income distribution in the US has a lot to do with it.

                                                                                                  $1500 is still a lot more than most Americans spend on cooktops. There are a lot of small, under-powered gas and electric ranges in the US, just because they're cheap to buy. And as I mentioned above to Chem, the average American is functionally poorer than the average Australian or Western European.

                                                                                                  As a trend, I'd say wealthy Americans, the general kind that might own a Wolf, Viking, induction, etc, don't cook very much. So selling them on the function of a cooking device doesn't help too much - they'd rather have something traditional and familiar and well-branded in the kitchen for when they do decide to do a little cooking or sell their home. Induction's single biggest advantage over the highest end of gas ranges is being more affordable than a comparably high-output, high-quality cooktop - for many of the people who buy especially high-end cooktops, that difference in cost isn't a big deal. Tradition, brand name appeal, and familiarity are more important.

                                                                                                  OTOH, American food enthusiasts are coming around on induction - it's fairly popular here on CH, if that's any indicator. But that adoption by foodies is slower than it might be just because induction still isn't very common and thus people aren't exposed to it. You'll see more of it soon as American food enthusiasts buy more induction ranges and expose others to its capabilities. But it hasn't reached critical mass yet where it's well understood by American cooks at large.

                                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                    Perhaps the answer is that the typical American eats out much more frequently than his European counterpart. Food is cheaper in the US and post-tax disposal income is often higher. The US may have more poor people than a typical European country, but it also has a much bigger affluent population. So the typical American really isn't bothered by what type of stove he has since odds are he isn't cooking on it as much as his European counterpart would. Just food for thoughts.

                                                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                      We spent about $1250, IIRC, on our entire 'premium' electric range. The cooktop is adequate for our purposes; the convection oven can roast a fair-sized turkey in less than two hours. This was considered to be a lot to spend on a stove in my somewhat affluent area. Most folks still go with the sub-$1000 range around here- the $899 Lowe's or Sears specials abound.

                                                                                                      And this is an area where less than 10% of homes will have a gas stove- CH&A is almost always by electric heat pump, and a lot of original homebuyers figured it wasn't worth it to run a gas line just for stove and water heater.

                                                                                                      If a stove with an induction cooktop was priced within about 20% of the cost of conventional electric,then you'd probably see a fair number of people willing to bite around here. But when you're talking twice as much to attain similar base functions once you factor in the oven, plus making the home harder to sell (we're in a military town- lots of churning of housing stock as people PCS, so it really matters) it's a deal-breaker.

                                                                                                    2. re: BobB

                                                                                                      While a basic electric range is around $400 which makes for a $1000 savings.
                                                                                                      Also, the need for ferrous cookware can be an extra expense for some people.

                                                                                                      I don't know what the annual savings of an induction hob versus an electric hob. I've read somewhere that it's around $5 savings per years for an average user.

                                                                                                      So it would take 200 years to break even on the cost alone. If you saved $50 a year it would take 20 years to recoup the extra $1000... etc.

                                                                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                        Frankly, for me any energy savings or fuel cost differences are incidental, the main thing is simply that induction performs so much better than electric.

                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                          To answer your original question, "What gives?"

                                                                                                          Cost is a big factor. Many homes have existing kitchens. Also, new home construction generally goes the the less expensive equipment, unless they offer options to upsell.

                                                                                                          Another factor is durability. Buying a new range is probably an every 20 year purchase. There's not enough turnaround to get units out the door.

                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                            Well induction is certainly "cool". But I can't imagine justifying switching to it from an economic standpoint - at least for us here in the US. Ok - well if one already HAS electric AND is renovating a kitchen ... ok. Yeah I get that. The $500+ premium performs much better than a standard electric cooktop and is also good on usage.

                                                                                                            But I can't see that changing from gas to induction makes any sense. That would cost what? At least $1000-1300+ including the cooktop, permits, and electric work. Even IF energy savings might be $20 per month vs gas (doubtful), the ROI just isn't there.

                                                                                                            All I'm saying is that the choice really isn't about economics - for us Americans - it's a lifestyle choice if we already don't have gas.

                                                                                                            1. re: jkling17

                                                                                                              I think the savings for the average family of 4 that switches is around $24-27 per *year*. Saving electricity is pretty much the worst reason to switch.

                                                                                                      2. re: BobB

                                                                                                        There is no technical reasons for induction to be that expensive. It's only a marketing problem. In Europe, prices have dropped dramatically and you can get a range with 4 burners for less than 300 euros. On many other things, like stainless steel pans, we pay twice as much as you do.