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May 6, 2012 04:56 PM

Do you like induction cooktops? Details, please.

I've always thought of induction cooktops as gimmicks, not nearly as flexible or useful as gas, etc. But it occurs to me that I could be wrong.

So i'd appreciate any comments or stories (from experience) anyone can supply. Can you use all the cookware you used before getting the induction cooktop? Amount of heat it can supply? ETC. I am in the very early stages of planning a kitchen remodelling. Thanks.

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  1. I just moved into a new apartment, and bought 1 portable IH cooktop as my cooktop. I am testing how I like the one, and will have the option to eventually get a second IH or a single gas burner. I am leaning towards a second IH at the moment.

    As I have just moved and started from nothing, I needed to buy pots and pans so this wasn't an issue for me, but that will be the largest initial problem. Not all cookware will work on it. My fiancee's mother gave us an old pot but it was aluminum so won't work. I bought a stainless steel flat bottomed pot and some sort of mineral frying pan that I can't identify but is IH compatible.

    My IH was cheap, only $30, so I am sure even more expensive ones perform better, but I am very happy with it. Mine only has 5 settings, ranging from 160-200 degrees celsius. It is only 1300 watts so isn't the most powerful. I| don't have the finesse of gas, I don't have the complete range of temperature, but that hasn't bothered me in the slightest. The responsiveness I've encountered is the same as gas. If i turn the temperature up, it turns up almost instant, if i turn it down, again almost instant.

    I've had no problems so far, but everything I have done requires medium to high heat. I will try a low and slow curry soon and see how that works out. That is my only concern, and if my IH can handle low and slow as well I'l definitely buy a second.

    1. Check the threads that the Chow software has found. Note that 2 are quite long. Also note that there 3 main topics: induction compatible cookware, cooktops (multiburner), and hot plates (less expensive single burner units). Opinions about the hot plates might apply to cooktops.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        We started with a double countertop unit 11+ years ago. It sat on top of the counter as a supplement to our electric built-in cooktop, which was later replaced with induction.

        On the counter, the fan noise can be an issue, especially when cooking for 2 hours or more. When we ordered the current built-in, we made sure to add a small air vent inside the countertop to assist with the airflow for the fans. The actual countertop is granite adhesed to marine plywood which is then both adhesed and screwed into the cabinet supporting the cooktop. This takes a little thought and design: If airflow supply and return is not taken into account, the cooktop unit can overheat. That installation eliminated the noise: I would rather hear music than a fan for hours in the kitchen.

        Yes, induction cooks fast and uses less energy. We have no alu pans, only stainless with alu cores, and we know which work better than others. Our Rösle pan sets are the best performers consistently, while some other brands do not do as well. Ultimately, you get what you pay for when it comes to induction rated pans and pots.

        One observation is we have learned to cook less physiically than we would do out on the BBQ or with gas cooktops. One does not want to really shake anything hard resulting in cracks or chips in the induction glass. As mentioned above, we too cook on much lower settings with induction.

        We also have rectangular grill area with our induction unit, a clever idea, but we prefer to cook meat, fish, or poultry directly in a pan. Even if to grill.

        Other experiences here are power losses during the winter snow storms. At that point we either use the BBQ just outside, or an alcohol Fondue rechard or burner. But it can and does happen, so think ahead and plan for it.

        Which also brings us to your current task at hand. I would suggest you try out any and all induction cooktops, and related cookware you can. If you have the time and patience, that is at least informative, and perhaps may even be enjoyable. At times I felt as though we were being prepared for either the quick-kill closing ( the loud, Red-Bull infused salesman ) or a Doctorate in Induction Technology ( the droning salesman on in monotone with a huge specification textbook ). More than once my wife looked at me and asked if we really wanted to go into the showroom that day for the same spiel. Bite your tongue, hold your breath, and go through with it. It pays dividends later.

        We like cooking on ours, but that subjectivity may not quite be everyones experience. Talk directly to any and all sales representatives you can regarding service, warranty, and replacement provisions. This appears to still be a new method of cooking in North America, with an initial expense attached to it.

        Good luck with your homework.

      2. We too have an portable induction burner--one of the Duxtop models--and I love it! As far as cookware, we all ready had 4 cast iron pans and one stainless still "everything" pot so we did not need to buy anything new. The burner get the CI smoking hot in a matter of moments even when set at low (setting 2 out of possible 10 settings). It heats a smallish amount of water a bit quicker than the electric cooktop, but not a significant difference when we're talking a stockpot amount of water. I love that it is very adjustable and responds very quickly to temperature changes (then again, so does gas, but we don't have that indoors). If you have compatible cookware you might want to get a (relatively) inexpensive portable burner and see how you like it before investing in an entire cooktop.

        3 Replies
        1. re: gourmanda

          I tried popping popcorn on my induction cooktop. I used the lowest heat setting, but I not only burnt the popcorn I nearly ruined my favorite stainless steel pan (specifically designed for induction).

          Maybe I'm doing something wrong but, I tried it twice (like a dummy) and same results. It's extremely difficult to get the burnt marks off my pan. Here is a photo.

          Now I'm looking for someone who would like to buy a slightly used nice induction cooktop (like new) at a very low price. I'll stick with electric, thank you very much.

          1. re: Bradinppc

            Hi Bradinppc,

            I've cooked popcorn on my GE induction range many times, in a saucepan and in a stir fry pan. Both worked well, and not on low heat. I'm curious about why you wanted the lowest setting. Is it needed for your usual method? Can you describe how the popping went?

            Also, judging by the amber color on the edges of the pan, it looks like more oil might be in order. Admittedly, this is hard to discern from the photo, but I mention it just in case you're not used to cooking popcorn on the stovetop. It should be about 3 tablespoons for ⅓ cup of corn. I usually just eyeball it, and pour enough to cover the floor of the pan.


            1. re: Bradinppc

              Were you shaking the pan (sliding it back and forth over the burner)?

              I don't do popcorn much, but recall my parents do it on an electric coil stove. Once it started popping (I think) it required vigorous shaking.

              They used to make poppers with a stirring paddle.

          2. My single burner induction cooker is a 2000 watt unit which we paid less than USD30 for, the cheapest model we could find in Singapore. I've had it two years and I won't give it up even though I now have gas as well.

            I only had a couple of pieces of cookware before I got the induction cooker (had moved to Singapore not long before I bought the induction cooker), and what I had was induction compatible, which is incredibly easy to find in Singapore since induction cookers are so prevalent here. I've since added more pieces.

            The only reason I use the gas stove now is only for selective use cases. Like my wok is round bottom (given to me - if I'd bought one, it would be induction compatible), my kettle (not induction compatible), and for my 14" pan. My induction cooker only has an effective range of 8", so the outer rim of the pan remains cooler than the inner bit.

            I love the induction cooker. Love. I use it every day for absolutely everything else. I can even use 3" pots on it. I use my pressure cooker on it. I use my cast iron on it.

            The power range on mine is 150 watts to 2000 watts. I'm fairly certain that, if I had a flat-bottom induction-compatible wok, the 2000 watts would be fine for wok cooking. I could be wrong, but it's a guess. Except for boiling water/getting my pressure cooker up to pressure, I almost never use the power levels from 1000 and up. Everything is done at the lower settings.

            1. Induction is not a gimmick, in my experience. I've posted repeatedly about what I bought for a cooktop (Bosch) and what pots I selected when I had to give my older Cuisinart pots away.

              If you read the lengthy threads about this you will come away with a good idea of why so many of us have switched, and what to expect if and when you do.

              You will probably have to buy some new pots. But you can use CI, carbon steel, or induction capable stainless--disk bottom or multi clad.

              If you are totally happy with gas, and especially if you have a lovingly collected store of good pots, then I don't know why you need to change.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sueatmo

                <If you are totally happy with gas, and especially if you have a lovingly collected store of good pots, then I don't know why you need to change.>

                I'm sure it's too late for the OP, but for anyone else contemplating a change, I'd echo sue's comment. Induction cooks remarkably like gas. Each has limitations, but on the whole, I'd say they're very similar in 'feel'.

                Now if you're used to cooking on electric, particularly radiant glass, induction is a revelation. It combines the speedy response time of gas with a glass cooktop.

                I'd also add to sue's list of compatible cookware one more - induction capable aluminum. Some "induction ready" aluminum brands barely work, most are so-so, and a few are very good. Check reviews before buying.