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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.

            Duffy

            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.

              2. Two trends seen here in Europe:

                1. Component cook tops. The induction unit being a rectangle with 2 cook zones. Additional components include a flat surface grill, usually stainless steel, and single concave induction "well" for round bottom woks. Same surround frame size for 1, 2, 3 , or more.

                Want 2 induction cooking zones ? Buy one panel. 4 induction zones needed, then buy 2 panels. And so on.

                Design-Build your own cook top. Have it your way on the counter, rather than a one size fits all purchase.

                2. A few manufacturers are simply marking the pan bottom with minimalist cm size, company logo or name, and " induction " stamped on the pan bottom. No other reference to oven, gas, ceramic, halogen, dishwasher, or electric capabilities.

                Note that as in the EU governmental documents, English is the accepted and increasingly predominant logo language, rather than previous use of the German " Induktion." Ten years ago it would have been French or German.

                Personally, I want to know if the pot or pan will cook in an oven, and be capable of other heat sources for cooking, plus being dishwasher compliant. I want to see all logos stamped or etched on the pot or pan bottom.

                 
                 
                 
                 
                20 Replies
                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                  That wok well is off the charts in cool! I am sitting here as jealous as I have ever been admiring that - Gorgeous!

                  1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                    Evening California Joseph -

                    Yes, they look good. Very modern, dedicated power controls.

                    They are quite common here, but expensive. About € 900 + in France or Germany, and over 1000 CHF here. I think this is actually an industry association / manufacturer attempt to move existing stock, as many were made.

                    With induction woks, and an induction wok ring, ( AEG, de Buyer, etc.), one no longer needs the limitation of that type of wok well. The wok well allows only one type of cooking vessel, a wok.

                    Conversely, using a flat surface induction cook top, many types of cooking pots, pans, induction grills, and even induction tea kettles can be used.

                    There are more practical options with an existing flat induction cook top.

                    Were I to design and build a new cooking island ( looking around to see if my wife is watching -No. OK ), I would most likely choose two induction panels,side by side, and the stainless grill. That would provide me 4 induction cooking zones for large meals and parties, and a grill for skewers, etc.

                    That would require a better exhaust fan, which I'm heading for anyway, versus the existing microwave fan. Time to do some planning and budgeting before Christmas.

                    What do you think ?

                     
                     
                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                      Yes, yes & yes. Madam Swissaire called and she said you may have a new kitchen and you should simply ship the old stuff to California...

                      1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                        Fantastic !

                        Not even 22:00, and I'm already in heaven.

                        After I make sure all the knives, rolling pins, and other weapons are locked up and secure, I going to read her your reply.

                          1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                            I ............................ chickened out.

                            Better to tell her in the morning when I'm headed out the door.

                            Otherwise, ( to quote the famous Italian comedian Toto ) I might wake up to find that I died in my sleep.

                            1. re: SWISSAIRE

                              "buck buck buck bu-gawk"

                              That's me clucking like a chicken. It's better with audio. :-D

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                Shhhh Duffy.

                                I know, I know: I resemble that remark.

                                Type in a lower register. Don't wake up the wife.

                                We're sleeping.

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  Hi Duffy-

                                  Attached is a better photo of the induction fry pan /bratpfanne coated with ceramic.

                                  It works very well, with zero oil use so far. The finish quality is excellent, but of course they always are when new, right ? I'm keeping the spatula and other tools use to silicone coated only so far.

                                  States " 400 Celcius limit in the oven." Not going there either.

                                  Cheers,

                                  -R

                                   
                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                    Thanks Rob,

                                    I really like the shape of the pan. A number of the ceramics here, like Thermolon, are sometimes advertised as safe to 850º, but when checking the use & care instructions, we find recs for medium heat.

                                    I wrote to Zwilling about this a while back, asking why Zwilling and Demeyere pans with the same Thermolon coating had different top heat recommendations. Here's what they wrote:

                                    "Why is one listed at 500F vs 850F when they are the same coating? From the technical point of view, the coating is heat resistant up to 850F. You can go up to that temperature without destroying the coating. However, the drawback is that if you go all the way to 850F, the high heat will eventually kill the non-stick properties on the coating. So going up to 850F even though it won't physically and visually damage the coating, it will decrease the non-stick features of it.

                                    Therefore, the proper heat temperature resistance for these items is 500F, this will ensure that the non-stick properties won't degrade and the product will perform better for a longer period of time. "

                                    So your comment, "Not going there either." is dead on. 500ºF/260ºC is plenty hot for all but the most vicious searing. Besides, we've got a Searzall coming soon to take care of that.

                                    Duffy

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      Hi Duffy -

                                      Sooooooooooooooooooo.

                                      Yes, 850 F is for quick Pizza.

                                      So, 260 C, or 500 F max for the pan. Thanks, as always.

                                      ?

                                      I know what a Sawzall is, but what is a Searzall ?

                                      -R

                                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                        Hey Rob,

                                        Searzall - https://www.shopstarter.com/p/1708738...

                                        We funded it on Kickstarter a year ago, they're finally shipping in the next few weeks.

                                        Duffy

                                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                          Hi, Robert:

                                          Pretty sure it's the eGullet guy's Kickstarter project. It looks like it's a plumber's torch fitted with a diffuser head. Sorta/kinda a salamander in a bottle.

                                          Aloha,
                                          Kaleo

                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                            <Sorta/kinda a salamander in a bottle.>

                                            Excellent description.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              Hi Guys -

                                              Mon Dieu !

                                              I can see that you are hopelessly passionate about searing steaks, and will test this device outside away from any structures, or forests.

                                              I look forward to reading your review of the process when you receive the device, and any subsequent reports from the local Fire Department, and Emergency Room services you may wish to include.

                                              Duffy, first take a minute to read over your Homeowner's Assurance policy, and the CC&R's where you reside, specifically under " exclusions." And perhaps a " All Hands on Deck-Ready for Sea " check of your fire extinguishers.

                                              Night

                                              -R

                                               
                                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                Hi, Robert:

                                                You should break out your Nomex tuxedo and come over when I wok cook on what Dickens called the "red hot tyrant". Halon or foam, Mein Herr?

                                                Aloha,
                                                Kaleo

                                                1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                  Oh, dear... we won't be hooking our torch up to the main tank, no way! One of the small fat bottles is what it uses.

                                                  Our best friend burned a hole in his wooden deck when some hot coals fell out the bottom of his kettle grill. On Christmas day. With a foot of snow on the deck. We laughed so hard we cried.

                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                    Morning Duffy-

                                                    No. that can still be done.

                                                    What you need is a Rosenbauer.

                                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                      Hey Rob,

                                                      Does a Rosenbauer come with a flaming grill/tank combo? Or is that optional?

                                                      D

                      2. Only 16 months late to the OP's questions, but I just posted this that some may find useful"
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/987590

                        1. Hi Howard,

                          I've lived through almost a full summer with induction, in Tampa, where it's not just hot, it's humid. We keep our thermostat set at 80ºF to save on AC costs (it's still ~$300/month) and run ceiling fans to compensate. We have a fan in the kitchen, above the island. The island is about 36" from the stove. That's the setup.

                          In prior years, we cooked outside a LOT in the summer, choosing to grill about 4-5 nights a week. The kitchen was just too darn hot with the range going. This summer I realize we're outside about half as much, with the rest of our meals cooked on the induction range. It stays remarkably cool. I generally use the cooktop, not the oven, and most meals take 30-45 minutes. This year I haven't noticed myself sweating as I would previously. The kitchen feels no hotter than the rest of the house. This is a first. Whether gas or electric, my kitchen always got hot during the summer unless I cooked outside. Not this year.

                          We've all heard that induction kitchens remain cooler than gas/electric kitchens, but I guessed the difference would be very mild, hardly felt. I'm happy to report that's not true. The change is not subtle at all.

                          Duffy