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Gas or Induction Cooktops

We are renovating, we currently have a gas range but are debating between a gas or an induction cooktop. I enjoy cooking however am certainly not a "pro". I do like gas and have cooked with it for about 20 years now but am intrigued by induction. Would be interested in the opinions of those who have either one, why did you choose that which you have, what do you like/dislike, if you were choosing again would you go with the same type?

Thanks

Deepre

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  1. I'm about to replace a gas range, and will certainly stick with gas. I have no 220v range connection, so it's not a practical option, but would probably choose gas even if I had connections for both. It's familiar, and induction would not work with much of my cookware.

    1. The differences between induction and gas cooking are:

      Induction:

      Advantages:
      Faster heat response (with the right cookware),
      Require a smaller ventilation,
      Heat up the kitchen/surrounding less
      Easier surface for clean up

      Disadvantages:
      Only works for magnetized cookware (no glass, no clay, no pure aluminumware, no plain copperware....etc)
      Do not do well for non-flat surface cookware like a Chinese wok or Indian Kadhai (unless you have specialized induction hob, and even then it does not work that well)

      *An induction range can be expensive, but so does a high end gas range.
      **There are some induction cooktops which work for aluminum and copper and...etc. However, the efficiency is lower in this mode.

      There are hybrid range.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Revol Revolution (porcelain) works on induction.

      2. I'd buy a portable induction burner first and see how you like cooking on it.

        11 Replies
        1. re: rasputina

          Excellent suggestion. And the portable will still be a handy thing to have around the house after the new cooktop (be it gas or induction) is installed.

          1. re: rasputina

            That's what I did. Induction is not for everyone. Right now I have a portable unit sitting on top of my gas stove.

            What really impresses me is the speed and easy cleanup. It's easier to clean an induction glasstop than any other cooktops IMO. It keeps my cookware bottoms sparkly clean. No more scorch marks or burnt on foods.

            I think the biggest problem that people face is the majority of their favorite cookware aren't induction ready. For example, those that have the fancy French copper cookware are going to stay far away from induction. New cookware in addition to the higher cost for induction stoves is a big turn off.

            Another disadvantage, aside from cost is shaking the pan on the glasstop is discouraged. Because it can leave scratches in the glass.

            1. re: unprofessional_chef

              I don't see how gas is going to make the bottoms of your cookware dirtier than a glasstop. Most of the things you raved about were more about glasstops than specifically induction. I actually find keeping my glasstop clean a nightmare compared to gas. I'm not the only cook in this house and wiping down counters or cooktop is not something the other cooks do. As result stuff gets stuck on the glasstop like glue and is a complete PITA to clean off. I hate cleaning it. It's also way too picky about the size and shape of your pot.

              1. re: rasputina

                <Most of the things you raved about were more about glasstops than specifically induction>

                The argument is that the glasstop of the induction cooktop is less hot that say the glasstop of a radiant cooktop. As such, spill materials are not burned onto the glasstop.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  How can the glass possibly be less hot? An example is the Max Burton induction burner, it can be set up to 450 degrees. It's the same glass ceramic top on both induction ranges and on halogen ranges so the heating properties of the glass should be the same. Even though the induction range is using magnetism to heat the pan the glasstop still gets hot from contact with the pan.

                  I don't see how an induction glasstop is easier to clean than any other type of glasstop.

                  1. re: rasputina

                    <How can the glass possibly be less hot?>

                    Theoretically, the two glasstop can have the same temperature. Practically, they are almost never the same. This is because we cook depending on the temperature of the cookware. We bring the cookware to a desirable temperature for cooking.

                    When using radiant/coil cooktop, the hottest component is not the cookware, but the heating element underneath. In order to bring the cookware to say 150oC for cooking, the element has to be much hotter than 150oC, and the glass is also hotter than 150oC. Induction stoves, as you said, use the magnetic field to directly induce heat on the cookware. Therefore, the cookware is the hottest component, not other components. The glasstop will be cooler than the cookware. In order to heat the cookware up to 150oC for cooking, the glasstop is lower than 150oC.

                    I am sure you have seen videos similar to this one where you can place a piece of paper in between the cookware and the induction element, while bringing the pot of water to boiling. The paper was not burned, and the person was able to directly touch the glasstop shortly after. You won't able to do this for other smooth cooktops.

                    http://youtu.be/HiIKq4RkZ1M?t=1m50s

                    This shows that the glasstop is at a much lower temperature than the cookware.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks, I'll check it out when I have a free moment to watch the video.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        Your welcome. Let's me know what you think after watching it.

                        1. re: rasputina

                          Here is an interesting way to minimize cleanup after cooking beacon.

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5t41Q...

                          I can often clean boilovers immediately. The glasstop and the bottom of my stainless steel pans can be wiped with a damp sponge. And I can continue cooking without a huge mess at the end. The cool induction glasstop makes cleaning effortless.

                          It takes me less than a minute to wipe the glasstop often right after I'm done cooking. The glass looks as clean as the day I got it. I'm sure it will stay looking like new after many years.

                          1. re: unprofessional_chef

                            HI, UC:

                            Nice video. The curtain of paper towels hanging behind the cooktop shows us everything we need to know... This person cares more about ickiness than cooking.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

              2. re: rasputina

                I just picked up a TRU Eco burner at Tuesday Morning for $40.00. I'm curious to see how it works out.

              3. You can't roast peppers on an induction top.

                1. There was a long thread here asking why Americans don't use induction cooktops, but I can't find it. Has it been deleted? Seemed like this technology is popular in Europe and Asia but only 5% of American households have it. I gather the hardware is less expensive there than here, while American energy costs are lower (especially gas) so the $$$ savings aren't so much of a big deal.

                  Besides Chemicalkinetics' summary of the advantages, one poster in that thread liked being able to set a "burner's" temperature lower than possible with gas or conventional electric. If you're a precision cook, that might be a factor.

                  Personally, I wouldn't want to replace my tried-and-true pots and pans, most of which apparently wouldn't work with induction, and relearn how to cook with the new heat source and hardware. The supposed advantages of induction aren't nearly enough compensation for having to do that.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: John Francis

                    It is locked due to unfriendly behavior, not deleted.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834710

                    Edited: Just noticed that dcrb also put up the same link.

                    1. re: John Francis

                      Precision would be a benefit if you had infinite control with induction, instead of temperature increments, which are represented by numbers.

                      1. re: rasputina

                        This infinite adjustability / control is getting way too much hype. How precise are those gas knobs anyways? I have an older gas stove, the knob only makes about a 90 degree turn between high and low. I often can't get that precise low setting for eggs and medium-high to sear meats. So I'm left with looking at the flame to judge the temperature.

                        The discrete digital controls of induction is easier for me cook with. Because I just need to memorize a number that I've used before to produce the desired temperature. For me anyways, it easier to memorize a number and time and associate it with what I'm cooking. Which has given me consistent results.

                        1. re: unprofessional_chef

                          <How precise are those gas knobs anyways?>

                          I agree. I am not emotionally for or against induction cooking. It is what it is. It has its merits, and these should be promoted. For majority of the people, infinite control is overrated. Our fingers won't allow us to have infinite control. The discrete controls of induction (or not induction) allows much greater reproducibility. Just as you have described, this allows you to go back to a precise setting.

                          At the end, of course, the cooks should have enough skill and knowledge that he/she can adjust the timing to compensate any small changes in the heat setting.

                          1. re: unprofessional_chef

                            Hi, UC:

                            The problem with that analysis is that on a 10-step induction stove, you typically only use the lowest 4-5 steps. What happens when you need 2.5 or 3.5 and it's not there?

                            And it's not that the gas valves (or even electric dials) are particularly precise, although some are. It's that they're continuously adjustable.

                            I sometimes use a propane 2-burner camp stove that has no dial indications at all, i.e., *all* you have to judge by is the flame. Pretty darn easy. If a particular preparation calls for a specific pan temperature, that's what the IR gun is for, not some averaged discrete preset.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              My GE Profile does have those half steps (i.e., 19 levels per hob). And it is remarkably consistent - when I find that, say, 5-1/2 is exactly the right level for making something, I stick with that number and it comes out exactly the same every time.

                              I agree in theory that continuous adjustability is preferable, but in reality having 19 levels (and three different intensities of hobs, which means there are considerably more than 19 levels on the overall cooktop) covers every conceivable cooking requirement I've run across in the five months or so I've been using it.

                              1. re: BobB

                                Hi, Bob:

                                Well, there you go, you've got a nice one, then.

                                But if your Profile is like others, of the 10 whole-number positions, you're only going to be using the first four or five (other than "10" for boiling). So in reality, you have 8 or 10 presets. That number is clearly better than the whole-number models that effectively have only 4-5. Perhaps soon a manufacturer will come out with a 100-position chip that will give buyers near-continuously-adjustable flexibility. Xeno's Paradox...

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  Actually, I find that I consistently use settings from .5 to 7.5, plus 10 for quick boiling. Only levels 8 and 9 go unused. But I daresay that's pretty much the same as on gas ranges. How often are you likely to set the flame just a tad below full high?

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    Hi, Bob:

                                    Great that you use so many levels. From the reportage here, you're in the minority.

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    PS With a very large stocker, I do use a scosh below full high.