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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.

                        1. Deepre- I am in the same delimma. I am debating going from gas to induction. What we really need is advice from someone who has done precisely that. Would they buy induction again? I bought one induction burner two years go a Christmas and we have used it with great success. I just don't know how it would be to have a glass top only nd not picking p the pan. I did find some interesting threads over here. http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/ on induction.

                          1. I will be getting induction for the rest of my life, unless they come with something better than that in the future.

                            Why don't you check out if your local appliance showrooms have some units available for you to play with? People test drive ovens by bringing their own cookie dough and baking there.

                            I've been cooking on a induction cooktop for quite a few years. Recently I had to make do with an induction hotplate at my vacation place. Very underwhelmed by its performance compared to my cooktop, but still way better than the stupid electric stove there.

                            My mother has gas. She doesn't have a pro-style range, just a normal gas stove that you would see at a big-box store. I wish the pans get hot as fast as the kitchen itself. Have you looked at any pro gas ranges?

                            1. Thanks everyone! There is sure a lot to think about. I am looking at either the Monogram 36" cooktops - either gas or induction. I did get an induction burner to try and am liking lots about it except perhaps the noise. Also saw the gaggenau induction cooktop which I really liked but think it is out of my price range. Good suggestion on the trying one in the store as the portable one isn"t as high powered. So much to think about!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: deepre

                                Well, reading this thread I thought I would give you my 2 cents. I have a Electrolux induction range and really. really. like it. I won't ever go back to electric or gas. I have been telling my wife that. when we move I am taking it with me! That being said, I did get rid of some of my old pans and also kept some. I started a collection of Demeyere pans. With these pans the range, in my opinion, shines. It is very even cooking with all of them. I use some Cook's Essentials from QVC that it works extremely well on. These pans by the way are very, very, good for the price. Does it make noise. Yes. A lot of noise, no. Is it easy to clean, yes, Can you have control of cooking, yes very much. It is instantaneous, yes. Is the glass less hot, yes. I find myself cooking and lifting the pot off the burner to wipe the water, grease splatter, etc off. Is there less heat. Yes. Actually I don't feel any heat coming from the stove. This is the one I bought.
                                http://www.electroluxappliances.com/k...

                                I cook on it just about everyday. The only bad thing I can say is, I can't find a good stainless steel cleaner that doesn't smear it up before wiping and wiping to get it clean. Also, I bought a Max Burton 1800 prior to buying the Electrolux. That is really what sold me. If there are any specific questions I will be more that happy to answer them.

                              2. Hi, Deepre:

                                IMO, the relative differences are:

                                Responsiveness: Induction slightly faster, but both are very fast. Copper or aluminum on gas is fast enough for >98% of professional chefs. Depending on application, preparation, and cookware, downward response can be faster with gas.

                                Cookware: All will work on gas. Induction requires enough ferrous metal to trip the pan detector circuits to allow current to flow AND to induce heat. Reports here are that not all "induction capable" pans work as well as others, depending on material and construction. If you cook mostly in aluminum, copper, or incompatible SS clad, you will need to buy new cookware along with your induction unit.

                                Power: Pretty much a tie. Both usually have 'way more power than you need. On the bottom end, induction usually has an extremely low setting that gas has a hard time matching without a diffuser plate.

                                Adjustability: Gas is infinitely adjustable; induction is stepped. Many people who have 10-step induction never go past 5, effectively leaving you with 5 presets. If you buy one with more steps you have more choices, but they're still steps.

                                Venting: Gas requires more, induction sometimes none. But venting *inside* the induction appliance is required for longevity.

                                Economy: Theoretically, induction is more efficient, but the comparison doesn't hold up where your power is generated by burning the same gas as you would have burned in your stove. Anytime you switch, "economy" needs to be weighted for the social and individual acquisition/remodel/disposal costs.

                                Wiring: Obviously you have gas piping already. Induction cooktops require a dedicated 220V circuit. If you don't have that, add that rewire to the cost. And if you *do* have the circuit, be careful--some induction tops require a 50-amp service (conventional electric ranges require 40 amp).

                                Price: You can get both in any range from $50 hotplates to $$$$ pro-style ranges. Cooktops are still a little cheaper in gas, but this isn't as great a difference as it once was. If you're getting rid of a gas range and replacing with an induction top, you also will need to buy an oven if you don't already have an extra...

                                Longevity: Gas units seem to live forever. Induction appliances have a much shorter track record, and are more heavily electronic-based.

                                Controls: Induction controls are almost always digital and numerical LED/LCD. Gas tend to be manual and analog (oven controls are oftentimes digital). Some induction controls must be switched between hobs to make adjustments (i.e., no separate control for each burner). Induction sometimes has quirky detection/repower circuitry.

                                Convenience: Lots of people love the smooth glass top on their induction units for cleaning ease. People with gas tend not to care as much. Many like induction because they claim it keeps their kitchen cooler. People with gas tend not to notice, or *like* the warmth.

                                Safety: Both are quite safe. If you have young children climbing on your counters, induction gets the nod.

                                Intangibles: Induction is trendy, techie, sleek and invisible. Gas is primal, sensory, rough-trade, cheery.

                                Hope this helps,
                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. I'd have a tough time making that choice, having cooked for 40 years on gas. As far as I'm concerned, I've got the best of both worlds with a portable induction unit sitting on a cookie sheet over a near-useless little 'simmer burner' at the back corner of my low-end, sealed-burner gas stove.

                                  My ideal cooktop would be a large front gas burner with the remaining 3/4 surface zoneless induction. But that won't be available any time soon at a reasonable price.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ellabee

                                    Hi. ellabee:

                                    I think you're on to something here. Now there's a topic worthy of its own thread:

                                    "If you could have a combo induction/gas cooktop, would it be: (a) 3/4 induction/ 1/4 gas; or (b) 3/4 gas/ 1/4 induction?"

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    1. re: ellabee

                                      Funny, my situation is exactly the opposite. I've been using an induction cooktop for 6-7 years now, but I also picked up a compact gas burner that I can easily connect to the gas outlet for my freestanding gas oven. I thought that there might be times I would want an actual flame, but in fact I've never needed to hook up the gas burner.

                                    2. Some friends of ours, recently remodeled their kitchen, had a pro kitchen designer to choose the equipment and such. Huge kitchen, anyway, they have a nice 4 burner gas cooktop and a large singe induction hob set in the granite. I'm assuming the large induction unit is variable size pot compatable. From what I can tell, the gas unit gets the vast majority of use in their house.

                                      Our house had both gas and a dedicated 240V electric service. My wife does a lot of candy making and had poor experiences with "regular" glass top, so was concerned about how well an induction unit would work for that purpose. Being risk adverse, we installed a new gas 6 hob unit from Electralux Icon and absolutely love the infinately adjustable nature of gas.

                                      1. Another issue to keep in mind is, do you live in an area prone to power outages? We live on the Gulf Coast, and have experienced several hurricanes - sometimes going for over a week without power. A gas cooktop will still work - not only allowing you to cook, but also to boil water. Perhaps areas prone to snow storms might have similar issues? Just something to keep in mind!

                                        1. renting a place with a gaggenau 4 ring CI 261 at the moment.

                                          there are some MAJOR design flaws in it, such as the rings aren't the same size as the induction area but worse still the pan detection area is. in addition,the magnetic control spinner is functionally awful and hugely frustrating. it's a terrible design and a horrible example of style over substance (and i understand it's not cheap either)

                                          a cooktop with induction zones matching the indicators on the surface with analogue dials controls would make a good cooktop (woks and other curved vessels are hopeless though), but i still prefer gas.

                                          quite frankly i don't get that impressed by something that can boil water ferociously quickly, nor do i really care about the cleaning advantages.