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Need to replace a 30" induction cooktop, unexpectedly.

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Buckethead Jun 26, 2013 01:42 PM

I remodeled our kitchen in 2007 and installed a Kenmore Elite 30" induction cooktop (made by Electrolux). This morning, after turning it on, I heard a loud 'pop' sound and am getting error code 35, which after some internet research looks like an expensive problem to fix, and probably not the last thing that will need fixing.

So, I'm looking at potentially replacing it with a different model from a different manufacturer (NOT a Kenmore or Electrolux, or any Electrolux rebadge like Frigidaire). While normally I'd take my time and compare models, manufacturers, etc. for weeks online, the unexpected death of our current cooktop kinda means we need a replacement sooner rather than later, so I'm jump-starting my search by asking you all.

Ideally, I'd like a 30" cooktop that:

- Fits in the hole I already have cut in my nice counter! I suspect most 30" wide models will be OK, I guess I'll have to download a PDF of the installation instructions before I click "Buy" to make sure.
- Is from a manufacturer known for longevity. I don't know who this might be in the induction cooktop category, but if you have one you've been using for a decade, let me know who made it. Conversely, if you've had one that quit a week after the warranty expired, let me know.
- Has lots of heat settings. The Kenmore has 16 per burner, I think, the lowest setting was low enough to melt chocolate without a double boiler.
- Air vents that vent below the countertop surface, rather than above it. the Kenmore sits up 1/4 - 1/2 inch from the countertop, with the vent openings along the front and back, I've always lived in fear of spilling a giant pot of stock or something into them. I believe some models have vents that lead to under the counter.

Any suggestions?

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  1. kaleokahu RE: Buckethead Jun 26, 2013 02:38 PM

    Sorry to hear of your loss, Buckethead. I think 6 years is about right.

    Seriously, you might consider the Vollrath 2-burner tabletop unit at around $600. At least you won't have to cut any more holes when that goes south...

    Aloha,
    Kaleo

    1 Reply
    1. re: kaleokahu
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      Buckethead RE: kaleokahu Jun 26, 2013 03:36 PM

      Thanks! I actually have a couple portable induction burners that we're cooking on temporarily, so we're not starving, but we cook a *lot* so we kind of need to get back to 4 burners.

    2. j
      JWVideo RE: Buckethead Jun 26, 2013 02:57 PM

      Yes, you will have to read the install manuals for dimensions and clearances. There has been a problem with some nominally 30" and 36" wide induction cooktops being a bit too wide to fit within the actual space inside the framing of a 30" and 36" base cabinet.

      Have you looked at the gardenweb appliances site? There have been a good number of recent discussions of induction cooktops. Bosch 500 and 800 units seem to be particular favored. Try "gardenweb + bosch induction" for a search string for threads on those models. AFAIK, these vent below the counter and the burners have 17 steps/heat settings.

      Also, I recall, but cannot locate, a couple of threads discussing the longevity of induction cooktops and ranges. One was here at chowhound a year or two ago (I think) and the other was at gardenweb sometime last year. Maybe you will have more luck with the search engine than I did.

      Right now, there seems to be a consensus on GW/Appliances that induction products made by Whirlpool are probelmatic (other WP induction brands include Maytag and KitchenAid and WP makes the appliances for IKEA, as well.)

      8 Replies
      1. re: JWVideo
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        Buckethead RE: JWVideo Jun 26, 2013 03:39 PM

        Thanks, I'll check out Bosch on gardenweb (I hadn't looked there yet). I did go through theinductionsite.com a bit and you can tell just by looking at the layouts of the cooktops that most of them are made by either Electrolux or Whirlpool and rebranded as Frigidaire, IKEA, Kitchenaid, Kenmore, etc.

        1. re: Buckethead
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          JWVideo RE: Buckethead Jun 26, 2013 07:27 PM

          Kenmore can be rebranded anything. See this link for info on finding out who actually manufactured any particular Kenmore appliances:

          http://www.appliance411.com/purchase/...

          For clarity, Whirlpool does not make any induction equipment for Electrolux/Frigidaire.. Frigidaire is a subsidiary of Elux, not a rebrand. (Actually, a far as I can have been able to find out, most of Elux's North American appliance factories are actually branded as Frigidiare. WP a E-lux are Completely separate companies and product lines. From what I recall of Gardenweb posters, Elux/Frigidaire induction electronics are generally (but not always) pretty reliable for 6 years or so, but may be a bit delicate and are very expensive to repair and/or replace.It is hard to forecast beyond 6 years simply because there are not that many people (yet) who have reported on having current-generation induction appliances for more than six years.

          1. re: JWVideo
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            Buckethead RE: JWVideo Jun 26, 2013 07:43 PM

            FWIW, my cooktop was installed and working fine for almost exactly 6 years (July 2007 until now).

            I have to admit, I'm now taking a look at the Ikea Nutid (rebranded Whirlpool), it's $1k with a 5-year warranty. We may not be staying in our house past the next 2 years or so, so I'm reluctant to spend a ton of money on a replacement only to have to leave it behind if and when we sell our house. At $1k, the Nutid is not a whole lot more expensive than getting the Kenmore repaired and I'd have some peace of mind that if it breaks before we move, it's be covered under warranty. I can't find the actual warranty document though.

            Looks like the people on Gardenweb really like the Bosch 500, but looking at Bosch's website I kind of like the aesthetics of the 300 model better, and it seems to have the same heating elements and power levels of the 500 series, though the 500's controls look slightly easier to use.

            1. re: Buckethead
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              JWVideo RE: Buckethead Jun 27, 2013 08:54 PM

              Only 6 years? Ouch.

              AFAIK, the IKEA Nutid cooktop is the least expensive 30" wide induction cooktop available in the US right now. (I believe Summit has a 4 burner induction cooktop for $800, but, IIRC, it is only 24" wide.) For me, the low price would be tempered by the Nutid being a Whirlpool product. WP has a not-so-great reputation for its induction products.

              The gardenweb has recently had a spate of complaints about noise and annoyances with KA and WP induction ranges and cooktops. You might want to check out these threads for starters:

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

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

              Another thing, the number of burner settings is pretty limited on the WP products. While I have never liad hands on (or even seen) one of the IKEA Nutid cooktops, I believe its Whirlpool and and Kitchenaid stablemates have only 12 steps for the burner settings.

              It does have a 5-year warranty where the WP/KA models only have a 1 year warranty, IIRC. Might want to check out the company's reputation for providing warranty service.

              I haven't seen much about the Fagor induction cooktops sold here in the US, but they have been big in Europe for years and make induction components for other brands, as well. However, IIRC, the Fagor cooktops also have only 12 steps/settings for the burners and at around $1700 they are rather more expensive than the budget you seemed to have in mind.

              1. re: JWVideo
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                Buckethead RE: JWVideo Jun 28, 2013 09:36 AM

                " Might want to check out the company's reputation for providing warranty service."

                According to some threads on Ikeafans.com, their warranty service is horrible, and the product itself is crap. I read posts from several people whose Nutid cooktop failed in the first day or week of operation, then waiting upwards of 30 days getting a constant runaround from Ikea/Whirlpool for it to be fixed or replaced.

                Between that and the gardenweb threads you linked to, I'm no longer considering the Nutid. Now I think I've got it down to either the Fagor or the Bosch 300, both are available around $1600 - $1700.

                1. re: Buckethead
                  j
                  JWVideo RE: Buckethead Jun 28, 2013 12:54 PM

                  The Bosch 300 ought to be a couple hundred less. I recall some recent posts on gardenweb where folks reported buying them for about $1300. On Tuesday, I saw that our local Lowe's had a Bosch 300 induction cooktop for $1399. Check the web-site.

                  1. re: JWVideo
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                    Buckethead RE: JWVideo Jun 28, 2013 01:35 PM

                    I think the $1300 price was thanks to a rebate that is no longer available, but I did just check Lowe's and they do in fact sell the Bosch 300 model for $1399, thanks! That may seal the deal over the Fagor, especially since Bosch is more popular/available in the US, so repairs and parts may potentially be easier.

              2. re: Buckethead
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                sueatmo RE: Buckethead Jul 3, 2014 08:35 PM

                I have a Bosch 500 model, but I can't speak to its longevity as I've only had it for a year or so now. I'd check the controls of the 300. They are not as easy, as I understand it, to use. In fact the controls are what pushed me to the 500. I can't remember the details, but perhaps someone here will know.

                My Bosch works fine. I like it a lot. It does not have some advanced features found on higher end models, but it works well. It holds a low simmer really well and of course it boils water quickly.

                I specifically wanted a Bosch, but this was more subjective than objective. I had a Bosch dishwasher that was really, really good. I tended to trust the brand, and also I liked that it was branded by the company that builds it.

        2. w
          wattacetti RE: Buckethead Jun 26, 2013 06:03 PM

          Miele KM5954
          Fagor IFA-80

          3 Replies
          1. re: wattacetti
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            Buckethead RE: wattacetti Jun 26, 2013 07:47 PM

            I think the Miele is quite a bit above my price range, as I mentioned to JWVideo above, we may not be staying in our house past the next 2-3 years, so I don't want to buy something I'll regret leaving behind if and when we move.

            What do you like about the Fagor? I've had good experiences with their pressure cookers and portable induction burners.

            1. re: Buckethead
              kaleokahu RE: Buckethead Jun 26, 2013 08:13 PM

              In for a penny, in for a pound, I say. If you believe in the technology, leave behind a unit you think might be a sales asset. Who knows? Your new induction unit might last 45 years, and the 9th-buyer-removed might say: "Dang, *somebody* knew what they were doing, and now we have this really [insert word for "cool"] cooktop."

              Alternative reality: "Hon, could you pick up another induction 'top on your way home?" Really, the landfill is probably not that close to you.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: Buckethead
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                wattacetti RE: Buckethead Jun 27, 2013 06:50 AM

                The Fagors are well made and have adequate spacing for larger pots to sit aside one another. The units meet most of your requirements - I think the only one is the > 16 power levels - and Fagor manufactures its own.

                They've also been at it for a while.

            2. s
              sueatmo RE: Buckethead Jul 1, 2013 10:58 AM

              We choose a 30" Bosch, which the appliance guys say is very good. (Odd that they push Jenn Aire) We looked carefully at the online specs, and had an installation guy have a look before committing. Apparently it should fit right in the 30" cut out already occupied by my old glass top.

              You can obtain the specs from the Bosch site. We went for the 500, but there are three to choose from.

              Installation next week, I hope!

              1. b
                Buckethead RE: Buckethead Aug 2, 2013 11:48 AM

                I did end up going with the 30" Bosch, model NIT3065UC. So far, so good. I like a few things about it a lot more than my old Kenmore, it seems to have more power levels available in the middle of the temperature range. On my old one, anything above level 7.5 was way too hot to be usable for anything other than boiling water. The Bosch has finer temperature control. It also has no openings above the counter surface for liquids to spill into, all the venting happens below the counter. One annoying thing: there's no easy way to turn off an individual burner. You have to cycle through all the temp settings until you get back to zero.

                ETA: The Fagor looked good too but a closer look at the dimensions revealed that the hole in our countertop was slightly bigger than the unit's glass surface, so there would have been some unsightly seams in the countertop where I would have had to build it back up. I did have to build a few supports for the Bosch too but the glass top was a little bigger and completely covers the existing hole.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Buckethead
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                  sueatmo RE: Buckethead Aug 2, 2013 04:49 PM

                  Which Bosch did you buy? My 500 series is easy to turn off, burner by burner. You simply choose the burner then press 0.

                  How long have you had yours? I've spent time playing with various pans, to see how long it takes to achieve a boil, and how quickly I can move boiling liquid to a simmer. I'm still learning stuff.

                  Good luck with your new cook top!

                  1. re: sueatmo
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                    Buckethead RE: sueatmo Aug 2, 2013 10:14 PM

                    I just installed it a couple weeks ago. I had a different induction cooktop for years before this, so I was familiar with the quick heat, but the Bosch is a little different (and better, but I suppose that's to be expected when you replace a 6 year old electronic device). The 300 series (mine) doesn't have the row of buttons for temperature settings, it has a + and - button for each burner. I liked the clean look of the 300 series better though, and the power levels are exactly the same as the 500 and 800 series.

                    1. re: Buckethead
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                      sueatmo RE: Buckethead Aug 3, 2013 03:06 PM

                      I believe I read a review of the 300 that said there was shortcut to turn off, and then complained about the crummy users' manual. I read many reviews and that's how I chose the Bosch. Most of the reviews were very positive.

                      You could search for reviews for the 300 and perhaps you might learn the shortcut.

                2. i
                  InductionDemoGuy RE: Buckethead Jul 3, 2014 12:10 PM

                  Kenmore is a Whirlpool brand, Frigidaire is made by Electrolux.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: InductionDemoGuy
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                    kagemusha49 RE: InductionDemoGuy Jul 3, 2014 04:54 PM

                    Kenmore is NOT a Whirlpool brand - it is a Sears label. Some appliances labeled Kenmore are made by Whirlpool, some by Electrolux, some by god knows who.

                    1. re: kagemusha49
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                      InductionDemoGuy RE: kagemusha49 Jul 3, 2014 05:09 PM

                      I work for both companies, whirlpool and Electrolux.

                      1. re: InductionDemoGuy
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                        kagemusha49 RE: InductionDemoGuy Jul 3, 2014 08:44 PM

                        And this proves that Kenmore is NOT a Sears label?

                        1. re: kagemusha49
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                          InductionDemoGuy RE: kagemusha49 Jul 3, 2014 09:09 PM

                          Don't get upset over an appliance, I know what companies private label from both. Kenmore is whirlpool. That's all I can tell you, best if luck.

                          1. re: InductionDemoGuy
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                            kagemusha49 RE: InductionDemoGuy Jul 3, 2014 10:03 PM

                            If you are referring to induction cooktops, maybe you're right. But not in general - Kenmore has ALWAYS been a Sears label.

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