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The Induction Debate...

Hello all,

I've had a basic electric stove top that cost about 200€ MAX in my apartment, and thinking of finally updating. Induction has come up on my list of options. I have specifically found an AEG product that is being sold at my local store for 999€. I will post a link to the product for reference. So here is there real question: I am 21 and have some money in my savings, but is the investment truly worth it? How many years can I expect to keep such a product? 5 years, 10 years, 20+? I have Le Creuset pans and Zwilling which are both compatible, so pans are not an issue. All in all, I really wanna know if the money is worth what I am buying. They have cheaper models from different companies in the 500-600€ range but they look cheap, and that worries me. I hope someone can help me make a conscious decision here because sometimes I jump in the water without thinking and make mistakes with purchases. Thanks in advance!

http://www.aeg.de/Products/Kochen/Fre...
(Sorry it's only available in German)

 
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    1. Induction is not as common in the USA as Europe. And with different brands, and possibly different service possibilities, American posters probably can't give you a good answer about it's durability. Induction is basically an electronic product, like your TV and computer.

      1. Hi, cwochnik:

        It's a difficult question, since induction appliances haven't been in large-scale production all that long.

        If you use the search function, I believe someone here posted a link to a study that supposedly says induction appliances have shown longevity comparable to gas stoves. Given those appliances' heavy reliance on electronics, though, I'm not so sure.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        2 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          As an induction user for the better part of two years now, I'd agree that it's a difficult question to answer. Delighted as I am with mine, I'm hoping it will be around for a while, but that didn't stop me from purchasing a quite reasonably priced extended warranty on it.

          As for studies, this one, which does an amusingly over-the-top scientific analysis (it's a PDF that for some reason I can't link directly to, but if you google this string it should be the first thing that comes up: mynewsub.com/site/wp-content/uploads/.../Induction-Stovetops-3.pdf‎) recommends induction over gas for both societal and environmental reasons, but it sidesteps the question of longevity, stating, "An important note is that no academic research could be found that indicates which technology has a longer operational life expectancy." [That was done about two years ago.] It was prepared by an applied science instructor at the Univ of British Columbia to aid in deciding what type of stove to buy for the new student union.

          Then there's a study from the National Assn of Home Builders, summarized here (http://log-homes.thefuntimesguide.com...), which says that you can typically expect an induction unit to last 10 years vs 15 years for gas. Unfortunately, the URL from that summary page that purports to link to the full study just redirects to the NAHB home page, so we can't see what methodology led to these conclusions.

          Bottom line it seems the question is still TBD.

          1. re: BobB

            I was having a similar discussion with one of our daughters regarding hybrid and plug-in cars. Just not enough data yet to know how long the batteries are going to last and what they will cost in the future.

        2. Well I have used induction over a year now and have used every other type of stove/range out there. I can say that I do like induction very very much. I would prefer to have gas but, I cant get it at the house. But then I think about the heat that gas puts off when you are using it and think induction is far better in that aspect. Induction does make noise (fans spinning). How much, I guess depends on the model you buy. I have a Electrolux http://www.electroluxappliances.com/K... Any questions you may have I will try my best to answer.I think they are well worth it. I have told my wife that when we move I will be taking it with me. lol. I think it is well worth the investment., How long it will actually last remains to be seen.

          1. i don't have experience w/ induction - not very popular out here - said from the pacific ocean (western North Am) side of the earth - i notice that appliances in the mid-range market - do not last as long as they used to a couple of decades ago -

            1. recently i have had to repair the touchpad on a hi-end kitchen aid electric stove (it was about 3 yrs old and lightly used)

            2. and some sort of drain valve in a Whirlpool (decent mid-range brand in North Am) dishwasher - less than 2 yrs old and the repair cost about half of the original purchase price (in my dark side mind - I think it's planned by the factory - interesting that the warranty ran out a few months ago and now it needs repair)

            3. I notice my friend's LG fridge - the seal is all wonky and falling apart - it's new too.

            whereas - in the days when we walked to and from school both ways uphill (it's a N Am joke about our age and "you know when you're getting old when ...) - fridges lasted, so did KitchenAid (it was considered a decent purchase) - so did Whirlpool

            i am of the age and mind that if it ain't broke, why spend our disposable income on these things. That said - that's your business isn't it.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Georgia Strait

              my appliance repair man told me not to buy LG or samsung - at least their refrigerators... he's fixing them when they are 2-3 years old. had another friend who got one a few years ago and it broke within 6 months so badly that the dealer had to give them a whole new unit. they have a samsung now- trouble free (fingers crossed). i've still got my 12 yr. old amana: gonna keep fixing it.

              1. re: rmarisco

                And MY appliance repair person LOVED Samsung. As someone said here recently "anecdotes don't equal facts" :)

            2. Hi cwo -

              Considering the expense, it is very wise of you to ask question, before you "jump in the water" as you mention..

              We have used induction for 9+ years. This is a 220-240v system, cooktop only, built into granite counters, as our ovens are separate units. We own other properties with either gas or electricity, so a cooking comparison can be made between all three.

              As to the internal electronics, we have experienced no problems ( as I knock on the table ). The controls are touch sensitive, which to most is a plus. The glass top of the induction is fine for use with different pots and pans, even cooking with a flat bottomed wok, or a paella pan. Obviously it is easier to clean than a cooktop with gas hobs.

              Technique with induction iwe notice s generally quieter, but quicker, if you want it to be. We prefer slow cooking, and steaming, so induction is better for our needs. The advert bit about how quickly water boils is not as important as to how well your food cooks. Induction does a very good job of it.

              One consideration is keeping your cooking pans on the surface,and in the grid lines. If you usually lift to toss, or trundle food in pans while cooking, then induction might no be what you want. Not much flair or showmanship possible here.

              We work around that quick toss of the hand and pan by using a spatula or other tool, while the pan or wok remains on the glass. But if you lift the pan or pot off of the surface for a second or two, off she goes. The induction safety feature turns the cooktop off.

              As you mention your pots and pans are induction compliant, you have solved a major problem facing many changing to induction ( and saved a great amount of expense ). But the reality is that sometime you will buy some new cooking pans for your new system in the future. We all have.

              As mentioned we steam foods, and usually make a sauce to accompany the dish. Wine, Champagne, meat, fish, it varies. The bonus with induction is that subtle sauces are easier to make, using the very low setting possible with the touch gradations. Yesterday I made 4 Kg of chopped candied Citron and Orange peel for the coming Christmas Stollen baking in December. I left everything ( 2 large pans ) on low to slow simmer, stirring now and then, and the results are clearly better using induction..

              With sauces, marmalade, or others, just leave your Sauteuse pan on the glass surface and stir slowly. ( Yes, post-induction I added a 16 cm saute, wok, and a few other induction pans to the collection ).

              One consideration not asked as yet is how long do you intend to stay where you are ? If this stove and cooktop will move with you, then no problem. If you might be moving soon, think it over. I say this as we know someone with Deutsche Bank that had been in London, and then had to relocate. Fortunately he sold his flat and furnishings ( at a nice profit ) to a interested neighbour who found his induction kitchen valuable.

              I hope this is helpful.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                Excellent info from a long term user. I'm only at about 3-1/2 years so a newbie compared to you :)

              2. Induction cooktops are indeed very cool and nice. However, the lifespan/longevity, it is a tough question. Two thing to consider is that not only an induction cooktop may have shorter lifespan, it is more expensive to fix/replace. In other words, even an induction cooktop last as long as a gas hob, the induction components are more expensive to upkeep.

                However, induction cooktops are indeed very nice with many advantages in term of speed, power, safety and others.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Well when my glass-gas cooktop shattered that was pretty pricy to replace. I think it was a case of glass fatigue. The gas burners are raised above the glass in case someone is curious about glass and gas. It is a GE Monogram cooktop.

                2. A good point was made about electronics and proximity to the sea or salt air corrosion.

                  We own ocean-front property in Brasil, and " Maresia," or salt-air corrosion, which is further enhanced there with the high humidity.

                  In a decade plus of building there, we have replaced air conditioners, ceiling fan lights, televisions, a microwave, and many light switches. Refrigerators last perhaps 7 years at the most. Not a problem, given the many enjoyments on the sea, but that is the reality of living there and renting out.

                  As much as I enjoy Induction, we would not add any induction cook tops or combo stoves there for that reason. Gas, at least on the ocean front is the most practical.

                  Yes, it is a World Cup venue city ( Fortaleza ), and yes, we have already booked them all out.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                    We used to own an apt. in Rio, two blocks from Copacabana Beach and, yes, it's an ongoing issue. The fridge that we inherited was so rusted that I, the consummate non-germophobe, was grossed out. The ACs, after five years, were showing their age. Good point about induction in places like that.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Rio and Brasil are truly beautiful.

                      I was a scientist assigned in 1971 to assist with the UN funded sewage pre-treatment system, the first of it's kind there. I lived nearby on Rua Visconde de Piraja, and swam in the ocean with the lifeguards every other day when the outflow wasn't on, down by what later became Novo Rio.

                      The coolest thing we had going at our flat in Ipanema was a large metal stove with 9 placement rings for pots and pans like that found on an induction unit. Only this stove was fueled with wood.

                      I was first assigned a car and driver, bought a local made Fusca, or VW Bug, and then a hot VW SP-2, which looked like a small TestaRossa. Within 3 years the side mirror rusted off from the salt-air corrosion.

                      Times change, Brasil is now loaded and has long paid off it's debts, and is loaning money to the IMF, but Maresia is still eating home electronics including kitchen appliances with gusto.

                       
                       
                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                        Now THAT is a cooktop :) We had the more typical 24" four burner gas stove where you couldn't have two large diameter pieces of cookware on it at the same time. Our builder and everyone else literally laughed out loud when I announced that I WAS going to have AC in the kitchen. Never heard of such a thing. The "little woman" or the maid would have just gotten back there and glowed. We couldn't have a central system without tearing up the beautiful Brazilian rosewood floors. So a window unit in the kitchen (as well as other rooms) and I could close the door and the windows and have it nice and comfy. We cooked a lot. Heading back there next week.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Enjoy.

                          Bring back a few recipes and some restaurant suggestions.

                  2. If your current cooktop is still in working order, you should consider buying a single induction burner. In America, these cost around $100. Max Burton is a popular brand. This will allow you the flexibility of using either, as you get to know your way around induction cooking and determine if it suits you. If and when the single burner conks out, you can then decide if you should take the leap of replacing your electric coils.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: greygarious

                      I have a Max Burton that I used when the kitchen was gutted. I didn't think real highly of it. It just didn't seem all that sensitive as the 'real' cooktops are. But some, including Candy, have gotten Fagor which they seem to like.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        This is what I was going to suggest. I had no idea they were that expensive in the US, though. I'm in Singapore and mine cost S$35, or around US$30 for a single burner. Granted, I got the cheapest one around, but so what? It works great. I've had it on fairly heavy duty usage for the last year - my apartment comes with two radiant heat burners, and I think I've used them all of twice.

                        But even if I have to replace my single-burner induction cooker every year, it's still cheaper over a decade than what you're looking at, so I'd still recommend it. Get two if you have to, but you might not need to. One's doing me fine, but I cook for two people only most of the time.

                        1. re: LMAshton

                          For US$1600 I got a full range with four burners and a convection oven and warming drawer. So I think that's kinda fuzzy math :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            LOL! Of course it's fuzzy math!

                            If cwochnik only uses/needs one or two burners, it's probably more economical (or, as I really want to phrase it, cost effective - former accountant here!) to buy one or two single-burner induction cookers, especially if s/he doesn't know whether or not s/he likes induction cookers.

                            If we're talking about someone who cooks up a storm frequently, then of course needs change.

                          2. re: LMAshton

                            The cheapest price I've seen in the USA for a Max Burton is about $65 (Toolup online).

                            After several years of regular use (I'd have to do a search of my posts to be sure how long) it is doing fine, with one minor problem. The most frequently used control button, 'reduce heat', is showing signs of wear.

                            Controls of any well used appliance can be the first thing to go. That's true of the plastic knobs on my old electric stove. On a toaster over it was the timer control that broke. I've replaced the keyboard on computers.

                        2. As c oliver says, I have a Fagor induction burner. I bought it because I wanted to get used to cooking on one. I find that I am using it more than my gas cooktop. I think it is more responsive than the gas and much faster.