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Sep 10, 2013 12:28 PM

Gas vs induction - comparing power

So, I am moving and getting a new range. I am considering gas and induction cooktops. I've read how fast induction gets water to boil, etc.

I am not sure if the comparisons I'm reading are apples to apples of gas to induction. For example, what wattage is the equivalent of a 20k btu burner? If I buy a gas range, it would have an 18k-20k burner.

I currently have a Viking range and I think all the burners are 18k btu.

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  1. Hi, Michael:

    The rule of thumb from gas-energy values is: induction-element kW times 7185 equals gas in BTU/hour.

    If you are looking at an induction element rated at 2.3 kW, that is equivalent to a gas burner rated at about 16,500 BTU/hour. A typical "boost" setting (3.7 kW) will go around 26,000 BTU/hr. Your 18,000 BTU/hr gas hob would be equivalent to a 2.5 kW element.

    And FWIW, these are theoretical numbers, which may vary by virtue of the cookware one chooses to put on induction. There is a range of efficiency between "works" and "works well" (Demeyere pegs it at about 30% difference).


    1. Rule of thumb numbers apply to typical sealed burners.

      True open burners in residential ranges( Capital Culinarian, Bluestar RNB, American Range Perfomer Series) are much more efficient at putting the heat directly to the bottom of the pan.

      Given the same conditions( ambient temperature, same quality water, same pot) a Capital Culinarian 23k btu open burner would boil a gallon of water about 50% faster than a 18k btu sealed Viking burner even though it only has about 25% more btus.

      Unlike induction that takes power away from other hobs to temporarily boost the power hob, gas can give you the top rated power on all burners at the same time all day long.

      4 Replies
      1. re: DeeAgeaux

        Hi, Dee:

        With respect, IMO the rule of thumb applies to *all* burners, if you're just measuring heat output. You make a good point about considering the *effective* differences between open/closed/placque gas hobs in terms of delivery to the food, but then we might also consider additional factors, such as cookware choice, thermowells, etc. There will be differences with every permutation of appliance, model, environment, cookware, etc.

        The figures I gave were from, so we can bet they do not exactly disfavor induction.


        1. re: DeeAgeaux

          Unlike induction that takes power away from other hobs to temporarily boost the power hob, gas can give you the top rated power on all burners at the same time all day long.

          thanks for this Dee.. i was wondering about this on an induction cooktop. No one ever seems to mention cooking more than one dish at a time.

          1. re: rmarisco

            Do you often cook with all 5 jobs on high?

            I don't. On my cooktop I can have 3 of the 5 hobs on high (boost) at the same time. Have I ever? No.

            One thing you learn very fast with don't need boost for very long.

            As for comparing large induction hob converts to 26,000+ BTUs.

            1. re: JayL

              Hi: Jay:

              You better call Anderson Cooper, because I'm going to agree with you on induction for once. Given the power of induction, I view the "boost" function to be a seldom-used gimmick, or at best a coverup for forgetting to boil water. Maybe if you were a short-order lobster cook?


        2. Look at it this way: Do you want to heat the pot and area all around it (gas) or just the pot(induction)?

          Do you want to disassemble and clean the stove, burners, drip pan, ... or just wipe the glass surface with vinegar or window cleaner?

          2 Replies
          1. re: subal

            Hi, subal:

            Me? (A) Pot and all around the pot; and (B) disassemble and clean when needed--maybe monthly.

            For me, I spend more time cleaning my smoothtop than any of my other stoves (this includes the woodstove). Any little spill or scorch is such a eyesore in comparison.


            1. re: kaleokahu

              We agree again, Kaleo!

              Well, halfway. My favorite cooktop for cleaning was gas, a GE sealed burner with a brushed steel cooktop. My most hated was an open burner Jenn-Air monster. Why do mfg. think polished steel is a good thing on an 8-burner open well range? And then give it 90ยบ angles for grins and giggles?

              FWIW, my 2nd favorite cooktop for cleaning was a white smoothtop by Thermador. The one I have now, in gloss black? Not so much.

              How about we just split the difference? :)