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Jan 21, 2014 04:37 PM

Induction Cooktop - Best Layout of Burners?

Looking for recommendations from cooks who frequently use 3 large pots simultaneously.

I can't fit 2 large pots front to back on my 36" wide cooktop, and the induction cooktops I've seen are not any deeper than my gas one.

And the manufacturers' specs typically don't explain how much space there is between the centers of the burners.

Some cooktops sprinkle the burners around in interesting patterns. Anyone out there who has one of these and uses 3 big pots simultaneously?

Another question - how do you use your large rectangular pancake griddle? For us, pancakes means a crowd, and we have a huge frying pan going for bacon simultaneously with the big pancake griddle. Will it work if I lay the griddle across 2 induction burners? Or do I need to get one of the few cooktops with "bridge" burners to accomplish this? The trouble with those is - guess what? - they have 4 burners in a grid, with a 5th large burner in the middle. Meaning - I probably can't fit 3 large pots on the stove simultaneously.

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  1. I recently researched induction stoves and I believe someone is coming out with one that will allow you to place a pan anywhere- no burner limitations. Frigidaire or Samsung?

    15 Replies
    1. re: goodfoodyum

      Yes, Thermador has one like that. And it's $5000. Inot my price range,

      1. re: joyfulcamper

        I used one of those in a class last year and it was a delight. Not in my price range either.

        I have that issue with my induction as well as the gas I used to use (the three large pots part). My setup is largest is front left, second largest is right rear and the two smallest are the remaining. You can use a larger pot than the 'circle' especially for something like boiling water for pasta. Or keep stirring. The only time I've really struggled, after three years of use, was recently when I had to have two large skillets as well as a pot for pasta going. I was lucky to have an induction hotplate and used that.

        As for the griddle part, there was a recent discussion that I of course can't find and it showed a Lodge reversible griddle that the poster said works just fine over two burners.

      2. re: goodfoodyum

        These are already out by a few manufactures and are referred to as "zoneless"

        1. re: bkultra

          Could you give other sources please? I'm only aware of the Thermador.

          1. re: c oliver

            If you google "zoneless induction" you will see all the info you can handle.

            This is more common in EU, but there are a few available in the US.

            1. re: bkultra

              I DID google and found nothing in the US. While Google did give hits they in fact weren't zoneless.

              1. re: c oliver

                As I posted below:

                gaggenau should be available in the US as well, or at least they were. They refer to there's as "FreeInduction".

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Thanks, Kaleo. Doesn't it look like these are all European or Australian. Hard to say for sure.

            2. re: bkultra

              Thanks for giving me the proper term ("zoneless"). So, I have seen the a Thermador, but google doesn't turn up anyone else in the USA. And I recently visited the showrooms in the A&D Building in NYC and I think that's the only one I saw (I did see some unreleased products at various showrooms though. Maybe I'll return).

              Can someone explain what happens if you use a large skillet on a small burner? Is the skillet colder in places? I rented a place in Spain with one, but I didn't try that.

              1. re: joyfulcamper

                As I wrote above: You can use a larger pot than the 'circle' especially for something like boiling water for pasta. Or keep stirring

                1. re: joyfulcamper

                  gaggenau should be available in the US as well, or at least they were. They refer to there's as "FreeInduction".

                  A large pot on a small burner would be uneven heating at best and a warped pan in the worst case scenario

                  1. re: bkultra

                    I'm not able to get prices but it appears that it may be way over the Thermador price of $5k which OP (and I!) has said is over her price range.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Maybe it's just coming across as such but, your posts are sounding rude (all caps and your tone). I am listing the ones I know that are available in the US. I do not keep up with their current costs. I was merely showing you there are more options then the Thermador available.

                      Unfortunately the US trails when it comes to induction, both in quantity and price.

                      Edit: looks like Kaleokaha googled a few more options for you.

                      1. re: bkultra

                        My posts aren't rude and the one cap was for emphasis (DID), not shouting.

                        It still appears that nothing else is available in the US. And, just as importantly for the OP, out of price range.

                        I have two induction cooktop ranges and am well aware how far behind the US is in this regard.

            3. There was an earlier thread about griddles that span 2 burners, and the prospects aren't promising.

              Heat is produced directly about the induction coils. The rest of the pan gets hot by conduction through the pan. Cast iron is thick, but a poor heat conductor. Cast aluminum conducts much better, but heat is only produced in the induction disk(s) bonded to the bottom.

              On a gas burners, the flame spreads out heating more of the bottom of large griddle, so the match between burner size and pan size is not as important.

              2 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                Update from OP;

                Thanks everyone for your help.

                Pauli, I really appreciate your explanations. Although my mate and I adore the one induction cooktop we've used, we were on vacation, cooking smaller quantities than we do at home.

                Now, I'm understanding some of the compromises we'll make by moving from propane gas to induction.On the plus side, we lose the hulking tank of $5/gallon propane lurking out the kitchen window. On the minus side, whenever a tree falls in our fair state, taking the power out here in its remotest corner for days, we'll be cooking outdoors on Coleman.

                I'm still checking out all the induction burner layouts for one with at least 2 big pot choices. We make up large lots of several soups, chiles, dal for camping trios, and often have crowds over.

                Bkultra, thank you for that "zoneless induction" clue. Sadly, my googling it yielded only two options here in the USA; Thermador and de Dietrich (which appears to have discontinued their sales of this technology).

                Last week, I applied shoe leather to the question, visiting all the appliance showrooms in the A&D building in Manhattan. All the top/expensive names. Thermador was the only one that I clearly remember seeing zoneless. I've got a call in to AJ Madison to look about some more, and I'm going through the websites individually, looking for good burner layouts.

                I started looking at the pictures from all the manufacturers catalogs and online. Sadly, most of them have only one really big element (11 inches and up). Fagor had the best layout for my purposes, with one large and 2 quite-large. But the Fagor looks like it's under-powered compared to some others. Anyone have thoughts about that?

                Before posting yesterday, I looked at all the previous Chowhound threads I could find on induction! including the one on griddles. That one didn't really answer my question about cold spots if you span two elements. Paulj, thank you.

                May I ask - has anyone experience with the "bridge" elements that a couple of manufacturers have? Do they work better than just placing your griddle across 2 elements? I'm. It sure if the shutoff features ("pan detection") might prevent you from doing that?

                1. re: joyfulcamper

                  I have a Samsung with the large rectangular split element on the left. You can control the whole thing or each half separately, as long as 40% of the surface area is covered. It works very well and turns itself off or turns one half off if it doesn't sense a pot.

              2. The only two zoneless models available here right now I'm aware of are the Thermador and the Gaggenau. I believe the Gag lists for about $7500 and is reported to have the same guts as the Thermador.
                A colleague of mine has the Thermador and loves it.
                The salesman I talked to recently thinks that technology is too new to know how reliable it will be and advised me to stick with regular hobs.
                I hear Bosch is coming out with one that has two regular hobs and the rest is zoneless.
                Note that all 3 are part of the same parent company.

                3 Replies
                1. re: saeyedoc

                  ' thinks that technology is too new to know how reliable it will be and advised me to stick with regular hobs. "

                  You mean regular induction, right? Not non-induction.

                    1. re: saeyedoc

                      Just checking that the sales person wasn't referring to induction.

                2. I saw a FASAR unit back in the early 80's at the Del Mar Fair in Sandy Eggo. It uses tiles, which could solve your pot placement problem. I feel into lust then and there and never forgot them.

                  It looks like they may be oob, but here's a link to a company selling parts and servicing them. It seems to me it might be feasible to build a complete solution with a control unit and some tiles.


                  EDIT - Here's a link to someone selling a control unit and 3 tiles.

                  1. Even though I have a built-in induction cooktop, I also have a portable induction hotplate. The hotplate is handy to have around because it can be used on the tabletop or sideboard or patio or wherever. I also use it on the kitchen counter as an additional burner. It's not as powerful as the built-in burners, but it works fine for simmering a big pot of spaghetti sauce or even boiling potatoes for mashing.