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Feb 5, 2014 03:09 PM

Any defectors from induction?

I have to replace my ancient gas cooktop and I'm thinking of induction. I've heard a lot of great things, but also want to make sure I'm aware of any drawbacks, as it's a one-way decision, cost-wise. I've heard they "buzz" and they all have noisy fans, but I'm not sure if these are major or minor inconveniences. Has anyone regretted their decision? If so, why? If you like yours, are there any challenges that you have had to learn to live with? Many thanks!

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    I think this is a wonderful link that I've forwarded to two other non-CHs who wound up going induction.

    I've three or four years into and would NEVER go back/down to anything else. As I may have posted in that thread, we do house exchanges and I've had occasions to cook on Viking and Wolf gas cooktops. For me (only) it was a big step down.

    1. I have a Meile 36" 5 zone cooktop we installed over a year ago now. I have zero regrets. It is not noisy. It does not buzz. It cleans up beautifully. I have cooked on gas but IMHO induction is superior in all circumstances except in a power outage!

      I did a ton of research before making this investment and I have no regrets. Meile have a long successful history w induction in Europe. There's a lot of great info right here on CH if you search "Induction".

      1. The fan noise may be more of an issue with inexpensive hot plate models. A small case requires more forced ventilation than a larger, more open layout.

        The buzzing is produced by certain pans, not the burner itself.

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Yes, I am using a Fagor single burner and the fan is noisy. I've not had any buzzing. I bought the single burner to get ahead on the learning curve in anticipating a move and installing induction in a new home.

          Despite the noisy fan I am very happy.

        2. I'm new to induction, 1 month. On my GE slide in range, the fan comes on at settings above 5 (of 10). It's not loud at all.

          A few of my pans buzz, but again, not at all loudly, and it seems they just need to sort of "settle in", as it were, then the buzzing stops. This is only noticeable at higher settings, as when I'm boiling water or popping corn and it's really quiet. If there's any noise coming from the tv in the adjacent room, it can't be heard at all.

          It's only been a month, as I said. Most of my cooking is done at levels 4-6 (medium) or a bare simmer (level 1.5-2.5). At these levels, there's generally no noise at all.

          I expected to like it about as much as I liked my gas cooktops and am quite honestly surprised to admit that I prefer it to gas. That shocked me, truly.

          3 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              Yes, you did indeed. You're such a smarty-pants, in the best sense of the word. :)

              1. re: DuffyH

                And I take it that way, DH :) A very close friend is going with induction based on a BIG CH thread I sent her. Fist bump :)

          1. There was a very long thread on this very topic at gardenweb:


            The gist of it is that almost everybody who gets induction is well satisfied. As you see from my posts in that thread, I have used induction off and on over three decades and planned to get an induction range when I needed to buy a new stove. However, when I unexpectedly had to shop for a stove, I wound up with a gas range. That choice was not because of any problems with induction. It was simply that, in comparing the stoves that were (a) actually available to me at that time I needed to buy; and (b) within my $2k budget, I found one particular gas stove that I liked a little better for my circumstances and prefefences than the induction ranges that were available to me at the time. A slight change in circumstances would have resulted in my making a different choice such as the Samsung model that (I think) c oliver owns.

            FWIW, I have a portable countertop inuduction burner that I use with some frequency. For example, if I want to toast just two or three raw tortillas in a cast iron skillet, it is far faster to put the skillet on the induction burner(30 seconds to come to toasting heat) than it is to heat the pan on a gas burner.

            As for buzzing and other noise issues, you can search gardenweb's appliances forum for that as well as there have been numbers of discussions on that subject. The issue of buzzing is hard to pin down to one specific thing. Generally speaking, (a) some people are much more sensitive to it that others (so attend a cooking demo or call up a high-end appliance store and see if they will let you run a test on a demo unit, and then you can find out how much it affects you, if at all; (b) some brands of appliance seem to have more frequent issues than others (Kitchenaid-Whilrpool-Ikea cooktops seeming to be the ones most often reported to have problems); and (c) it can be affected by cookware with some clad and disk bottom pans being more prone to noisiness than others. One thing though, most the portable countertop induction burners that I've used have been a great deal noisier than the burners on the induction ranges and cooktops that I used. My current portable unit, a Max Burton 6200 is far noisier than any range or cooktop I've ever worked with. I pretty much need to run the range hood when I'm using it. So, you if decide to try out induction with a portable unit, bear in mind that it will be a great deal noisier than a range or cooktop.

            Another possible complaint comes from folks who like to use tiny pans, If you absolutely must have your coffee made in an induction-capable 3.5" Bialetti "moka" pot, it is pretty hard to find an induction cooktop or range with burners that go that small (at least without using an induction disk or cast-iron pan to convert your induction burner into a radiant burner.) BTW, I have to do the same thing if when I've need to use a tiny pan on the 15K btu burners on my gas stove. If the tiny pan thing matters to you, there was a longish thread at Gardenweb from somebody who dearly loved saucepans with 4-inch diameter bases. FWIW, I believe the new freestanding Frigidiare/Electrolux/Kenmore induction ranges have a small back burner which is supposed to handle pans down to 3.5" in diameter.

            In response to your question about challenges in switching from gas, I never thought of induction being a challenge except in two respects for somebody who is used to cooking on gas. Those two points are pretty minor.

            The first challenge is in learning to judge heat without watching a flame. That was easy for me because I learned to cook on induction stoves. A friend who was trained and worked for years as a professional chef using gas burners had a bit of a learning curve.

            As with any kind of electric burner, you will need to watch the pan and figure out (and remember) how much is too much and how much is too little for what you want to do. Unlike what happens with other kinds of electric burners, the adjustments register so quickly with induction that it is pretty easy to figure this out.

            Actually, there can be an advantage in this. When you find that, say, a burner setting of 3 is perfect for, say, frying eggs, it is very easy to repeat that every time you do eggs.

            The other thing that can be a challenge is in timing of tasks. For example, with a gas stove, we get used to heating the pans while we do prep. We often crank a burner to high and then back off as the pan comes to heat. But induction brings a pan to full heat so quickly, you can burn things by turning away from them when you do that. Or wreck a non-stick pan's surface by overheating it. Much better and easier to just pick the eventual desired setting. Or, another example: when using a gas range, you may start the pasta water before prepping to make your sauce. Induction is so much faster in bringing large amounts of water to boil, that you fire up the pasta pot after your sauce starts cooking instead of starting it before your other prep.

            13 Replies
            1. re: JWVideo

              <Another possible complaint comes from folks who like to use tiny pans,>

              The only way to learn how small a pan can go on a given hob is to try it, sadly. On my GE, I have a pair of hobs that aren't supposed to work with any pan smaller than 5.75". A few days ago I heated a 4" canister lid with ease. I don't know how much smaller I can go, but I do know my smallest burner, designed for a min. 4.75" pan would not accept a 2" steel cup. To be fair, the cup barely held my rubber fridge magnet, so there's not much ferritic material in it. Last night I boiled water for pasta in my 6.25" pan on the large hob, which requires an 8" pan.

              Of course, for most of us, the only way to know which units will work with our cookware is to test it, which isn't always feasible.

              <The other thing that can be a challenge is in timing of tasks.>

              The biggest thing I've had to unlearn is starting a pan when I begin prep. I'm not there yet. Sometimes I stick a pan on the hob and turn it on, then remember I've got induction and turn it off until I need it.

              1. re: DuffyH

                Agree with both your points, DH. Especially the last one. I will sometimes start it at a SUPER low setting, say to get the butter melted for cooking eggs. Worse problems to deal with in the kitchen :)

                1. re: DuffyH

                  Yeah, me too duffy. It took a long time to really understand that I don't have to preheat a pan that long before cooking. And that I don't have to start it at medium.

                  My cooking has improved though, for sure.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    " The only way to learn how small a pan can go on a given hob is to try it, . . . Last night I boiled water for pasta in my 6.25" pan on the large hob, which requires an 8" pan. "

                    I agree but, also, I think a rule of thumb is that induction burners will handle a pan that is as small as 70% of the diameter of the burner. It actually varies between burners and depends on how the sensors are set up, It really depends on the magnetic mass detected by the sensors. With a suitably small but physically magnetically massive measuring cup , you might even find it to be detected (and effective) on one burner but not another.

                    1. re: JWVideo

                      < I think a rule of thumb is that induction burners will handle a pan that is as small as 70% of the diameter of the burner.>

                      I didn't know that. That could be very helpful info for someone shopping for induction. Now that I'm typing this, I think I saw that Samsung says the FlexZone hobs will work at 60% coverage. But those are squares, not circles, so it's likely about the same as 70% on a circle.

                      <It really depends on the magnetic mass detected by the sensors. >

                      Now THAT I am learning. One pot that boils really fast on a medium hob is slower on the more powerful large hob, and my Mauviel M'Stone stewpot that perfectly fits my large hob takes a while to boil, about the same as it would on gas or my old electric.

                      I suppose It just doesn't have enough ferrous metal in the base to heat super fast. It responds well to changes, oddly, so I'm still really happy with it. Do you know why it would behave this way?

                      I'd try it on a smaller hob, but I'm well covered for pasta pots so it would only be overkill.

                      1. re: DuffyH

                        This sort of thing is what made me finally ditch my Cuisinart non-stick which is supposed to be induction compatible. I felt that I needed to heat it on a higher setting than is good for the non-stick finish on the interior of the pan. I decided that there was not enough ferrous metal making contact with the hob for high function.

                        I am now using cast iron for the jobs I used the non-stick for.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Hey Sue,

                          I just finished my first induction fried rice, cooked in my new Joyce Chen Stir Fry pan. It turned out perfect, but my pan warped, badly. It no longer sits flat, but spins and wobbles as slick as you please.

                          I probably should have gone with a proper wok, but was afraid it's base would be too small to trigger either of the front hobs. Now I know one will. I believe a higher wall-to-base ratio helps prevent warping. Like a saucepan v. a frypan.

                          Anyway, I used 8/10 for my setting, on the big 3.7kw hob. I think 8 is really, really hot. Oops. What setting do you use and how many kw is the hob?

                          Oh, well, it worked, and worked well. I'll do it again. I checked and the pan still heats just fine. I could make it stop spinning if I put it on a silicone mat, maybe.

                          1. re: DuffyH

                            Hi, Duffy:

                            Devilspawn would like to tell you that: (a) anything much past 6 will be too hot for all but boiling water; and b) dead-flat smoothtops aren't tolerant of any appreciable warp.

                            You can try shimming your wok with paper towels. And good luck with the smaller wall:base ratio with a thin steel pan.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Hey Kaleo,

                              a) NOW I know that. Well, I think 7 would have been just about perfect.

                              b) At least with induction a pan doesn't have to make physical contact to be detected. I know the field weakens rapidly with distance, but carbon steel is so fine on induction that this pan can still get plenty hot. It's weight and handle make it really easy to pick up and shake, so I'm not too worried about it sitting flat. Still, it's desire to spin across the cooktop might eventually get to be a bother. When that happens I'll swap it out for a wok. Maybe a cast iron one.

                              1. re: DuffyH

                                Duffy, my fave CI skillet (family piece) spins a bit. I don't find it a particular problem.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I've had a couple of aluminum spinners before, but nothing this light weight. Still, I think it'll be fine.

                                  I do admit to disappointment that it warped the first time I used it. That sucks. :(

                                2. re: DuffyH

                                  Hi, Duffy:

                                  Yes, the field will still allow cooking, even as the pan's handle sweeps around the cooktop like a roulette wheel. The other thing about a warped pan (other than your induction appliance warpING pans) is that your cooking fat will be uneven. You can even work around that, too, if you want to keep the handle in your hand the entire time.


                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    <You can even work around that, too, if you want to keep the handle in your hand the entire time.>

                                    Funny you should mention that, as I do tend to be a handle-holder. Anytime I'm interacting with a pan, moving ingredients around, I'm always looking for a handle to hold.

                                    Still, your point has some validity, and as I said, time will tell whether it bothers me or not.