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Cook-tops: gas and/or Induction?


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#31 dabutcha76

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 12:45 AM

I used to be firmly in the 'Gas'-camp. Having cooked on electric and ceramics (the ones with the heat lamps, not sure what you guys call them stateside), I was convinced any electric kind of cookery wouldn't be for me. However, as we got our new place in 2011, there was an B-brand induction unit in the installed kitchen - and with money pretty tight after some 'minor' refurbishing, I was kind-of forced to give it a go. Most pans turned out to work (think I threw out 2 that were leftovers of my student days), so that was a bonus.

 

At first, I found it to be acceptable: there is a bit of a learning curve as to what setting to use for which application, as opposed to 'just' judging flame size. I think it took me about a month to get the hang of it and I was 'quite ok' with using it.

 

Fast forward a couple of years: I decided to do some remodeling of the kitchen, as I REALLY hated the built-in electric oven. I decided I wanted a Neff oven due to its brilliant Slide 'n Hide door system which I saw on the Great British Bake off. As it turned out, the old induction hob didn't fit above the new oven, so I had to get a new hob as well. With both gas and proper electrics available, the choice was wholly open.

 

Being 'quite ok' with the induction setup and having been quite happy with gas in years before, I decided to go out and test some setups. Fortunately, there's a wealth of great kitchen stores in the area, and they were all happy to accommodate some testing during 'cook-ins' they organize. I'll save you the details, but at the end of the day, I ended up with induction, although it was a pretty close call: I still like gas a lot, especially for the 'oomph' it has, but I got a flex induction setup (also from Neff, also available in 90cm/36"), which gave me so much flexibility on the stove top, it won in the end. I don't have the space for it, but I wouldn't have mind a large, high BTU, wok-burner on the side - although I can reach pretty some awesome heat with the hob's 'Power'-setting - prawns just get done in an eye blink.

 

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem the Neff brand is available in the US. Bosch and Siemens have similar setups, though - and they come from the same BSH-manufacturing plant ;-)

 



#32 lindag

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:10 AM

@lindag, go to http://www.gardenweb.com and search on "induction" in "home".   Lots of models, lots of opinions.... 

Thanks, Barb, I'll look in it. 



#33 Raamo

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 12:32 PM

MC did effeciency testing of Gas vs Electic Coil vs Induction.... and Induction is the most efficent - but not by leaps and bounds like some would say.

 

If you can put up with it's limitations it's pretty darn amazing.

 

I've got a 30" Thermadore induction cook top and from boiling water to searing it's got the power and the control.  The surface doesn't get crazy hot even when the poots sure do and if I really need to use a flame that's what a blow torch is for.



#34 muddleaged

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 04:23 PM

When considering an expensive purchase with no experience, it would make sense to me to "try" it out.  One option I found is looking for induction burner on amazon.  There are lots with varying reviews, including many under $100.  

 

I have not tried yet, but I'm considering one to use for summer canning so I can work on the porch rather than heating/steaming the kitchen.

 

And it would give me an extra burner to pull out for those few times I need one.  One of the amazon reviewers said s/he puts it on the sink counter for when she needs quick/easy access to water.

 

I may be talking my self into one as I write. . . 

 

 



#35 MikeMac

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 08:33 PM

I have both gasand induction. Once you get used to not seeing the flame I am firmly in the induction camp. Only issue is with portable units you are limited to 15 amp 110 V which does the job but takes its time with big pots if you have 220 40 Amp hang on for the rife it's SOO fast you will burn things at first.

Only thing induction can not do is light Flambés by just tilting the pan you will need a match.
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#36 cyalexa

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 04:06 AM

I have both gasand induction. Once you get used to not seeing the flame I am firmly in the induction camp. Only issue is with portable units you are limited to 15 amp 110 V which does the job but takes its time with big pots if you have 220 40 Amp hang on for the rife it's SOO fast you will burn things at first.

Only thing induction can not do is light Flambés by just tilting the pan you will need a match.

I got induction because there is no natural gas in my area and I didn't want a propane tank in my yard. I am very happy with my induction cook top and would now always choose one over gas.  I also have a portable hob and while it is useful, you are right, it is nowhere near as powerful and, at least with the inexpensive model I bought, it has a pretty noticeable hot spot and far fewer adjustment levels. Also, induction cannot be used to char tortillas or peppers. 



#37 MikeMac

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 09:37 PM

You can char on induction you are correct it's not as easy as using an open flame use a cast iron pot on full. Usually the max temp allowed by a induction burner is around 500 F so you are right its wimpy. I have a Cooktek unit.
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#38 Raamo

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 12:55 PM

I've had my induction cook top for 6 months now.  I don't think I could use anything else now.

 

It boils water stupid fast.  Yet I can control the level of heat with repeatable precision I could never find with a dial.  Is 7 too much, 6.5 then etc.  And when the element is turned off the temperature drops fast.  Even when the pan is removed the glass surface is only around 200F and this is after frying at 380F.

 

It's made controlling simmering pots of water easy, heats up oil in a fry pan quickly and backs off as quickly.  This is a Thermadore unit and it blows the pants off a 120V wall plugged in unit.  Which it better at 25x the cost :)



#39 OliverB

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 08:08 PM

I have to decide about this eventually myself too, I don't have gas in the kitchen but under the house. Been cooking with a crappy Jennair with those open coils for some 18 years now. I like the idea of gas, but the idea of cleaning all those grates and areas underneath is not very appealing to me. At all. And yes, I'm sure I'd set things on fire for a while, as I'm not use to having a flame.
Heat is an other issue, my kitchen gets pretty warm in summer already.

I'll be reading up on induction for sure.

Do they still make the 'flexible' ones where the surface detects your pot and the pot size? A while ago there was one that did that for quite a number of different size pots.


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#40 lesliec

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 08:25 PM

Do they still make the 'flexible' ones where the surface detects your pot and the pot size? A while ago there was one that did that for quite a number of different size pots.

 

A solid vote from me for induction.

 

Oliver, I can't be at all authoritative on what's available in your market, but Electrolux used to make a top with large 'zones' rather than specific areas your pots were supposed to be placed on.  But I don't think that's particularly important.  Induction units only heat what's directly in contact with them, so you can happily put a small pot on a large 'element' - you're not going to be wasting any power or heat.


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#41 Anna N

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 02:37 AM

A solid vote from me for induction.
 
Oliver, I can't be at all authoritative on what's available in your market, but Electrolux used to make a top with large 'zones' rather than specific areas your pots were supposed to be placed on.  But I don't think that's particularly important.  Induction units only heat what's directly in contact with them, so you can happily put a small pot on a large 'element' - you're not going to be wasting any power or heat.



That is an interesting statement, Leslie. I have an induction range and in the past used portable induction units. Pan size is an issue with both. To work on the larger designated areas a pan must reach a certain size or simply will not work. I am now accustomed to this quiirk and rarely make the mistake of putting a too small pan on a large area. But a surface that sensed pan size would overcome this altogether. I take it you do not have this issue.
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#42 Raamo

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 10:04 AM

That is an interesting statement, Leslie. I have an induction range and in the past used portable induction units. Pan size is an issue with both. To work on the larger designated areas a pan must reach a certain size or simply will not work. I am now accustomed to this quiirk and rarely make the mistake of putting a too small pan on a large area. But a surface that sensed pan size would overcome this altogether. I take it you do not have this issue.

 

I just tested this on my unit - took a small < 1 qt pan and put it on the largest burner (~15in)  and it had no problems heating the pot.

 

So I'm guessing this is only an issue on some induction cook-tops. (mine is Thermador)


Edited by Raamo, 18 September 2014 - 10:04 AM.


#43 lesliec

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 03:54 PM

Thanks, Raamo - you've saved me having to grovel too abjectly!

 

Anna, you're quite correct.  Because of the way my head works, I usually put small pans on the small circles and big ones on the big circles.  Call me impulsive, but after your post I put my unfounded assertions to the test and discovered my smallest pan would heat quite happily in the middle of the biggest ring but not out towards the edge.  So a partial vindication at best.

 

Presumably a cooktop with a large 'zone' is designed to work the way OliverB mentions.


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#44 Anna N

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 04:31 PM

Thanks, Raamo - you've saved me having to grovel too abjectly!
 
Anna, you're quite correct.  Because of the way my head works, I usually put small pans on the small circles and big ones on the big circles.  Call me impulsive, but after your post I put my unfounded assertions to the test and discovered my smallest pan would heat quite happily in the middle of the biggest ring but not out towards the edge.  So a partial vindication at best.
 
Presumably a cooktop with a large 'zone' is designed to work the way OliverB mentions.


So mine is quite different. A small pot will not work on the large ring. I can now eyeball my pots and know which will work where. Mine is not a high-end model so perhaps that is the difference.
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#45 boilsover

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 07:31 PM

"A small pot will not work on the large ring..."

 

Actually, most induction tops are the same way.  This is a safety feature controlled by the electronic sensors.  Without *some* size-safety sensors that prevent the coil from energizing, your watch, a spoon, a dropped piece of aluminum foil, a steel button, etc., etc., it would end very poorly...



#46 Anna N

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 02:59 AM

"A small pot will not work on the large ring..."
 
Actually, most induction tops are the same way.  This is a safety feature controlled by the electronic sensors.  Without *some* size-safety sensors that prevent the coil from energizing, your watch, a spoon, a dropped piece of aluminum foil, a steel button, etc., etc., it would end very poorly...


Thanks. It's all making sense now and I recall reading this when I was initially researching induction.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#47 OliverB

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Posted 19 September 2014 - 04:13 PM

thanks. The one I saw once you could put your pot(s) anywhere and it detected them, but now I'm not sure anymore if it was induction. I think it had some kind of honeycomb grid of small elements. Back then it was pretty expensive but seemed interesting, if not necessarily necessary :-)


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#48 Raamo

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 07:29 AM

"A small pot will not work on the large ring..."

 

Actually, most induction tops are the same way.  This is a safety feature controlled by the electronic sensors.  Without *some* size-safety sensors that prevent the coil from energizing, your watch, a spoon, a dropped piece of aluminum foil, a steel button, etc., etc., it would end very poorly...

 

 

I just did another test - mine must be different, Perhaps some fancy safety sensors (would help justify the cost I guess): Spoon has water in it and is magnetic, pot has water in it as well.  Water in pot is 140f and spoon is room temperature.

 

Picture of test: http://imgur.com/C0PTAU6



#49 ahpadt

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 08:39 AM

Is it true that even the big flexi zone induction tops only support 4 pans at a time? Seems so disappointing when you have that much space...



#50 boilsover

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 09:26 AM

I just did another test...Water in pot is 140f and spoon is room temperature.

 

There could be a few explanations.  First, if your spoon is 18/8 or 18/10 SS, it is not induction-compatible--the magnet test is not always determinative.  Second, your spoon might be too far outside the *true* diameter of the coil under the glass.  The painted circles on the glass are generally much larger than the actual coils.  Third, there may be some sensor at work.

 

Try your two smallest mixing/mise en place bowls on that large hob, see what happens.



#51 Raamo

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 11:13 AM

Is it true that even the big flexi zone induction tops only support 4 pans at a time? Seems so disappointing when you have that much space...

 

 

Mine is 30" only has 4 - the 36" model has 5.

 

 

There could be a few explanations.  First, if your spoon is 18/8 or 18/10 SS, it is not induction-compatible--the magnet test is not always determinative.  Second, your spoon might be too far outside the *true* diameter of the coil under the glass.  The painted circles on the glass are generally much larger than the actual coils.  Third, there may be some sensor at work.

 

Try your two smallest mixing/mise en place bowls on that large hob, see what happens.

 

I'll have to give that a try later.



#52 FauxPas

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 03:05 PM

Sears in Canada now has a Kenmore induction/convection standalone range. I've been watching prices on it for awhile. Regular price was $2,000 or more but it was usually on sale for about $1500, but this weekend it's on sale for $1,049 for a stainless steel one. 

 

(For anyone who still has white appliances, Kenmore also has this induction/convection range in white for $999.) 

 

That's a very good price for induction and the reviews are mostly good. I ordered one, but won't receive it until November. I understand it is actually made by Electrolux. 

 

White details and reviews here

 

Stainless steel details and reviews here



#53 gfweb

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Posted 16 January 2015 - 06:48 PM

We are still circling getting a new kitchen and maybe an induction top. The question arose about vent hood power for induction.

 

Since there's far less hot air rising upward into the hood do you need a more powerful suck to evacuate smoke etc?



#54 Deryn

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 08:21 AM

Why would there be far less heat rising upward with an induction burner (covered with a pan of boiling water for instance, or a frying pan with a steak sizzling in it) than there is if the same items are heating on a conventional electric coil or radiant burner?

 

I am sure there is a technical explanation but right now it is definitely escaping this simple mind. I hope someone will answer as I would also like to know if a different fan would be required for induction than any other type of cooktop.


Edited by Deryn, 17 January 2015 - 08:25 AM.


#55 gfweb

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 08:31 AM

There would be less heat escaping with induction because of the inefficiency of gas or electric heating methods where a lot of heat is applied to a pot and only a small fraction (a pure guess,,,20%) is absorbed. The rest goes up into the air. Induction makes the pan hot by generating heat within the metal of the pan, so there is almost no wasted heat (other than what radiates from the pan).


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#56 Smithy

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 08:47 AM

gfweb, you raise a really good question. (That's shorthand for "I dunno".) My question is whether the rising heat is supposed to be taken into account when sizing range hoods? I assumed, based on industrial experience, that it was related to the volume of the air being treated (surface area of the stovetop, distance to the air intake) and a certain capture efficiency coefficient, rather than counting on a 'boost' from the range heat.

Lucky you! Planning a new kitchen is fun, and using it when finished is even more fun. I didn't think much of the in- between steps :laugh: .


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#57 Deryn

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 11:02 AM

My idea of a perfect stovetop would be something along the lines of a Jenn-air modular one - with a grill section and another section which could use either an electric (prefer coil but for cleaning purposes I guess ceramic/radiant would do) or an induction module - all with some kind of powerful downdraft vent/fan (since it will go into an island to replace the lousy glass/ceramic one that is there right now).

 

I have had 2 Jenn-air slide ins in the past and loved them but they don't make a modular induction unit too that would fit. Can't figure out why they don't but if they did I would (even though I know they are not as good as they used to be when Jenn-air was actually Jenn-air) buy another one in a heartbeat.

 

Right now I have NO fan/vent and the cooktop sits right below 2 suspended lights, open downwards. I didn't design this - bought the house from a woman who I guess never actually cooked. This is dangerous and must be replaced soon. Not to mention that now my cupboards are peeling from the humidity that remains in the kitchen after I have been boiling pots of water for things like pasta.

 

I have extra induction units and a 'griddler' style grill I can set up but I am getting tired of my entire island being covered with those items and really only using the glass electric cooktop as surface area to put pots and pans to go on or cool off from the induction units or to hold a cutting board. Would go with just an induction/grill unit if I could find it but I still have a few old pans I like to use from time to time and don't want to have to then have a single coil unit to plug in and use on the side - which just would mean I effectively have the same problem I currently am dealing with.

 

Downdraft is necessary for me - two storey house with not enough room to open up the ceiling for a pipe so nothing can vent out the top. Never thought about whether the same downdraft that works well enough for me for both grill and electric modules would be sufficient for induction as well. Perhaps because it would be pulling down from close by it wouldn't matter?


Edited by Deryn, 17 January 2015 - 11:12 AM.


#58 gfweb

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 11:18 AM

If my speculation about the heat rising being important for traditional hoods is right, then downdraft ought to work better with induction than it does for regular stovetops


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#59 Dave W

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 07:21 PM

Downdraft will work better for induction than conventional heat sources but is still a pale substitute for the mechanical capture ability of a properly sized hood above re cooking area. The hot effluent from your pan will always rise and that is what you are most concerned with capturing.

If the hood is too small to capture that column of areosolized grease or underpowered to pull it out of the capture area before it escapes, the effluent goes in your kitchen.

Down drafts don't mechanically capture the column so they have to pull really hard whether or not you have induction. Most downdrafts don't pull that hard or even as hard as cheaper overhead vents.
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#60 Dave W

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Posted 17 January 2015 - 07:29 PM

Deryn with all that in mind it's ok to have your venting go sideways or down or wherever but my point was try to put a capture hood above the cooktop as it will work the best.
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