Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Cook-tops: gas and/or Induction?


  • Please log in to reply
51 replies to this topic

#31 dabutcha76

dabutcha76
  • participating member
  • 3 posts

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

lindag
  • participating member
  • 390 posts
  • Location:W. Montana

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

Raamo
  • participating member
  • 91 posts
  • Location:Minnesota

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

muddleaged
  • new member
  • 1 posts

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

MikeMac
  • society donor
  • 96 posts
  • Location:Calgary

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.
Mike Macdonald Calgary

#36 cyalexa

cyalexa
  • participating member
  • 126 posts
  • Location:Stillwater, Oklahoma

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

MikeMac
  • society donor
  • 96 posts
  • Location:Calgary

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.
Mike Macdonald Calgary

#38 Raamo

Raamo
  • participating member
  • 91 posts
  • Location:Minnesota

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

OliverB
  • participating member
  • 1,317 posts
  • Location:the foot of Mount Diablo, CA

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.


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

#40 lesliec

lesliec
  • host
  • 1,184 posts
  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand

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.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory


#41 Anna N

Anna N
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,413 posts
  • Location:Oakville, Ontario, Canada

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.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#42 Raamo

Raamo
  • participating member
  • 91 posts
  • Location:Minnesota

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

lesliec
  • host
  • 1,184 posts
  • Location:Wellington, New Zealand

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.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory


#44 Anna N

Anna N
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,413 posts
  • Location:Oakville, Ontario, Canada

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.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#45 boilsover

boilsover
  • participating member
  • 97 posts

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

Anna N
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 6,413 posts
  • Location:Oakville, Ontario, Canada

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"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog
My 2004 eG Blog

#47 OliverB

OliverB
  • participating member
  • 1,317 posts
  • Location:the foot of Mount Diablo, CA

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 :-)


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

#48 Raamo

Raamo
  • participating member
  • 91 posts
  • Location:Minnesota

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

ahpadt
  • participating member
  • 73 posts

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

boilsover
  • participating member
  • 97 posts

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

Raamo
  • participating member
  • 91 posts
  • Location:Minnesota

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

FauxPas
  • participating member
  • 397 posts
  • Location:Mt Washington Alpine Resort, BC, Canada

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