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Frege

Cook-tops: gas and/or Induction?

83 posts in this topic

I am about to embark on a kitchen re-model. I had decided to put in a Bluestar 36" six burner cook-top, when I started thinking about an induction cooktop. I am currently trying to decide whether to (1) add a two hob induction top next to my Bluestar, which I may perhaps cut back to a four burner (space considerations) or (2) go only for induction. While the Bluestar does have a 130 degree simmer burner, I must say that I am enticed by the induction's low temp of 85 degrees. Both units would supply, from what I can tell, plenty of full-throttle power, with the BS at 22000BTU, induction at even greater than that.

I am interested in people's thoughts on this, especially those who have experience with induction. One question about induction. If the hob is set at a fixed temperature, will it keep water at a sufficiently constant temperature for sous-vide?

FYI: I'm not worried about cookware for induction, although I would be sad to be unable to use my French copper any longer if I only had induction. Also, I am most strongly thinking about (the most powerful) Cooktek unit, although I am undecided about whether to go built-in or countertop. Opinions on any virtues or vices of either welcomed, as well as opinions about this brand as opposed to others out there. (I have a 220 line available, so there is no limitation to 110.)

Thanks.

P.S. I'm a newbie here, and although I did some searching I couldn't find any discussion of this. If there is a thread already going, just direct me - would be happy to go there.

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. . . although I did some searching I couldn't find any discussion of this.  If there is a thread already going, just direct me - would be happy to go there.

Frege, here are a couple of threads:

Induction / electromagnetic stoves, anyone gone ultra high-tech?

Magnetic induction stoves, any cons to MI?

For most efficient searching, use the "Search" link at the very top of the page (between "Help" and "Members"). Clicking on "Search titles only" will help focus your search.

We struggled with a similar decision, and wound up with a six-burner Blue Star. If our kitchen was a little larger, we would probably have gone with a four-burner Blue Star and a double induction unit. Good luck with your renovation!

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I agree with Bruce -- since it's a remodel, determine just how much counter space you can dedicate to burners, and then look into installing a Cooktek drop-in unit right next to the BlueStar. Then you'll only need one range hood that is wide enough to span all of the burners.

A few people have reported doing this over at the THS Appliance Board, and have been very happy with the setup...

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So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I gave this question a lot of thought when buying my new apartment, and discussed it with a lot of people. The consensus was the same - there are some things you just can't do without a gas cook-top. So I specifically asked my rental agency to ensure that the apartment I bought had a gas line. They reassured me that it did, and only after signing the papers did I find out that it didn't and that it would cost a fortune to get a gas connection. I fell into a deep depression, my co-workers rallied around me and found me an illegal immigrant who would do it for less, and my husband graciously agreed to it. But in the end I decided that it just wasn't worth it and we went with the induction. A decision which I kind of regret.

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I gave this question a lot of thought when buying my new apartment, and discussed it with a lot of people.  The consensus was the same - there are some things you just can't do without a gas cook-top.  So I specifically asked my rental agency to ensure that the apartment I bought had a gas line.  They reassured me that it did, and only after signing the papers did I find out that it didn't and that it would cost a fortune to get a gas connection.  I fell into a deep depression, my co-workers rallied around me and found me an illegal immigrant who would do it for less, and my husband graciously agreed to it.  But in the end I decided that it just wasn't worth it and we went with the induction.  A decision which I kind of regret.

While I have little experience cooking with gas...I have used and own an induction hotplate. I mostly use the hotplate outside with my grill to make sauces. But I have never seen a more even fast heat from a stove-top....works a treat to cook eggs. Way better cooking wise than gas which is just a tad more heat responsive than the induction. On the even heating of a pan a lot is riding.

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My ideal hob (stove top) would be 4 induction units - the control is amazing with central gas wok burner -- useful for a wok, charing peppers etc. You can assemble these with the modular units some company's make. But as I only had room for a 4 ring hob I went for induction, every chef I know who's used induction loves it because of the control BUT if you have a pan that does not work with induction or need fire then gas wins. To have both would be perfect.

If you have the space and the £££ look at the modular units.

If going for induction, check the controls some are intuitive and work brilliantly others are ergonomic monsters.


Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Forget Induction, unless it is a stand-alone unit you can throw out. Induction was designed for industrial heating applications, where control was important, not efficiency. Induction cooktops have no place in a home, though one who has bought one would be difficult to admit to that.

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Forget Induction, unless it is a stand-alone unit you can throw out. Induction was designed for industrial heating applications, where control was important, not efficiency. Induction cooktops have no place in a home, though one who has bought one would be difficult to admit to that.

Wrong - Induction is the most efficient way of transferring energy into heat cooking. There are many ways thay induction can be criticised:-

- Pan limitations

- Control - more a function of how the controls are designed but will never be infinite

- Expense

- No flame, if you need to char things

- Standardisation - each hob is individual and takes time to get used to etc

But to criticise induction for efficiency is incorrect. They are around 90% efficient compared with 50% or less for gas and electricity.

.As stated before my ideal hob would be 4 induction rings and 1 large gas wok burner.

With regard to cooking my chef friend didn't like my induction hob - she'd used it on the odd occasion while at mine and had linked it to electric. Also had had a bad experience with cheap induction hob - when she lived at mine for 3 weeks and got used to it she now raves about induction for it's speed and control. Also in her restaurant the idea of minimal extra heat being pumped into the kitchen in a hot summer has an immense appeal and if rebuilding the kitchen given a choice of one or the other she would go for gas for ultimate flexibility but if the budget allowed her preference would be 4:1 or 3:1 induction:gas burners


Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Forget Induction, unless it is a stand-alone unit you can throw out. Induction was designed for industrial heating applications, where control was important, not efficiency. Induction cooktops have no place in a home, though one who has bought one would be difficult to admit to that.

Wrong - Induction is the most efficient way of transferring energy into heat cooking. There are many ways thay induction can be criticised:-

- Pan limitations

- Control - more a function of how the controls are designed but will never be infinite

- Expense

- No flame, if you need to char things

- Standardisation - each hob is individual and takes time to get used to etc

But to criticise induction for efficiency is incorrect. They are around 90% efficient compared with 50% or less for gas and electricity.

.As stated before my ideal hob would be 4 induction rings and 1 large gas wok burner.

With regard to cooking my chef friend didn't like my induction hob - she'd used it on the odd occasion while at mine and had linked it to electric. Also had had a bad experience with cheap induction hob - when she lived at mine for 3 weeks and got used to it she now raves about induction for it's speed and control. Also in her restaurant the idea of minimal extra heat being pumped into the kitchen in a hot summer has an immense appeal and if rebuilding the kitchen given a choice of one or the other she would go for gas for ultimate flexibility but if the budget allowed her preference would be 4:1 or 3:1 induction:gas burners

Sorry, but no one has ever quoted independent, unbiased efficiency tests of induction cookers. The ones often cited by the manufacturers of the units are conducted by the makers and are not to be trusted. The reason they are inefficient is because of their very operating principle: a multi-wind (hundreds of turns) electric coil with a high-frequency voltage running through it generates a magnetic field and induces a current in a secondary coil, in this case a pan. This is somewhat like the principle of an electric transformer, but relies on the inefficiency of the secondary to produce heat. Since the pan has many fewer coils (or none!) than the primary coil, it is by definition less efficient. A very large amount of energy must be generated in the primary coil (under the cooktop), to compensate for the inefficient secondary (the pan). And that is not mentioning the distance the secondary is from the primary, which has a profound and geometric reduction in efficiency as the distance increases. I am speaking from experience in designing and building induction heating devices for industrial brazing (heating).

Also wrong is the statement that induction can never have an infinite control - that is a primary reason they are used in industry, because they can be controlled very easily and infinitely. Much less important is their lack of efficiency when brazing surgical and aircraft components, which must be precisely made. In those applicatons, one can make the primary coil wrap around the workpiece to provide heat exactly where needed.

I'm afraid the mistaken desirability of induction cookers has become something like an urban legend, something which may persist until some unimpeachable group finally tests them side-by-side with gas and electric ones. For the present, they are so expensive and thus so uncommon that few ever seriously consider them, as it should be.

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Well, I don't know about induction efficiency beyond what I've read in the press, but I can vouch for the fact that I find it to be much better as a cooking device than other electric options. The speed and power is unmatchable--which raises an interesting point about efficiency: my induction hob is similarly rated for power consumption as my old electric unit was, yet boils water in a quarter of the time.

Control is also way beyond any other electric option--you get the instant response of gas. It's great to be able to dial down the power a notch or two and instantly see the response in the simmering pot.

If gas is an option, I would still seriously consider that, as you get a wider range of pot options (I've had to forego my ceramic pots), and actual flame if you like that sort of thing.

If cost is a problem, consider importing grey market. I did that with mine, and got a better cooktop than I could have bought here at any price. I worked out I could buy a replacement twice before approaching the cost of the local units. So I'm not too worried about the lack of warranty coverage.

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Well, I don't know about induction efficiency beyond what I've read in the press, but I can vouch for the fact that I find it to be much better as a cooking device than other electric options.  The speed and power is unmatchable--which raises an interesting point about efficiency: my induction hob is similarly rated for power consumption as my old electric unit was, yet boils water in a quarter of the time.

Control is also way beyond any other electric option--you get the instant response of gas.  It's great to be able to dial down the power a notch or two and instantly see the response in the simmering pot.

If gas is an option, I would still seriously consider that, as you get a wider range of pot options (I've had to forego my ceramic pots), and actual flame if you like that sort of thing.

If cost is a problem, consider importing grey market.  I did that with mine, and got a better cooktop than I could have bought here at any price.  I worked out I could buy a replacement twice before approaching the cost of the local units.  So I'm not too worried about the lack of warranty coverage.

You are correct that induction is better in response time than some electric resistance units (coils), especially if there is a solid surface cooktop, which I abhor. And at least theoretically induction should be faster than gas in response, if the pan bottom is too small or too large for the gas burner.

I have a question, though: you state that you can dial down the power a notch or two; does that mean you have detents at various power settings? I ask because the controls could easily be infinite, with little increase in cost, and much better control capability.

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So much nonsense being promulgated.

As a cook with over 50 years experience my opinion is simple:

- I've tried or been forced to try every form of electric stove top known to man. None, repeat none match up to a gas hob.

Response is just not as good.

- With gas you not only get instant response you can actually see what you are doing. Try that with induction which blinks on & off like a neon light.

- Electric ovens YES. Electric hobs whether old fashioned, radiant or induction just don't match up to gas.

Sorry to be so adamant, but I feel strongly about this.

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So much nonsense being promulgated.

As a cook with over 50 years experience my opinion is simple:

- I've tried or been forced to try every form of electric stove top known to man. None, repeat none match up to a gas hob.

Response is just not as good.

- With gas you not only get instant response you can actually see what you are doing. Try that with induction which blinks on & off like a neon light.

- Electric ovens YES. Electric hobs whether old fashioned, radiant or induction just don't match up to gas.

Sorry to be so adamant, but I feel strongly about this.

You are absolutely, positively, without reservation, 100% correct. And amen.

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I have a question, though: you state that you can dial down the power a notch or two; does that mean you have detents at various power settings? I ask because the controls could easily be infinite, with little increase in cost, and much better control capability.

I do have stepped power control: 15 settings plus "boost" mode (for extreme high heat or for heating large pots of water, etc.). I have not noticed this to cause a problem. I've never been left thinking, "I wish I had 7.5". I can certainly get much lower heat than with the electric burner I had before, and much higher heat, and I don't miss the infinite variability. Properly set up, as mine seem to be, stepped controls seem to be as useful as dials at controlling power.

This also has side benefits: no more dials full of spilled gunk. When leaving instructions for cooking, no more 'medium-high', which seems to mean something different to everybody, and different things to the same person at different times!

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I've had gas hobs from the time I left my parent's home at age 20, including a Viking range, until we moved to the suburbs 25 years later.  We couldn't take the Viking with us so I managed first with an electric Jenn-aire (which I hated) and then with a GE ceramic glass electric (which I also hated) until we put in the Meile induction 2 years ago.   I was very apprehensive about committing to another electric stove but I absolutely LOVED the Miele; and, now that I've used induction, I will never, EVER, go back to gas.  With induction I had infinitesimal control, it was easy to clean, and it didn't heat up the room.

 

Fast forward two years....

 

My husband accepted a new job which required us to move and leave my beloved kitchen crying-and-sobbing.gif  (this is why I've been absent from the forum - I'm STILL unpacking boxes from our move last August!). 

 

The house we moved to has a Wolf gas cooktop and I HATE IT!  I have set on fire 3 dishtowels and singed 2 pot holders.  In an effort to avoid cleaing the grids after a messy fry, I covered the unused hobs with foil and melted the control knobs - yes, that was dumb, but it shows how much heat didn't go into my cooking vessel.  I made risotto a few weeks ago and had to use the biggest hob to keep the pot simmering when I added stock.  The heat forced me to wear an oven mitt to protect my hand while I stirred.  When the risotto was ready, I was drenched in sweat despite the fact that our house is only 64 degrees. 

 

A few weeks ago I had a small pot of stock boil over.  When I cursed the cooktop my husband commented, "You let something boil over and it's the cooktop's fault?"  Well, yes, if the cooktop doesn't have a low enough setting to maintain a simmer.  The Meile would safely melt chocolate without a double boiler.

 

Cleaning the Wolf is a nightmare and, because the grids hold their heat for so long, I can't clean them when I wash the rest of the dishes, I have to wait until the following morning. 

 

I cannot think of one thing I like about this unit.  (I don't remember having these problems with the Viking but, perhaps, never having cooked on an induction hob then, I just accepted them as 'normal'. )  

 

Fortunately....construction started last week on my new kitchen!!  It will have a Thermador Freedom induction cooktop and I am counting the days 'till the kitchen is finished.  (I would have used Meile but they don't have a Freedom-style model in the US yet.)  I will never, EVER, willingly go back to gas.  

 

The old cooktop will stay, for now, because we can't afford to remove it (the new kitchen will not replace the old one, it's being built next to the old one which will become a prep-pantry).  I see only two uses for the old gas cooktop long term - it will enable us to cook when the electricity is out (with a match to light the flame), and it can be used to char peppers, which I rarely do. 

 

@cookwareset - I would advise you to put your money into an induction hob and buy one of the inexpensive cookware sets mentioned above. 

 

Regarding my cookware, I have some of nearly all the lines mentioned above and I have not noticed any cooking performance advantage with any of them.  I use the Demeyere Atlantis, the Iittala, and the Le Creuset more than the others because the handles are not riveted and they're much easier to clean. 

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Do you know what wolf range it is? I wonder if it's a really old commercial one.

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It's not a commercial unit.  It's a cooktop, not a range, and was installed in 2003.  The seller owned a high-end appliance store so it's probably the best that was available in 2003.  There is no sales receipt, only a manual, and no model number.  It has 5 hobs with dual stacked sealed burners and two-tier burner knobs.  It has a griddle accessory which we've never used.

 

It's probably a decent cooktop if you like gas. 

 

After using induction, I have decided I hate gas.  I wouldn't even have another Viking.  Gas is wasteful (too much energy lost to the room), uncomfortable (too hot), unhealthy (combustion byproducts), requires a massive updraft, and it's dirty (too hard to clean so kitchen always smells.) 

 

When I was younger I thought having a massive gas range was proof I was a 'real' cook.  Now I know the 'proof' is in the pudding and I make much better pudding with induction.  I enjoy it more, too.

 

However...if I couldn't have an induction cooktop, I would take gas over conventional electric.  Conventional electric, including ceramic glass units, are worse than gas.

 

IMO.

 

BTW, we have a Wolf convenction oven and warming drawer and they are very nice - we are not replacing them. 

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I find this topic fascinating, particularly Barb's input.

My current home has the first gas range I've ever cooked on (despite the fact that I've been cooking for a very long time).

We replaced the old range which was electric when we bought the house.  I'd always wanted to try cooking with gas because I'd heard it was so much superior to electric.  We bought a dual-fuel range because I love to bake and wanted the electric oven and the self-cleaning capability.  Well I quickly learned that there are a lot of negatives with a gas cooktop; all of which  were mentioned above.

But then, there wasn't really the option of an induction range, or at least in my mind.

Now, reading what I see here, I'd love to change out my current range for a better induction model. 

I am a home cook, certainly not a chef, and I don't want or need a 'professional' range.

You posters have really gotten my attention and I just may begin to think about adding induction to my kitchen.

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I have had my induction range for about one and half years now. I'll never understand how it took me so long to get away from an electric coil setup. I'm as much in love with my induction range now as I was the day it arrived. Clean, fast, responsive. I had pulled the coils out of my electric range and put two portable induction hobs over their place and had used them for all my cooking for some years before I got this range.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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I find this topic fascinating, particularly Barb's input.

I am a home cook, certainly not a chef, and I don't want or need a 'professional' range.

You posters have really gotten my attention and I just may begin to think about adding induction to my kitchen.

 

@lindag, please read this thread by Dave Scantland.  It's the BEST description of why gas is not really for home cooks, and it's hilarious, too.  I never tire of reading it.

 

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/138325-flameout/

 

When we designed the new kitchen I considered adding one gas burner, to use in case the electricity went out (it does that too often here), but I didn't want to waste the countertop space or pay to have the gas line extended. 

 

I don't remember what we paid for the Miele but it was worth every penny.  We had the 30" 4-burner unit. 

 

Our new Thermador is a 36" unit which also only has 4 "burners" but those burners can be anywhere, and any size your cookware is.  So, I can use two 14" saute pans simultaneously!  Or, two griddles.  If you have room for a 36" unit, I would recommend the Thermadore Freedom.  Obviously I have't cooked on it yet but all the reviews I've read have been glowing (on other forums, which I trust, not on sites like Amazon where paid reviews are a problem.)

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Our new Thermador is a 36" unit which also only has 4 "burners" but those burners can be anywhere, and any size your cookware is.  So, I can use two 14" saute pans simultaneously!  Or, two griddles.  If you have room for a 36" unit, I would recommend the Thermadore Freedom.  Obviously I have't cooked on it yet but all the reviews I've read have been glowing (on other forums, which I trust, not on sites like Amazon where paid reviews are a problem.)

 

I've been looking into getting one of those freedom units in out new kitchen (which we don 't have quite designed). I think the promise to be great, with the one disadvantage of having a maximum of four "burners", instead of five like I'd have loved to see.

 

I'd be more than happy to hear your opinion once you have used yours a little.

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Gas rocks...I have a 30" BlueStar, and it is a pleasure. Regarding cleaning, I find it loads easier than a shiny sealed top. It has open burners, so I line the drip tray w foil and toss it out when I clean. The grates are cast iron, so they don't show every little drip or speckle. When really dirty, the grates lift off, and a sprinkle of Barkeepers Friend and a scouring pad gets the job done quickly. The oils will eventually polymerize and harden, seasoning the grates just like a cast iron skillet.

I can stir fry in a screaming hot wok.....but I did install suitable venting over the stove. Too many people neglect the vent hood and settle for the silly toy hoods peddled by major appliance manufacturers.

Gas is cheap in my part of the country, so it is significantly cheaper to fuel my gas stove than an electric. I have multiple natural gas hot water heaters, gas stove and oven, and whole house gas heat....in the depths of a cold winter this year, the gas bill didn't break $75/mo. I don't buy the hysterical arguments about inefficient combustion....all over my region, gas is the rule and not the exception for home and water heating. No reports of health problems on my local news, lol. (Of course you should have a carbon monoxide detector, but newfangled smoke detectors also do this.)

Seriously, if you have problems catching things on fire while using a gas stove, you need to be more careful. Get some silicon pot holders and stop using the dish towel as a hot pad.

I looked at induction and decided against it. No one could tell me how long these loaded-with-electronic units would last, nor could they guarantee that the circuit boards controlling the displays would still be available in 5 years. I can fix all the moving parts on my BlueStar with a screwdriver and a wrench. I can safely say that the BlueStar is good for decades of service.

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I have to agree about the heat that's generated by gas burners, it's the first thing I found on my list of negatives.

In my house, I'm limited to a 30" slide in range (unless, of course I wanted to gut my kitchen, which I don't).

I'm seeing a lot more choices now than were available around here a few years ago.  When I looked then I was limited to an Electrolux model (which had lots of negative reviews).  I'd love to hear what's a good and reliable model to choose these days.

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I am firmly on the side of induction burners. Use both induction is faster more controllable and produces a lot less heat in the kitchen. Only drawbacks are need separate ignition source for Flambés, and due to electronic Saftey switches I can not modify less tempature than t like for blackening.

Of course their is the issue with non magnetic pots and pans I love the look and feel of my copper cookware but as I get older it sure gets a lot heavier.

Progress.


Mike Macdonald Calgary

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My exposure has only been with electric coil for many years and gas over the last 10 yrs. hands down I like gas better. I like the idea of induction but have never used it and also don't know it's longevity and reliability.

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