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Induction Cooktops


AmyH
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So it sounds like this may be the technology that southern cooks have been yearning for during those hot summers.

Do you really need to buy new cookware? Some of the things I've read indicate that copper is the only thing that won't work.

-Linda

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I have countertop induction "burners" and they work great, as well as being very portable.  You do have to use cookware that is absolutely flat on the bottom and is a magnetic metal. 

I have Sitram induction cookware that was relatively inexpensive, with a very thick base plate.  The heat/cool response is rapid and precise.

I'm curious about yours. Do you have 240V or 120V models?

Both of mine are 120 volt.

One is the very inexpensive Supentown, now 139.00 (179. when I purchased mine).

Supentown

The other (older) one is a Volrath

Which is larger and will hold a fairly large stockpot steady.

It also has some additional bells and whistles, empty pot sensor, etc. It too has come down in price - it was 700. plus when I purchased it, now is available for 550.00

The great thing is that they are easy to carry around, I regularly take one or both to the office when we have one of our potluck lunches.

In fact I am considering buying another of the Supentown to keep at the office.

There are, of course, electric hotplates that are much less expensive and do not require cookware with a magnetic bottom, however they are not as safe to use as these.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I had considered adding a built-in induction cooktop but decided that I would rather have the portability of the individual countertop units so I could use them wherever I pleased.

The Diva 12 inch was the one I liked.Diva induction

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Andiesenji -

How fast does that low-cost one heat up? I noticed on the link that Phaleon posted that they have a range of BTUs in their units, but they all have the same maximum temp. In my understanding though, all induction units heat up to full temperature virtually instantly. If this is true, why would you need a more powerful unit?

Also, they seem to range from 400 to 500 degrees as maximum temp. How does this compare to what most electric/gas ranges can get up to?

Edited by NulloModo (log)

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Andiesenji -

How fast does that low-cost one heat up?  I noticed on the link that Phaleon posted that they have a range of BTUs in their units, but they all have the same maximum temp.  In my understanding though, all induction units heat up to full temperature virtually instantly.  If this is true, why would you need a more powerful unit?

Also, they seem to range from 400 to 500 degrees as maximum temp.  How does this compare to what most electric/gas ranges can get up to?

I have seldom turned it all the way up. It heats the skillet or saucepan rapidly enough for anything I have cooked on it.

I have used a grill pan with ridges on it with it turned to high and it did a very nice job on pork chops and steaks.

It doesn't heat water in a stock pot as rapidly as my 15000 BTU gas burner but it does bring it to a boil more rapidly than a regular hot plate. I have used it for re-heating and holding at temp chili, soup, with it turned to low so it wouldn't require constant stirring.

It does a fair job with stir-fry but I really haven't used it that much for that particular application.

It is very easy to clean.

The fact that once the cooking vessel has been removed from it, there is no residual heat at the burner itself, makes it safer to use where there are a lot of kids running around. This is one of the reasons I got one to begin with.

We had a block party a few years back and one of the other families had an electric hotplate which had been turned off but one of the smaller kids reached past it to grab something and burnt his forearm on the still hot surface. He had the design of the coils on his arm. It wasn't a very serioius burn but he did have to be taken to the ER.

Kids can recognize that a gas burner is hot, but not an electric hotplate.

When I bought the Volrath, it was the only one available.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 1 month later...

Here's a question. I'm starting to start to think about a kitchen remodel. My neighborhood has no gas service. (People who want gas ranges get tank deliveries of some kind of gas but we really don't want to go that route.) I've searched for induction in eGullet and saw comments going back to 2002.

One of them indicated that induction is good if you are cooking up a lot of things in a liquid, like pasta or blanching veggies. I'd want to be cooking a variety of things. The cookware issue isn't a big deal for me. I've been looking to replace some of my 20-year old pots and pans that I never loved in the first place.

There seem to be a lot of new developments with induction, (Viking is now offering a cooktop with induction elements as well as radiant ones.) However, I haven't seen too many people on eGullet saying that they've chosen to install them. I did buy the Sunpentown countertop model and am playing around a bit with it but only have a small saucepan and the nonstick pan (that was included as a bonus with the Sunpentown.)

So, is anybody seriously considering putting in one of the new cooktops?

jayne

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When I moved in with my boyfriend I had to start using his induction hob. On the plus side, it boils water (for new potatoes, hard-boiled eggs etc) more quickly than you could imagine. On the minus side my treasured, expensive SKK pans don't work on it, because they're made with titanium. So I had to buy a lot more pans - he, naturally, had only one.

Being a Luddite, despite the water boiling thing and the gadgetyness, I prefer cooking over a flame.

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So it sounds like this may be the technology that southern cooks have been yearning for during those hot summers. 

Do you really need to buy new cookware?  Some of the things I've read indicate that copper is the only thing that won't work.

-Linda

The cookware has to be magnetic. Some types of steel will not work, because not all steel is magnetic. Aluminum won't work. Neither will cast iron, clay, ceramic pots, glass cookware, or - as you already noted - copper. In some cases there may be a magnetic layer bonded with the cookware, and then of course those pots would work.

Now for my questions: how do these cooktops regulate temperature? Are they switching the field on and off according to the cooktop temperature?

Second: how do these cooktops work for something like searing a steak? You want to preheat the pan, but these cooktops appear to have "empty pan" detectors. Does that defeat the preheating? And how the heck do they detect an empty pan?

Fascinating. I had no idea there were portable units.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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One is the very inexpensive Supentown, now 139.00 (179. when I purchased mine).

Supentown

andiesenji,

would you comment on the quality of the Supentown? The price is so much lower than most models, that I'm curious as to why this is.

Do you use them a lot? have you had problems with them?

Sd

We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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I opened my latest edition of House and Garden (the Kitchen Issue), and was surprised by an article that touted electromagnetic stovetops as the next big thing in cooking.  They use electromagnetic waves to heat up the cookware (and thus, the food) without actually heating the stove, the kitchen, the chef etc.  Call me a luddite, but the whole thing sounds a little too Jetsons to me.

To top it off, I can't find any good information on the technology used in the stoves (unlike in microwaves), but I did find an abstract of an article that showed the electromagnetic waves change the properties of water as it is heated.  :unsure: 

Somewhat Scary Abstract

So does anyone have an opinion (informed or otherwise)?  Has anyone used such a device?  Am I being overly skeptical?

-Linda

I have been using one of these "devices" for over a year now and sing its praises to anyone ready to listen. I have a single induction top made by Garland that I keep on the counter top next to my Wolf range. It is particularly wonderful in the summer as it does not heat the kitchen. Only your saucepan and its contents become hot. Heat control is wonderful. It can maintain extremely low temperatures or it can bring a pot of water to boil with lightening speed. However, the pots you use must have enough iron in the alloy to be magnetic. I use All Clad stainless or enameled cast iron. Of course cast iron will work too. Most other stainless pans on the market -Calphalon, Cusinart, etc cannot be used with induction tops. Best thing is to carry a magnet in your pocket when shopping for pots and pans. If it sticks it's good. By the way, the best of these burners work on 220v. The cost of adding a new 220v line in the kitchen is quite high

Ruth Friedman

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I would love to see a 6 burner stove, 4 gas and 2 in the middle that are induction. IMHO, that would combine the best of both worlds. For the extreme gadget freak inside me, it would be even better if it could come with a built-in temperature probe attached to the induction burners that could keep a pot of liquid at a constant temperature while cooking. Perfect for sous vide, low temp poaching, stocks/stews and the like without having to fiddly with the gas knob every 1/2 an hour.

The only thing to be careful with induction is that you have to make sure your not wearing any metal jewelery. If you get in the habit of wiping quick spills when it's on and then trying it once wearing metal, you could be in for a nasty burn.

PS: I am a guy.

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Neither will cast iron,

My understanding is that cast iron should work fine. Certainly I've read reports of people using cast iron with their induction stovetops. However, I have also read that some people have had problems with some cast iron pots when the bottom did not make contact or good contact with the stovetop. For example, some cast iron cookware has a ridge around the edge on the bottom. This keeps the bottom of the cookware away from the stovetop.

Bottom line, the cookware (cast iron or not) should have a flat bottom to allow it to contact the cooktop for best results. If it doesn't, results vary including the potential for it not to work at all.

Note one potential is to have problem cast iron cookware ground flat.

-john

Edit, here are links to a few products:

Brandt Cooktop

Diva Cooktops

Cooktek Induction

Edited by JohnN (log)
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The only thing to be careful with induction is that you have to make sure your not wearing any metal jewelery. If you get in the habit of wiping quick spills when it's on and then trying it once wearing metal, you could be in for a nasty burn.

Only if the metal is magnetic. I can assure you that gold is not affected by it because I dropped one of my gold bracelets onto the burner while it was on high and I picked it up with my fingers, the burner was not even warm and neither was my bracelet.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Well, shiver me timbers and blow me down. I could have sworn that I'd tried magnets on my cast iron skillets and they hadn't stuck - although I admit, I wondered why that would be. Since so many people insisted that yes, cast iron and Le Creuset are indeed magnetic, I just had to try it when I got home...and clearly, I wrote some bum information above. :rolleyes:

Thanks for correcting the information, y'all!

Nancy "sauteed crow, anyone?" Smith :blush:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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There are many induction products being developed. Most of the national pizza chans are using induction delivery bags in some markets. The bags contain a special disk that is charged on an induction cook top made by CookTek and releases heat into the bag while it is being delivered. Ask the delivery guy next time you get a pizza.

.

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I've seen them used at school, and have a serious case of the gimmes. The temperature control is spectactular, and for sugar work in particular they are breathtakingly fast. I also like the no-ambient-heat aspect, since I detest the summer heat and because my wife nannies a pair of two-year-olds.

Overall I'd prefer to have gas (I don't) but I'd want induction as well in my dream kitchen.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Does the glass surface of these units tend to be easily scratched, and if so, does that affect performance?

I don't have one, but I think I can answer this one.

I think the top is the same as used in other "glass" cooktops. So, it is scratchable, but it does take a bit of work to do so. You should be able to avoid scratching it with a bit of care.

I think the biggest risk for scratches is cast iron cookware. It tends to be a bit rougher and harder than other surfaces, esp. if you slide the cookware back and forth on the burner. Some cookware can leave traces of the metal on the cooktop, esp. if you slide the cookware back and forth on the burner; but it can be cleaned with a mild abrassive and some elbow grease. I understand hot melted sugar is also one of the biggest risks to a glass cooktop as it can "spall" the surface as it cools.

The biggest complaint I've seen with people who have "glass" cooktops is cleaning. And that is typically because the spilled food gets baked on. The upside of the induction cooktop is that the glass surface doesn't heat up like in a conventional cooktop and thus doesn't get hot enough to cook on the food for the most part. This means much easier cleanup. In fact, it appears some people even do things like put a piece of newspaper between the cooktop and the cookware for messy foods! Very slick.

In general, it seems that the induction cooktops are probably the easiest to keep clean. A big plus in my book.

Since the cooking mechanism is electromagnetic, the glass does not play a part and any scratches would only be cosmetic.

-john

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Does the glass surface of these units tend to be easily scratched, and if so, does that affect performance?

Actually during demonstrations at trade shows they place a $1 bill between the cook top and the pan while an item is being prepared. So you could probably place a piece of parchment on the cook top to keep it clean.

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These seem to have been around for a while - I was given a stand-alone element about 15 years ago, but it was both weak and slow to respond. At the time, they were presented in Japan as being safer than gas for elderly live-alones.

Suddenly they're baaaaack, and apparently much more efficient than before. In Japan, they form part of a puzzling drive for "all-electric" kitchens, which I can only think is some campaign to soften us up for a few new nuclear power plants :blink: .

I don't think they're such a great idea for elderly cooks, because the typical cookware is so heavy that you'd need a wide heatproof area around your cooktop so that you could slide, rather than lift, cookware on and off the heat. That's not about to happen in tiny Japanese kitchens, so I imagine Japanese grannies will continue to love their light, but badly dented and buckled aluminum pans.

The no-ambient heat thing...hmmm, but doesn't the hot cookwear and food radiate heat anyway? (Picky, I know).

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