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Induction Cooktops


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What I would like to see is a cooktop that has say 4 gas hobs and one induction panel in the middle. You could use the induction for gentle simmering, rapidly heating up boiling water and even cooking of eggs while using the gas for everyday cooking tasks.

PS: I am a guy.

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I just read Gourmet mag's review on magnetic induction stoves, and it doesn't seem as if there are any cons to this technology. A broad range of temperatures can be attained extremely quickly, and the stovetop remains cool to the touch. The only drawback that was mentioned was that you have to have compatible cookware, but most cookware has some iron in it to allow for induction to occur. What are your thoughts on MI? Any disadvantages?

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I've got five induction stoves and they are fantastic - I love them. They are super fast and very easy to clean since nothing gets burned on. They are definitely the way to go. Mine allow you to set a temperature for the pan and it will hold there for as long you like. Also you can get them with individual timers that will allow you to leave a stock on simmer and switch off when you are away. Great.

Some downsides that might not be immediately obvious are - often very small pans don't work because of a safety feature that switches off the coil if no pan is present. This can be a pain if you like to use small sauciers etc. Secondly I find it a bit more of a pain to flambee since there is no flame to ignite the alcohol etc. abd lastly you will be surprised just how many of your pans won't work at all on the induction stove. Many of my favourites don't. A good way to test is to see if a magnet will stick to it. If it does you can use the pan fine.

Having said all the above induction is definitely the way to go. There's a reason Adria et al use them.

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These really do sound like a fantastic addition to a kitchen! With so few disadvantages, I expect that MI will at some point in time replace gas and electric stovetops. Thanks for the tidbits! A few questions about the temperature setting: how precisely can you set the temperature? within 10-20 degrees Celsius? And does the maximal temperature that is reached depend on the steel/iron amount in your cookware? I would think that in order to get maximal induction, you need the greatest steel/iron content (like a cast iron pan). I don't know if that's true or not.

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Okay - first off let me say that not all the hobs have the ability to maintain the temperature and those that do tend to be more expensive (wouldn't you guess). Mine can maintain at 80, 100, 140, 160, 180, 200, 240, 270C. I am not sure how accurate they are since I have never tested them but for sure if I put something on at 80C it never boils so it definitely works.

I am not sure of the physics but I don't think that in practical terms the composition of the pan affects the final temperatures. The coil in the hob excites the ferrous part of your pan and that excitement tranlsates to heat. Basically if the pan works at all it will work well. So, for example, all my stainless steel pans work but all my aluminium (All Clad etc.) don't work at all.

As regards when you move the pan off the heat source it does stop heating but that's the same for every heat source! Residual heat in the pan maintains the temperature for the bried moments the pan is off the hob. In practical terms you don't have to worry about it, unless your cooking technique requires a lot of flashy lifting of the pan. For example I would prefer to use gas for wok frying but you can buy a very nice, and exceedingly expensive, induction hob designed explicitly for wok use.

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I love the induction cookers. I have two and often take one or both to work when we have potluck lunches. They are small and light enough that I can carry them easily.

There are some times that I want to cook something long and slow and am always concerned about leaving something on a low gas flame without occasional attendance.

I use the induction appliance when I want to leave the house and continue cooking while I am away.

I have Sitram pans that are made for the induction range but also have used my old cast iron pans.

They do have to have a perfectly flat bottom, however.

It is true that you can't use a fairly small pan on the range, however I simply use a wider shallower pan or skillet.

I find that the range maintains temp fairly well over long periods.

"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 notice that no one has mentioned any health risks (radiation emissions) - i have heard about them, and that is their only drawback that i am concerned about. having to buy new pots and pans is a nuisance, but not something that would stop me from changing to an induction stove. that said, they are wonderful to use - water boils so quickly that going back to a kettle or regular stove to boil water makes it seem prehistoric. also, it is possible to get a combination stove where you can have a choice of gas/electric/induction hotplates so you can ease yourself into induction cookery and not have to throw away any precious copper based pots/pans. i personally like that option best - you then get the best of all worlds - i still prefer gas for some things, and it is handy if there are any electrical problems (we rarely have power cut off, but it has happenned, so it's nice to know that i can still continue cooking). the way they keep temperatures constant is also a great feature and very useful for simmering and deep frying.

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What health risks? Unless you happen to be wiping the stove while it's on and your wearing a metal bracelet, I haven't heard any credible evidence that these things are dangerous.

But if these things are absolutely even heating, then you need to ask why do you even need or want to use copper pans on them? You don't need the superior heat conducting properties of copper.

Anyway, what I would like to see is a 5 burner stove, 4 of which are seriously grunty gas burners an one induction hob in the middle. Seems to me that would be my dream stove.

PS: I am a guy.

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i notice that no one has mentioned any health risks (radiation emissions) - i have heard about them, and that is their only drawback that i am concerned about. having to buy new pots and pans is a nuisance, but not something that would stop me from changing to an induction stove.

The radiation they emit is well in the radio frequency range. There is painfully little chance that it would do any damage to a person using them under reasonable conditions.

Honestly, you get more rf damage from your cell phone (which does zero damage).

If you want to know how I came to that, Energy = Planck's Constant * frequency

Do the math yourself. Then, if you're really sick, take the energy difference of that number and the energy of water's rotation (it's quantized). Find their difference, plug it into the Heisenberg uncertainty equation, and get yourself a probability of one photon from the emitter (cell phone or induction range) being absorbed by a water molecule. It will be a shockingly low number.

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I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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There are several drawbacks to induction:

- Of course, there's the issue of what cooking vessels you can use. This has already been gone over, but one point worth making is that the next generation of induction cooktops -- rumor has it they're being sold in Asia -- will work with any metal. To me, that's a pretty convincing argument for waiting.

- The thing I've found most inconvenient, the few time I've used induction, is that the power output controls are stepped -- usually from 1-10 -- rather than continuous as on a gas range. I imagine they'll cure this in future versions.

- The ceramic surfaces of induction cooktops are not as sturdy as the heavy iron grates of a good gas range. They can scratch and break much more easily. I think the next generation have metal surfaces.

- You won't have much success with elongated cooking vessels or with two-burner griddles and such.

- The repair service infrastructure just isn't there. Once your warranty is up, good luck finding the right person to fix your induction cooktop.

I'd wait for better induction cooktops. Maybe five years. At that point I'll probably get a single burner unit to supplement my gas range.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The radiation they emit is well in the radio frequency range.  There is painfully little chance that it would do any damage to a person using them under reasonable conditions.

Honestly, you get more rf damage from your cell phone (which does zero damage).

If you want to know how I came to that, Energy = Planck's Constant * frequency

Do the math yourself.  Then, if you're really sick, take the energy difference of that number and the energy of water's rotation (it's quantized).  Find their difference, plug it into the Heisenberg uncertainty equation, and get yourself a probability of one photon from the emitter (cell phone or induction range) being absorbed by a water molecule.  It will be a shockingly low number.

Yea, what he said. :blink:

I've been looking at getting a standard size induction cooktop. There just are not that many options in the states at the moment. Sears has one at a decent price, but all the others are fairly expensive still. I'm waiting for more stylish choices, but will buy one eventually. I think in about 15 years a large amount of ranges in the states will be induction. They appear to be safer and more efficient than the other choices.

I'd like to see some consumer choices with a mix of burners. 2 gas and 4 induction burners would sell me.

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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All Clad LTD is aluminum with a stainless core, so the stainless is probably too far from the cooktop to work -- it's really the outer layer that needs to be magnetic in order for the field to get going. All Clad Stainless is another matter -- that will work with induction just fine.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'd wait for better induction cooktops. Maybe five years. At that point I'll probably get a single burner unit to supplement my gas range.

all your points are true, but considering you can get one for a hundred bucks, i'm still thinking about picking one up for experimentation purposes.

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The radiation they emit is well in the radio frequency range.  There is painfully little chance that it would do any damage to a person using them under reasonable conditions.

Honestly, you get more rf damage from your cell phone (which does zero damage).

If you want to know how I came to that, Energy = Planck's Constant * frequency

Do the math yourself.  Then, if you're really sick, take the energy difference of that number and the energy of water's rotation (it's quantized).  Find their difference, plug it into the Heisenberg uncertainty equation, and get yourself a probability of one photon from the emitter (cell phone or induction range) being absorbed by a water molecule.  It will be a shockingly low number.

...and since I'm running out of the kitchen (LOUD NOISE!) at a fixed and precicely measured velocity (running-speed in the direction of the nearest exit), there's an even lower probabiliy of absorption since my exact position (or more specifically the quantum particles of which I consist) at any given point in time cannot be determined with any reasonable precision. Thanks high school physics! :wacko:

Edited by peter_nyc (log)
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Induction is great - I have used it for years.

As per other posts, there is no radiation issue to worry about. In fact it is safer than gas due to lack of explosion risk, burning risk and combustion products from gas.

One point that hasn't been made is that the kitchen stays cool - you are not pumping hot air from the flame around the room. Only the pan gets hot. This dramatically reduces kitchen heat, and reduces the amount of air your hood has to draw away.

The 10 step control that FG mentioned is much more accurate and repeatable than a continuous adjustment on a gas flame, so I don't see it as a disadvantage.

The simple test as to whether a pan will work on induction is to see if a magnet will stick to it. If it does, then induction should work. This includes a lot of older pans, but certainly not all. However,

Nathan

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Just an idle question about Magnetic Induction stoves.

Do you have to worry about them degaussing nearby magnetic media?

Just curious.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Another thing to consider is that the power input to output ratio is significantly better than in other types of electrical stoves.

It is much more economical to operate than even a much smaller hot plate because the metal of the pans heats directly without having to heat a coil or a plate.

The first time I saw one demonstrated, there was a goldfish bowl, complete with fish, on one burner that was turned on to high and it remained there throughout the demo as the other burners were used to heat skillets, a stockpot full of water and a griddle.

Finally the fish bowl was removed without any of the controls being touched and a skillet with a lump of butter placed on the spot where the fishbowl had been. It heated immediately.

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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The "two burner" aspect that Fat Guy mentioned pretty much dooms induction for me. When I take my beautiful roasted meat out of the oven, I want to have the ability to go two-burner with the roasting pan to make a jus/sauce. If induction won't do that, I don't want induction.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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The 10 step control that FG mentioned is much more accurate and repeatable than a continuous adjustment on a gas flame, so I don't see it as a disadvantage.

We were trying to make hollandaise and the ten-step (nine, actually, on this unit) control just wasn't working out. One setting was too low and one was too high. We had to keep switching back and forth endlessly. With a gas flame, you can dial it in exactly -- and you can also lift and lower the saucepan a little in a pinch. Plus on a gas range you can use copper, which is best for that kind of delicate saucemaking.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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