chefaddict

Induction vs. Gas.. Am I making a mistake?

ChefAddict
July 31, 2011

Im so tossed up right now about this.. and i only have a couple more days to figure this out.. went to the Wolf Demo last night and really got blown away from induction cooktop.. that thing is FAST... boils water like no one else... amazing..

but then again, I've never cooked with gas.. and its something I've always thought i wanted to do.. but after seeing the induction and knowing that I'm a stickler for cooking fast.. i stopped my order for gas.. did i make a mistake?

Am I missing out on something did I make a mistake.. what the the limitations to induction? is there any clear benefit of why gas is better?

lets hear it guys and girls.. let me know what you think..

Comments (98)

  • plllog

    Thanks, Kas! Before the whole discussion of wires, I had kind of thought the difference was, as you said, the quality (efficiency) of the built-in, expensive, fancy unit vs. the $100 countertop adequate one. The countertop unit is slower, and, because it has fewer steps between highest and lowest, it's hard to control properly (I would have to change between two settings because one was a little too high and the other too low). But while it's slower, it's not far and away different.

    I've noticed with induction that seeimingly small differences in power ratings make a bigger difference in cooking than I experienced with gas.

  • westsider40

    Yes, jmith, aluminized steel passed the magnet test. I believe it is also advertised as induction capable on the Nordic Ware site.

    I found it at Walmart---with my magnet.

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  • amcook

    Kas' explanation is right on. The main point is that saying that 240v appliances supply four times as much power is technically accurate if equal load is assumed but if you plugged your 120v induction cooktop into a 240v circuit, you would have a nice little fire in your kitchen. Ultimately, the whole 120v vs 240v argument is a bit of a tangent since we are really talking about efficiency in generating heat to the pan.

    One important thing that hasn't been discussed is resistance verses inductance. Impedance is the combination of resistive and reactive loss. What this means is that an old resistive heating coil burner rated at 1500W has the same impedance as the best 1500W induction burner made today. But just because both consume the same amount of power does not mean they are equally efficient at heating food.

    The old electric coil burners converted electricity into heat directly using a resistive load. The actual conversion efficiency is quite good *but* heat was lost through transfer through the pan to the food. Also, half the heat was lost because it radiated downward as well as upward. On the other hand, an ideal induction burner would have zero resistive heating (loss) and all of the input power would be converted into the EM radiation; i.e. 100% reactive load. And due to the nature of magnetic flux, an iron core would draw surrounding flux which reduces "back side" losses. The net affect is, more of the energy put in goes into the pan and therefore is one step closer to the food.

    Now we all know that nothing is perfect in this world. All circuits have both inductive and resistive loss. It is not hard to imagine that cheap table top induction hobs have higher resistive loss in the system thus less net induction affect for a given power input. One key stage where I think loss often occurs especially in small cheap burners is in the frequency multiplier.

    Back to the original question of induction vs gas. It's such a subjective question that I don't think anything new can be presented here to help you decide. plllog gave a pretty concise summary of all the various pros and cons that have been posted over the years. I went with gas because the cost of a dedicated wok hob is high and, frankly, I like open flame. :P Also, I like using my old pots and pans.

    It's really what you are use to and what you prefer to cook on. I have nothing against induction and aside from a few nits, I've enjoyed cooking on them when I've had the chance. With the right cookware, induction is hard to beat with regard to speed and efficiency. That said, I still have a hard time imagining induction replacing gas in demanding environments like a commercial kitchen.

  • llaatt22

    Another item in the apples and oranges watts is magnetic field strength and its area of coverage. Portable units initially show a very active circular area close to the center of a pan of water and the liquid farther away is very dependent at first on water circulation to pick up heat. 240v units have much more powerful "reach" and uniformity over much larger areas within shorter periods of time.

  • stooxie

    I don't think there's any question that induction is more efficient then resistive elements, but it still draws a heck of a lot of current and electricity tends to be expensive. These induction ranges aren't rated for 40 or 50 amps because they don't need it. My gas bill was $22 last month, including dryer, range and water heater. Obviously that goes up in the winter.

    I'm not arguing one way or another, I think induction makes a lot of sense for a lot of folks. I just personally can't get over the juice they take:

    Bosch NIT5065UC
    Current (A): 40 A
    Voltage (V): 208-240 V
    Frequency (Hz): 60 Hz
    Approval certificates: CSA
    Plug type: No plug
    Location of 1st heating element: front left
    Power of 1st heating element (kW): 2.2 kW
    Location of 2nd heating element: back left
    Power of 2nd heating element (kW): 1.4 kW
    Location of 3rd heating element: back right
    Power of 3rd heating element (kW): 2.4 kW
    Location of 4th heating element: Cooking zone front right
    Power of 4th heating element (kW): 1.4 kW

    40 amps at 220 is equal to 80 amps at 110!! If you have just one 2200W hob on you are consuming 10 amps@220V which is the equivalent of a full 20 amp 110V circuit.

    Efficient they may be, but I don't think it would ever cost less than gas unless you lived next to a hydro plant. That said, my only point is that if the OP is going to choose induction I'm not sure "efficiency" should be much of a consideration.

    For the sake of argument, btw, let's assume both a gas burner and induction hob are on for 10 minutes. You might be able to boil water in half the time of gas but onions aren't going to suddenly brown in half the time or that soup simmer any more quickly. Proteins and sugars act very differently from water molecules!

    -Stooxie

  • attofarad

    Stooxie is correct about costs. Of course, it depends on your electricity rates. Here in San Jose we have steeply progressive rates, and my last incremental kWhrs are at about 34 cents each. That 2200W hob running full blast for 1 hour would cost me 75 cents, where in N.C. Duke Energy would charge about 20 cents. The equivalent 16000BTU/hr gas burner would cost me about 22 cents -- in the winter it would also help heat the room, in the summer it may add to A/C cost (no A/C at my house). Induction can help the cooks to keep their cool.

  • liriodendron

    I am mulling replacing my 48" range w/something smaller. Also we are looking at installing large-ish photovoltaic system this Fall, so I'd have access to on-site generated electricity. I looked at the American range hybrids, and studying the specs I see that they wouldn't handle my large canners and then I thought: Duh! Induction won't handle any of my pressure canners (all aluminnum), or probably not even my boiling water bath canners, either (thin enamel on "steel", with not-flat bottoms). Though I suppose I could find very large, magnetic stock pots to replace those. So maybe what I need is a more module-like arrangement, with some huge gas burners and some induction for daily cooking. Does that mean I only have pricey Gaggennau to chose from? Anybody make a range that isn't divided horizontally like the American, but more front to back between gas and induction sections?

    I have a portable induction unit now (nothing special, just the Viking model) and I am quite fond of using it, but I like the feel of gas, too. No pressure canning on it, though. I have canned little batches of specialty stuff w/induction in a stockpot, but when my kitchen is done I need to get back to major canning where I use 16 - 20+" diameter pots.

    If the OP was thinking of canning, esp. pressure canning, then an all-induction unit may not work. I don't know of any non-aluminum pressure canners available on the market today. There are obviously ferrous pressure pans -Fagor, KuhnRikon, Wearever, etc., - but none big enough for serious multi-pint/quart pressure canning batches. Using a heat transfer plate with a larger aluminum cannerr might alter the highly critical pressure/temp/timing relationships required in pressure canning. I haven't seen any comments about this on canning forums, however.

    L

  • llaatt22

    Major home canning activities and most non commercial induction cooktops don't mesh. For one thing there are shutdown cicuits to protect against overheating from unusually long periods of high power use. This isn't something to be welcomed in the middle of a canning frenzy.One maker suggested alternating between the left and right sides of the cooktop while canning to avoid the problem.
    Determine the task first then choose the equipment to get it done.

  • herring_maven

    amcook writes: "That said, I still have a hard time imagining induction replacing gas in demanding environments like a commercial kitchen."

    Actually, commercial kitchens are where induction appliances have their highest market penetration. A sous-chef's sleeve will not catch fire on an induction "burner" (lower insurance premiums), and the reduced HVAC load from less waste heat going into the kitchen saves a lot of money -- and the bottom line is what "commercial" is all about. If you have dined at a Michelin 3-star restaurant in Paris, you probably have eaten food cooked on induction burners.

  • amcook

    herring_maven,

    Not trying to be argumentative but I am interested to know where your statistics come from. Also, I'm not sure what "highest market penetration" is in relation to. Are you saying that induction has highest adoption rate in restaurants as compared to residential? I don't think you are saying that more induction hobs are being sold to restaurants than gas burners are you? Your last sentence seems to imply just that. I do find that a little hard to believe. I don't dispute that commercial adoption of induction might outpace residential adoption but I would think that is only by a small margin. I've been out of the commercial cooking world for quite a number of years so I may be a bit old fashioned compared to modern restaurant owners/cooks but my friends and family that are still in the business still prefer gas without exception. An in-law of mine who owns a restaurant and catering business only uses portable induction hobs at locations that don't allow for open flame. He says the cost of induction ranges is too high and cost of induction cookware is way too high. He goes through about 50 saute pans in a single 60-80 cover service *and* those have to be replaced about every 6-12 months. He also feels that most line chefs prefer, and are more use to, gas which makes things easier to manage. I know just one person's opinion but I've heard similar from others. That's why I'm so curious to hear alternate opinions from people in the business.

  • kaseki

    It takes my induction cooktop 6 minutes to heat the water for my 2-qt teapot to ca. 190F. At 2000W, say, this would be 0.2 kW-hr. At 20 cents per kW-hr, I would have paid 4 cents for the electricity. The "waste" vs. gas would be 4 cents minus the cost of the gas that would be required to heat the water for maybe 10 minutes to get it to the same temperature. This latter value is unclear, but I would be surprised if it were less than 2 cents worth.

    I could also save 5% or so by using an electric kettle where all of the heat gets to the water instead of the 95% more or less of the induction hob.

    On the other hand, the electricity cost pales into the background, if not insignificance, when I consider that the 5 to 10 gms of tea I use for these two quarts costs about 50 cents to a dollar, depending on the tea plantation and picking time.

    I would conjecture that the imputed interest on the value of the floor space that the cooktop sits over exceeds the cost of the electricity it uses, per year. (Production canning activities excluded.) The imputed interest on the induction cooktop certainly does, and so would the imputed interest for a Wolf or CC range if I had one.

    The electricity cost is a small price to pay for convenience and efficiency.

    kas

  • stooxie

    Kaseki, so far boiling water is all anyone talks about in regards to efficiency. Can you give me some other examples? How much time do you save searing a steak? How much time do you save reducing a stock? How much time do you save caramelizing onions?

    The efficiency of induction won't mean that all your food suddenly gets cooked in half the time.

    If we're going to make arguments in support of induction let's see something more than "I can boil water lickety split". To me that ranks right up there with how long can one keep a piece of paper on a burner before ignition.

    Now, I agree that the utility cost might be a minor consideration and, in fact, I said that a few posts above. It probably isn't worth the consideration. That is just in response all this talk that the efficiency is itself worth anything. Wikipedia claims that induction is only about 13% more efficient than regular elements.

    -Stooxie

  • kaseki

    Stooxie:

    My message was directed toward electricity cost and not total cooking time making a meal. Induction will speed up getting a pan warm in many cases, but one cooks food at a specific heat input/temperature/time and this part of the process is going to be independent of the means by which heat energy is induced into the pan/pot as long as the heating means can meet the requirement. Sufficiently powerful gas burners will equal counterpart induction hobs in this respect.

    A possible exception might be the higher powered Cooktek hobs, such as their induction wok. The gas burner required to equal the heat input from 3500W of induction might exceed some safety limit for residential use. On the other hand, this level of input is likely rarely needed. (I think caramelizing a large amount of marinated meat would be an example. I haven't tried yet to see how well it can handle a quantity of meat and liquid that would overpower a lesser heat source.)

    So, as noted, the issues that separate induction from gas are pyro-primitivism, ease of cleaning, reaction time for heat changes, waste heat into the kitchen, look and feel, difficulty of upgrading wiring or gas lines, safety, and dependence on electricity supply (although note that some gas ranges may inhibit operation without electric power.)

    If none of these dominate the selection process, then we are into the area of personal preference, which is somewhat outside our ability to advise.

    kas

  • plllog

    Laat2 brings up a good point about the limits of hotplates. I'd forgotten the circle thing. My oval dutch oven on my cheap induction hotplate pretty much only heated in the center where the circle is. The corners heated from spread, but not directly at all. I ended up scorching it that way, though not irretrievably. On the built-in, it takes a little while to heat evenly, but it does.

    Regarding costs, I suppose I could do a measured analysis by watching the electric meter, but I haven't. I have a five [insert units of measure--I forget] solar station on my roof. It more than covers everything in the house but a/c and the new electric kitchen (old one was gas and not used much for real cooking). I'm pretty sure that the added refrigeration and oven usage account for a big chunk of the difference, and quite possibly the lighting and even the DVR, but I'm sure the induction also contributes to the difference. Since my bills are pretty consistent, I can't say that making stock or soup provides big electricity suckage, though that's probably offset by a reduction in oven usage for the same period due to said long boils.

    Liriodendron, good point about the pressure canning. I always forget that one. Several people who can have mentioned ending up using an outdoor big flame, like a turkey fryer, and induction inside. I get a little nervous around pressure cookers in general, which probably explains this, but I feel a reluctance to put a pressure cooker on induction. That's just a feeling, not anything reasonable. I have water bath canned some small jars of marmalade in a big dutch oven on my induction hot plate, and that went fine, but that's a totally different animal. So... I think what it is is that it with a water bath you can see what the water is doing, and it will hold very steady on the induction. With a pressure cooker/canner you have to rely on the gauge and can't look at the flame. After more than a year of using the induction I'm only just getting to the point of being able to cook by number. I started off feeling the heat over the pan, and going from there. So maybe that's the source of my discomfort.

    Re induction in commercial kitchens, I think world wide adoption is higher than U.S., same as with residential. We've had a lot of professional cooks stop by over the years and talk about induction. I get the feeling that in the U.S. it is used a lot to add cooking surface to a small kitchen that has no room for another range, has taken over for buffet service, and when it is used as primary heat, it's more in smaller kitchens with limited oven use (i.e., no range). Much of the usage seems to be portable units rather than installed cooking surfaces. What Amcook has said about reasons to resist induction jibes with this. That is, that it's used additionally rather than as a replacement for gas. OTOH, where someone is putting in a hole in the wall cafe in an ancient building abroad, where gas is only available in balloons with delivery issues, but electricity is nuclear and plentiful, and there are limitations on ventilation, it seems like induction might be much more appealing. I don't know what is actually happening in those situations, other than vague rumors, but it's an interesting question. I wonder if there are commercial units being developed with zoneless technology? Like, can you imagine an induction French top, or the equivalent?

    I wonder if the availability of gas, or lack thereof, is also why they're working so hard on induction ovens. I don't know if the current residential induction ranges have induction or conventional electric ovens, but induction ovens do seem odd. So far, the only design I've seen is where induction is used to heat a cast iron slab.

  • vols2595

    ChefAddict and jmith:
    Wondering why jmith is biased against Wolf.
    ChefAddict, what did you decide after the Miele demo?
    Would love to hear feedback--Miele or Wolf?
    Thank you.

  • bonesoda

    @makmo73: I have cooked on commercial wolf and other commercial brands... I always assumed the residential wolf would be similar but alas it was not what i expected, so i have negative feelings towards it, hence the bias.

    To me i would get something cheaper (Bertazzoni) and save my money instead of getting wolf rangetop.

    People i think get wolf for just the name, also i could be completely wrong and home cooks may love wolf because it may do what they want perfectly.

    For my home i will be getting a CC, i always thought having different btus on ranges was a silly concept.

    Wolf ovens are great though.

  • patmc102

    So ChefAddict what did you end up with? My gas stove just died and "induction" looks very good because I hate cleaning stovetops and have a husband that keeps leaving the gas jet on:).

  • vitamins

    patmc,

    If I had a husband that kept leaving the gas jet on, then I would think it would be a "no brainer" choice between induction or gas! If he were to leave the induction turned on, it would turn off automatically if there no longer were a (magnetic) pan on it. Of course, induction was the choice for me anyway for many reasons. And I so far am extremely happy with my choice. It works great and clean-up is a breeze.

  • plllog

    A lot of induction units will turn off automatically after they haven't been adjusted for 4 hours (or whatever their preset is) even if there's a pot on. A little flummoxing when you forget about that and it turns off under the stock. :) Those also often have "Sabbath Mode" which prevents them from turning off, though that setting sometimes is also limited in its temperature setting for safety since if you're using it for actual Sabbath you need a very low temperature anyway.

    Get the induction with the automatic off and hide the Sabbath Mode instructions from the forgetful husband and you're all set!

  • bonesoda

    @p111og: Intresting point you brought up so if i was reducing a few hocks (usually the whole day) then after 4 hours it would stop.

    Which Induction tops would have this behaviour or all have them?

    I am looking at the bosch 500 series and read the manual (well skimmed through) but did not read about sabath mode or a 4 hour time out.

    I am getting more and more interested in induction but at the same time i am a bit cautious.

    I like the sleek/modern look and the cleanup, thats about it.

    Here in toronto (canada) not sure if gas (13.6891 c/m3 or 13.6891 c/36000btu) is more costly or hydro (6.800 c/kWh - 7.900 c/kWh).

  • plllog

    Induction isn't about the looks, and it's not even about the clean-up. It's about the responsiveness and power! I really do prefer it to gas, and I have both! Your caution is understandable. The two things that standard, residential induction isn't as easy for are wokkery and pressure canning, which are both things that are best done with specialized burners. Induction also isn't for a beloved collection of Mauviel, or other copper cookware. Before you decide, try out induction and see how you like it. If you miss the flames and heat, it's not for you. If you're not used to adjusting the heat by number, give yourself a chance to get comfortable with it before deciding.

    Re the auto-shutoff, check the manual thoroughly before you buy to be sure. My own (bought in England) unit has it, and does not have Sabbath Mode. It will run continuously for one to ten hours, depending on the power setting. I don't leave things unattended on the stove for whole days, so wiggling the temperature control every few hours is no problem. If the setting is perfect, then it's just turning it up and back.

    It's certainly not safe to leave a pot simmering on gas without anyone to look after it, so it's really not different from using gas except for having to actually touch the control every few hours.

    Not all units have the "automatic time limiter", or, at least, they don't mention it in their manuals. The only time it should really be a problem is if you're actually using it for Sabbath, and want it to be on for as long as three days running (temperature below the level of actual cooking). If you want to leave the house with a simmering pot on, however, it would be safer to use a crockpot.

  • bonesoda

    @p111og: Your first sentence kind of sold me a bit more on the induction... not only will i get better looks and easier cleanup but also will have better control of heat and have it work in my favour/efficiency.

    I do some "wokkery" and none of the canning. I think in my search today i have found many woks are being made to accomodate the induction but nothing will beat a wok burner and i don't think a BS or CC would beat a wok burner either.

    I think i read this thread twice today and i am about to cancell my CC order and switch it to an induction.

    I am going to get the Bosch 500 series 36" unit (NIT5665UC).

    I am vaguely excited to be amazed with the induction now when the construction finishes.

    Any comments positive/negative on the bosch 500 36" unit?
    Also for venting should i stick to a vah 600cfm or i can take it down to 300cfm or whats recommended?

  • davidro1

    in addition to plllog's first sentence, induction is foolproof. Autoshutoff prevents massive accidents; it senses when things are beginning to burn or spill over, so you end up with a small accident. This enables you to feel some guilt or sheepishness, but also gratitude that the technology is that good! In addition to plllog's first sentence.

    in ontario manitoba and quebec, "hydro" will always be low cost compared to gas. It doesn't matter if it's lower cost or not. It will be a low cost energy, compared to gas. There is a huge supply of hydro.

    It doesn't matter if you get a 30" or a 36" width of induction cooktop. It really doesn't.

  • Philip Labe

    If the cost of replacing your cookware is a factor in considering induction, you should look at Ikea's 365+ line of cookware. I have several of their pots and saucepans. The quality is great and the price is unbelievable.

  • bonesoda

    @dividro1: I have been doing some calcs... here is what i came up with the bosch 500 e.g vs the CC.

    1/ For the induction cooktop with 6 hobs:

    - avg power of all hobs about 2kWh.
    - Assuming in ontario current peak time hydro cost is about $0.08 / kWh.
    - Assuming avg of 1hr of use per day for 365days.

    I get cost to operate 1 hob @ 2kWh for 1 year = $58.40

    2/ For the gas rangetop with 6 burners.

    - avg power of all hobs is 23000btu
    - gas price in therm is about $0.37608
    - Assuming avg of 1hr use per day for 365 days

    I get cost to operate 1 burner @ 23000btu for 1 year = $31.57

    Assuming induction is atleast 70% efficient (Meaning instead of using everyday for 60mins... one is using it for 40 mins) so you would save about $17.52 a year because items will get to the heat that much quicker and cooking times will be reduced.

    So based on 70% efficiency for induction over gas the corrected yearly cost to run the induction would be = $40.88

  • bonesoda

    My rates were a bit off.

    In ontario worst case scenario for Elec is $0.0709 / kWh
    In ontario worst case scenario for Gas is $0.6099 therm

    SO Costings change a follows:

    Cost to operate 1 hob @ 2kWh for 1 year = $51.76
    Cost to operate 1 burner @ 23000btu for 1 year = $51.20

    70% efficiency savings per year for induction = $15.53
    Final cost to operate 1 hob @ 2kWh for 1 year with 70% efficiency = $36.23

    I am not sure if this makes sense that in Toronto, Ontario gas usage vs induction is exactly same but after efficiency calc elec is cheaper?

    I got my pricings from energyshop.com

  • angie_diy

    The irony meter is pegged: jmith is now shopping for a Sabbath-mode induction cooker in order to be able to reduce ham hocks....

  • plllog

    LOL!! Angie, Sabbath mode also works on Sundays. ;)

    Jsmith, there are a few different ways to wok with induction. All are something of a compromise, but each in its own way. The easiest is if you're okay with a flat bottomed wok. It doesn't have the same whooshing as a round bottomed wok, but it's very well suited to induction. The hardest is to have a special wok unit, either a dish shaped one that you can set your favorite old carbon steel wok into (these also come as portables), or the ultra expensive Gaggenau 15" wide super powerful one for which you have to buy the separately very expensive special wok ring and wok which transmit the induction, supposedly for good wokkery (I haven't tried it, and I'm not very good with a wok). The advantage of the latter is that you can throw all that power at your hocks as well.

    The other two options are middling on the compromise scale. One is the Demeyere induction wok. I haven't seen any others like it. It's a round bottomed multi-ply stainless wok with little ball feet that look a bit like the Gaggenau wok ring. One presumes that the little ball feet do the same thing to transmit the induction up the sides of the wok. Again, I haven't tried it or seen it in action, but I believe it has gotten good reviews.

    The last option that I know of is a weird one, but the one I chose. It's the flat bottom, round interior cast iron wok. Both Le Creuset and Lodge make them. The big issue is that the bottom isn't big enough to trigger the powerful outer ring of a large double element, and that's usually where the big kW's are. The problem is that it takes a long time for the cast iron wok to get hot in the first place on induction, since the energy has to travel up the sides, and it might be more efficient to heat it in an oven first. The compromises, however, are in the handling of the wok. It's totally different to using a carbon steel one. It's heavy. You don't go tossing it with one hand to mix the contents unless you have wrists of steel. But, being that this is induction, you also don't need to lift it to adjust the temperature. The reaction to changes of setting with induction, even with something as dense as cast iron, is just short of instantaneous. So instead of lifting the wok to lower the heat, you adjust the setting. Also, while the reaction to setting changes in the depth of the bowl is immediate, because of the mass, adding items doesn't cool off the whole wok like it does on a regular one, and induction is passing excitation rather than heat itself, so the recovery time is good. You also should be good with your tools, because it's more about manipulating the food rather than manipulating the wok.

  • plllog

    Oh, sorry. Re the Bosch, if you use the search box at the bottom of the page of threads I think you'll find some recent ones that discuss Bosch units. The big differences in induction are in the size and location of elements, the power and power sharing arrangement, the number of power levels, the way the controls operate, the way the timers and memory (if there is one) operated, and other similar electronic features. And appearance.

    We don't get a lot of negatives about specific inductions units. Many of the brands buy their inductors from companies like Fagor that have been making them for decaces, though some make their own. I think more make their own than make microwaves. As far as I know they're all pretty reliable.

    Some of the earliest models we heard a lot about on this forum were De Dietrich, where were a specialty import from when induction was big in Europe and Asia, but all but forgotten here. Fori had an old induction cooktop from the first wave a couple of decades ago, but they kind of came and went at the time. There were a number of people who brought in the De Dietrich units who did have repair issues down the road. It may be that there just isn't enough time in the current wave of induction in North America. So far, however, in the last four or so years since I've been on GW, induction has gone from a secret known mostly to GardenWebbers, to Kenmore and Kelly Ripa mass distribution.

    Which is a long and round about way of saying that I don't think you can go wrong with any unit that suits you. Check the manuals online, and go to The Induction Site for some comparisons. They're not always up to date, but it's a very useful resource.

    As to the vent, stick with the 600 cfm. A more powerful hood on a lower setting is supposed to do a better job than a lesser unit working at top power. Also, you might be glad of every bit of it when and if you do use your wok.

  • bonesoda

    @p111log: Appreciate the detailed responses re: wokkery and misc induction info. re: vent will stick with my 600 vah which is magically charged to higher but i think its just 600cfm.

    I also spent a few mins looking at health hazards re: low level emmisions from induction and seems like as far as we know so far in science its a non issue unless i decide to put me head on the HOB.

  • bonesoda

    I am going to go try out the induction and culinarian in the same day and report back my findings.

    I am having hard time deciding on a day to day basis as some days i am sold on induction some days when i go into a kitchen and cook or even see a video or two of the culinarian i go back to the gas camp!

    I will report back in a week or two.

  • plllog

    We'll look forward to it. Meantime, consider if you might like to get both gas and induction. :) Several of us have. Some have a range with a small induction unit to the side. Others have induction with a gas wok burner to the side. I make my own combo cooktop with a two burner gas unit and a three element induction unit (from Europe) side by side.

    I mostly use the induction. I knew I would. I like the gas for toasting and charring, and it's good to have an alternative in an emergency.

  • amela

    Just finished reading this and was amazed at the see-sawing between scientific jargon and gee whizzing. (smile)
    Count me as a gee whizzer. I learned about induction here and went through some ridiculous hoops putting in a dedicated 220 for it. (Excuse the simplification of 220. I wasn't interested in the process, just the result)
    We finally settled on the Bosch 5065, mainly for looks and the smallest steel strips that food could collect in.
    Already, within a few weeks, it has saved me. First time was when I was making soup and our tree fell on a neighbor's house (don't get me started). Naturally I forgot about the soup, it boiled over, the unit shut off, and clean up took about 2 minutes. Amazing.
    The shut off timer that I thought I would never use just turned off the unit while I was happily lost on GW without a care in the world. I've run out to get some last minute groceries while something was on the cooktop and was at peace knowing the shut off timer would save me if I got stuck in traffic (or chatting to a friend!).
    I live in Southern California and every single time I made pasta, I ate dinner flushed with heat. For the first time, I don't have to open a window and turn on a fan just to eat comfortably!
    I have a smaller kitchen and was replacing a beautiful 42 inch Chambers but I really wanted more counter space. I went all the way down to a 30 inch cooktop and there is NO way that I regret that.

  • weedmeister

    Jsmith: unless you have a metal plate in your head, you may rest your head comfortably on the induction hob with no radiated EMF. The hob will not activate.

    All bets are off if you decide to put your head in the pan while cooking...;-)

  • plllog

    ROTFLOL!!!

    Weedmeister, I think Jsmith meant to put the head next to the pot on an active element. With induction, one could do just that with no ill effects bar spatter. Not a good idea to fall asleep there though, and snuggle up to the warm pot. Gradual heating can lead to serious burns. ;)

  • davidro1

    great narrative, amela. I'll admit to doing similar things too. Induction has saved me from a lot of embarrassment.

  • bonesoda

    @amela: You basically summed it up what i go throw when i cook and when done basically require a shower! Your opinion has been valueable to me and is pushed me a bit closer to the induction-camp.

    @weedmeister & p111og: lol but i meant the hobs produce radiation similar to the mobile phones (as i gathered from few euro govt published docs) and as long as your head is not on the hob while its on i am good. I probably get more radiation from my phone on a daily basis than anything else.

  • kaseki

    jmith:

    The frequency of my Kenmore (Electrolux Icon clone) induction cooktop is about 40 kHz on low settings, dropping in frequency as the power level is increased. Forty kilohertz is 25,000 times lower in frequency than a typical cell phone.

    The field seems fairly weak at the edge of a hob. That is, it is not easily coupled to with a wire loop, and probably less easily coupled to with one's head. I used a short wire loop hooked to an oscilloscope probe positioned next to a Demeyere steel kettle. The kettle was displaced about one inch from concentric with the hob. Under these conditions, the induced waveform was about 1 mV, peak, at the cooktop surface at low power, rising modestly towards 2 mV with increased power.

    kas

  • jlb1003

    Plllog and others: Wht brand do you have when you create your own hybrid? I am remodeling a house on a lake and will have a small kitchen (unfortunately)... have a Gaggenau combi oven steamer and am trying to determine what other appliances to get. Was happy with previous dacor 36 gas range, but am also trying to be more frugal and not get the best of the best. Any suggestions?

  • plllog

    I didn't put big limits on my appliance budget. No custom built Molteni range, or anything like that, and I did draw the line when Gaggenau did a 38% price increase two days before I went in to buy (I hadn't been online for awhile so didn't see any warnings).

    My cooktop area is under a 48" hood. It was going to be three Gaggenau Vario 15" units before the price increase. I also was jealous of every inch of counter space just there, and wanted the top drawer underneath, so I nixed Plan A, and went with the relatively much cheaper, but still by no means frugal, Wolf 15" two burner gas, and a self-imported Gaggenau 3 element induction cooktop, an extra few inches of counter on either side, and a shallow top drawer (which could have been full utensil depth but I wanted it to match the others instead of being lower and capturing some extra space from the drawer below).

    I also have the Gagg combi-steam over single convection oven. I love the combi-, but wouldn't be without a conventional oven. I use the broiler one a week or so, I use it for baking, I do use the rotisserie, though it's messy, and the pizza stone with its own heat element is excellent.

    Having said all of that, if you have an outdoor grill which you use year round (if you'll be there in bad weather), with a broiler and maybe a rotisserie, and you don't bake a lot, you might not miss a regular oven. And if you won't be entertaining large groups from your small kitchen, you might do okay with only the combi- for an oven. You could butterfly some chickens, for instance, and cook them on different levels in the combi-. I'd cover with foil to keep the oven from getting too icky, as it has lots of crevices that can be a pain to clean, but that way you could cook enough chicken for a crowd.

    If you are going to do most of your cooking in the combi- I really suggest getting extra pans. I often don't need them, but I'm glad I have them when I do. The Gaggenau ones aren't cheap, but they're as big as the cavity. They come in 2/3 sheet pan size and 1/3 (you can use two 1/3's on a single level), solid and perforated. Although I sometimes do put a pan of my own in there, I mostly do use the ones that come with it. If you're putting your own pan on the rack, put the solid pan underneath it to catch drips. Cleaning around the drain is pretty awful! Others have said that half sheet pans from the restaurant supply will also fit on the racks and are much cheaper. I think those also come in perforated, as well, so it's worth checking out.

    A mid-range oven that people seem to be happy with for all kinds of uses is the Electrolux, though I don't know that I've heard specifically about the broiler.

    As for induction, I really do think that most of the name brands are just fine. As I said before, it's early days yet, but we haven't been hearing complaints. Choose the one with the best arrangement and sizes of elements, power, power levels, timers, etc., and price, that suits you. There are plenty to choose from nowadays. If you want to add gas, check out what's available in the size you want. Kuppersbusch is reportedly pulling out of North America, so you might get a good deal on one of theirs, for instance.

  • bonesoda

    As promised I tried cooking on both induction and gas for most of the evening and did identical dishes on the same pan, here are my thoughts:

    I was more than impressed with capital and every single bit of information here has been accurate about the culinarian. The simmer was fantastic high heat was more than anyone will use in a day-to-day residential kitchen but it�s there if you need to do wok cooking or some quick water boil.

    I was very happy with the culinarian and was practically sold but had to reserve my judgment until I had tried the induction.

    Now I have waited a good day or so before writing my thoughts so I can process everything I experienced and be as objective to my needs as possible.

    My one word experience with induction has been "magic". The induction usage was same as the culinarian, i.e. I made the same dishes and I did not alter my cooking at all. I tossed the items (vegetables) by lifting my pan and it made little to no difference as you do it once or twice and put it back on. The amazing magical factor was the lack of sweat on my forehead even as few burners were going doing various things. Magical aspects included lack of atmospheric temperature increase and accuracy of level of heat - holding sauces directly in the pan (butter without burning and cream based sauce, sure would be true for chocolate also).

    Without going overboard praising induction cooking I will say everything people have mentioned in terms of lack of heat loss, efficiency & cleaning of these cooktops have been very humbly stated.

    I am more confident than before that I will be going the induction route and enjoy a clean looking contemporary kitchen with little to no cleanups after cooking and not to mention a much cooler kitchen in summer.

    One thing that concerned me was power sharing issues and I realized even while water boiling the bosch if group 1 or 3 is used it shuts the shared hobs off but water boiling is something I don't do everyday and if I do what are the chances all groups are being used?

    Water boiling for pasta can be done on group two whose boosting does not disable anything. So the power sharing is a non-issue for me. I personally cannot come up with any reason to go to boost except water boiling and trying to heat oil for deepfrying, the high level of heat from the hobs is already hot enough and the hobs reach the set level so quickly that you don�t have to blast it on powerboost to get the temp and reduce it down.

    Someone had mentioned water boiling (I did not do this test on both times but I did boil water and I was gobsmacked at how quickly the induction boiled water at 9 without any flames)is quick but how quickly would it carmalize onions. I did cook some vegetables and I decided to carmalize the onions for funs sake on both culinarian and the induction. For both devices I did not go max heat and lower it down I set the heat level with oil in and started to cook, I timed both and the induction was a wee bit quicker. This is of no huge importance to me on which device you can quick faster on, they are both excellent devices and for me personally the pros outweigh the cons for the induction.

    I think whoever is trying to decide between gas and induction; that you should atleast go out and try to cook on both devices and then make up your mind. I am looking forward to cooking without dripping sweat all over and requiring showers after most cooking sessions.

    I did not do any steaks or burgers or pork chops. I cooked some eggs, a quick stir fry, boiled some pasta, thawed frozen sauce and just held butter on low.

    All this was done on a capital range top and a bosch 800 series induction in the same location and same day.

  • plllog

    Thanks for the great report!

    And, yes, you can melt chocolate directly.

  • amela

    Thanks for the compliments on my post.

    Pllog, I melted chocolate yesterday using a double boiler...I had no idea you could do it directly! Excited to try.

    I also just remembered another reason why we chose Bosch and that was for the ease of use and clear convenient controls with half power steps as well as the look.

    In the interest of complete disclosure, some induction ready pans do hum on the Bosch. At first, it was slightly annoying but now I listen for it to remind me that cooktop is actually on and working! Also, we rarely have power loss and that issue never entered my mind. Besides, I have a gas grill right outside the kitchen door.

    Happy to help and share. My kitchen was completely designed and outfitted with the help of wise and generous GW posters.

  • bonesoda

    @p111log: thanks and i am looking forward to the induction.

    @amela: One thing in my use of the bosch i forgot to test or find out (did not find info in the manual) is the centre group b burner it has two rings so essentially its a 2 in 1 hob. Do you know if you power boost the middle hob does it use the inverter for both to give it juice and use (detection) whichever size pot is on or ?

    I guess what im asking is the middle hob is specd at showing two different wattages:

    "Location of 3rd heating element: middle back
    Power of 3rd heating element (W): 1.8 ; 2.8 kW "

    So how exactly the middle hob works on the bosch 36"?

  • jlb1003

    My brother in law is going to Germany next month -- can you get a better deal when you buy an appliance in Germany?? Wondering if that would be practical... Hmmm.

  • davidro1

    no you cannot get a better deal by flying a half a day to another time zone.

    here, for $999 you can get a full size induction cooktop from one of the world's biggest retailers. (part number: 501.826.20)

  • llaatt22

    There is much greater choice in Europe especially in the smaller units meant for smaller kitchens or supplemental use.
    Also high end units with advanced features we won't be seeing soon, if ever. So straight cash savings not the main feature.
    Bringing one to the US would be totally grey market, no warranty, no support. With luck might be able to get the VAT refunded.
    Link has a selection from a French online seller which is probably similar to what is available in Germany. VAT is extra.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Previous thread

  • plllog

    Amela, with melting chocolate remember you still need gentle heat. No higher than #2, probably better on #1, and be patient. I use a 1 qt. cast iron saucier. Also for toffee. Induction makes a lot of candy issues seem ho hum. :)

    Jsmith: If you're describing a large element with an inner and outer ring, the way it works is that the inner ring is like any similar sized ring running rated 1.8 kW so long as the pan is smaller than the ring. With a large enough pan to trigger the sensor for the outer ring, the rings combine and are rated 2.8 kW. You can boost the inner ring by itself if you're using a pot that fits within it. If you're using a larger pot the whole thing will boost.

  • MarkinAZ

    We moved into a home that has no natural gas available. I looked at the propane option but since I’m in city limits the propane tanks would have to be buried and have concrete barriers around the spot where it was in the ground. Total cost of tank, concrete barriers, permits, gas line installation BEFORE buying appliances? About $18 to $22k. Plus the cost of a real restaurant high BTW cooktop and the ultra-high powered vent hood and make-up air units required for safe installation (by codes here in Scottsdale). The total cost of my installing a Propane high BTU cooktop, tanks, pylons, venting, air make-up, fire suppression system and such, was soon approaching the $50k mark. No thank you!!

    Needless to say I went for the induction. I bought Miele because I’ve got two Miele dishwashers that are the best I’ve ever owned and a Miele washer and dryer that are amazing. I got the 36” Miele induction cooktop on sale and paid a little under $2000 for it, tax and installation included.

    While Miele isn’t the bargain basement of Induction Cooktops, there is something to be said for buying an appliance with the expectation that it will last the length of the mortgage. Most appliances are dead in six to seven years today. Miele builds most of their appliances for a 20 year life cycle. That’s worth paying for, IMHO.

    Like Induction? I wouldn’t go back to gas if you paid me to do so! Not if it were Free! The induction is safer, faster, cleaner, and cheaper to run by far! And a big benefit for us - living in the desert and running A/C 7 months out of the year - is that induction heats the food and the pan but it does not heat or overheat the kitchen the way a high powered gas stove does. Many larger homes with the big 72” or 60” Wolf Stoves have to allow for and install an extra 1-2 tons of AC just dedicated to keeping their kitchens comfortable when using a few of those burners and running the ovens. Of course you have not only the initial extra cost of the A/C unit, but also the ongoing operating cost of having approximately 20% more A/C than you would otherwise require.

    If you are a pro chef (my spouse is) you may want to look at a commercial Induction unit. They can be purchased in single and dual drop-in modules and the sizes run from 2.5 KW per burner to 5.5 kw per burner unit. They start in terms of power, where the residential units are topping out - or close to it. They may also take some serious dedicated circuits to run them and your service entrance needs to be at least a 200 Amp Service Entrance or larger if you have AC/electric heating, pool motors, electric ovens, etc. Our little 2000 sq foot house has a 300 amp service entrance because of the fact that we’ are an all-electric home.

    We do not do as much cooking or entertaining at home as we did when we were both younger, so we could not justify the extra expense of those units. However I’m sure in a large home that cooks daily for a big family and/or does a lot of entertaining, too, then two or more of the ultra-high powered commercial induction units might be a nice option to have, in addition to a 5 or 4 burner residential induction cooktop.

  • dan1888

    Nice and realistic post. But even the world's best restaurant chef Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck just uses a 36" Gagg at home even though he has commercial units at various work sites. His vids show him at home and are very instructional and entertaining.

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