Induction Cooktop: Burner & Pot Size Matching?

kashmiJanuary 12, 2011

Seeking your help/collective wisdom about how well the "pot size recognition" feature (not just pot recognition) works on induction cooktops.

Here's the problem: many of the cooktops have two 7" burners, two 6" burners and one larger burner. BUT, the pots we use most often have 8" bottoms -- which makes those 7" burners problematic. I've always heard that it's important to match pot size to burner size (not putting a larger pot on a smaller burner). And that would seem to be especially important for induction, since only the part of the pot in contact with the induction coil will heat up.

When we cook, it's not unusual to use both 8" sauce pans + a large pasta pot or a large skillet. Thus, cooktops with 2 7", 2 6" and 1 larger (usually 11') burner won't work.

One solution: go with an induction cooktop that has three burners greater than 8" such as the Miele (pricey) or E'Lux (2 appliance sales folks said, "stay away"), assuming we can use those successfully for smaller sized pots.

Anyone with any experience with this?

Ok. I'm done now. Thanks in advance for the help.

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One issue here relates to measurement of the pot's size. A pan's diameter usually refers to the size of the opening at the top of the pan, or the diameter of its vertical sides. When thinking of how a pot fits oven an induction burner, be concerned with the diameter of the flat part of the bottom of the pan -- just where it contacts the cooktop; the curve up from the bottom to where it meets the side doesn't count. Invariably, this is at least slightly smaller than the more typical pan diameter measurement. [Because you mention the bottom of the pan's diameter, I recognize this may not affect you.]

That said, I believe most manufacturers recommend saying within an inch of the induction hob's size -- so a suitable pot for a 7" hob could range within 6 - 8" (flat-bottom) diameter.

In practice, induction pots & pans are made to fit the most common induction hob sizes.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 4:01PM
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I can use a slightly bigger pot/skillet size on the smaller burners on our Samsung, but I cannot use a smaller pan on the largest burner.

Like the PP said, it's the diameter of the bottom that counts, and that part needs to be flat.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 4:42PM
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The largest element on my induction cooktop is 8.5" in dia.. My frying pan is 9" and my stock pot is 10" in dia., both measured at the bottom.
Do they work on my induction cooktop? Yes! Is the function compromised compared to on a larger element? I don't know since 8.5" is the largest I got. But I can tell you they work better than on my 18000 btu gas cooktop.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 4:52PM
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Thank you! This info is very helpful; it means that we'll have more choices. [I did go back and double check the bottom diameter, just in case.)

Now, what about the other way around: putting a smaller pan on a larger burner? Do other people's experiences match up with gsciencechick's? The marketing blurbs from the manufacturers would lead one to believe that smaller pots will work on larger burners -- hence their touting of the "pan size recognition" feature. But, as I tell my students, you can't believe everything you read!

Again, thank you.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 5:18PM
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As long as the little pan is large enough to trip the pan size sensor underneath it, the hob works. Otherwise it won't turn on -- there's no middle ground.

So the marketing blurbs are correct in that (some) smaller pans work on larger burners, and gsciencechick is undoubtedly correct that *her* "smaller" pan won't work on her "largest burner". It all depends on where the pan size sensor is, and if your pan trips it and is recognized, or not.

In general, you'll be fine when a pan's (flat-bottom) diameter is within an inch or so of the hob diameter; maybe more than that...

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 5:40PM
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I have tried it both ways, huge pan on smallest burner, at first you see the smaller ring in the pan as the water starts to boil, but it soon spreads to the rest of the pan.
Likewise put a small pan on a larger burner, still boils water faster than any other type stove made, probably not quite as fast had I matched pan/hub size, but old saying' "Watched Pot Never boils" is just not true with induction. Heat transfer is more due to the quality and materials of pot/pan than burner size.

We do have the Elxu with various hub sizes, but we don't go out of our way to match sizes or grab just the right size pan/pot.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 5:54PM
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I just tried this experiment on my Bosch with a 6" bottom diameter pan and it was recognized by both the 7" and 8" burners. I often put the larger Le Creuset oval Dutch oven over a hob where it hangs over the edge and have not had any issues heating it.
I have had my induction cooktop for about a month now and love it.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 6:07PM
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Wow! These responses are so helpful. I'm grateful not only for the posts about experiences, but also for boschboy's experiment. That's truly going above and beyond. Chac_mool's post reinforces how much I have to learn about induction cooktops.

One last, only slightly related question: as we look at different makes/models, some have those SS strips (even the Miele -- which we didn't realize until we saw it in person; it's really narrow). Are they hard to clean around vs. the all black edgeless versions?

Once again, thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 6:54PM
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kashmi, we have had induction cooktops for a dozen years and used them daily over that time. I will second the comments of the newbies [grin] here that the pot size matching requirement, while a serious consideration, is only an approximation. There is no need to sweat small mismatches.

As to your more recent follow-up about the stainless steel trim, no, cleaning is not a problem. Cleaning around the trim is one of the easiest cleaning jobs in your home. (We use Weiman Glass Cook Top Cleaner about once every three or four weeks, and keep a spray bottle of Windex Vinegar Multi-Surface cleaner handy for quick wipes between the more thorough Weiman cleanings.)

However, the surface of the stainless steel trim is considerably softer than the surface of the Ceran ("glass") cooktop. You undoubtedly have heard cautions about not dragging pans across Ceran cooktops; lift and set instead of dragging. That advice applies in spades in respect of dragging pots across the stainless trim, which is much more susceptible to scratchingthan Ceran is.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 11:59PM
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I have a Miele cooktop and the trim around it does not catch dirt/food particles at all. It has what feels like a rubberized piece around it, and nothing can get under there. Because it is so narrow and is on the side of the glass, dragging something over it and scratching it is not a concern. It was a major concern for me, as my old stove had a stainless trim that caught everything and required a toothpick to clean. (Yeah, I was all over that....)

I chose the Miele in part because all of the hobs were the right size for the pans I use most often. The largest hob has multiple powers; the smaller the pan, the less power. My smallest pan, a 4 incher, will not trip the largest burner and can only be used on the smallest hobs.

One thing I did when researching all of the induction units was to go to the various manufacturer websites and download their user manuals. That made a lot of things clearer to me, and saved me from what I call "gotchas", where some things don't work quite the way you were led to believe they would. I found that after reading the manuals, I could go in and 'play' with working models in the stores and really get a sense of how it would be at home. I usually knew more than the salesperson! No matter which cooktop you get, you are going to love it. As Dodge said, the old saying that a watched pot never boils just doesn't apply anymore. :-) Induction is great.

Have fun,

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:04AM
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AEG makes zoneless 'maxi-sense' units which will recognize various pan sizes and shapes. Part of the pan must cover an '+'. All are rated 220-240v 50-60HZ. One is available from Euroline(Canada) The others except the 24" from UK stockists. Ikea(UK) has a 28" last gen AEG zoneless unit for $600+ FRAMTID HINF4T. 20% VAT refundable makes this a deal. The new gen units have direct access level control versus plus and minus . Electrolux is the parent company of AEG. They makes some of the best induction units out there including a zoneless commercial unit with an unfortunate 20k price. Statements about Electrolux induction from salesmen should be reviewed carefully in light of their general induction knowledge level.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zoneless Ikea

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 7:54AM
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dan1888: Ok, now I'm in love! And, of course, just spent waaay too much time Googling "zoneless induction cooktops"! Thanks, too, for the reminder that sales folks don't always know best.

Herring_maven and cj47: especially appreciate the specific comments about cleaning -- and the suggestion about downloading and reading manuals. I will do that.

We have a Thermador 36" radiant glass cooktop that we have enjoyed for the past 12 years, and I agree that keeping these types of cooktops clean or scratch-free isn't a real issue. BUT, this one has a black lip all around, that sits over top of the Ceran surface, and it's a pain to clean at that juncture/overlap. In the grand scheme of things, not a huge issue, but it would be nice not to have to pick up cooking detritus crumb-by-crumb -- which is what happens when I put cookie cooling racks on the cooktop.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:04AM
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Fori is not pleased

I just measured...I can use my smallest pot (4 7/8" base) on my largest burner (11 3/4" circle painted on the cooktop). I use oversized pans on smaller hobs as well without issues aside from only directly heating the center. I don't know if I have pan size recognition. It's a Wind Crest, maybe 2 years old. No frills. My previous induction cooktop (1983 Kenmore) would require very very precise centering of the small pot on any of the hobs which were all the same size.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 2:11PM
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I've been using the 36" E'lux induction cooktop since Thanksgiving, I love it.

It's fast and I can't believe how evenly it cooks foods. I think I fall more in love with it every day.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 2:54PM
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My Kenmore has an outer and inner ring on each burner that guides you for the minimum/maximum pan size. I have cheated and put a slightly smaller pan than I should on a burner and it still works.

wizardnm -- I love my induction stove as well!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Yes, I'd really like to know why there aren't more zoneless induction units out there. (I was so hoping that ikea would bring those to the US, but no go, at least not so far.)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 5:52PM
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Writersblock, I think the reason there aren't more zoneless units is that the technology isn't quite there yet. There are two inch modules all through the space. Each of them that senses pot turns on. There are still control zones, and, depending on the unit, limits on which ones you can use at the same time. As of last year, the failure rate on individual inductors was higher than optimal.

If, for instance, there are four control zones in a square, one has the option to turn on front right, front left, back right, and back left, or to use front and back right together or front and back left together. Some allow all four to be used at once for a huge pot, some don't. You can't use more than one pot in each control zone.

I think the ideal is to have a surface that's completely flexible, and will allow separate control for each pot, rather than each area.

My own experience with my three ring circus (Gaggenau) is that the various sizes work fine for all of my pots.

15 cm (6")
21 cm (8.26")
18 cm - 28 cm (7" or 11")

The general rule with most induction cooktops of quality is that you can go an inch bigger or smaller than the ring for optimal use. As many have mentioned in this thread, it'll still work fine no matter what you use so long as it registers.

I've put my Graniteware roaster on the center element, and it worked fine even with the oval shape and the embossed tree in the bottom. Some units are more sensitive and care more what you put on them. The big advantage to zoneless isn't for pot size, but for using a long pot like a fish pan, double griddle or lasagna boiler, or an oddly shaped one, like a square grill pan, oval dutch oven, or flower shaped pancake pan.

The problem with zoneless is potentially where the registering part of the pot is fairly small and only turns on a few of the inductors. My Le Creuset wok works great on my 8.26" or 7" ring. Its bottom is smaller. Maybe 6"? It takes awhile for the tall sides to heat up, but there's plenty of power down near the ring. Would it get as much power on zoneless? Or would it read as a smaller pot and get less? I never got an answer to that one.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 6:53PM
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Thanks, pillog. I figured someone here would know.

> think the ideal is to have a surface that's completely flexible, and will allow separate control for each pot, rather than each area.

Me too!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 7:43PM
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I have the Electrolux Slide-in Induction that came out last spring. I love everything about it except for the pan size compatibility issues. Both front heating zones are large, 8" and 10". Both have inter ring (minimum) sizes of 7 3/4". This means that making a sauce in a one or two quart pan has to be done on one of the rear heating zones. It is totally illogical! I have found that even when a big element does recognize a smaller than recommended pan, the performance is compromised, and very slow to heat. I am constantly juggling pans when I have a few things cooking at once. I frequently will start something at the back for an ideal fit and performance, then once its is hot, move up it up front where I can keep it going but at a higher setting. The fact that both the front zones have the same size inter ring is deceptive. The 8" element will accommodate a slightly smaller pan than will the 10".

I have not experienced any problems with using a large pan on a small element. However, that issue never seems to come up with this range. The two rear zones are 6" and 7" and more useful to me than the two huge ones up front. I would much prefer the traditional set-up of one small zone and one large zone up front, and one of each in back.

I am inclined to think that the so called Pan Size Detection on this range is just hype, and does not exist. Other induction units may be more compatible than mine. In my experience for best results, this range seems to need a pretty close match for optimum performance. It would be great if these induction units could be manually switched for pan size, like most better traditional glass tops. Apparently, that just isn't technically feasible at this time.

Once again, I love everything else about this range. This issue may not have been a deal breaker if I had know about it. However, I may have waited longer to check out other Induction slide-ins as they became available.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 2:03AM
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Interesting post, patrick_808!

Maybe the importance of matching pan to hob size depends on the specifics of how each induction brand or model senses pan size, and how they handle variations from an optimum match. I have the same E'lux slide-in range as you, and it looks like I'm more careful to match pans with each hob than some other posters, above.

Unfortunately, its hard to know much about how a specific cooktop or range handles these variables without actually cooking on them for a while.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 3:24AM
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plllog: Would you buy your Gaggenau if you had it to do over again? It sounds like it works well with a variety of pan sizes. There isn't a "live" one to play with near us, but we have an opportunity to get one at a price we could maybe afford. Can you also comment on the "restaurant grade frying technology" feature that the website mentions? Have you cooked on any other induction cooktops? How does the Gaggenau compare? I thought I was interested in the Bosch because of burner layout/placement (now that the comments above have convinced me I can use our 8" pans on the 7" burners), but not too surprisingly, the Gaggenau is just about the same. Thanks in advance.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 9:19AM
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"No need to sweat small mismatches." I just used a small pot on my largest induction "burner". It wasn't faster. So, there was no gain.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:31PM
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Love all the "inductive reasoning" that's been going on here! Many thanks to all the experimenters. It's really helpful to have that real world experience.

Sounds like choc_mool has identified the critical factors: "Maybe the importance of matching pan to hob size depends on the specifics of how each induction brand or model senses pan size, and how they handle variations from an optimum match."

Wouldn't it be great if manufacturers provided just this sort of information?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 7:00PM
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Actually, I think the biggest part of matching is the efficiency of the system.

Kashmi, I love my Gaggenau. Mine is a 24", three element unit that I self-imported from England. I got the idea when I was looking at the user's manual for the 36" one they sell here, because a friend was looking at it. It showed the 24" in the same book, next to the 36", leading me to deduce that it was just 2/3 of the same unit. The control layout bears this up. I think you could easily generalize my comments to the 36" unit, which I did try in the store.

Before I found this I was seriously considering the Miele 30" I just didn't want to devote that much space (I also have a two burner gas cooktop). I didn't really like the touch controls on the Miele, or how gosh darned black it is, but otherwise it had all the features including airspace and power levels that I wanted. Tried this in the Miele showroom.

The Gaggenau is very tolerant about pans. If you lift one, the indicator will flash, but it won't turn off for a few seconds. If you're into flipping pancakes or such like, it's no problem. It also will sense my grill/griddles with the raised edges, and heat them, though I don't use them on it. I just tried for grins. I'd be worried about the possibility of breaking the glass or doing some other damage through the air underneath getting too hot, and I have the gas. As I said above, my 8-qt. roaster does fine on the big element for deglazing. My finjan, which is "stainless" both in feel and appearance, and the word stamped on the bottom, doesn't stick to the realtor's magnet cloth calendar. My Mr. Induction that I got to try out before there was a lot of induction on the market doesn't think it exists. It's also only 4" across the bottom. Barely. The Gaggenau sees it, heats it, but makes an awful sound. :) (I don't remember if it was the finjan or the cooktop that whined.) Again, just an experiment. :)

Most of my pots are Le Creuset cast iron. I have one Demeyere frying pan (9.4", 5*) and some DeBuyer carbon steel crepe pans. I hadn't used the blini pan yet, so I just tried it with a little water on the smallest element. It worked fine, but it also made the unit hum with a low vibration noise. So I tried a bigger carbon steel and the stainless, and both did it too. I tried the stainless empty and it pulsed. I've never heard this before, and don't feel well enough to do more experiments today, but I think they probably settle down when there's food in them, and the hood noise probably masks it too. This never ever happens with the cast iron. I haven't had the steel ones for long enough to have much experience with them, but never heard it before. Maybe the blini pan just annoyed it. :) I might have gotten the surface wet too. I'll be doing more experiements, because, as I said, it didn't do this before with the stainless, and I don't think it did with the crepe pans.

Re the frying thing, it wasn't available when I got mine. It sounds clever. It probably works considering it's Gaggenau.

As to how the unit works, almost all induction cooks about the same, given the same power. The real difference is in the controls, element sizes and power. Not the cooking (other than sheer power). The very biggest difference, power included, is in the pots. Iron vs. steel vs. ply steel, heavy vs. light, 3 ply vs. 7. I think the differences in pots are magnified when you use induction. Not that copper/tin or aluminum work at all. :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 8:20PM
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Duh. Woke up and figured it out. I have a cold and things got fuzzy. I just threw in a little water and put them on high with boost. Not the way one would actually cook. That might be what happened with the finjan, too. High with boost is usually a big pot full of water. The vibration was probably from too much power for the task at hand or something.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 9:22AM
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Okay. Sun came up. I love the sun. :) And I felt better enough to give in to curiosity and yucky enough to want to eat a slime ball...I mean, grilled egg sandwich. No vibration. No hum. No pulsing. I used the blini pan on the 6" element, and the crepe pan on the 8.25" element, both up to 6 or 6.5, empty, to heat. I got the crepe pan too hot. No noise. No noise when I turned each down for cooking either. It definitely was the too high setting and/or the boost that had caused the whining, vibration and pulsing.

The blini pan, btw, made the most perfect sunny side up egg I've ever made! And the crepe pan was great for the sandwich. I wouldn't have chosen it if not for the experiment, but it worked great. I'm not really into grilling sandwiches, but the quick heating of the carbon steel, and the low sides for the turner, make it work really well. This relates more to the thread talking about the DeBuyer pans on induction, but I'm here already. :)

Now, for the finjan, whose whole point is for boiling, I don't know how far I'd have to turn down the element to keep the whining at bay....

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 10:54AM
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plllog: I'm coming over for breakfast/lunch! If you can do all that cooking and experimenting while dealing with a miserable cold, you rock! That's also very gracious of you to post such detailed info.

I took the advice of several posters to download and read the manuals: Bosch, Thermador & Gaggenau (because their burner size & placement best match our pots and cooking style -- Miele would have been in the mix, too, but for having all the big hobs up front). The difference seems to be in controls and a feature here and there. BUT, I get the impression from plllog's comments that the Gaggenau may be more than a Bosch or Thermador with a different set of controls.

If it is more efficient in pan size recog and other areas (not to mention the warranty), then over a cooktop's lifetime, it may well be worth the price differential (we've had our current one 12+ years). Plus, that control knob IS cool. And Gaggenau and GE seem to be the only ones with no SS. (Can you say "rationalization"?!)

We're foodies who enjoy cooking, so having equipment we enjoy using is part of the fun--which is why we put in a wood fired oven in our backyard. We will never make enough pizza and bread to pay back the cost, but it sure is a treat, even in NE winters!

OK. This is getting too long. Like a lot of others on this forum, I'm looking for THE RIGHT answer, which probably doesn't exist -- and it is not fair to ask others to supply it. Any last words of wisdom?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 8:53PM
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kashmi asks: "Any last words of wisdom?"

Not wisdom, necessarily. We chose our present (our second induction) cooktop, an LG LCE30845, primarily because of its extremely shallow below-counter depth, but it has proven to be very competent for its primary purpose of cooking. The LG is unique in that it has a true three-element (the center one is a bridge) long griddle burner that you can select by siamesing the two left side burners. You cannot do that with most induction cooktops, and LG even throws in a specific griddle that just fits the space.

We were fortunate that we never needed service under the LG warranty (which now has expired), because LG customer service is lower than the pits. We have needed no service on our cooktop despite more than two years of hard daily use.

We have not found a situation yet where we fretted about whether any pan appropriate for the cooking that we were doing at the time was mismatched to the zones of the cooktop.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 11:30PM
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You're very kind! I should mention that I did the grill experiments months ago. In that sentence "just" meant merely; in the whining experiment it did mean "right this moment". I promise, a fried egg sandwich isn't what I'd call big time cooking. :) But useful, not just for the experiment but because I'm still developing the seasoning on the carbon steel pans, and I got out the other two crepe pans and did a layer on them too. :) And it was a very soothing sandwich. :)

I'm not at all sure that the Gaggenau is any different from the Thermador, in the guts. It might be. They do try for some differentiation at BSH. But I doubt there are substantive differences in the cooking between any brands, not just the BSH ones, given a certain power level. It might be worth finding a showroom where you can try them side by side. Do you live in California? You can make an appointment with the distributor, Purcell Murray, and try all their toys. (Orange County and SF area.) It's the controls and features that makes the big differences, and appearance and price, of course.

Or just go for the knob. Have you tried it out? I think it makes things much easier, especially when something too heavy to just move is trying to boil over. Much easier than touch controls. And it's fun.

BTW, regarding air space, the GE wants 12" clear cabinet space beneath the cooktop--or at least did last year. Gaggenau and most of the Europeans just want an air channel behind the drawers. This is where your gas line would be if you had gas, so it's not a big deal. I would guess that the GE would be fine with the same configuration, but if your inspector requires you to go by the book, it might be a problem.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:34AM
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Thank you, herring_maven* and plllog.

It does seem from the comments on this thread and others that most induction cooktops work -- and work well. So it comes down to power levels, hob layout, and features. Since we already have a downdraft system for our current (radiant) cooktop, we don't have drawers or shelves below anyway, so space isn't an issue for us.

We live in RI and are having a tough time finding a showroom with working units of the type we are interested in. BUT, I may have found one up near Boston -- but even then, it's just one. I had expected to find more. Weather permitting, we'll try to make the trip this week before school gets underway again.

Again, we very much appreciate everyone's input.

* herring_maven: if you are into herring, do you know about the silver herring bracelets and rings made by an artisan in Dennis, MA?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 2:50PM
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I have to make some corrections in my earlier post here. I complained about the inability of using smaller pans on the front heating zones of the Electrolux Induction Range. I had been using Induction Compliant Stoneware Cookware. This cookware has a metal plate on the bottom which makes it useable for induction. However, after buying a nice set of T-Fal Stainless Steel cookware, I have discovered that it works much better on this range than what I had been using. I have found that I can use even a 1 quart stainless steel pan on the eight inch left side front element. The bottom of this pan measures only five and a quarter inches. The only element that will not accommodate this small pan is the largest one on the right front. My 2 quart SS pan will work on any of the zones, even the largest. So with good stainless steel cookware, the range is much more "forgiving" when it comes to pan size than I thought.

Apparently the Stoneware while it will work, just doesn't have enough magnetic material in it for best efficiency on induction. The Stoneware works OK if closely matched to the size of the element. However, good Stainless works much better.

I apologize if I my earlier post was misleading. My major complaint about this range seems to have been resolved now that I have good cookware.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 10:00AM
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WHEN will the zoneless technology (AEG, Broan, De Dietrich) be available stateside? WHEN?

BTW, the people I spoke with at Electrolux has no knowledge of it.

I wish I could import it here, but I am told that if I hook up a non-UL cert appliance and there is a problem, it will void the warranty on everything else in the house. Not to mention piss off the local zoning inspector.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 10:16AM
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There are two issues with significant size mismatch. First, a pan much smaller than the induction zone but still capable of actuating the pan sensor will not intercept all of the field lines, reducing the effective hob power transfer. Not a big deal in my view as it effectively makes the hob a smaller, lower power unit. Efficiency may be lower, although part of any lost power will be reactive and not affect the power meter.

Second, and more important, if a large pan gets very hot, and the flat part extends over the control area or perhaps some other area outside an outer ring that is sensitive, damage to the electronics may occur. I have only heard of problems with control overlap, so possible sensitivity in other areas is theoretical.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Miele has the minimum/maximum recommended size for each burner in their user manuals, as well as the normal and boost power for each element. It would be nice if the other vendors would do that.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 4:41PM
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Patrick_808: Thank you for posting the follow-up. In continuing to read about induction cooktops, pans do seem to make a difference. It's good to get your real world experience -- and to confirm your liking of the E'lux choice.

enemnm: Ah, yes. Soooo frustrating to look at European sites and see all the very cool cooking options that don't seem to make it here, or that do so belatedly. It is just that Americans are unwilling to pay for something new? We found all sorts of interesting pop-up downdraft vents that were practically sculptural (with prices in the stratosphere, of course!).

If I'm going to whine, I'd best go get some wine to make it worthwhile......

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 5:07PM
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kashimi asks: "herring_maven: if you are into herring, do you know about the silver herring bracelets and rings made by an artisan in Dennis, MA?"

kashimi, I missed your now month-ago question when you poated. The moniker is an homage to a series of radio commercials that ran on New York City's WNEW (and probably other radio stations) in the 1960s, featuring "The Beloved Herring Maven." Always having wanted to be beloved, I appropriated the title for my posts on GardenWeb. Unfortunately, I can offer no information about artisanal silver bracelets originating in Dennis, MA.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 9:03PM
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I have spoken with both Bosch and Miele customer service reps. The Miele rep said that you could use a 12" pan on the 6.25" burner and it would work fine, though perhaps a little less efficiently. The customer service person at Bosch recommended keeping pots within an inch of the hob size, but I wonder if I'd get a different answer if I were to call again. Was told that both the Bosch and the Miele will allow you to span two burners so that you can use an oval pan or griddle - there may initially be some cool spots, but eventually the heat will spread. I think the layout of the hobs is as important as the sizes...if you put two large pans on the Miele, it's not clear that there would be room for a third, despite having one 11" and two 8" burners

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 8:47PM
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Interesting about the spanning of two hobs. Did they say that they should be on the same "zone," or not be, or does it not matter?

A couple of makers have bridges painted on the surface -- that makes me wonder whether there is really any element between the hobs.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 9:31PM
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attofarad, I don't think it matters where the two hobs being spanned are located - same as using two pots on two burners. (though it does matter when using the boost.) I believe that with the bridge element you would prevent the occurrence of cool spots.

Wondering if anyone could share their experience with the Miele 30". I can't get a 36" and am trying to decide between Miele and Bosch...worried about difficulty using Miele's controls/displays & wondering about layout of the hobs...which provides more options for using larger pans?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 9:53AM
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AuntiA, I'm concerned about the information you're getting from the reps. Either things have changed a lot in the last two years, or they're not the full story. It is true that you can put a significantly bigger pan on a small element, but unless there's some new tech that I totally haven't heard about, you're going to have a hot spot in the middle where the element is that reacts fast to your changes in temperature. The rest will heat by transfer from the part that's in contact with the element. On some well designed clad pans, that might be pretty fast, or might not. On cast iron it'll be quite slow. I'm not entirely sure on carbon steel. That is, it'll work, but not exactly how you might want it too.

Same as bridging two elements. The rest of the pan will eventually reach the temperature of the hot spots, but you'll have those two responsive circles and the rest will be coming along for the ride. Most of the top quality units will allow you to do this with paired elements. I don't know why they want them to be paired. Maybe it's just to keep you from overdoing it. Maybe Miele is more confident in their unit that they don't care. :) Also, be aware that most companies caution against using a two sided griddle/grill because of the lip edge around the sides. They want full contact of the bottom of the pan with the unit. I only have educated inference to say why. You might want to check that out, if using one of those is important to you. They also make single sided ones of both, and round ones too, to fit the large element on induction.

I very nearly chose the Miele 30" a couple of years ago (before I got crazy and imported a 24" Gaggenau myself--love it, btw). The Miele at that time (again, don't know if there are any changes) was lovely. It was very quiet, very responsive. The layout worked well for me, but I wasn't all that hot on the controls. They were the kind where you have to tap tap tap to get them to respond, and in the Miele gallery I had a hard time working them quickly. Also, I had to show the Miele rep how to change them from 9 power levels to 17 (that is, including half steps). It's in the manual!

Is there a Miele gallery anywhere near you? Or an appliance store that has a 30" one on display? If so, I'd pack up the pans and take them there to try out! That's the best way to get a feel for your cooking style and the controls.

The Miele really is a great unit. If you don't get more responses you might try starting another thread. Some of the Miele owners might not be looking at this thread because of the title or age.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:53PM
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Maybe its just electrolux but I would never purchase an induction cooktop again. Who ever heard of a maximum pan size? Add that to not being able to cook on high on the two largest burners (8.5" oh boy) at the same time and you are very limited. I learned the hard way when using my large (10") dutch oven for stew and then boiled noodles. POP went the cooktop. The first thing the repairman said is "were you using a big pan?" I cook a lot. I have a 13" saute, the usual collection of LeCruset, Clam steamer and stock pots. Not to mention how are you expected to take your roast pan and deglaze it? Just cooking for a family of four is a real challenge on this. I was going to just eat the $1700 and get a gas cooktop but the minimum cutout for this unit in the granite is just a hair larger than the maximum allowed for a gas range. I'm stuck with this. I was able to crank out more food with my $275 four burner electric coil. Too many shills posting rave reviews without telling people what the limitations are. The 30" cooktop with 8" elements is only great when its dinner for 2. Just get gas and you don't have to deal with this nonsense.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 1:39PM
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I have a Whirlpool induction range on order. I received a VEV Vigano espresso maker for Christmas. The bottom is 4" diameter. My Whirlpool range has a 6" cooking element.

Will the 4" espresso maker work on that 6" element?

I'm wondering because during this transition phase (my kitchen is under remodel) I ordered a portable induction cooktop to use. The instructions say clearly that the minimum pot size that can be used is 4.7"! The burner looks like it's 5" on the inner ring. So my 4" pot theoretically won't work there, and now I'm wondering about the Whirlpool range when it arrives.

I'm new at all this, so appreciate any comments!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:00AM
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I am considering buying the EI30/IF40/LS induction range. I would like to use a stovetop espresso pot on the 5 inch burner. The pot bottom is 3-3/4" in diameter.

Will it work on the 5" burner? Is the 1000 watts strong enough to make espresso?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:43AM
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Seattlelandlord: "I received a VEV Vigano espresso maker for Christmas. The bottom is 4" diameter. My Whirlpool range has a 6" cooking element. ... Will the 4" espresso maker work on that 6" element?'

As a lifelong 49ers fan, I cannot believe that I am responding to a Seattleite this week, and I do not even have an answer to your question. However, I have long considered getting a Vev Vignano (Kontessa Nuova) moka pot specifically because it is one of the very few moka pots that is induction-compatible.

Based on other small pots that we have used on 6" "burners" on two different induction cooktops over 14 years' use, I strongly suspect that your Vev Vignano will do just fine -- but I do not know for certain. After your Whirlpool induction range is installed, I hope that you will post here your success (or lack thereof) with the Vev Vignano. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:05PM
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I think you are the first person to give me an answer to my doubting mind. I have to decide on a new range - induction or gas? Pot size seems to be a major problem with these cook tops. I think I will buy gas and hope that this problem with induction will be solved by the next time I buy a new range. From what I understand that should be in about 10 years.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:33PM
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renov8r: Hi. I haven't been on this forum in a while, but the system sent a copy of your email to my inbox and I had to respond! We've now had our 36" Bosch induction cooktop for 2 years and have NOT had a problem with the pot size issue at all -- either a smaller pot on a larger hob or a larger pot on a smaller hob.

Nor have we had CBinCT's experience. The largest hob on our cooktop is 11" and the next largest is 9". This summer we were making a Jasper White lobster dish that starts the lobsters on the cooktop in a skillet, then moves the skillet to a very hot oven for a while, and then finishes back on the cooktop. Because of the number of people, we had two 12" skillets going at the same time, one on each of the large hobs (both pre- and post-oven). Nary a problem.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:57PM
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I also have a Bosch - but 30". Just tonight I made chicken breasts in a 10" (top measurement - the bottom is no more than 9")) skillet on the 11" hob. No problem at all.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:33PM
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My old model Kenmore Elite induction cooktop (made by Elextrolux) had 5 burners. The largest burner had more than one coil so it was capable of accommodating a smaller pan. The smallest pot we have would only work on the two smallest burners. The bigger pots would only work on the larger of the three burners. The performance of the cookware would be best if it was on a burner that was most closely sized to the bottom of the pan.

After repeated maintenance issues with the Kenmore/Elux unit, I replaced it with a Gaggenau ci491. The smallest pot will work on the biggest burner and big pots will work on small burners, though it is still true that the performance is improved by more closely matching hob to pot.

Also, there are a couple of "full surface" induction units on the market, both made by the Bosch company under the Thermador & Gaggenau brands. These have over 40 small induction coils. So, according to the mfg.'s marketing, any size pot would work (nearly) anywhere on the unit.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:32AM
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I just purchased the 36" zone free Thermador Freedom series cooktop and have high hopes for it. I saw it demonstrated at two different places and was impressed. I look forward to putting a large griddle on it as well as being able to use two or maybe three large pans at once. one thing i failed to have demonstrated is the power with a small pan. but my understanding is that 4" will not be a problem which is small enough for me (i think). I was since told that the "zone less" technology is actually many 4" elements together that cannot be seen.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 8:03AM
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I have been researching induction ranges for a while now. I'm looking on the low end (GE Profile, Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kenmore) 30 inch freestanding ranges. My smallest pan is a All-Clad stainless 1/2 quart butter warmer, which has a 3.75 inch bottom diameter. I find it useful for other tasks in addition to melting butter.

Display models are hard to find in my area, and working display models are even harder to find. One store had an Electrolux plugged in a few months ago and I was able to try my butter warmer on its 5 inch element and it worked fine. My question is if it would work on the 6 inch hobs that are the smallest on most of the other ranges I am considering.

Do any of you have experience with these small pans on 6 or 7 inch hobs?

Several of the posts in this thread lead me to believe that the "minimum" pan sizes specified by the manufacturers leave a lot of wiggle room, but before I spend the money I hope to have some real data from you fine folks.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:25PM
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There is wiggle room of a sort but it is hard to predict without hands on experience with a particular stove and your particular pan.

One good thing for your price range, though, is that the relatively inexpensive Fridgidaire/Kenmore induction ranges have a 5-inch diameter burner on the back right that supposedly is fine with 3.5 inch pans. Not Seattlelandlord's posts above, as well.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Thu, May 8, 14 at 22:59

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:57PM
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I ended up purchasing the Electrolux induction range, and have had it in for a month now. Love it!! The right rear hob is 5" and can handle down to 3.5" pan size according to the manufacturer. My smallest is my 3.75 espresso pot and it works perfectly. I don't have a 6-inch hob so I can't test that. My next smallest is 7". I'll try that and repost here. (the Electrolux has 2 7" burners which also have bridge feature for a griddle, one 10" and one 5")

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:41AM
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JWVideo, thanks for pointing out that the Frigidaire/Kenmore ranges have 5" burners. I've read the specs many times and somehow always came away thinking the smallest burners were 6".

From other posts in this thread it is pretty clear to me that there can be a lot of wiggle room. I only need to warm things up in the butter warmer so the heating doesn't need to be very efficient, it just needs to happen.

Seattlelandlord, I'm looking forward to hearing how your test on the 7" hob goes.

The Elux is high on my list. Have you tried cooking in a 12" skillet(9" base) on one of the 7" burners? It's not uncommon for me to cook with a saute pan or dutch oven on one burner and a 12" fry pan on another.

I was reading the Electrolux owners manual and there is a section about cooking on a griddle that makes it sound like the range comes with a griddle. Did yours come with a griddle? Cast iron?

Did you consider the GE PHB920? If so why did you choose the Elux?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 1:00PM
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For some recent discussion on using 12" frying pans on the Elux/Frigidaire/Kenomore 7" burner, have a look at recent thread I've linked below. Look for the later posts by aamassther who (I believe) also has the Elux version of this ranges. Seattlelandlord may have a different take or additional comments.

Oh, and one other thing. The problem with small pots on induction burners is not so much efficiency but whether they get detected at all. The sensors in the burners have to detect a minimum amount of magnetic mass or the burner does not come on at all. If there's enough mass for the burner to detect your butter warmer, then it will heat as hot as you need. Heck, you might even be able to melt lead in your A/C pan it if that kind of thing turns your crank. :>)

Here is a link that might be useful: Which Induction range?

This post was edited by JWVideo on Fri, May 9, 14 at 15:12

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 2:56PM
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Hi All,

An interesting read ! Just thought I'd post my quick trial on my Belling FSE60i - tried a 5" (bottom) pan on the biggest (9" -marked) heating zone and it worked. Oversized pans shouldn't be a problem.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 7:53PM
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Yes, definitely tempting to try to melt something - aluminium, for instance. I do have a 5" pan that no longer has a flat base! I have found it has difficulty transferring heat from the pan to water in the pan. Turn the heat off and water still boils for some considerable time indicating the pan's quite a bit hotter than the BP of water.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:45PM
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So I tested the espresso pot with a 3-3/4" base on my 7" hob and it worked great! In fact, it boiled even faster. I thought it was fast before on the 5" burner (compared to my old electric range) but on the 7" it's lightning fast. The difference in watts apparently is a big difference.

Regarding the 12" skillet (9" base) on the 7" hob, I haven't tried that. But I can experiment tomorrow when I'm preparing Mothers Day brunch and update you. So far, I've used my Le Creuset braiser (9" base) on the 10" burner and it's great. I'm thinking on the 7" burner it would probably work, but possibly not be as even on heating the outer rim. With the Le Creuset being cast iron, it probably would spread the heat well enough anyway, but it will be interesting to see what happens if I put an All Clad saute pan on it (also 9" base). I'll update after I do that.

The reason I picked E'lux was three reasons: a) after reading many reviews it seemed that there was a majority of recent reviews were really good; b) it's more widely used in Europe and they have been using induction for a long time; and c) when I called their customer service with questions, they were excellent (I called several times).

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Forgot to answer the question about the griddle. There was a form in the package of paperwork that came with the range that I needed to mail in to get my griddle. It hasn't shown up yet, but I'll post when it does. I don't know if it's cast iron, and I'm not sure I would want it to be unless it was coated like Le Creuset because I've read that regular cast iron can scratch the glass top fairly easily.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 12:43AM
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I posted a video on Utube, using a small pan on the largest hob and it worked well. At first I saw a ring of circles in the bottom of the large pan that matched the surface of the small hob, but it quickly spread to the rest of the pan, (emerilware~~~a "cheaper knockoff version of the Allclad, but still very good pan).

We've had the Elux Icon Induction Cooktop for about 5 years now, and it could care less what size pan we put on what size hob, alto as mentioned, boiling water with the correct sized pan "Might be a bit faster"~~~~I haven't timed that, as it is "Lightning Fast" anyway, matched pan or not!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:54AM
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So today I used my All Clad saute pan (9" base) on the 7" hob. Works just fine. IT distributed the heat evenly. When I used it later on the 10" hob it worked well also, just cooked slightly faster. But everything is fast now, so it was a minimal difference.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 12:37AM
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Thanks for the info about small pans on larger hobs, and especially the results using the 9" pan on a 7" hob. It makes a certain amount of sense when you consider that the large burner on my coil top range is only 8".

I am looking real hard at the Electrolux freestanding range. I think the idea of bridging burners for a griddle or roasting pan might be a deciding feature for me. That points me to the GE or Elux(I've read too many negative reviews of the Samsung). Yesterday I was looking at top views of the ranges on their web sites. and I noticed that the rear hobs on the GE range are extremely close to the backsplash. In fact the back edges of the circles were hidden by the control panel. I'm not sure if a 12" fry pan would even fit on the left rear burner.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Interesting about the GE rear jobs. Mine don't seem like they are too close to the rear panel. Although I did my test of the larger pan size on the front 7" hob. another thing I like is the warming zone. I've used that already as well as the warming drawer below. It was great to serve everything hot without a major juggling act. GE is a good brand too though. My last range was GE and I never had a problem

BTW I have the freestanding as well. If you go that way, it's good to double check the placement of the 220 outlet in your wall. Make sure it's in the space Electrolux specifies and best if the plug goes in sideways not up and down
then the cord fits snugly into the rear and your range will go back tight to the wall

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Yes, the top view of the Elux shows the rear hobs farther from the rear panel than the GE.

I agree that GE is a good brand. The only significant negative review I have read was a complaint about the oven racks being hard to adjust due to interference between the rack and the oven walls.

It is fairly routine for me to have a large saute pan and a 12" skillet going at the same time. I want to be able to fit the 12" on the left rear to make sure I have enough space for both pans. From the photo it looks like I might not be able to center a skillet or a decent sized stock pot on the left rear hob of the GE.

My outlet is in the correct zone for the Elux but not the GE. I think the chord goes up from the plug. Hopefully I can rotate the receptacle to a better orientation.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:50AM
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I just got back from a trip to compare the GE PHB920 and Electrolux freestanding ranges using my most demanding cookware set (from a space standpoint). I tried a 13" saute pan, 12" skillet and 3 quart saucepan.

I was able to fit all three pans with reasonable centering over the hobs; the 3 quart saucepan was pushed slightly off center of the left rear hob by the 12" skillet. The GE range was ever so little more spacious than the Elux.

I am attracted by the larger hobs on the GE, as well as the temp probe in the oven. The big question now is, will my 3.75" butter warmer work on the 6" hob of the GE? Reading through this thread it seems to be somewhat manufacturer-dependent whether the hob is really sensitive to pan size, or if the "Minimum pan size" is really more of a guideline.

If anybody reading this thread has experience with small pans on GE ranges, or has a GE range and can do a test, I would love to hear about it.

BTW, I also saw a GE PHS920 slide in induction range. It is a good looking range with the same burner layout as the freestanding version, but in my test it was much more cramped. Because the cooktop is smaller than the free standing range and the control panel on the front and oven vent in the back are so high, I could barely fit my 12" skillet and 3 quart saucepan on the left burners.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:11PM
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For future reference, I just did a little test on my Bosch 30" induction cooktop using a pot that measures 4-1/2" across the bottom, and it worked on ALL the hobs.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:11PM
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My new GE PHB920 was delivered last Friday. So far I am delighted. The even heating and quick response is everything I was hoping for. Hopefully I'll feel the same way in a couple of months.

In keeping with this thread title, I checked compatibility of various sized pots on the hobs. The GE range has four hobs; 1-11", 2-8" and one 6".

I was able to use my 1/2 qt All-Clad butter warmer (3.75" base) on the Right Rear 6" hob and the Left Rear 8" hob, but not the Left Front 8" hob, or the 11" hob.

My second smallest pan is a 1 qt Farberware saucepan, with a 5" base. This pan worked on all three of the smaller hobs but not the 11" hob.

My two quart All-Clad Saucier, with a 5.75" base, worked on all of the hobs.

According to the Owner's Manual, the minimum pan sizes are 4.75" for the 6" hob, 5.75" for the 8" hobs and 8" for the 11" hob. On my range at least they appear to have given themselves a good size margin for error.

My smallest pan appears to be right at the bottom end of the range for this stove top. When I first turn on the hob the power LED blinks a couple of times while it looks for a pan. With all larger pans the LED starts out solid, indicating it sees the pan right away.

As more of these ranges get reviewed it will be interesting to see if there is any variability in the actual minimum pan sizes the hobs can accept.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 12:30PM
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The magnetic fields generated by the coil within the induction cooktop interacted with magnetic material of the pot making its cntent. Therefore, not every cookware is compatible with induction cooktops and you need different set cookware. The diameter of my burner is 7inches, but the that of the cookware is smaller leading to my induction cooktop doesnot work. My advice is you can buy induction a bigger cooktop set ( 8inch and 10 inch Fry Pan) , or try another option induction disc , which will be attached at the bottom of your cookware and it will heat the content in a similar manner as that of induction compatible cookware. You can consult the followings

Here is a link that might be useful: induction disc

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 10:07AM
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We just received our new Samsung Induction Range.
It has one small circle, one large circle, and 2 square ones which can be joined. We read in the instructions that the small circle (hob) must have pans with a minimum of 5" bottom, the large one a min of 7", and the two square ones min. 6"
After trying it out we found 2 issues:
Trying out the 2 square hobs, we found that a 5-7/8" bottomed pan is not recognized on either.
then trying a 6-1/4" bottom pan on the rear hob works, but not on the front one.
We're mostly with the 2 of us and have small pans, the smallest is a 4" bottom pan for boiling eggs, making sauces, etc, but now it's useless, as it's not recognized.
I don't know about others, buy a 7" bottomed pan we normally don't use other than for soup or such.
Which means that the large hob is useless.

What are others experiences with this?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2015 at 3:19PM
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I don't think induction hobs have pan size sensors per se, but rather sense the magnetic field interaction between the coils and the mass of magnetic steel in the pan. I do know that different cookware, even though "induction compatible", has different magnetic iron content.

What brand and style pans are you using to try out your range?

If you look two or three posts up from this one you will find the results I posted from my new range last year. My range is not a Samsung so it's not exactly apples to apples but I did include the details of the pans I used for comparison.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2015 at 5:25PM
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