Should I buy an induction range now, or wait for more selection?

JoshCTJanuary 25, 2010

We recently bought a house with only electrical supply for the kitchen stove. As a life-long gas cook, I have had a hard time adjusting to cooking with electric. Because our home is a multi family, and we are not on the first floor, extending a gas line to the kitchen is logistically difficult.

We are currently using a 30 (?) year old Coppertone brown Kenmore electric range, which works perfectly. Has hands-down the best baking oven I have ever used, bakes my loaves of bread beautifully. All functions work fine except self cleaning, which is not really a problem for us. We got this stove for free, and it has only needed to have one of it's burners replaced.

That said, I cant stand the surface cooking on this (or any other electric radiant) stove. The burners seem to take a long time to come up to full heat, are very slow to respond to adjustments, and take forever to cool down. I have had lots of meals ruined or slightly scorched or boiled over since we moved.

I have read a lot about induction, and am intrigued. We have looked at the Kenmore (I wont buy anything from sears, though), GE, and Samsung ranges. I dont like the stainless steel on any of them (think it is passe), and I dont think I would like the burner layouts on the Kenmore or Samsung. But I really like the GE.

I am trying to figure out if we should shell out 2 g's for a new range now, or wait a few years with out perfectly functional current stove for prices to come down and selection to improve. Any thoughts?

Thanks much for any advice.

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If you don't NEED one now , why not wait and see if a few more players come to market with something new. Doubt they will become significantly cheaper as its a niche product with little competition.

You can always keep your eye on closeouts, model changes, craigslist for a while to see if you can score a lower price unit.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Supposedly Electrolux is coming out with one soon...

Here is a link that might be useful: electrolux induction range thread

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:06PM
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Electrolux is supposed to have one introduced in the spring. "Spring" means different things to different people. FWIW, I had gas stoves for 50 years until this house. Same deal as you, it was wired not plumbed so I went electric. I can't dump this electric fast enough! I want induction but the price is not realistic AND we have so many power outages I am now thinking LP tank in the yard and gas stove in the kitchen. The price of gas stoves is much more checkbook friendly. Don't forget the induction will suck electricity.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:08PM
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I bought a portable induction unit to check it out. I am sold on the speed and responsiveness and the ease of cleaning. However, and this is a big issue for me, I cannot stand the buzzing noise that comes from the stainless steel cookware. Cast iron is fine, nearly silent. But I have tried Mauviel M'Cook, All-Clad, and now today a Demeyere pot that I had ordered online. I also experienced some Circulon (I think) and AGA pots at a retailer on the weekend (on a 36" Diva cooktop). They all emit a high-pitched squeal that makes my ears hurt and I can't wait to turn the cooktop off. And I'm not alone -- my husband also cannot stand the noise. And it's not the fan noise we're hearing; it's some kind of harmonic thing coming from the pots. They all sound different yet equally irritating. I can't believe that this technology is used all over Europe and getting more popular in North America, and yet there is very little written about this phenomenon. It's a deal-breaker as far as I'm concerned. The only hope I have left is the Chantal Copper Fusion that uses enameled steel. Does anyone have any experience with those? Or any other words of advice? I don't believe running the hood fan to mask the sound is an option, as the portable unit has a really loud fan but it isn't enough to mask that high-pitched squeal.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:23PM
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We have the Emeril All clad, I'm sure not quite the same quality as "Real All Clad" However, we really like it, have about 6 pots and pans worth. Not one of them has ever even made a "Peep" on the Icon Cooktop, even when I do a "Magic Show"----kick it to boost to show somebody how fast it can boil water. We also have an older coated Circulon pan that the wife had before we bought the induction cooktop, and it too is silent. We have had the cooktop 6 months now and never have heard a sound out of it except for the timer.
I suspect the problem is more in the cooktop you have.
Perhaps others can ring in here, about the noises or lack of from their induction cooktops.
That screechin would drive me nuts too, when I was younger I could hear the "Ultrasonic Sensors" they usta have in stores and more than once , it cause me to leave. However at 67 years now, the ears ain't what they usta be but I'm sure I would hear the sounds you described--if ours did that.

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 10:22PM
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I've been trying a portable unit,too, but haven't heard any objectionable noise. There's a slight hight pitched tone at times, but nothing serious. I'm using Profiserie stainless which is a professional cookware.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Thanks for the advice. The appliance retailer said that cooktops aren't all created equal and the better ones will cause less noise to be produced. (He also said he won't have induction in his house because the noise bothers him too, interestingly enough). The store had a live Diva and an AEG-Electrolux. We took the same pot (my All-Clad) and tried it on both cooktops, and the pot sounded way worse on the AEG-Electrolux. But the noise was still present on the Diva, just not as bad. I've read a few posts by people who say they have "dog hearing" and maybe my husband and I are both cursed. I'm getting quite a collection of pots, ordering one-at-a-time online. I don't know whether to keep at it or cut my losses and stop now, and conclude that my dog-hearing will just not allow me to use induction. *sigh*

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 11:55PM
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BTW, Joshct, sorry to usurp your thread with talk of pot noise, but I just kind of hit the wall today after the much-ballyhooed Demeyere pot still didn't pan out (no pun intended). On the other hand, I'm glad I did all this research now before I shelled out big bucks for a cooktop that may have driven me insane. Hopefully this information will be of some help to you too.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:00AM
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Thanks for the opinions. I should probably try to see if I can find a local retailer who will let me cook on an induction cooktop before ordering, as I tend to have sensitive ears and maybe the whining sound will bother me. Better to know before hand.

Do induction units use more electricity than a radiant electric cooker? I know that in "boost" they draw more watts, but for less time, so I would guess it would be a wash. Would be interested to know more about this. One of the pros listed for induction cooking is that it is much more efficient than radiant or gas. (Gas is not very efficient, but is probably the cheapest way to go).

Pinch_me, if you have not had a propane stove before, you may want to think carefully about it. My mother built a house out in the country and had propane for the stove, and it takes FOREVER to boil water. Propane seems to be much less energy intensive than natural gas.

I will probably just sit on my kenmore for a while and see how things pan out. The Electrolux option sounds nice (second oven, and their cool oven racks) but I really think that $1000 more than the other induction ranges seems silly and probably not worth it. And since they make the Kenmore unit, I would suspect that they have the funny diamond pattern cooktop zones which seem quite awkward to me.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:14AM
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Supposingly induction actually uses less electric.

I have the GE profile range. Love it, have discussed it on past threads. I have Henckel International Clad and Circulon Infinite pans. I like them both -- got them using my CC points. I do not hear high pitched noises -- the noise that bugs me the most is when I put my 8 qt stock pot on full boil. It's a loud, low rumbling. The noise doesn't happen with the smaller pots at all.

I grew up cooking with gas, have tolerated electric since I moved away from home decades ago. The Sears @#$(*)(_@ smoothtop has been my nemesis for 4 years. I hate that thing. We got a good deal at Sears in October on the GE(I know, you hate Sears . . . but when the product is 1700.00 less than AJ Madison, you get over it). Went home to Mom's after Xmas and cooked on her gas range while I was there and was amazed at how the induction cooked just like Mom's range. BUT, my induction is WAAAY easier to clean up after.

Good Luck, Rita

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 8:25AM
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gnarls - I have two pieces of Chantal cookware - one copper fusion, one enamel. I have not had a chance to use them on induction but love they way the cook. Even heat distribution, solid, easy to click. Absolutely no complaints. So if you ended up with one to try and you still didn't like the noise, I think you would love the pan!

Tuesday Morning has had some the past few weeks if you are near a store and want to try one out. And, they have a great return policy if you don't like it.

Also, the Chantal site has some sales too. Just passing it along.

What portable are you using? Cooks just did a review on some and I'm curious.

And, for the original question - I'm sure more ranges will follow along. I've found out Fisher & Paykel and Bertazzoni are planning cooktops before year end so there's got to be ranges, right?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 10:54AM
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Thanks, plumorchard. I may try the Chantal copper fusion as my last kick and if that still doesn't work for me, I'm giving up. I'm in Canada so don't have access to the same stores. I went to one local cookware store and was not impressed with the selection so now I'm shopping on the web.

I'm using the Waring Pro induction cooktop. It has a lot of features that are probably typical of portable units, such as a loud fan that comes on and stays on, limited numbers of settings, and you can hear it cycling on and off. Even with all that, and knowing that a real cooktop would work a lot better, I can see the advantage of induction which is why I'm so sad that my ears can't tolerate the noise.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:28AM
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beachlily z9a

I have had my induction since late July. Right now I use some Emerilware. Not impressed, although it does work. At Tuesday AM I purchased a couple of pans from Berndes--great! Also purchased a Lagostina pot over the internet. Love it! A Canadian friend has purchased a Lagostina collection for me and will deliver it early in February. Then most of the Emerilware stuff goes. The Lagostina collection does not include skillets, so I'll keep my Berndes and probably the Chef's pan from the Emerilware.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:12PM
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An induction cook top will NOT use more power than a coil or smooth top unit. Period.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 12:58PM
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One small caveat would be that induction is capable of drawing more power than radiant during the shorter time it takes getting the cooking vessel and its contents up to the selected temperature. During the entire cooking period after that the power consumption for induction is much less than radiant.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 3:51PM
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I disagree. Compare the energy used to heat a pan with a coil top versus an induction unit and the induction unit will be less.

That is, you turn an 8" 2600w coil on high under a pot of water and leave it there versus a 2600w induction unit under a pot of water. The induction will get it to boil faster. Less energy will be used. Less cost.

This is why induction is more efficient.

PS: I expect the Electrolux range, when it comes out, to be around US$3500-$4000. That's just a guess from looking at the MSRP of the Kenmore, Siemens and GE.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:19PM
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What portable induction unit would be a good experiment? And will I need a 50amp for it?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:38PM
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I have a Mr. Induction by Sunpentown(SP?). There are other countertop units out there. It is 1500w and uses a 120v circuit (it plugs into a standard outlet).

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 10:32PM
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I'd describe the noise on my induction cooktop as a low hum. It is definitely not high pitched nor painful. It's barely audible when I doing other things in the kitchen. Sure, if I stand at the cooktop and do nothing else but listen for a noise, I can hear it, but I usually multi-task.

Is it possible that only some of the portable units emit the high-pitched noise, or does it depend on the pans, or a combination of both? My pans are old - Amway pans from 27 years ago.

I'd sure hate to give up an oven that is "hands down" the best oven I've ever had. If you decide to buy another range, do you have a place where you could keep the old range?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 11:27PM
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Cook's did a recent review of portable units. They picked Max Burton as top choice (Amazon $75).

Magneflux was last.(Recently at Tuesday Morning) They tested 6. The others were Viking, Infinite Circulon, Waring Pro, Fagor. They didn't mention "noise" as a testing factor. Well designed controls, efficient heating and reasonable cost were factors.

Jan 2010 issue.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 7:02AM
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My thought is don't pay too much. I have a Kenmore induction slide-in that I love -- I found it at an incrediable price of $2099 and haven't seen it that cheap since.

My old range was an all electric KitchenAid convection range. I loved the oven -- made the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. The smoothtop was a pain for all the reasons heard before (slow, unresponsive, etc...).

I grew up using gas ovens and gas cooktops. While gas cooktops are fine, I am not a fan of gas ovens for baking.

So, my only choice was induction or a duel fuel -- both expensive. I never ran a gas line behind the stove when we did our major kitchen remodel and really didn't want to mess with it (the stove is over a crawl, not the basement).

So, I bought the induction slide-in. It has all the features my last stove had -- temp probe, convection, etc... plus the warming drawer.

I am very happy with it but I fail to see how it could cost $1,000 more than a similar electric stove. Just for the cooktop?? I didn't love my old cooktop but I am a smart enough cook that I could still produce meals on it.

So my feeling is though I love induction, I still can't believe how much more expensive it is!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 9:10AM
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Wow, I was ready to dive in and but an induction but now I am scared about how loud the noise is..........

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 1:56PM
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Read ALL the post here Krista. Mine , Electrolux Icon makes NO I repeat NO Noise, whatsover.That Means it is Silent. I will start a thread here about Induction noise so you should be able to pick out which ones do or do not make noise and how much if they do make noise,---And No, I am not deaf--alto my wife says I have "Selective hearing"
I suspect the differences in the noises or lack of, in the various induction cooktops is probably due to the frequency they use to drive the actual induction units,, some like the Electrolux probably use a frequency above the range of human hearing, alto my cats don't seem to hear the Electrolux either---or at least they haven't Me-Yowwed about it.
So many good things about induction, I hate to see you chased off by a couple (Mostly portable units) that are noisy. The Electrolux does not Click or make other noises on low settings either and the fan has never come on, Alto I have never Boosted more that 2 burners at the same time, and now due its speed heating up water without boost, I rarely set it above half way up and its still faster than Me!!!!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Krista -- my induction creates less noise than my old smooth top, mainly because I am not cussing and swearing as I clean it, as I did on the old (*&*()($%$ cooktop.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 2:32AM
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Am I to understand that if I go induction I won't be able to use my expensive Calphalon that I just bought?? That might seal my fate right there!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 8:52AM
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If it's aluminum, then it won't work.

IIRC, there is some Calphalon out there that is stainless, but I'm not sure.

I have some Circulon that is aluminum, but it has a steel base and is induction-capable.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 12:05PM
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You can test your Calphalon for induction compatibility with a magnet. If the magnet sticks on your pots, they will work with induction. If the magnet doesn't stick, they won't work.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 12:54PM
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I'm kind of surprised at the direction of this thread. I didn't open it before because I don't know anything much about the induction ranges, then thought I should learn about them. Joshct, I agree with the advice to get a countertop model and try using it awhile. Realize that it's not going to have the speed and power of a built in, but it will have the responsiveness. Get used to it and learn what you do and don't like about cooking on induction so that you can make the right choice of range when the time comes. And maybe by then there will be a model of range, or cooktop/oven combo, that suits you.

Maybe I missed it reading through, but I don't think anyone has completely addressed the noise issue. There are two kinds of noise with induction: the fan, which I think is for keeping the electronics cool, and pots whining.

The pots whining is really a well known thing, and most manufacturers will mention it in their manuals. It's caused by the different layers in clad pans having fits. Cast iron is a great, even conductor, and solid cast iron doesn't whine. Neither does my enamelled steel tea kettle.

I haven't seen any solid, cast stainless steel pans, however. There are solid stainless with aluminum or copper bottoms (Farber and Revere) to make for even conduction, which don't work on induction. All the rest seem to be clad with aluminum and/or copper. I don't know enough about the physics to explain it properly, but basically, the inductors excite the electrons in the steel (which is iron), but not in the other materials. So where there are heating, excited layers of steel embracing the copper, it whines.

It's very high pitched. Some people, especially if they're older, had too much rock and roll or earphones, or worked in a load environment, can't hear it at all. Some people with particularly acute hearing or sensitivity are driven nuts by it. A lot of people hear it, but can ignore it.

Gnarls, for you and your husband, I think the only thing is to use cast iron or enamelled steel, or get gas.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 6:20PM
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I read on another thread, maybe the appliance forum, that some of the noise coming from the induction cooktops might be the cookware being used.
I won't be buying my Kenmore slide in until the price comes WAY down. So I probably won't ever have one. I'm going LP in the meantime.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 7:01PM
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