What Size Pots/Pans fit Max Burton Portable Induction Unit?

amck2February 6, 2013

Before I place an order for an Electrolux induction range, I want to entertain one more possibility that some have suggested - getting a single unit to try out induction.

My main reason for holding out on the range is that DH feels that it's time to retire our 12 yr. old OR/MW and install a hood. He's actually wants to go cooktop & wall oven vs. the range.

I'm thinking I can buy time for a well-considered, and better budgeted, remodel plan if I get a single cooktop. I mostly use one burner on my range for daily cooking.

Specifically, I'm wondering if the size of the single unit Max Burton would accommodate a 5 1/2 qt. LC Dutch oven for simmering soups & stews.

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I have the Max burton and it has been the main and only cooktop in our temporary kitchen for the past 3 years as we wait for our rebuild to get done. Frankly, this is what totally changed my mind on gas vs. induction. We love it. I have a 5 1/2 qt LC and it works fine. I also have some cheap IKEA stuff and it works fine.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Depends on the size of the bottom. I cannot remember the minimum requirement (probably 4") but there is a maximum after which it will not cook food close to the edge while burning the middle, even with good cookware. It is because it has only one element of a certain size.

I wouldn't use anything with a bottom more than 8" in diameter.

I have Magneflux and I bought a Max Burton unit hoping to avoid that issue but had to return it because it was no different. Neither did well with my 12" cast iron or 11" All Clad skillet. That is why actual cooktops have different size burners (except for the new all-induction ones).

I am sure you'll love induction! And that portable unit will be very handy as a spare burner even after you install a cooktop.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:18PM
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just measured my Burton - 9" across at the widest point

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Yes, but does it cook evenly when you use a pan that has a 9" bottom? I don't mean boiling liquids but making pancakes, for example.

Please don't take me wrong. The unit will do just fine for most purposes, especially for soups and stews or anything involving liquids. I have a portable unit and I love it. I have used it with 4-6 qt pots without any problem.

I was just saying that OP shouldn't use large-size pans, especially for grilling or pan-frying.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:45PM
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eleena is correct. Portable units have a centered sharply focused "donut" shaped force field compared to 220v cooktops which have bigger, more even and spread out ones to match various pan sizes. Frying with a portable unit is best done in small batches that are kept near a smaller pan's center.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:27PM
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Thanks for your responses. Is there an online source you'd recommend for purchasing one?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:39PM
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I've had 2. (The first one I dropped something on it and broke the top) The first one I bought on Ebay, but sold by a site called Toolup.com. The 2nd one I bought on Amazon for $75. Toolup currently has a lower price, but I don't know how much shipping is.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:30AM
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Haven't had any problems cooking pancakes and tortillas in a 12" Lodge cast-iron fry pan on the MB model 6200. Tried burgers in it once, too. Everything seemed to cook as evenly as it did when the CI pan was used on any other cooktop surface although the CI responded more quickly than it does on standard electric and gas stoves. Also, used it with a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker to make a bean-based chile for a New Year's brunch and did not get anything scorching on the bottom.

The MB's induction diameter is 9" in diameter as new_beginning said. The base of my Lodge CI pan is actually about 9 1/2 inches in diameter (it flares outward to the rim of the pan where the diameter reaches 12 inches). The base on my 5 1/2 qt LC is a bit less, about 8 1/2 inches. The base on my pressure cooker is 7 1/2 inches.

I've seen Max Burtons advertised a lot of places including Cook's Catalog although they tend to be more expensive than places like Amazon and e-Bay. OTOH, Cooks (unlike Amazon and e-Bay) is likely to accept a return if the unit proves unsatisfactory. As my MB6200 was a gift, I'm not sure from where it was sourced.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:24AM
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Thanks. Amazon came up first when I googled Max Burton, but just wanted to check here before ordering. JWVideo, you answered another question I had regarding which model I should get. MB6200 seems to be the one. I saw Amazon offers models from around $75-275. Reviews there would indicate the plate that comes w/ some models to make all cookware work is not all that effective.

What I'm most wanting it for on a daily basis is cooking the 10-grain cereal (much like steel oats) that we have every morning. Currently, on my gas stove I use a nonstick pot for that. I think I'll be able to use a 2 qt. LC on the MB. Think that will work?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:26AM
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The disks do work but not for everybody and everything. Cook's Illustrated had a report on several of them a year or two ago. My recollection is that they did not think much of one of them but were relatively pleased with MB model. My take is that the disk will work fine for cooking things like pancakes but will perform more or less the same way that a standard radiant electic burner will perform. Several years ago, I tried using one of the disks under a large, non-magnetic stockpot and ran out of patience before the thing could come to a boil.

As for the 2 qt. LC pan, it should work but might not be any faster than your gas stove. Haven't tried cooking grain on my MB, but maybe I'll get some time to try it this weekend. You might try search Chowhound as I vaguely recall some recent discussion of smaller pans on an MB unit.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Well, I actually made it home tonight in time for making dinner. Tested out the MB unit with a 2 qt., 7 1/4" diameter Circulon induction-capable saucepan --- the magnetic disk in the base is not quite 6" in diameter, FWIW. Turns out it boiled 1 1/2 qts. water for pasta a couple minutes faster than on my 15k BTU-hr gas burner. Because of the talk about the toroidal (doughnut) shapped burner, I wondered if I might see a ring of bubbles around the outer base, but the full boil going was very even with big bubbles all the way across the surface.

Your 2 qt LC should work fine once you figure the settings for cooking the grain.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:28PM
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That is interesting, JWVideo.

Did you watch for the water to boil from the start?

When I watched, I very clearly saw a ring of bubbles - which then spread everywhere.

I did all that testing back in 2009 and MB may have changed the technology since then.

I think the best way to cook steel cut oats is overnight in a crock-pot. IME, portable induction units burn a ring when cooking any kind of porridge if you don't stir it frequently because porridge - unlike liquids - tends to stick to the pot, but the ring comes off easily if you soak the pot. However, I have not tried hard enough to figure out the right setting for grains nor made hot cereals on a built-in induction cooktop.

Again, I am not trying to discourage you, quite the opposite. I love my portable induction unit and always take it with me if traveling by car b/c rental places always have those horrible electric coil stoves.

I often see MB at Tuesday Morning for ~$80. Most of them time, it just has some packaging damage and they take it back within 30 days.

This post was edited by eleena on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 6:49

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Definitely need to stir porridges with MB units.

Ran an experiment this morning with cooking oatmeal in a small, 1 qt saucepan (5" diameter magnetic base). The MB had trouble with low heat settings with the small saucepan. At a "2" setting, the small pan would intermittently boil furiously in a torodial pattern and then shut down, boil, shut down, etc. A "3" setting was manageable with frequent stirring.

With the previous experiment with the 2 qt sauce pan, the small bubbles started out in a ring shaped band, but quickly spread across the whole bottom and gave an very even boiling. Did not think to look with smaller pan this am, but note the cooking description above.

I agree that overnight in a crockpot is much the better way to cook steel cut oats. I was only experimenting because of amck's posting. I use my MB for pretty much the same reasons you do and for "cooking stations" at some large parties.

Sounds like Tuesday Morning could be a good deal. We used to have one in the nearest big town (actually, our state's largest city), but they pulled out a year ago. Apparently, our market area was deemed too small for the turnover they wanted.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:06PM
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Thanks, JWVideo, for posting about the oatmeal experiment.

We don't have a Tuesday Morning in our area. I was set to order through Amazon and discovered they offer the 6200/1800 Model at 2 prices. One is $95 & the other is $76. There doesn't seem to be any distinction between the offerings, except for price.

I must be missing something in plain sight. Why would I pay $20 more for the same product? Both are listed as "new."

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:10PM
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But check the seller reliability and how much is charged for shipping.

I see Chef's Catalog and similar vendors are asking $120 with shipping included. The pricing is a mystery for me.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:50PM
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I use a wide IKEA pan all the type for pancakes. Once the pan gets hot enough, I have not found any issues with cooking. I also use a 10in Debuyer pan.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:32AM
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IMO, playing with small, cheap countertop induction units is NOT a good way to decide whether to get a built-in induction cooktop. The main reason is that built-in induction cooktops work hugely better with all but the smallest pans than the countertop ones, because they have much larger diameter elements, and matching the element size to the pan size makes a big difference (small element + large pan doesn't work very well). Built-in induction cooktops are also more powerful, much quieter, and can hold a low power level continuously instead of cycling on and off (except for some of the cheaper models), and probably a few other things I have forgotten.

If you have a countertop unit and like it, it's fair to say that you will love a built-in unit. But the converse is NOT true - not liking a countertop unit definitely does not mean you will not like a built-in unit.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:16AM
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> I was set to order through Amazon and discovered they offer
> the 6200/1800 Model at 2 prices.

Does the more expensive version include a special disk so you can use non-induction cookware?

Are both versions from Amazon, or is one from a 3rd-party seller?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:24AM
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I think PeterH2's post says it as well as it can be said: "If you have a countertop unit and like it, it's fair to say that you will love a built-in unit. But the converse is NOT true."

Basically, the MB is a hotplate. It can show you the rapid responsiveness of induction, which is why some folks see it as a good demo version and introduction. But there is no getting round that it is a hot plate.

For what it is -- a stopgap for use during a kitchen remodel, for portable cooking and for buffets --- I think the MB has been fine. My coil burner hot plate definitely works better for low-level simmers while the MB is more useful for medium-low to high heat cooking.

The Cooktek MC1800 was the only portable/counterop induction unit that I have used that comes close to a "real" stove or cooktop. But it costs $700 to $800. That is a long ways to a full size induction cooktop. That is why I have an MB, instead.

I also suspect that PeterH2 is right about the more expensive Amazon package being one that includes the adapter disk. I don't know about the Amazon vendors, but that is the case at the vendors I know of.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:32PM
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