induction power, how many kW is enough?

endomdMarch 12, 2012

Does anybody know just what to make of all the different power levels that different induction burners come in? Some max at 3.3 kW on boost whereas others get all the way up to 4.4! Will this make a noticeable difference in bringing a pasta pot of water to boil?

Also, if a 12 or 15 inch single burner induction hob were placed on an island, would that alone need its own ventilation?

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I wouldn't worry so much about boost unless you're into stir frying in a flat wok or commonly boil at least 12 quarts at a time (alternative to the water wasting instructions for boiling pasta is to actually stir it a little after you drop it in...). Boost is very useful, mind you, but power for regular cooking is even more useful. :)

There's a real difference between 2.2 for regular cooking, and 1.8. That's where I'd start.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Any type of cooking hob will need a vent. It still produces heat, smoke, grease, and steam no matter what produces the heat for the pan.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 1:38AM
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It will boil in a bit less than 3/4 as long, if the boiling time doesn't exceed the maximum boost time. To me, it wouldn't be that important. Depending on which cooktop, you may have to be using a 13" pot to get the full power.

As far as the ventilation, it is more important what you are cooking. It smoky or greasy, a hood would be a good idea.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 1:49AM
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you can always make use of ultra high heat for some wok and grilling work, but you can adjust your habits as you learn how much surface area you have available on your induction "boiler" spot.

the time it takes to boil a quart or two is never a big deal because you always have those extra seconds on hand when you are in the kitchen anyway. Add a little oil to the hard pasta before it goes into the boiling water, and you get stickfree pasta. Stay on hand and stir, and you get even more efficient, by using less water. The old "roiling boil" thing is not necessary at all.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 7:09AM
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Higher power hobs are usually larger diameter hobs, and are designed with the expectation that cookware with larger diameter magnetically susceptible surfaces will be used with them. You may not get all that power when a pan that is too small is used on a large diameter hob (assuming that the hob will operate with the pan). That is, interception of the magnetic fields among the hob poles by the pan base may be incomplete.

Very roughly, it is the available watts per square inch that is common to the hobs.

In any case, the high power mode is useful for quickly getting a large thermal mass (e.g., pot of water) up to temperature, but is overkill for most cooking (simulated wok cooking or meat searing might be an exception). Once boil is achieved, the power level has to be significantly reduced (immediately) or there will be boil-over. It the pan or pot is covered, then the heat loss will be further reduced and the hob power will need to be reduced yet further to avoid boil-over.

Usefully, the range of power settings for induction hobs is quite large, even without considering boost mode. The high end usually beats any pro-like gas burner, and the low end gets lower than most gas burners can regulate to (not sure about versus old-time pilot lights though).


    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 11:24AM
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Old time pilot burners blew out when they went too low. :) Right over the pilot light was a great place to proof yeast, however. :) Now the cable box has taken its place, but that's too modern techy even for me. :)

When I was comparing power, I meant from manufacturer to manufacturer, same size ring. Kas is right about the different sized rings.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I found personally that if I have the power I will use it and it improves my cooking (quality and speed). I can boost during initial minutes for a stirfry or sear the skin and seal in the juices and then reduce to finish cooking off. I can always get a pot to boil fast while stirring and then reduce to a more manageable temperature.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 2:59PM
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I have a steel grill pan to sear on induction, and use 7.5 to 9. I have Circulon Ultimate which is for searing too, just haven't used it. But I'm a bit hesitant to use stainless for searing, altho it's perfectly allowed--=at the same time, it says med or low heat for stainless in the manuals. Contradictory.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:17AM
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That's Circulon Infinite, not Ultimate.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:19AM
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Actually, I have seared on way less than what I posted above. Time for bed?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:23AM
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With induction your ventlation needs are reduced when compared with a gas burner, You do not have to exhaust excess heat and gas fumes. Just pasta on induction is water vapor and a ceiling Panasonic bath exhaust fan could do 400-600CFM.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 2:13AM
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The actual science involved in hood operation depends on the effluent volume generation rate AND the effluent upwelling velocity versus the hood's capture and containment design. Induction does not materially reduce the velocity, and only slightly reduces the effluent cfm when grilling or frying. The flow rate needed for removal will depend on many factors. It is true that if one is only boiling water, there is no grease or odor, and the requirements on ventilation are driven only by humidity conditions.

That Panasonic must be an impressive bath exhaust fan. The heat recovery rate for the bathroom in winter would have to be equally impressive to keep a wet bather warm.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 11:13AM
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