Propane or Induction cook top?

Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9bMarch 12, 2013

Our new house, currently being remodeled, has a non-working electric cook top. I have always cooked with gas. Willing to switch to Induction, but my pots and pans will need to be replaced due to the fact most are NOT magnetic. Trust me, I put a magnet to them........

There is a propane tank on site, and the fire places and dryer have the hookups. Also the pool heater.

With propane, we will have to have the propane plumbed to the cook top at an unknown expense ranging +-$1000.

Advantages and disadvantages of both?

Thanks so much!


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The upside of propane is that you can use the cook top during a power outage. You just have to light with a match.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:59AM
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The first question is where do you live? If you live in the center of the US, propane is half the cost than in the east and may be cheaper than electricity. If you are in the country and power often goes out for extended periods then gas may be useful. However, our power has gone out for hours and we never seem to need to be cooking. If power was out for days, would you cook or just go visit your relatives or best friend?

If I had known about induction and how almost everyone loves it, and had realized how much propane had gone up compared with electric cost, I would have gone for it. The propane rate has shot up fast. When our house was built in 1999, propane was half the electric rate and now it is almost double.

If gas installation would really be $1000, then it seems like a no brainer but I think your propane company would likely do the installation for you for the cost of the pipe only. There is another annoyance of propane. Gas cooktops are almost always built for natural gas. The conversion may not give you the full range of your valves. For example, the flame on some burners will go from low to highest by turning the knob from low to less than medium. Sealed burners have no air shutter control. I imagine a classic design stove like a Blue star would not have that issue.

By the way, I have heard that there are some cooktops that will not open the burner valves if power is not present!

This post was edited by chas045 on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 9:11

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

:-) I already asked the propane company and they said to hire a plumber. I heard that propane is a weaker flame than gas, and you can't get it to cook on as high heat... takes longer to boil?

You do make a good point about not being able to cook with induction when the power goes off, but there's always the BBQ.

I live in Southern California and was told propane is much cheaper here. Not sure how long that will last.

I also heard that an advantage of induction is that it doesn't heat your house so much.

Thanks for all your opinions! This is a big decision, and I appreciate them!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Go and play with an induction cooktop that is hooked up and live. I think you will find the decision very easy after that.

If you are in a hot area, any money you save on propane vs. electricity will be lost on additional electric costs for the AC to get the heat from a gas cooktop out of the house. The majority of the heat from gas goes into the air, not the pan. ~85% of the heat from induction goes into the pan.

This post was edited by Caliente63 on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 9:36

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:33AM
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To me this is a no-brainer. We moved into a house which was on propane. The cost of heating was astronomical. We converted to natural gas. Our monthly bill for natural gas is roughly a quarter of what it was on propane.

The house came with a GE Monogram gas cooktop which I hated. The igniters worked intermittently, none of the burners had sufficiently high heat for wok cooking and cleanup was tedious. To cut a long story short, we went looking at various gas cooktop options, my preference being for Bluestar. But we needed a real vent to replace the useless downdraft vent which came with the Monogram cooktop. When I realized what we needed to vent from a high-power gas cooktop, I started to investigate induction and that is what we installed. I couldn't be happier.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:43AM
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I have always had gas and intended to re-hook up gas in our new-to-us, but actually rather old house. I came here for help choosing a gas range and ended up reading all the induction threads. I switched my plans to induction and have had the induction range since December. I love it and have no regrets. I would do induction again in a heartbeat.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:36AM
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Yes Cheryl, natural gas over propane is a no brainer. You are lucky that natural gas has reached your house. I had natural gas for 60 years and didn't appreciate that propane was so different because it must be delivered. I had just assumed that gas of any kind was cheaper than electric, and it was, when my house was built, but not any more. I suppose that fracking might change things but I would guess that electric would still be as good as propane in the expensive regions.

Suzi, I think almost everything should direct you to induction. The cost savings of propane vs electric in your region is nice but cooking is only a small part of overall energy cost. If you converted your space heating and water heater to propane, then propane could be a very good deal eventually after recouping the cost of the appliances. However your heating costs are already low, so recoup time would be long, and unless the water heater and heating systems are breaking down today, it is almost certainly not worth it.

I don't think there is a difference between heating times between natural gas and propane, but electric will beat either of them and induction will beat electric. I converted from electric to propane because we were used to the better control/response of gas. If I had known about induction, I would have considered it. I hear it is even far more responsive than gas. Of course you will have to get new pans, but considering the installation cost for propane, that is a big savings for new stuff: Win Win!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I'm listening! Thanks so much! DH won't be happy about the cost of an induction, but what you all say is making sense to me. He will also have to buy me an entire set of new cookware :-))!!

Natural gas is not an option. The house is on a high hill on a private road in county property (not incorporated), and there are no gas lines. The water heater is on propane. My choice is propane or induction.

The summers are about 105 degrees average in the days, but cool nights. The AC and pool will be in use for sure.

Thanks for all the input!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Assuming you don't go high end cookware, and I think there are posts about economical cook sets (COSTCO?); remind DH how much money you will save not needing the new gas line.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:08PM
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I'm enjoying induction and there are many options for cookware.
I like Stonedine Cookware. It's mid-priced, easy to clean, sturdy yet not extremely heavy, and has glass tops which with the speed of induction is probably a good feature to have.

The Induction Cooktops are very different. Check the features
and the power. There are vast differences and that may make a difference to you. If you want any info about those differences
let me know.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Check out the tramontina cookware available at Wal-Mart. Very reasonable cost, induction friendly, great reviews.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Wow! Great responses!

MaryOne, I would love to know the differences. I know that some take the energy from unused burners and combine into one for faster cooking. I do want that feature!

Thanks for the cookware ideas too!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:49PM
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That pool heater will eat you alive in propane costs. If you can do solar, you should think about it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:01PM
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1. A couple of questions to start with about the the present electrical set-up. Is the cooktop not working because the controller(s) failed or is there a problem with the wiring? What size is the circuit breaker for the cooktop and what gauge is the wiring?

I ask because wiring problems sometimes can be expensive. I've seen some older house in my area which have range outlets on 30 amp circuits with 10 gauge cable. My recollection is that pretty much any current electric cooktop -- whether coil, radiant smoothtop or induction --- requires a 40 amp circuit and 8 gauge (# 8 AWG) cable. Something to check into as part of deciding between induction and gas. (But maybe you are re-wiring as part of the kitchen remodel, anyway?)

2. Relative purchase costs; here is my take.

I am assuming we are talking about 30" cooktops. If you are looking for 36" cooktops, then add a couple of $200 to these prices.

Basic gas cooktops can be had for $500 to $600, but that may be illusory if you like to cook. A lot of folks here at GW would not recommend those cooktops because they will be slow to heat, will not simmer well, and have other performance and reliability issues.

The ones recommended here run $1000 and up. Interestingly enough, Consumer Reports testing agrees and none of its recommended 30" gas cooktops are under $1000, and most are in the $1200 to $1600 range. So, with your $1000+ expense of adding a gas line to the cooktop area of the kitchen, the cost of a decent 30" gas cooktop could easily run you $2200 to to $2600, if not more.

Propane conversion kits may or may not be included in the price of the cooktops. If you have to buy one, the cost seems to run inf the $50 to $100 range, depending where you get it. You may have to pay somebody to install it

There are some 30" induction cooktops in the the range of $1000 to $1300. The least expensive is the IKEA for $999, which is actually a rebadged Whirlpool unit. The Whirlpool branded unit seems to sell for around $1200 at the likes of AJ Madison. Reviews of these have been mixed and there have been numbers of reports that some of Whirlpool's similar Kitchenaid models (which run about $1500 for the upmarket branding) have problems with clicking and buzzing noises and reliability. (There was a recent thread here that points to a you-tube video that demonstrates issues.)

Frigidaire and Sears/Kenmore have some induction cooktops for around $1200-1300 and these seem to have more favorable reviews. (The Kenmores may be made by Electrolux-Frigidiare, btw.) There much are more favorable reviews for induction cooktops in in the $1400 to $1900 range from Electrolux, GE, Bosch and LG. (The LG has a bridge burner for rectangular griddles, too, if you like that.) Gary Dodge has numbers of postings iwth video and photos and details of using his electrolux induction cooktop if you want to go that route.

Of course there are more units with favorable reviews as you go above those price ranges.

So, depending on how far up market you buy, an induction cooktop could cost you between $500 and $1000 less than going with a propane cooktop for which you would have to install the gas line to the kitchen. Assuming no rewiring is required for theinduction..

3. Relative oparating costs.

Might or might not be much difference between running a propane cooktop versus and electric/induction cooktops. As chaos045 says, fFor most people, the marginal costs of fuel for cooking appliances are a pretty small part of the enegry budget for a house. Other things -- particularly water heating, refrigerators, HVAC, poll-heaters, and clothes dryers --- make a much bigger difference.

But, if you or your husband want to take a gander at the relative operating costs of gas and electrical stoves, you can try "Mr. Electricity's" calculatorfor which I've provided the link at the bottom of this post.

4. Efficiency

When contemplating energy costs, though, bear in mind that induction is a lot more efficient than coil and radiant burners in delivering energy/heat to pans. This can make a difference to you in a couple of ways.

First, as others have noted, induction puts a whole lot less heat into your kitchen. That is, around 84% of the energy goes into the pans with induction (and some manufacturers claim 90%). With coils, it is more like 70% and radiant burners run more in the 50% range. So, a lesser load on the A/C system but, more importantly, much less heat for the cook.

I don't know about you, but my heat tolerance has declined precipitously as I've aged. Once upon a time, I could work in restaurant kitchens. I was fine when the government had me running around Twenty Nine Palms in the mid-day summer sun in full gear. But, those days are long gone for me. So, if I lived in SoCal or the southwest or the South, induction would be pretty much a given for me for cooking dinner in the hot months.

The other difference the in-home efficiency makes is that you likely will use less energy for cooking because 30% to 40% more of it goes into the pot. Think of it like mileage in cars. You may drive just as far and go just as fast, but you need less fuel.

5. Cooktop performance:

First, as others have noted, converting the cooktop's fittings for propane usually results in reducing burner output by about 20% to 25% below the rated output for the cooktop when fueled by natural gas. This mainly makes a difference for higher heat applications. It may make a difference for stir frying and sauteing, depending on how much you do and the quatities you make. It will make a large difference for boiling, as for water for pasta or potatoes. With a propane-converted cooktop, it may take you 25 minutes to boil 4 quarts of water for pasta where, with the induction cooktop, it can be less than 10 ten minutes.

Second, induction burners will likely give more even heat than the low-to-mid range gas-cooktop burners, whether the gas burners are NG or LP. Pretty much all such gas burners in the low-to-mid price range use a mushroom shaped "capped" burner, with flames in a single ring around the outer edge of the burner cap. Depending on cookware and what you are cooking, this can put heat in a ring pattern. Induction burners, will give you a steadier and more even spread of heat. So, you are less likely to scorch some of that pot of beans or chile or rice. Do note, that proper pan sizing is important with induction burners. Get a pan too much larger than the burner size and you may find high heat concentrated directly above the burner.

Third, induction is hard to beat for long simmers, as for stock and such.

Fourth, propane will be usable in the event of the rolling blackouts that seem to have plagued parts of California in recent years. The degree of benefit seems uncertain, however. Most of those outages seem to have occurred during the hottest parts of the year when there are rolling blackouts or wildfires. When the temp is 105F and the a/c is out of commission, will you really want to be firing up a cooktop inside your now non-air-conditioned house?

There may be limitations for induction if you do much canning or preserving using multiple large pots. One large pot is usually not a problem with induction cooktops (although it may block the use of other burners on a 30" cooktop), but some induction cooktop manuals caution against the weight of several large canning kettles.

6. Cookware:

The Tramontina induction capable "clad" cookware at Walmart can be a very good deal. Cooks Illustrated's testing gives it pretty high marks.

Costco has had sets of induction capable pans for around $200, but the choices vary. Sometimes they have a Kirkland stainless-steel induction capable set. Sometimes they carry Ciculon Premier Professional, which are annodized non-stick pans with induction disks in the base. (I got mine with a coupon for $179). Sometimes they have a similar Kirkland annodized non-stick induction set.

Check out other postings if you need to buy new cookware.

hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calculator for costing gas versus ielectrical

This post was edited by JWVideo on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 15:29

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Thanks for that link! I'm sure DH will use it!

I've been convinced by all the comments that induction is the way to go. I am lucky that only one part of the electric cook top currently there that is not working is the griddle. I have NEVER been able to cook on electric. I burn everything! Happy that it will be replaced!

Actually this is a whole house remodel, and the kitchen is a part of it. I'm tuned to this forum because every appliance will be replaced as well as all cabinetry. A contractor is handling everything and the home has been inspected, so we do know the issues we face.

Induction will answer my prayers, backed up with an outdoor propane BBQ with a side burner.

All the wiring has been checked and an electrician will be fixing all issues.

The pool will save us in summer if there is a power outage, but those are rare. We don't intend to heat the pool, but we may use a solar blanket on certain days. The pool has a grotto under a waterfall with a nice shelf for your cool drink. It's all shady under there.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:34PM
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I was just reading the other post about tramontina cookware, and am only repeating what I saw there. apparently there are two grades of the stuff and perhaps only the newer, lower quality or at least thinner, is available. I would suggest you look at the other thread, it is current.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:40PM
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Marshall's/TJMAxx/Home Goods or Tuesday Morning are also good sources for affordable induction capable pans, especially if you don't care if all the pieces match. BB&B has Emeril by Allclad and a Calphalon set that are both induction capable, but they are more expensive than the Tramontina at Walmart. I had to get my Tramontina Triply Clad from in 2011 - they didn't have it in the store. It is pretty heavy. I found lighter pots by European companies like Fissler at Marshall's.

Keep a refrigerator magnet in your purse at all times!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:07PM
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I purchased Tramontina from Walmart when we opted for induction last year. I read lots of good stuff about it on Chowhound. I am very happy with the cookware and with the choice of induction.

Originally, we were going to go with propane; we are in the NorthEast so everything is expensive here but natural gas is not an option for us. Two things sold me on induction. 1) the efficiency is somewhere around 85%, gas is about 1/2 of that. With high costs associated with both, the more efficient unit ends up costing less. I have a Bosch 800 series induction and can boil water much faster than my microwave - I'd say in at least half the time off the top of my head. The immediate response to power adjustments is incredible. 2) the lack of heat brought into the kitchen area. We do have central a/c, but don't run it unless the humidity gets intolerable in the summer. I like that the unit doesn't add additional heat to the kitchen area.

The induction cooktop is super easy to clean. If you happen to spill something while cooking, you can lift the pot and wipe the surface clean. We don't fry, but if cooking bacon, you can layer the cooktop with paper towels or newspaper to catch splatter and simply toss them out when finished cooking.

Since we have had multiple long term power outages these past two years, one pro for propane was cooking during loss of power. However, those same power outages have taught us that there really is not much that you can't cook on an outdoor grill. We lived off our grill in every outage we've had. Eggs, omelets, pizza, mac 'n' cheese - we've eaten very well each time. This past year, since I had tossed my old cookware, we even put our tramontina pots out on the grill when making meals. A good cleaning with barkeeper's friend brought back the shine.

Induction is a great option and Tramontina pots are a reasonably priced option for cookware!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 7:30AM
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Well, ANY range that couldn't boil water faster than a microwave would be out my door so fast! MW are one of the least efficient units in any kitchen for heating water (electric kettles are among the best). So that's hardly much of a testimony for induction performance.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Electric kettles are the most efficient way of heating water (close to 100% efficient on "old school" exposed element models), but not the fastest, because they have limited power. People in the UK have 3kW kettles - those are pretty quick, but in N. America typical modesls seem to be 1.5kW.

A good induction cooktop is likely to be putting around 3kW into the kettle, so it will be much faster than a N. American electric kettle and about the same as a modern British electric kettle.

This post was edited by Caliente63 on Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 14:08

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:06PM
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I timed boiling one quart of room temperature water (64F) on my induction cooktop and it took 2 minutes, 3 seconds. I repeated this in my Braun electric kettle and it took 2 minutes 42 seconds.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 2:25PM
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Sorry cooksnsews, but after cooking on an electric coil for 15 years that boiled water slower than a microwave, the 2 minutes it takes to bring a quart of our quite chilly well water to a rolling boil is amazing to us!

With induction, everything is focused on heating the pan, not on the burner getting hot and in turn heating the pan like with an electric cooktop or gas cooktop. It's extremely fast and twice as efficient as gas.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Good luck! We have Emerilware Stainless cookware that we use on Induction. It is avialable everywhere and is budget conscious.

If you want nonstick pans, we have Infinite Circulon, where we got a few bonus pieces as part of our Samsung range.

Cast iron like LeCreuset (or other brands like Martha Stewart) also work on induction. We use our LeCreuset grill pan at least once a week.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 10:59AM
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I put induction in our new kitchen.
I was Up North cooking on a friends high end but propane range.
It took forever to boil the pasta water and had forgotten about how much heat is wasted going into the kitchen. I almost burned my hands from the side heat from the flames....
So, even though it took time to make friends with my induction, I am happy with the decision.
I do have some buzzing but barely audible with the fan running.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 2:00PM
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We're approaching one year with our Thermador induction cooktop and we could not be's one of the best decisions I've ever made. It's powerful, highly responsive, extremely reliable, a breeze to keep "showroom clean," and it's beautiful as well (we went with the mirror-finish model).

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Thank you nlion for posting on this thread at this time. I opened GW this morning hoping to get some guidance into whether to stay with my dream of a 36" induction cooktop or to install a 36" lp rangetop. Sadly, I will have to sell my house shortly after this renovation and not stay here forever, as I originally planned. My realtor told me not to bother with induction because all buyers want is gas. Thanks to this thread, I am happily resolved to install the induction after all. My plan was for the 36" Thermador, non-mirrored and that's what will go in. If a buyer doesn't want it, I can always remove it and take it with me. Personally I would think that it would be a selling plus, but I'm not in the business. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 9:33AM
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