Cooktop size and induction cooktop control

olchikApril 16, 2008


I have 2 questions today.

1. I have a medium-sized kitchen, currently about 10x10. I will try to enlarge it to make it 12x12, but it will still be medium sized. Currently, I have stove which has 2 burners that work well (large and small) and 2 that are very so-so. I use the latter two only when I absolutely have to. So, essentially, I have a two-burner stove :)) I plan my cooking around the burners and, honestly, I feel very limited by them.

I would like to move up to a 36-inch 5-burner. But since the kitchen is not large, every foot counts. So I am wondering, how often do you find yourself using the whole span of the 36-inch cooktop (space-wise or burner-wise)? Do you feel that 30 would have been adequate? I guess I should say that currently there are only 3 of us in the family, but I like to cook and frequently make a few things at a time. I'd like a 36" cooktop, but maybe that's just greed talking :)

2. For those that have an induction cooktop, can you please tell me what brand/model you have and how easy the power adjustments are to use. I have read somewhere that some cooktops require you to first pick a burner and then adjust the temp, or have to press hard to make an adjustment or not respond to wet hands. I am especially interested in the Miele and Bosch, they seem to be in my price range with the features (read, timers) that I'd like. I am not looking at Viking, don't like the knobs.


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I think you would be okay with a 30" 4-burner cooktop. I have 7 in my family, and have 4 lame gas burners now, and only use all 4 rarely. When I have needed more (at times like Thanksgiving) I have shuffled pots or staggered the cooking and it has never been a big deal; I never felt like I needed more. I'm honestly not sure I would be wanting to watch more than 4 pans at once, even though I am considered to be quite a good cook. Looking at the 30" Bosch vs. the 36", I think you get the 4 most useful burners on the 30". When you need that extra 5th burner, you may find it is not the size you want anyway. Going with a 30" would also reduce your venting requirement and may enable you to have more wall cabinet space. That said, I am leaning toward the 36" because I cook for 7 and have the space to put it in. I too am interested in the Bosch, both because of the burner layout and the timers, and would love to hear from those who have it. Have you considered the LG? That bridge element is very cool. I am still waiting to hear in another post if you can put a rectangular pan like a roasting pan across two elements with induction if you don't have a bridge. Good luck with your choice!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 6:14PM
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I think if I was surviving for any length of time with 2 working burners, 4 would seem like heaven:) I'll share my experience, though, since you asked. I originally had a 30 electric on a tile countertop. DH cut the opening larger to fit a 36" Bosch electric, which I used for several years. I don't recall ever using all the burners at once. When we got the new granite countertop, I switched to a 30" induction. I have not regretted going back to a 30", four burner cooktop. Only you can answer the question as to whether you'll use more than 4 burners at once.

As to the issue of responsiveness on the induction units, it isn't the pressure of your finger that activates a hob, but the heat from your finger. Once I learned what worked and what caused finicky behavior, it's been fine. I have the Kenmore.

I don't have any pan that spans two elements, so I can't speak to that.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 12:16AM
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I have a Fagor 30" induction unit and it has four seperate control areas. I found it pretty easy to use the functions:
touch "on", touch one of the three fixed settings (6, 10, or 12=max), and touch the "" indicators until I get the desired setting. Or I could touch the higher indicator to get 1 and continue from there. Seems pretty easy to me and I have no complaints.

Naturally, after reading various comments on this forum I started to think about it more .. and more. And I will admit that setting the temperature does take several (but easy) motions. I can see that having a lot of settings (e.g., 20) might be a nuisance to use.

I would not want a unit with one master control where the first action is to choose a burner. I think that having three fixed indicators that are programmable might be a nice feature: ":>" is 4, ":>>" is 6, and ":>>>" is 11 versus the non-changeable factory implementations of 6/10/12. The most frequently used settings could vary greatly among different cooks.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 8:11AM
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You can get a powerful GE Monogram 5 bunrer induction for about $1,800. If you want every feature both known and unknown the soon to be released (in late April or early May) is the Miele KM 5773 for about $2,600. It may not be quite as powerful as the GE, but for most people they will nopt notice the diffence.

I like having the 5 burners so when I make a few dishes I can simmer at very low heat at least 2-3 dishes, without resorting to a microwave, which I often use for steaming veggies. And thereusually isn't that large a difference in price between 4 and 5 burner units.

I ended up getting a Diva De Provence DPP-5 because the dealer didn't have the one I wanted and sinceI bought $16,000 of internet appliances he gave me the Diva at $2,300--an incredible bargain.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:19AM
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Ive heard good things about the Diva. How do you like it? They seem to have more models than others.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 10:48AM
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I have the GE 30". It is the right size for my family of 4. I am usually not using more than 2 burners for 90% of our meals. When we entertain for crowds we usually grill outside or roast large hunks of meat in the oven. I also like that I have a 36" hood. If I had gone with a 36" cooktop I would have wanted a 42" hood and lost too much upper cabinet space. (My kitchen is small, too: 10x10).

Another consideration for me, was that the 36" cooktop required more amps that I didn't have available.

Also - for a drop in cooktop you still have to pay for the countertop that gets cut out. It really bugged me to pay $100 a square foot for the "void" area. With a 36" you pay for more "missing" counter. Does that make sense?

I love my induction. It is not perfect. I've said before that I don't like that it turns on at level 5 and I have to tap the "+" 9 or 10 times to get to maximum power. Also, the pan does tend to slide around a bit. I may get a silpat and try cooking on it to mitigate this.

I do like that I can cook on top of a layer of newspaper for especially messy dishes. Cleanup on the whole is much much easier than my old gas range.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:05PM
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We are only a family of 3, but we do entertain a lot. I find a 30" cooktop to be just fine. Even when hosting a dinner party, I rarely have all four burners going at the same time.

I also have a small kitchen (9 x 10) and the extra counter space is far more useful to me. Also just the greater sense of openness.

We have a Windcrest (made by Fagor/Brandt). You have to push it once to turn it on, then select your desired temp. (It turns on at a O setting). It has a low(2), med (6) and high (10) setting that you can select with one touch, or arrows for finer adjustments up and down. There are 11 settings (Low, then 1 to 10). The buttons are very easy to push.

Mine will beep at you if there is too much moisture on the controls themselves. I don't think any of the induction cooktops really like to be wet. Mine shuts down if anything boils over ( a safety feature I'm happy to have).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:24PM
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I have a GE Monogram 30", and it's easy to adjust the power to each burner: each burner has its own + and - controls. Plus the adjustment is instantaneous.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 1:38PM
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I've had my 30" GE Profile for one day, and love it so far! The controls are very easy. Touch "on" and it's at level 5, hold the + or - button and it changes by 1/2. Not a big deal. I just tried it with a cold, wet finger, and it was just as responsive. What sold me on this model was the lack of trim and the 11" element up front. GE and Kenmore (I think) had this configuration. Looked at the Bosch because of the burner timer feature, but didn't want to wait so long for delivery.

I also have a Broan telescoping downdraft. In spite of what many will say about them being useless, it works great for my cooking needs.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 3:01PM
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I think 30" will work fine for you.
We have similar family size and cooking interest.
The touch controls are different from manufacturer to
manufacturer, I think most people can get used to most
systems. I prefer individual sets of controls, but I
have gotten used to the way Thermador does it.
We have 30" Thermador induction and like it very much.

Be wary of the clearance requirements under the cooktop.
They surprise a lot of people, me included.
If you search on induction clearance, you will find lots of discussions.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 3:01PM
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I just learned something! I didn't know on the GE unit that I could hold the plus & minus down and it would flip through the levels. I've been pecking at that thing to make it change: tap, tap, tap....

Thanks, Melindy!!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 7:21PM
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I have an Electrolux 30" induction in my 10 x 12 kitchen. As Dbaguy noted, the unit works by the heat of your finger not pressure, which is why it's finicky if your hands are wet. The Electrolux has half settings -- in other words, there's a 2, 2.5, 3, etc. up to 7 and then it goes in whole number increments. As a result, you get very good control of the heat. You do need to have a pan on the hob, otherwise the unit won't go on or will give a "fault" indication. I believe that most induction cooktops have a pan sensor of this type. My unit does have timers, but I never use them.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 9:39PM
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I have the 36" Thermador all induction. I like it a lot. When shopping, we debated between the 30" and 36". I can honestly say that in 20 years, I've NEVER needed or wanted five things cooking at once. It seems crazy. However, there have been times when I have used all 4 burners. If you have pans with long handles, this gets very tricky space wise, and possibly dangerous. We went with the 36" because we had the room, but I could have made do with 30". The extra space is nice as you have some flexibilty in choosing which burners to use.

Something to consider, with the 36" induction, when I am only using one or two burners, I can use the other half of the cooktop as a prep area. I just put my acrylic cutting board down and chop away. It is very convenient to be right next to the saute pan.

So..if you really want a 36" cooktop, an induction one won't rule out the additional counter space like a gas range top or electric coils will.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 12:32AM
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Thanks everyone for your input! You have convinced me that 30" will be enough, especially since I don't have much room. I'd rather have a larger prep-counter.
Now if only I could pick the cooktop :)))
In all honesty, if the GE had timers, I would buy it without thinking. But alas, it doesn't, and it's a feature I'd really like. So I am waiting for the new Mieles and Siemens. Are there any Bosch owners that can tell me about the controls? I have read on this site that Bosches are trickier to control than others.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 11:42AM
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Do you like the fagor induction? I am seriously thinking of the 36 inch.

Thanks, Judy

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 1:21AM
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I like induction a lot and I like the Fagor. That said there are some negatives. I still can't get the grease shine off of the glass top to my satisfaction and cleaning at the metal rim is a nusiance. Also, I sometimes foolishly walk away and the water is boiling away furiously when I get back. Have to stay at an induction cooktop unless it's something on a very low setting.

I don't know if the diamond configuration is best for a 30" unit. A rectangular or asymmetric burner configuration might be better. But it's not something that will keep me awake at night. You have the same kind of issue with the various 36" configurations but there is more flexibility since it will probably be rare that all will be used concurrently.

Although the induction site mentions a 10 piece cookware set that comes with the unit I would verify it. I got a 7 piece pressure cookware set instead - they ran out of the 10 pice cookware set and I don't think that Fagor makes it anymore. (Never had one before and finally made some chili in it. Turned out to be less complicated to use than I thought and the beef cubes were "soft" in 25 minutes.)

If I had the room for a 36" unit I would re-evaluate since there are more units available now. (Notice that the vast majority of inducion cooktop owners at GardenWeb is happy with their chosen unit.) It wouldn't surprise me if I would still pick the Fagor since it has a balance of proven track history, minimal amp requirements and air space beneath, and cost.

I wonder if kimwok, bikefan, dvbkansas and some others purchased a Fagor and also had comments.

My longest responses on Fagor (and other stuff) is at the link. You can also search for dbaguy and Fagor for more.

Here is a link that might be useful: New induction cooktops ...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 11:27AM
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dbaguy:Thanks for the long response. It is very helpful. I hope that the others will answer as well.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 3:09PM
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