Test Driving Induction

msl511April 27, 2013

I'm very, very interested in induction based on everything I've read here. But I really want to try it out a bit first, before I commit. I know the advice is to find one that's turned on in an appliance store, which makes sense.

In the, no kidding, 5 different appliance or big box stores I've been to in the last couple of weeks, many don't even have an induction cooktop or range on the showroom floor and only one has had one plugged in and ready to try.

I can certainly go back there and give that one a try, but here's my question. The cooktop they had available to play with is a Viking and I'm not in a Viking price range. Is there likely to be a significant difference in the cooking experience from brand to brand, such that trying induction on a Viking wouldn't really be a good test for how I'll like cooking on a Samsung or Elux? I realize that hob configuration, how the controls work, and other things differ brand to brand and model to model, but will the fundamental experience be the same? Or do I really need to find something closer to my price range to test drive?

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Caya26

Marcia, are u on Facebook? If so, post that you are interested in buying an induction range/cooktop, and does anyone have one that you come and see a demonstration. I did this and a cousin had just bought an induction cooktop so I went over one evening and they showed me the basics. They had a Kenmore cooktop, and I needed a range. I bought the GE Profile slide-in induction range and I love it - I've had it about 2 weeks now. Boils water quickly, the cooktop is terrific, cleans great. The oven on this model is big (5.3) plus a warming drawer. Bakes very nicely.
I would never go back to electric. Never had gas, went induction because of all my research.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:59PM
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jwvideo

Caya has an interesting suggestion and maybe one that will be better for you when you've narrowed down your choices. A great use of social media.

But, that said, Marcia, the Viking will "cook" like most other induction cooktops and stoves. It will provide a more comprehensive and better introduction to induction than the often recommended alternative of buying one of the (relatively) inexpensive portable induction hotplate unit such as Max Burton 6200.

I'd suggest trying large and small pans, cooking things you do regularly and trying out things beyond speed boiling.

Units will differ a lot in burner configurations, control layout and design, overall power, features, boost arrangements, and noise. Some will have timers, others will have griddles or elements you can bridge with a griddle. Lots of variations on specific features. But they all do pretty much the same things when it comes to basic cooking.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, Apr 28, 13 at 18:08

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 3:19AM
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julieboulangerie

If you post your location on here (general metropolitan area) someone might be able to tell you where another Induction range might be. (We're social media too!)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 12:30PM
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aamassther

When we were looking at induction, I was trying to decide between the frigidaire hybrid induction or all induction. I was already sold on the idea of induction, just wasn't sure I wanted to give up radiant completely.
The dealer had a Viking hooked up, out of our price range too. The demo sold us on the all induction. I haven't once wished I had the hybrid.
Friends of ours also bought induction after we entertained them for dinner.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:00PM
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msl511

Thanks for all the good info. I'm in Westchester County, NY, very close to Greenwich, CT. Village Appliances in Port Chester has a Viking induction cooktop available for testing, but if anyone knows anywhere else in the area, that would be great, thank you.

Although it sounds like the Viking will give me a good sense of what induction cooking is like and assuming I like it (which I totally expect to, but really, I have to try it at least once first before I buy, right?) then I'll choose someone else's version, based on features, hob layout, controls etc.

I'm planning on a range and I'm in the middle of doing my GardenWeb research on induction ranges. There are plenty of threads where it's discussed, but if anyone wants to offer an opinion in the under $3K category, I'd love even more info.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:16PM
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Caya26

Marcia I am in Canada, I paid just over $3K for my GE Profile slide-in induction. Don't let a couple of hundred $s make you miss out on this fantastic range. You don't buy a new stove that often.
The cooktop is induction and the oven and warming oven are electric.
Thrilled with it!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 2:28PM
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williamsem

I have the freestanding GE Profile range and also love it! Seems that there is a new model coming soon, so the one I have is being clearanced in some places (I noticed that in the friends and family store, probably other places too!). If you know anyone, or anyone that knows anyone else, that works for GE in any division ask them to send you an invite to the friends and family store. It's fine, they can invite anyone they want to invite. Prices there are very good, though you have to promise to keep them confidential.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Zoe52

You can buy a single hob at E-Bay and try it out. I purchased a Max Burton portable hob for under $100. I bought it to try it out and also to plug it in to use if our power ever goes out (our current cooktop is not tied to our generator).

In the meantime, we will be putting an induction cooktop in our new home when it is built next year.

In the future our portable Hob could come in handy for outdoor parties on our patio.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:29AM
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cj47_gw

I second buying a portable hob. I bought one on Ebay, too, but it was a refurb Viking. This was a few years ago, before the less expensive ones became popular. It took me all of maybe 30 seconds to be totally sold on it. It's nice to have it around where you can use it for your everyday cooking before committing to a full sized range. I always thought I would use it for camping or parties when I needed an extra burner, but I never have and I'm going to put it back on ebay soon. I ended up buying a 5 hob Miele Induction, and absolutely love it.

Cj

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Cavimum

We absolutely love, love, love our new induction cooktop.

As for how one brand will hold up over the other, everything is a gamble these days. If you can access a copy of Consumer Reports magazine, they have a reliability chart based on subscribers surveyed, regarding appliance brands in general. That alone may give you an idea of which brands have less repairs than others. Keep in mind that every brand will have the occasional lemon.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:16AM
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cooksnsews

I think comparing a portable 110V hob to a real induction cooktop is a dumb exercise. Kind of like comparing cooking on a Coleman camp stove to using a high BTU pro-style gas range.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:52AM
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cj47_gw

Cooksnsews, I respectfully disagree. Induction is something new to many people, and while a 110V hob isn't as powerful as a full sized cooktop would be, it's enough to give one a taste of the speed and control that an induction cooktop can give you. In addition, I found that the 110V version worked better than cooktop I owned at the time. It helped me to make the decision.
Cj

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:12PM
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a2gemini

The portable induction cooktops are helpful and I bought one to figure out if I liked the concept. I do wish I could have tried a real one - it would not have changed my decision.
I am glad I have the little one to use when needed - most likely when I am grilling but I have carried it to work (what is that) and cooked a few things for pot lucks, etc.

The 110 really works - not as powerful but gives you a good idea.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 6:06PM
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cooksnsews

I do have a portable induction hob - that's what got us through renovation h***. However, I was so glad to put it away and not have to hear its incessant pops, beeps, and endless fan noise. I understand real induction cookers aren't nearly so annoying, or I'm sure not nearly as many users would be raving about them.

I chose to install a beautiful gas range, which I love, and which operates silently. But like I said, if anyone had suggested that I try cooking on a camp stove "to get the idea of the gas experience" ...... Really??????

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 6:47PM
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bmorepanic

Different units make different amounts of noise.

Sometimes the achievable power levels are different as are the size of the induction zones. If you boil or sear a lot, look at the maximum pan sizes and the maximum power levels of each zone. Be aware of those for the unit you're testing and see how comfortable it feels.

Just in case, the units have a maximum power draw that somewhat controls the speed of boiling and the heat of sear, the recovery rate and the time involved in big batch cooking. Using a gagg, fagor and viking cooktops, the top end burner is 2400, 2800 and 3700 watts. There have been issues in the past (and maybe are currently) for some people with the cooktop total wattage not being enough to run all of its zones up high.

The widths and lengths of the cooktops are different even though I chose the same nominal size. Just as importantl the Viking was about 1.5" deeper than the other two. That kind of difference can be the difference between being able to have a short top drawer and having none.

Some units have extra features like automatic pan detection or dry pan shut off. There is a linking feature for larger griddle that you may want or might not. I don't think there is a "standard set" of extras.

I'd imagine that different units from different makers varying in reliability. I'm not sure enough units of any type have been installed in this country to be able to tell from reviews unless a large maker like GE has an identifiable issue.

Hth. As always, your opinion is the one that counts, I'm just listing what I'd be checking.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 7:38PM
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txjoyce

We're fortunate to have a Miele showroom nearby. I went there and saw the unit in operation and look at the controls, etc. Then I went to Fergusons and looked at other makes and models, comparing the size of hobbs and how the controls worked. The salesperson said the technology is the same, but there will be differences in controls and power.

We knew we wanted a manufacturer that had a history in making induction. It's been popular in Europe for a long time. We ended up with a Bosch 800 series induction cooktop and couldn't be happier.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:54AM
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luv2putt

I'm in the don't try the portable induction camp ... Would you buy a gas range based on a single propane unit ... Don't think so ... Keep trying the dealers but don't forget about the distributors either... They can be of great help... I believe any of the induction ranges or cooktops will give you a feel of the properties of induction ... Wattage is close on all of them...biggest difference is how the controls are set up ...I have the Viking because I wanted knobs .. I was also able to demo at my Viking distributor ... One of my local appliance guys had a couple of diff induction cooktops avail for testing .
(Can't remover brands).. Keep looking , you may have to travel a bit but it will pay off in purchase satisfaction later!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 6:33PM
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