Decision Time - Induction

sloringMay 10, 2014

Well I have been lurking here for over 2 years reading up on induction and the various comments on manufacturers and models.

My not-so-trusty, 15 year old DCS all gas range has developed a non-repairable gas leak and must be replaced. Which is fine - I have been planning to switch it to induction for several years.

My problem is making a decision. I want a slide in replacement as I am not ready for the "one-of-these-days" kitchen remodel project. The slide in will be sliding into an island, so I would like that "flush" look vs a free standing range.

The slide in induction range contenders are:
* Electrolux - saw a fully functional model and was impressed.
* GE Profile - saw the model, but it was not live.
* Bosch - saw the model, but it was not live.

Last night I went to two different appliance showrooms with my Demeyer pans and played with all the live appliances and all the models on the floor.

My observations: Electrolux had the best burner layout for my pans. My hardest cooking configuration to accommodate is weekend breakfast where I use a 10" skillet, a 12.5" skillet, and a 4" saucier.

GE Profile was almost as good, but the higher lips on the front and back of the cooking surface tended to push the pans more close together.

Bosch had a terrible burner configuration. It is the same as the 500 30" cooktop. The burners are clustered so tightly together that you cannot get two large pans on the large burners without them touching and being slightly off center.

Based on this I believe the choice is between the GE and the Electrolux. The functionality of the Electrolux seems the best and the burners were fantastically even and controls were very responsive. My concern with this model is that there are some negative reviews with people reporting electronic failures.

For those of you on this board who have the e-lux, would you be so kind as to share your experience? I've read the threads here and mostly it seems fairly positive.

The GE is so new that I believe it has not been in the field long enough to begin to have failures reported. So I would assume the reviews thus far are skewed more to the positive because of that. Also I'm disinclined to purchase anything I cannot see operate first hand. Learned the hard way 15 years ago with my DCS purchase. That said, I really value hearing other folks experiences.

Whatever I purchase will be put through it's paces. I cook 2-3 meals a day every day of the week and often cook for large family gatherings. I almost always use both the cooktop and the oven at the same time. I'd like a super functional cooktop (like what I have now) and a better oven for baking/roasting than I have today with my all gas.

Thanks so much!

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Your analysis of the Bosch layout is not correct (you may not like it - that's up to you obviously). Picture attached of the 500 series 30" with 1 12" pan, 1 10" pan, a 1-qt pot and a 2-qt pot. None are touching and all are centered. It also has the distinct advantage of individual hob timers.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 12:11PM
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1. Can you share where you saw a live Bosch HIIP Benchmark induction range? Dancingqueen posted a week or so ago about buying one and but has to wait a few weeks for delivery. The burner layout was questioned in that thread but yours is the first report of somebody who has actually put hands on one. Also, have you laid hands on a Bosch 500 cooktop so that we know that whether the burner layout is the same or just similar? When putting together the range, Bosch might have adjusted the burner positions a bit. Or, possibly, your pans are just enough different from sjhockeyfans's to account for the differing perceptions of spacing.

2. The GE PHS920 is a restyled and slightly revamped version of the earlier PHS925 induction slide-in. The revamping seems to be a slightly different feature set which, as best I can tell, was mostly changing programming in the control boards. The past threads on the "925" slide-in should be applicable to most questions you might want to ask about it. Hopefully, we get some additional updates here if the 925 owners understand that it would be helpful to you.

3. To me, the biggest differences between the Elux and GE slide-in is the burner arrangement.

(a) The largest hob on the GE is 11" in diameter (2500 wats boosting to 3700 watts) versus 10" (2500 watts boosting to 3400 watts) on the Elux. To me, this would make no difference for 12" fry pans as their bases will be less than 10" in diameter. The higher "boost level" on the GE might be a minor convenience for an incrementally faster boil in large caning kettles. Maybe the GE might be more useful to somebody who needs to simmer huge quantities of marinara or ragu in huge canning kettles. Or maybe, if you were looking to more quickly melt lead shot in large pans if that's what turns your crank. :-)

(b) On the left side of the stovetop, the GE has twin 8" diameter 2500 watt burners where the Elux has a 2400 watt 8" (which boosts 3400 watts) and a 1900 watt 7" (which boosts to 2600 watts). The GE will be more convenient for burner spanning with a large rectangular griddle for pancakes and such. OTOH, the left front 8" burner on the Elux offers a convenience of somewhat faster boiling in large pots of water or of extremely high searing heat in a 12" fry pan on the left while boiling 5 gallons of pasta water on the right. Of course, that's a bit of deliberate hyperbole but I think you get the point that its a "six of one, half dozen of the other" kind of trade off.

4. Some other differences that I've noted are:

(a) The Elux has the baking drawer and the GE just has the warming oven. A recent thread also disparaged the Elux baking drawer as a "warming drawer with delusions of granduer." My take is that it might be marginally more useful than the GE's warming drawer -- and some posters have found it so --- but it seems to me to be basically a countertop toaster oven in less convenient location. YMMV.

(b) SInce your range is going into an island, you don't care if it has side panels or not. If you did care, the side panels are standard on the GE but several hundred dollars in upcharges for the Elux.

(c) One other design consideration. The GE is designed to sit flush against a wall or back of an island enclosure as (IIRC) did the the old DCS range. The Elux has a bump out on the back which might or might not be a concern with your present island cut-out. If it is a problem, you might need to buy the $70 rear filler kit and your range might stick out a little bit further from the face of the island..

(d) Pricing: both ranges have similar list prices of $3200 but I've seen the GE discounted to around $2450 during sales at some "free-shiping" online vendors while I've never seen the Elux discounted very much at all.

(e) The ovens in the previous generation of GE induction ranges got excellent ratings in the product testing at Consumer Reports where the Elux/Frigidaire induction ranges got "good" to "very good" ratings. As you doubtless know from the threads you've read here, most Elux owners thought the ovens in their slide-in induction ranges were excellent. I suspect that CR was grading on a curve and that the differences between "good," "very good" and "excellent" might have been very fine gradations that might or might not matter to most of us (who aren't using scanners to measure to four or five decimal points accuracy the uniformity of the browning on our baked sugar cookies).

5. You are bothered by the reports of failures of of Elux/Frigidaire induction ranges. I wish I could give you hard data, but that's really hard to come by these days. Seems to me that there have been relatively few such reports here but that the failures seem to occur after warranties expires and the failure of one control board seems to cascade to the others, making fixes very expensive. Seems to me that the GE ranges have not had that spate of failures, but that does not mean they will not start turning up. While electrical stoves tend to be very reliable, the proliferation of control boards means, as a practical matter, that a failure in one is likely to cascade to others and result in expensive repairs regardless of brand.

6. At this point, I don't think I've seen any data comparing the costs of repairs for the two brands. You might get a rough idea about possible disparities if you go to a site like Sears Parts Direct and look up the replacement costs of the circuit boards for these two ranges.

7. As practical matter, about the only hard data I've been able to find is from data compiled by Consumer Reports from membership and industry surveys. A couple of years ago, CR reported one study done in conjunction with some industry groups --- National Association of Homebuilders, I think --- and somehow determined that gas stoves tended to last for 15 years and electric stoves for 13 years on average. (They also noted that a significant number of appliances get replaced and passed on to others which can make it difficult to determine longevity.) A couple of years ago, the Association of Home Appliances Manufacturers was reporting 19 and 17 years for gas and electric ranges, but the source of the data was a bit obscure in the reports I saw. Some anecdotal reports say that industry insiders have told them that manufacturers expect the averages to be more like 7 to 10 years for all appliances. (That, again, might reflect the turnover rather than actual failure rates.)

According to CR's membership survey results, members are reporting major problems in the first five years of ownership with 5% of GE electric ranges (including induction), 7% with GE gas ranges and 10% with the dual fuel ranges, With Frigidaire (an Elux brand), the rates are marginally higher at 8% for their electric ranges and 7% for their gas ranges and not enough data on dual fuel models.

8. What I take away from this data is that the GE ranges may be marginally less likely to have failures than the Electrolux but that the nature of the integrated electronics makes it likely that any repair will be expensive. What do you do about this? Seems to me it will be like any other risk management choices. Some will look at the statistics and say -- "the chances are slim that I'll have a problem because 95% of GE owners don't have problems (at least in the first five years) and 92% of Elux-Frigidaire-Kenmore owners don't have problems." Others will look at the same data and say: "statistics are no help if I get one of the 5% or 8% of defective stoves from these brands, so I had better look into insurance like extended warranties."

To sum up: get the range you want and look into extended warranties. As always, read the fine print.

Oh great! Something else to research! :-)

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, May 11, 14 at 0:55

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 3:34PM
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Thanks JWVideo. Great points and lots to think of. Let me read your response more closely and see if I have additional questions.

Analysis paralysis - that is definitely the stage I have been in lately.

I saw the bosch range on the showroom floor - not live. I'm in St. Paul MN and it was displayed at All Appliance.

I wanted to love it. But I'm not sure that I can live with the results of my three pan challenge. In the picture below from left to right: a 10" skillet, a 12.5" skillet, and a 4" skillet. In my option this is a tall order, but I can easily do this on my DCS cooktop today.

The cooktop controls are right underneath the area where all the pan handles are pointed.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 4:17PM
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And here is a side view of the same pan arrangement. Sorry the lighting was a bit odd in the showroom.

I wish it had been live. If I could have tested the controls and seen the burners in action perhaps that would sway me.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 4:20PM
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Thanks sjhockeyfan. Your photo is helpful. I did put my pans on a Bosch 30" 500 cooktop. It was pretty tight, but not as tight as I remember the slide in range being. (Two different stores with a 30 minute drive in between and apparently a very short term memory.) My husband thought they were the same and since he is the mechanical engineer I deferred to his 3D sensibilities. ;)

It could just be that my pans have a different shape for the side walls. Definitely the control strip on the 500 cooktop seemed eminently more useable than the configuration of the range. But again it was not hooked up, so I couldn't play with the controls.

Thanks again to both of you. Great info. I hope an e-lux and/or GE owner will see this and chime in with their experiences.

If I could do anything I'd go with the Bosch 36" 800 cooktop and an oven, but that will have to wait for the kitchen renovation.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 4:33PM
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There is very little difference between induction cooktops. Yes, one might have individual timers and another might have knobs, but that's all gizmo design. The works/quality are pretty similar. If the cooktop of the Electrolux range feels good to you, that's a big hit in the pro column.

The bigger quality difference between ranges is the oven. Ovens altogether are quite variable. If the cooking surface is most important to you, and you're willing to go with whatever oven comes with it, your decision is made. While the ovens may have the bigger difference, you do a lot more active interaction with the cooking surface. Go with the one where you feel comfortable with your pans. It would be ridiculous to have all that lovely Demeyere and have to change it, and how you cook. People get gas just to keep their Mauviel. Choosing a range that fits your Demeyere is equally worthy.

Electrolux has a good reputation. Every appliance line will have some failures. Things come apart during shipping/installation. Factory tests don't catch a fault. The question isn't whether a failure happens, it's how the company responds. Have the negative reviews mentioned that? The quality of response and repair is more important than if there was a problem at all. Remember, when people's ranges conk out on them they go online to get help and vent their emotions. When the same ranges cook literally all day long many days running and feed hundreds of people for a week long feast without a single issue or difficulty, that's performance as expected. What's to say about performance as expected? It works? Isn't it supposed to work? Why would I talk about a machine working when I turn it on?

So, talk to the Electrolux service people, and buy the range from a reputable appliance dealer with an in-house service department, so you're covered from both sides. Get an extended warranty if it makes you feel better, but those are mostly designed to part people from their money, and rarely pay off. Yes, you could still get a lemon, but the odds are in your favor that it'll be a great range and you'll be very happy with it.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 8:50PM
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I can rarely offer anything useful in this particular forum (though I learn a ton of stuff!), but in this case I can help!

We have had our GE induction range (the 925 model referenced above and in previous threads) for about two years now. We LOVE it!

At the time, I was picking between the GE and the Elux like you are. They were, and may still be (haven't looked lately) generally considered the best picks in that price range. I had an aweful time deciding, especially with that georgous blue oven interior in the Elux!

So how did I decide?
- **this might be important for you** I was originally looking at the slide in models. I started with the Elux specs and completely freaked out about the install requirements because our house has not one single "standard" anything that we have come accross. I was terrified I'd have to find a way to notch our laminate to accommodate the range since we were still about a year away from our remodel (Old Sparky got too fire-y and absolutely had to go). My understanding is the GE is designed to simply replace an existing appliance. If you haven't already, read the specs for both models and make sure you can accommodate any needed modifications.

-so now determined to get a range model, I read everything again. There were a few reports of the trim hanging low and blocking access to I think neighboring drawers (IIRC). I recall seeing a mild case of this on the floor model I looked at and decided that was too much risk for me.

-I also hit a holiday sale, and was able to access the GE Friends and Family Store online (definitely look there if you know -anyone- that works for any part of GE, they just need to invite you and it specifically says they can invite neighbors, acquaintances, etc as there is a seperate store for employees only). They forbid disclosing prices, but I hit a free shipping promo and sale and the price was lower than any sale price I saw elsewhere when you added delivery.

So in a choice that, for me, came down to splitting hairs on two good choices that's what ultimately swayed me.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:43PM
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I've had the Elux Icon Induction cooktop for probably 5 years or so now.

Both the wife and I luv it.

I did buy an extended warranty for it, as I had a non induction electric cooktop before that and tons of problems and it fact it ended up in the garbage in less than 2 years.

As pillog mentions, it was a complete waste of money with the insuction cooktop~~~It has been trouble free in the 5 years we've owned it, as are "Most" induction cooktops.

Elux did have some problems with their induction ranges, and saw a number of posts where "attempted repairs" were not all that successful. These were older posts and (could be) "Old news" alto I would take the time to google the model you are interested in + reviews (IE ewx2442 reviews), just to be sure there are not any "Current problems".

Elux does not have the real timers a la Miele and Bosch, but that fancy non induction cooktop we had before the induction did, and we just never used them, ~~~alto some folks here in GW do, so something to consider. (Wife said, "Too much button pushing"), the old cooktop had the bridged burners, but again we never used them.

Wife likes to use the "Kiss Principle" whilst cooking or baking, (Keep it simple stupid)!!!!

Be sure to down load both installation and operator's manuals for any appliances you are considering~~~that way you pretty well know the appliance, (well before you buy it)!~~~~~I did that with my Elux Speed Oven and regular Elux ovens, and I could not wait to get them, and we are still as excited about them as the day we read the manuals , eagerly awaiting their installation and use!


    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:48PM
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Sloring. I am also in St. Paul, MN. My Bosch Benchmark induction slide in will be installed on Monday or Tuesday. If you want to come over and see it just let me know as it will be hooked up by Tuesday afternoon. You are more than welcome to check it out. I am going to be starting my learning curve on cooking with induction!

I could not go with the other two options, GE or Electrolux as the tops were deeper than I could fit and I liked the sloped front.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:37PM
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Gosh you guys are awesome! Thanks so much for responding with such thoughtful comments. Willamsem and Dodge59 thanks for the first hand reports. I know it is ridiculous to worry so, but hey it is one of the things I do best.

I have had the hubs review the install specs for all three. And I have shown him the elux install threads on the forum. He tells me they all will work, but the GE or the Bosch would be the easiest. If we go the e-lux route we would need the spacer trim.

Yes I am a bit sad about not getting shut off timers, but I'll survive without them just as I have all these years.

dancingqueen - what a small world. I would love to take you up on your offer.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:19AM
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Storing --

a random idea about the pan crowding photos. What you described as a 4" pan looks to me to be more like what I would call a 6" skillet. While we measure bases for matching pans to induction burners, pans are most rated by the diameter at the top If your 12.5" pan measured, say, 14" across the top, that difference in size would account for the difference between your line-up and sjhockeyfan's.

Just a random idea.

Looking forward to hearing about testing out the Bosch Benchmark range.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:49PM
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sloring. I live less than 4 miles from All Inc. so if you have been there you have been very close to my house. My direct email is Shoot me an email. I will be traveling for work Wed. through Friday of this week however my DH will be home. Otherwise we can find a time that is convenient for both of us so you can check out the Bosch.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 5:24PM
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I'll definitely report back on how well the Demeyere pans work on the Bosch range.

JWVIdeo - you were correct about the size of the smaller pan. I measured the pans instead of going by the mfg description. And I had the wrong number stuck in my head for the small pan. I wanted to share the info so others who are looking at this appliance so they can better understand the fit of these pans onto the cooking surface.

Largest pan (12.5" skilllet): 12.5 ID, 13.25 OD, 10.25 flat cooking surface.
Medium pan (10" skillet): 10" ID, 12 OD, 8" flat cooking surface.
Small pan (8" skillet) 8" ID; 8.5" OD, 6" flat cooking surface.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Gotta love this place -- dancingqueen inviting storing over to test out the new range! That is so great; I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I am. I live in the extremely rural (non-sunbelt) west where we take that kind of thing for granted. We think of ourselves as so isolated (and sometimes insufferably special) that It does me good every time I see this kind of neighborliness in the rest of the country.


Well, that helps clear up that question. Brings me back to sayng what I have said (probably tiresomely) that you have to choose a specific stove not an abstract idea. There is a lot to like about the new Bosch range but it is not for everybody. One thing I suggest you might want to check out is how carefully you have to center your pans on the hobs, Some induction hobs are more tolerant of off-centered pan positioning than others. Just from looking at the photos, it seems to me that there is a possibility that, if the new Bosch "Benchmark" range's burners will tolerate some off-centering, it might actually work out for you. If it works, you may find that there is plenty of cooktop space to put pot handles away from the control touchpad area. Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:02AM
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" My Bosch Benchmark induction slide in will be installed on Monday or Tuesday. If you want to come over and see it just let me know as it will be hooked up by Tuesday afternoon."

How is your new range working out so far?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 2:47AM
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Quick update - I decided to go with the e-lux induction range because I liked the burner layout with my larger pan test. I also liked how the demo unit functioned. Should be delivered next week. I'll post a pix and an update once the unit is installed. Hopefully there will be no surprises with the installation.

Thanks to all who chimed in with their experiences. Really appreciated all the info!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Congrats on the decision and new purchase!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:40PM
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I'm sure it's a great choice, and I'm certain you will love induction!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:02PM
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My e-lux induction range is in. For reference - my old range was an all gas DCS 305. I cannot believe how incredibly awesome this oven is! There are no words to describe. I am in love. Did I mention the oven on this unit is awesome?!? Roasted sweet potato chips - perfect. Roast chicken - perfect. Oven set over easy eggs - perfect. Temp seems to be very even through out the oven. Very pleased with convection - and how fast it is. My old oven must not have been holding temps very well for the last few years because there is no comparison.

The induction burners on this unit are amazing - quiet, powerful, no hot spots. The burner layout is great for my Demeyere pans. There is going to be a learning curve for me here - my spidey senses do not work as readily with induction. It is interesting - I learned that I didn't use flame height to judge how to cook things on my gas unit; I apparently judged by how much heat was coming off the cooking surface and hitting my forearms. My old DCS burners were extremely powerful, so I have had to learn that "medium" flame in DCS land translates to much higher than medium on the induction burner.

I'm sure I will have questions on the e-lux, so I'll be back with those as I have a chance to use more of the functions.

Thanks to everyone who helped me think through this decision. Really appreciated all the info that was shared. I'm hoping to have this range for a long, long while.

There is only one unanticipated downside. My maine coon cats have decided that the glass cooktop is a great place for a pre-meal nap. I can hear them beep-booping the controls when it gets to be close to feeding time. It would be great if there was a way to "turn off" the controls. I think the best I can do is set the oven lock on when the unit is not in operation.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Have you checked through the manual for a parental lockout? I don't know about ranges, but I think most cooktops have them.

EDIT: Unless you meant that the cats nap there when you have pots on?? Oh, or maybe they like the venting hot air from the oven. Does the lock lock up the whole thing, not just the cooktop?

You might be able to cover the controls with a silpat. Or you might get an error message. You could just keep something uncomfortable on the stove until they give up. End Edit.

I'm so glad to hear you're liking it so well!

So, my mother taught me to feel the air over the pan to judge the temperature. You might try if you can translate your singed forearm test to that. :) It works on wood fires, induction, and everything between. :)

This post was edited by plllog on Sun, May 25, 14 at 17:24

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 2:44PM
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You so are funny. I would think there should be parental controls, but so far I have not found it in the manual. I'll keep looking. Sometimes I have to read something a couple of times for it to register.

Great idea on the silpat - it was my very first attempt and it does help quite a bit. Using it does not cause an error message.

I'm not sure what it is, but they love anything new and exciting. And they love to hang out with me. It is sweet but annoying at times. We will get it figured out - it will just take a little effort on my part.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:12PM
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