how does an induction stove compare to a normal coil electric?

judo_and_peppersAugust 10, 2014

I am looking at different options for a stove. I really only need 2 big burners, for what I want it for (small scale hot sauce operation), and I don't wanna use gas.

I have been doing all my cooking on a normal electric stove. someone suggested that I oughta look into going for a portable induction cooktop instead. how do those portable single burner induction stoves compare to the big burner on a normal electric stove?

what I really wanna know is it faster to boil a large volume of liquid (say, 3 gallons) on a normal electric coil stove (the big eye), or on one of those induction stoves? assuming cooking on the highest setting on both.

the one I linked to was just an example of the concept, I am very open to other models/companies if you can give me a better suggestion.

thanks in advance,

This post was edited by judo_and_peppers on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 16:30

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Fori is not pleased

I don't know about the portable models, but a built-in induction cooktop or range is unquestionably the fastest way to boil water with a household appliance.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 6:08PM
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There's more to boiling a large pot of water than energy source/output and there are a lot of variables. The vessel makes a big difference. If you can afford it and the electric hookup for it, you might consider buying a commercial induction unit, such as a Cooktek. You'll get masses of power.

For induction, for the fastest heating, I'd suggest a thin walled enamelled steel pot. Alternatively, you could use a multiply steel stock pot if the plies go up the sides, but I don't know if there's one that's big enough. They make 8-qt. Most steel stock pots that are larger have either an aluminum slug bonded to the base (not good for induction) or have a multi-ply base only, but pure steel sides.

That might be due to a technical limit. Plys work by using copper and aluminum to speed the excited electrons throughout. The inductors excite (heat) them in the steel, it's passed to the other plys which are better conductors, which speed them to the farthest parts and back into the steel faster than if it had to all come up by the steel. It also might just be economics as a lot of home cooks have 8 or 10 quarts for their stock pots and professional kitchens usually want cheaper cookware.

The sides matter when you're boiling that much water. You can heat the ply in bottom only pot up before you start, either in an oven, or even using a kitchen torch. It's going to take a long time, however, for the sides to warm if you put it on at room temperature, filled with cool water. If you have adequate safe hot water on tap, boiling is much faster, no matter the method.

Conversely, the inefficiency of a good electric coil stove means that heat is escaping and rising along the sides. This may or may not help heat the pot, depending on the relative sizes of the pot and burner, the ambient temperature, and a number of other factors. For coil I'd recommend an aluminum pot, but I don't know if that'll have a bad interaction with the peppers and other acidic ingredients.

While you're buying equipment for production, however, you might also look into getting a used commercial kettle cooker, again if you have the proper space and electricity for it.

Boiling a quart of water on my built in induction cooktop in a steel pot is really really fast. Boiling 12 quarts of water (3 gallons), isn't. It's not slow, but without timing it, I can't say that it's faster than boiling the same amount of water in aluminum on my mother's built-in electric coil. It probably is, but I wouldn't swear to it. I'm trying to think about making stock, which is what I would have done in both with that much clear water. Trying to figure out what a decent portable residential induction unit will do compared to a proper coil stove is beyond me.

Maybe someone who does seafood boils will have a better answer, especially as those are often done with secondary cooking equipment, outside.

If you're doing production at home, you're lucky to be in a place that allows it. Where I live you have to rent space in a commercial kitchen. Before you buy special equipment, however, you might also see if there's a commercial kitchen you can rent space in. Sometimes they're set up for small producers to use on a time basis. Other times, a restaurant will allow you to use their premises when they're closed.

One way to take the worry right out of the question you posited is to boil ahead. Put your kettle on, covered, as soon as you walk into the kitchen. When it boils, even if you've barely started your prep, turn it off and leave it covered. When you're ready to start cooking, turn it back on, and it'll be back to boiling much quicker than the first time around.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 7:12PM
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thank you for the in depth answer. I suppose I should give more info, to get a better answer. I used water as an example, because everyone has boiled water before, not everyone has made hot sauce.

I do rent out space in a commercial kitchen. it's an odd commercial kitchen though, in that they use electric stoves to avoid the need for the ultra expensive fume hoods. I have access to the stove on monday and tuesday mornings, but very soon that won't be enough anymore as I am gonna have to expand my production to meet rising demand (a wonderful problem to have). so we are setting up a second cooking area in a different part of the kitchen. it was suggested that I look into induction, as buying a regular stove would be a waste as I don't need an oven, and it would make running the electrical over there much easier as the countertop units only seem to draw 15-20 amps for most that I've looked at.

when making sauce, I usually only cook about a gallon at a time, because that seems to be the magic number, to where if I go bigger it takes much longer, but going smaller is wasteful. I ask about boiling water for the sake of my boiling water bath post processing that I do (I also boil the bottles before filling). I strongly suspect induction will be powerful enough to cook my sauce. I just wanted to make sure it's enough to boil the bottles.

I am not opposed to buying new pots at all. in fact I planned to do so, my canning pot is getting rusty. I am also not at all opposed to spending the extra money for one that will work ideally on an induction stove.

so having an aluminum slug in the bottom of the pot is bad for induction? one of the supposedly "induction ready" stock pots I was looking at had it, so now I'm wondering if they base their advertising strategy on my ignorance...

thanks again for the feedback.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 8:17PM
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A simple tabletop 120v induction hob will have about 1500-1800 watts. This is pretty much equivalent to a small coil (6-8") on an coil top range. A commercial 220v single induction hob will have around 3200-3500 watts, or a large coil.

If this commercial kitchen has 220v circuits and you can get them installed in your new location then the larger table top unit will be better.

As to aluminum, many pans have a 'slug' on the bottom but it is either stainless or aluminum encapsulating iron/steel. It is still induction capable.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 10:10PM
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To clarify: Some steel pots have an aluminum slug on the outside of the bottom. That mean that the magnetic field has to reach past the aluminum to get to the steel. These often don't work with induction. If a magnet won't stick securely (kind of sticks but sort of falls off isn't good enough for your purposes), it won't work. Some, as Weedmeister said, have a slug inside the steel. That will work as in your pot will heat up, but multi-ply works better. The thing is, to completely heat up your pot, you need the sides to heat up as well. That can happen slowly up 100% steel plus the heat of the water rising and warming it, or quicker if you have multi-ply going up the sides.

In my experience, the more mass of the pot, the slower it is to heat up, but once it's at heat, because it's iron or steel which aren't good conductors (compared to aluminum or copper), it stays hot well.

You might want to check what a restaurant supply company has for you. There's no need to spend on residential equipment. Commercial induction hot plates, for instance, tend to have louder, better fans, and more power, for a similar price. That's for the ones with the standard power. The 220V ones have far more power and a much bigger price. Check the ratings, but they can probably also handle the weight of your canning bath better, too. The restaurant supply also have the pots too, which are designed more for function than pretty.

What Weedmeister said about the power output pretty much matches my experience on the boiling large pots of water issue, that they're pretty equal. An advantage induction will give you is that all its energy is going into the pot. The pots will still warm your work area, but less than if the coils were as well.

For the best information about canning concerns, try the Harvest Forum. Last I heard, there weren't any good, big pressure canners that work on induction. For water bath canning it might be fine. I did some jam on a residential induction hotplate once, small jars in a five quart cast iron pot. Twelve quarts is a big difference. The Harvest Forum people know what works.

And a commercial electric kettle off of eBay or at a restaurant auction might do as well or better... Really truly talk to the experts. If you're going in for new equipment, don't limit yourself by not knowing what's out there. They make machines that do exactly what you're talking about, I think.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2014 at 11:31PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Restaurant electrical is typically 3-phase, not residential 240 volt. You really need both an electrician's consult as well as a equipment dealer's input. You're at the border of inefficiency and too much capital investment in equipment. You either need to stay small production, or spend the big capital for more capable equipment, and higher production yields to pay for that investment.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 7:37AM
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judo_and_peppers --

Assuming that the "different part of the kitchen" has 208/240v outlets, a pair of 2500 watt induction burners (standard, single phase 240v) would work very well. They would be about 25% faster at boiling the water-bath kettle than the big coil burner and would give you more even heating across the base of your sauce-cooking pans (which I'm assuming are probably 10" diameter 8-to-12 qt. stockpots). Also will give you a lot more flexibility in arranging your workspace and much easier to clean (and keep clean) than the top and burner wells of a coil burner stove.

That Caso portable induction that you linked to --- well, it is probably too wimpy for your production work. Its effective power for waterbath canning will like be about 60% - 70% of an 8" diameter burner on a coil-burner stove. If you went for a higher-powered 120v unit (say, an 1800 watt Max Burton), you'd be closer to the effective power of a coil burner, but still slower. Also, almost all of the residential/portable induction burners have induction coils of 7" diameter or less, which is slightly smaller in diameter than the standard large coil burners (normally 8" in diameter.) Might or might not be an issue when cooking your sauce.

(Do realize that comparing wattage ratings for coil burners and induction hobs is more than simply looking at the wattage ratings. The rule of thumb is that starts with the U.S. DOE ratings for efficiency in how much of the burner's energy goes into a pot. DOE says it is about 85% for induction burners and 60% to 70% for coil burners. Mutliply those factors by the rated burner wattage and you'll get some numbers for a rough comparison. Thus, in theory you get 1750 watts going into a pot on an 8" 2500-watt coil burner and 1275 from that Caso 1500 watt induction burner. In contrast, a 2500 watt induction burner will yield 2125 watts. Again, this is just a rule of thumb, but it may help think through what you want to do.)

Following up on what hollysprings said about restaurant units, some commercial/restaurant induction equipment uses standard 120v, some models use standard (single phase) 208/240v, some use 3-phase 240v, and some use 3 phase 400v. The 3-phase equipment is massive --- 8000 watt stock-pot ranges for 20 gallon pots, rangetops with six 3500 watt burners, etc. For anybody who might be interested, check out the Cooktek product page on the Dvorson's web site and see the whole gamut of products. The link is below.

For what judo_and_peppers wants to do, however, the monster three-phase units are way beyond overkill, but the 2500 watt units would be very serviceable. There are significantly less expensive units, too.

First, Consider that a good coil burner range can be had for about $500 --- much less if you buy a used one --- although it would be worth spending another $70 to upgrade the 8" burners to canning elements (much beefier supports for handling big kettles).

The least expensive, 2500-watt semi-pro portable induction burners that I know anything about are Eurodib (found at and Sunpentown (at AJ MAdison) which run around $400 each. They are NSF rated and so are acceptable for use in commercial kitchens.

The potential concern with these units is that they are not really designed to be serviced if anything wears out or breaks, and may not be up to the wear and tear of production cooking the NSF rating, notwithstanding. However, I've read of people using them in commercial settings. There was a recent posting on Chowhound discussing the Eurodib units being used in a chocolate business by the poster's son. (IIRC, the poster's screen name was Swissair if you want to search for it.) Sunpentown has been around for a relatively long time and Chowhound has postings going back the better part of a decade. (Also, maybe "Kitchen Consumer" forum might have info on them, as well.)

Fully commercial-rated, 2500-watt induction burners from the recognized commercial brands (Cooktek, Garland, Vollrath) will run about $1k per burner. I am only familiar with the Cooktek units, having used one for a while a decade or so ago. Very durable, very precise. Made in Chicago and built to allow service and repair (which is available via mail-in), the Cooktek units likely will hold up better with pots even larger than water-bath canning kettles. IIRC, the induction coils were something like 9 inches in diameter, so well-suited to larger stockpots for making the hot sauce if heating the bases evenly matters. There are two lines: "Heritage" ($$ with 25 heat settings or temperature settings and a rotary knob control interface) and "Apogee" ($$$ with 100 steps or temps and all touchpad interface).

I believe carries a brand called Avantco which has a 2500 watt unit for something like $180. I know nothing about this brand or the unit. Might we worth checking into.

Here is a link that might be useful: examples of commercial induction

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 18:49

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 6:38PM
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plllog "For induction, for the fastest heating, I'd suggest a thin walled enamelled steel pot."

Maybe; but there are grades of steel that get enameled, and some grades are more excitable (not a technical term) by induction than others.

"Alternatively, you could use a multiply steel stock pot if the plies go up the sides, "

I'm sorry, but that is bad advice. Heat conducted up the sides of a pot is dissipated disproportionally out into the room, away from the contents of the pot; that is because, in the interface between conducting materials, heat flows preferentially, in the direction of hot to cold, to the greater temperature gradient, and, as the contents of the pot heat up, the liquid inside the pot becomes warmer than the air outside the pot. A pot with efficiently heat-conducting sidewalls acts as a radiator to heat the room. Ideally, a pot designed for maximum use of minmum energy to heat non-viscous liquid contents would have insulating sidewalls, so that the heat applied at the bottom gets convected within the pot's liquid contents, with minimal loss to the environment through the sides of the pot.

"Most steel stock pots that are larger have either an aluminum slug bonded to the base (not good for induction) or have a multi-ply base only, but pure steel sides."

To an induction energy source, silver, copper, and aluminum, which all are efficient conductors of both heat and eletricity, are all but invisible. As long as the aluminum slug is not so thick that the steel in the pot is far from the inductor, all the aluminum does is spread the heat (not electrons) generated in the steel around the base more efficiently than the steel would do alone; that is, through conduction, the aluminum reduces hot spots. The "glass" (Ceran) between the induction unit and the pot imposes a minimum distance between the two; as long as the aluminum slug on the bottom of the pot does not increase that distance between the inductor and the pot bottom's magnetic material (usually steel) by multiples, the aluminum is benign to the efficiency of the energy transfer.

Plys work by using copper and aluminum to speed the excited electrons throughout.

Induction does not excite electrons (which are subatomic particles) or move them about, per se. Induction uses magnetic radiation to excite molecular motion -- molecules are superatomic structures -- within magnetic materials. Materials that are good conductors of electrcity and materials that are good conductors of heat are not necessarily receptive to excitement from induction, and magnetic energy is generally radiated rather than conducted. That is, induction has greater similarity to a field of static electricity than it does to the flow of electrical current, and is more like the heat that you feel from the sun than the heat that you feel from the water when you relax in the bathtub.

"The inductors excite (heat) them in the steel, it's passed to the other plys which are better conductors, which speed them to the farthest parts and back into the steel faster than if it had to all come up by the steel."

I'm sorry, but that explanation is just plain wrong.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:08PM
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Demeyere website, under 'architecture' says that for cooking with fluids, soups or steamed vegetables, a pot with stainless steel sides is best. Cladded sides are best for other methods of cooking.

In my three years of using a 30" Bosch induction cooktop, I find that induction cooking in general, is so superior to either gas or electric coil, that any of my induction capable cookware works beautifully. That includes cookware with a slab of metal (anodized lecrueset and anodized ultimate circulon) plus Macy's house brand plus.

I am in the minority that I do not love cast iron as it is slow to respond to my temperature changes as it holds the heat all too well. I am spoiled by the pronto response of my other induction capable cookware v. the slower to respond cast iron. Boil-overs shut off quickly on all but cast iron.

In my cooking, if it works on induction, it cooks very well. Perhaps I am not a fussy cook as I rarely make fussy sauces but I also have no reason to believe that I couldn't execute a fussy sauce if I paid careful attention. Lots of great cooks do well with less than optimal tools.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:25PM
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I am paying to put the electrical in to the area of the kitchen I'm setting up at. that's why I am putting so much time into research to make sure I'm getting exactly what I want and need. the unit I'm looking at is the one in the link below.

the thing is, I'd need 2 of them. really I only need a really powerful one for the BWB, I usually only cook about a gallon of sauce at a time anyway. so in theory I could get that one, and maybe the max burton one?

I really wish money was no object. I just have to keep in mind that a good electric range is about $500 brand new. if my costs go above that, it becomes harder to justify. but at least if I end up not liking the induction setup, if I go with the one I'm looking at I should have enough power over there to run a normal stove.

Here is a link that might be useful: Adcraft IND-C208V

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:56PM
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