How finicky are Samung induction ranges about pan placement?

jwvideoSeptember 1, 2012

This question probably applies to any induction cooking surface but it came up for me while looking at a floor model of the new Samsung NE597N0PBSR 30" freestanding induction range.

I took some pans along to get a sense of cooktop layout for the range.

Here's what I saw. My 12 qt. stockpot on the back burner gets pushed off center by the backsplash. The front side of the pot overhangs an inch or so over the boundary ring of the front burner. The stockpot's base is fine; it completely covers the back 6" burner but does not intrude over the front burner. Please undertstand that I am not asking if the stockpot will work on the small burner. What I am asking about is what happens with front burner when I try to use one of my large frying pans at the same time. These large pans flare out to around 12 inches in diameter. With the stockpot on the back burner, the frying pan gets pushed forward two inches and some. As far as I could tell, the frying pan's 8 1/2 inch base was still within the front burner boundary. I have a couple of other large frying pans with large bases and some of those bases would run outside the boundary of the front burner in this kind of situation.

The manual for this Samsung stove (page 27) seems to say that the front burner will not or might not work with this pan arrangement.

The sales people were utterly clueless, as you might expect in this situation. (The stove is currently only available from Best Buy, the model had only been available for a couple of weeks or so, and etc. etc. etc.)

So two questions for you GW folks:

(a) anybody have an experience with any Samung induction stove (this model or the other two) who can say if the front burner will or will not work in this kind of situation?

(b) anybody with other brands who can say yea or nay for their brand?

No offense to anybody who has Thermador or other "zoneless" drop-in cooktops, but the fact that I am considering a $1500 Samsung freestanding stove should tell you about my budget and why I am asking only about ranges.

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Hi, JWVideo, I just did a couple of tests for you. Tell me if this is is helpful or if you need different information.

You may recall that I have the earlier generation Samsung induction range, the one with the different burner arrangement (diagonal across the surface). I first tried two cast iron pans on the right front and back burners, which share a power supply. A 10" skillet on the back and a 8" skillet on the front, skewed off center on that 6" burner, both heated up with no trouble.

Then I tried a measurement. I boiled water in my 2-qt saucepan and moved it around to see how far off center it could go before I got a pan detection error. On both the rear burner (the inside line marked is 7" diam) and the front burner (line marked is 6" diam), everything worked until the edge of the pan exceeded 1.5" from the edge of the inside line. Now the bottom contact surface of my pan is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the edge (hard to tell exactly because it curves) -- but I would say that on my range, it seems that the burner will work if the edge of the pan's contact surface is within 1.75 - 2" from the edge of the inner marked line.

Clear as mud?

When the pan was that far off center, the water boiled only in the part of the pan that was actually on the burner. lol. If I left it for longer I imagine it would even out, but as I am sure you are aware and I bet Samsung would tell you, best results would be produced by having the pan centered on the burner and covering the whole thing. I don't think I would want to do any serious cooking with a pan sitting on only 2/3 of the burner, not if I needed even heat across the pan's bottom (as opposed to boiling water for pasta).

Is that what you need, or would you like me to test the large skillets on the little burners? I am having a fine time playing with my new range. I like it immensely and I have got to give some public props to Best Buy. They (or at least the store near me) have been fantastic taking care of a couple of issues my incredibly inexpensive floor model has had. I can't speak for all Best Buy stores, but based on my experience I would not hesitate to buy another floor model of the former generation range (especially if it comes at the enormous discount mine did).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Thanks for the testing. That does answer most of my questions about the Samsung's induction burners. I wonder if the distance between the right front and back burners might be wider on your FTQ307 than it is on the replacement NE 695/697 that I was looking at. The one thing I am not quite clear about is what happens with overhang If you put that 10 inch skillet on the left rear (6-inch) burner? Does it overhang into the area of the left front (11") burner? If it does overhang into the front burner, is there still room to fit your 8" skillet within the 11-inch ring? If then you put say, 1 qt of water in that 8 inch skillet, does it take a long time to boil copared to having it centered?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 5:19PM
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As mentioned in the OP's initial post, I see no reason to suspect that Samsung's induction hobs are any more or less "finicky" about pan placement than anybody else's induction hobs.

What may differ between brands is hob placement and power boost limitations. These may potentially influence difficulties with pans overhanging adjacent hobs.

In general, induction ranges (or cooktops) prefer that pans approximately fit the hobs they're on, give or take a couple of inches. So, in the OP's second post, why not reverse the two pans so they more closely match their respective hobs, or use the diagonal?

Power boost restrictions may be relevant here. Can you use boost with pans on the same side? From memory, my E'lux range turns the first hob's powerboost down to 5 (I think) if I try to use boost simultaneously on two hobs on the same side, but I can use boost with two hobs on opposite sides (e.g., on the diagonal) at the same time with no problem. To some extent, this limitation reduces the likelihood and annoyance of the hypothetical issue described above.

Or maybe I don't understand the question...

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 6:56PM
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JWV, I can't test your latest situation exactly because the 11" burner will not accept an 8" pan (minimum bottom diameter is 9"). I did try putting the 10" skillet on the left rear and a 12" skillet on the left front; there was no overhang but I skewed the 12" a bit off center anyway just to test, and both heated up without a pan detection error.

I did not have time to test boiling water but I will say that I have noticed a difference in the way the burners work if power sharing is in effect. The "rules" for how much power goes where with the burners turned to various settings are all listed in the owner's manual. I haven't had the range long enough to really get a feel for it in real life (have cooked only a few meals using more than 2 burners at a time -- two is all I need for most meals).

Best Buy does have a 30 day return; perhaps if you feel reasonably certain about the range you could go ahead and buy it, then test it out yourself with the pan configuration you will need. It would be a lot easier if we could just test the ranges out in the store, I know.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 8:34PM
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I get your point and agree with you for day to day cooking. I may not have explained my point as clearly as it might have been explained. I have cooked on some older model induction stoves and cooktops before but never thought to test out this particular thing which is not about getting max power from all four burners but, rather, about simply using all four burners with largish pots.

Maybe my question sounded like some of the questions we have seen here where somebody wants to ask about running all four burners wide open. Say, running four woks or four massive pots of pasta! I did not mean to ask a "max power" question.

What I am trying to get is a sense of is the stove's ability to handle four largish pans at one time. A typical example for me would be having couple of stockpots simmering on the back burners while I run two largish frying pans on the two front burners. This is something I do numbers of times per year when I am cooking for largish events that I host. I recognize that using smallish saucepans on the small back burners would be preferrable for the best efficiency, but sometimes i just need to use four large pans.

For the suggestion on "reversing the diagonal," northcarolina's Samsung FTQ range has been replaced by the NE697 & 695 in Samsung's line up of induction ranges. The new ones are the models available to me. The new models have more conventional burner layouts than the FTQ models.


I forgot that the FTQ's large burer is that large. Thanks for taking the time to run the other tests.

Glad to hear the stove is working so well for you.

The "hassle free" 30 day-return policy is something that Best Buy initiated earlier this year for all products including appliances. It sounds like the message is clearly understood at your local store. At mine, it seems that there may be a need for education becuase I was given three three different stories: (a) the policy is hassle free returns, period; (b) induction stoves can be a problem because it is easy to scratch them in use or hauling and that can mean the store won't take it back; and (c) the induction stoves are all special order items -- they only have a floor model in the store and the actual purchase has to be ordered from a regional warehouse --- and the policy does not apply to special orders.

Its probably a good thing that I'm taking my time about this.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 1:05AM
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If you do cooking of that sort frquently, then you need a 36" cooktop,(Not a range with a backguard) and maybe a couple of portable burners as well. This isn't an induction specific issue. You would have that issue on most 30" ranges simply because or the size limitations, and the inclusion of a backguard. Cooktops or rangetops give you more physical space for pans. Even then, you would have a really hard time getting two large pasta pots and two large skillets in 30" of space, no matter what the method of heating was.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Yup. You've pretty much the nailed problem, and zeroed in on the common backsplash as the major contributor.

A 36-inch range is a good idea but I do not have room in the budget for one. Nor is there room in the kitchen, the joys of old houses and small kitchens being what they are. A cooktop and oven are similarly problematic and they would require additional wiring, so more budgetary issues, there.

I think there are a couple of "30 inch solutions." For induction, I think the GE slide-in induction range might work. If I give up on induction, the GE "Cafe" units --- free-standing "flat-top" dual fuel or gas units without backsplashes --- seem like they were designed for the kind of thing I want to do. (I'm not quite sure what to make of that center griddle burner, though. Maybe for poaching fish?)

Now I just need to work the budget up to that level. The NXR 30" gas stove is a less-expensive and more basic (how about semi-luddite?) cooking unit but it looks like it certainly has the cooktop space, as well.

Please do not take any of the above as complaint or criticism of the advice given. I appreciate it all because it helped me to think this through. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 5:40PM
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Glad it is working out! I've been very busy with the start of school, so I have had little time to check in.

I also very rarely use more than two burners except for maybe the holidays. I only use the warming drawer on holidays, too.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:01AM
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