New to Induction - Questions

duttyNovember 5, 2012

We are getting close to our final appliance choices for our build and I've done a crazy last minute change. I was all set to do a 48" BlueStar and within the last week, I've been bitten by the induction bug. But, now I'm a bit behind the eight-ball with researching models and I've read a bunch of threads but I'm not sure I'm clear on a few things.

Currently I'm planning a 36" and am considering flush mount Wolf, Therm zoneless and Therm non-zoneless. That said, I'm open to suggestions. I know the Bosch is popular, too.

Now to the questions, is it possible to take a griddle or roasting pan and span it over two burners? We use griddle A LOT and a large pan isn't big enough for my crew. That said, I don't want to lug out an electric griddle all the time so I'm hoping I can find a solution for induction.

Which models have a bridge, or are they unnecessary?

I have a large family and often have 4-5 things going at once. If I did the zoneless Thermador, I can't put 3 pans on one side, correct? So I can't do a griddle on the left side and then fill the right side with the three other pans? So that sorta makes the cost exorbitant for what is essentially a three zone unit?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. I know there are lots of threads on induction but I still can't get it all in my mind yet.

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jwvideo

Yes, it is possible to span burners with a griddle or roasting pan and you do not need a "bridge burner" to accomplish this. Sufficient preheating time will be key for a griddle.

But, as always, read the manual for the cooktops you are considering because some manufacturers may not like the idea.

When I was shopping for a stove, GE e-mailed me to say that I could do this with their products. Samsung makes a stove that is specifically set up with a burner set that can be run together for a griddle. On these stoves, there were two matched size burners in line where you could easily span them with a griddle.

That is not always the case with cooktops, however. The burners do not always line up neatly for spanning and, when they do line up, those burners may be different sizes. With different sized burners, it can be hard to get the heat levels matched.

Beyond this, I know to nothing about specific cooktop models and cannot help with your other questions.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:53PM
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jadeite

We have 36" Thermador non-zoneless. The two hobs on the left line up neatly and put out the same power. We put a griddle across these to make pancakes. It works perfectly well without a bridge. The griddle probably takes a few more minutes to heat without a bridge, but this isn't an issue for us.

There are 3 other hobs, a large one in the middle and two on the right. Each will hold a separate pot. We love the cooktop and can't imagine going back to gas.

Cheryl

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 1:17PM
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soibean

I think your assumptions about the Thermador zoneless are correct. While they seem really cool, the 36" models can only have a max of four zones (two on each side); with the regular models you have five hobs, so with a griddle taking up two, you would have three left. That and the price are the reason I ended up sticking with the regular model. Can't comment on the function since mine is not installed yet. HTH

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 3:11PM
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chac_mool

IIFC, Thermador uses Gaggenau parts in their zoneless cooktop. Gagg let them use elements from a 30" cooktop, which Thermador put in a 36" frame, limiting its capacity to what a 30" cooktop would have and wasting space on the left and right sides.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:14PM
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dutty

Thanks for the responses, everyone! I sorta had a feeling that the zoneless was a little bit of hype. And, how interesting that they have wasted space. Thanks for the info chac! I actually saw it today in person and my husband said, "it looks like a 36" cooktop taking the space of a 48" range so you're right on that. I was expecting to swoon but walked away feeling somewhat neutral. I'm quite lost. I liked the Wolf I saw but I don't see the model I saw in the showroom on the website so I'll have to go back and ask questions. I also saw a Miele that was very attractive. The showroom I visited doesn't list prices and you have to work with a consultant to get any info... blech... I'm still searching and learning.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 7:40PM
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lwerner

Jadeite, how does your Thermador 36" induction cooktop work with large pots? I was looking at one the other day and it seemed that aside from the nice oversized hob in the middle, the others were fairly small. I think it's the big 13", a 9", two 7", and one 6". Do large pots still work well on the 9" and 7" rings?

I'm thinking of times when I've had two large stock pots on the stove, or a fry pan plus a stock pot. The biggest one would go on that nice center hob, but I'm wondering if the 9" or 7" hobs would work well on another large pot. If it matters, my pans are Le Crueset: one enameled dutch oven and a set of their tri-ply stainless, which is basically an All-Clad clone..

I also looked at the Thermador zoneless 36." It's nice that the unit will handle any pan sizes and shapes, including a big griddle. But the fact that you can only put two pots on each side is a huge turn-off. If the thing were truly zoneless (rather than "two big zones" like it is now) and could handle 5 or 6 pots rather than just 4, then they might have a winner.

Laura

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:49PM
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jadeite

Laura, the rings will heat oversized pots, i.e. pots larger than the hob diameter, as long as you can get it over the marked ring. It heats only the part over the circle, but as long as the pots will fit next to each other, they will be be heated. The only problem comes if you have pots which are so large in diameter that they won't sit next to each other on the cooktop, like 2 oversized woks. In practice this doesn't happen very often.

I have a 21 qt canning pot which I've used with a 15 qt stockpot. The canner goes over the big 13" hob, the 15 qt over the 9", but both are a little off center. There is power to spare so both pots heated up quickly. I think you could also have something large on the 7" front hob at the same time. I've never had 5 pots all going at the same time. 4 has been my maximum, though I have had something resting on the 5th element not being used at the same time. I have difficulty keeping track of more than this. Hope this makes sense to you.

My pots are similar to yours, a mix of stainless clad and enamelled cast iron. I also have carbon steel and bare cast iron. It doesn't matter, induction works fine with all of them.

Cheryl

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:12AM
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lwerner

Thanks, Cheryl. That's really helpful!

Laura

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:56AM
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gwgin

I recently saw an item online on Gorenje XtremePower induction cooktop: NoLimits, and XpandZone. The accompanying photo showed 7 pots on the cooktop. Not clear, as to which model the photo applied, and haven't had time to research further. Also, probably not available in the US, but at least it shows us that it's not just a pipe dream.
http://www.appliancist.com/?start=15

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 12:22PM
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lalithar

I think you do not really need zone less. Any of the models with regular induction will really please you.. One thing I would say is to please go and try some to make sure you like the interface.. Miele has a different interface than wolf which is different from Gagg with its knob. Some of them go up and down by half points versus full points.. So that changes how fine tuned the power is. Also the timer is a great function.. You can add rice or pasta and just set the timer for that hob to 8 mins or 20 mins and it will turn off automatically. At least one large hob with power boost is great..

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:30PM
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gwgin

I recently saw an item online on Gorenje XtremePower induction cooktop: NoLimits, and XpandZone. The accompanying photo showed 7 pots on the cooktop. Not clear, as to which model the photo applied, and haven't had time to research further. Also, probably not available in the US, but at least it shows us that it's not just a pipe dream.
http://www.appliancist.com/?start=15

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 2:33PM
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dutty

I think I'm for sure tossing the idea of zoneless... I don't find it worth the price. Maybe in 5 years or so, when there is true zoneless (any pot, any where, as many as you want) it would be but who knows.

Now, about the interfaces, none really scream to me simply because the knobs on a gas range are what I'm used to. In addition, my appliance stores don't have power run to the units so I can't get a real feel. The zoneless Therm had power but it felt slow to respond as it worked to recognize pots so I'm not sure its a true test.

Are there any units that drive people crazy from an interface perspective? The Wolf seemed easy because it's just a plus or minus to increase heat. That said, the Wolf didn't have two adjacent burners of the same size to put my griddle so it may be out. I suppose I could use mismatched burners but I would think that would lead to non-uniform temps over the surface?

Thanks for the help everyone!

gwgin - that unit you posted is AWESOME! Of course, it's not available here. I wonder why such a "simple" appliance can not be made or imported here. Blech.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:17PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

Don't want to hijack, but would like to ask Jadeite about the canning pot-- seems like one of the things I've read on the "con" side of induction was that it is not optimal for canning? Not that I do a lot of it, but I want to be able to!

I'm in the same boat as Dutty-- finding it hard to evaluate interfaces, when they are all sort of unfamiliar compared to knobs. It's probably more important that I can operate them without my reading glasses!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:42AM
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jadeite

lori - I was canning in a boiling water bath. You can find many induction-ready BWB canners which will work well. You can use a stockpot if you're canning a small amount.

The problems with canning and induction come from pressure canners. Right now, the only approved pressure canners are Presto, American Standard and Mirro. All of them are aluminum so will not work on induction cooktops. There is a Fagor pressure cooker which is stainless and works with induction, but there is no gauge and no way to know what the internal pressure is. Some people feel confident about using it, others don't.

Does this help?

Cheryl

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:28AM
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dutty

I don't can but if you only can once in a while, couldn't you use one of those induction disks that transfer heat from the cooktop to the pot. Someone here on Gardenweb mentioned them. It defeats the purpose of induction but it basically turns the burner into a standard electric one. Would that work with canning?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:34AM
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lori_inthenw_gw

Yes, that helps. I'll look into it more when I get to that point-- first we have a house to build and then a garden, but good to know I will still have options!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:49AM
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jadeite

dutty - I've used induction disks. They work, but are very inefficient. I wanted to be able to use my collection of anodized aluminium pots. It's so slow that I gave up and just bought new pots. I have an outdoor gas burner which I use for pressure canning. It's fast, cheap and I don't worry about damage to the ceramic surface of our induction cooktop.

Cheryl

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:08PM
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blueglassblues

I'd like to hijack back to brands of induction cooktops - I purchased a Jenn-Air 36" induction cooktop (5 zones, 2 bridges on L & R sides)... but in these threads I hardly hear anyone speak of them. Obviously Therm & Gagg are high end and presumably great units... I would have thought JA would be a close second, but any thoughts (constructive) would be appreciated! I have not begun using it - I found an open box unit @ half price - haven't even ordered the cabinets yet - but jumped at it. And now wondering whether I made a mistake...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:05PM
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dutty

@blueglass - I saw that unit and thought it looked great with the bridges. I don't think you can really make a mistake with induction... even lower end units (which Jenn-Air is not) do a good job I think! My only issue is that with the appliances I needed, I was looking at units that fit in a package. Never thought I would get a package but it is so enticing.

I, too, would love to hear thoughts on that unit. What was the original price on that unit? And you got it for half off?...awesome!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:59PM
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blueglassblues

dutty - once I get it installed, etc., I will report back on how it functions. I've never had induction but am excited to try it. The original price was listed at $2099 I believe (though JA doesn't publish list price, right?), and I got it for $999! So fingers crossed it actually works (guaranteed to from the store - Sears), since it is a cooktop and has to be built in... I was just curious because there haven't been many folks weighing in on that particular brand or model!

Thanks again -

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:54PM
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lwerner

> One thing I would say is to please go and try some to make sure you like the interface

Definitely. I had a chance to play with a Thermador 36" induction unit (CIT365KM) a couple of weeks ago and liked the user interface. It doesn't have the super-fancy touch screen like their zoneless cooktop does, but I don't think I really need a touch screen on my cooktop (or my fridge, or ....).

The unit also did a nice job boiling water, though the store didn't have a very large pot for me to use. Next time I'm over there I'm going to bring a big stock pot and maybe a fry pan and put the thing through its paces a bit. If it works well, I'll probably buy their CIT365KBB, which is basically the same thing but black and border-less. (It helps that I can get a big discount on Thermador; otherwise I'd be looking more carefully at other brands too.)

Thanks for all the good information. This is a !

Laura

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:46PM
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dutty

Laura - That "great thread" link made my day!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 7:51AM
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mominator61

Bluegrassblues - I stumbled upon your older thread today but would really like to know how your JennAir worked out! I am looking at that very same model, and also did not find much written about it. It seems to be a good configuration and a good price point. It also seems somewhat flush - I'd like to place my cast iron griddle over two burners, but haven't done any measuring yet to see if it would hang over the edges. Does it make any noise - as I've read about some other brands? What do you like or dislike about it?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:42PM
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