Induction cooktops

DuvelDecember 5, 2013

I'm in the process of figuring out a "plan B" if I can't swing a 36" Bluestar cooktop for my new kitchen. I hear lots of people saying they like cooking via induction. I have never used it but am considering it as a less expensive option vs. the BS. Any recommendations on induction cooktops out there?

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Duvel: "I hear lots of people saying they like cooking via induction. I have never used it but am considering it as a less expensive option vs. the BS. Any recommendations on induction cooktops out there?"

You'll find a lot of recommendations on this forum using the search function. With one or two exceptions, there does not seem to be much difference, brand-to-brand, on reliability or durability, so the choice comes down to features: number of burners, size of burners, whether burners can be bridged, touch controls vs. knobs, front vs. side placement of burner controls, number of steps on the burner controls, temperature control through thermostats, timed auto shut-off, cooling air vents undercounter or above counter at the rear, etc.

For us, the most important feature (because we were replacing an existing cooktop that fit over a kitchen tools drawer) was thickness (how much height the cooktop consumed under the counter) and required clearances under the counter; that led us to the pancake-thin LG LCE30845. But other users have different priorities; only you can know what is more important and what is less important for you.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 1:49PM
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For future reference, how much is the BlueStar model you're considering?

Both high-output gas & induction have aspects that may present hidden costs. The waste heat produced by a high-output gas cooktop could potentially increase your venting requirements and/or your kitchen temperatures. Kaseki has made useful posts on venting, including this...

Induction will likely require a dedicated 240v/50amp line. If you don't already have that you will need an electrician to run that line. Also, your existing cookware may not be induction compatible. You can test it by trying to stick a magnet to the bottom. Generally, if it doesn't stick, it won't work.

Personally, I like gas, but love induction. It is so much faster than gas, it doesn't heat up the kitchen and it is very responsive. But I don't use woks & don't plan to sell my house soon. If you would like to do either you might lean towards gas.

For comparing induction units, I agree with Herring_Maven with respect to paying attention to the required venting and clearances above & below counter. These can vary significantly from maker to maker.

I'm not sure that there's good statistics for you on reliability/durability; that's not exactly the same as all brands being the same. I'd suggest investigating the warranties the manufacturers write for each product, rather than brand reputation. There are few makers marketing more brands (e.g., Electrolux makes Kenmore, Jenn-Air & Kitchenaid are the same, etc.).

Also, for induction, pay attention to the controls. They are difficult to evaluate before purchase as these units are usually not available live for you to try before you buy. Some of the touch controls can be finicky. See post "Feedback on Induction Cooktops w Knobs."

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 11:25PM
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Ed doesn't think there are stats re durability and long range use but that applies to popularity in the US. Induction has long been used in Europe and Asia. Even Consumer Reports hardly mentions induction.

Almost all induction users love their cooktops no matter the brand. The biggest or only complaint is if their unit clicks, noise-wise. They still love induction.

There is a slight learning curve re touch controls on induction. You have to gently lay your finger on the control. It is counterintuitive-when you press hard it doesn't work. I cussed my Bosch and faulted the Bosch in my mind-for a while-til I got the hang of it. My 22 yr. old daughter caught on right away, and loves induction. Expensive mfrs like Gaggenau have knobs, perhaps lower priced, too.

For me, underneath clearance was the deciding element. I wanted cabinetry with a utensil drawer under the cooktop and Bosch has little or no required clearance.

Cleanup is such a breeze. You spray non ammonia window cleaner, I use Sparlke, swish, wipe and you are done. No grates to clean. A matter of seconds. We love this feature. I have a gas stove in a beach cottage and there simply is no contest. Cannot even compare to gas.

Some people here have been annoyed at clicking sounds some units make. Do a search on google for sounds+induction+gardenweb+clicking. It varies by type of pot used and amount of power(heat) and manufacturer.

Another difference between mfrs. is turn off timers. You can set a time to turn off a hob so you can shut off the rice, or actually, the hob will shut itself off after say, 17 minutes. Bosch and Miele and perhaps others have this feature. I love this feature on my Bosch. I think this is also a standard on even the lowest priced Bosch and Miele.

Re cookware-there are many, many wonderful pans and pots for induction in the $20-30 range. Many. Ikea, Costco(Kirkland), TJMasrshall's, Macy's house brand. I have them all except for Costco. Buy only those advertised as induction capable, altho most of us did shop with magnets. I was thrilled to replace my old crummy pots.

And Ed, if you get a 30 inch induction cooktop, you need a 40 amp line, for most manufacturers, not 50. 50 is for 36 inch wide units.

Do a google search for pllllog+induction+gardenweb. "p"+three els +og. She installed both gas and induction in her gorgeous kitchen. She also designs kitchens. She used to hang out here.

You can wok with an induction capable wok or actually without it (my Shanghai born dil woks on a smoothtop). You cannot char peppers, unless you use a lighter and brandy. Plllog has a post or few about what you cannot do on induction. Also, check out Jadeite, herrringmaven and cj47. many others.

The individual induction cooktops selling for around $100 on Amazon can introduce you to induction. They max out at 1800 watts, require no special wiring and are fun but cannot compare to a regular cooktop.

I wrote a mini-treatise on power sharing. Search for it. For some reason, before we buy induction we get hung up on power sharing and read lots about it. It is so not a big deal. It only applies to using the 'boost' feature which we do to get to a boil. We don't need 'boost' to maintain a boil.

Ed, what unit do you have? Manufacturer? Thanks. I am not condescending.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Oh, Ed, I saw the other thread. You are the owner of that new Gaggenau. I hope you are enjoying it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:23PM
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And Ed, if you get a 30 inch induction cooktop, you need a 40 amp line, for most manufacturers, not 50. 50 is for 36 inch wide units.
Good thing - because my Bosch 30" is being installed this week, and 40 amps is what we have!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Westsider & SJHockeyFan:

Ok, on 30" requiring less amps. Original post referred to 36" cooktop so my assumption was that was size for comparison to 36" Blue Star.

Reliability/durability comment related to comparing among induction brands, not gas vs induction. That said I doubt that's a contest. Gas must win that hands down; what's to break?

I agree w/ Westsider re inexpensive induction cookware. T-fal has inexpensive copper-core induction cookware online ("ultimate stainless" c798sc64, 12 pieces for $100). I have one of those pans that works fine, as well as several aluminum-core T-fal & Belgique. Pricier All-Clad (magnetic stainless) works a bit better than t-fal, though it's tough to notice difference without a fancy thermometer. Le Crueset (expensive) & cast iron (cheapest of all) work best; nevertheless we mostly use stainless for other reasons (light & not seasoned so goes in dishwasher). So differences in pan performance generally aren't noticeable for everyday purposes.

Agree w Westsider re getting a cheap countertop induction plug in for trial. We tried that before converting to induction, then lent it to a friend that has since gone induction.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Ed, you are right about the size, I am looking for a 36" top. I'm considering the Bluestar RGTNB366BV1 (six burner rangetop) but between the price and the necessary venting requirements, may cut it down to the Bluestar RBCT365BSS (5 burner cooktop). I've never cooked on induction but did get a chance to see how fast it heated up water at a recent demo. Space in general isn't a big issue. Since we are doing a complete remodel, we get to build it however we like it.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:02PM
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AJMadison quoted me $2,046 for the five-burner Bluestar model you cited above. There are a few 36" induction models at or below that price (e.g., Electrolux, GE, Fagor (going out of business), Frigidaire, KitchenAid). But the difference isn't so great I'd call it materially less expensive than gas.

If cost is the deciding factor then maybe estimate installation cost (i.e., determine whether gas or electric cheaper to run). That may trump small differences in appliance prices.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:40PM
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westsider, don't mean to hijack,but would like to know the depth of your top drawer under Bosch. Read a long thread on the topic, but still trying to figure out what to do! (I asked the question on the older link below if anyone wants to chime in.)

Here is a link that might be useful: misleading drawer depth discussion

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 4:52PM
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I was considering the same options when building our home - BS 36" 6-burner or induction. In the end we went with the BS and are very pleased. So much so that my wife, two days ago, said I hit the nail on the head with the BS gas unit. We are not very concerned that boiling water may take slightly longer and we have had no issues with excessive heat in the kitchen even with our hot NC summers. I also prefer the aesthetic nature of the gas unit over induction.

With that said, induction is a great technology and would have worked for us so either way, it was a winning situation. The tough part is making the choice!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 11:51AM
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