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Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Posted by EstimatedEyes (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 29, 12 at 13:14

I thought we were all set -- a Blue Star or Capital 36" gas cooktop (4 burner + griddle), with a 2-hob induction in a secondary cookstation. Then we stumble on a Miele induction demo while looking at ovens (don't get me started on that one yet!), and start thinking maybe we flip it (5 induction/2 gas). Then I stumble on the Berta 3gas/2ind combi unit and, well back to square one. Haven't told the contractor yet, lol, but we still have a little time to decide.

Two questions keep coming up for me --

1. The experience of induction v gas. I know many who use induction just love it after a while, but to me it seems less intuitive than gas ... and then of course there's the fire, that I just love in cooking with gas. Gave up our 6-burner Dacor when we moved into this place to remodel, and been cooking on a 4-burner 1980s era electric POS since. Was drooling over the Blue Star for a while, and having a hard time getting my head around going with a 5-burner induction hob. Your thoughts/experiences might help.

2. OK, so say I've gotten over #1, then there's the question of WHICH hob to get. Had already narrowed it down (obsessive complusive that I am) to Miele, Electrolux Icon, Bosch, then found those Bertazzonis that look amazing ... love the steel knob v. glass touch controls (which feels to me like cooking on an Ipad). And then there's the Berta 3/2 combi in case I can't quite get over #1. Thoughts, experiences from any Miele, Bosch, Electrolux or Berta users also appreciated.

Talk amongst yourselves. Thanks in advance. :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

I can't wait to get rid of gas and move to induction (new home build). More precision and power than my meager cooking skills will ever need and, most importantly, wipe clean in seconds! No more scrubbing, scraping, clanking, weight lifting, etc. Also, a flat surface for temporarily putting stuff (groceries). Just don't see the rationale for gas anymore with the advent of this technology.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Sounds smart to have both, if you've got the room. But the balance between how many gas vs. how many induction hobs will depend on what and how you cook. You may want to think about this usage question more carefully.

As for the experience, you don't mention cleaning. That's an experience, of sorts. Do you have people who do that for you, so it doesn't matter? Induction is not at all like cooking on a 1980s era electric.

Another recent thread here (and many others, not so recent) discusses induction vs. gas experiences / preferences, as well as other threads on various induction brands; you may want to search (below) for these threads on this forum.

Where you live, and especially the reliability of your electrical power, may also be important factors. Its nice to be able to cook while the power is out for a week; if its hot where you live, induction is likely much cooler.

Zoneless induction looks like the next neato thing to come along, but I'm not sure when this will actually begin shipping in the US. It should allow you to cook with (magnetic) pans of any size/shape, anywhere on a cooktop. Do you have time to wait for that?

More specifics from you on these questions may allow people here to be more helpful.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Thanks guys. I've pretty much seen/absorbed most of the other posts here on induction v. gas, yet still have questions. Let me try to clarify.

I haven't had a chance to cook on an induction top yet, though I have seen them in action at demos. I think the real answer is to cook on them and get a feel for how it responds ... but that's hard to do. While I know induction is not like electric, it does seem that the experience is more like that and less like gas, but then maybe I'm just projecting. Its not the electric v gas thing, more the (apparent) lack of visual/sensory feedback that you get with gas. I tend to cook by feel, if that makes sense ... which is why my wife is the baker in the family. :)

We live in NorCal and have solar electric, so that certainly seems to favor induction. As does the weather and the clean-up. I already gave up my Lacanche dream due to weather (and space planning). And there's a sense that a Blue Star or Capital will look better in the 1928 home we're remodeling than a sleek/modern induction. But leaving the emotional responses out of it, the advantages of induction seem to be pretty great. Biggest question is with the buzzing sound at high temps, but from reports it seems that's a problem more with older units and/or thinner pots and pans.

As far as cooking styles, there does not appear to be a big advantage of one over the other since both can do pretty much anything you'd want to do on a stovetop, though my research suggests gas may be better at searing and induction at simmering ... but even with that said from what I can tell they are both pretty good at both. Thoughts?

As far as brands, probably the biggest question is with the new Bertazzoni models, as there are not a lot of reports out there on those yet. I like the control knobs on the Berta (and the Gagg!) vs. the touch screen controls like on the Miele, which also seem to be a little, well, touchy and difficult to operate. Don't know if that's a Miele-specific issue, or general to touch screen induction units.

And Berta has the gas/induction option, but the gas burners are sealed sted open (there's that cleaning question again!)

Not sure on the reliability of Electrolux v. other brands. Wolf seems to me to be overpriced as compared to other models. Haven't seen a Bosch in person, but people seem to like them.

Yeah zoneless would be great. Actually asked the Miele demo guy about when it was coming, and he gave a pretty non-specific response ... coming one day, not here yet.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Your clarification is helpful; thanks.

Rather than the gas fire, you watch the soup (or whatever). You sense the responsiveness of induction by seeing what's happening in your pot and how quickly that changes as you adjust heat settings. The feedback's different, but its more like gas than electric. Being able to actually cook on induction will really help you decide.

Having knobs might fit better with the decor of an older style home; looks may influence you toward gas. You might prefer searing a steak on an infrared gas burner vs. induction, but maybe you can do that outside.

Induction seems different enough (to me) that it represents an opportunity for a company to actually change their reputation status -- from mediocre to good, or the reverse -- by how they perform with a new induction appliance. For example, the most esteemed maker of CRT TVs may or may not emerge as the most esteemed maker of plasma, LCD, or OLED flat screen TVs; they're that different. Similarly, I'd be less tempted to buy Wolf induction (than, say, a Wolf gas range) just because Wolf made it, since there's less reason to expect Wolf's prior skills will translate across such a different technology. So I'm not sure a company's previous reputation warrants a considerably higher price on induction, at this point -- unless other aspects (features, customer service, warranty, etc.) still differentiate it from the competition, which they very well might. Of course, the most esteemed maker of induction cooktops probably hasn't had time to emerge yet. That said, there haven't been any complaints here re: induction reliability, so far. Its not clear to me how different the actual mechanics are (under the hood, so to speak) across brands.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

I was all set to move to gas from electric and then the induction question arose. I bought a side burner and experimented with it for about a year.
I planned on the elux - then heard that the elux scratched more than some others.
I considered the Miele, Jennaire, Kaide, GE but ended up going with the Wolf during their sale - it brought the price down just enough to justify the beautiful piece.
I also liked the burner arrangement on the Wolf better than some of the others.
If I had all the money in the world - I would go with the Gagg zoneless - not sure if you can get it stateside yet - but that was my first question when I started to look at induction - why do you need burners - just make the whole cooktop induction. So if you have $12+ grand - it is yours!
Can't wait to get it installed with the remodel. It is living at the appliance shop warehouse. I want to go visit it!

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

If you live in nor cal, you can do some trial cooking in several places on induction. University electric in Santa Clara will set you up with trial cooking on wolf and miele. You can set up some time with Purcell Murray in Burlingame to try gaggenau. Nothing like trying to cook a couple of you fave dishes to get the feel for induction. The user interface varies a lot between the different hits and you really need to try it to see what you prefer.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

The Induction Site suggests that many of the induction coils are the same across brands -- which explains Choc-Mool's point that all the brands seem to be about equally reliable. Differences show up in areas such as these:
sizes and placement of hobs
wattage of hobs (and overall)
power sharing (which only seems to be an issue when using the boost feature)
types of controls (e.g., Gaggenau's magnetic knob, Bosch's touch on the stainless strip)
timers and types of timers

We have a Bosch 36" (800 model). The touch controls are not terribly "touchy" -- since most of them are on the stainless strip. You directly select the power level instead of tapping from one level to another. The more important factors were hob placement & sizes. The arrangement on the Bosch worked best for the way we cook and the sizes of pans we use. Well, the Gaggenau has the same sizes and layout, but it was more than twice as expensive!

As to the buzzing. We do hear it for a brief while when first using either the highest power level or boost, but it doesn't last long.

You also asked about searing. We made lamb chops the other night. We seared them in a skillet and finished them in the oven. The searing worked just fine. You don't get the same sear as on a grill, but the chops were very tasty.

And, yes, for keeping a pot on a low (or even medium) simmer, our induction is far superior to the radiant cooktop we had before. It was a nice one; a Thermador. At low temperatures, it cycled the temp up and down, so we had to constantly watch whatever we were cooking.

In short, we are very happy with the choice of induction. But I echo other posters' advice about finding a way to try it for yourself.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Stick to Gas. You may loose electricity in your house but you can still cook.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Estimated: my vote is for gas. Here is why; you mention you cook by feel. I totally understand that, and in my opinion nothing compares to gas in this area. And then you mention you have a 1928 home. Unless you are renovating your home to be modern, the induction just looks wrong. It would look fine if you are going modern in your reno. I have a 1932 american colonial that I am wait, renovating isn't the rightword...I am rebuilding the entire interior but I am trying to stay as authentic as I can while still building into it the modern elements most people expect/demand now days. I am passionate about old homes, with the 20's and 30's being my absolute favorite era ever. I have experience with old homes. When I owned my own general contracting and interior design business I specialized in old homes. My work appeared on hgtv, and cbc(canadian broadcaster) as well as in house and home magazine (canada's largest home decore magazine).

Like you, I also drooled for a Bluestar. I watched garlands (same burner as bs) in action at a restaurant I went to with an open kitchen and watched the garlands on tv and just loved watching how much more fun it looked cooking on the garland burner than my then current viking.

I choose a 48" bluestar for my own project. I know a bs isn't exactely authentic looking, but it doesn't look "modern" and it blends in well with the utilitarian look that many kitchens had in that era. Martha Stewart has some good examples of (new) vintage look kitchens. There are many many other good examples as well.

Also would love more details about your 1928 home. Any pics..maybe in the kitchen forum?

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

Thanks everyone. Good ideas, lots to think about.

chac_mool -- the description of the cooking experience was helpful. thanks. Going to put a natural gas grill outside on the deck a few steps off the kitchen, so that may be my sear station anyway. Wish I had a spare $12K for the kalamzoo wood/gas hybrid, but I don't!

a2gemini -- hadn't heard about the elux scratching issue. thx. lalitha -- I'll check those places out. Thanks.

kashmi -- thanks for the input and experience. You're right about burner arrangement. Saw a miele (or was it a bosch?) at the showroom that had a bridge across two burners, which would be great for my big oval Le Creuset, but can't locate the model online. At the Miele demo, the chef was using the largest burner as a piano, with two pots on it at once. Miele doesn't recommend that, but he said so long as you have 1/3 or more of the pan on the element, you can use it for multiple pots (at the same temp, of course).

tyguy -- You captured everything that's pulling us in the other direction. I'm still on the fence, and the Bluestar is calling my name. Would look great with the Am. Range double ovens we're thinking about (gas w/ French doors above, electric with chef door below). Not so worried, AVman, about power outages, since I'll still have the grill out on the deck, and maybe a gas oven as well.

Will definitely post pics on the kitchen or remodeling forum once the project gets under way -- in addition to the kitchen, we are expanding a BR into a master and a downstairs area into a media room, and adding a larger deck and a dining room off the kitchen, overlooking the creek that flows behind our house.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

I can only speak for E'Lux experience. I have been using my E'Lux Icon 5 burner for just over a year and it has been wonderful. I cook a lot of different type of foods and the induction has been perfect for everything.

I have no scratches on the glass, didn't even know that might be a concern. Maybe I'm just more careful, I'd never set something so rough that it might scratch on it anyway.

Last Saturday night I made Filet Mignon, got a perfect sear and transferred to the oven in the same pan. Took it out of the oven, removed the meat to rest, put the pan back on the induction, added wine and mushrooms and brought back to a boil in a few seconds...well, less than a minute anyway. Added the meat back in a couple of minutes later, just to coat in the sauce then plated with mushrooms and a little more sauce... wonderful and fast.

No real clean up!!! I usually put paper towels under my pan when frying anything to catch splatter. I love always having a perfectly clean cooktop.

I've had electric coil and gas in the past and would hate to have to go back to either.

Hob placement was one of the reasons I went with the 5 hob Icon.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

One thought about induction looking too modern. (You may have seen these pictures before, but if not, I thought they might be helpful.)

Here's a link to Cotehele's wonderful kitchen (I hope it's ok to link to someone else's kitchen). As you can see, she's integrated the induction cooktop (here's is a Miele) into a definitely not-modern/contemporary look.

RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

The "Scratches" on the Elux, if any, were on the stainless steel frame that the older models had, and not the glass surface.

I have one of the models that does have that SS trim, about 2 years now. It does have a few minor scratches on the frame, which barkeepers friend would probably remove, but they just don't bother us that much and we really enjoy cooking with it.

We do have a "Ranging Inferno" DCS cooktop out on the patio, just a few steps from the kitchen, so if I'm in one of my "Gasser Moods", I don't have to go that far to use it, and "in fact" due to the weather here, the last couple of weeks (80's) Yep in January, I've been doing most of my cooking outside on the Barbie---for example, Salmon tonight!

Hope this clears up the "Elux Scratchin' Issues".!

Best thing is to think about the features you want on an induction cooktop---You need/want real timers??? Then you go with Miele or Bosch. You into knobs??? Then byte the bullet and go for the gaggenau.



RE: Induction v Gas - the closer we get, the harder the choice

I was on the fence as well, right up to the last minute. I ended up with induction. Over all I am very pleased - great responsiveness, no burn/scorch lows, high fast highs, kitchen stays cool - no "extra" heat generated, EASY cleanup - definitely a plus, no scratches except along the ss frame, and one tiny "craz" where I dropped my large Le Crueset lid. Definitely humming and clicking noted especially by my young daughter. I have a DIVA 5 burner with an extremely sensitive touch pad - one of the few negatives. On the other hand, if something boils over, the sensitivity turns into a plus as the unit shuts off. Sometimes I miss the ability to get the pans "crazy" hot like you can with gas and I miss having a grill. It is a slightly different sort of cooking and does take a slight bit of adjustment. However, for me, induction is perfect . I cannot overstate the ease of clean up and the responsivieness of the temp. I also like the fact that once the pan is removed there is no longer heat generated. If you forget to turn the burner off, it is no problem, as the unit turns itself off.

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