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Buttonstc's avatar

Do you have any experience with induction cooktops? Is it a portable single unit or multi burners?

Asked by Buttonstc (23270 points ) October 10th, 2012 from iPhone

I’m considering getting a single unit and would be interested in any of the pros or cons which you’ve encountered.

I’m so tired of trying to cook decent eggs on an electric stove; and apparently induction units give you better control even than gas (in terms of rapidly reducing or increasing temperature).

What have your experiences been so far? I’d appreciate any advice you have for me. Thanks.

(And, yes, I am aware that they aren’t “burners” in the strictest sense of the word, but I didn’t quite know which term is used to describe multiple burners.)

:)

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18 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Thank you for teaching me a new term….I had no idea that it was called an induction cook-top. Yes, the partner and I have one. Before it, I had never used anything other than electric coil burners.

So far, I don’t see any cons to them. The pros are that they are more energy efficient, super easy to clean, and I really like having a separate oven installed in the wall at eye level instead of below the cook-top. They do heat up very quickly, but it still takes time for the surface to cool down.

rooeytoo's avatar

I didn’t know what it meant either, now I understand it is like a ceramic top stove. I have never used one but I would love to have one just for the ease of cleaning. Right now there is a DeLonghi gas type and I hate it. You can’t turn it down low enough to simmer a soup because when the gas is too low it goes out and you blow up the house. I would much rather have electric.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here is a link to information on induction cooktops compiled by one person in the market for one. I read through most of it. The only real con mentioned is that cookware needs to be metal….glass won’t work.

@rooeytoo This may be wrong, but the surface appears to be glass and not ceramic. It’s clear so that the burners underneath can be seen, plus the lights that show which burner is on and if the surface is still hot once turned off.

thorninmud's avatar

I’ve used a single-burner induction plate, not at home but in a commercial kitchen. My experience was almost entirely positive: instant temp control, no heat lost to the environment, no hot pan handles. There were occasional glitches where the plate didn’t seem to play well with the pot, even though it was the right kind of pot, but this was one of the earlier generation of induction plates.

We’re redoing our home kitchen at the moment, but I’m going with a gas range instead of induction simply because none of our pots and pans are induction compatible, and I don’t really want to trash them all and buy new stuff.

Judi's avatar

I have an induction cooktop and I like it a lot. I don’t cook to much though so I’m no expert.
Do they have a Melting Pot Restaurant near you? Most have induction burners on the tables. You might get a chance to have an amazing meal and see first hand how it works.
Mine has 4 “burners.”

janbb's avatar

I have one. The cooking is fine although I would probably still prefer gas. It looks great but one disadvantage is that if you spill something on the hot burners it will not always come completely clean. You can scrape off the burnt bits but sometimes the coils themselves get discolored.

Buttonstc's avatar

@janbb

Are you absolutely certain that your cooktop is induction?

From what you describe, it sounds as if you might have a radiant cooktop rather than induction. Both types have the glass tops so look quite similar to one another.

But from what I’ve been reading about induction, the burners don’t really get hot. It’s the pots which get hot; big difference.

Of course there is still some amount of heat transfer to the glass, but generally not enough to fuse foodstuffs to the glass top.

We currently have a radiant cooktop and cleaning up spills is horrible. Some people keep a razor blade next to their stoves for just that purpose.

The only difference between a radiant cooktop and a regular electric is that the coils are beneath the smooth glass top.but it’s still just an electric cooktop with all the disadvantages that electric carries with it (way way too slow to change temperature).

Personally, I’d rather spill on the exposed coils of a regular electric because the residue can just be burned off. With the radiant, youre stuck with a hell of a cleanup job.

To me, the only advantage of a radiant cooktop is that it looks more modern and “nicer”

(as long as you’re a no-spill cook)

:)

Judi's avatar

@Buttonstc is right. You can put a silk scarf between the pan and the burner on an induction cooktop and it won’t burn it.
I was a commercial appliance sales manager in the ‘80’s and we did that demonstration at trade shows. We also melted chocolate without a double boiler.

Buttonstc's avatar

What @judi mentioned reminds me of a tip I read.

Many people with induction tops use either a piece of paper towel or parchment paper beneath the glass and their pots ( silk scarves are admittedly an impressive look, but rather expensive :)

But the reason stated for using something between the pot and glass is to prevent any possible scratching from the pots, particularly cast iron.

You could never get away with doing that on a radiant cooktop or you’d have a doozy of a fire on your hands.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Judi

That must have been an interesting job.

Just for curiosity, other than looks, what other selling points could there have been for radiant tops?

I think they’re absolutely horrible and just create more work. I have absolutely no idea why my landlord made that choice. If I have to deal with regular electric (which I hate) I’d far rather deal with the exposed coils since you can see what’s going on much better.

Growing up, we always had a gas stove and that’s how I learned to cook.

I have NEVER satisfactorily made the adjustment to electric. It is so limiting.

Buttonstc's avatar

@rooeytoo

Sounds like your problem has an easy solution: Crockpot.

If one is stuck with electric, the only (half-assed) solution for cooking edible eggs is to have at least two burners simultaneously set to high and low between which you constantly switch the pan back and forth. Bleh:(

janbb's avatar

@Buttonstc Yes, I’m sure you’re right. Mine must be a radiant cooktop. The reason we got this stove is that at the time it was the only one with two ovens beneath it; now they make a gas model.

Buttonstc's avatar

@janbb

Have you tried using a razor blade (like what painters use on windows) to get off the stubborn stuff?

Lots of people write that it’s the only solution which gets the stuff off without damaging the glass (since you really can’t use anything too abrasive like Brillo pads or such).

Bet you wish you wish they’d had it available with gas back when you got it :)

But I understand the appeal of the double oven. I once rented in a house share with a two oven kitchen and as a bonus, they were at eye level height. So nice to avoid all that stooping.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Judi

I checked on locations for Melting Pot restaurants near me and to my delight found several within about an hours drive so I’ll def. take your suggestion and check it out.

There’s one on the same road as the Apple Store in Troy ( and I’m way overdue to get my new iPhone 4S ) so maybe I’ll kill two birds with one stone.

Thanks for the tip. Any recos on terrific menu choices?

rooeytoo's avatar

I am getting an education here, thank you. I have always used electric and have found it easier to control than gas because you can turn it low and just simmer. Crock pot might be okay but can you turn it up high to braise or brown before you want to just simmer? I have never owned a crock pot. I have always wanted a ceramic or glass top because of ease of cleaning now you tell me it is difficult! I think cleaning this gas stove is a pain, the grill things are annoying, the pots tip and don’t sit level. This induction top sounds really good to me. If you get one, let us know how you like it, I am intrigued now!

Buttonstc's avatar

@rooeytoo

Firstly, let me clarify something about glass tops. There are two different types which look very similar but function very differently. Only one type is a PITA to clean.

They are only a pain to clean if they are RADIANT heat. This is because it’s still basically the same mode of action as a regular electric cooktop. The only difference is that the coils are covered by the glass.

Now, even tho its also a glass top, Induction is a totally DIFFERENT methodology involved and is SUPER EASY CLEANUP. It requires almost nothing more than wiping with a damp sponge or paper towel.
(unless grease is involved and then you just need to add some soap.)

Any spilled food will stick to the pot rather than the cooktop.

But even if you get food crusted on the outside of your pot, you can use an abrasive like a Brillo pad or Ajax since you’re dealing with metal rather than glass.

But the primary advantage of induction is the precision of temperature control and the ability to rapidly change heat levels; similar to using gas.

And you can simmer for long periods of time also at a stable temp with no problem.

I’m not really good at explaining technical stuff, but there’s plenty in Wiki and the rest of the web.

But, there are a few drawbacks for induction to consider. One is that induction is the most expensive option, especially for a multi-burner top. But the single units are more affordable.

They are especialy popular in Japan and other Asian countries where tiny apts and living spaces are the norm. Since you’re in nearby AUS. they may be less costly.

The other drawback to induction units is that you must use cookware that has magnetic properties such as cast iron or Stainless Steel. Basically if an ordinary refrig. magnet will stick to it, you’re good to go.

So that’s why I’m getting a single unit. The kitchen stove here is regular electric so I can use my other pots on that if temperature switching isn’t that important in what I’m cooking.

As far as Crockpots go, MOST have a ceramic inset so those require browning meats in a separate pan or under a broiler first. Even tho you can use ceramic containers in ovens at pretty high temps, subjecting them to the direct heat of a burner can crack them.

However, there are a few on the market which have a metal insert and those can be used for browning first before simmering. I’m pretty sure that one of them is made by Rival, the originators of the Crockpot. I’ll take a look around and post links when I’m on my tablet.

TRIVIA FACT OF THE DAY: Rival is the only company legally allowed to use word “Crockpot” to describe their product. Right from the get-go, they had their lawyers vigorously defending their trademark name.

So, even tho the word Crockpot has become ubiquitously generic for the populace as a whole (much like Kleenex and similar) any and all companies selling their own version, MUST use another term to describe their product (usually “Slow Cooker” )

Butl still, most of us call them Crockpots anyway and they can’t sue each and every one of us :)

rooeytoo's avatar

hehehe, thanks @Buttonstc for all the info. When we get back to our house or build a new one I am definitely going to opt for induction. It sounds great!

The crockpot sounds like too much trouble, I will continue to use the stove. I have a grill from an old barbique and I put that on top of the grill on the stove, that raises the pot almost far enough from the fire that it will simmer easily. So it works, it is just a pain.

Thanks again for all the info. Let me know how you like your induction burner!

Judi's avatar

@Buttonstc,
The Melting Pot is an experience! Expect to take 2 hours at least for your meal. You might want to call and make sure they use the induction burners. I went to one that didn’t.
Everything is great. Don’t skip
Dessert!!

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