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Induction cookers vs. Gas

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
We're looking at changing our electric stove top from electric (yuk) to either induction or to gas. I personlly prefer gas but my husband (not a cook by any description!) seems to think the induction style is comparable.

What do you think? I've never used the induction style - wondering if anyone out there has, and how well it goes, i.e. can you do asian style cooking on top, and how fast is the heat up & cool down time as compared to gas.

Any advice/comments would be very helpful - thanks :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #2 of 59
Just responding to this so this post gets bumped to the top as I would also like to hear from others with advice on this topic. I have an electric stove top at the moment but much prefer gas, but would like to hear from others regarding an induction cooktop.
Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
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Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
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post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 
Jeny,

I don't think its working :(

DC :crazy:
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #4 of 59

Induction cookers vs. Gas

I researched Induction Cooktops when I decided I wanted a portable single burner while the kitchen was being renovated top to bottom. My still-not-finished kitchen will have a Bluestar range (gas), but I expect to use this pricey little unit even then.

Sticker shock aside, these are the greatest things since sliced bread.

Some people factor in the fact that you can't use your Copper Pots and Pans. Me, I expect to use mine when the Bluestar goes in, meantime I'm happy using my magnetic pots.

My first induction unit was a used Cooktek 3500 watt. I bought it from a bankrupt caterer in Manhattan in December who posted it on Craigslist; she donated an old cast iron fry pan and a pot that she didn't need, which was incredibly nice of her, and lowered the price of the Cooktek so I could afford it. I had looked for about 3 months at that point (new technology to me, and I research everything thoroughly before I ever make a move) and I could not believe how lucky I was. Then I got it home and realized I would need special wiring to use it (220 volt). Contractor explained the house electric situation and I reluctantly put it in storage, then went a-hunting again, this time for a 110-volt portable unit with the max 1800 watts.

The 3500 watt unit boiled a saucepan of water in under 3 minutes. I don't even think my gas stove would have done that. This 1800 watt unit took 8 minutes to do the same thing. I am pleased as punch with that performance; my old White Westinghouse radiant electric unit took 3 HOURS to boil water for spaghetti. Now I don't have to wait for the kitchen to be done (years away, that finale) to make my first lobster - before my daughter graduates from high school. Yippee!

These units are so badly marketed I can't believe it. They are amazing in their energy efficiency (all those prototype houses of the future use induction technology). They heat up in a flash. What you can't do: roast Red Peppers (my favorite Corn Chowder recipe calls for Red Pepper Puree).

Downside: These do not come cheap in the U.S. Go figure. I'm told they are common in Europe; here, no one knows what you're talking about. The used Cooktek I bought (above) for $300 from the very sympathetic and rushed ex-Caterer retails for around $1500 new. Viking sells one for about $500. My cheaper one I purchased on Amazon.com and it WAS 1800 watts. I am going to buy another one -- one for each floor.

Bottom line: You'll be very happy with a high watt induction unit. If you can "install" a 3500 watt unit, get that one; if 1800 watts is your max, don't buy a 1200 watt unit (these are a lot cheaper than their wattier counterparts, but the counterparts don't heat water so well). Because they are so misunderstood, used models of portable inductions are put up for sale all the time; last winter, Sears had their only model on sale (too big for my kitchen). If however you have money to burn, the fact one of these costs more than my last car won't faze you a bit.
post #5 of 59
I've used induction cookers at other people's houses and if you like to cook don;t get one. They are not flexible. You have to use a specific kind of pot, you can;t toss the pot as you cook, you have to be too careful.
So it boils water quickly, a good gas fire, when the person installing it knows how to set the fire to its best efficiency, (and if you get a stove where there are, say, 5 burners and one has a double ring) you can boil water quickly enough.
Don't get it if you like to cook.
There are so many inventions and gadgets out there designed by people who really don;t use them. My brother has a huge kitchen, about four times as big as mine or more, with all the highest technology items in it. But he and his wife don;t cook. Sure, the induction stove looks pretty, in a high tech sort of way (not my taste but i can see the appeal) and his island is so big you could do the prep for a whole army there (but it takes ten minutes to get to the other side). All designed by an architect (who, himself doesn't cook either).
The only thing they use is the microwave.
So, if you're a person who likes to cook don;t get an induction stove. get gas.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 59
I've used induction stove tops and gas. Induction is great for keeping clean, but gas has a more instant response when you turn it up or down.
post #7 of 59
I prefer a gas stove.
post #8 of 59
I disagree.

First of all, my wife and I always had gas cooktops and loved them. They work great.

Ten years ago we moved from Wisconsin to a part of Florida where there is no natural gas distribution. I was too cheap to install a big propane tank so we cooked on an electric top for eight years and hated it every time. Two years ago we installed a compromise cooktop. It's a Viking with two induction burners and four radiant burners.

It is not inexpensive. These cooktops come close to three grand with custom installation and, at least in our case, several hundred more in All-Clad SS pots and pans.

How well does induction work? It's fantastic! It will boil ANY quantity of water faster than gas, and unlike a previous post or two, it is much more responsive when you want temperature change. This is because the gas grates are both slower to heat and slower to cool. There is a learning curve but it's no big deal.

We are planning on building a house in Wisconsin in the next two years and have decided to have two cooking stations in the kitchen we will design, a four burner gas and a two burner induction. In our opinion, the best of both worlds. :cool:

Buzz
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
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Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #9 of 59
I had the pleasure of working in Europe a few years ago. At that time (1995) there were virtually no gas burners to be found anywhere in commercial kitchens. The industry has moved to Induction and Combi-ovens almost exclusively. The best advise I received when I was starting to use the Induction was: cover your induction top with cloths so it will be easier to clean until you get used to the speed. It was so true! Product was finished in less than 1/2 the time that gas took, and we won't get into electric (useless in my opinion). The cloths were a huge plus as I had several pots boil over before I had a chance to turn back to the induction top. Two years ago, my former chef came to Canada for a visit and came and saw me at work. He was aghast at the "stone age" conditions of the kitchen as we were still using gas. 'Nuff said.
post #10 of 59

Introduction to Induction !

Good Morning Dc Sunshine. I have used both Gas and induction over the last 8 years mostly on a small scale .The best advice i can give is ,you must give it a go yourself have you a friend ,or will they give you a go down at Harvey Norman ? ( some of the shops are set up to do cooking demo's)
Here are a few things to make it more confusing !

Pro's
Easy to clean , if you get one you will think why did i not get one years ago .
Looks sexy and updates your property .

Instant heat

Heats super fast ,cools down quicker ie stove top

Won't give of heat ,unlike gas thats heats up your whole kitchen ( When your in a kitchen with 8 gas stoves you'll know what i'm talking about)

No naked flames

Cleaner fuel ?

Con's

People (alot of chefs ,included won't even consider it because its not Gas !) Style over content etc

You need high quality stainless steel pans ,which is not a bad thing ,the thicker the bottom the better .I think the pans are just as important as the knives ( almost )

I had to replace the induction pad on a stove it cost $500 bucks this was on a meile top ,meaning gas tops parts are cheaper .

I have a niggle about saftey , remember when microwaves fiirst came and everybody though you would get cancer ! Induction uses some sort of elecro-magnatism .Worth a bit of research.
Neeless to say i have one anyway.

My wife also a chef loves it and actually cooks more which is a bloody miracle!




hope this helps h
post #11 of 59
I hate to admit, but

I confused induction stoves with smooth-top electrical.

Perhaps that was obvious. Error noted on my part for sure. I know what induction is, studied college physics for a year, and didn't know this thread was referring to that. I've never even seen an induction cooker. OOPS.
post #12 of 59

Induction Cookware

Since my new condo (currently being remodeled) has no gas, I've opted to go all-induction (since I dislike regular electric immensely). My understanding is that normal stainless steel cookware will NOT work with an induction cooktop. The pot or pan must be magnetic, and unless it's some sort of clad, SS pots and pans won't work. Does anyone have any recommendations (maybe a brand) for cookware? Is there any made specifically for induction cooking?
post #13 of 59
I want to second what Haggis said, the quality of pan is important.
You don't want a pan that becomes slightly warped.
It's very important to have good contact for the stove to work properly.

We used to have a fine dining restaurant here, which was later remodeled to become a Poker Room.
Whatever.
Anyhow, it was a small kitchen, and my second would stand and wait to plate food, as they couldn't get near the stoves.
So I picked up a portable induction unit, and they got to do the vegetables.
Free'd up one of my 4 burners, and made them feel more useful.
I loved it, but it was tempermental.
You know in a pro kitchen sometimes the pans get abused, and we had a couple of pans in the rotation that didn't always maintain good contact with the stove.
We figured out which were the offending pans in short order, but at first, during service, it was a pain.

Get one, you'll like it.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #14 of 59
Disagree. When I have a full pot that might boil over and make a mess I insulate it from the cook top with a dish towel or paper towels. This action does not affect the heating of the cookware.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #15 of 59
Hmmmm....if that's true, then we must have picked up an inferior model.
Thanks for the info.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #16 of 59
Buzz, you obviously have an induction cooktop. (I’ve even heard of people putting a dishtowel under their pots to keep the cooktop from getting scratched). So what kind of cookware do you use? Anything specific? Or can I figure on using anything as long as it’s magnetic?
post #17 of 59
The stove top is a Viking 36" with 4 radiant burners and 2 induction burners. I use All-Clad stainless steel pots and pans and Lodge cast iron. I have one Lodge pot that does not work, apparently because of its small size. The top is 5" in diameter but the bottom is only 2 1/2" and it does not work on either induction burner. The larger Lodges and all of the All-Clads are a joy to use. Temperature control is better than natural gas.

I'm hooked. :smoking:
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #18 of 59
I have an induction cooktop and that is exactly what the manual states---as long as a magnet will stick to the bottom, you are good to go. But there may be a minimum size--mine is a minimum of 4.5 inches bottom diameter.
post #19 of 59
I am a huge fan of induction and will sing its praises , but now find my self hoping to build an enviromentaly friendly house and one of the many many conditions of planning are that it must be all gas ! (kitchen oven and stove)
Even with the fact that electricty is generally a cleaner full ( except here in Australia where most of the power comes from coal ,which i suppose makes it a coal powered stove !) After years of wiping down gas stoves ,then finding how easy an induction stove is to clean ,even when it boils over all the time .
I used a top end viking in the US on a number of occaisions and found it to be a monster ,it was just so powerful .
post #20 of 59
Who imposes that requirement? It doesn't make sense, from an energy consumption point of view. The efficiency of gas range tops is pretty poor. About 50 or 60 percent of the heat they produce ends up directly heating the room, and not the pot. So a 15,000 BTU/hour burner (probably what was on that viking) is dumping 7500 BTU/hour into the house, that does nothing except cause heat (and 7500 BTU/hour worth of work for the air conditioning in the cooling season.) Induction is much better, about 80 to 90% efficiency. (A bit more than 90% is what you'd get if what you cooked were perfectly flat lumps of iron. Not very tasty!) To get 7500 BTU into the food, you'll need about 9375 BTU/hr from the induction cooker. There are about 3413 BTU in a kW, so a 2750 Watt burner is the same effective source. The gas burner will require a substantial fraction of those 2750 watts to remove its waste heat, in the form of an air conditioner.

When you're not cooling, the gas range isn't quite as bad, as the heat it produces is heat the heating system doesn't have to provide.
post #21 of 59
I had an Elan (Ilve) gas cooktop for 10 years. It had the same burner set-up as the modern Ilve 90cm with one 18,300 BTU wok burner, 3 other gas burners, and a long middle burner for poaching and grilling. It had big and heavy iron grates as opposed to the recent Ilve flimsy system.

After visiting Europe and befriending and visiting a chef's house in Belgium I noticed he was cooking on a De Dietrich DTI309x induction cooktop. It had 5 burners: 2 x 2200 watts, 2 x 3200 watts, and a large center burner at 3,600 watts.

I asked him if his restaurant used induction and he replied-"We use both gas and induction".

He anticipated my next question and I'll put into my words what he said----"Greg, as far as residential cooking and a couple of minor issues, a good induction hob kicks gas to the curb". "It keeps the kitchen cool, it boils water far faster-hence steaming veggies and cooking pasta is a snap". "It simmers wonderfully with no danger of the flame going out, it pan fries far faster and since the pan is the only thing that gets hot the kitchen stays cool and drips don't bake on the ceramic surface". "With gas, you can turn it down but the grates stay very hot---not so with induction, the temperature changes when you change it". Now obviously the pan at 400 degrees with gas or induction takes the same time to cool down, but only if you put the gas heated pan on an unused and unheated grate. "

"I'd still rather stir fry on a 50-60K BTU gas flame and roast veggies and grill on gas". "But as you see I have an extra gas hob for grilling and a big gas burner I put outside under the overhang for stir frying" Unless you are cooking for one or two an induction wok burner just isn't big enough, but the performance for one or two people is just as good."

"In the near future they will have large 5K and more induction hobs that don't back-off on heat for stir frying due to new fuzzy logic controls coming out that will allow the hob to get over 600-700 degrees for about 5 minutes, which is all you need for a great stir fry". "I also hear it won't be long before there are not only bridgeable burners, but that you will be able to use any size pan or pot and the cooktop will automatically circumscribe a lit circle around the pot and the red light will get brighter or dimmer depending on how hot you are cooking."


"Greg, you must understand in the restaurant we pay people to clean up the mess of gas cooking and the scorch marks on pans". "With induction, people at home don't have to suffer with all that clean up and polishing"

After cooking a few things at Jacques house I got sold.

I live in the south where you can always grill seafood, meats, and veggies outside and I already have a turkey fryer (very southern and inexpensive) set-up that gets up to at least 50K BTU's which does stir frying quite admirably.

For many people in a colder climate and with the room I would get at least a 2 burner induction hob (if not 4) and install an indoor gas grill hob and either a gas wok hob or an induction wok hob from Cooktek or some other reputable company.

Greg
post #22 of 59
Thanks for the reply .Very informative ,We won't have air conditioning either (not allowed ) but we will build so as not to need in the first place ,even if it is sub -tropical here. Its all to do with passive solar ? my wife can talk for hours on the subject.The house we are hoping to build has to go threw very strict design codes and meet very rigerous green construction codes .
post #23 of 59
Air conditioning is my biz

In Australia, if you want to keep a building cooler with no A/C you might consider a light coloured roof and perhaps light coloured outside paint, attic venting for sure, night time air venting, bias your window area to the south side rather than north, and a slab concrete foundation (though probably too late for that if you don't have it already).
post #24 of 59
You might even consider a water sprinkler system on the roof--it doesn't take much water to make a difference.
post #25 of 59
One thing you must also bear in mind is the "special pots" that must be used on an induction burner. There has to be a concentration of at least 13% iron in order for the pot to be able to be used on an induction burner. Now this is not a bad thing if your pots meet this standard, OR! best case scenario is if you have some cast iron pots in your arsenal that is pretty much awesome. Actually here is a little tip, if you have one large cast iron pan you can use it on an induction burner to heat it up and use it as a heat diffuser.
Since cast iron distributes heat so evenly (although this is also why it takes longer to get hot) you can then put other pots/pans inside of it and use it like that if your pans have hot spots which many do. Just some food for thought:chef:
post #26 of 59

get induction

my restaurant has just been refitted with the new drop in bench induction cooktop in place of 6 burner gas cooktop. the heat in the kitchen has dropped dramatically. the cooktop turns itself off if there is no pot on the sensor. you can have a very not pot on the go take it directly off the element then put your hands straight on the element and it is warm to touch but not hot. the heat up and cool down is instantanious at least twice as quick as gas. 1 litre of iced water takes about 1min 30secs to boiling point and instantly to simmer. after only 1 week of using this new equipment i recommend it to anyone it will pay for itself in no time.
post #27 of 59
After using gas all my life I moved to Florida 10 years ago and all we had was radiant electric and I hated it. I switched to induction last year and it's all I'm ever going to use in the kitchen. It's the best. Period.
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
Buzz - with a Short Pilot Story

One day, long, long ago there was this Pilot who, surprisingly...........
was not full of crap....
But it was a long time ago.... And it was just one day. The End
Reply
post #28 of 59
While I'm all for green building, and energy efficiency -- the house I live in has 16 inches of fiberglass insulation in the walls, and twice that in the roof, which is three times what's typical in the area, and 10 times what was code at time of construction -- mindless rules like "no electric cooking" are just that, mindless. It's a very tricky thing to get right. The carbon cost of cooking with gas is fixed, more or less. A BTU of gas now is going to generate the same amount of CO2 today and in the future. With electricity, that's not the case. A BTU from electricity today, which in the US at least, don't know about oz, is likely to come from coal generates a certain amount of carbon. In the future, that cost can change. If you manage to source your power from a carbon neutral or carbon negative source, it goes down.
post #29 of 59
The source of any electric power is very important.

For example, if you have an electric car, you may be charging it from a coal plant. Looks clean on the road, but the source of the power isn't clean at all. So you are using "dirty" power, even though the dirt isn't coming out the tail pipe. It might be coming out a smokestack somewhere else.

If your power source is natural gas, it's pretty much clear what your "carbon footprint" is. It is often better than electricity.

Electricity can be one of the cleanest power sources, depending on how it's generated. Consider the geothermal electric plant as at Chena Hot Springs in Alaska--that is about as clean as it gets.
post #30 of 59
As far as Carbon footprints, a big advantage of induction is that since it mainly heats the pan it is between 80-90% useful and efficient heat. Regular electric or radiant and gas are far less efficient, more than 50% of gas heat goes out into the kitchen, so you need roughly twice the Natural gas for the same heat output of induction. On a 15,000 BTU gas hob i would imagine only 7,500 BTU's get absorbed by the pan and the rest gets deflected out into the kitchen air or up the hood vent. Also you will never get Carbon Monoxide generation from induction--only from faulty or incomplete gas combustion.

Any magnetic pan will work on induction. Obviously the best will be cast iron (such as a whole range of Lodge or Wagner pots and pans) along with enamel coated La Creuset, will also be excellent. But Demeyere, All Clad, Sitram, and a bunch of other companies make stainless pots and pans that are either suitable for or designed for induction. You can even buy pre-seasoned Lodge cast iron cookware now.

Some induction units make slightly more noise than others, but I find what really quits them down is a heavy Lodge cast iron fry pan or pot. Anything fairly heavy, which makes me think it is a high frequency pan-oriented buzz. Le Creusets have also been very quiet and even many of the stainless models.

These noises usually only occur at very high heat and aren't a bother for most people.

To really lessen your carbon footprint a couple of solar water heating panels are fairly inexpensive and I find in South Carolina I almost never have to turn on the back-up gas tank--maybe 5 times a year. And this is with baths, showers, washing, dishwashers, heating the house, etc. And most governments give a considerable tax break on these too.

Obviously photovolatic solarpanels that generate electricity are far more expensive and for most people would require at minimum a sizable tax break and more likely have the government paying for a considerable portion for you being mostly off the grid. They could make a deal where you sell excess electrical generation to the grid (which happens in many places) and the government gets 50% percentage of the money until they recoup a substantial amount of their investment.

Geothermal is also great and lasts far longer than heat pumps and usues far less electricity. In most of the world in you drill down 4-6 feet the soil temperature is about 50 degrees fahrenheit. To lay the amount of pipe you need if your property is fairly small requires drilling about 200 foot holes (about 2) for every 1,000 sq. feet of heated and cooled house. This will usually cost 3 times more than a very good HVAC heat pump system that operates using the outdoor air. The cheapest form of geothermal is if you live on at least a1/2 acre pond or larger--then you just lay the pipes on the bottom of the pond about 10 feet apart. The pond or lake has to be big enough so you don't have cooked fish, or at least sufficient water for efficient heat and cold transfer without effecting the body of water severely. These geothermal systems are are maybe 25%-50% more than standard heat pump HVACS --and they keep much better humidity control, much less electric use and last far longer than HVAC heat pump systems.

Pardon my digression from cooking into "greenery". But remember, when going green, get at least 3 quotes from different companies for the same type of systems.

Greg
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