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Electric range questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

We've just moved, and the new place is not and cannot be set up with gas for cooking. The current stove is a standard 30" slide-in, and already I hate it. It has one of those glass tops, and I have identified several reasons I don't like it.


1. It's too flat, so a pan with even a slight rounding will not cook evenly, including my cast iron and most of my carbon steel.


2. There is no clear indication of whether a burner is hot or not, and because it's all just one black surface with circles drawn on it, it's much too easy to burn yourself.


3. Similarly, it's too easy to put a pot on the surface and have it not be quite on the burner.


4. The surface is going to scratch as a result of tossing skillets and using very heavy pots.


What I'm hoping is that people can tell me about types of electric rangetops that would be more suitable to someone used to passably vigorous cooking on a gas range.

post #2 of 8


Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Well, I suppose I could go that route, though it will obviously mean getting rid of my aluminum stuff. Do you have much experience with induction? I have a little induction fifth burner thing, but that's not the same as a rangetop. So my questions would be:


1. What am I looking at for price, roughly?

2. How does it behave with carbon steel?

3. I was under the impression that induction ranges were somewhat fragile, so tossing a pan and such would be a really bad idea. Is this wrong?



post #4 of 8

Most induction I've seen is a glass or ceramic top. It will scratch up yes. I personally am willing to live with that for the performance over any other electrical sourced  stove. In fact, when I replace my current cooktop, I'm pretty committed to going induction as I've been impressed by my fifth burner compared to my gas stove.


Carbon steel should be fine, but test with a magnet from the fridge to be sure. Slight out of round shouldn't be a problem as induction has  a little reach above the surface.


They sell adaptor plates that you can set on top of the stove to heat your aluminum pans. You lose the precise heating response, but should be fine until you replace the aluminum with something else.


Go read through the  They talk about some interesting emerging tech you could see if it's in the market yet about pan sizes, bridging burners and such.


What I'll miss going to induction the most is probably roasting peppers. Might have to invest in a good torch for that.


Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #5 of 8



I have an Electrolux slide-in induction range.  To answer some of your questions...

---Induction uses a glass or ceramic top, so yes it can be scratched and you can't drop cast iron on it.  You can lift a pan up and flip food around and put the pan back down...if you're reasonably quick, you won't lose the heat in the pan.

---Elu'x, Frigidaire, and Kenmore make slide-in induction ranges.  Price runs $2000-$3000.  Freestanding ranges are also available, but not cheaper unless you go with a hybrid induction and conventional electric cooktop, which seems silly to me.  Viking makes a Cadillac for around $6K.  If you really want to spend money, you can sell your first-born and import some European brand.

---It sounds like part of your problem is that your current stove is poorly designed without good markings for the burners.  All the induction ranges I've seen have clear markings, which is important because you have to fit the pot to the burner size.  There is some leeway, but you can't put a 5" saucepan on a burner that's marked for 6-10" pans, because there's a sensor that won't allow the magnets to work if a pan isn't sensed.  So when you look at ranges, make sure the burner configuration meets your usage requirements.

---Because heat is produced in the pan, and not in the stovetop, the ceramic will only get as hot as the heat conducted back from the pan's bottom.  I've taken a really hot pan off and touched the stovetop, and while I can't hold my finger there, I haven't burned myself either.  Much safer than touching a hot grate or the ceramic over an electric coil.  Induction marketing people tout its safety around kids and the elderly.


I've previously had both gas and a ceramic top electric range, which I was happy with.  However, I'm even happier with induction.  It is so much faster than conventional electric (or gas) and is so much more responsive that it's a whole different beast.  Think of it like the difference between using electricity to power a fan vs an air conditioner.  No comparison.  I think if you liked gas, you'll be happy with induction.  Food won't burn onto the cooktop, so it's easier clean, although that black glass can require a lot of Windex.


The biggest cookware-related issue that I've faced is that none of my roasting pans will work on the induction top, so I can't sear anything before putting it in the oven, or use the pan to make gravy afterwards.  I'm sure someone makes a $$$$ induction-compatible roasting pan though.

ETA:  Woks and griddles can also be problematic.  Some ranges come with bridge elements, meaning that you can place a griddle across 2 burners.


OTOH, I can't recommend my E'lux range.  The induction is great, but the ovens are terrible.  Four service visits in 3 months to replace the control panel and both oven temperature sensors, and the lower oven still doesn't heat consistently.  I know others with this range love it, so I guess I got a lemon.


The Appliance forum on the GardenWeb site has a lot of threads about induction ranges, if you search at the bottom of the page there.

post #6 of 8

This discussion is interesting since we've been considering an induction cooktop or individual "modules." Our biggest problem is pan and "burner" sizes. The two pans we use most often are 8" sauce pans and  9" and  10" stock pots/dutch ovens/skillets. Many of the induction burners, though, are 6" and 7" in diameter. I've always heard that it was a bad idea to put a pan on a burner that was smaller in diameter than the pan -- and that would seem to be especially true for induction, since there will be no heat radiating out from the burner to heat up the part of the pan that was outside the burner (as with our current smooth top cooktop).


So, we're considering looking for a couple of domino units with 9" or 10" or 11" burners (so far without much like, however), on the assumption that the "pan size recognition" feature would allow us to use a pan smaller than the burner just fine with induction.


BUT, KCZ's comment above makes me wonder if that would work. We also have a few pans in the 6" diameter range, but use them much less frequently.


Feedback from those of you who have used induction would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. 


BTW, I have looked on Gardenweb, but haven't found this topic addressed.

post #7 of 8

The pan size recognition is somewhat new to the market. It does work but is not perfect. In the comments I've read, the size is set when you first turn on the burner with the pan. As you move the pan during cooking, the implementations are not adaptive and keep heating the original location. And this feature is still mostly in the higher cost units.


A pan that has a good conductive core and is not much bigger than the induction burner--1-2 inches---will do just fine. Cast iron is not a good choice in this situation as it conducts poorly.


Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #8 of 8

phatch: Thank you! Since most sauce pans seem to be 8" -- at least of the ones that I have and have looked at -- I couldn't figure out why manufacturers were making so many 7" burners (for the residential market). But if there is leeway that helps.

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