Induction cooktop experience?

Anyone with induction cooktop experience out there? We’re selecting kitchen appliances and are about 99% sold on the Miele induction cooktop.

My wife took her wok and tried out cooking some of her favorites. This is someone that loves to cook, has always used gas, and gave induction a great big WTF until trying it out. The cooking test went great, and the induction cooktop is really easy to clean. Boiling water takes about 1/3 the time of gas. It also has timers and a decent kid lock.

I get the drawback that all pans have to have ferrous metal (so no more aluminum nor clay pots).

Anyone with an induction cooktop that has some other negatives that have surfaced after using for a while? Any advantages that have come up as well? Would you do it all over again if you had the choice?

Let’s try the following: grab a headpiece from the staff of Ra, hold it in in the palm of your hand, and then hold it over the coil–do you get a palm branding like Major Toht?

Seriously, would a wearing a wedding band or some other metal be a hazardous if the coil is operational?

I like the idea of cooking via induction to be pretty cool, so to speak, but would it save energy compared to gas or electric?

My father cooks over everything from campfires to gas stoves to electric, and his induction cooktop is his favorite cooking device ever. It offers very precise heat control, gets the cookware up to temp quickly, cools off quickly once you take the cookware off, and is easy to clean (since the only heat in the surface itself is what it absorbs from the cookware, stuff mostly doesn’t burn on).

If I’m reading this Department of Energy document (PDF) correctly it looks like the induction cooktop is a pretty clear winner in terms of cooking efficiency–other electric cooktops have a cooking efficiency of around 71-75%, depending on exactly how they work; induction cooktops have a cooking efficiency of 84%. Gas cooktops have a cooking efficiency of about 40%; their overall efficiency drops further if they have pilot lights, since pilot lights use energy without cooking anything. (These number are drawn from the tables on pages 48-49 of the PDF.) The document dates from 2002, but I don’t know of any game-changing breakthroughs in cooktop design since then.

Wearing metal near it would only be an issue if the metal were magnetic, and you got it quite close to the surface, so gold rings and such are perfectly safe. It’s possible that certain types of older analog watch might get wonky if you get them too close to the surface. I haven’t seen it happen with the cooktop, but I’ve seen a watch run backwards when the wearer was using a degaussing coil.

I used them at a hotel I worked at. Generally they were great, but our big complaint was that they’d turn off automatically. This made it hard to have a pot of simmering water for eggs benny. And they’d turn off when I took the pot off the surface.

They really take some getting used to, because the metal gets insanely hot almost instantly. Most cooks are used to putting a pan on the stove, firing the gas on high, adding oil, tossing in garlic. But the end of that sentence the oil would be 500 degrees and the garlic would burn on contact.

Now that I’m back working with gas ranges, I’m tired of the constant mess that is impossible to clean. And the process of hauling blocks of red hot cast iron back to the dish pit. I’m also tired of pilot lights that never quite work, and gas that either doesn’t turn off, or blows out when you’re not looking.

Another advantage is that you don’t have flames leaping up around pots singing your arms when you try to use the back burners. There is no heat outside of the pot, so the kitchen stays 20 degrees cooler as a result. But if I remember correctly certain pieces of smallware would heat up unexpectedly.

ETA I have an Iron Ring (stainless steel) and a titanium ring. I don’t remember either of those being a problem.

The latter makes sense, probably the electronics sense a “no load” condition.

That should knock the overall efficiency of the stove up, especially during the summer in warm-to-hot climates. Your A/C isn’t expending the energy to redeposit the heat back outside. :wink:

I seem to recall that induction heating is used in casting metals in situ forms. Probably a bad assumption, but I thought all metals could be melted this way–with ferrous materials having an unnatural advantage.

the metal has to be very close to the surface to generate heat.

I’m raising this zombie from the dead to the undead to ask China Guy if he got the induction cook top and, if so, how he likes it.

I’m bumping this zombie resurrection because my mother is remodeling her kitchen and went appliance shopping last night. The salesman there has her pretty keen on getting an induction cook top. Initially she had planned on going with gas (she currently has a glass top electric). She asked my opinion, but I don’t have a knowledgeable one to give. So I came here.

Any Dopers care to share there (hopefully more recent) experiences with induction and/or weigh in on the gas vs. induction debate?

I had a gas stove from '97 to 2008. Remodeled then, and got induction based on the reviews at the kitchen forums of Gardenweb (at that time it was the most informative place on the web for all kitchen questions). It is hands down the best decision I made. Precise temp control - can melt chocolate in a pan without the bain marie, or sear on cast iron at insanely high temps. I heat water for my french press or tea within a minute, actually faster than the microwave. It is so much cleaner! With a gas stove, the gas fumes carry grease particles higher and farther, so you end up with a sticky film on the adjacent overhead cabinets and hood. With induction, the spatters just have a low arc onto the cooking surface, which is then super easy to wipe down when you’re done. I have a collection of All-Clad, Le Crueset, cheap heavy cast iron, and carbon steel pans. They all work great. If you have any other questions, just ask!

I’ve put in an induction cooktop myself since my last post in this thread, and have found no reason to reconsider anything I said in their favor. Quick to heat, quick to cool, great control, and easy to clean.

We’re seriously considering replacing our 25 year old electric range. Induction cooktops seem very interesting. Easy to clean. Safer. Cooks faster.

We’ve been researching them for a few months. heres a good source

I’ll follow this thread closely. I want hear other people’s experiences using them.

They do cost double or even triple the money. A standard free standing range with convection oven is around $800. Induction is $1600 that sucks. :eek: That’s why we’re thinking long and hard if its worth it.

a regular free standing range with Easy clean smooth top $650 I’m learning towards buying this regular range. $1600 for induction is a ridiculous chunk of money. Thats a thousand bucks flushed down the toilet.

Range with convection oven $750

Ditto to all of this. We have had an induction cooktop for I don’t quite remember how many years now, and it is made of pure awesome. I still get a kick out of picking up a pot by the cool handles or holding a cool handle to steady the pot while I stir the boiling contents.

Thank you kindly for the feedback. I’ll pass it along. One advantage my mother has is that she hasn’t cooked on gas in forever, so those few benefits (like charring or cooking in a proper wok) that are exclusive to gas, she won’t miss. The biggest downside is going to be cookware. The set of stainless steel that she’s had since shortly after she got married doesn’t pass the magnet test. I guess it must have a core of non-ferrous metal. If anybody has any recommendations on cookware, I’m sure she’d appreciate it.

She seems fairly keen on the induction, so I’m glad to hear that you guys are endorsing yours. Thanks again.

We’ve just spent 3 months working out how to get Mother’s new stove to work (she’s been in hospital, so it streached out). The exact problem was a firmware/configuration bug which we hope went away when we changed the settings, then changed them back, then changed them again, so hopefully you won’t have a broken stove like that.

But it points to the more general problem: these stupid things are run by computers. A poster above noted the problem of the stove turning off by itself. Our problem was that the stove was locked, and locked itself, and the touch-panel is different than buttons, and the sensitive points are not under the display numbers, and my Mother is even deafer than I am, and we didn’t know that “wait for the beep” meant “wait for the second beep”, and it tooks us many times experimenting and re-reading the instructionsto make sense of anything.

And now that we know how it works, it’s still slow to turn on and off, taking several different actions. Eventually that will all be familier, but it’s never going to be as easy as turning a knob.

Does the saleman have a stovetop that is actually plugged in? It would be nice if your mother could actually try turning it on and off before money was spent.

In my experience, they are the cooktop of choice for the over 70 set. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

Get a good one. We have the Miele. I can’t speak to cheaper brands but after a couple of years the Miele looks brand new.

They are the bee’s knees. Seriously. It took us a while to get used to just how fast a giant pot of water can heat up. I mean you’re used to 10-15 minutes, fire that sucker up, come back 2 minutes later and it’s a roiling boil. Also takes a few trial and error for how the highest setting can scorch in about 2 seconds.

Okay, you need good pans that are magnetic. Cast iron, expensive all clad, inductive cooktop compatible. We tried some of the cheaper stuff and returned them. But get a good send of induction pans and you’re good to go. Your basic cast iron works beautifully as well.

Cleaning is easy. basically wipe with a wet cloth.

I would however go to a showroom and try it out. China Wife, who has very exacting culinary requirements and really likes gas, went to the showroom and tried out about 3 different signature dishes. All came out great. She was sold, we were sold, and since July 2012 have zero regrets for going down the induction route.

Any other questions I can answer?

China Guy, what was your issue with the cheaper induction cookware? Did you just not like it as cookware, or did it actually not function properly on the induction top? Do you happen to remember the brand?

Also, I find the idea of your wife cooking multiple dishes in a kitchen showroom wonderfully odd.

Thanks China Guy. I’ve also read some experiences on Gardenweb and not one person has expressed any regret.

Unfortunately my stove is pretty new so who knows if I’ll ever get one but I’m considering buying a single counter-top induction burner.

Isn’t your wife Chinese? Does she do any wok cooking? How does that work on an induction cooktop?