What it means. You’ll see the term “induction” frequently used on maternity wards—“Things aren’t progressing. I think it’s induction time, Mr. and Mrs. Smith”—and in conjunction with sports halls of fame—“Slugger Mark McGwire’s induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame is not a sure thing because of allegations of steroid use.”
Today, induction is getting play in kitchens, too. It refers to a cooking technology that uses electromagnetism instead of a conventional cooking surface powered by gas or electricity. Only the pans heat up on induction cooktops, not the elements themselves. That feature makes these appliances somewhat safer to operate than gas or electric cooktops.
Why the buzz? To be fair, the induction hubbub is still more of a hum—just a small fraction of the 515,000 electric cooktops sold in the United States in 2007 have at least one induction burner. But based on the high performance we’ve seen from these appliances in our test labs, sales of induction cooktops could heat up.
We started testing induction appliances three years ago, realizing that the technology could well be the (electromagnetic) wave of the future. This spring, our engineers wrapped up their evaluations of the latest models, and once again the technology has earned excellent marks. In fact, the Kenmore (Sears) Elite 4280 induction cooktop, $1,800, set a new standard in our high-heat test, boiling six liters of water in just 8 minutes. (Electric and gas cooktops on average need about 12 to 16 minutes.) The Viking Professional VCCU105-4B[SS], $2,200, a hybrid unit with two induction elements and two electric radiant elements, needed 11 minutes to reach a boil, yet like all the induction models we reviewed, it excelled at simmering tomato sauce and melting chocolate—two of our typical cooktop tests.
There are some downsides to induction cooktops, price being a primary one. But as with any emerging technology, costs are trending downward. Five of the nine induction cooktops we tested top $2,000 (the priciest is $3,500), while the GE Profile PHP900DM[BB] induction cooktop costs $1,700. Our Best Buy noninduction electric and gas cooktops cost $580 and $650, respectively. (Read about the Diva 365 (shown), one of the first induction ranges on the market.)
Also note that induction elements work only with magnetic pots and pans, like cast-iron or enameled-steel cookware, so you might need to add some cookware to your collection. Finally, we don't yet have reliability data for these appliances, though if you’re an early adapter, the technology might be worth a look.—Daniel DiClerico
Essential information: Read our buying advice for cooktops, and see our Ratings of electric and gas models (available to subscribers). Look for more details on induction cooktops in our annual kitchen-remodeling special, in the August 2008 issue of Consumer Reports, on sale and online in July. If you own an induction model, tell us what you think about it. Use our Home Improvement Guide interactive to take a room-by-room tour of the top-rated appliances and most cost-effective improvements you can make to your home.
I remodeled my kitchen and replaced all my cooktops with induction cooktops.
I like it much better!
Help, we need information on what is the best cookware for induction cook tops. I would like lid that you can see through.
I'm not sure that there is any cookware for induction cook tops with a see-through lid? If you find one, then please let me know.
Louann and IloveCooktops,
Any cookware that is magnetic will work with an induction cooktop. If a magnet sticks to the bottom, you're good to go. There are many brands - just take a magnet with you when you shop. Also, There is a wonderful website that will give you all the induction information you might want, including cookware. Check it out- http://theinductionsite.com
Which one of the induction stove tops have space for a under mount oven. I have heard there is not enough space for one under an induction cooktop.
We have a Kenmore induction cooktop with a Frigidair Pro wall oven below and it works very well. Love it! The issue seems to be the wall oven. Not all models are recommended for under a cooktop. CHeck that out carefully before you buy.
Our new GE induction stovetop is on its way. In doing research, the Emerilware "Pro-Clad" line is (supposedly)induction capable cookware and does have glass lids. We will check it out with a magnet next week.
I love the fact that heat can be turned on and off like a gas oven. What prevented me from buying one is because the cookwares that works with induction are difficult to come by and most of them are very heavy. Until lines of light weight cookwares that works with induction are developed, I'll be on the sideline waiting......
Sears Kenmore Elite has an induction cooktop range - a lot less than the Diva
I don't know why folks are saying that cookware for induction cooktops are heavy and expensive. I have bought many, many lightweight and inexpensive items for my induction cooktop at TJ Maxx and Amazon. Just look at the bottom of the cookware for "induction ready" icon, or bring a magnet to test, or look at the description.
Some of my favorites: from Amazon I like Joyce Chen stir fry pan with excalibur coating; Joyce Chen flat-bottomed Wok with excalbur coating, Sunpentown Induction Ready Nonstick Frying Pan (has clear lid). From TJ Maxx, lots of European cookware, enameled dutch ovens, etc. From my pre-induction cookware: almost all of my LeCreuset, grandmas's cast-iron cookware, Lodge cookware, etc.
Regarding see-through lids - that's easy! Most cookware comes in standard sizes, so even if your induction cookware doesn't come with a see-through lid, just take a glass lid from your NON-induction collection and put it on -- the cookware and the lid still work fine.
Does anyone have information on what brand of portable induction stoves are the best?
Amazon sells stand alone induction units. I have one and it works quite well but you really need a more robust powerline connection for an induction cooktop. Before ordering one, check that your electrical connection is 240V. The cooktops are great, particularly if, as is our case, there is no access to gas (propane doesn't hack it for us). The fact that the surface does not get hot means that you can live without an exhaust hood and the control is analogous to gas. As others have pointed out, any magnetic pots and pans will work on it. I use Costco's own brand, le Creuset, my old cast iron skillets, and Circulon, all of which work fine. In Europe inductions tops are very very popular and are not temperamental. However, the quality of appliances is getting worse all the time, regardless of price so I would recommend an extended warranty (although GE's extended warranty service verges on unacceptable).
Hi, Anyone hear anything about the Termador induction cooktop? I have also heard that some induction cooktops pull heat power from another burner while both in use?? If anyone has any info would be appreciate. thanks
We are considering purchasing the GE Profile 36" Induction Cooktop, but have read that induction cooktops emit a humming noise when the elements are on, especially at higher heating levels. We have even read that some produce a low whistle sound. If you cook on an induction cooktop, would you please comment on the noise level. Thank you!
We are also doing some remodeling and interested in induction cooking. I'm most concerned about the noise. Is it something most can put up with or are you ready to pull your cooktop out of the counter?
The first time I knew about induction Cook Tops was in Europe. They have had it for over twenty years. I do not understand why this type of technology is not promoted in the US. You don't see it advertised anywhere. It was by reading the previous article from CR that I now know that Sears have them. I found out about other sales dealers by searching on the Internet. Most people do not know what a Cook Top is. I found about it not too long ago.
The performance of this appliance highly surpass all previous types of cooking appliances in terms of energy effciency and it is more practical and safe. Having to use magnetic cookware is no big deal. I may assume that reliability is better than traditional appliances since the Cook Top never gets hot which helps deterioration of wires and other components in the long run while drawing less current while cooking.
What I don't understand is why the high cost. From the one I inspected, I could not see any alement that could crank the price up that much.
By the way, I did not hear any noise comming from the induction Cook Top I saw. This in reference to a previous comment above.
I have had 2 induction cooktops. Our Viking packed it in after 2 years - still waiting for repair under warranty 1 year later, so don't buy Viking. So we gave up and bought a Miele induction cooktop - way better. Of course they both have fast heat and melt chocolate well, but the Miele produces much more even heat on the bottom of the pan, is easier to clean. Yes, they both hum. You get used to it, it's not an issue. We use All-Clad cookware, but yes, just go shopping with a magnet! Yes, most induction cooktops have this booster thing which borrows power from one burner to boost another. Not an issue. You only need the booster if you're boiling water for potatoes for your entire extended family! Toughest part? Get used to the speed, man! Don't turn it up higher just to heat it up faster like an old coil.
Consider purchasing the Kenmore slide-in induction range. Any reviews of that model?
We have a WOLF 2 unit cooktop across from our Jenn Air gas cooktop (4 burners.) I was nervous to completely commit to induction cooking UNTIL it was installed. I use my 2 burner induction for everything. I am trying to figure out a way to ditch my Jenn Air for another Wolf induction 4 burner. I LOVE IT. I take a Martha Stewart magnet with me...have purchased a 4.00 pan from T J Maxx... and a 250.00 cast iron from Williams & Sonoma...they work the same...I have lots of cast iron (plain & enameled)...I LOVE INDUCTION!!!!!
I just bought the Sears Elite slide-in induction range for my new kitchen [$2700.] The convection oven and warming drawer are right there under its top. I love it! My polio disability influnced my choice because I can't reach far and standing close is dangerous with gas or electricity. The surface stays cool and is easy to clean. The cheap enameled-coated steel cookware at the dime store works great. I am constantly amazed at its speed.
Induction-ready cookware with clear lids is available at Sears right now at a very good price. Search for "Tramontina" on the Sears web site. I have not checked it out carefully yet, but bought it at the recommendation of others. It has a reputation of being very good and relatively inexpensive. Tramontina is also available at other retailers at a very good price, but I have only seen solid metal lids.
I bought the cookware because I want to try induction. I picked up a plug-in Circulon induction burner on ebay so I am ready to give the technique a spin before investing something that will be installed. I am in a good position to convert to induction because I will be replacing cookware that got "Katrinaed" after getting into a house again.
WHERE CAN I FIND HOW TO COOK WITH INDUCTION? TYPES OF FOOD ECT.