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How to Buy an Induction Cooktop

Stan Pendrak  |  January 29, 2016  |  3 Min. Read

Induction Cooktops

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After working in the food service industry for 25 years, I have seen many different styles and types of cooking options. They've ranged from gas to electric and now induction. The feedback on these options differs from Chef to Chef, kitchen to kitchen, and homeowner to homeowner, depending on what is preferred.

However, as induction cooking is grows in popularity I am now seeing more consumers move toward this option because it is quite simply better than either gas or electric. There are many advantages for you in choosing induction cooking, like faster boiling times, better simmers and safety.

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of induction cooking, what you should consider before buying, and a few product recommendations. At the end, you’ll be able to determine which Induction cooktop would be right for your home.

Induction Cooking

Induction cooking uses magnetic friction that bounces from underneath the cooktop surface to cookware placed on it.

The magnetic construction of the cookware becomes part of the electrical circuit, gathers the energy and becomes hot; essentially, the pan becomes the burner. Learn more about science of Induction cooking here.

The Pros

With induction, pans heat ultra-quickly, requiring little preheating and reducing cooking times. Most dramatic: A pot of water boils nearly twice as fast on an induction burner as on an electric-coil one, and it is one of the easiest cooking surfaces to control.

Induction cooking is extremely responsive and transitions quickly from high power to a low simmer. While in electric cook tops, the heating element and glass needs time to cool down or heat up, resulting in a slower response time.

The Cons

One downside could be that you might need new pots and pans. To see if your cookware is induction-ready, place a magnet on the bottom surface of a pan. If it sticks to the pan your cookware will work with an induction range or cooktop.  

The only other con is price as induction tends to be more expensive.

Considerations

To narrow down exactly what you want, you may want to take these factors below into consideration. They will slim down your options, so you can really focus on more important things.

Efficiency 

Induction cook tops are extremely energy efficient, as very little heat escapes the cooking surface of the pan.

Ventilation

Induction cook tops require less ventilation due to low heat emission and can be down drafted unlike professional gas. If the cooktop is in the island, it may not need any ventilation at all.

Safety

Safety overall, especially with regard to children, is notable as induction cannot be turned on without a metal pan placed on top of the burner. Once a pan is removed, the surface does not stay as hot and there is no residual heat once a pan is removed.

Selection

Burner layouts are an important factor when selecting a cook top; the consumer has several options to choose from; 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 or even the entire cooking surface as the burner cook top. Inductions cooktops are available in 15”, 30” and 36” widths.

All of the induction cooktops will have a similar range of high to low power. The decision of burner layout should be based on functional characteristics; what will work best for you.

A special feature to look for is “higher” wattage super burners, as they cook faster. Bosch, Thermador and Jenn-Air have the higher wattage burners in the middle. Bridge or elongated elements are also effective when using large pans.

bridge-burner-example-induction-cooktop.png

Rebates

Another important factor, to be considered when purchasing a new induction cooktop is the savings achieved through promotional rebates. Always check rebates as they can change frequently.

Which Brand?

As with any new appliance, there are many options to choose from. Almost every manufacturer now offers induction cooking. However, there are several Induction cooktop options that you may want to consider.

You should also check reliability. We will service 30,000 home this year. Reliability does vary between brands.

Frigidaire Professional Series FPIC3695MS - $1,529

Frigidaire is a popular, affordable luxury brand and is very competitive in the American appliance market with a very solid service history. Electrolux is the parent company of Frigidaire and combined is the 2nd largest appliance company in the world.

They produce two series of induction cooktops, the Professional Series ($1,529) and the Gallery Series at ($1,489). I like the Frigidaire product for both the price and the overall reliability of the company.

Burner Layout:

  • Right front: 10" - 3,400-2,500 watts
  • Right rear: 7" - 2,600-1,800 watts
  • Left front: 6" - 2,000-1,450 watts
  • Left rear and center: 8’’ - 3,200-2,300 watts

 

Jenn-Air JIC4536XS - $2,349

Jenn-Air is the premium brand in the Whirlpool Corporation. The Jenn-Air line has a unique sensor boiling function, which brings water to a boil quickly and maintains the temperature. The large center burner is 5,000 watts, and the two burners on each side are connected by a bridge that can accommodate rectangular or oblong pans and skillets.

jenn-air jic4536xs induction cooktop

Burner Layout:

  • Center: 12" or 9’’ to accommodate multiple pan sizes - 5,000-2,800 watts
  • Left front: 7" 2,500-1,800 watts
  • Left rear: 7" 2,500-1,800 watts
  • Right front: 7" - 2,500-1,800 watts
  • Right rear" 7" - 2,500-1,800 watts

 

Thermador CIT36XKB - $4,999

The Thermador “Freedom” cooktop is one of the best products on the market today. It offers great flexibility as the “Freedom” can cook 4 pans at once that can be placed anywhere on the cooktop surface giving it great flexibility. Thermador’s sister brand Gaggenau has a very similar product at ($5,499). Thermador also manufactures a 36’’ 5-burner cooktop for ($2,999).

I think a cooktop without the traditional burners may be the future of cooking.

If you are looking to add the cooktop into your kitchen design, Thermador has a reliable line of products and often runs competitive package promotions.

Burner Layout:

  • Full Surface: 4,600-100 watts

Watch: Thermador Freedom Cooktop in Action

Key Takeaways

When considering which cooktop to purchase, make sure it meets all of your needs. Things to consider are the ease of controls, burner layout, and style.

  • Induction gives off the least residual heat (less venting required)
  • Induction is the fastest cooking method (even faster than gas)
  • Induction simmers bettern than electric or gas
  • Induction is the safest cooking method
  • Induction is very easy to clean

Additional Resources

Read our Induction Cooking Buying Guide for features, buying tips and ratings of every available induction cooking product on the market. Well over 150,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our induction cooking buying guide

WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Stan Pendrak

Stan Pendrak is an Appliance Sales Consultant at Yale Appliance + Lighting in Boston, MA. Stan has over 25 years of sales experience within the hospitality and appliance industry. Stan’s passion is to provide exceptional appliance sales and service solutions to everyone. In his spare time, Stan enjoys golfing and yoga.

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A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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