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Induction Cooking Within Reach

One of today’s most exciting technologies for the kitchen can be found in electro magnetics.  I feel like the dad in The Graduate when he sagely whispers into Benjamin’s ear “plastics”! Ok I’m dating myself but truthfully it was an old movie when I saw it for the first time.  Back to the kitchen, the electro magnetics I’m talking about is induction cooking.  Whenever I bring this up to my clients they invariably say, “isn’t that the thing where you need special pots”?

Thermador Induction cooktop
Induction cooktops like this 36″ five burner model by Thermador have been around a while and are steadily gaining in popularity. Photo credit Thermador

 

You certainly do not need new pots IF they pass the test.  Simply grab a magnet and if it sticks to the bottom of your pot you’re good to go.  That’s it. Some work and some don’t. Now if you’re splurging on a new kitchen or stove perhaps a new set of pots is in order anyway, yes?  

History of Induction Cooking

Induction cooking technology was actually first introduced  at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.  It became available to homeowners in the seventies but you probably never heard about it because, well frankly, it was a fail.  Kinks were resolved as the technology continued to advance in Europe and Asia. Then several years ago induction cooktops were back and they’ve been gaining popularity in the luxury market every since.  In fact, Ryan DeGraffenreid, Territory Sales Manager for Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean for Subzero-Wolf, ventures to say that when considering electric vs induction their clients are choosing induction most of the time!

The burner gets hot only where the pot makes contact! Pretty cool, huh? Photo credit GE Appliances

Why Induction?

The big reasons to go with the big “I” are safety, ease of maintenance and cooking efficiency.  Since your pot only heats up where it makes contact with the burner you’re a lot less likely to get burned, plus all your energy goes into cooking your food instead of it being expelled into the air.  In fact, with induction, 84-90% of energy goes into your cooking as opposed to 44- 55% for gas, the least efficient. Electric falls somewhere in between.  Induction cooking is also a bit quicker.  It takes about 4 minutes to boil water with induction.  It’s about 7 minutes for electric and 8 for gas. If your pot does boil over, clean up is a lot easier since the area surrounding the pot will not be as hot. It’s no fun chiseling baked on goo off your cooking surface!

The New Choices Make Induction Available for Everyone

I am looking forward to downsizing and moving back into my little condo by the water.  My kitchen will definitely be getting a makeover (stay tuned) and since induction technology is now available in the 30″ range format, I’m in.  I’ve been doing a bit of research and have found that you can switch to an induction range starting at $1,700 for a free standing (as opposed to slide-in which has controls on the front)  model by Kenmore.  Right now with the current sale you can get that down to $1,099.00  It’s the same size as your old 30″ range too so no worries there.  Then at the other end of the spectrum you can find this Subzero-Wolf which retails for over $9,000.  Currently it’s the only 36″ induction range on the market.  Needless to say it’s the Rolls Royce of ranges!

 

 

Is All Induction Created Equal?

One thing I have notice with just about every single model is that the ratings are consistently 4.5 stars.  There also typically seems to be a lemon in the mix as well. If you come upon a bad review you should read it and decide if the issues are something you should research further.   Bad reviews can be great tools.  All these ranges feature convection ovens. (another blog post)  The main differences are styling and bells and whistles including myriad settings on the higher end models.  Find an appliance retailer in your area and check it out.  If you’re in my area I’d love to go with you. 🙂 As far as my search goes, I’m still exploring.  Price is definitely important but this model by Bosch is a clear favorite.  It retails at $3,199 and also includes a warming drawer at the bottom.   I’m still looking though.  As I always say, when it comes to doing your kitchen you must pick your battles.  Spend the money where it means the most to you and save in areas where you really don’t mind compromising a little. The trick is deciphering both which is one of the things I explore with my clients.

 

Bosch Induction Range
This slide-in induction range by Bosch also features a warming drawer

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments or questions about induction cooking, pro or consumer, do share!

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Gloria Graham-Sollecito

Gloria is a kitchen and bath cabinetry designer with AKBD certification from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. She has also served on the Florida Treasure Coast Chapter's Board of Directors as the VP of Communications. Her work has appeared on This Old House as well as in Florida Design Magazine, K+BB Magazine and the Palm Beach Post. She is co-author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Remodeling Your Kitchen, Illustrated, as well as a freelanced writer contributing occasionally to the Sun Sentinel in the area of kitchen design. She is a proud member of the Blanco Design Council and the illustrious Brizo Blogger 19.

Comments

Verna Vuckovich

I love the warming drawer addition…the more you can do with the one range the better! Personally hoping they can figure out how to include a down draft..

Gloria Graham-Sollecito

I totally agree that would be awesome. The Jenn-Air brand is known for their downdraft technology and do offer it in a 36″ induction cooktop. I feel it won’t be long until we see this incorporated into ranges as well. Thanks for weighing in!

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