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Induction Range vs Standard Electrical Range

The ranges I am looking to purchase are either a standard electrical element range or an induction range. The price difference between the 2 ranges is $250

My question is what is the payback or ROI if I get the more expensive $250 induction range? If I use the range 4 times a week. How much less power will the induction range use vs the electrical element range?

Asked by Peter L
Posted Nov 7, 2017 12:16 PM ET

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16 Answers

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1.

Whether you'll save the $250 depends on how much you use it and what your electric rate is. But I can tell you that induction is vastly better, in every way, than a conventional electric cooktop. It's faster, more responsive, safer ( cools down quickly), easier to clean.

Answered by stephen sheehy
Posted Nov 7, 2017 12:53 PM ET

2.

What he said. The "payoff" isn't kwh x $/kwh, it's in how well it works (including clean-up).

Answered by Dana Dorsett
Posted Nov 7, 2017 1:10 PM ET

3.

We have a Bosch induction cooktop, and I'd never go back to gas or conventional electric. It is nice to be able to boil water for tea in 30 seconds, for example.

Answered by Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia
Posted Nov 7, 2017 1:45 PM ET

4.

I'm looking at induction as well, but we use mostly cast iron and I've read that these heavy pans can easily permanently scratch the surface, or worse, easily break it with even a drop of a couple inches. What do you induction users say? Would you say that cast iron is probably not the best choice for reasons of speed of heating?

Answered by Andy Chappell-Dick
Posted Nov 7, 2017 7:12 PM ET

5.

Induction also will not work on glass, ceramic or aluminum and other non-ferrous metal cookware, so your cost may not just be the higher price, but the new cookware you will need to purchase. Also, if you are concerned about exposure to strong electromagnetic fields you might want to look more closely.

Answered by Norman Bunn
Posted Nov 7, 2017 7:26 PM ET

6.

Andy,

I use cast iron, carbon steel, stainless steel, and even seasoned mild steel tiles on my induction. Choice is made based on what I'm cooking.

Although, I've gone countertop induction. Removed the built in range after I saw a few pro kitchens. Glad I did, I like moving my hobs where I want them, having the extra work space, and having the work space right next to my hob.

If you heat a cast iron pan fast it will warp. Usually not permanently. As the heat conducts it will flatten out. Alternatively, you can heat cast iron slowly then increase to the temp you want to prevent warping. You can even preheat cast iron in an oven and move it to your induction. Lodge cast iron pans will warp easier than Staub.

Because I have countertop hobs I've never worried about dropping a pan on them. I'd only destroy one unit. After my experience with countertops not only will I never install built in but I'll rip out built in and replace with a work surface.

If the cooking gods told me I could only ever use cast iron, I'd be perfectly happy using cast iron on induction regardless of brand.

Answered by Brad S
Posted Nov 7, 2017 7:50 PM ET

7.

Also, if one of the reasons you like cast iron is reverse searing you can do it on induction no problem. Alternatively, you can use a propane torch. I get the small blue bottles, add an extension hose, and use the BernzOmatic Heat Shrink torch head (BZ4500HS.)

An example of how I use my induction: I sous vide pork shoulder steaks then put them individually bagged in the freezer. I put a pot of water on the induction and heat it up to 140F. Add the frozen bagged steak to the water. It thaws out and warms up to temp in 15 minutes. I pull it out of the bag, dry it w/ paper towel, then put it in a cast iron pan and sear it with the torch. I give the cast iron a quick wipe to spread the little bit of fat around as new seasoning. You can do the same with carbon steel.

Consequently, I'd prefer the cooking gods told me I had to use only cast iron on induction rather than telling me I couldn't use cast iron at all. (If I haven't been clear enough: you're golden with cast iron and induction)

Answered by Brad S
Posted Nov 7, 2017 8:24 PM ET

8.

Brad,
So you have no range at all just an oven? That really fundamentally changes the way you could design a kitchen. How many hobs do you have?

Answered by Malcolm Taylor
Posted Nov 7, 2017 9:18 PM ET

9.

Malcom,

No range, just an oven. Only two countertop induction hobs.

My oven is electric too. I like to cook home made pizzas and the electric oven can reach a satisfactory temp. That's also why I had four 1/2" mild steel plates cut. I use them as my pizza stone and when I want an insanely thick grill on my induction burner.

The drawback is you need to be cognizant of your electrical circuits. If you put two hobs on the same circuit you can throw the breaker. Or if you have another device plugged into the circuit (microwave, stand mixer, etc) when you're using the hob. I'm seriously considering remodeling all my electrical circuits in my kitchen. Not just for the hobs. I have Amazon Alexa in there now too connected to a flat screen to display recipes, measuring conversions, weather, whatever. I don't know how builders are designing the electrical in new homes (mine is 1915 remodeled in the 80s or 90s) but my gut tells me robust electrical will be necessary for a modern kitchen. In the past I always thought natural gas was the way to go to get a prosumer kitchen, I no longer believe that. Technology changed on me while I wasn't looking.

As sous vide becomes widespread it may change how people work in kitchens too. Cook a whole bunch of steaks at once, freeze them in their individual vacuum bags. Personally, I have higher demand for freezer space than refrigerator now. It wasn't that way for me three years ago. In addition, Amazon is building a will-call grocery pickup service with Whole Foods. Walmart had to respond and do the same. That might change how people buy their refrigerated perishables. Order online, will call, cook that night.

Pantry space might shrink too. My required pantry space increased because I shop at Costco. I need to store the bulk purchases. But what if my "Costco" shopping turns into a virtual bulk shopping cart managed by Alexa and I will-call grocery with more frequency? (Google teamed up with Walmart so they'll be doing the same thing.)

I'd like to know what forward thinking kitchen designers are planning.

Answered by Brad S
Posted Nov 9, 2017 10:16 PM ET

10.

Brad,

I'm no forward-thinking kitchen designer, and the ones I put in the houses I build are fairy conventional, but i'm planning to reno my own kitchen next summer and am thinking very seriously about doing what you have done. Luckily my panel is in the same room so it will be pretty easy to run a few dedicated 20 amp circuits to where they would be most convenient.

Thanks for the idea!

Answered by Malcolm Taylor
Posted Nov 9, 2017 10:22 PM ET

11.

Malcom, my gut tells me Alexa (or Google Home) plus a flat screen is going to be a really big deal in kitchens. Alexa will step you through a recipe and display it on your flatscreen with the Fire TV system. They're also working on kitchen inventory management. They'll use flatscreens to remind you what you might need to buy so you don't run out.

Amazon is also working on gesture control interfaces using cameras (meaning, you won't need an expensive touchscreen flatscreen and it will be easier to control a large screen.) If I'm right -- I'm frequently wrong -- people will primarily grocery shop from inside their kitchen within five years. It's an unbelievable experience to walk around your kitchen and tell Alexa what to add to your shopping cart list and see it popping up on the screen. Though, it's not fluid enough for widespread adoption yet. Pretty major cultural change compared to walking down the grocery store isles.

We might see specialized meat and produce shops popping up too. All the packaged stuff will be automated, but the perishable things that need attention might get more attention. We may wind up with local butcher shops again, who knows.

You're very lucky to have a panel near your kitchen. I don't recommend this induction unit because I have no experience with it, but the Breville Control Freak is where things are headed in the future. https://www.brevilleusa.com/products/the-control-freak?variant=34041893841

Way too expensive right now, but price will fall quickly as competitive products spring up. I'd get inexpensive countertop induction now and wait a few years to upgrade. This is my favorite one right now. https://www.amazon.com/Secura-9100MC-Portable-Induction-Countertop/dp/B0...

$70/hob is so cheap compared to installing an expensive built in unit. Especially considering everyone will upgrade as the Breville Control Freak knockoffs start becoming available in a few years.

Answered by Brad S
Posted Nov 10, 2017 2:34 PM ET

12.

Brad,

I bought a hob and ten piece pan set on sale for $99 today to try them out - something Stephen Sheehy has also been suggesting for a while.

One of the trends I've noticed in the design of houses in the last decade or so is that the kitchens have become more elaborate, but the amount of cooking that is actually done in them has declined enormously.

Answered by Malcolm Taylor
Posted Nov 10, 2017 4:06 PM ET
Edited Nov 10, 2017 4:22 PM ET.

13.

Malcom: we bought a single induction hob when we were in the kitchen design stage, just to see if we liked cooking on induction. The cheap ones work fine, but tend to be occasionally noisy and may not be as accurate as the built in countertops.

We installed a Bosch induction cooktop and are pleased with it. It's silent and offers around twenty heat settings per burner.
I guess we aren't typical, since we cook a lot. Our kitchen is nice, but not elaborate.

I'd be interested in hearing from someone who cooks a lot and who opted for multiple portable induction hobs. Is storage an issue? I assume you'd need a separate circuit for each one. We don't often use more than two burners, but once in a while we use three or even four. I suppose you could store a couple in the pantry. I like having them all built in, with drawers right underneath for pots and lids and the utensil drawer close as well.

Answered by stephen sheehy
Posted Nov 10, 2017 4:21 PM ET
Edited Nov 10, 2017 4:28 PM ET.

14.

Stephen,

I was editing my last post to reflect your longtime advice when you renewed it here.

Our kitchen is quite small. What we are considering is installing a two burner cooktop and having two more hobs we can use on the island and peninsula workspaces. We are already impressed by the cheap 700 watt hob we bought. It does emit a very low level of noise, but that is drowned out by the crinkling of our tin-foil suits.

Answered by Malcolm Taylor
Posted Nov 10, 2017 6:53 PM ET

15.

Malcom, that's a great price for all of that! If you add cast iron or carbon steel don't season them on the induction hob, you may warp them (unless you're careful.) Instead, season them in the oven. If you do them in the oven they'll always come out nice and flat due to the even heat. I admit I do have a couple stainless fry pans for acids. Acids immediately strip seasoning off pans.

It's true, inexpensive countertop hobs like mine make noise. Mine sounds a little louder than a computer fan.

Stephen, I rarely eat out. I only use two hobs, however, I use other gadgets. For example, I use a propane torch to sear and a sous vide to cook proteins. I also have two InstantPot pressure cookers. Also a Vitamix but that rarely runs in conjunction with anything else and it's only on for short bursts. Heavy electric use in my kitchen. Yes, the old circuits become a problem. Having a panel in the kitchen like Malcom would be perfect.

I don't really store my countertop hobs. My kitchen is very cluttered. All my pans and small appliances are visible. On the other hand, I move my hobs around depending on what I'm doing or how many cooks are in the kitchen. If I don't need a hob because I'm making a pizza and want the work surface I'll stash it somewhere temporarily. They've survived a lot of abuse.

Answered by Brad S
Posted Nov 10, 2017 9:47 PM ET

16.

Anyone thinking about an induction cooktop should check the installation specs before purchasing. We chose a Bosch unit in part because it only required 1" of clearance below the unit. Some others need as much as 6" . By going with the Bosch, I could make a shallow drawer under it that accommodates all of our pot lids. Some of the other units would have required a fake drawer front.

Answered by stephen sheehy
Posted Nov 11, 2017 7:28 AM ET
Edited Nov 11, 2017 8:53 AM ET.

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