My current stove. While it has worked so far, I feel ready for an upgrade.
It's no secret that I hate my stove. To be fair, it isn't the worst appliance I've ever used, but the electric range is so slow to react, and while my oven gets hot and holds the heat decently enough (I keep a bread stone in at all times), the lack of convection and weak broiler have been annoying me for years.
It's time to upgrade.
Should be easy, right?
Living in Florida, I currently do not have gas service. It turns out that I do have a gas company serving my zip code, and while I research what it's going to cost me to convert (cutting a hole in the roof and adding ducting for a new hood as well as the cost of either setting up natural gas or propane services) I decided I should look at induction ranges. A high end induction range looks to cost the same or less than a gas range, and there would be no need for a new hood or additional utilities. It's worth a look if nothing else. But I've never cooked on induction. People seem to love it or hate it, and before I start seriously looking at induction ranges, I figured it would be best to test this technology out in my kitchen.
So I hit Amazon.com and started looking at individual induction burners. I found a well reviewed product, and received it in the mail today.
At 1800 watts, this is by no means the most powerful induction out there. A real range will have burners running from 3700 and 2500 watts in the high end to 1400 in the low end, so I figured if I like using the burner I'd probably be very happy with an entire range and the benefit of more power.
Out of the box and on my counter...
Time for my first test. I did a very simple teapot test, 6 cups of water in my favorite teapot, using high heat on both, to see whether the induction could beat out my electric range.
After 3 minutes on the induction, I could hear the bubbles start going. The pot didn't actually whistle until the 6 minute mark, so I figured I'd time my stove and see where both those points timed out. On my current stove, it took 4:30 to get to the bubble stage and 7 minutes to whistle. Not so bad for the induction, but not so terrible for my electric stove either. While I'm guessing that those results will begin to be more dramatic as I move to larger amounts of water, the biggest bonus to me was actually not the time it took to get to the boil, but rather, the time it took to turn off.
Here is where induction literally kicked the stuffing out of my electric range. When the teapot whistled I turned the induction burner off. And in less than a second, seemingly instantly, the whistle stoppped. Just as if I had picked the pot up off the burner.
Let's compare that to my good old electric. After a full minute turned off, my teapot was still whistling. It didn't completely die until almost 1:30.
Now, while I do value my time and would like a range that heats up quickly, the biggest issue for me with my electric stove is that it takes so damn long to adjust. And that extra minute of hot time has led to many a scorch or burn in the past. In this first test of induction, it looks like that problem is completely eliminated. Induction may have found a convert.
I'll be testing the induction burner for the next few weeks. I hear that pushing buttons vs turning knobs takes a bit getting used to, but I'm determined to understand the process of using induction. While my heart is still pleading for a gas range, in the end, my brain may beat it into submission. Only time will tell.