Launch Slideshow

Advanced Cooking

11 induction cooktops boast efficiency and cooking control.

Advanced Cooking

11 induction cooktops boast efficiency and cooking control.

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    Bosch. The company’s 800 Series of induction cooktops features AutoChef, a sensor that measures the temperature of the bottom of the pan and applies the right amount of energy to the element to deliver precise cooking, the company says. The appliance includes an 11-inch, 4,400-watt element, SteelTouch flush touch controls, PreciseSelect for choosing the exact temperature with one touch, and pre-programmed meal options. CleanLock controls allow for complete shutdown in case of a spill. 800.944.2904. www.bosch-home.com/us.
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    Diva. The 365 36-inch induction range integrates a 9,600-watt induction cooktop and a 5,900-watt convection oven. The cooktop’s five burners include a center 11-inch, 3,600-watt element; two 6-inch, 2,200-watt elements; and two 9-inch 2,800-watt elements. The 6-inch and 9-inch elements utilize power-sharing technology. The unit features touch controls. 888.852. 8604. www.divainduction.com.
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    Electrolux. Icon drop-in induction cooktops come in 30- and 36-inch sizes with 6-, 7-, 8-, and 10-inch elements. The units’ Infinite cooking system creates heat only after sensing a pan on the surface, the firm says, and the surface responds only to the diameter of the vessel. Other features include Power-Assist, which provides a 25% increase in power to bring large pots to boil faster, and 15 preset touch settings for digital heat control. 877.435.3287. www.electroluxicon.com.
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    Fagor America. The company’s latest induction introductions include a 12-inch model with two elements, a 30-inch four-burner model, and a 36-inch five-burner model. A seven-point safety system includes low-voltage detection, overflow protection, and anti-overheat protection. Other details include 12 cooking settings and three quick-launch commands. 201.804.3900. www.fagoramerica.com.
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    GE. Thirty- and 36-inch cooktops are available in the company’s induction line, as well as a new induction range (shown). The cooktops include a 3,700-watt element, electronic touch controls, a true simmer level, and safety lock. 800.626.2005. www.geappliances.com.
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    Jenn-Air. Available in 30- and 36-inch sizes, the company’s induction cooktops feature touch-activated LED control of 17 heat settings. An 11-inch/7-inch Dual Zone element on the 36-inch model features two burner sizes in one position for easy pan-size matching. According to the firm, the Ceran glass-ceramic surface is stain- and scratch-resistant. 800.536.6247. www.jennair.com.
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    Kenyon. The Silken silicon pad covers the company’s induction cooktops, allowing for easier cleanup of spills and spatters. The mat, which is available in a range of colors, provides a slip-free surface for pots while still allowing the technology to work. After use, the pad can be removed to the sink for cleaning. The induction cooktops include automatic shutoff for boilover or if a pan comes off the burner. 860.664.4906. www.kenyonappliances.com.
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    KitchenAid. Architect Series II induction cooktops come in a 30-inch size and a 36-inch size. The 36-inch model has a 6-inch and an 8-inch element, plus two 7-inch elements and an 11-inch/7-inch dual-zone element; the 30-inch model has a 6-inch and an 11-inch element and two 7-inch elements. The cooktops feature nine heat-level settings, power boost, and a keep-warm function. 800. 422.1230. www.kitchenaid.com.
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    Thermador. The manufacturer’s latest induction cooking offerings include what it describes as the industry’s most powerful element—4,600 watts—as well as the industry’s first 13-inch-diameter element and triple-zone heating element. The cooktops feature Sensor Dome, a retractable sensor that measures heat from the cookware, nine pre-programmed cooking modes, individual timers for each element, an anti-overflow feature, automatic stop system, and child lock. 800.656.9226. www.thermador.com.
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    Viking. The VISC 30-inch induction range features an induction cooktop with two 7-inch, 1,850-watt elements; an 8-inch 3,700-/2,300-watt element; and a 6-inch, 1,400-watt element. The cooktop features MagneQuick power generators, power boost to select elements for faster boiling, and heavy-duty metal knobs. The self-cleaning oven offers a 4.7-cubic-foot overall capacity, a glass-enclosed infrared broiler, a Vari-Speed Dual Flow convection system with bi-directional airflow, Rapid Ready pre-heat, and three lights. 888.845.4641. www.vikingrange.com.
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    Wolf. The manufacturer’s 30- and 36-inch induction cooktops feature more than 10 power levels, including a Hi-Power setting. Cookware-sensing technology shuts off the appliance after 30 seconds if an induction-compatible pan is not detected. A 15-inch integrated model also is available. 800.332.9513. www.wolfappliance.com.

Induction’s drawbacks are similar to a lot of new-to-the-U.S. products: price and familiarity. Prices depend on size and power, but Consumer Reports places induction in the range of $1,800 to $3,500, compared to $650 to $1,200 for gas and $550 to $750 for electric. As the category’s popularity increases, prices should drop.

Helping induction’s growth are launches by more well-known brands. Electrolux, for example, is showcasing the technology in national TV ads. Several companies have recently introduced induction ranges, providing even more installation flexibility, and a number of models boast innovative new finishes and features, such as Bosch’s AutoChef and Thermador’s Sensor Dome, which measure pot temperature to provide even greater control.

Still, building professionals will likely need to inform homeowners and buyers that the technology exists and how it works. For this type of product, seeing is believing, so including induction units in model homes or sales centers and hosting cooking demos is an ideal way to show off benefits to buyers.

“Consumers are just not aware of induction. Once they see it being used … then they’re sold,” says Johnson. “I think educating the consumer and getting them to the products so they can see it live and in person makes a huge difference.”

Homeowners also will need to be made aware of pot material requirements: Cookware must be ferrous metal (i.e., magnetic) to work with induction, which means no copper, aluminum, or glass.

Installation Considerations

Education isn’t limited to consumers. Pros will need to learn the slight differences in specifying induction cooktops—which come in a variety of types based on size, number of elements, and wattages. Traditional 30- and 36-inch four- and five-element units are offered along with smaller sizes ideal for apartments and condos where space is an issue.

In addition to size, buyers will need to consider power—specified in watts, as opposed to the BTUs of gas units. Cooktops will often be listed with an overall wattage as well as wattage for individual burners. Keep in mind, some cooktops’ burners “power share,” which will limit each element’s total power when used simultaneously. This is also true for large elements that have a “power boost” feature, which jacks up power temporarily for a faster boil.

Though some manufacturers continue to increase their power options, in general today’s offerings are more than sufficient and surpass what’s been used in Europe.

Installation is not much different than electric models, though contractors will need to check with the manufacturer on electrical requirements; depending on the cooktop’s wattage, up to 50 amps may be needed. Installers also should verify clearance requirements for or restrictions against installing ovens beneath the cooktop.

Also consult your dealer about ventilation, says Kenyon vice president and co-owner Mike Reischmann, as requirements could be less.

Though promoting, selling, and installing induction units will require some adjustment for pros and their clients, the benefits are likely to continue to gain fans, particularly as models show up in green projects.

“Induction cooking is going to be the hottest thing,” predicts Reischmann. “You’ve got the technology that’s finally there, you’ve got the price points coming in range of normal appliances, … and you’ve got the energy efficiency that induction offers.”

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor for EcoHome.