Miele Induction Range  HR1622I

Induction ranges have their lovers and haters amongst laypeople and professional chefs alike. Many professional chefs love the responsiveness of gas and the ability to work with a live flame to create that slightly burnt effect to dishes. There is also an entertainment factor for open kitchens or cooking classes. Induction definitely can’t compete in that area. On the other hand, other professional chefs love the responsiveness of induction surfaces, how quickly they heat and how easy it is to control (some) induction burners. Throughout the years I’ve owned electric coil ranges, gas ranges and a smooth top cooktop (no, I’m neither an appliance hoarder nor a real estate magnate – we’ve just moved a lot).  I’ve never owned an induction cooktop – but it’s on my appliance bucket list.

Here are the advantages of an induction range:

Cleanable surface

Unlike a traditional electric smooth-top surface, induction cooking involves transferring an electric current directly to the pan, the surface only gets hot as the transfer heat right under the pan. With a smooth-top cooktop, once the pasta or potato water boils over, it will cook right onto the surface. Cleaning it involves a lot of muscle power, possibly some gentle scraping and maybe even some soaking to soften the cooked mess. Sometimes it could take me 20 minutes to half an hour to clean the cooktop’s surface. Gas and electric coil surfaces are much easier to clean. Induction cooktops beat them all.

Faster cooking time

Induction heats the pan directly so there is no wasted heat. Most of the energy goes to heating the pan, which heats up much faster than either gas or electric.

Energy efficient

About 84% of the energy produced goes directly to the pan. With gas, only 40% of gas cooking heats the pan, the rest heats the kitchen. That is a lot of wasted heat! Less energy is needed for a shorter amount of time leading to increased energy efficiency.

Burner flexibility

On many of the newest induction models, a large part of the surface is induction enabled so many different types of pans will fit, from extra-large to griddles. Further, a small pot can be put on a large burner, and only the area where the pot is placed will heat up.

Electric

Induction heat is powered by electricity and is instant and therefore as responsive as gas. But it’s also much better for overall indoor air quality.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to induction ranges:

Cost

The bottom-end induction cooking ranges start at a higher price than the lowest price electric coil range or gas range. And even then, the basic induction range won’t have a lot of the features the more expensive induction ranges have. However, as they go up in price they are competitive with high-end gas ranges. Tip: that induction ranges tend to be not that much more expensive than induction cooktops (without the oven)

Function and operation

Depending on the model and brand you choose, there could be some clicking, beeping and fan noises every time you turn it on. Relying solely on product reviews isn’t a great idea in this case – your level of tolerance may be higher or lower than a reviewer’s. If you have the opportunity to test the models you’ve narrowed it down to, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether one model is better than another. Some models will also shut the entire surface off if a foreign object hits the surface causing you to reset the burners to resume cooking. Cooking “dials” also differ from completely digital to knobs – although most are digital – which might take some getting used to.

Cookware

It’s important to use good cookware to get the full benefits of induction cooking. The Induction Site notes that cast iron is just as good as top quality cookware, the most important test is how well a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan. You may have to invest in new cookware when switching to induction. Some brands run promotions, throwing in new cookware when purchasing an induction cooktop or range. Without the right pans you will have the humming or buzzing noise that is often discussed in induction reviews. Flat-bottom pans, secure rivets for handles, and heavy lids also contribute to a quieter cooking experience.

Proper operation to ensure longevity

Brian at Electros Fabuleux in Montreal says one of the most common problems he sees is blown control panels on induction units. People use the “boost” feature too often and also might be using it in conjunction with other burners being on. It’s not meant to be used all the time and will cause the control panel to burn out faster.

Proper electrical wiring

The Induction Site notes that getting the amps and volts aligned to the chosen range model is critical for smooth operation. Please do read it before you buy an induction as it will help you understand whether your current electrical panel needs upgrading.

Tell us about your induction cooking experience on our forum!

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