Everything you need to know when considering a switch from gas to induction cooktops:
A pretty good assessment overall. Two nits to pick in the wording.
This is because it’s the pan itself that’s directly heated, and more contact means better heat transference.
There is no heat transference at all from outside of the pan to inside. Close contact is required for magnetic induction. The way it is put is confusing to the novice trying to understand new tech.
This is because, with induction, the cooktop surface doesn’t heat up, so it’s much easier to wipe up a spill.
The surface does heat up, but indirectly from the heat of the pan. It can get too hot to touch. This is cooler and much safer than hot surfaces on other kinds of stoves and does not tend to bake spills on either, so the general intent is correct but the detail wrong. If the novice expects the cooktop to stay cold they will be disappointed.
We bought a new gas cooktop about 18 months ago and while it’s great to use it is a fair b****** to clean. Following on from the Choice articles and recommendations I recently bought one of the Ikea portable induction units to ‘have a play with’. My wife rolled her eyes when I came home with it with comments along the line of ‘another toy to gather dust’ but we both use it now. It is much quicker to heat and obviously much more efficient given that the waste heat from it is much less than that from a gas burner. It’s temperature control also seems to be better; I like to cook curries using cheaper cuts of meat (not that too many exist any more) in a pressure cooker and it seems to be easier to keep that at the right temperature on the induction unit compared to a gas burner.
The title of the article is ‘gas, ceramic and induction stoves: Three differences to know before you buy’. This is not actually correct. Induction cooking is only available as a cooktop. I was unable to find anywhere in Australia that sells an induction stove (cooktop, grill and oven). I live in a small townhouse, so a stand-alone stove is my only option. A wall oven would have meant no room for the exhaust fan. I ended up getting a ceramic glasstop. Yes, it is annoying working out which knob works for which hotplate (as gas is instant) and it takes time to work out how to get the temperatures right, but I am getting there. The article stated that induction cooking uses a lot of energy. Does that mean that it is more expensive to run than a ceramic cooker?
Thanks @SoggyLettuceLeaf, I have made a clarification to the title to specify cooktops. We conducted a ‘boil time test’, measuring the time taken to boil one litre of water on different types of cooktops. The results placed induction first, followed by gas and then ceramic. That answers the efficiency question and gives us some idea of energy costs, but not the full question of expense - it would depend on the cost of cooktop, installation and cookware. I’ve passed your comments on to the product testers so that we can consider this in the future.
For people who rent, unfortunately the options can be limited (if you have any choice at all). For readers who are renting and currently using gas, the article contains a number of safety tips and advice you can use to put yourself in the best position regardless of your cooktop situation.
No, for the same amount of heating of your pot or pan the induction costs less than the ceramic because it is more efficient.
If you cannot get an induction cooktop and oven in one you can install an electric oven below an induction cooktop as two components. This will be more expensive to buy and to install but it does solve your space problem. Whether it is worth it is another question.
An induction oven is something of a contradiction as an oven works on a combination of hot air and radiant heat to heat your container and/or your food directly. Induction only heats the container that is very close to it - generally the base. So induction is not going to brown the top of your roast or cake directly.
We have just completed the changeover from gas to all electric house, the last being the replacement of the gas cooker with an induction cooktop. There area few things that has impacted us with the installation and operation of the induction cooktop:
- The gas cooktops have a variety of size cutouts, and None match the induction cooktop dimensions. We had a nominally 900-mm gas hob, but no induction cooktop would fit the cutout, we needed to have the cutout in the kitchen bench enlarged to fit the new cooktop.
- Induction cooktops are very efficient, however, the maximum power level is automatically reduced when using multiple elements. So, if you need to cook multiple dishes you will not be able to have a high heat setting for each dish. This can be quite frustrating if a high heat is needed for each dish!
- We have a Bosch induction cooktop and, while it is quite “smart”, the operating instructions are very poor. We have found only by trial and error how to have the cooktop not just go through a 60-second countdown and turn OFF - there is no turn ON, then cook till finished then turn OFF, a timer is in control. The operation is NOT intuitive and can be quite frustrating! (We also had difficulties with poor instructions with our new all electric air conditioner - again we found the correct operation through trial and error, not even on-line searching helped)
- Lastly, be aware that having a gas supply removed can be quite expensive. In ACT it is about $800 to have the gas meter removed.
It will take a few years to recover the costs for the changeover to an all electric house, but we do not regret this move!
It would be nice if Choice could include value for money when rating a device. Is a cooktop that costs $6000 ten times better than one that costs $600? The reason I comment is that I have had several of the $200 induction cooktops from Aldi installed, at home, daughter and friend. They work fine and have never missed a beat. Not even tested here.
A reason many Aldi ‘special products’ are not tested at Choice is that they are only available for limited times and the Aldi special products are often not replicated a second time, eg made to the same specification by the same manufacturer. Hence any test would be on a product not currently available and one that would likely not be available again in future.
It was good to read,
Not only can induction cooktops be expensive to buy, the installation costs can also be significant. You may also need to check if the power supplied to your home has adequate wattage to service the cooktop.
It would improve the advice and help many consumers to consider other costs if Choice looked to expand the content.
Many older homes built to a budget will have an upright stove (free standing oven). One we know built in the late 80’s and another a late 90’s upgrade both have 54cm width all gas (oven plus cooktop) appliances. We now live in the second.
To consider, some greater depth of thought on the costs.
The choice free standing oven reviews are now more than 2 years old. There is only one electric upright with an induction cooktop. It’s a 60cm width product. It’s a Choice recommended product, but very expensive, at over $4,000. There are no 54cm wide all electric products unless one chooses a ceramic cooktop, none of which get a Choice recommendation. Looking online there are wider than 60cm free standing all electric options, with induction cooktops. Premium products and not covered by the Choice review?
It’s important to consider the replacement stand alone products can add cost needing remodelling part of the kitchen to accommodate the replacement. Applicable for a wider free standing, or for a seperate electric oven and cooktop. For a single or minimalist family, Choice Community members have suggested lesser options. A family or regular home cooks could be seeking a full size oven and multi place cooktop. Some further advice on the alternatives, and relative added costs of kitchen cabinetry would improve the content. Products do provide installation manuals. DIY is an option. It requires careful and well informed preparation, leaving most to choose paying for the additional work and or new cabinetry.
For a home with gas cooking, it’s also likely the hot water service is gas. In the SE gas is also common for heating. Should one minimise the total cost and maximise the relative gain by looking to the conversion as a single commitment? For a home on natural gas with HWS and all gas cooking the cost will include 2 or 3 electrical circuits installed before the gas can be removed. Is there scope for advice on the best strategies to transition, and ways to manage the costs over time? Converting from gas cooking which is a low added cost of gas use may not be be cost effective, where gas remains for other high use services. Note Brisbane NG is cheaper per MJ the more one uses, hence a lesser saving than the base rate might suggest.
The Choice advice encourages changing away from gas to remove the risk of the increasing costs of gas. It’s a difficult discussion knowing Australia produces large quantities of NG at very low cost for export. For electricity consumption, there is a government and regulator agreement to progressively move consumers to cost reflective tariffs. The outcome is higher costs for electricity used at peak times. This can be through ToU (time of use tariffs), or demand based tariffs. Is it prudent to point out the relative cost of changing to all electricity cooking vs gas will be different (less advantageous) where one is on a cost reflective tariff.
As an aside:
In context our personal experience suggests adding solar PV and RC AC offers substantial savings over time. The assessed cost benefit of converting the gas HWS to electric heat pump is line ball against the savings in LPG used. The cost of converting the gas upright to electric has no cash benefit. All 3 have environmental and related health outcomes. It’s accepted the health outcomes of gas cooking are as significant as suggested. It’s a surprise but not a surprise that government is not taking greater steps to support the replacement for cooking. Even if only on a means tested basis, it’s suggested the net gain over time in reduced ongoing costs to the health care system are worth the investment.
At present giving up gas in the home has similar considerations to giving up petroleum fuels for our motor vehicles. The cost savings (and community benefits) of going all electric (in the home or on the road) require an up front financial commitment that many cannot afford.
And this is exactly why I, as a pensioner, have decided that I can live happily with my electric skillet and a microwave oven. Been doing that exclusively now for about 2 months and so far so good.
That might be the assumption but my experience is very different to that. I’m happy to admit to being an Aldi fan, shop there several times a week. Also a tool addict, so I observe the cycle of products in the Specials. My observation is that the same products rotate on a 3 to 6 monthly cycle. I first purchased an Aldi induction cooktop about 4 years ago, The same cooktop comes up every 6 months without fail. The three cooktops I have purchased over the years look to be identical.
There is no guarantee that a particular model from a manufacturer will still be available in as little as six months, or from the same factory and to the same specifications. Having purchased appliances from many sources I know this to be very true.
However, I would fully expect Aldi to list their induction cooktops within the next 3 months. The product serves a purpose and in my experience is equally as good in function and specification as models costing 2 or 3 times the Aldi price. I hate spending money on something as nefarious as a brand reputation. In my experience it counts for almost nothing. I’m very happy with performance of my Aldi induction cooktop, and pleased to have saved a lot of money on the purchase price. Anyone looking to upgrade their kitchen would be wise to wait until the Aldi one comes up again in a few months time and consider it in their own assessment. And no, I have no affiliation with Aldi, just hate wasting money.
The issue for testing is one never knows which will be the same recurring product, and which will not be. It is also important that a consumer can buy one when needed, not just when offered. Therein lies a difference between various Aldi products. Choice has to make some decision on what to include per category and you might have noticed Choice has reviewed some of them over time but in overall context they focus on ‘available in the testing window’ as well as market share, eg what consumers are known to be buying.
You were lucky, the problem is when the new machine is smaller than the hole. Cutting a bit more out of the bench is cheap and easy. You will face the problem of profile variation any time you get a new cooktop not just when replacing gas.
Sometimes, not all models do that.
Love the idea of an induction stove but not good when the electricity is off and your solar has no battery backup.
No different to any other form of electric stove or the fridge or aircon in this regard. You may have cold dinner now and then. I have a cheap little bottled gas stove I keep in the house in case I absolutely must have hot soup in winter and the power is off; they are inexpensive.
I am also in this situation. My apartment has a 54cm stove, and the only option I could find when the old (electric) one broke was a new stove with a ceramic cooktop, grill and fan forced oven.
Guess what? I really like it! The oven and separate grill are fantastic. The ceramic cooktop may not be as responsive or energy efficient as an induction one, but it is quite easy to cook very effectively with it once you get used to the technique. It’s still way better than old-style electric rings.
If you were replacing an old gas stove with a new electric one, you would need a new 32A circuit to power the stove. Most houses should have sufficient spare capacity to enable that. Apartments may be more difficult.
If you’re thinking that a gas stove or cooktop would work when the power’s off: not necessarily. A lot of home gas appliances made in the last couple of decades depend on electronic control systems, and for safety reasons will not work unless those controls are functioning properly.
To have a backup for cooking during power outages, keep a portable gas burner and a bottle of gas on hand, like @syncretic.
Or roll out the BBQ. For most households outages may not be too frequent or long. For those outside the urban sprawl, one does not need to be far away to consider outages to be more a routine than exception. Consider if the power goes out that many away from sub-urban bliss also loose the house water supply.
It’s a universal right around here to be able to make a hot cup of tea no matter what the situation. Gas may still have a role in transition, even if it’s LPG in a bottle.
This is a problem for us though the gas stove isn’t that old. I had an electrician in last week to see if it is possible to put in a new circuit that is needed but it is almost impossible. We live in a relatively new three-storey townhouse with the switchboard on the lowest level (underground garage) on one side and the kitchen on the top level on the other side and to make matters worse, everything in the kitchen is marble, enclosed cupboards and even the outside wall is all glass windows and doors, so nowhere on the outside for a cable to go. Very disappointing.