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Thread: Induction cookers

  1. #1
    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    Induction cookers

    The observant may have noticed that I have just moved house. My new place has an induction cooker and, impressed with the speed and efficiency of this way of cooking (but not with having to replace my pots and pans), I decided to look in more detail about the history of this particular spin-off from Tesla's ideas.

    So I was both amused and saddened to see this:

    First patents date from the early 1900s. Demonstration stoves were shown by the Frigidaire division of General Motors in the mid 1950 on a touring GM showcase in North America. The induction stove was shown heating a pot of water with a newspaper placed between the stove and the pot. It was never put into production. Modern implementation in the USA dates from the early 1970s, with work done at the Research & Development Center of Westinghouse Electric Corporation at Churchill Borough, near Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

    What, GM take a brilliant and revolutionary idea to improve the efficiency of an everyday object and sit on it while they get overtaken by the competition?

    Will they ever change...

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    Tesla Reader bobw's Avatar
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    What, GM take a brilliant and revolutionary idea to improve the efficiency of an everyday object and sit on it while they get overtaken by the competition?
    It's a fallacy to think that people in times past were stupid, willfully ignorant, or foolishly conservative.

    They were there, you are not. There is bound to be information about their situation that you do not have.

    A quick google of induction cooktops confirms that they're six or seven times as expensive as a regular gas cooktop.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobw View Post
    A quick google of induction cooktops confirms that they're six or seven times as expensive as a regular gas cooktop.
    Must've been quick...

    £249: Buy Neff T23S36 Gas Hob, Stainless Steel online at JohnLewis.com

    £499: Buy Neff T42D20X0 Ceramic Induction Hob, Black online at JohnLewis.com

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    [Scratches head]

    From what I can see at the link -- and trying to compare apples-to-apples -- you've got

    1) Induction : $1,610
    2) Electric : $1,436

    Someday I might get induction, as it offers significant benefits, but it does have some downsides, too:

    1) You can't use copper or aluminum pots, because they're not ferromagnetic (and all my pots are aluminum).

    2) When shaking a pot (while sauteeing, say), the induction coil may turn off and on.

    3) No flame for charring certain foods.

  6. #6
    Senior Member dpeilow's Avatar
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    And the moral of the story appears to be don't shop at Sears.


    Single plate units can be had from under £50. For comparison, here is one from the same supplier (which is not the cheapest store) for £59: Buy Kenwood Induction Hob Plate, IH100 online at JohnLewis.com
    Last edited by dpeilow; 2009-11-24 at 04:04 PM.

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    Tesla Reader bobw's Avatar
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    I thought I tested the link. It's 30 inch electric cooktops sorted by price. The cheapest induction cooktop is between 6 and seven times more expensive than the cheapest electric cooktop.

    I admit it's a sample from only one source. You do have to be careful. A google search on "30 inch induction cooktop" will turn up plenty of glass topped radiant electric cooktops.

    The point is not to compare apples to apples. The point is that apples in this case are quite a bit cheaper than oranges.

    The wikipedia article notes that the first mass produced cooktops cost $1500 in the early '70s. They cost as much as a small car.

    Even in Britain the induction cooktop is twice the price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobw View Post
    The point is not to compare apples to apples. The point is that apples in this case are quite a bit cheaper than oranges.
    Keep in mind that cooktops, like almost any technical device, vary in price by quality and functionality. Induction cooktops have significant advantages over other electric burners, including precise temperature maintenance. Cooks treasure precision as much as any gear head, as it produces superior results. (The laboratory-level control of sous vide equipment, for instance, has allowed me, in my small kitchen, to put out near-restaurant quality meat, fish, etc.) To get the equivalent precision in any standard electric or gas burner, you'll have to pay significantly more. To be sure, induction will be more expensive still, as it remains a niche product, but I think it's difficult to compare a high-end product with a low-end product and derive any comparative cost lesson.

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