To anyone considering switching to an induction hob and hearing anecdotal stories of how some people don’t think they are “as hot” or “slower” than gas. I guarantee these are all related to the pans being used. It is of upmost importance that you get a really good set of pans “designed” for induction.
We have found “tri-ply” stainless steel pans work really well, better than on gas. Cast iron is also brilliant, I inherited loads of them. We have aluminium none stick frying pans with solid stainless steel bases, they work well.
Aluminium pans without a solid steel base are absolutely crap on induction - even the ones that say they work. Avoid them.
If you have any pans with a slightly curved base they won’t work. And you will have to get a Wok with a flat bottom designed specifically for induction.
Make sure you read reviews before you purchase any new pans, and if you are changing your hob to an induction one be prepared for replacing your pans - budget to spend more on them than the hob even.
We are absolutely converted to induction, love it and will never go back. Planning to one day get rid of the gas boiler too.
I recently bought a Polyscience/Breville Control Freak, and I’m increasingly convinced this is the future. It heats dramatically faster than a supposedly high end gas stove I compared it to despite being a lowly 1.6kW or so device. (Gas stoves are stupendously inefficient. That 15kBTU/hr stove may well deliver 15kBTU/hr to the air but not to your pan.). It heats quite evenly. And best of all, it has closed loop temperature control. Want to sauté some onions? Just do it and watch the onions — there is no longer a need to fiddle with a knob to keep the pan at the right temperature.
I wish this type of functionality was more widely available. There is absolutely no need for devices like this to be expensive.
Wow, that Polyscience/Breville Control Freak looks great - if anyone knows of a mid-level/affordable induction cooktop that preforms similarly I'd love to know if one exists.
Currently I have two induction cooktops (counter top models, not built-in hobs) - one from Ikea and one Nuwave brand. The Ikea one looks pretty good, but it lacks precision. Looks like the Ikea one is no longer available in the US, but here it is on their AU website:
The temperature settings go from 20 to 70 degree F increments. In particular, the jump from 210F to 280F really sucks. But it's great for boiling water, cooking pasta, etc.
The Nuwave induction cooktop I have allows 10 degree F increments, which is great for accurate precision. But it doesn't look very good in my opinion.
I'm also in the process of remodeling my kitchen and have a built-in Bertazzoni cooktop, which I've yet to unbox or install. I choose that because my wife wanted physical knobs instead of digital buttons and I agree that that does provide a nicer UI. I'm optimistic the knobs will provide precision temperature control.
Overall, I love cooking with induction - for control and clean air inside the house. However, one other issue I've struggled with is uneven temperature. Originally I thought cast iron would perform well, but it's not great with induction. I recently got some pretty decent stainless steel pots/pans from Tramontina, which are affordably priced compared Allclad, and those heat much more evenly. I also hope that when I install my built-in induction cooktop it will heat more evenly, perhaps with more magnetic rings.
The Njori Tempo is cheaper and claims to be even better. But it’s currently vaporware.
They are the future. The price will continue to go down slowly.
They were as low as $1,000 over December.
They are amazing. I believe that eventually (maybe 10 years from now) you’ll be able to get a 4 burner stove top with the same features.
Whoah! But it is expensive! $1500 for one pan at a time?!?
I have a one-pan induction cooktop that I got at Best Buy for $50 that I use whenever I need more precise temperature control than I can get from my gas range (e.g., when I make candy or meringue).
I bet the Breville cooktop is much better than mine, but you don't need to spend anywhere near that amount to get something decent.
I'm not sure what you're looking at, but my wife and I have a mix of cast iron and some stainless steel that has been great and I don't think we paid more than $50 for any one piece.
Does it have a coil whine? Cheaper table top induction coolers have a painful whine for me
How does something like that (at $1500) compare to the performance of e.g. a full range like https://www.geappliances.com/appliance/GE-Profile-30-Smart-S... (at twice that, but for an entire rangetop)?
The Profile can supposedly do the closed-loop trick if you pair it with Heston Cue pans. The manual makes this sound like a real PITA, and do you really want a pan with batteries and bluetooth? The Control Freak is compatible with any sufficiently flat magnetic cookware. Do you really want to be limited to a choice of a whopping three compatible pans? The world is full of excellent pots and pans at varying price points, and these are not compatible with the Cue system. This includes, for example:
Essentially disposable nonstick pans (pay a small premium for induction compatibility).
Enameled cast iron Dutch ovens.
Very high end nitride-coated pans from Hestan, compatible with any induction stove except Hestan Cue.
Plain old cast iron.
Magnetic steel comals.
Carbon steel seasonable pans, paella pans, etc.
A flat-bottom wok.
All of those work on induction stoves, and all work on a device like the Control Freak. Just put them on and set a temperature.
On the other hand, the GE range has an app and buttons. Where’s the knob?
Where does the induction stove measure the temperature? I'm assuming there's a thermometer near the surface of the stove, which I guess is close enough to the food to get good results.
It’s a spring-loaded thermometer in the center of the glass top. It presses against the bottom of the pan.
The thing with gas for me at least isn't that the heat is better or anything like that but that I feel like I can control the application of the heat better. You can move the pan around heat-surface (or an isotherm, technically) in 3D whereas with induction (I imagine it's better if you spend enough) for the same price it seems harder to get that feel.
Definitely an electric oven though.
I thought that when I first switched to induction. Then I realised that induction responds instantly to any changes you set in temperature so you don’t need to move the pan about in 3D space, just leave the pan on the stove and drop the heat right down.
I’m now back on gas after a house move and I miss induction so much.
> I realised that induction responds instantly to any changes
Hmm... My electric hob seems to control temperature by the amount of time the heating elements are active (+presumably a thermostat). There's a red light when the heating elements are active (or hot but switched off), and a definite click sound when the heating elements come on. You can see the heat immediately turn on when you change to a higher temp, and when you change to a lower temp it seems to just leave the application of heat off longer (I guess allowing elements to cool down to whatever the thermostat says they should be).
>just leave the pan on the stove and drop the heat right down.
I still lift the pan to cool things a bit on an induction top; most units will give you 2 or 3 seconds before auto-off when you do so.
Why you may ask? My cheap induction hob has slowly failing membrane keys.
I can believe it, maybe I've just only used bad induction.
100% - the ability to visually check the flame is crucial. Especially when you're cooking a lot of things quickly at different temperatures. Without that visual cue, you're just guessing every time. Induction is amazing, but harder to work with. There might be a good idea in making stoves that visually show the temperature of what's in the pot versus how much heat is being fed into it. That would maybe convince me to switch off gas.
A flame doesn’t tell you the temperature of what’s in the pot or pan either. You’ve trained yourself to intuitively understand your gas cooktop, you can do the same with an induction stove presenting you a heating number too. I don’t find induction any worse, it just took a while to relearn and internalize differences.
On our induction top, you set the temperature you want per eye. Instead of remembering that eggs need a flame about *this* big, you learn that eggs need about 320°F. It took some getting the hang of, but I wouldn't describe it as guesswork.
That's just a habit. Instead of visually checking the flame, you just visually read the large 4 digit LED where you set this in steps of 10 degrees Celsius, or whatever. They (mine) already do measure what's in the pot. Or how would you explain that it goes within 2 to 3 seconds from 90°C and just a few pearls to boiling bubbles if you set it to 100°C when there are 2 litres of water in it?
They are more easy to work with, IMO. Just get a good one.
The flame doesn't tell you squat, but if you insist then you can get induction cooktops with a fake flame effect to help you to continue to believe this nonsense. I use this one, it looks pretty cool.
My favorite way to show people how my induction stove works is to put some cold water in a kettle, pop it on a "burner", then turn it to "power boost". You can instantly see tiny bubbles forming on the bottom, and 20 seconds later it's at a rolling boil so intense you fear it may explode. I have no idea how anyone can say induction is slower than gas. And on the other end, low will slowly melt chocolate or heat a hollandaise without needing to steam a mixing bowl.
All the induction stoves I've tried, here in the EU, are great at boiling one pot of water. They suck at everything else.
E.g. want to boil two pots of water in parallel? No can do - after warming up seemingly forever you will have one pot boiling for 5 seconds, then stopping and letting the other pot boil for five seconds, and so on.
I want to love induction - no gas pipes, so much easier to clean, so much better for air quality - but the regular stuff you can buy in stores just isn't there yet. Just the fact that they use a plug which can carry at most 3kW should be enough proof that you cannot use them for serious cooking.
Thats not the norm, we have at least 2 phases to our stovetop, and Iv'e never encountered any kind of power limit, even when using the "boost" mode on several pans at the same time.
We used to live in an apartment with single phase, there we had to somewhat limit the induction top to about 5,5kW and once again I practically never enocuntered it maxing out.
Holy smokes, if you folks across the pond plug your stoves into 3kw, you indeed should never use that for cooking. The plug behind my stove can carry 12, about 10 continuous.
Now, about your issue with parallel cooking: you indeed can not send Max Power to two pots if they are on the same rail. However, even the cheapest ranges I've ever seen have 4 burners, two rails. Which means you _could_ boil two pots of water, as long as you use the correct two burners. You learn pretty quickly which burners share a rail. I'd imagine the really nice ones have a transformer per burner so it's never an issue.
And as long as you're not trying to send boil-in-20-seconds kind of power, you can use all the burners without noticing anything.
So get one which is hard wired on a 32A fuse...? 3kW is on the low end for an induction hob
"To anybody concerned about anecdotal evidence, here's my anecdotal evidence."
Snideness aside, the fact that you have to concern yourself with what pans you buy for an induction stove is enough reason for many to not buy one. You can no longer buy any pan at a store, you must do your research first.
Throw out my current pans and buy even more expensive ones? You're not exactly selling me the induction here.
They’re not necessarily more expensive and you won’t necessarily have to throw anything away they just need to be made with enough ferrous metal that it will work. A simple magnet test will tell you. In fact of all the cookware I have one of my more expensive pots doesn’t work on induction which seemed really odd to me.
FWIW, I don't doubt you and don't necessarily feel the need to be convinced here. The GP however posited exactly these things though - so your response is probably better suited for their comment.
I'm thinking of replacing my crappy glass top stove with an induction one. I did a test with a borrowed portable induction burner. Out of six pots and pans, five of them worked with it. My gut feeling is induction has become common enough in rest of the world that most commodity cookwear will work with it.
FWIW - cast iron is incredibly cheap.
Even cheaper if you buy from a thrift store and put in some elbow grease. If you're an especially tool- and skill-rich hacker, then arc/stick welding with cast iron welding sticks can repair even lost causes. Of course, it isn't "cheap" by then, but any excuse to scratch that hacker/maker itch is fine by me.
I moved from induction to gas recently (not by choice).
Anecdotally, the gas feels slower. It seems to take an age to bring things up to the boil compared to my old induction.
Also, cleaning up after spills is a pain compared to a glass surface.
Well the gas feeling slower to bringing things to a boil is to be expected; induction is much much much quicker at boiling things (~10 mins on gas vs ~2-3 mins using induction).
You can mitigate one of these problems with a Turbopot :)
I was resoundingly in the 'induction hobs are crap' camp until this NYE when we found ourselves staying away in the countryside in a place with a basic plug-in induction hob. I sighed and presumed my Absolutely Necessary morning tea would take until the heat death of the universe to boil, but nup, it was done in significantly less time than it takes me at home, when using gas.
If a crappy plug-in hob can boil water that quickly, it can cook that quickly too.
Next move I'm getting that sorted out - no more gas! (Mind you, companies are beginning trials here in the UK mixing Hydrogen with the gas supply, so there's a part of me that still wonders at the future benefit/end to end efficiency).
> there's a part of me that still wonders at the future benefit/end to end efficiency
The future is in completely abandoning residential gas infrastructure, which will have immense benefits in allowing us to stop maintaining and expanding millions and millions of miles of leaky underground pipes. No amount of tweaking the mixture will change the fact that electricity is broadly useful for everything, and that gas is only useful for a small number of things that are quickly being overtaken by electricity.
Hell, if we had devices that could instantly summon sufficient quantities of water from thin air, I'd get rid of my water hookup, too, even though water lines aren't nearly as bad for the atmosphere as gas lines are.
> The future is in completely abandoning residential gas infrastructure...
Gas tankless water heaters are still sometimes a cost-efficient per-therm choice if you are already plumbed for gas  .
I've yet to find a calculator that figures the TCO (including costs that are externalized today, like pipe losses to the environment) between tankless water heaters using natural gas, propane, resistive electric, induction electric, and heat pump versions of those types, though. There are many different situations, so what is overall systemically efficient in one situation will not be suitable for another.
It would come as little surprise to most HN readers that I have a number of very expensive resistive air heaters that we call computers laying around for my work, so in my particular situation, a heat pump water heater works extremely well. However, I'm still unsure of the TCO after all the maintenance and repair is accounted for over the decades I will own the heat pump as it is undeniably more complex than more common water heaters. So I will give a nod to resistive water heaters as a likely good TCO choice in most situations after all costs are said and done .
Of course, but I'm more thinking about near to mid term, where a heck of a lot of domestic heating and cooking infrastructure has been built upon the assumption of gas, so is an incumbent sunk cost.
All new builds and renovations should be encouraged to deploy full-electric.
- ed: Sorry, I should've specified - I meant 'in the UK' for the large amount of existing gas infrastructure.
But… Why did you think induction hobs were slow? It's almost their whole point that they're fast! Now, admittedly I'm speaking as someone who has never used a gas cooktop, and accustomed to coil-plate or glass-ceramic cooktops (gas hobs are very rare around here), and I guess anything is fast compared to a coil-plate, but still.
My experience with these goes back decades, and my experience - outdated as it clearly is - was not positive.
> you will have to get a Wok with a flat bottom
If it has a flat bottom, then it’s not a wok.
Personally, I hate cooking on induction. My parent have it and it never worked for me. I need to see/hear the gas to be able to control the heat properly.
Once they shut off the gas lines due to the energy transition, I’m going to run a gas pipe from the kitchen to my basement and just buy it in canisters.
> Once they shut off the gas lines due to the energy transition,
This won't happen. What will happen instead is that the gas to cook your omelette in the morning will cost three times more than going to a restaurant would and you'll make your own decision about shutting down your gas lines.
Uh, no. You can make Methane from CO2 and electricity with something like 70% efficiency. So while gas will become a lot more expensive, it won't become too expensive to use it for cooking. You don't need all that much gas for cooking.
> This won't happen.
Not sure where you live, but in my country the plan is to get everyone off gas by 2050. At that time the national gas network should be shut down.
Or you can get an induction wok burner with a curved base, which are just phenomenal… i bought a de detreich but there are a number of brands that do them. It’s way hotter than my previous gas wok ring, and also doesn’t produce so much smell because the gas itself is not rising around the pan and carrying vapours away.
That’s cool! I have an induction stove (it’s fantastic) but no woks. I’ll probably just end up getting a flat bottom one myself but it’s really cool that those curved induction burners exist (just googled it) - I’d never heard of them until now.
Chef Jon Kung posted a video talking about cooking on induction that features a rounded induction cooktop for woks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooNzRrHA9VY
I believe they sell induction hobs that project blue light 'flames' to reflect the heat strength as a visual aid. Not sure if any do the audio as well.
You can hear induction if you can hear above 16khz too.
> If it has a flat bottom, then it’s not a wok.
It has a flat bottom "outside", inside it has the same shape as a normal wok.
That’s still not a wok.
A wok has 2 important features: it has a round bottom and it’s thin. The thin sheet steel allows it to heat up and cool down quickly. Maybe you can make a thick-bottomed pan that has a rounded bottom on the inside. And maybe you can pump enough energy in it to make it heat up quickly, but you can’t suck the energy back out. If it’s that massive it will not cool down quickly.
Really? I’ve never seen a wok like this. Most flat bottomed woks are just flat bottomed.
A wok with a flat bottom outside and curved surface inside would also be heavy.
> My parent have it and it never worked for me
Can you clarify, are you certain you're talking about induction? Inductive cooktops are a relatively recent trend, if you grew up with an electric range there's a good chance it was a resistive cooktop, not an inductive cooktop. Resistive cooktops are pretty notoriously unsatisfying.
> Can you clarify, are you certain you're talking about induction? Inductive cooktops are a relatively recent trend
Not that recent, at least not here in Europe. I know the difference, they had a resistive cooktop maybe 15 years ago or so, that was even worse, took forever to respond.
There are several problems with induction. While not inherent to induction, the controls tend to be crap. For some reason most induction cooktops have touch controls, which are an absolute disaster. At my parents previous place they had one where you had to first select the burner, and then use +/- touch buttons to change the temperature. You couldn’t quickly change anything. And of course the touch controls never worked if you had wet hands (and why would you have wet hands when cooking, right ?) Although indiction plates with knobs apparently do exist, I haven’t seen any yet.
A problem that is inherent is the complete lack of feedback: you can’t see a flame, you can’t hear it, meaning you can’t adjust the temperature by feel. Another inherent problem is that it limits the type of cookware you can use on it, only flat bottomed steel pans.
Basically, they are very impractical devices and not fit for purpose in any way.
True, a flat bottom means it isn’t a “classic” Wok but we find them just as usable.
I think there are probably still UX problems to be solved with Induction, the visual feedback on gas is better. We fortunately have knobs on ours (I hate the touch buttons on some).
How do you think those canisters are being filled?
Not from the country-wide natural gas network, as they contain propane instead of methane. They will keep selling those as you can’t exactly take a induction hob camping.
Propane requires a slight modification to a gas hob (basically, different sized nozzles) but those came with my hob and it’s trivial to replace them.
I have an induction cooktop and my cast iron pans have been terrible. Cast iron has lousy heat conduction and induction stoves do not have even distribution. They negate a lot of the benefits of induction, which is the ability to put a massive amount of heat into the pan very quickly.
High carbon steel pans (the kind used by kitchen services) have been brilliant. Every time I've seen an induction cooktop in use in a commercial service (for example, at my work place cafeteria at the "rice meal" station) they use high carbon steel pans.
The biggest problem: no cooking during power outages, which happen around 2-3x a year.
Surprised to hear you have had a bad experience. We use stainless still pans for all the normal sized pans. It’s large pots/casserole dishes/Dutch ovens we have in cast iron and they work really well. We also have an cast iron skillet that is great, gets very hot very quickly.
All our cast iron is Le Creuset.
You do need to be careful using carbon steel on induction, at least until you get the hang of it: the instant heat makes warpage easy to encounter, especially if the coil is undersized relative to the pan (US portable hobs have tiny diameter coils).
I thought that was the point of cast iron though? Heat batteries basically: long time to heat up, but then you have a lot of constant heat energy.
Cast iron has never been quick on any type of stovetop.
I agree about carbon steel though. Underappreciated although gaining more attention.
> I have an induction cooktop and my cast iron pans have been terrible. Cast iron has lousy heat conduction and induction stoves do not have even distribution.
That’s interesting, can you compare the heat distribution problem to resistive? I have a gas range now, but when I had resistive I would preheat my cast iron in the oven for nice uniform heat distribution
"Cast iron" and "high carbon steel" are the same thing by different names, so I'm a little confused by your comment.
High carbon steel has less carbon than cast iron. Cast iron contains substantial amounts of Ledeburite, while steel contains none or at most negligible Ledeburite inclusions.
They’re not quite the same, cast iron generally has a higher carbon composition range and a different phase distribution. Cast iron has a much lower thermal conductivity
My wife and I decided to switch to induction after the NYT article on this topic a few months ago.
Not only did we have a gas stove that was probably spiking NO2 levels when we actually used it; we also seemed to have a gas leak. It was not a big one, just a faint smell, but it was hard to pin down. A plumber concluded the connection between the range and the pipe wasn't the problem. No specific part of the range smelled stronger than the rest of it. For all we knew, it might be a hole in a pipe. So we wanted to make gas stop flowing through our unit (a condo within a three-family home, very normal here in Cambridge, Massachusetts) altogether.
We contacted an appliance company about switching to induction. To prepare, they told us, we would first need to upgrade the range power outlet to 40 amps, and cap off the gas pipe behind the range.
The electrical work cost $1800. It could have been much more; we were lucky our circuit breaker was positioned such that they only needed to make two openings in our walls. (They suggested we put little hatch doors in those spots to make future work easier.)
We asked our plumber to not only cap off the gas pipe behind the range, but also put in a valve in the basement, such that gas flow could be shut off to our unit, but also easily turned back on if a future owner wants to reverse what we did. We did this rather than turn off our gas altogether, because we have a gas water heater and still needed gas available there. The plumbing work cost about $300 I think.
To make cooking stay as close as possible to being how great and fast it is with gas, we chose a range with an induction stove: The LG LSE4616ST, which cost $3000.
We were lucky to be able to afford this change for our health. Of course, it would have cost a lot less if we hadn't cared about induction, but still multiple thousands of dollars.
We should be subsidizing conversions like this.
> We should be subsidizing conversions like this.
This is the epitome of the current green movement. Proponents want an unnecessary luxury green product subsidized for higher income households, even though there are perfectly fine substitutes that are just as good for the environment at 1/5 the cost you just described. I just can't get on board with a movement like this.
I mean, they could have just fixed their gas leak (lol what the fuck) and bought a nice hood. Even having to suggest people fix their gas leak is comedic and reminds me of how absurd many tech people are. Bragging about transitioning, recommending a subsidy, allowing a gas leak.
if you have natural gas service there are probably active gas leaks in your city from the supply lines, gas is very leaky
Here in New Orleans they take your meter if you report a leak and you can’t get it back for a couple weeks and thousands in reconnection fees because they don’t trust people’s plumbers apparently and have to reinspect everything themselves
So choose the amount you subsidize so that the cheapest reasonable solution becomes affordable to most people. There are induction stoves costing just a few hundred dollars for example. There is no need to subsidize $3k, but subsidizing electrical or plumbing work to replace fossil fuels with electricity makes perfect sense.
We've wound up with subsidies because it is what is politically feasible.
The most efficient approach would be to correctly price the negative externalities of gas on health and environment, but pragmatically politicians understand that enormous carbon taxes are a very quick way to be voted out of office. Accordingly we arrive at the solutions available: subsidies for alternatives and/or a very slow phase in of carbon taxes.
Progressive jurisdictions are straight up banning gas hookups in new developments for environmental and health reasons.
Certainly the case with electric cars.
Subsidy in the form of a tax credit (so you need to front the government the money until tax season), so that you can buy something that basically only works if you own a house, into which you've already installed some infrastructure, itself subsidized via tax credit.
I can't help but think it would have been better to subsidize the purchase of used hybrids (or, you know, transit)
I agree with you on hybrids, I think hybrids are a better fit for most people right now. Especially for renters and households with one car. I also think people need to come to terms with the reality of the world we live in right now and take responsibility for their own resiliency. We cannot externalize complete resiliency to government. We are in a bit of a chaotic transition right now. In the last two years we've seen electricity failures, public safety failures and basic government services failing. I think people need to make sure their lives are resilient through decisions like should I buy an EV or hybrid.
Overall I'm not against green subsidies. I'm against subsidies going to higher income households, it's government transfers to the rich! Especially in California, their green subsidies benefit the rich and hurt the poor.
We should absolutely not be subsodisong someone who has the means to install a $3000 induction range and do $2k worth of additional work at the same time. A semi decent 4 ring induction cooktop can be had for less than £300, and it plugs straight into a wall socket with no electrical work needed. If you're removing a gas stove and making the point safe, I'd say $100 to cap the pipe at the point of the old range (based on me having that work done in my last apartment). Prices may vary with cost of living.
For people using small burners in apartments, single ring plug in induction cooktops are available for about $100 with no other work required.
Typical American wall sockets rarely deliver more than 120V * 15A. Plug in induction hobs targeting the American market clock in at 1800 W spread across all burners, at most. There are no four burner solutions for which this power is sufficient.
If wired for an electric resistance range and oven, the typical American home has 240x30+
The curse of 120v strikes again. I did a quick Google and it looks like it'll cost you about $500 to install a 240v circuit, which is still a far cry under the 5k+ the above poster paid. A 3600kW combined set of burners is likely more than enough for many households
>A semi decent 4 ring induction cooktop can be had for less than £300
Yeah, but it doesn't have wifi. The one for $3000 is wifi enabled. Shame it doesn't have an LCD, means Doom is kinda of hard to run on it.
I live in an apt and bought a ~$100 induction hot plate and now do about 90% of my cooking on that (formerly used semi-faulty burners on a cheap electric range). In the future when I own my home I plan on just a having a few cheap restaurant induction hot plates at ~$250 each I can replace/upgrade at will. It might not look as classy, but it will do everything I could ever ask it to do.
A cheap induction hob with 4 "burners" should cost about $250, once they cease being marketed and priced as luxury appliances in the USA:
(Comparing BestBuy.com, where they are all fancy and start at $1000.)
A half decent mid range one is "only" about twice the price too; still nowhere near $1k
We bought a single profesional induction stove, 4.5 kW for a single plate, on ebay, barely used, for 100$. The thing is a beast. You can heat a pot with 50L of water in ~10-15min with it to like 60 + degrees celsius.
With gas it takes an hour.
Water really does make it obvious. I always used to use an electric kettle to heat water and then pour it into a pan to avoid waiting for it to heat on gas. With an induction hob it's super fast to heat.
It’s very bizarre to me how you can get very inexpensive single burner countertop induction plates ($50-100), but multi-burner built-in cooktops are dramatically more expensive ($1000-4000). Anybody know why this is?
Is the US most homes use combination stove/ovens called ranges. These are the cheap option because they are mass produced. Stovetops are more common in bigger, more expensive homes which is why the stovetops at Best Buy are the "premium" models.
Also, at least in the US people have been told over and over how a kitchen remodel actually adds value to your house. "Every dollar you spend you get a dollar twenty back!" Well maybe so or maybe not, but if you don't sell your house before you need to remodel again, you are never realizing that gain.
Product segmentation I guess. One is competing with microwaves and other loose utilities, the other is installed as part of a kitchen outfitting which is expected to be expensive.
The professional machines don’t look nice, don’t have fancy buttons or electronics. They are not fashion items for fancy looking kitchens.
Instead, They are practical. They have insane power (4.5kW is low range… and it goes directly into the pan…). They are easy to clean, and they have physical knobs: one for on/off, and a dial for power, which they display in a cheap display in kWs.
I'm sure it is at least partially just what you can get away with charging.
Single burners are common for students and people with little room for anything larger, often very budget constrained.
Cooktops are often being put in as a part of an already expensive kitchen refit/build.
With that said, I'm sure there are other factors. Built-in hobs tend to need to be a lot thinner to fit in the available space, at least from what I have seen.
I can order a Bosch induction top with 7.4kW and four fields for 350€ off Amazon. Where do you pay $1000?
> We should be subsidizing conversions like this.
No we shouldn't. Whatever you care about, like maybe CO₂, at those prices you can get a better bang for your buck elsewhere. For new installations it might make sense.
It could be that your gas lines are old and porous, leading to slow release of gas. Usually not a problem, unless the space is enclosed or poorly ventilated, in which case it can cause pooling of the gas and possibly an explosion.
Gas is dangerous, lines should be checked every couple of years (pressurized or vacuum tested) and the rubber connection hose for the range should be replaced every five years or so.
>The electrical work cost $1800
For less than 8 hours of work I'm sure.. I'm in the wrong profession.
It could be worse, try doing this in an old building in NYC.
Unless there were serious unmentioned complications, that is a ludicrous amount of money to pay for a new 40-amp circuit. Upgrading the entire panel costs less where I live.
I expect it will cost at least that much for me to do it, and I think my arrangement isn't that uncommon. My meter is on the exterior garage wall, and so the panel is on the interior in that same location. The only path for wiring to my kitchen is up and into the attic then down, or around the garage in conduit until it can enter the crawlspace. Either option is going to cost a day of electrician time, and he's going to charge at least a grand for that. Add in materials, covid pricing, and if I get out of it for less than $2K I'd be surprised.
Fortunately my brother in law is a licensed electrician and he'll do it for his normal rate, which won't include the 100+% markup from the business. I'll pay him generously and still end up paying less.
We would probably better off not relying on politicians to use what technology wins, but instead tax carbon emissions. And I mean tax it properly at real cost of the externality. Not some fig leaf $1/gallon.
Gas in general may cause incidental gas pollution —but I see a problem by the author. The author mentions high pollution results when cooking —which for the author does using a gas range. However the author doesn’t discuss results from alternate ranges. I have an induction stove and every time I cook the indoor air pollution also spikes (lots of frying). It’s likely less than that caused by gas stoves but never the less creates pollutants in the air.
I have no doubt that gas causes more pollution but they are remiss for not mentioning the cooking process itself causes pollution.
> incidental gas pollution... the author doesn’t discuss results from alternate ranges... "
The alternative ranges produce zero. Combustion heating, cooking and driving produces NO2, electric doesn't. The article is specifically about NO2, it has specific adverse health effects.
> Every time I cook the indoor air pollution also spikes "
What kind of pollution are you measuring? My air purifier reacts to frying too and shows "high pollution', but it just measures particles in the air - it cannot tell apart cancerous coal ash from harmless pollen and frying oil getting in the air.
The food itself can give off emissions — obviously less so if you're doing something like, say, boiling eggs in water, but if you're using high temperatures and oil then it could be significant.
>I have no doubt that gas causes more pollution but they are remiss for not mentioning the cooking process itself causes pollution.
Yes, and the real problem is vents that do not exhaust outside. Even in code crazy California, it is perfectly legal to have vents that just blow the air around.
Author also mentions pollution from the gas furnace though, so no cooking involved. But you're right: would be interesting to know amounts of NO2 released by frying though.
I was never taught you must use the hood and barely use it.
The author is comparing cooking between different types of stoves, not indoor air quality between different activities. I believe you would call this a controlled variable, for example by making sure you cook the same meal, at the same quantity, the same way. Real scientists can correct me.
No. The author didn’t do this.
You might wanna take a second look at the title of the article.
No, the author is not comparing different types of stoves. I never saw anything about induction or wood stoves.
I enjoy cooking a lot and I cooked on gas stoves, electric ones (the ones that have those red hot spiral things under a glass) and top-of-the-line induction ones. In my opinion (and probably many restaurants' opinions from what I can see through their reactions on bans for gas appliances in new buildings), a gas stove is just unmatched in how much easier and better it makes cooking.
I totally get the desire to switch to electric appliances for many reasons, but I am yet to meet an electric stove of any kind that I remotely enjoyed cooking on. Is this everyone's experience? Did I just not meet the right induction stove yet? Is there some sort of new technology on the horizon that will make electric stoves infinitely better?
I love induction. The main annoyance, for me, are the touch controls.
You regulate up or down in steps, and the controls sometimes have trouble recognizing your fingers if they are wet. There’s also no tactile feedback.
I’d much rather turn a knob.
Then it would be perfect.
I'm the same. I was a huge proponent for gas stoves, until I got a good induction one and wow. It's just as good when it comes to heat, with extra advantages like not throwing extra heat into my kitchen, things never burning onto the actual plate and it just generally being a much neater solution. But yeah the heat can easily match gas, it's great.
And I also agree that the touch controls are absolutely the worst, they are abysmal. I see why they are done this way - it allows the entire plate to be wiped clean very easily. But I still wish you could have separate controls somewhere on the side, with actual tactile knobs.
Tactile feedback? Knobs? What do you think this is, the 1950s? No no. Your next stove should have a touchscreen, maybe not even a screen at all - control everything via your phone using a cloud based platform that connects to your stove./s
OK, but where does the blockchain and Stovecoin mining fit in? I gotta make money from cooking on it somehow!
Control via phone will actuallly be the best.
I could buy a bunch of expensive hifi qualitu knobs and potentiometers and build my own panel to control the stove.
Haha. Exactly! Or just use Alexa. „If you don‘t subscribe to Amazon Music now, I‘ll burn your food!“.
I don't know how anyone can cook with these things for exactly the reasons you mention. Cooking can be chaotic with many things to keep track at once. Fingers are wet, or greasy so buttons don't work. Something overflows with just a few tiny drops the thing switches off leading to a problem with something else on the stove that requires constant stirring because now you're forced to clean your hands, dry to spillage from the stove before you can continue. Lift a heavy pot from the stove and put it back down (because it was a wee bit too hot to handle) - BAM! the fucking glass is broken. (I broke already 1 induction stove from my brother and my own Ceran this way).
WTF designed these things? Certainly not a chef!
A bialetti (moka) pot will not work because they're made from aluminum (no induction).
The whole thing upsets me so much that it's very high on my list for deciding if I can live in that country. If there is no gas cooking (most of North of Europe) un/-surprisingly the food is also terrible. Maybe there is sample-bias in my statement but I know literally nobody in my family or friends who owns a ceran/indusction stove and who is actually a great cook.
The only things better for cooking than gas are wood or coal fires. But gas is the next best natural flame.
My mother uses her bialetti moka pot on her induction stove every morning. I'm not entirely sure what you're on about.
Apparently you can use propane tanks. That's what a family told us that wanted to move into our last apartment. They swore by their cherished old gas stove, and said one of those tanks lasts them... well, I don't remember exactly, but it must have been half a year or something. In any case, much less of a hassle as I would have thought.
This is so true, my parents have an induction stove with touch controls. It takes ONE drop of water on the 10x40cm touch control square to make the whole stove top shut down with a beeping alarm sound. If you have buttery fingers it won't recognize any touches (major annoyance when making butter heavy sauces). On top of that it also relies on long-presses, you have to hold your finger on the "button zones" for 2 seconds, then you can alter the heat, one touch at a time on a 1-10 scale. Takes about 10-20 seconds to adjust the heat.
When I looked for a new stove last year I tried to find one with induction AND knobs. I ended up getting a non-induction stove, with knobs, works well enough although I would swap it for one with induction and knobs any day, haha!
Yeah. Manufacturers act like having wet or oily fingers was some kind of edge case in a kitchen.
what you can't get induction stoves with knobs? is this just a high-end thing in general?
man, in the kitchen, keep the controls simple.
We searched high and low for a stove with an induction top that used knobs and finally settled on a stove from Bertazzoni. Expensive but worth it for us.
IMHO touch controls are popular because they are cheap to make and offer a simple way to integrate the hob onto a counter. For a lot of people that is important. For us (my partner is blind) it is not.
We bought one from a restaurant on ebay. The "professional" models for restaurants don't have touch controls or fancy electronics. Just knobs. 100% recommend.
I hate those too. There are a few models left, that have knobs, but they are getting fewer and fewer. No idea why.
Sometimes you need to react really quickly and turn down heat, if it takes you 5 sec more, the food might be burnt already. Lifting the pan might be a good „hack“ though.
Yeah, lifting the pan is what I resort to, too. Like cooking on medieval fire. It‘s kinda ridiculous, given the granularity, precision and immediacy that electric heating, and especially induction, would allow for were it not for those dumb touch controls.
- They fail to work with non-standard sized pans.
- You can't use a wok on them.
- In fact, you can't use them with lots of other things, or in many ways I use my gas stove. Yes, these are "off-label" uses, sometimes not even related to cooking. So? Tools should be flexible, not fight back.
It's a different tool, it works differently. Induction boils water in less than half the time, and it also has very precise heat control which can go very low, down to 100 degrees, where a gas stove's lowest setting is fast high heat by comparison.
How long have you cooked with a gas stove? I would wager that if you spent decades cooking on induction you would have similar complaints about gas. I love cooking with gas, but also I love cooking with electric, and I imagine I could love cooking with induction. (3 minutes to boil sounds brilliant, who needs a dedicated electric teakettle.) The stuff I could do with precise control down to 100 degrees F, I don't even know but that sounds like it requires patience but allows wonders that are impossible with gas.
Not to say gas can't work wonders that are impossible with induction, but they're different tools and it's not fair to judge simply on the basis of a few missing features.
Also there are pans that don't work as well with gas in my experience. I suspect that if anyone lived with an induction stove for decades and tried to replace it with a gas stove they would also be complaining that half their pans don't work anymore, or at least don't work for the task they've been used for anymore.
My carbon steel wok works perfectly on induction.
You can absolutely use a wok on them. I bought a wok while on electric and it turned out to be fine for induction too.
I guess old school jiggle top pressure cookers are right out too (but I guess anyone buying an induction stove would buy an Instant Pot anyway)
>You can't use a wok on them.
Buy a cast-iron wok from Staub, they work wonderfully.
I've had two induction stoves over the last two years, one newer and one a little older. I came from a lifetime of cooking with gas.
First complaint - exactly the same as yours. Even a little boil over can sometimes just shut everything off.
Second complaint - "smart" pan sensing. I have a few pots that don't really fit the rings on the stove perfectly, and they have been relegated to the "useless" corner of the cabinet. The temp setting starts to either flash whenever the pot isn't big enough to cover the ring, or just takes forever to heat up.
Last complaint - some of my pans are not perfectly flat on the bottom, from either a rough life or warping in the oven, etc. Those pans are also useless on the induction hob.
Induction plates vary a lot in quality and in the amount of energy they transfer. The more expensive ones can dump a lot of energy into a pan really quickly. Some go up to 3-4KW even. If you are trying to boil a large pan of water/soup/etc., a good induction plate gets the job done very quickly whereas you might have to wait a bit with a gas stove or a cheaper, lower capacity induction plate. Like wise, if you are searing a steak, you'd want a large wattage to get the pan really hot, really quickly.
Gas is nice mainly for things that are really temperature sensitive like searing meat, using a wok, etc. Of course when cooking stuff like that you want good ventilation for this because otherwise you end up with a lot of grease and soot all over the kitchen. So, the pollution of gas matters less if you have that set up correctly.
The main reason gas is so nice for cooking is how quickly you can adjust the temperature. Induction plates also respond really quickly of course. The old fashioned red hot spiral things, are much more tricky because they stay hot for so long; it takes a minute to reduce the heat; or to raise it. I have one at home and I'm used to it but it is still annoying. A neat trick is to simply move pans away from the heat to control it.
Induction plates don't have that problem. But I really hate the touch controls many of these things have. They are very fiddly; especially with wet hands and they also can get hot. I'd prefer to have some old fashioned dials. But in terms of instant, fine grained control, they are actually pretty good.
I do a lot of cooking and I prefer electric. I'm sure it's because I've cooked on electric ranges my entire life, the kind where the pan sits directly on the spiral heating element. I only ever cook with gas when I'm visiting a friend or relative.
Gas stoves are great at bringing a pot of water to a boil. But they are not so good at very low heat, like leaving a covered pot to simmer. Most gas ranges don't go as low as I would like, and I need to watch the pot more carefully and stir more frequently than I would at home.
I'm sure most of my issues are familiarity. If I had spent my life cooking with gas, my techniques would have developed to work better with gas. But now that I'm set in my ways I will stick with electric.
A proper induction range will boil water much faster than gas. Under two minutes to take a full pasta pot—8 quarts (7.5L) of water—from tap-cold (50F/10C) to a rolling boil. Do not confuse them with resistive coil electric stoves, which are inferior in every way! Unless you're dead set on aluminum cookware.
I like induction cooking as well, but it's not _that_ fast. Assuming a 3 kW (usually it's less powerful) induction stovetop, 7 kg of water, 4 J/(g.c) specific heat and 90 C temperature increase, that would take at the very least 14 minutes. Should take longer if you include heating the pan itself, phase change energy and heat losses. If you wanted to do it in two minutes, that would take twice as much power as a home Tesla charger. Heating water just takes a ton of energy.
Many gas ranges have a concentric simmer burner on at least one of the burners for this reason. It’s a low heat level that allows delicate cooking with all the intuitive feel of a flame.
My gas stove has an XLO mode, it actually will cycle on and off automatically. Makes a little clicking noise, but it's very effective for the lowest of simmers.
the stoves here have two rings with the inner ring being small enough that i can leave a dry pan on it for hours without it getting noticeable hotter than at the start. when cooking something i can leave it unattended for several minutes or longer.
In terms of fine control, induction is a game changer (me resisting moving from gas for a long time). I use lower, more precise cooking techniques more now. For high-temperature (e.g. searing a steak) stuff, there's something different about how it heats. I haven't worked out what it is yet, as induction gets the pan insanely hot really fast (on 'boost mode'); almost too hot, which should be excellent, but seems wierd, and sometimes seems to burn the pan. But for that kind of cooking I use the gas BBQ outside mostly.
Having bought an induction stove when refitting our kitchen, then replacing it with a different one a couple of months later, I can advise that the size of the elements matters. The 'linked zones' thing seems to be rubbish, and doesn't heat evenly (maybe it does on really high end stuff). I now have a three-element stove (60cm) - one really big one and two smaller ones. I don't think I've ever used 4 burners at once anyway...
I just wish there was an API for induction stoves; interfacing with a thermometer to keep a certain temperature, or for a set time, or even a removably physical control panel (i.e. knobs) that would let you put it away and keep the flat-top thing (which is actually really nice when you need the bench space).
Induction stoves with temperature control do exist - set the desired temperature and it'll control the heat output accordingly.
We bought a professional "manual" (no fancy electronics) from a restaurant (with knobs and no touch), for 100$ each. And built our own system with that.
You can set the knob, and turn it on and off with a relee, connected to a raspberry pi. We have temperature sensors on the "food side" of the pans and pots, since what we care about is the temperature that the food feels.
99% of the time we don't use it with the pis, but have a couple of recipes as Jupyter notebooks that we use the temp control and temp staging with.
One advantage of induction over gas here, is that the thermal mass of some induction pots and pans is almost zero, and temperature changes are instantaneous, so from the point of view of control algorithms, programming induction cooking is infinitely better than any other system that i've used, cause you don't have to solve a PDE to regulate the temperature. YOu can just turn it on if its too cold and off if its too hot, and that's it. +-0.5C of accuracy, which at the 100$ level for a single plate is unbeatable.
We spent ~400$ for 3 heats. 100% recommend.
Perhaps someone could use an IR camera to determine the difference.
Induction is very good, in different situations than gad. With induction, you have a reliable temperature control and can heat the whole pan uniformly, even at low temperatures. It’s very easy to let something simmer for hours or heat something just so it does not cool too much.
One of the main issue with common domestic gas stoves is that the heat is not well distributed, and good pans don’t necessarily have a great thermal conductivity. This is a problem when what you’re hearing is not liquid enough to redistribute heat by convection. Another is that you don’t control the temperature of the flame, just its size. So temperature control is always finicky, particularly at low temperatures.
So personally I go for induction most of the time, and a barbecue when I need a flame.
I love cooking on gas. As you mentioned the convenience is unmatched and it is a pleasure compared to cooking using induction or hot plate. Induction certainly seemed more efficient with how fast it used to boil water, but when cooking food, gas always wins for me. Not to mention, lot of pans I have will not work on induction or hotplate.
I was able to get the most even heating with a high quality (but not insanely expensive) induction stove. Boiling water in about a minute, insane. And because the heating element is necessarily closed loop you don't have the regulation problems you do with an ohmic heater.
A gas stove is a lot more powerful (10-60kW vs 1-3kW) but a lot of that heat simply escapes upwards.
Its not about power or speed for me. Whenever i visit my parents i hate cooking anything because the electric stoves release heat in bursts then turn off for a bit then a huge burst. It’s impossible to cook anything the way you want . Normally i just go for overcooking everything. But in general i find cooking relaxing and that stove turns it into something that makes me mad every morning.
Maybe this is specific to the stove they have though. I have and will continue to use gas because of this.
That's not an inherent quality of electric stoves, just crappy ones.
I use a 50s-era GM Frigidaire electric stove+oven and it doesn't modulate current to control temperature. It's quite a gas-like pleasure to cook with, prior to this I'd only ever experienced electrics like you're describing and they're awful.
I don’t know why but when I visited Japan, every stove has this sensor which cuts off the gas almost completely when the pan gets to hot, I guess it’s to prevent oil fires. If you want to hate cooking, go to Japan and use one of those things.
My AEG induction stove has short enough pulse cycles it's not noticeable - a low setting just means low heat. In fact, it's the best stove I've ever used by far - it can go from gently melting chocolate to way too much heat in about 2s. Apart from boiling water I never use the most powerful settings because they'll burn stuff. The only thing it can't do better than gas is wok cooking - the curved sides don't get hot.
My parents have a different brand induction which does seem to have longer pulse cycles - maybe one every 5s or so. That is probably the effect you're describing - it'll go from essentially off to too hot and back. It's obviously a manufacture specific thing.
You are comparing a cheap electric radiant hob to a gas one.
The GP was praising an induction hob, which is the third type.
a gas stove is just unmatched in how much easier and better it makes cooking.
I agree with you there. I've had gas for the last ten years, and recently moved to a place with induction. It's a significant change.
I had regular electric for a long time before I had gas, so there was an adjustment period there, too, but I got used to it pretty quickly. But induction is somehow very different from either of those two.
I've been on induction for six months, and I still have such a very hard time with temperature control that I cook at home a lot less than I used to. It has a thousand controls, but only seems to have two settings: surface of the sun, and off.
That said, I'm OK with the move toward eliminating natural gas in homes. I just wish I ended up with a regular electric stove top instead of induction. But it's an apartment, so you get what you get.
Well, that was a nice read. Now I'm going to go cook lunch on the woodstove. To me, not everything is about safety and health; some things are about what my family likes. We like to work together cutting wood and stacking it for the winter. We like the feel of wood heat. My kids are proud that they can cook on an appliance most people never even attempt. We like the feeling of a tie to the past, that we're doing tasks our great-great grandparents would recognize.
I think we as a society are over-prioritizing personal safety. I cringe whenever a business sends me a notification saying, "Your safety is our #1 priority!" and proceeds to explain why I won't be allowed to do yet another thing I am accustomed to do. My safety isn't my #1 priority, and I certainly don't want the companies I do business with to decide how safe I have to be. I'd rather live the way I want to live, and I'm not really bothered if my happiness cuts ten years off my life; I'd prefer seventy years of living to eighty years of not dying.
> I'd rather live the way I want to live, and I'm not really bothered if my happiness cuts ten years off my life; I'd prefer seventy years of living to eighty years of not dying.
This is a mis-framing of the relevant tradeoffs. Your options aren't a truncated life of joy vs. a longer life of asceticism. The tradeoff might instead be that one of your kids gets asthma and suffers with the condition for their entire life. Or maybe you get cancer and, yes, you die earlier, but it's not an instant death. Maybe you live with that cancer for a decade of treatment and remission and treatment again and ultimately an intense suffering like you've never experienced.
So instead of dying in your sleep at 80, you die of lung cancer at 70, which you were diagnosed with at 60, after a decade of struggling with the emphysema you discovered when you were 50.
You're not just rolling the dice on a shorter life weighed against a happier one; you're rolling for an increased likelihood of a much worse life (that's also shorter).
You're right that safety isn't always #1. But I hope you're thinking about the actual tradeoffs involved and not some kind of idealized version of them.
Findings like this, like all societal issues from climate to pandemic, are naturally read as “What should I do?” when they should be read as “What should society incentivize?”
Sure electric instead of gas, bike instead of car, N95 instead of cloth, are all beneficial choices on an individual level, but it’s much more important for authorities to create incentives to encourage optimal behaviors.
Want to use a wood stove and understand the risks? Great! But maybe building codes are stricter to discourage using them in new construction and/or regulations require proper ventilation.
We shouldn’t expect every individual consumer to be an expert on indoor pollution, carbon emissions, and viral transmission. You’ll never get the kind of aggregate behavior needed for significant change, and the people most likely to suffer are those who don’t have the leisure time and ability to install NO2 sensors all over their house and contact friends who are experts.
> Findings like this, like all societal issues from climate to pandemic, are naturally read as “What should I do?” when they should be read as “What should society incentivize?”
I could not disagree more. First, I value personal freedom, and an important part of exercising freedom responsibly is being informed. Good information helps you make a choice that wisely balances what you want with what's wise. I read things like this with the question, "What should I do about this?" hanging in my mind, because that's the relevant question: do I alter my life based on this information, and if so, how?
"Authorities creating incentives to encourage optimal behaviors" is nice talk that is either a) a euphemism for making it illegal to do as you please, or b) a euphemism for making it prohibitively expensive to do as you please. In either case, it comes down to forcing people to act against their preferences but in accordance with the will of the authorities, which I can't agree to.
I read the OP differently. As in, modern society is enormously complex, to the point where everyone can’t assimilate all the information necessary. For example, maybe you bought a car based on the freedom to choose between performance and emissions. But how much do really know about the fuel mapping in your car? Do you know enough to make that accurate judgement even without the added complexity of fraud in reporting?
As far as the euphemisms hiding intent to control choice, I agree that can happen. But I think there is a area of nudging incentives before strict regulation. The classic example is changing organ donation from an opt-in to an opt-out system. Nobody’s choice was removed, but a small nudge can have a measurable systemic impact
Curious what you think about taxes on cigarettes.
To me, that reads like a response to an all-or-nothing strawperson. Nobody says you should sacrifice 100% to safety and nobody 100% disregards it (if the wood stove had a 25% chance of maiming your children, of course you wouldn't use it). Everyone makes that trade-off.
If we can save and significantly improve lots of lives by improving appliances, that seems like a good outcome. I personally don't want resperitory problems - for myself, my family, or my neighbors - it makes it hard to enjoy all those other risky things I love.
> I cringe whenever a business sends me a notification saying, "Your safety is our #1 priority!" and proceeds to explain why I won't be allowed to do yet another thing I am accustomed to do.
I don't recall ever receiving a notice from a business telling me that I am not allowed to do something (other than for IP). Who is sending these notices? Can you provide an example?
(Indoor) pollution has long term consequences, we need carbon tax so the costs of it are not socialized while profits are privatized.
The consequences are non existent for almost everyone. How many people have issues with strong causal link to indoor NO2 pollution in houses with vented gas appliances? Leaving that aside, lots of costs are socialized so why are we randomly picking out this one? Why not start banning specific recipes and ingredients if we are so concerned about socialized health costs? No more fried chicken for anyone! To me these bans and taxes are just political cohorts with power retaining their private benefit without restraint while restricting others who think and live differently.
> I'd prefer seventy years of living to eighty years of not dying
You're going to be disappointed then. Closer to 40 years of living, 30 years of being imprisoned by your failing health.
I support your right to make stupid decisions but at least make sure they're accurate and informed stupid decisions.
> I think we as a society are over-prioritizing personal safety.
This is called safetyism. It’s the notion that perfectly safe conditions are worth the immense tradeoff they require, like removing individual freedom and agency. But it is also the recent trend of claiming safety matters above all other factors to an absolute degree, and that everyone should be forced to value it as such. We see this manifested in political actions that are absolute (mandates, bans etc). There are other definitions for safetyism as well (https://quillette.com/2018/09/02/is-safetyism-destroying-a-g... ). But my point is that life isn’t one size fits all and our policies shouldn’t be either.
Thanks for sharing your experience of working with wood alongside your family. These experiences and their value are unknown to most city dwellers, and they default to assigning zero value on these things when they propose banning everything that isn’t part of their own life. I get what you’re saying about a wood stove. There is value in that ritual and tradition and life’s pleasures. I personally love a gas range for a similar reason, which is that cooking over a flame is culturally important to me. I also find it is simply far better than my induction top for most cooking (except boiling water, for which I have a $20 electric kettle anyways).
In the case of gas stoves and gas furnaces, it’s astonishing that people ignore that most new setups vent to the outside, which is required in many areas. Even if NO2 is elevated, my feeling is that not everything in life has to be 100% clean or safe, since life inherently comes with risks and it is up to each individual to make personal choices about what risks to tolerate for the benefits. Most people cooking daily with gas stoves live long healthy lives and don’t have issues stemming from NO2 exposure and very few are sensitive enough that a minor elevation of NO2 would cause health issues. This is only a problem for the most sensitive of people.
So are gas ranges really a problem or just an overblown fear by proponents of safetyism or climate activists used to justify top down gas bans?
Apparently unpopular opinion: despite growing up with gas stoves and cooking every day I do not find them any better at it than decent electric ones (not talking about induction). Granted, my kitchen is not Michelin rated, but I have no idea what fancy temperature control people are constantly raving over with gas. Electric has a bit of thernal inertia, yes. If you cooked more than a few times on your own, you know what it's like, and it's not a problem. This gas hype is very puzzling.
So, here is an example. To make yogurt, I first heat up milk to just below boiling for about half-an-hour (this denatures the whey in the milk making for a thicker yogurt). If it boils, then it will usually boil over and make a mess. My electric stove heats on an on-off cycle. That means it goes through periods of being a lot hotter than average, and a lot cooler than average. If I set the electric stove so that the average is at the target temperature, then when the cycle goes up, it boils over. So I have to set it so that the average is below the target temperature, or constantly monitor it and adjust the stove. This is the type of temperature control a gas stove (and and induction i guess) affords.
Then why don't electric stove makers make the stove cycle run at a higher frequency, reducing the deviations? Or provide a larger diversity of max power outputs on different burners of the stove, or something.
Seems like this problem would have been solved long ago if enough people actually cared about it...
I would imagine this is a situation where cost won over convenience. Particularly in the appliance space, products are often made actively worse in the name of driving down cost. And this isn't just one or two companies, it's virtually every single one.
This, of course, makes it unviable to produce a better product (like an electric stove with better temperature feedback/control) without dramatically increasing prices to make up for the loss in market share.
Well, not sure, but I had a little portable one that did not cycle at all.
Yes, the fact that heat on electric is controlled by switching on and off cycle is what prevents me from switching to it (I believe induction does the same to control the heat). We need no fancy control or michelen rated appliance, just a basic gas stove allows us better control than electric stove.
Induction does not do the same thing, mine seems to (from what you can hear) use pwm with a period time of a few milliseconds and adjust duty cycle based on the heat setting
You can make this a lot less severe by using a pot with a higher thermal inertia, e.g. something with a heavy bottom.
Probably. Or I think another trick might be to put the container holding the milk inside another larger container of water. As the water goes to boiling, it steams away, and I think the boiling temp of water is slightly lower than milk.
Why can't electric use a potentiometer instead of cycling on/off ?
I might have only experienced olderand cheaper electric hobs, but the thermal inertia is more than a bit. Off to low or low to high can take minutes, and the same for cooling down. With gas o have instant increases and decreases in energy.
Induction hobs are much better in thst regard, but they fail in other ways - eg with gas i can lift the pan slightly above to shake it ans mix the food, with induction the second i get a few mm above the surface, the pan stops being heated.
Its a massive change in process and feel... Its a bit like going fron riding a motorbike (extremely responsive) to piloting a canal boat where action and effect can be minutes apart.
> you know what it's like, and it's not a problem
I don’t think it’s a “problem” per say, but it’s different. The flame indicates temperature in a way most people understand. Have you used a wok? How about cast iron? There’s a lot of nuance to certain dishes and methods that don’t work as well on an electric stove. The flame itself rises and hits the pan in three dimensions and a more distributed way.
I’m not saying it’s not okay (I’ve used an electric stove for a few years). But it’s not “puzzling” why people would like a flame to cook.
I hated my old electric stove, took forever to heat up, and forever to cool down. Thermal inertia was a problem because I am not Michelin rated, when it is too hot or too cold, I like being able to fix my mistake quickly. I have a gas stove now, and being able to turn a knob when my pan is about to overflow and have it instantly settle down is nice.
I think there are some nice electric stoves that use infrared heating and are plenty powerful and reasonably reactive, maybe that's what you have. Induction, of course, is even better.
Maybe the problem is really about price and quality. A gas stove will always work, even the cheapest gas stove has good temperature control and power. Even a camping stove can do decent cooking. You can also put anything on top of it, including your cheap bent aluminium frying pans. Cheap electric stoves lack power, and electric stoves, induction in particular require good quality, compatible cookware to work correctly.
Another problem with cheap electric stoves (especially induction) is that a lot of them have absolutely terrible capacitive switches that work half of the time. I never had this issue with knobs on a gas stove, even the cheap ones.
> Another problem with cheap electric stoves (especially induction) is that a lot of them have absolutely terrible capacitive switches that work half of the time. I never had this issue with knobs on a gas stove, even the cheap ones.
I didn't think people were using electric stoves to be a superset of induction stoves. As far as I can tell, there is no such thing as a cheap inductive stove, and the break down (where I live) is: low end - electric stoves, mid end - gas stoves, high end - induction stoves. Induction just has a lot of advantages in speed and cleanup.
It isn't so much average temperature control as much as being able to very finely choose where you want to apply the temperature. If you're making a stew that doesn't really matter, Induction is easier to clean, nothing wrong with it, for searing a steak I've always felt slightly limited by induction.
I'd take anything over the awful "student house electric oven" I have now though.
My wok doesn't work as well with electric and I find it easier to cook steaks with gas
Wow, that really is unpopular! I had no idea people felt this strongly.
the thing that annoys me most about my crappy electric is that it only has 2 power levels, on and off, and duty cycles them at a really slow rate (upwards of a minute) for other power levels.
The temperature is all over the map.
I had to simmer something at 180F and it took me 30 minutes to find the right power setting and a big pot of water to stabilize the temperature.
I'm surprised this person was surprised.
Do the American home building standards not take account of this?
Fairly certain it's already law for a while in other places, e.g. if you have a gas stove or central heating then you need greater ventilation and maybe carbon monoxide alarms and so forth.
New houses in some places aren't allowed to have gas connections at all, which is partly greenhouse gas related, but the health benefits and cost savings are part of the discussion. No new home today should be built around the assumption that gas is a sensible fuel source.
I am glad I don't live anywhere near places that are prohibiting gas appliances
Gas furnace, stove, dryer and water heater are much nicer than the electric counterparts
Good induction is light years better than good gas stoves. Ours has 4.5kW _per plate_, and its awesome. Silent, instantaneously hot, instantaneously cold, full control over the heat, no gases, etc.
For heating and hot water, "remote heat" is infinitely cheaper, both in acquisition and maintenance costs, and infinitely more environmentally friendly than gas and electric heating.
Sure, if you live in a remote region or a third world country, then you get what you can get. But in any modern first world city, there is no quality in the solution space in which gas is better than the alternatives, and as a whole, gas is just substantially worse.
Heat pumps only work on their own in mild climates. Cold climates still require furnace in conjunction with the heat pump. Good luck convincing anyone in the northern United States of getting rid of their furnace or hot water heater. Spouting this sort of head-in-the-clouds, wrong information only weakens your cause.
“WHERE DO HEAT PUMPS WORK BEST?
Heat pumps are more common in milder climates, where the temperature does not typically drop below freezing. In colder regions, **they can also be combined with furnaces**for energy-efficient heating on all but the coldest days. When the temperature outside drops too low for the heat pump to operate effectively, the system will instead use the furnace to generate heat. This kind of system is often called a dual fuel system – it is very energy efficient and cost effective.”
> Ours has 4.5kW _per plate_
That's impressive. The top-of-the-line Bosch induction cooktop, which retails for $2500 USD, tops out at 3.3kW on the largest plate. The rest are all most like 1.7-2.2 each.
A four burner range that could pull off 4.5kW per plate would probably require a 100A 240V circuit. Woof.
Which induction range do you have? Most electric stoves don’t come close to the heat output of gas but 4.5 kw is within range.
Most people don't live in a dense large city. It is telling you equate those people with living in a third world. Country though.
Gas blows induction out of the water for actual cooking, not just reheating stuff
Interesting. We are gas everything in the great white north, but the only reason is the almost prohibitive cost differential. I would not claim that gas is "nicer" than alternatives.
NO2 is also produced by diesel and gasoline combustion and is a significant pollutant in most cities; its value changes during the day (Windy.com has this info if you are curious). I don't see that the author is controlling for the outside value. Some of the variance could be regional air quality (e.g. the low values around Christmas).
So why would there be spikes during the night? And how do you explain the dip on days when they don’t cook?
I don't know, but actually (again, according to Windy) NO2 spikes at night across the U.S., but less on weekends. Industrial processes? Furnaces? Weather? Bad data? This is why they should have an "outside" control away from any house exhausts.
I'm also not saying the gas stove has no effect, just that they don't seem to be controlling for ambient NO2.
Can anyone recommend (ideally inexpensive) devices/kits to measure CO2 and NO2 levels in a residential home?
Ideally capable of sending data to be stored & processed locally (Home Assistant or similar).
if you have a high-uptime PC, you can find USB-enabled SDS011 sensors for $30 on Amazon or anywhere else, and free software that creates a web dashboard that shows VOC count by time. can’t remember if these devices measure CO2/NO2 specifically though.
Any other recommendations for stand alone units?
I'm curious what improvement, if any, is seen from using the fan on the range hood while using the gas stove/oven. Since I heard about this issue, I've been using it every time I use the stove or oven, and it does make a different to the subjective gas smell around the house, but I don't know if it impacts actual NO2 levels.
This thread (https://twitter.com/curious_founder/status/14820133110341427...) is from a different author on the same subject, but basically, the range hood had no effect on NO2 levels. It helped a lot with PM2.5 levels, but not at all with NO2.
From the linked study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4909253/):
> Ventilation hood installation did not significantly reduce indoor NO2 concentrations in our study, and there was a trend toward higher NO2 concentrations in follow-up visits, although not statistically significant. The reason for the lack of efficacy of ventilation hoods is uncertain.
The research explains that the lack of effectiveness of hoods could be due to many factors (improper installation, lack of use), but at least at first glance it seems that a hood doesn't help with NO2.
As someone who has always preferred a gas stove over electric, this doesn't really align with what I want to believe =). But I also realize there are many times I preheat the oven and cook a frozen lasagna for 50 mins or boil water on the stove without turning on my range hood, so I definitely understand at least one reason that a gas stove with a range hood may not help in terms of reducing NO2 levels in my house. I tend to use the range hood if I'm cooking something really smelly or messy (ie frying), but don't think of it if I'm just baking something in the gas oven for a long period of time.
I know for my part I'm going to be buying an induction cook top for things like boiling water or frying foods where I really don't need gas. I have kids and don't really wanna add to risk of air pollutant exposure.
I happen to have a kitchen with both induction and gas tops, and to be honest I avoid using the induction ones almost entirely except for boiling water. It’s simply not the same experience cooking on induction compared to having an actual flame. I feel better as a cook with a gas stove but I also just enjoy it more.
> The research explains that the lack of effectiveness of hoods could be due to many factors (improper installation, lack of use), but at least at first glance it seems that a hood doesn't help with NO2.
I don’t know if you can claim a hood doesn’t help. As you noted, the study admits they don’t know if hoods were even turned on by the residents. It simply doesn’t make sense that hoods venting to the outside would have no effect, and so I have to imagine this is a lack of appropriate controls over the experiment here.
I agree, a discussion of ventilation seems like a critical omission from the article. Do vent hoods help, and to what degree? Is installing more effective / higher CFM hoods a productive avenue to explore, vs replacing the whole stove? What about the impact of air purifiers? Or opening a window? I hope these things are covered in part three.
Besides improving air quality you should use the vent hood anyway otherwise your kitchen will get a nice coating of grease on everything over the years. This applies to the oven too, not just the stovetop.
I wish residential vent hoods came with interconnects like commercial kitchens so they would come on automatically whenever cooking.
AEG make stoves and hoods that have some sort of wireless communication so they come on automatically. Expensive though.
Assuming it is not a recirculating hood and it’s venting outside, it should help reduce NOx levels. When you’re venting to the outside, you’re creating a negative pressure inside the home which is drawing in fresh air, which in theory will dilute the concentration. Some systems have “make-up air” which blows in fresh air, roughly equal to what is being vented out.
While we are discussing vent hoods, one thing people doing kitchen remodels (or new houses, etc.) may want to look into is putting the vent fan inline in the duct (e.g. in the attic) instead of in the hood itself. With a silencer (cuts about 20 decibels) between the hood and the fan, kitchen ventilation hoods can be made dramatically quieter than the typical extremely noisy version. The fan noise more or less goes away and the remaining noise comes from the air flowing through the grease filter / into the duct.
Adding the make-up air system increases the cost by 50% or something (needs a similarly powerful fan and similarly sized duct for air coming in vs. going out), but any powerful vent hood should probably include one (and building codes demand them in many places, though I think this is often overlooked in practice).
Story from a previous life when I was an HVAC tech in college… got a call out to a new restaurant where the owner was complaining that the place was not cooling.
After doing the routine checks, the AC was fine. Upon further investigation, there was no make up air. The owner decided to delete the MUA out of the design to save money (didn’t listen to his MEP designer). Not only was the kitchen vent hood exhausting kitchen air but conditioned restaurant air as well. It was permitted city construction, I have no clue how the place passed inspection.
I can confirm turning on the fan helps with PM2.5/PM10 significantly.
Don't know about NO2 or VOC.
It is really disappointing to me to see a comments section most glorifying induction stovetops because of how much “healthier” they are. They win on energy efficiency, but I think the argument over health is less clear cut.
Consider that induction stoves emit EMFs roughly 16 times the “safe” limit for non-ionizing radiation . And when you’re cooking, the parts of the body that are most likely to be exposed to the highest EMFs are your reproductive systems and the heads of children, which the study cited above notes can be damaged by EMFs 8x weaker than those from an induction stove.
Investigate and consider all the health risks of your decisions. It may be very well possible that one form of pollution (air) is no worse than another type (electromagnetic).
Sources: : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22674188/
I agree that health should be considered fully. As is the case with gas, don't put your body on the burners, the distances discussed in that paper are extremely close, less than 50mm, and upto 300mm.
From the paper linked:
"the exposure of the non-pregnant models at the largest distance (300 mm from the cabinet) is always compliant with the basic restrictions for the general public even when including all body tissues for the current averaging."
And to consider the case of close distances...
"the exposure limits for the general public can be exceeded by more than a factor of 5 (distance < 50 mm; Fig. 5). When considering CNS tissues only, the basic restrictions for the general public can be reached for the child models (Thelonious and Roberta) at close distances from the cabinet edge when allowing for the overall uncertainty of this evaluation. The combined numerical and experimental uncertainty was assessed as 6.0 dB (k = 2; Supplementary Table V) or as 0.50–2.0 of the provided exposure with a confidence interval of 95%."
I read this as don't push your kids face onto the stove top, which is probably good advice no matter what cook surface you're using. It also reads to me as having the cooktop being further back as desirable, and not being directly inline with the edge of the counter.
As for pregnant mothers...
"The exposure of the mother and fetus models exceeds the basic restrictions for the general public by a factor of 6 for the mother and 3.5 for the fetus when standing at the cabinet edge, if considering all body tissues. Given the numerical and experimental uncertainty, the violation of the occupational limits can be regarded as likely for the devices with high B-fields. For CNS tissues of the fetus, the induced current density can reach the order of magnitude of the basic restrictions when taking into account the uncertainty. The combined numerical and experimental uncertainty for the exposure of the fetus was assessed as 6.4 dB (k = 2; Supplementary Table VI) or as 0.48–2.1 of the provided exposure with a confidence interval of 95%."
From this data, it seems to me that the best way to use these devices is to force yourself to 'reach' over the countertop rather than being directly up against the cook surface.
From the summary of the paper.
"The measured B-fields of 13 professional induction cooktops and the three domestic devices evaluated in Viellard et al.  were evaluated experimentally. The field strengths are compliant with exposure limits for the general public when measured at 300 mm from the cooktops as specified by IEC 62233 [IEC, 2005]. The current densities reached the exposure limits according to the ICNIRP 1998 guidelines for the general public at 300 mm from the cooktop. The results were then scaled to the measured B-field levels of the professional and domestic cooktops. The findings can be summarized as follows: Most of the measured cooktops are compliant with the field limits for public exposure at a distance of 300 mm from the cooktop. Due to the high field gradients in the close environment of the cooking zone, most devices exceed these limits at closer distances. When considering the entire body of the exposed user for the current density averaging, the basic restrictions of the current density for the general public can be significantly exceeded and reach occupational levels. A generic worst-case cooktop which is compliant at the measurement distance specified by IEC 62233 can lead to current densities that exceed the basic restrictions for the general public by a factor of 16. The brain tissue of young children can be overexposed by a factor of 2 with respect to the basic restrictions for the general public if they come close to the cooktop. If exposure limits of the general public apply to the fetus of a mother in a working environment, the current density in the CNS tissue of the fetus can exceed the basic restrictions while they are still fulfilled for the mother."
There's pros/cons with any cooking devices, and it makes sense to consider the potential risks with any heat source. With that said, we are not talking about the induction burner spewing these fields across your entire kitchen, unlike say, with gas burners. From my point of view given your source's data, it is still a much healthier option to operate these devices properly than to subject the family preparing the meal in the kitchen with me to a poisonous gas.
Anecdotally speaking, my rental doesn't have a fume hood (yes in 2022!), and if the gas burners are operated my partner gets nauseous with headaches sitting in the other room. The benefits of induction are quite clear and until something better comes along, I don't see myself ever going backwards to inferior heating devices.
If anyone is worried about combustion byproducts in their living space, I highly recommend looking into upgrading your furnace and hot water heater to direct vent models. Both appliances have sealed combustion chambers, and there are two pipes coming down from the roof that supply air in, and two pipes that vent exhaust gasses out.
I did this because I live in a converted industrial loft, so my furnace and hot water heater are essentially in the same space as my bed, and having open flames in the same space seemed risky.
What? I thought ventilation of water heaters was a legal requirement. I am sure it is in the UK. It is illegal not to do this. Because of CO poisioning.
Same with furnaces, heaters, etc.
I like my current setup - the entire boiler is outside and away from any windows.
I always see vented and even power vented in ontario.
Is direct vent the same kind of tech as a heat pump?
No, older furnaces draw their combustion air from inside the building, the direct vent draws combustion air from outside.
Modern furnaces release a lot less heat as waste, one result of that is that there aren't a lot of hot gases to deal with, a flue isn't necessary.