Induction vs. gas, a US-based dilemma

I have had a full-size induction cooktop for three years now. At the time we had it put in, it seemed like the best thing that ever happened to me as I had spent multiple years on a regular glass electric cooktop, which I hated with the fire of a thousand gas burners, so to speak. I cooked with a spring in my step at that time! However, what I really wanted was gas. I never realized that we could have had a line run from our water heater over to the stove to achieve this goal. The induction cooktop is not awful by any means. It’s high-powered and cleans easily, as well as not heating up the kitchen. However, I can’t get it out of my head that I want a gas cooktop (probably Wolf or the like), but I’m only in the investigation stage so undetermined at this point, want knobs and for them to be front facing). We have electric wall ovens that I’m happy with.

My issues are that I love copper cookware and can’t use it right now unless I fire up the portable gas burner outdoors, and I also dislike the overall unevenness of burners on an induction cooktop, so carefully matching pot to hob size, etc. It’s nice to have water boil quickly, but honestly, how often do I actually boil water that this time savings is so important? It is its one serious claim to fame, really, but you give up other things to get that fast boil. I also have a Breville Control Freak (American 110V), so if I were to give up the full-size induction cooktop, I’d still have access to that sort of cooking, which is truly handy at times.

I guess my dilemma is will I regret paying to have the line put in, getting rid of a perfectly good cooktop, and spending a large chunk of money on the gas cooktop I have truly always wanted? I do live in Texas (also known as Hellfire), but our AC works well. We have had the infamous Texas power issues, so at least when I sweat to death or freeze to death I could still cook, but would I want to? ha. No one can answer that but myself, but I’d like to hear input especially if anyone has used induction and then gone back to gas and been happy they did it and never looked back. What are the pluses and minuses that you have found? What am I not considering in this one-sided argument in my brain for wanting a gas cooktop?

I wish using a portable gas burner indoors was safe as I’d be on that in a heartbeat, but alas, too unsafe, and I would never do it, not to mention who wants to cook over a tiny burner on a regular basis.

Also, I’m not so concerned with the eco-friendliness of one vs. the other. I only live once and have no young kids, so if I have to live with some fumes that might (?) kill me two months faster, I’ll handle it. I’ve spent at least three decades of adult life not polluting the planet with gas cooking, so I feel good about myself. Cost is also not a factor. I just want to be the happiest while cooking.

ETA: I need to take a class in brevity, I know.

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If making the switch is within your means, do it. And don’t regret it. Life is too short.

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I haven’t used induction, but nobody will ever talk me out of my gas range.

I have a commercial Garland range. During a discussion on Chowhound of gas vs induction, I tested how much time it takes me to boil a pot of water. Using induction would save me two minutes.

If I switched to induction I would give up many of my favorite pots and pans, especially my clay pot.

I slide pots and pans across the burners to ensure even cooking; I’ve heard that you can’t do this with induction. I don’t know how I could make caramel without using this technique.

Most importantly to me, I would give up the ability to cook directly on the flame. This recipe alone is enough reason for me to keep my gas range.

For those of you who believe that using induction saves energy and reduces pollution, here’s a letter to the LA Times from an engineer with a PhD in electrical engineering which refutes those claims.

For those of you who are concerned about indoor pollution, there’s an easy solution; install a range hood fan. In fact, I believe that building code should require them in every kitchen with a gas range/cooktop.

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Yes, this. I lived with a kitchen I hated for 9 years because it was “good enough”, even though remodeling it was readily within our means.

I had glasstop electric which I absolutely hated cooking on. We got the kitchen remodeled 11 years ago (I think) and had the gas line run over from the furnace and got a gas stove with which I’m infinitely (if that’s possible) more happy.

Sorry that I can’t speak as a recovering former induction user, though. But I estimate there will be lots of opinions expressed for your question upcoming.

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That sliding thing on induction drives me nuts. Yes, you can technically do it, but you risk the scratches. I know it doesn’t really matter if the glass is scratched, but it would bother me.

I agree on the pollution issue. Sadly, I have a crappy exhaust fan now, but that upgrade is in the works, as well as new countertops and backsplash, a mini-remodel. I just want to make sure I pick the right stove before the countertop goes in. I’ll be lucky if I can find the stove I want in stock anyway, so it might be a while!

Thank you for your input – I appreciate it!

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This is good advice. I have also lived with a kitchen I only marginally liked forever, always thinking I would move and why make things the way I want it when it will just go to someone else. Then, 15 years later, here I sit. :joy: We did upgrade some things, but the induction cooktop was as far as I got on the actual stovetop issue.

Yes, I expect I will get some opinions. But opinions are good – I don’t want to spend over $10K and not think of everything. What I should do is spend ten times that or more and gut the whole thing, but I think if I were going to do that, I’d just buy a different house.

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Yes, it is. Since I didn’t win the $1.3 billion lottery, I can’t think that way about everything, but a kitchen is a daily-use item and very justifiable.

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Another plug for cooking with gas; when the power is out I can still cook and heat water for bathing.

I live in Southern California. My area is safe from power companies shutting off the power to minimize the risk of wildfires; however, my husband’s 91 year old mother has had her power shut off for three or four days several times. Thankfully she has gas burners so she can cook and warm water for bathing.

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It is a big decision afterall. Definitely worth thinking about various situations.

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We went through that power outage issue last year, and it’s been threatened a couple times this year. No fun! I hate that your elderly mother-in-law has to deal with this.

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If you want gas, get gas. But WHY do you want it?

I have a gas (propane) cooktop in kitchen 2, and induction in kitchen 1. I prefer kitchen 1. Why? Things on high heat are pretty much equal on both, but things on low heat (sauces, omeletes, custards, etc.) are way better on induction.

Now my gas cooktop is rather ordinary (a GE Profile) and not a Wolf, so I can’t compare what your experience would be (plus you don’t mention the brand of your induction unit), so this is just from my experience.

I get that you can’t use your favorite pans (but there are great induction ready pans available), and that there is an issue with pan size vs: hob size on induction (which there also is on my GE gas cooktop - but probably not on a Wolf cooktop). I dunno if a gas cooktop that has nothing but large burners would be an issue with smaller pans and/or lower temps.

So I guess it depends on what you want (as you can’t rent these things to try them out). If you do a lot of wok cooking, there is no replacement for a high BTU gas burner. If you do a lot of delicates, induction is superior.

Best of luck with whatever you decide on!

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Thank you! I just wish there was a stove with half induction burners and half gas burners. Wouldn’t that be a perfect world?

I understand your reasoning on the cooking being the same at high heat. Induction is really not a bad technology. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when switching from regular electric and still do. I never cook with a wok, partially because it’s not well suited to either regular electric or induction. I also don’t see myself standing over that much heat unless it’s outdoors, but you never know.

Both ways of cooking definitely have their pluses. I would ultimately like the best of both worlds. I’d also like to be 30 again.

I appreciate your input!

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I have a commercial Garland stove. My previous gas range was problematic at low temperatures in the ways you describe. My Garland burners can maintain a low enough heat that although I make custards often, I never use the lowest setting.

One advantage of gas is that when one raises or lowers the heat, the response is instantaneous. I find this feature indispensable in low heat cooking.

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I am certain some gas cooktops are better at low temps than others, but I think you will find induction is just as responsive as the best gas. Moreover, if you don’t know where to set your gas burner for 180°F on an 8" pan, many induction models can sense and control this. No thermometers or trial and error needed.

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Less about induction vs gas, but one of the reasons why people see slow heat response is also because the cookware heat capacity. Thicker cookware (let’s it be aluminum or cast iron) will have better heat evenness. However, the thicker cookware, the slower the response. Induction as a heating method is very fast in turning on and off its energy transfer. However, the cookware themselves are not.

Hi tp50,

I am a strong advocate of induction technology that has questioned induction stoves from the get/go. The induction stove manufacturers are so focused on a speedy transition from gas and electric that they misrepresent what induction can do.

The professionals have gone to individual units, and I’ve enjoyed mine–though I haven’t yet made it to the one that best captures what induction does best: the control freak.

If you can bring in a gas line, and use your non induction pans , why not?

But there are induction units that can give you control not possible with gas–so don’t go crazy . .

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Might be one for a different thread - but I’d love to hear your views on the control freak.

If you move to gas, I am sure the Control Freak will let you retain some of the best elements from induction.

Likewise, if you stay on induction, have you considered getting a portable gas burner like the Iwatani 35fw? It runs on butane so should be ok for indoor use and still packs 15k BTU as well as the ability to go down low.

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I just purchased an Iwatani 35F. I believe iwatani says it is certified for indoor commercial use. I haven’t tried it out yet.

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Cool - let us know how you like it!

I got mine a couple of weeks back. Haven’t used it much yet, but it did well enough when I used it to sear a steak.

I am not into copper and grew up in Europe where induction has been around forever. The ease of cleaning is a huge selling point for me, but for some things it’s nice to have a flame.

I think there’s a risk I might end up with an Iwatani and a Control Freak to cover the weaknesses of whichever type of stove I’m on.

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My regular stove is induction. I’ve had consumer grade gas stoves in the past, but there’s no gas in my condo building. The induction rage is more satisfactory than my glasstop electric was, yeah, the cleaning up part is terrific. I hated using razor blades to scrape down my old stove.

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