Did you look at the 36" Cafe rangeTOP (i.e., something like the CGP650SETSS model) or were you shown a complete range-oven (a whole stove with both a cooktop and an oven combined into a single freestanding unit)?
If there was a whole range -- as opposed to the rangetop --- that would be a novelty for GE. Could you post the model number for the benefit of others looking for a 36" range?
So, are you campaigning to get Duro to buy back your range by creating a lot of negative posts?
Why limit yourself to three year old threads here? Join gardenweb where the appliance forum has nxr threads there going back to 2009. There must be several dozen threads you could revive.
>>>My requirement is that its 36"<<<
Well that absolutely disqualifies the GE Cafe ranges for you. Cafe models are all 30" ranges.
As for negative reports on GE, I second what ferret said.
>>> I'm looking at the Capital 36" range. Would love to hear pros or cons about this range. <<<
Have you checked out gardenweb? www.ths.gardenweb.com
Lots of extended, detailed, first hand discussions of Capital and Blue Star models going back years.
"silicone items . . . (some spoons/spatulas and dehydrator sheets) seem to be very durable provided you don't cut them."
And don't run then through the dishwasher even though the packaging says they are dishwasher safe. The problem is the handles, at least with the OXO products. After four or five years of "dishwashering," the business ends are still fine, but the soft-grip silicon handles for the spoons and spatulas, and the grip pads on the tongs, turned soft and tacky to the point that it rubs off on your hands when in use.
As Kaleo says, "it depends." Answers may be found in user manuals (RTFM, as always) but your stove's manufacturer's customer support site or line may be able to provide better information.
In part it depends on what you mean by "heavy stockpots." Heavy all by themselves or heavy because of the weight of the contents? I'm comparing Kaleo's massive 10 gallon, 35-pound copper kettle to my no-name, induction-capable, 25-quart stock-pot/canning kettle which weighs a little less than four pounds.
From shopping for an induction stove several years I go, I found some user manuals from some range manufacturers (Whirlpool brands are the ones that come to mind at the moment) that absolutely forbad any canning kettles and seemed to prohibit using any pan with a diameter more than one-inch larger than the outer marking ring of the burner being used.
Other makers, such as GE, gave a much more nuanced response when I was able to reach a very knowledgable GE customer service rep. She explained the following to me. The "no-more-one-inch-larger-in-diameter" rule was partly about evenness of heating and, where large stockpots were concerned, was about high heat tasks such as deep fat frying, making or boiling sugar syrups. The concern was that pan temps could get well above 375° F. Run long enough (e.g. hours), heat could build up over a large enough area to potentially adversely affect stovetop electronics. No such problems with water-based tasks like making stock, crab and lobster boils, and water-bath canning. Those pots would not get anywhere near as hot in those tasks. Thus, no problem with using a my 14" diameter 25 quart stockpot on the GE range for canning and making stock. If I had a big enough pan, I could even straddle the two left-side 8" diameter burners. GE suggested 50 pounds as a rule of thumb for maximum weight, but mostly out of concerns about the safety of home-cooks trying to move awkwardly large and heavy kettles of hot contents. Although GE did not recommend trying this at home, they confessed that folks had stood on the stove-tops with no ill-effects on the top.
Here are a couple of links you might find helpful if you have not already seen them:
For other discussions I suggest checking the various home-canning forums (say, gardenweb's "harvest" forum). It also might be worth searching the various online beer brewing forums. I say "might be" because the last time I checked it seemed that most of the talk there was about brewing on portable induction cookers rather than a full-blown range.
A couple of things to consider.
First, are you measuring air temperature or food temperatures? Air temps can go up and down and sometimes as high as you are seeing, especially during an auto defrost cycle. The temperatures that matter are food temps. If you have not already done so, measure the temperature of food (maybe pickles with a probe thermometer). Or put a glass of water on the top shelf with a thermometer or probe in the water. Check it repeatedly over a couple of days. If you have not already seen this recent thread from gardenweb/houzz, there is an extended discussion of the subject which you might find helpful.
Second, common causes of problems with a cold freezer compartment and warmish refrigerator compartment may be found in the diverter/cold air inlets. There may be ice build up, a broken flapper, or a worn-out or broken fan. These are pretty easy and not esepcially expensive to fix. If you prefer DIY attempts, look for a parts diagram. SearsPartsDirect is one place I've found the diagrams. (I'm sure there are others.) Those can help if it is not immediately obvious where these things are or how to get at them (say, by removing the cover from the cold air inlets.)
To expand on what Ray just said, the water boil test has been the go-to demo in the same way that some folks market cars by citing 0-60 straightway acceleration times. When your induction burner can boost up to, say, 3700 watts while your coil burners often top out at 2500 watts, it really is true that you definitely can boil water a lot faster on induction. Unlike nitro-boost on street cars, the boosted speed to boil can be a useful time saver for many home cooks. Still, the boost does sometimes get confused with induction's efficiency, as does the large reduction in waste heat when cooking with induction burners.
Let me add my thanks to Franz for running and publishing the tests.
The oven does have a lower (baking) element. As Wekick says, it is beneath the floor. (I kind of recall KA/Whilrpool as saying something about some of its ovens having the element "sealed.") Anyway, I think Whirlpool/KA calls this "cleanbake" and touts it as a feature. I believe you will find some mention of this in the Use and Care Guide.
Hidden elements do take longer to preheat the oven. Realize, though, that the preheat signals are mostly misleading. anyway. They measure air temperature. For baking --- and especially for higher temp baking as with pizzas --- the important thing is heating the cavity walls to radiate suitable heat levels. That just plain takes a lot of time.
Putting the stone into the oven make preheating take a lot longer and putting the stone on the floor will make it take longer still. So, as Nothingswrong says, don't put the pizza stone on the bottom of the oven.
As suggested, you may get some mileage out of preheating with the convention fan going. Does this oven have a function called "convection roast?" Convection roast will run both elements and the third, convection element (if you have one), with the fan. If you have a convection roast function, I would put the stone on one of the top two shelves and run convection roast at it's max temperature for at least an hour. Sounds like you might need a bit more.
Heating a pizza stone takes a while. Especially so if you were persuaded to get one of the thicker stones. I've seen some recently that are half an inch thick. Consider that the idea of using the stone is to emulate a brick-oven. It takes a long time to get a brick oven up to full heat. Of course, the idea for this is that you put the pizzas or bread directly on the stones and you do multiple batches.
You mentioned using a pizza pan. What are you using as a pizza pan? Also, were you using the stone in the ovens at you mother's house? If not, I'd suspect that you pizza pan oven might be insulating the base of your pizza from the stone. Do you have a pizza peel or can you slide the pizza off your pan directly on the stone?
A few thoughts to add to what alreads has been said.
First, you "have an aluminum stovetop pressure cooker that I like a lot . . ." Aluminum limits you to non-acidic ingredients. Now you have a pressure cooker you can use without worry about acidic ingredients.
Second, have you looked at the hippressurecooking.com site or dadcooksdinner.com? If not, it could be worth your while. Both authors have become partial to the Instapot.
For making yogurt with the Instapot, have a look at this link for Ms. Pazzaglia's discussion of yogurt making in it.
You would think so, but, that provokes me to a semi-rant about the decline in the usefulness of the reporting from Consumer Reports.
Over the last few years, I've noticed that all their tested induction ranges get an "excellent" (solid red dot) rating for the speed to bring 6 quarts of water to a near boil in their (unspecified) standard stockpot. Only one coil burner gets a red dot rating. More more than a dozen smoothtop units do so. No gas range gets more than a half dot.
What's going on here with the electric ranges? Turns out, its mostly a horsepower rating. All those electric ranges with solid red dot speed rating (induction, radiant and coil) were the ones whose big burners were rated at or over 3000 watts. Were there differences between the induction and other electric ranges and, if so, what were they? All CR says is this: " no other technology was faster than the fastest induction elements, but we're talking 2 to 4 minutes faster to bring 6 quarts of water to a near boil."
For our purposes, that's tantalizingly vague. Of course, you would expect some differences since the induction ranges all have burners rated at 3500 watts or greater while all the "red-dot" rated coil and radiant burners were "only" 3000 watt units. Was the 3000 watt coil burner still faster than the radiant smoothtop ones? Maybe. Maybe not.
So, no apparent help with matters of interest in this thread. Oh, well.
Okay, Even if K or Ray say something mean about me, I'll fold.
Okay, I get what Ray is talking about. Seems to me that we are talking work flow efficiencies more than power consumption efficiencies.
So, in addtion to what Duffy just said, I would add for those not initiated into the Illuminati (or maybe the MIE), here's what we're talking about.
First, Maintowac/Garland are improving a bit on the existing PICs temp sensors. In a PIC, these attempt to measure and react to the heat radiating from the base of the pan to feed that data back to the power controls in the PICs and thereby try to match power to cooking task. Most PICs use very crude stepping controls and have a single sensor under the glass (seemingly in the center of the burner, I think.)
Manitowac/Garland PICs have had much finer power control via a potentiometer and digital equivalent rather than the relatively crude digital stepping of many PICs. As best I can tell, the the new "Inducs" system adds several more sensors under the glass beneath the pan and employs software that that reacts and acts much more quickly than on other maker's PICs. In theory, the combination of software and sensors and potentiometer style control will allow fine and very quickly reacting control over the temperature of the base of the pan. The result is a better chance of getting closer to a desired heat level and being able to maintain that heat level.
What inducs also adds, apparently, is additional on-board memory and possibly something like tablet or smartphone connections for progamability for automating repeated tasks. Maybe allowing something like sous vide (although, as Century Life/Franz mentioned elseweher in this thread, this seems unlikely to work as well as an immersion circulator for that task.)
The downsides? The least expensive individual Garland unit costs more than some entire residential induction ranges. The attraction is workflow enhancements rather than any apparent enhancement to efficiency in energy consumption.
As PICs go, Vollrath Mirage Pros are fine units and no doubt about it. They offer relatively fine power control and use software to try to eliminate PWM effects that plague low-heat temperature settings on most of the less expensive PICs.
Again, though, the apparent benefits lie in fineness of control and heat management, and workflow efficiency, rather than the kind of end-point energy consumption efficiency that led Chem to start this thread.
Hey, maybe if Franz gets some time for more tests at the Century Link site, he could try to see if his Mirage Pros' fineness of control makes for any efficiencies over his Duxtop?
Okay, just for clarity, you're responding to what I said several posts up, and not what I just said in reply to Ray, right?
First, I'm sorry for saying you were trying to make people think. But, coil burners useless? Your argument is with the fanboys, not me.
Second, more coil burner ranges being sold than induction? Probably true. I was not saying that everybody buying coils was a newb or a pauper. A pretty good coil burner can be had for a third of the price of the least expensive induction range. You don't have to be a pauper or a newb to prefer "economy and familiarity." I was just commenting on what I've seen discussed in other threads. I'm sorry that you found my phrase offensive.
Third mistake? I was responding to Ray's notion that the overseas folks are way more knowledgeable than us and therefore should be assumed to know things about induction we don't. I pointed out that they had their perceptions regardless of what DOE says and that they have additional good reasons for promoting induction cookers that were unrelated to perceptions of cooking or heating efficiency. Apparently, I should have said that they were mindless droids who were in the control of a conspiracy of induction manufacturers?
Fourth mistake? Not sure what my mistake was. In the later post, should I have referred to the MIE rather than Illuminati? Your knowledge of the arcane and powerful far exceeds mine.
I get that portable induction cookers and rethinking your kitchen space have made a big and good difference for your home and what and how you cook. Maybe you really like Modernist Cusine and some of the the exotic stuff they do. Centrifuges and air foams would be really and truly different cooking for me and how I cook, but you aren't talking about that, are you?
So, what is Vollrath doing that I should be checking out?
Please come out and say it.
We will now pause for a brief rant.
Forgive my skepticism, but that talk of hints, of checking our patents, and messing around in Germany. . . let's just say that kind of talk really gives me pause.
As I admitted above, I did work for DOE. I clearly recall the "cold fusion" stuff -- what might be politely termed wishful thinking and pathological science. There is a continuing following of folks who now call themselves investigators of "Low Energy Nuclear Reactions" with peer review limited to true believers . It is still vaporware, at best, and mostly bogus hope.
When one speaks of hints if you know how to read patents and just poke around in Europe ... I start suspecting that I need some kind of secret handshake or to give signs of membership in the Illuminati to have access that to the hidden lore.
Okay, Rant over. Chalk it up to flashbacks from government work. Thank you for allowing me to vent.
Back your comment.
I am aware of some interesting EU research and proposals. The software interfaces all sound like riffs on the same kinds of things as the Meld and the Paragon. Say, the the "IQ Cook" folks who want to develop special "sensors" that go in pot lids to control steam levels (for steaming) and oil temps (for deep frying)? Stuff you can programs and run with smart phones to also adjust recipes for energy usage?
Then there is also the "InduKoch" project announced by the German conglomerate E.G.O. (Now, there's an unfortunate name, eh?) Basically, a proposal to develop "more efficient" IGBTs that will hopefully make induction cooktops both cheaper to make and also consume less power when in use. So far, this only seems to have generated press releases.
So what are we talking about?
Reading Kaelo's post several steps back got me to musing on some of the declarative statements made here. I've come back to find several more. So, I offer the following, and please excuse the typos as I try to catch up.
First, is induction cooking different? I have to say that, in three decades of using induction (off and on), I barely noticed some pretty minor procedural differences. Those were all because the induction burners seemed to get pans hotter faster. I just had to do more mise-en-place (sp??) with induction. Oh, and you want ramp up slowly when getting cast iron to high searing heat (too hot too quickly reportedly has cracked some older CI pans). It can be helpful to ramp up when bringing pressure cookers to pressure. (Laura Pazzaglia's hippresssurecooking.com has some discussion of this for anybody interested.) Beyond that, though, never seemed much different to me.
Second, cooking with temperature and software feedback? Well, what we do now with the so-called temperature controls on PICs is, in my experience,just a way of adding to the rather limited power settings. The new software just uses more sensors and a bit tighter rein on the feedback for monitoring the reflected heat from the pots.
Now, if folks want to talk about controlling power levels to hold a specific temperature in a pot, that certainly is coming. It will not be exclusive to induction, however, and won't be done with sensors under the pans. It will be done with probes in the pans.
To be sure, the first such unit --- the Paragon unit from FirstBuild (GE's spinoff) which is discussed belwo -- is getting ballyhoo. That will be exclusive to induction. Specifically, to GE induction products. It will use a blue tooth probe/transmitter that will also work with the new GE Profile and Monogram induction cooktops as well as the Paragon PIC.
A little less ballyhooed (yet) is "the Meld" which actually should be out a couple of months earlier and cost $100 less than the Paragon. It is supposed to do the same thing for any gas or electric cooktop burner with a knob burner control. It, too, will allow smart phone interfaces to program recipes and temperature changes.
Third, "accomplished cooks" preferring coil burners to induction? And a "substantial" number of home cooks incurring the rather large expense for an induction range or full-size induction cooktop, who then "disliked X, Y or Z about it" and said "next time, back to gas"? Really? Seems to me that Duffy has the better argument on this judging by these long-running threads on that very subject from that hotbed of appliance enthusiasts at Gardenweb.
As for Kaleo's advocacy of coil burners, I perceive some some deliberate provocation if not outright baiting. All to make folks think, of course.
Do coil burners have their uses? Sure. There can be applications where the simple, relatively rugged, old-fashioned coil may be a better and more economical choice. I'm thinking in particular of a thread here last year (with a parallel thread over on gardenweb) where, IIRC, the poster was looking at having a workstation for his salsa production start-up installed in a community kitchen. The center was offering to add a workspace for him and would be adding a line for a coil burner stove. The poster asked for advice on using commercial PICs instead. The budget was tight. He had no need of induction's adjustibiity. He was only going to be doing two things: simmering sauce and boiling water for water-bath bottling/canning. Several of us suggested that the stove or a commercial coil hotplate (such as one from Cadco) would do what he wanted and seemed a better choice given the space and budgetary constraints. Most of the preference for old coil burners that I've run across has come from (a) folks who think coil burners are good enough for their cooking and the new stuff is just a scheme to take their money and (b) "accomplished cooks" who do large volume pressure canning and need to use their 40-qt. all allumininum All American pressure canners; and folks who prefer lower priced resistive burners as a matter of economy and familiarity. Now I certainly have been seeing more posts lately from users switching back to coil burners stoves from radiant electric smoothtops
But, as for some of the other's commentary about other parts of the world having a deeper understanding of induction based systems, I gotta wonder if that doesn't sound more mystical than was intended?
Seems to me that practicalities rule. DOE's latest venture into a one-dimensional measure of efficiency nothwithstanding, the utilities have concluded that induction cooking will be more effiicent than trying to get everybody to use only pots exactly matched to the size of the user's electrical coil burners. Also less waste heat and likely safer, as well. (Contact with flammable surfaces or materials won't cause a fire. Burner likely to shut itself off if pan is bliled dray. Etc. Etc.)
Yeah, you certainly can find anything and everything on the internet. For example, did you "know" that it is a proven fact that you will be electrocuted if you use a steel spoon to stir a pot while cooking with induction? (That gem came from the LivingLarge site a couple of years ago.
A hound with one-third reduction in power bills? That sounds like something from one of those induction conversations between you, Duffy and Caroline from a couple of years ago. IIRC correctly, Car started using a single PIC and a countertop oven which, with the reduction in overall power usage (mainly HVAC in her Texas summer) saved her something like $27 a month in under her local rapacious public utility's rates. Doesn't seem as patently absurd when seen in that light. Is this the thread?
Energy Star ratings have always been about end-point usage costs without regard to the system used to delivery energy. But,let us say that DOE suddenly decides to factor in the total system costs of all energy sources and tries to produce Energy Star stickers to match. First thing is that it turns out that every one of us is a member of a society of energy pigs. The we start looking for easy targets to pick-on (Does that reveal that I spent a couple of decade working for DOE?) That means EPA and DOE gang up on you and come to take your woood/coal stove away from you because you are an "environmental menace" without much of a lobby to protect you. (That's a joke son, I say, that's a joke.)
But enough of such pessimism. Does it maybe give you a way to stick pins in the inflated opinions of ill-informed induction fanboys. There certainly are plenty of Sitting ducks, pickled fish in a barrel, etc. Does this new DOE rulemaking proposal do much to convince me to abandon induction and go back to coil burners? Nah.
All in agreement? At chowhound? Objection, assumes facts not in evidence. :>)
Jokes aside, I don't think there is any way anybody could disagree on it being a good thing to have a protocol that covers all hobs. Kind of like asking for agreement that it would be good thing for people to refrain from beating their spouses and children. The disagreement here is whether the new protocols are actually providing any useful information and, maybe ultimatel, how useful energy star tags would be for stoves and cooktops.
As for the "friendlier to environment" part that Chem came back to above, there is no disagreement here. For reasons discussed above including Century Link's discussion of the difference between "cleaner in your kitchen" and greener in the generations and transmisison of electricity, it is pretty clear that anybody wrapping themsleves in the "green" flag is bloviating.
Seems to me that this thread's disagreement about the DOE study is whether it really changes any opinions of 'hounds and whether it actually measures anything of importance.
That can be different from the opportunity for skewering some pretensions of some over-enthusiastic advertisers and induction fanboys and especially, the ill-informed preachers of "greener than thou."
Frankly, I haven't seen much blather about induction being "vastly" more efficient than coil burners. I suspect that is because folks shopping for coil burners are in a different market segment than those willing to pay the heftier prices for induction stoves and cooktops. Of course, there is a certain contrarian degree of fun in telling somebody who paid big bucks for an induction range that an antique GE coil burner could boil a pot of water nearly as quickly and maybe nearly as efficiently. (Except that is far from all you do and you can't really do it as quickly on a actual coil burner range. Put your big pot on an induction range or cooktop and you've likely got 3500 watts. Put it on the big burner on the "classic" GE and that burner tops out at 2500 watts. With that kind of difference, seems to me that no much attention gets paid to technical efficiency questions.)
Most of the talk I've seen about induction and radiant smoothtops has been about ease of use and control, about there being less waste heat, and about ease of cleaning. cleaning. Hardly anything about efficiency, per se.
Most of the efficiency discussions that I recall reading have been in the context of debtates between induction proponents and the fans of very-high btu pro-style ranges, and that's a discussion not affected by coil burners.
You are referring to the upcoming Paragon PIC (portable induction cooker). The probe with the blue-tooth transmitter will also work with the newly released, full sized GE Profile and GE Monogram induction cooktops. (The Profile and Monogram cooktops are shipping now but, I gather, the probe won't be available until December.)
If the thought is that this kind of control is something you only can get with induction, t'aint necessarily so.
There is a similar Kickstarter-ed product for gas ranges called the Meld. Basically, you pull a burner knob and replace it with a battery powered motorized knob that communicates via bluetooth to the probe in the pot. The motor spins the knob and adjusts the flame up or down as needed to maintain your set temperature.
Seems like the concept also could work with knob-controlled electric stoves, too.
I'm with Sue in suspecting that this information falls into the "does not matter" category. At best, much ado about very little.
Seems to me that DOE is struggling to come up with some testing methods with a view to finally producing Energy Star ratings for stoves. (Hence, the publishing of this info as part of a proposed rulemaking.) There is a well-intentioned attempt to eventually provide some appliance comparisons akin to some of the same reasons for EPA's milege testing. In the case of the EPA mpg ratings, we all know our actual mileages likely will be different. Hence the "YMMV" acronym.
I'm with Century Life on this particular test methodology not producing useful results for that purpose. Sounds to me like comparing pots on coil burners to pots on induction converter disks. A converter disk basically converts your induction burner into a radiant burner. So, why would anybody be surprised that there is very little difference in what amounts to two versions of the same thing?
To Chem's point about energy for cooking being only 4% of residential energy use, a very small part of home energy budgets,I recall (but cannot now locate the source) that the stovetop cooking was only half of the 4% figure. The rest included oven usage, toasters, coffemakers and etc.
Consider that the the previously much vaunted "efficiency" of induction was actually a pretty small margin when compared to coil burners for heating up and boiling water. Where the oohs and ahs went to induction for having an 84% efficiency from the 2011 EPRI data), coil burners were rated at 74%. Not much, eh? If we are talking about making a 10% difference in 2% of your home energy budget --- a factor of .002 x your utility bill --- the economic and efficiency differences already seemed trivial if you thought about it. Of course, contrarian K likes to point out that there has been a lot of puffery about induction and maybe this study deflates some balloons.
In response to Knifesavers' question, It also bears noting that DOE did reflect a large fall off in efficency when smaller pots (or pot substitutes) were used on larger diameter coil burners. Presumably, that drop translated into heat being radiated into the room.
Actually, with knifesavers mentioning gas and waste heat reminds me that most of vaunted efficiency of induction has been discussed in relation to gas burners with little mention of coil burners. The efficiency over gas burners still stands judging by the graphs on page 60 of the DOE document. Under the proposed new testing methods, both coil burners and induction burners will still be at least twice as efficient as gas burners.
The DOE's discussion of gas burners in the second half of the Notice raises its own questions about DOE efficacy and the efficiency testing. At pages 56 - 62, there is a discussion of revising the testing rules to cover 18k to 25k BTU gas burners. This will be of interest to folks who have Blue Star, Capital and American Range stoves and for those who bought major brand ranges with multi-ring "power burners."
These results show the big burners running from about 20% to 35% efficiency. The results varied with the burner size, with burner type (open versus sealed, residential verus commercial), and with the the "block" diameter (tests were done with blocks of 9, 10.6 and 11.8 inches.) On page 61, DOE confirms that you get the most out of big burners by using big pots. At page 62, they explain that their proposed rule changes would reduce the 10.6-inch diameter test block size to 10.5 inches to better approximate "premium cookware," an alteration which DOE believes will result in an .078 reduction in efficiency results. Somehow, all this fiddling is supposed to help us choose stoves and cookstops for energy efficiency?
In sum for me, I don't see this study making any difference for my preferences for induction nor for my choice of pots when cooking on gas.
Learn more before buying? Well, part of learning is trying things out. I think it will be a while before you find this pan limiting for your cooking.
As for the A/C handle issue -- some like it (me included) and some do not. I tend to grab pan handles with the palm of my hand underneath. With my fingers and/or thumb going into the scoop on top, I find it comfortable. If your preference is grabbing with your palm on top, you will find it much less comfortable without also using a towell or hotpad. If your own preference is "palm on top" and you find the handle uncomfortable, then, by all means, trade it back for something you like better.
Pay $500 to $1000 more for a new 48-inch NXR isntead of a used (and less expensive) Wolf in apparently good condition "simply because of the warranty?" Here's how I see it. NXRs only have a one year warranty. After the year is up, you are pretty much in the same boat with the NXR as with the Wolf. Also, like other brands with small market shares, the company has had some difficulties with not so great warranty support.(Hence the advice to buy from Costco so you can skip dealing with warranty issues.)
As ferret points out above, all-gas pro-style ranges are pretty simple mechanically, are likely to last decades, and usually are pretty easy to work on when things wear out.
With your find, I'd be inclined to save myself the extra $500 to $1,000.
Unless you really needed a skillet, instead, or your budget is very tight, it strikes me that there isn't a"should" question here.
The A/c 3 qt. saute pan will be fine on a coil burner electric range. It is a very good pan. I've had one for a decade. (Bought mine as a factory second from cookware-n-more.com). Used it on everything from coils to gas to induction. Cleans up in the dishwasher. Has a good, well fitting lid. Has straight sides Hard to beat for what you paid. Looks like half off the usual street price.
Could you buy something less expensive and still get good results? Sure. If money were really tight, and you are mostly cooking for just yourself, you might save $40 by returning it and finding a 3 quart Cuisinart Multiclad saute pan or a Vollrath Tribute or Intrigue pan. The A/C has a slightly larger bottom area -- easier to fit in the meat or chicken for searing or sauteing without the crowding that results in steaming --- probably heats a bit more evenly than less expensive alternatives.
The bigger question to ask is why a saute pan rather than a comparably sized skillet? Do you need or want something with higher sides? Do you do much pan frying? I find saute pans do a better job at containing spatters than most low-sided stainless skillets. I find the high sides handy if I'm searing one or two smaller steaks or cutlets and when cooking with curries. I sometimes use my saute pan (and lid) for smaller quantity dutch-oven style cooking, too. (I also do a lot ot that kind of cooking in a pressure cooker, instead.)
So, are you figuring on doing much braising of meats and chicken (and or veggies)? Are you mostly going to be suateing smaller qualities? Contrary to what you might expect with a title of "saute pan" they actually are better for braising. For actual sauteing in any quantity, I prefer a skillet with flared (and lower) sides.
Doubtless you'll get much other commentary, but hopefully this gets the conversation started for you.
Well, actually,no. They did not get "scored" on reliability with the last 15 years or so. CR rated Wolf's 30" stoves kind of low in its lab testing, but never tested the 48 version. The lab testing is CR staff views and does not include reliability. Reliability ratings are reported separately from the lab tests and only come from the annual surveys where CR members can report on appliances purchased within the preceeding five years.
Consumer Reports' membership surveys have never produced enough responses to get much of a handle on reliability for most pro-style ranges. For a while -- around 2005 - 2007, IIRC -- only Viking sold enough pro-style ranges to generate enough survey responses for reporting in the membership survey results. Sub-zero sometimes gets enough responses for the built-in fridges to get reported by CR, but that company's Wolf stoves are from a completely different product division.
Gardenweb would indeed be a good place to check but I'm guessing you already did so because I think I saw that you posted the same question there.
Like alexander, my recollection from a decade plus of gardenweb postings is that most of the reported problems were with the dual fuel versions of Wolf stoves, especially with regard to the oven enamel in the DF models. I suspect you'll find the same pattern if you search here at chowhound, too.
You might also check the collections of complaints at www.consumeraffairs.com to see what kinds of problems got reported for the all-gas versions and in what numbers for what model years.
Seems to me that a primary consideration would be parts availability. (As with buying an older car, it also helps if you are sufficiently self-reliant and handy to do replacements yourself, but, in New York, you should not have nay trouble finding qualified techs.) Things that are most likely to go wrong/fail are: (a) top burner ignitors; (b) the oven burner ignitors (and maybe the burner tube itself); (c) the broiler and ignitor; (d) the oven temperature sensor; and (e) the ignitor control module for the top burners. I'd check on the availability of OEM and generic replacement parts. I suspect that they are all readily available and generic substitutes may be usable for any that aren't.
Other thing I'd be concerned about: do you have sufficient ventilation for something this large?
As for considering a 48" NXR as you mentioned, a couple of thoughts. First, these run around $5k, though Costco has a $500 off sale going through July 12. Second, buy through Costco because you can simply take it back for a full refund (no restocking charges) if you get a lemon, receive yours with shipping damage, or just plain don't like it after a couple of months.
Um, I'm thinking you are talking about using an over the range unit ("OTR") rather than a built-in. A "built-in" is designed designed to fit in a stack with a regular wall oven. What I suspect you have in mind is what is discussed and shown in this thread from Gardenweb (now Houzz):
As for the "extractor" vent, just follow the directions in the use and care manual to set the fan shroud for "recirculating" more. (Takes a screwdriver and a couple of minutes to do this.) If you don't do that, probably nothing bad will happen. When I helped some friends remodel their kitchen last fall, and took out their OTR, I found that the fan shroud was set to blow upwards (to an exterior vent) rather than forward (out the front vents). The cabinet bottom was pretty heavily greased but that OTR still worked fine and is now installed in another friend's house.
If you want have the OTR sit on a on shelf, you will need to locate the air intakes for the cooling fan for the MW electronics. If those are on the bottom --- that's where they often are found on many countertop MWs --- you might need some wood strips or shims at the corners to allow air flow.
Speaking of regular MWs, many of them come with (or have optional kits for) hanging them from walls and cabinets. Although they are substantially less expensive than OTR models, they only go up to about 24" wide. I'm guessing that you are looking at an OTR because want a 30-inch widths?
T-fal Pro got a recommended rating from Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. Lots of folks seem to like the Ikea pans, too.
I can recommend Wearever's Circulon Premier Pro pans but I don't know if you can find individual pans. I got mine as part of a larger a set from Costco about four years ago. Also,they have relatively tall sides (like 3" high) which some folks won't care for.
Friends bought a 12" Tramontina "ProLine" pan for about $30 at Costco about six months ago. (I think Costco still carries the pan). The pan seems kind of lightweight to me, but my friends have been very pleased with it. They got it to use on a gas stove but it worked well on induction the couple of times I've tried it.
Other friends have had Swiss Diamond frypans for about six or seven years and have been very happy with them. I don't know if you think of your Calphalon pan as mid-priced, but the Swiss Diamond 12.5" pan, is, IIRC, priced somewhere in the middle between the more expensive Calphalon Unison nonstick pans and the less expensive Calphalon contemporary versions.
PUC = puny underpowered cooker?
I think you meant "PIC" (portable induction cooker) instead. :>)
The Caso and Delonghi units you cited are full size cooktops for many places of the world, not PICs as that term is commonly understand. In many places outside of North America, rentals do not come with appliances. Renters furnish their own appliances. So, both the DeLonghi and the Caso are only "portable" in the sense that tenants expect to take the units with them when they move. The DeLonghi is an in-counter unit sold in Australia (with its 230v/50Hz power system and peculiar plugs) while the Caso is intended for setting on non-flammable work surfaces and plugged into standard European 220v 16amp kitchen outlets.
Where a 30" wide, four burners unit is a de-facto standard for for a North American cooktop, in much of the rest of the world, that standard width is is 600 mm (i.e., 24") with three or four burners/hobs.
In theory, you could get an adapter plug that would allow you to hook a NEMA 6-20 plug to the Caso and adapt the 6-20 to the standard 30A or 40A 240v appliance outlet in your apartment. However, doing that would keep you from running your current stove's oven. (Or, you would have to unplug the Caso, pull the stove out and plug in the stove to use the oven). Also, the Caso's timers would not work accurately in a 60 Hz system.
Like Duffy, I think Drrayeye might have been looking for a different adjective than "obscene" for the power capacity. Maybe 3400 watts would be considered obscene from an eco-puritan zealot perspective (i.e., that people should be morally obligated to use far less power than they do)?
I take Ray's point to be different--- that, for a North American kitchen, with a couple of circuits, one would do better with a couple of PICs than something like the Caso. Especially since you already have a stove which gives you an oven and, hopefully, stovetop burners that at least function for warming and holding food. (Ray, as you probably know, has developed his own alternative, minimalist and flexible kitchen setup to handle those chores in his own small space. You, in your rental, may not have such options.)
Frankly, the Caso's 3400 watts of 240v power does not seem like much for something that is intended as a full-size cooktop. The Caso's biggest burner maxes out at 2000 watts when run by itself. When the Caso's other two burners are in use, I think that the manual says that they all max out at 1000 watts apiece. From your previous thread -- the one on 240v vs. 120 v. induction PICs --- the Caso does not seem close to what you are looking for from induction.
Seems to me that it might be helpful to rethink what you are trying to accomplish in getting induction into your rental's kitchen. Here are some notions that may help you think through what you want.
There is the much-vaunted induction convenience of rapidly boiling large amounts of water. That, I think, was one of the points of interest in your thread on the 240v vs. 120 v PICs. That advantage only comes with full size induction stoves/cooktops or, for those who have or can isntall with a spare 240 circuit in their kitchens, with the very high-power PICs. Go with a smaller 24" induction cooktop like the Caso, using about 2000 watts in the biggest burner, or a PIC using maybe 1700 watts, and: (a) you would have some advantage if your existing stove is landlord-grade 9000 btu gas burner stove but (b) you probably have an electric stove with at least one 2500 watt burner which will likely boil a large amount of water a bit faster. (If you like math for this, consider that a 2500 watt electric burner with a 65% to 70% effective efficiency will be putting out 1700 to 1800 watts to the pan where a 2000 watt induction burner (assuming 84% effiency per DOE) will be putting about 1700 watts into the burner and a 120v PIC will likely be putting in 1400 watts). So, no advantage to PIC and Caso-sized units for the boiling large quantities of water task.
Second, there is the point that Duffy and Ray make about adjustability. Hands down, induction of any kind will adjust faster than any landlord grade range. Trouble is, as Duffy points out, many PICs and many smaller induction cooktops (like the Caso and DeLonghi) have only 8 or 10 heat settings. That's pretty crude. Compared to a radiant or coil burner range or cooktop, you can get very quick adjustments but the heat levels may be too high or too low for what you want. Ray's Vollraths are obvious exceptions. (The newish Duxtop 9100C and Max Burton 6400 PIC models have 15 levels which may come closer than before.) But consider how often your cooking requires such adjustments and how many pots you will using at one time that actual require rapid adjustments. A single Vollrath might (or might not) be sufficient for what you really want.
Third, there is coil/field/burner size. The common 9000 btu gas burner is going to give you a 4 to 6 inch hot spot across the base of a larger pan. (Do I recall that you recently bought a 14-inch saute pan?). The large burners on a radiant electric or coil burner range will produce a roughly 8" to 9" circle. A full size induction cooktop with a 10" or 11" large burner will produce a correspondingly large heat area. But the largest burner on units like the Caso or the Delonghi will produce a 5½" to 6 inch or so hot spot. For this perspective, no real improvement over any but the least expensive PICs.
Fourth, there is holding a very steady heat level, particularly at low heat for true simmers. Here is where your existing electric range may excell. (While some electric ranges have been terrible at this, most do a pretty good job.) Most induction ranges and full size cooktops do an excellent job at this, as well. Many PICs and some induction cooktops, the Caso included, seem to have crude pulse-width modulation at the low end.
So, at the end of the day, what you have to figure out for yourself is if a low-end, small induction cooktop, like the Caso, would give you any advantage over simply adding a a decent PIC for adjustablity (say a Vollrath Cadet, Duxtop or Max Burton) alongside the landlord's electric stove.
What Ray said.
But, you want to see the market shifting to something really different for induction? Check out the soon-to-be released Paragon countertop unit with Bluetooth temperature probe control from a GE spin-off:
The temperature probe gives +/- 1°F control over temps inside the pot. Unfortunately for PutSomethingTogether, this unit is only 1400 watts and is aimed more at the sous vide crowd than the at the quickly-boil-large-pots folks. Interesting nonetheless.
For history buffs, Vollrath's induction cookers have always been made in China, AFAIK. Vollrath used to contract them from Luxine which, though based in California, had its factories in China. Luxine made PICs for other companies, too, including Viking. But, then, Vollrath bought Luxine and the Middelby group bought both Cooktek and Viking, so no more Viking PICs.
Well,I can see the attraction of getting something for less than half-off. IIRC, the Ultra countertop 3500 unit usually sells for around $1500 if not more.
Made in the USA? I see that on the web site link, but I have to say that's a new one. While a lot of Vollrath's products are made in the US, AFAIK, Vollrath's induction manufacturing is in factories it owns in China. (It got them when it acquired induction designer/manufacturer Luxine back in 2009). You'd think that you could google some press releases or other trumpeting if Vollrath had decided to onshore production. I can't find any.
Maybe Century Link can chime in on this?
The "bigger cooking surface" just means it is in a bigger box (with more cooling for the electronics). I rather doubt that the coil and induction field are any bigger. (The other major commercial induction makers, Cooktek and Garland, don't have bigger coils in their higher powered units.) You might try calling Vollrath on Monday and see what they can tell you.
"What I am wondering is could I damage the bigger wattage induction unit by running it on 120v?"
You mean running the "bigger wattage" (i.e., 240v) unit from a voltage converter plugged into a 120v kitchen outlet with 20 amp outlet? (And, btw, you will need to check those breakers for your kitchen circuits because a lot of houses have them on 15 amp breakers which means even less power for converting.)
Put it this way -- do you think you would damage an electric stove by never running the burners at more than 40% or 50% power?
Now, if you repeatedly push the limit and often trip the circuit breaker or fuse on the converter, you could --- eventually --- wind up with some damage to your "bigger wattage" PIC just as you might if you started turning it off by yanking the power cord out during operation.
About that 14" diameter 15 qt. pan: you do understand that, while the induction fields in 240v PICs are stronger than in the 120v models, they really are not any larger in size? Until you get up into the some of the much more expensive commercial 240v PICs, the induction coils are not any bigger than in the 120v ones. You will still be dealing with a 4 to 6 inch torodial hot spot.
Also, if you get a 240v unit with, say, 20 settings, you won't be able to use more than ten of them when running on a converter. Maybe fewer than that. Maybe only six of them, depending on how the power stepping is programmed in the particular unit you have. Maybe fewer than that.
Does having only five or six usable steps really seem like "enough settings for precise cooking" to you? It sure as heck doesn't for me.
"If I could spend a couple hundred bucks more and get a bigger 3500 wattage/ larger capacity unit that had fine heat control at lower settings, I would go for it."
A couple hundred more than what? The $100 for Duxtops and Max Burtons? So, you are looking at what? Sunpentown? Eurodib?
No fine heat control running those at the low end of their power scales. Their low ends might start out pretty hot. A couple of years ago, when I checked out a Sunpentown 240v unit, for example, it seemed that the lowest setting was something over 1000 watts. Also, in the low end of their power settings (where you would be operating them on a voltage converter), they use very crude pulse width modulation. That is what Centurylife so aptly called a couple of seconds of OMG full-on-boiling hot followed by some seconds of completely off followed by OMG hot again. (For anyone interested in induction who has not already checked out the lucid discussions of portable induction cookers found at CenturyLife's website, I highly recommend checking it out)
Now, I could be wrong on all this. It has been a couple of years since I last checked out 240v units. Maybe you've found some new and less expensive 240v induction cookers with fine controls. If so, please share.
Otherwise, it seems to me the converter thing and not-so-expensive 240v Eurodibs, Sunpentowns, etc. just won't be a very workable solution.
What you are paying for in buying a Vollrath 59500 is much finer heat control and evenness of heat at the low settings. If you don't care about the fine control nor about evenness of low heat, there is no reason to consider one for a portable induction cooker (PIC).
But . . . why bother with a 240v unit? Are you making beer or doing high volume canning? Making pasta for 20 folks at a time?
If so, you will be very disappointed running with a converter. A converter plugged into a 120v line won't give you more than a theoretical 2000 watts. It is actually more like 1600 or 1700 watts. No more than you actually get from the 120v PICs which claim to be 1800 watt units. As you say, wattage is wattage. if you can't run your pic at more than half power before blowing out the fuses on the converter, why bother?
Maybe you are looking to tide yourself over until you can wire in some 20 amp 240v outlets?
If so, a couple of things to bear in mind. One: the converter you linked to -- it is only rated for 100 watts. You will need a much bigger one. Second, every 220v PIC that I've ever seen uses a NEMA 6-20 plug which won't fit those converters. There will be additional kludging to get it to work.
Another thing: if you are looking to use the PIC for any cooking besides rapidly boiling water, the less expensive PICs have only 8 or 10 power settings. That makes for wide spacing on a 120v unit. Go with a 3500 watt unit -- say, an Avantco --- and the spacing between power settings is twice as large. That can be problemmatic for general cooking tasks. Ever had to use one of the old GE coil-burner cooktops or stoves with the push-buttons for setting heat?