Pros: Induction, efficiency, speed to boil, control, doesn't heat up kitchen.
Cons: Induction vibration sound, noisy fan (too noisy for some).
I'm the chef in the house. I previously had a Kenmore 4 hob induction stove which was made for Sears by Electrolux. I absolutely loved it. I feel that induction is faster, more efficient and provides more control over gas.
We have since move to an apartment where we have a gas cook top. I actually missed the cooking control and the amazing speed to boil of the induction cook top.
I decided to do something about it. Enter the Max Burton 6000 Induction portable cook top.
This is a little cook top wonder at a great price. I purchased mine on-line for $65.99 and have had no regrets to date. If it remains to be reliable I will be happy for a long time to come.
When you consider the cost of an induction cook top at close to $2,000 this is a very attractive price point. Sure it may not have the power boost of my previous Kenmore cook top, but I have to say that it is pretty darn close. Hey you could buy 4 of these puppies for under $300. Of course you may require an electrician to install 4 separate circuits for each of the cook tops.
Due to the power draw it is recommended that you have a dedicated circuit for this unit. For example you couldn't run an electric kettle and the Max Burton on the same circuit without popping a circuit breaker. For me, that's not at issue.
There are several features that are very well planned on this cook top. First there are 10 heat settings ranging from 200 watts to 1800 watts and selected by adjusting from 1 to 10. Secondly you can set the temperature from 140 degrees all the way up to 450 degrees. Now that is a nice feature to be sure. Finally there is a timer which can be adjusted up and down in increments of 1 minute.
I read a review that suggested the upward time moved in 5 minute intervals and you have to move the timer back down to get to 8 minutes.So you'd adjust up to 10 and step back by 2 to get 8 minutes. I don't have this issue. You can simply adjust up and down in one minute intervals. However, if you hold the timer adjustment the unit does adjust time upward and downward in 10 minute increments. You can time up to 180 minutes and when the time has counted down, a beep alert will sound and the unit will power down.
Induction is around 80 to 85% efficient, whereas gas is around 30 to 35% efficient due to escaping heat from the sides of the flame. Induction is in direct contact with the energy source and most of that energy goes directly to the pot and cooks the food.
Induction is like magic. The induction unit places the electrical energy into the cooking pan heating the pan and not the cooking surface. If you have a boil over, the mess is easy to clean up since the only heat on the cooking surface is what was transmitted from the pot. Turn off the heat, wipe up the mess with a damp rag since the glass top stays cool. You can then proceed to return the pot to the cook top, set the temperature and the pan will almost immediately return the desired temperature.
I rarely use a setting above 4-5 on the cooktop for most cooking requirements. At those settings the power draw is around 1000 to 1200 watts. However, if you wish to bring a large pot of water to the boiling point then by all means crank this thing up to 10 and watch as the water comes to a boil in about 3 minutes. This is much faster than my gas range which takes around 12 minutes.
I was fortunate to have induction ready cookware. You will need any pot that a magnet sticks too. Alternately you can use an induction interface disk that heats up through induction and then transfers the heat to your pot.
The minimum diameter pot that you can use on the cook top is 4 inches and the bottom of the pan should be a flat smooth surface.
There is one peculiarity to induction cooking that one should be aware of. As the molecular action occurrs between the induction device and the pot, you will here a slight buzzing sound. The more powerful the heat setting, the louder this buzz will be. There is also a cooling fan to cool the induction coils. This is much louder in a countertop unit then an induction range. Both of these sounds are nowhere near the soundof my exhaust fan. I don't really mind the sound. Although if you are sensitive to this sort of thing, it is a factor that should be taken in to consideration.
For me, the benefits far outway the sound issue.
As for safety features, there's a non suitable cookware detection so the cooktop will shut down if you try to use non induction based cookware. There is overheating protection, so again, if the device overheats the unit will shut down. If you plug the cooktop into an improper voltage supply the unit will again shut down.
The unit is only 5 lbs. 12 oz. so it is very easy to move and its size of 13.3" L X 12.5" W X 2.6" H means it is also very easy to store. The cord length is 6 feet which should cover most usage situations.
The cooking area is tempered, heat resistant glass. The control area and base is plastic and the controls are covered by membrane plastic to keep moisture out. There are more expensive units that have some stainless steel trim. I didn't feel they were worth the extra expense since the performance is the same.
What about cost to run. I understand that the cost to operate this cook top at high temperatures is 12 cents per hour. Butane burners on the other hand cost about $1.65 per hour to run.
So far I'm very happy with my purchase.