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Amazing cooktop - enjoy induction!
Apr 8, 2011
Review by wolf_wahn
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Fast heating, easy to clean, no excessive heat around cookware
Cons:Not all cookware is induction compatible
The Bottom Line: The great design, the induction heating elements and the heating performance makes cooking with this cooktop fun!
Recommend this product?
Cooking with GE’s induction cooktop is fun – me and my wife, we both love it! So far I never ever missed my gas cooktop that I replaced with the PHP900DMBB, instead I enjoy the benefits induction can offer. In most cases, cooking with induction cooktops compares from heat responsiveness to cooking with gas. The only exception I can think of is when you use a wok, as the shape of the wok allows the sides to get better heated when used on a gas cooktop.
One of the first things one will recognize is how fast the cookware heats up on the GE induction cooktop. Boiling water takes less time than you are used to. However, this also means that you need to be more sensitive when you want to warm up meals that you left in the pot – as you don’t have the bottom of the cookware acting as a kind of mediator for the heat from underneath, you can’t go with the maximum heat setting, as you will otherwise have food getting burned.
The GE PHP900DMBB (and PHP900SMSS) cooktop comes with 4 heating elements: one 6” element (1800 Watts), two 7” elements (2500 Watts each) and a 11” element (with 3700 Watts). Heating is controlled in 19 steps (“1” to “9 ½” in ½ increments and “H”). This allows very selective setting of the heat. In fact, while I used to melt chocolate in a pot that I put in hot water to avoid overheating with my gas cooktop, the selective heat setting allows to put the pot directly on the induction heating element to get the chocolate melted. Change to heat settings is more or less instantaneous, only the heat buffered in the bottom of the cookware causes a slight delay.
One of the nice features while cooking is that there is not heat that “leaks” around the side of the cookware. When cooking with gas, stirring could be sometimes quite uncomfortable as your hands would get warm. There is not element that gets directly heated underneath the cookware, the glass ceramic surface only get warmed up from the cookware that is sitting on it. I did a test and put a pot of water on the cooktop for boiling, using the highest heat setting. I then checked the temperature ½“ away from the side of the cookware, but still within the zone of the heating element, with a temperature sensor – amazingly, the temperature was only a few degrees above room temperature.
As induction uses an electric/magnetic field, you will notice that you might some of your cookware might make some “buzzing” noise, especially at higher heat settings. This might appear strange at the very beginning, but is normal.
The cooktop can be cleaned in the same way as any other ceramic cooktop. In fact, cleaning is usually easier, as the ceramic glass itself gets less hot compared to a traditional electric cooktop. That is also quite nice when you have spills while cooking – while the area below the pot or pan gets warm or hot due to the heat from the bottom of the pan, the area around is still relatively cold, so you can wipe off any spills much easier.
One of the biggest concerns I had in the past with the gas cooktop was safety. Having small children in the household, I worried about burns or the gas turned on by accident without proper ignition.
Besides a child lock that is part of GE’s PHP900DMBB cooktop, the cooktop also features a “pan presence” sensor. The heating element will automatically turn off when you remove a pan from the element or when there is no pan on it when you try to turn it on. This is a great feature. And due to the principle of induction cooktops, the risks for burns are lower than with traditional gas or electric stoves.
GE’s PHP900DMBB cooktop requires cookware that is suitable for induction. I ended up buying a complete set of new pots and pans as most of my old cookware did not meet that criteria. If you have old cookware and your are not sure, you can check if your cookware might work by using a magnet – if the bottom of the cookware is not magnetic, it will not be suitable for an induction cooktop. If it is magnetic, it is likely to work, but you might get some surprises (especially when you have special coatings that might chip). Cast iron cookware usually works quite well, even if it is older. If you got new cookware recently, chances are that it is already induction ready. I ended up buying a complete new cookware set, which was on your list anyhow for quite a while.
The PHP900DMBB features digital touch controls. These usually work quite well, except for instances when they get wet. A quick wipe with a towel will solve the problem, though. You also need to avoid to put your cookware by accident in the area of the controls, as they will "freak out" and get in error mode with some beeping. This is due to the nature of the controls, so nothing to worry about, but I still want to mention it in this review for completeness.
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