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Induction ranges: which ones deliver?

August 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Induction ranges are popular because they can boil water in little time but they're cool to the touch. The problem is many of them are expensive, typically more than $2,500, so we teamed up with Consumer Reports to find one for hundreds less.Resident chef Jehan DeNoue does lots of cooking demonstrations on induction ranges.

"The induction range is faster, it's easier to maintain, easier to clean and it's extremely energy efficient compared to the alternatives," DeNoue said.

Induction ranges use a magnetic field to heat pots and pans more quickly. These stoves are usually pretty pricey.

Consumer Reports just tested ranges, both regular and induction. Each range is put to work on everyday challenges.

  • First, testers heat tomato sauce to see how well a stovetop can hold a steady, low heat.
  • Next, dozens of cookies are baked in each oven. When they're done, testers use a device to see how evenly the cookies are browned. The tops and bottoms of each cookie are also checked for even browning.
  • Finally, burgers are broiled to see which ovens can turn out a pan of patties with a well-browned crust, and which can't.

Consumer Reports recommends digital controls, but they might take some getting used to.

"Ranges have evolved over the years, so if you haven't seen a new range or cooktop in a while, the digital controls might be a little more difficult to follow," said Sara Brown with Consumer Reports.

That's true of Samsung's induction range, but Consumer Reports' tests show it does a great job for hundreds less than other induction ranges. It rated excellent overall.

If a regular range is all you need, you can get an excellent smooth-top one for much less.

Consumer Reports found a Best Buy from General Electric. The model number is JB700DNWW. It does a great job of simmering and baking and a very good job of broiling.


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