After recently being challenged over my conclusion and test results showing the Demeyere Proline 28cm frypan to be slightly more even-heating on induction than the Fissler Original Profi of the same size, I decided to repeat the tests but using a different hob. At the same time, I wanted to compare other thermal characteristics of the two pans, and for good measure continue to explore the setting accuracy of the test hob, a Vollrath Mirage Pro. Finally, I wanted to use a specific temperature, 350F, in order to compare CenturyLife.org’s tests and results with mine.
In all the tests, I started with both the VMP and the pans at a chilly 50F ambient (basement) temperature. I used a Type K commercial griddle contact probe and a 2-channel ThermaQ receiver unit, both by Thermoworks. Alongside, I also ran a Thermapen Contact, which I recently had calibrated. The weighted griddle probe is very useful and accurate, because it can be left standing in the pan during testing. I also ran all the tests with the VMP connected to a watt meter, to assure both pans were drawing the same energy at the same settings. No oven preheat was done.
I’ve always had niggling doubts about the CenturyLife evenness rankings, based as they are on measuring at the earliest moment the center of a given pan reaches 350F. Experience told me that different pans would reach that trigger temperature at different times under the same heat input. So I wanted to find out, for each of these pans, what that time was. Common sense also told me that the time would be reached while lateral heat transfer was still in its early stages.
So, to assess this, I timed how long it took each pan to reach 350F using a temperature setting. I also recorded the periphery temps just as CenturyLife did, 10cm from the pan center. As I suspected, the times were different with the same heat input. The Proline reached 350F in 1:22; the Fissler took 1:50. This means that the Fissler had received nearly half a minute’s worth of “extra” heat before it reached 350F.
The 10cm measurements were consistent with CenturyLife’s results. The Proline’s averaged peripheral temperature at 1:22 was 247F, which amounts to a ∆T of 103F. The Fissler’s periphery at 1:50 averaged 282F, a ∆T of only 68F. This is, in a nutshell, a repeat of the CenturyLife test and results (albeit in smaller pans), which shows the Fissler to be substantially more “even”.
Interestingly enough, I knew the VMP’s temperature settings are not good governors of maximum temperatures; they actually are wildly low. For instance, at the 280F setting, both pans rose substantially higher than 350F. The Proline ultimately reached 389F befor4e stabilizing, and the Fissler would probably have gone much higher (see, below), but I stopped the test. Needless to say, the VMP’s temperature settings cannot be depended upon to hold a pan at the set temperature.
This is arguably *a* measure of evenness, but is it a *good* or *fair* measure?
To better find out, I decided to find the constant power setting which would hold the pans’ centers at as close to 350F as I could get, and *then* take peripheral readings. For the Proline, this setting was 21/100, which drew a constant 407 watts; the pan’s center stabilized at 348.6F. The 10cm temperatures averaged 326.6F, for a ∆T of 22F. Just for giggles, I also took the rim temperature using the Thermapen, which registered 278F, which amounts to a ∆T of only 70F at a distance of 18cm from center.
The Fissler did not fare as well. I quickly learned that the same setting (21/100, 407W) would take the pan far higher, potentially hazardously high. I ended up interrupting the test when the Fissler pushed past 510F, but it was still rising, so I’m confident it would have gone higher. After cooling everything, it turned out that the constant heat required to hold the Fissler closest to 350F (in this case 349.2F) was power setting 17/100. When the pan reached a steady state, the peripheral temperatures were taken, which averaged exactly 313F. This amounts to a 10cm ∆T of 26F. Unsurprisingly, the rim stuck at 144F, which if a cook tried to cook on the walls would be a ∆T of 205F
So, while this test’s results were consistent with my prior tests of the same pans on the Panasonic 3500W Met-All hob (Proline being slightly more even), both pans can be said to be extremely even.
I repeated the same test a second time, with the same results. The second time, however, I decided to time each pan’s downward response from 350F to 300F to emulate a cook overshooting and needing to correct to a desired 300F. With the pans stabilized at 350F in the center, I simply powered off the VMP and started timing. The Proline fell to 300F in 1:12. The Fissler took 3:33 to shed the same 50F—nearly 3x as long.
Although I did not time the respective pans’ reaching thermal equilibrium, I can also report that their upward responsiveness is also different. When I initially tried the Fissler at power setting 21/100 and discovered that was ‘way too high, it took a *long* time to find the right setting to hold 350F. It’s best described as a series of over- and understeers, with long intervals in between, to dial in 350F.
Finally, I attempted to “scorchprint” the pans *after* they had reached a steady state, but flour doesn’t really darken much at 313-350F.
1. On two of my induction hobs, both the pans have excellent evenness, even if the Fissler loses by a nose.
2. CenturyLife’s evenness testing method is most meaningful for cooks who would only preheat for 1-2 minutes. Franz’s relative evenness conclusions as to these constructions may be misleading--even opposite--for buyers who take more time to preheat.
3. As between the two pans, the Proline is substantially more responsive in both the upward and downward directions. The Proline itself is a thermal sloth, but adjusting the Fissler’s temperature was like driving a truck with 6 inches of play in the steering wheel.
4. Clad designs, being thinner and effectively larger, can dissipate and moderate heat quite effectively. As a result, they can limit heat to a safe range (e.g., a Proline at 21/100 would never rise above the smoke or flash point of fats).
5. Disk designs, being effectively smaller and relatively thicker, don’t have nearly the “heat sink” effect of clad; they tend to accumulate and concentrate their heat. This might be potentially hazardous if an inattentive cook leaves fat in the pan (e.g., >510F and climbing at less than ¼ power (21/100)). Excess accumulated heat may also decrease an induction appliance’s longevity, as has been claimed for separate converter disks.
6. YMMV. Induction hobs differ. Both the VMP and the Panasonic utilize the ubiquitous single, circular coil used in the majority of induction appliances. The VMP’s is about 5” in diameter. The Panasonic’s is slightly larger, about 6”.
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