There are many single hob induction units for sale, priced from below $50 to $1800. I have so far purchased 4 units: two Max Burtons, and two Vollraths. All of them are 1800 watts and have both temperature and power settings. The $100 Max Burtons have 10 power settings and 15 temperature settings from 100 to 450 degrees in 25 degree intervals. The $200 Vollrath Mirage Cadet has 20 power settings, and 40 temperature settings from 100 to 400 degrees in 10 degree intervals. The $400 Vollrath Mirage Pro has 100 power settings and has 42 temperature settings from 80 degrees to 400 degrees in 10 degree intervals.
The $1800 Polyscience Control freak (which I've never used) has a temperature mode and an adjunct intensity function--with a range from 86 to 482 degrees with 397 individual settings accurate to within 1.8 degrees. It can measure simultaneously the temperature at the base of the pan, and inside the pan with a separate sensor. The biggest performance difference among these units, control. The biggest technology difference is software, firmware, and machine language. I'll focus on my two Vollrath units.
The minimum diameter pan that works on my units is about 6", and the realistic maximum is 11". For simmering on ECI or with a stovetop pressure cooker, 12" may work. All pans must be magnetic, but the strength of the magnetic attraction can vary from pan to pan. The seating on the base of the pan may also enhance or minimize the magnetic effect.
Whether it's ECI, CI, cladded, or just plain SS, bringing the pan to targeted temperature should not be too fast--and not necessarily at maximum power. Warmed up this way, all my pans, ECI and SS, heat quite evenly once the targeted temperature is reached.
One very unfortunate problem with both of my Vollraths is that if one starts up in temperature mode, the pan overshoots the targeted temperature--and not by just 10 or 20 degrees. At startup, I have been using the energy mode and measure temperature with my infrared gun. As I reach the targeted temperature, I switch from energy to temperature mode. From there, I can adjust the output of the units to tune my simmers, different levels of boiling, rolling boil, and steam level boiling. This capability is very important to my kind of cooking. I can always validate the temperature achieved at any setting with an infrared gun.
by Maryse Chevriere | Food is a major part of my life. I’m more on top of dining and restaurant news than world news. My...
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