Power matters. Whether it’s a generator, a processor, or an automobile, you can usually find a number that sums up the power of a product. It isn’t the most important number, typically- many other considerations come into play. But it’s certainly one simple way to measure improvement over time, and to objectively look at change. We’ve checked out several models similar to today’s nifty piece of kitchen gear, but this one is the most powerful, and also manages to be sleek and slim.
We’re talking about the Fagor Portable Induction Cooktop 1800W, the upgrade to a previous model, adding a pair of quick launch buttons for immediate warming or boiling, and upping the power by 500 watts. The maximum temperature that the cooktop can reach has not changed- you’re still looking at being able to set it between 140°F - 430°F. But operating is faster- you’ll be able to get pasta cooked in the time in might take you to get the water boiling with an electric cooktop. A lot of this is just efficiency in action: induction directs the energy at the pan rather than much of it being dissipated as heat. In fact, you can save a lot of energy by using induction, and it has the advantage of being more precise as well- you can set it and hit a specific temperature, which is well nigh impossible on most stoves.
The others that we have tried have some advantages- the Hearthware Precision is less expensive though less attractive and capable, and the Fissler Cookstar is sexier but quite a bit more costly. They all benefit from easy cleaning, with a surface that you can pretty much wipe down, and the safety benefits of being cool to the touch even when cooking. And they all require the same attention to cookware: before buying induction, make sure that you already have compatible pans, or be ready to buy them. As we’ve mentioned before, copper and aluminum won’t work, but most others will- anything that a magnet would stick to. The Fagor model seemed a bit louder than the others, but was also thinner and easier to put away when not in use.
This is perhaps the best value induction system that we’ve used. We can see it being perfect for a personal chef, at parties (fondue!), for cooking demonstrations, as well as for some travel situations like in an RV. Available online and in stores for around $200.