I have owned this hob for over a year now and I have to say I am quite satisfied with it. This is my first induction hob and will never use anything else again. Its easy to clean, responsive and easy to use. This is just one of those workman like products that just sits there and does the job. I just take it for granted like water from a tap. The fact that it is perfectly flat also means it can double up as a hot plate. I can rest hot casserole dishes from the oven on top of it and cool them down with cold water without worrying about anything cracking or bursting into many pieces of broken glass. It is so efficient as it only heats the metal in contact with the ring and wont heat up food or anything non metallic. It is only the residual heat created from the induction that might heat up non metallic items.
I work in a kitchen showroom, so I guess I am at a bit of an advantage when it come to buying certain items: I can get staff prices, and I also hear feedback about any items that are either great, or are fault prone.
One piece of kit that has always has positive feedback is the Indesit VIA 640 C induction hob. Another member of staff got one, and was instantly singing its praises. Despite this model being a couple of years old, there are still not that many new induction hobs on the market, and back in 2010, this one was awarded a 'Which Best Buy'. Indeed this is still Indesits only worktop-fitted induction model.
In general induction technology is still not a well established market, probably due to its higher pricing. However, shop about for one...online the prices vary from £245 to £499, so dont over pay. I guess many are also wary of new technology in-case it is simply an overpriced gimic.
Regardelss, when it came to replacing some worktops and a hob in my kitchen, I decided to take the plunge and try one out.
* Info & Design *
There are a couple of things to be carefully of: First, you may need to replace your pans. They need too be magnetic, like steel, and they cant be copper based, otherwise the hob wont heat up!. Secondly, at 510mm depth, its slighly deeper than some hobs, although the bottom of the hob is sealed and flat. This means it is not recommended to fit with intergrated double ovens. The main problem is ventilation, the hobs have built in fans, but can overheat without enough airspace. so either get a single oven, or place your oven in a tall unit.
The Indesit model is a standard 4 hob layout, and is a fairly normal 590 x 520 mm, so will fit within a standard 600mm unit. Visually it is very minimal, with a slimline black glass plate, and touch controls. This makes it very easy to wipe clean. There are white circles to identify the four heating zones.
* In use *
The controls are: an on/off button, 4 zone selectors, + & - temp selectors and a saftey lock. If you are used to 4 dials like a conventional hob, it may take a bit of getting used to it, but after a few evenings, I got into the habit easily. I found the buttons pretty responsive, although make sure you push them directly and firmly to ensure the press registers.
The first thing you notice using this hob is the speed it can heat up the pan contents. My old ceramic hob took ages to boil a pan of water. Although I have not got out my stopwatch, the induction takes less than half the time to do the same. Oil seems to heat almost instantly.
This hob is also very safe, as any zones left on dont heat anything until a pan is placed on them, making it very kid friendly. This also means they only use power when you are cooking, so it saves energy.
The only problem I have come up against is wok cooking, as the domed bottom of the pan doesnt give much contact with the hob. There are some inductions out there with a concave shaped hob for this, but unless you use one a lot, and have plenty money to spare, its not worth it. I just use a deep sided frying pan for things like stir-fry, as I dont do much Asian style cooking. If you do this might not be for you...probably best to stick to gas.
* Care & Maintenance *
As far as maintenance is concerned, I have never had an easier hob to clean. I hate cleaning pan supports on gas hobs, and my old ceramic hob incinerated any food that fell out, or boiled over the side. With the induction, since only the actual area under the hob heats up, any liquid spilt else-where doesnt get instantly charred and stuck to the glass. You can even put a paper kitchen towel between the pan and the hob to catch any spillage. Its counter intuitive to want to put paper on a hob, but its safe. This also helps to preserve the finish of the gloss glass surface from scratches.
As I mentioned before, cleaning is easy since it a smooth glass panel with no dials, but do not use any abrasive cleaners, as they will damage the surface. As it is glass, you can scratch or chip the surface, but if you already have a ceramic hob, you will probably be familiar with these issues.
* Summary *
I think its safe to say Im an induction convert. They may be fairly expensive, but I think if you can afford to pick one up, the benefits long term outweigh the initial cost. They are efficient, easy to look after, and safe to use.
A Which best buy, and for the most part it has been a good purchase. It heats a pan of water in next to no time, it's as responsive as gas, if not more so, and easy to clean - like a ceramic hob. It has the added benefit of spilled food not burning on to the hob surface like a hot plate or ceramic. Safe as well. No gas to leak, no risk of anything catching fire. If it doesn't sense a pan on a cooking zone, it doesn't do anything. Mine unfortunately developed a fault just before Christmas and was unusable until the end of January - this being a failing of the procedures between the insurers and Indesit, not helped by the Christmas holidays. Personally, I wouldn't cook with anything else now. I've silenced the critics who told me gas is the only way! Having individual controls for each cooking zone, rather than selecting a zone and then using a common up/down control would have been nice, but such a minor quibble now I've got used to it, it's hardly worth mentioning.
This sleek, stylish modern, energy efficient hob has won me over.
This is the first induction hob I have owned and used and despite the high initial cost I highly recommend it. Energy savings over the long term should be significant, but it is the speed and efficiency and good looks that will win you over.
Installation was simple. Into a 590x520mm aperture in the worktop and the unit drops in squarely and as it is only 53mm deep it will slot into any worktop. There are no awkward projections underneath, all the works are neatly enclosed in a metal casing, just the mains lead emerging for connection. The installation instructions are clear with the usual advice regarding clearances to adjacent and overhead units. The black glass hob on show in the worktop is 590x520mm.
Once installed you are presented with this piece of magic glass, less than 1cm thick, four engraved markings for the pan positions, and markings for the four touch sensitive switches, power + & -, on-off and padlock.
It is hard to believe it works more efficiently and more responsively than a traditional gas flame; this is state-of-the-art. Perhaps the only downside is you need magnetic pans but this includes most stainless steel ones, but excludes copper-bottom ones. If you are looking for new pans, these days they have symbols on the bottom to advise what hobs they are suitable for.
Touch the on-off button; place your pan WITH something in it to heat or cook, touch the button for the pan position and an adjacent red light comes on. Press the + button to increase the power from 1 through to maximum 9. Instantly the pan responds and heats up. Hence my "WITH" above, the pan will obviously heat without anything in it. Testing it just with water in the pan and immediately you will see bubbles; oil in the pan to fry and instantly it starts to respond. It is a fascinating technology.
The controls are very responsive. Full heat at number 9 will rapidly heat anything Note I do mean rapid: heating milk, sauce or a ready made dish on number 9 will result in rapid burning and sticking on the bottom, so stirring is essential or heating slowly on a lower setting is recommended. On numbers 1 or 2 pans simmer beautifully. You really can prepare food much more quickly and altogether cleaner.
To turn the power up or down for any position you again just touch the button for position and the + or - button. You cannot very quickly press up, up, I takes perhaps half a second to register each press but you soon get used to this.
Removing a pan from a position and the power instantly cuts out, so this is the energy saving bit. Put the pan back and it is on again. To turn all positions off you touch the off button. As a safety feature, even when all turned off, the position buttons will glow "H" when the position is still hot and reduces to "h" when just warm and eventually goes blank. The heat left in each position is just that retained by the glass from the hot pan, no energy is being wasted. So you simply slide a pan away from the ring and it just stops heating.
There is a padlock button. Pressing it locks the controls so they cannot be accidentally turned on or adjusted. To de-activate the function you hold down the padlock button for a couple of seconds. Maybe of some use to the overly health and safety conscious.
One criticism maybe is that there is no timer function. This seems a bit over the top - have we ever had a timer function on a gas hob to stop your potatoes boiling after ten minutes? I suppose what is technologically feasible has to be offered these days.
It is just a sheet of glass so cleaning is recommended with just a soft cloth and occasionally with standard window cleaner. In theory nothing can burn because there is no heat without a metal pan on a position and spills will not be heated, as there is no magnetic material to heat up.
Maybe a downside is that it is only a piece of glass so, even though it is toughened, it will eventually scratch and obviously nothing should be dropped on it. I have started with good intentions by cooking through a piece of kitchen paper, ie placing the pan on the paper on the position, this will stop any grit on the bottom of the pan scratching the surface.
So overall a fabulous, if somewhat expensive, piece of kit. I paid £320 from Electricshop.com less £8 cashback through Topcashback
Few downsides, highly recommended.
This is a fantastic induction Hob, and currently (Aug '10) this is a Which? Best Buy, ranking number 1. This hob really heats up fast; it's like cooking with gas but better! Even on a simmer, this hob cooks evenly.
There are 4 zones for your pans; 2 large and two small. It's really intuitive; you select the picture of the hob you want to activate by touching the control panel, then select up or down on the temperature control by touching the temperature symbol. Easy as that!
To use an induction hob, you'll need an iron based pan such as stainless steel as the mechanisn works by electromagnetism, however this means that the actual hob itself does not get hot. The energy just heats up the pan itself. This particular model also has a touch control lock feature to prevent it being switched on by accident. A useful safety feature if you have kids. Another safety feature of this hob is that the pan zones turn off automatically if left on for a certain amount of time (nine hours for the lowest heat setting and one hour at the highest).
It's easy to clean too, it's just a flat surface, so you wipe off any spills with ease.
21st century cooking. I wouldn't be without one!
The Indesit VIA640C Hob is 59cm wide Electric Induction hob in a Black Glass finish / The hob contains 4 induction elements or heating zones set in a standard square configuration / The heating zones range in size from 1200 watts and include 2 zones rated at 1800 watts / A touch control panel is set into the leading edge of the hob unit.Induction cooking is the most recent innovation in domestic cooking and has been designed to bring together the economy and efficiency of electric cooking with the instant heat control of a gas appliance / An Induction hob is faster and more energy efficient than either the traditional Radiant Ring or Ceramic Glass electric hob unit and provides the instant finger-tip control of cooking and simmering associated with a gas burner.Induction cooking has proven to be economical and significantly safer than other methods of cooking because the induction elements also known as induction zones only heat the steel or iron cooking vessel / The induction effect doesn't directly heat the hob surface or the air around the vessel / Therefore less energy is consumed and there is a significantly lower risk of a burn injury from the top of the cooker which will definitely be considered as a benefit by the parents of young children. / Electronic Hob /