NuWave Induction Cooktop – Product Review

Most RV’s and Campers today come with propane gas stoves and ovens.  However, higher end RVs have recently been installing induction cooktops.  At the time of writing this blog post, we had a 5th wheel toy hauler that was equipped with a propane stove and oven.  I wanted another cooking alternative when hooked up to electricity at campgrounds and parks so we didn’t waste our propane supply.

Networking with some RV friends, I learned  about these NuWave Induction Cooktops.  They intrigued me because I’ve never heard of ‘Induction’ cooking, so I read up on them…

 

From the Induction Site:

What Is “Induction Cooking”?

“Cooking” is the application of heat to food. Indoor cooking is almost entirely done either in an oven or on a cooktop of some sort, though occasionally a grill or griddle is used.

 

Cooktops—which may be part of a range/oven combination or independent built-in units (and which are known outside the U.S.A. as “hobs”)—are commonly considered to be broadly divided into gas and electric types, but that is an unfortunate oversimplification.

 

In reality, there are several very different methods of “electric” heating, which have little in common save that their energy input is electricity. Such methods include, among others, coil elements (the most common and familiar kind of “electric” cooker), halogen heaters, and induction.

 

Further complicating the issue is the sad habit of referring to several very different kinds of electric cookers collectively as “smoothtops,” even though there can be wildly different heat sources under those smooth, glassy tops.

 

 

As we said, cooking is the application of heating food. Food being prepared in the home is very rarely if ever cooked on a rangetop except in or on a cooking vessel of some sort—pot, pan, whatever. Thus, the job of the cooker is not to heat the food but to heat the cooking vessel—which in turn heats and cooks the food. Did ya get that?

 

That not only allows the convenient holding of the food which may be a liquid but it also allows, when we want it, a more gradual or more uniform application of heat to the food by proper design of the cooking vessel.

 

Cooking has therefore always consisted in generating substantial heat in a way and place that makes it easy to transfer most of that heat to a conveniently placed cooking vessel. Starting from the open fire, mankind has evolved many ways to generate such heat.

 

The two basic methods in modern times have been the chemical and the electrical: one either burns some combustible substance—such as wood, coal, or gas—or one runs an electrical current through a resistance element (that, for instance, is how toasters work), whether in a “coil” or, more recently, inside a halogen-filled bulb.

 

How Induction Cooking Works:

  1. The element’s electronics power a coil (the red lines) that produces a high-frequency electromagnetic field (represented by the orange lines).
  2. That field penetrates the metal of the ferrous (magnetic-material) cooking vessel and sets up a circulating electric current, which generates heat. (But see the note below.)
  3. The heat generated in the cooking vessel is transferred to the vessel’s contents.
  4. Nothing outside the vessel is affected by the field—as soon as the vessel is removed from the element, or the element turned off, heat generation stops.
(Image courtesy of Induction Cooking World)

(Note: the process described at #2 above is called an “eddy current”; heat is also generated by another process called “hysteresis”, which is the resistance of the ferrous material to rapid changes in magnetization. The relative contributions of the two effects is highly technical, with some sources emphasizing one and some the other—but the general idea is unaffected: the heat is generated in the cookware.)

view of element coil and electronics

 

(You can see what such a coil and its associated electronics looks like in the image at the right.)
There is thus one point about induction: with current technology, induction cookers require that all your countertop cooking vessels be of a “ferrous” metal (one, such as iron, that will readily sustain a magnetic field). Materials like aluminum, copper, and pyrex are not usable on an induction cooker.

 

All that means is that you need iron or steel pots and pans that are magnitized aka ‘induction safe’.

 

Okay, enough of the Science lesson.

I’m glad to have found these NuWave Induction Cooktops!  They have been my cooking savior. First, especially during the cold months of saving our propane for heating our RV. Second, I’m back to cooking on electric which I was raised on and used most of my life.

I’ve read a lot of chef’s are preferring induction cooking because of that very reason.  I’ve also read great reviews from other fellow RVers stating the same.  Added to that, the portability makes it even better because I can take it outside to cook ‘stinky’ or ‘greasy’ stuff so I didn’t mess up the inside of our RV.  Oftentimes, I will cook 4-5 pounds of bacon at one time outside and store the cooked bacon in the freezer for later use.

Now, of course, if you’re paying dearly for your electric or ‘boondocking’ with limited electricity, you are not going to be able to cook on them unless you have a large capacity generator, huge battery bank or solar to supply your electricity.  However, you pick your battles.

So, I ordered my first one from Amazon; it came with a free ‘induction safe’ non-stick small fry pan.  I read that we could use our cast iron pots and pans (we had the Lodge line) or buy specific cookware that is labeled ‘induction safe’.  Until I got used to it, I stuck with my cast iron because I couldn’t kill a cast iron fry pan.

I found the induction cooktop easy to use with their push-button panel. When I remove a pot or pan, the heat instantly goes away thus, no forgetting to turn off a burner. They heat evenly and thoroughly.

I loved their portability too! I can take them outside to cook our messy food like bacon or splattering meat. But also, they are great to take to pot lucks if we need to heat something quickly, cook on or keep a pot warm.

We LOVED it so much that we bought another, this time from Walmart.  This way, having two, I could cook breakfast gravy in one and eggs/bacon on another. I even bought two carrying/storage cases for them to protect them as well as for portability.

 

 

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