Circulon 13-inch Round Induction Burner

If you've been toying with the idea of switching to a more efficient induction cooktop, you might want to give the technology a try before dropping a few grand on a new appliance. While it's not cheap by any means, Circulon's $250 portable induction cooktop is just as attractive than a similar model by Fagor...

Induction cooktops use magnetic waves to heat the pan. (You can use any pan that a magnet will stick to.) There are nine levels of power output, and a timer, so it can function as a slow cooker.

The San Francisco Chronicle tested it out and liked it, and people who've tried it out over at GardenWeb seem to like it, though they note (correctly) that anything that plugs into the wall will have a lot less power than a hardwired appliance. A comment over at Amazon says it's rated at about 1500 watts—and that it will boil 2 quarts of water in 10 minutes. More than one review also points out that the unit makes noise. Our own induction cooktop, a Jenn-Air, makes a buzzing sound that cycles on and off. Turn the heat up, and the buzzing cycles more frequently. If you feel that cooking should be quiet and meditative, that might be grounds for dismissing induction altogether.

Circulon 13-inch Round Induction Burner, $250 at potsandpans.com

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