Cooking without gas: Induction hobs (and the art of gadget accumulation)

by Jax on October 23, 2013

The geek (who doesn’t control the galley, but does keep a keen eye on our energy sources – in this case how much gas is being consumed) had been thinking of investing in an induction hob for a while. And, as he tends to get restless when he hasn’t acquired a new gadget recently, it was only a matter of time…

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The idea was that a small portable induction hob could be used to save gas when we have a ready supply of electricity (i.e. in marinas) and would also double as a backup cooking source in an emergency when the gas runs out.

The girl wasn’t so sure, they seemed a bit big, ugly and cumbersome. Moreover, she was pretty happy with the performance of the gas hob. Did we need another expensive ‘gadget’ taking up valuable space on board? Typical scenario: the Geek says buying this new gizmo will improve our lives, the Girl is sceptical. But then she’s not usually the one who ends up lugging heavy gas bottles back from a great distance on a bike or by foot.

So, as usual, the girl acquiesced in the end (sometimes, she’s persuaded, other times ignored). The habitual outcome = new gadget acquired.

Research ensued: measurements were taken, multiple types compared – you can buy single and double ring devices of varying shapes and sizes – specifications studied, prices analysed and finally an order was placed.

Our first attempt ended up in a thousand pieces, literally. The hob came from Germany and the manufacturers obviously forgot that a predominantly glass device needs good packaging. Inevitably, despite stickers warning of fragile contents, after a good amount of ritual mishandling in transit it didn’t so much resemble a hob as a glass jigsaw of a hob.

Happily, our second attempt was much more successful. We bought an Andrew James double induction hob which retails at £83.75. Andrew James are a UK based, family run business selling a range of innovative kitchen and household appliances.

Andrew James

See it and read reviews on Amazon

Geek bit:
Induction hobs are interesting technology – they transfer heat to pans by causing minute heat generating molecular movement in their steel bases by magnetic induction. The hob element is essentially just a precise electric coil, so the actual hobs are lightweight and thin with zero moving parts – and surprisingly inexpensive for a decent one.

As the surface doesn’t get hot (since the heat is induced into the base of the pan directly) they cool really quickly, with little residual heat after use.

Our hob has two rings – one of which uses 1000W (4.1A @240V) and the other 1800w (7.5A @ 240V). With both rings going full pelt, this is nicely within the capacity of our 4Kw / 16A generator.

It is 58cm wide x 35cm deep and 8cm high and sits nicely on our gas cooker when in use, slips down behind the cooker when not in use when we’re in a marina and in bilge securely wedged and wrapped in a sail bag when at sea.

The girl has to admit that the induction hob is incredibly efficient. The faster of the two rings can boil a litre and a half of water in about two minutes (quicker than the kettle!). Adding this to our galley meant we only had to exchange one gas bottle in about 3 months this summer.

The surface is very easy to wipe clean. It sits on top of our existing hob so it doesn’t take up any more work area when it’s in use. Obviously this means we are not using the gas hob in tandem with the induction hob, though if you had more work space this would be a possibility.

At anchor we can use the induction hob on the generator. When we are in port and using it regularly it is stored behind the oven. On passage (when it can’t be used, clearly it’s not designed to cope with heeling!) it has a place in the bilge (on top of one of the fuel tanks) where it is secure.

The geek was probably right on this one, although I would ideally have liked one that’s just a tiny bit smaller.

Geek 1, Girl 0.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek April 14, 2015 at 23:28

Knowing what you d now, would you have considered installing an induction hob with a gas oven instead of the gas hob? I’m curious as I tend to prefer gas for cooking on land, but I do know that most cruise lines use induction as a preventative measure against fire hazard, and their food is pretty good?

Cheers!

Derek

Reply

Zetty morgan February 22, 2014 at 14:48

Hi, can you tell me how much electricity it draws? We are are building a boat, and considering our options….

Reply

Jax February 22, 2014 at 21:27

The hob has two rings – one of which uses 1000W (4.1A @240V) and the other 1800w (7.5A @ 240V). With both rings going full pelt, this is nicely within the capacity of our 4Kw / 16A generator.

Reply

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