My philosophy is that we will be able to supply our own electricity in the future with photovoltaics but we will never be able to make home-brew propane. So, neoTerra is all electric.
I've cooked with gas burners my whole life and have never had good experiences with electric cook-tops so this was an area of concern. Conventional electric cooktops are just not as responsive as gas burners. They are slow to heat up and even slower to cool down so you just don't get the same degree of control that you get with gas.
Anyway, when TW suggested that induction cook-tops are as good as gas burners I was definitely skeptical.
Induction 'burners' operate by heating the metal pan directly using magnetic energy to create current and friction within the atoms of the pan itself. The pan must be made of a magnetic material... aluminum pans won't work.
It sounds like science-fiction but it works. Since the heat is generated directly in the pan it is extremely efficient and the induction unit barely gets hot at all.
For a detailed explanation of how it works click on the image and read the article on Popular Mechanics.
I decided to give induction cooking a try by purchasing a low cost (under $100) single counter-top 'burner', the Duxtop 8300ST.
This is a very inexpensive unit made of plastic but it works surprisingly well.
At 1800 watts it will boil a pot of water for pasta very quickly and it plugs into a standard wall outlet.
The unit offers ten temperature settings starting at 140F and going up to 464F in 36 degree increments.
It also has ten power levels ranging from 200 to 1800 watts. Unfortunately, the steps are not uniform. It has large increments (300 watts) at the lower steps and small increments (100 watts) in the middle steps. Consequently, there is a lack of precision/control at the lower temperature and power settings.
The noise, plastic construction and limited range of temperature settings make it unsuitable for serious everyday cooking. That being said, it's high power, light weight and portability make it a good back up when we need an extra burner so I'm keeping it.
The inexpensive Duxtop exceeded my (rather limited) expectations so I decided that the next experiment should be a commercial countertop unit to see what a high quality professional unit can do.
The Vollrath is all metal construction with a stainless steel frame and a ceramic cooking surface. It has 100 power levels which is ten times what is found on less expensive (and many more expensive) units.
Temperature settings range from 80F - 400F in 10 degree steps. The ability to have precise control at low temperatures is a big advantage for slow cooking and simmering.
Temperature/power level is controlled with a knob so you can turn the power up or down just like a familiar gas burner. The power level has 100 steps in 1% increments.
The drop-in units have the same controls and precision as the table top Mirage Pro but they are only 1400 watts each. So far, it seems that 1400 watts is sufficient for family cooking, though we do use the more powerful table top unit to boil water for pasta or making large pots of soup.
After a bit of a learning curve I've become a complete induction convert. It is definitely superior to gas in almost every respect.