Induction cooktops are slowly but surely overtaking the market. There’s no question about it: induction cooking is here to stay. Induction heating elements have many advantages over their gas and electric coil counterparts, including energy savings, better control, and faster, more efficient heat transfer.
While induction cooktops have been slow to gain traction in the States, they’ve been the standard in Europe for many years. Bosch’s stature as the largest home appliance manufacturer in Europe gives it quite a bit of credibility when it comes to induction cooktops.
Bosch’s induction cooktops come in three primary styles. We’ll go over one of each in order to help you decide what features you want in your kitchen. All three of these styles are available in several sizes.When it’s time to actually purchase your cooktop, be sure to carefully read the manufacturer’s manual and choose a unit that actually fits in your home.
The Bosch 500 series offers everything you need to take full advantage of induction cooking. It’s got powerful burners, plenty of customizable heat levels, and more than enough amenities to make cooking simple. In other words, while it’s Bosch’s most basic model, you’ll still be pleasantly surprised at the features this cooktop offers.
First, let’s talk about cooking performance. This 4-burner cooktop has a maximum output of 3600 watts on the highest burner. It’s got a feature called SpeedBoost that helps boil water and perform other heating tasks incredibly quickly. 17 heat levels give you more than enough freedom to get your pan just as hot as you’d like.
You’ll immediately notice a pretty obvious upgrade if you’re coming from a gas or electric coil range. With induction compatible cookware, it’s not uncommon to cut the time it takes to boil water by something like 30%.
While it’s one of the most basic Bosch models, the 500 series still comes with a timer, a lock, automatic shutoff, and a handy indicator that tells you when a burner is hot. Additionally, it automatically detects when you have pots or pans on top of your burners. This ensures that you don’t accidentally turn on your range without a suitable container on top.
There are two complaints about this range. One, the black color makes it difficult to distinguish the burners from the flat surface of the cooktop. This is something that will take some getting used to in low-light conditions. If you find that you consistently have trouble telling where your pots and pans should go, consider investing in a high lumen LED and placing it above your cooktop.
Two, the buttons are somewhat odd to get used to. It’ll take you a bit of time to figure out which button corresponds to which burner. It also takes multiple button presses to move from the lowest heat setting to the highest, which gets a bit annoying after a while. Still, the time you save with your high-powered induction burners will more than make up for this annoyance.
Even though the 500 series is Bosch’s most basic range, it’s very highly recommended by reputable reviewers and research firms. Consumer Reports scored it with a 98 out of a possible 100, while JD Power gave Bosch cooktops their highest accolade in 2015. This means you can trust that it’s a fantastic, reliable cooktop.
If you’re just after induction cooking with no special features, the Bosch 500 series is a pretty good start. As I said before, please make sure you actually download the manual online and take the time to familiarize yourself with the space and power requirements of this cooktop. You’ll save yourself a lot of headache in the future.
The Bosch 800 series adds a powerful feature to baseline provided by the 500 series. This Bosch 30″ induction cooktop has a feature called Auto Chef that monitors the actual temperature of your pot or pan and adjusts the heat accordingly. This means that you can add cold food to a hot pan without the overall temperature of your dish dropping.
Other than this feature, however, the 800 series is quite similar to the 500 series. It’s got the same layout and comes in the same sizes. You’ll see the same problems, too, meaning you’ll want to make sure you’ve got extra lighting around your cooktop.
One small difference appears in burner power. While the 30″ versions of these cooktops have the same wattage, the 36″ 800 series upgrades the largest burner from 3600 to 4500 watts. You’re unlikely to need (or even notice) this much power during home use, but it’s worth mentioning that the 800 is technically more powerful at some sizes.
Like the 500 series, be sure you’ve read the manual and you understand the exact size of the unit you plan to buy. Make sure you check the power cord length, too. You’ll be surprised at the amount of hassle this simple check can avoid.
Overall, the 800 series is a perfect upgrade for the home chef who wants more precise temperature control. Auto Chef is a fantastically well-thought-out feature that takes all of the guesswork out of cooking. It’s a brilliant way to take maximum advantage of all of the benefits of your new Bosch benchmark induction cooktop.
Induction cooktops don’t work via magic. Instead, they work via powerful magnetic fields that have a very limited range. This means that it’s especially important to center your pots and pans right over an appropriate burner. Unfortunately, this means it’s also very difficult to use griddles and other oddly shaped pans.
FlexInduction is Bosch’s answer to this problem. It’s a bit of technology that enables part of your cooktop to act as a single, large rectangular burner sometimes and as two smaller conventional burners the rest of the time. It means you can use griddles, grill pans, and other oddly shaped cookware with ease. Simply slap them down on the FlexInduction burner and go to work.
To be clear, this solution isn’t as simple as just bridging two burners with a normal grill pan. While this seems like it’d work at first, heating the same grill pan from both ends would simply create hotspots under the burners while leaving the middle of the pan cold. The FlexInduction area applies heat the whole way across, meaning you get to use every square inch of your grill pan.
Otherwise, Bosch’s Benchmark Series of cooktops is pretty similar to the units above as far as features go. It’s got the same max burner power as the 800 series and comes with pot sense, auto shutoff, and all of the other amenities you’d expect. The one thing it doesn’t have is AutoChef, which is a bit of a bummer. I would have liked to be able to dial in a temperature on my grill pan to make frying eggs an exact science.
Like the other Bosch options, this cooktop comes in multiple sizes. The 36″ model actually has two FlexInduction burners, making it even better for cooking with unorthodox cookware. Again, please be extra sure you get a unit that will fit in the space you’ve prepared in your kitchen.
Overall, the addition of FlexInduction technology is a welcome feature in this Bosch cooktop. You’ll find it a far superior product as far as grill pans, griddles, and other oddly shaped cookware goes. Whether you choose the 30″ or the 36″, you’ll love the quick, efficient heating that this Bosch FlexInduction cooktop offers.
How Does Induction Save Energy?
Induction heating works almost by magic. Both gas cooktops and electric coil ranges work by a basic principle of thermodynamics. They get something hot (either the gas or the heating coil). Since you put your pan right up next to the heating element and your pan is colder than the flame or the red-hot coil, nature does all the rest. Temperature naturally flows from the hot element to your cooler pan.
Induction works differently. Instead of generating heat outside of your pan and coaxing it into your cookware, induction uses magnets to physically jitter part of your pan and generate the heat right there. This means there’s no middleman between the heating element and your cookware. With no gaps, your induction range puts out something like 30% more heat for the same amount of energy.
The exact process that’s used involves a pulsing magnetic field that turns the magnetic metal in your pan into a giant heating element. This is because the magnetic creates an electric field each time it oscillates. Basic electromagnetics dictates that this field will generate heat as it flows through the metal and overcomes resistance.
As I mentioned earlier, one downside to induction is that it’s got really, really short range. You’ll need to place your magnetic pots and pans directly on top of your burners for your cooktop top work. Once you’ve done that, though, you’ll find out how much of a difference 30% more power can make.
The Best Bosch Induction Cooktop
Bosch is a very highly reviewed brand that’s got lots of experience in the induction cooktop market. All three of their cooktop styles are wonderful choices for any home that needs a powerful stove with precise temperature control. The 500 series fills a more basic need, while the 800 series adds a thermostat that keeps your pots and pans at the perfect temperature without any intervention.
Finally, the Benchmark series offers FlexInduction burners that let you use unorthodox pots and pans on your induction range without too much of an issue. All three will serve you well.