GoGear: The Magnetic Lure of Induction
Above photo: Dinner prep looking out from Gouldings in Monument Valley.
It still seems pretty magical to me that a cooking surface, which doesn't itself get hot, can still boil water. I won't get tangled up in the physics that perform this modern miracle, but rather, share with you our experience in using an induction cooktop as we travel in our Navion.
We've encountered a growing number of RVers who, like us, have happily added an induction cooktop to their galleys. Increasingly, we're seeing more models of all-electric, diesel pusher RVs offering built-in induction cooktops as part of their richly appointed kitchens.
What's really cool is that anyone with a smaller or older rig can easily add an induction cooktop for less than $100. In our case it was an $80 Duxtop unit from Amazon. I've also seen units priced for around $60, too.
Our induction unit is an 1,800 watt countertop device you simply plug into any outlet. It's about 12" inches square and less than 3" inches thick. We've found that it's rubber feet grip tightly enough that, when we're on the road, we simply leave it firmly planted on the counter.
We've found a lot of advantages to using our induction cooktop:
- It boils water much faster than our propane burners.
- There's less heat that builds up in the coach (a big plus on warm days).
- We can place it in various places on the counter or even (when we need more prep space) on our dinette table.
- It gives us extra cooking capacity in addition to our two propane burners.
- It's easily adjustable to set lower warming and simmering temperatures.
Since we bought the Duxtop we use it more often than firing up the propane burners. While we're usually hooked up to shore power, we've had plenty of dry camping opportunities to use it. Leading up to dinnertime I'll fire up the generator so we can use the microwave/convection oven, induction cooktop, and run the TV (saving battery power for later).
Arguably, you might say there are two downsides to an induction cooktop. The first is that you either need to be connected to shore power or run your generator. The second is that it requires cookware that's magnetic.
In our case, the set of Magma cookware we had was not ferro-magnetic and we had to buy a different version of the Magma cookware which was. Once we did that, we were off to the races.
Many boaters and RV owners are familiar with the Magma cookware. I did extensive research before buying our first set and it is far and away the best cookware product out there. For us, in the limited galley space of the Navion, it's nesting ability means we can store multiple pieces in a small footprint.
The induction compatible set we ordered from Amazon was $218.50 and comes with three saucepans, a frying pan, large pot, lids, and well shaped detachable handles. It's clad in stainless steel and has a non-stick coating. These are heavy, well made pots and pans. At home we use high quality commercial grade cookware and our standards are very high. Though I was skeptical at first, I fully agree with the dozens of rave reviews about Magma's pots in terms of quality of finish, heft, heating ability, and versatility. Even for owners of big rigs and large 5th-wheels, where storage space is less an issue, I absolutely would recommend Magma's products.
Together our Duxtop induction plate and the Magma cookware have proven to be a perfect pairing for easy and efficient mobile meal preparation.