Lower settings are not even - hot cold hot cold
The lower settings seem to work on a timer basis similar to a non-induction microwave. High power for a few seconds followed by no power for a few seconds. This will make your small pot of liquid boil like crazy, then stop.. then boil like crazy then stop. Not ideal. Even on the lowest setting which is supposed to be only 100w... which it may be on average, but not at any instant.
I don't know if other portable induction cooktops also work this way as I have only used built-in models previously that have full turn down control. Sorry Ikea, I know this is cheap, but I was expecting better control. Its going back to the store.
Excellent build and performance..
I was looking for an induction cooktop which I use for cooking at remote places and I found this from.ikea..comparing with other induction cooktop there are.more expensive ones in the market but this is all you need,it's looks classy and works well..it's has child.lock feature as well and gets cooled down quite fast..
Use it daily
Heats up very quickly. Takes time to find the sweet spot for cooking. Simple saute around 3-4 setting.
Works best on my cast iron pan, Scanpan is a little slower I expect that is due to the fluted base of the Scanpan.
Small complaints is having hold the child lock on to start, the fan is on the loud side, and if use forget to turn it the unit off at the power point it will start up again as you clean. cooks food great though.
Brilliant Product - Best functionality and price yet.
Previously, I published a review on Kmart’s portable induction cooktop. You may read it here:
Soon after, Ikea introduced their own portable induction cooker at a similar price. At $59, their “Tillreda” boasted to have won a Red Dot award for its design, and is only $10 dearer than its Kmart sibling.
I couldn’t resist buying one and testing it out.
First thought is that it’s actually quite big. The form factor is a bit longer and wider, and sits at around the same height as the Kmart model. And it’s white, which I’m not a big fan of. Yeah, this will age very soon.
A chronic issue that we all have with induction cooktops is the way they handle reduced power levels. A sort of low speed pulse width modulation pulsing between on and off to simulate a varying fraction of full power. Unfortunately, it may not be so prudent to hold your breath while waiting for manufacturers to deliver a constant, albeit reduced waveform as a solution to produce a reduced power setting. From the research I recently leeched off a co-worker’s thesis into electromagnetic power transfer, I am led to believe that efficiency degrades as voltage (i.e. amplitude) is reduced. Thus suggests why manufacturers have designed and engineered this cooking method the way it is – after all, induction cooking is all about efficiency.
Naturally, the main part of my test is on simmering.
Simmer test: First test I did was of course to boil a small pot of water in a small saucepan while varying the power level to observe its behaviour. I’m pleased to announce that, while the duty-cycle phenomenon is evidently adopted by this particular unit, it is barely noticeable from power levels 4 and upward. It turns that the period of the square wave form is much closer and quicker than the Kmart model, that there is no noticeable transition period from off to on. I was actually able to achieve a reduced boil. At power level 3 or below, you actually start to see when the coil is de-energised.
For my Hong Kong brethren out there, the first thing I did with this new cooktop while it was still nice and clean was to, of course, enjoy a nice hotpot. I am pleased to report that, since I was varying the power levels between 5 to 9 (full power), I was able to get a constant simmer.
Soon after, I upped the ante to try and cook pasta. Specifically, a pasta Boscaiola with Fusilli.
Now, the pasta itself did not matter too much, I just happened to have Fusilli on hand. Try spaghetti, fettucine – whatever. As long as it is pasta, my Kmart induction cooktop will just make a mess everywhere.
I couldn’t remember if I was boiling the pasta at 4 or 5, but I was, again, able to achieve a constant roll boil to the point that it was stable enough for me to walk away to get my ingredients from the fridge without coming back to half the water spilled everywhere.
Now the sauce. I specifically picked Boscaiola for its cream. Chuck some bolognaise in there or some other sauce and you’d be fine even on my Kmart cooker. As soon as there’s cream or milk involved, you can almost always expect a nasty spill if you’re not careful enough. Again, constant low simmer achieved, and the cooking experience was just as rewarding as the eating experience. Side note: I deviated from the traditional recipe by substituting bacon for diced shoulder ham off the bone (because that was the ingredient I happened to have) and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted more preferable to me.
Searing test: One of the main measures of how well a cooktop sears is by throwing a steak and assessing the greying. You want to achieve decent griddle marks on your steak without ending up with a thick band of grey meat. This is even more important if you are cooking sous vide – a large grey band would be a complete waste of your steak and undermine the whole purpose of pulling out your water bath in the first place.
The quality of your crust is dependent on how hot your cooktop can achieve on the cookware itself – and how well it can maintain this temperature when you apply a thermal load. The hotter it is, the quicker you get those griddle marks up, and therefore the quicker you can pull out your steak to get away with that thin crust. Conversely, the colder it is, the longer it takes to get those griddle marks up, upon which when you finally do, your steak will be overcooked along a thick portion of the edges.
I preheated my favourite cast iron grill on the highest heat setting for approximately 3-4 minutes, shifting quadrant to quadrant to ensure an evenly heated pan.
The steak for this test is new york strip aka porterhouse, just over 200g, and cut quite thin, approximately 1.5cm. It had been brought to room temperature. Since it is a very thin steak, and I don’t actually have much time on me, I decided against sous vide and just cooked it on the grill.
I didn’t time my cooking for this exercise (not that I usually time things anyway; I like my approximations). I basically just seared to get the right level of markings, then took the steak off to inspect the results after letting the steak rest for around 5 minutes (again, didn’t have much time). The steak turned out to be somewhere between rare and medium rare. The grey band was reasonable, at around 15% depth of this 1.5cm steak either side (2.3mm approx.), although not as thin as I would hope. To be fair, had it been a steak of decent thickness, the results would be better and the greying would have appeared thinner by proportion. Take home message of this is to maybe preheat a bit longer, and if cooking sous vide, consider only searing lines as opposed to crosshatches/grids to keep greying to a minimal.
Handling and design: Unlike the Kmart unit, the entire top surface of the Tillreda is made from tempered glass. This is good news for me, as I like to shift larger pans around to even out the cooking surface without worrying about melting plastic components.
That said, the buttons are touch-sensitive, rather than real buttons you press on the Kmart model. It is a bit fiddly, as it is quite sensitive – even the slightest touch will activate the switch underneath.
The unit has a timer function, but unlike many cooktops available in the market, Kmart model inclusive, the timer is limited to 99 minutes only (down from 180 minutes offered by the Kmart model). This will not be much of a concern to me, but just to let you know in case this might be important to you.
Questions & Answers
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