REVIEW – I grew up with a gas range and have installed them in almost every house I’ve lived in. It was a selling point in our current house. It’s familiar and easy, and I like cooking with gas. The heat is steady, instant-on and instant-off, and you can see what’s happening just by peeping under the pan. But recently, there’s been quite a number of stories in the press about the health impacts and poor indoor air quality from gas cooktops. An increasing number of municipalities are prohibiting gas appliances in new construction for both health and climate change reasons. So when I started to read about the impacts, I was concerned. I really didn’t want to switch to “traditional” electric. Few serious cooks would. But induction cooktops seemed interesting. Most of the benefits of cooking with gas, without any of the concerns about safety or climate change (depending on where your electricity comes from). So when the opportunity to review the Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop came up, I jumped.
What is it?
The Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop is a two-burner counter-top model induction cooktop that maxes out at 1800 watts, meaning most household outlets can handle it.
What’s in the box?
Just the Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop and the manual.
- Voltage: 120V, household plug
- Overall Dimension: 22.83″×14.17″×2.68″ IN (L*W*H)
- Timer: 3 hours
- Pot size: 4-10 inches diameter (10cm-26cm)
- 6 anti-slip feet
- Dual fan cooling system
Design and Features
The most striking part of the Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop design is the fact that the whole cooktop is basically one large piece of glass. It’s completely flat, with touch-sensitive buttons under the glass. There are two cooktops connected together, and each has an identical set of controls. One unique aspect to this cooktop is that you can choose to adjust either power (wattage) or temperature. Each cooktop has a temperature sensor embedded in the center, which measures the temperature of your cookware. To use the cooktop, simply hit the power button for the burner you want to use, select either power or temperature adjustment, and then use the up or down buttons to choose the desired level. The pan becomes instantly hot. There is a timer for up to 3 hours, which will shut off of the cooktop after the selected time. There is also a child lock to prevent the unit from accidentally being turned on.
The combined maximum wattage of both burners is 1800 W. That means if you’re only using one burner, it can go up to 1800 W. But if using two, the total power use of both can’t exceed 1800 W. The Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop’s two burners appear independent, but they are in fact connected so as not to exceed the total power consumption. Interestingly, the website for the product shows a display configuration that is impossible to achieve in reality – at least in the US. The photo on the site shows the left burner at 2000 W and the right burner at 1500 W, a total of 3500 W, or 1700 W more than the total system rating.
To understand the performance of the Amzchef Induction Cooktop, it helps to know a bit about how induction cooking works. Most cooktops work by generating heat either through flame (gas) or resistance in an electric coil (traditional electric) and that heat moves through conduction into your cookware. Induction cooking uses electric currents to directly heat cookware, through magnetic induction. Your pan becomes the heating element. Now in order for this to work, your pan has to react to magnets, or be ferrous (made of iron or steel). Aluminum, ceramic, glass, and copper cookware won’t work. But most of my cookware is stainless or cast iron, so I was in good shape. I did test one copper clad pot, and had no luck.
In short, the Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop works great. I was immediately impressed. One of my favorite things to cook is a morning 3-egg omelet. Normally when cooking with my gas stove, I put the pan on the burner, put some butter in, and while the butter is melting, I scramble the eggs for the omelet. I tried using that same process with the Amzchef induction cooktop, and did not realize how immediate the heat happens with induction cooking. My butter was burned by the time I was ready to put the eggs in. So it’s quick to heat, which makes sense when you remember that the pan becomes the heating element. Adjustments are also immediate, which is a big complaint with traditional electric cooktops.
Another nice feature is that the cooktop itself does not get hot. This means when you spill a bit of sauce out of the pan and it lands on the cooktop, you just wipe it off. No worries about cooked-on food or a melted sponge. And because it’s a single piece of glass, it’s actually very easy to clean. It streaks a bit (it’s glass!) so the right cleaner helps, but I’m a messy cook and everything just wiped right up.
The Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop is light and easy to move around, being less than 10 pounds. It seems pretty robust too. At one point, I put a cast iron pan down a bit too hard and thought for sure I had cracked the glass, but it was fine.
One early complaint of induction cooktops was that they were noisy – making some clunking sounds. I did not experience any of that with this unit, but it’s not silent. Each burner has a fan underneath that is on during operation and for one minute after. The fans were not too loud, and were definitely quieter than the range hood I’ve been using lately when using my gas stove to vent any gasses that could lead to poor indoor air quality.
The completely flat glass surface is very nice, and the touch-sensitive buttons are very responsive. In fact, they are too responsive. When cleaning the cooktop, I was constantly turning it on, just from a wet sponge. Once I took a baking sheet of cookies from the oven and place it on the cooktop, and that turned it on. The upside of induction cooking is that no neat is generated unless there’s a pan on top, so accidentally turning it on while cleaning the surface is not a big deal. But my cookie sheets are steel, so it did start to generate heat and could have been messy had I not noticed. Luckily the system beeps whenever a button is activated. That same beeping can get a bit annoying, though. Whenever the pan is lifted from the cooktop, the unit beeps to let you know it’s lost connection. If you lift the pan a lot while cooking, like while tossing food in a pan to mix, it can become a little trying.
One thing most people use their cooktops for a lot is boiling water. It’s surprising the number of foods that are prepared by simply boiling water. So how fast does this boil water? I did an experiment. I compared the Amzchef cooktop to my standard gas stove. I used the same pan, the same amount of water (2 C, 473 mL), at the same starting temperature (60 deg F, 15.6 deg C). I was honestly surprised by the result. The Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop boiled the water in 2:26. The gas cooktop took more than twice that time, and didn’t boil until 5:40. This may be at least partially because in induction cooking, all the energy goes into the pan. With gas cooking, a lot of energy is wasted as it goes around the pan. Whatever the cause, induction cooking is definitely faster at boiling.
What I like
- Instant heat, instant adjustment, instant off
- Flat glass surface, no cooked-on food
- Easy to clean
What I’d change
- It beeps whenever you pick a pan up. That’s not bad, but does it have to do it instantly? A delay of a few seconds would solve that problem.
- It’s a little too easy to push the buttons
- The manual is horrible – the English translation is downright dangerous – frequently mistaking “on” for “off.”
Induction cooking seems to be maturing to a point that is going to make gas cooktops obsolete. The Amzchef 2 Burner Induction Cooktop is powerful, compact, light, and convenient. It would be absolutely fantastic for a secondary kitchen without built-in appliances. I’m now using it on our patio, next to our grill. It would also be a great option for camping where you had access to power. The flexibility of the Amzchef Induction Cooktop is almost limitless and has me now looking to replace my gas cooktop with a built-in induction model.
Where to buy: Amzchef