Since we fulltime (now for seventeen years), we spend a lot of time in our RV and, thus, cook many meals. We changed over our current RV so we ONLY have an induction-cooking option. This RV originally had an electric cooktop (typical two-burner built-in, resistance-type, cooktop). We actually removed the original electric cooktop and put in two portable induction cookers. Also, this RV has NO propane—none—so that was not an option.
Back when gas and electric were the only choices, we always chose gas. This doesn’t need a discussion here as to why. Simply, we preferred it at the time. Then, with this RV, gas was not an option, we didn’t want traditional electric, induction was an option, and we decided to try it. We had “tested” a portable induction cooker and were pleased with the result so changing over the coach to “ALL” induction was an easy decision for us. Some of the newer “all electric” coaches are putting in two-burner induction cook tops and this allows them to completely eliminate propane in an RV.
Induction cookers have been around a long time with the first patents in the early 1900s. However, it did not gain popularity until just a few years ago. Induction cookers have been used in commercial kitchens for years.
Our decision for the RV was to use two portable induction cookers instead of having a single, two-burner, “drop-in” induction cooktop permanently installed. First, doing this gave us the option to use one or two cookers and just turning them on when needed—similar to a drop-in unit. Second, we had heard negatives about some of the two-burner “drop-in” induction cooktops. One thing we heard was that some units automatically reduced one side to half power when the other side was turned on. I do not know if that’s true but more importantly was that by using two portables, we could easily replace one if needed and it was inexpensive, too. (As I recall, I paid about $80.00 for each of the portable induction cookers we have.) Finally, we also purchased a portable ”butane” cooker (like they use in restaurants for table-side cooking). This unit was for backup—not normal use.
However, the epitome of flexibility in the RV galley is attained by using two portable induction cookers and having a butane cooker on standby if needed (butane cookers are commonly used in restaurants where food is prepared at table-side). With many portable induction cookers, you can use larger diameter pots and pans (I use up to a 12-inch skillet), the cookers can be moved if needed (even outside onto a picnic table), and set directly on the table if a warmer is needed. The butane burner is simply a backup system if you are in a situation with no electricity. Also, it can be used as a third cooking surface for meal preparation and to make the coffee in the morning without starting your generator. The most efficient arrangement is to have two portable induction cookers (NOT a double cook-top) plus one of the portable butane units. You can cook anything, can cook outdoors, and use the butane model when boondocking if you are not running the generator.
With induction, you have a “magnetic” process that causes the molecules in the FOOD (water, whatever you are trying to heat) to get hot. When induction cooking, the actual cook surface does not get hot—you can turn on an induction cooker and toss a piece of cheese on it and nothing happens.
So, if you boil water (or cook some food), you would detect that the BOTTOM of the pot was hot BUT it DID NOT get hot from direct heat like on traditional electric or gas stoves. The BOTTOM got hot from induction. Literally, the food or liquid gets hot since the molecules in the food start moving around super fast. This causes friction and heat. The heat transfers to the bottom of the pan. Also, the SIDES of the pot get hot—again, heat transfer FROM the food. The upper SIDES of the pot (above and NOT touching the food) will not get hot from the induction coils but may get hot from heat transferring from the hot food.
Also, induction cookers have better controls than other styles of cooking. We have settings from 100°–575°F, adjustable in 5° increments. That’s real “control.”
The induction cookers for RVs are all set up to run on 110V whereas commercial cookers may use 220V. Those are fast and will boil a small amount of water in seconds. Your RV will take a bit longer (due to the lower power) but will work just fine. Just be patient!
We have now “tested” induction cooking in our RV for over two years. Everything is fine and the decision was good. We fulltime and cook 4-5 times per week in our RV.