Is Commercial Induction Cooking worth the cost

Is Commercial Induction Cooking worth the cost

Posted by Sean Coffey on 16th May 2024

Is Induction Cooking worth it in a commercial kitchen

Let's be clear, induction as a heat source is fantastic, and perfect for the home. If there is not a gas alternative in a commercial setting then it is a better choice over tried and tested infrared heating elements or is it.


If your only energy supply is electric, and you have no other choice I would still recommend infrared elements but with if possible a few induction zones. 


It is not even a competition. Let's look at Waldorf, it is the industry standard in Australia. Moffat has earned this through years of design, innovation, reliability, product support and quality. 

Example: you have 900mm of space for a stove and are going electric.

Option 1

Induction Range with Convection Oven model IN8410ECR5F 26.1 kW 

RRP $36,505.00 plus GST

It has 4 induction cooking zones with 450mm width in each zone. 

The oven is a regular convection oven as standard on other electric stoves

Option 2 

Electrical element Range with Convection Oven model RN8610EC 21 kW

RRP $17,633.00 plus GST - half the price 

It has 6 cooking zones over the 900mm cooktop

The oven is the same as the induction model


Induction coils are overlaid with glass, in the age of the smartphone we all know how vulnerable that is. Every kitchen stove has a pipe shelf over it. I have searched all brands and none will give any warranty should a pot drop off a shelf over 400mm and cause a breakage of the glass.

Tradition elements can take any drop or punishment.

Cost of repair

If an induction zone is damaged then it requires 2 zones to be replaced, as they are all constructed that way. Additionally, at manufacture special sealants are applied to fix and waterproof the zone. On repair some part suppliers and techs are unaware of even this. Sealing it all is a very specialised skill even in the factory.

Old style electric stove elements are a simple replacement. They have not changed in 50 years. A fair few years ago I did a service repair job in the quarantine stations off Manly in the North Heads. There are old heritage listed billets which have a kitchen section. In the kitchen of each billet was an electric stove by GE and impressive. I said to the maintenance manager why are we even looking at repairing these. He explained he had no choice as the stoves were heritage listed and he had to explore all possibilities. There was a 1945 date on the stove, the elements were pretty much the same as the element cook tops today. They are pretty much interchangeable.

Induction versus Gas

It is said induction is Eco friendly, however induction heating can be electrically hungry, supplied mainly from coal powered stations. Solar panels and batteries use mining and resources that exploit poor nations, children, the weak and mostly in Africa.

Gas has none of these exploitation issues. It does also have a carbon footprint but it is home supplied and produced with no child labour. Gas when tuned and used correctly can be 95% efficient. If you want it match the big induction feature of take away the pan and it stops heating, just turn the gas burner off when not needed.


Gas also has a cost to get it to your stove but all the infrastructure already exists in Australian major cites. It is cheap to transport to cities, town hubs and end users with little loses.


Generated with 50 % loses at the power station, this is then transmitted at 100,000 to 500,000 volts so that it can be pushed down the grid, higher voltages need less current, so smaller conductors - wires. Power = Volts x Amps,         P = V x I,     the same power can be transmitted using a higher voltage but needing less current. This is what is known as the national grid as these power lines go across the country. Then more locally it is brought down to 10,000 volts at a local sub station with more losses. At the substations often in stand alone red brick buildings that are required less and less. Power is transmitted across the suburb but then again transformed down, using transformers you might be familiar with, seen and often heard buzzing in wet conditions on power poles. These transformers bring the 10,000 volts down to the 230 volts (400v between phases) that is ready for local use and of course more losses.

Electrical power is supplied using lines supported by these poles or underground to your site Main Switch Board. Then a distribution board on your site, with all the circuit breakers protecting your appliances, lights etc. Here there can be further loses of another 4 % given mainly off as heat via voltage drop. Now at last we are at the Induction cook top, thank god no more energy loses, right?

Are we finished with all these power loses?

After all the loses are we now at the point to show how induction is 100% efficient, as it only heats when the pan is over the zone and all the energy goes into the pan, well no.

There is one more thing.... you have to convert the energy to induction. This conversion is why the stoves are expensive. The power requirements to deliver heat commercially becomes exponentially expensive, complex and prone to heat stress as the power rating goes up. The energy lose for this process is 16%.

Losing 16% power will hardly break the bank?

Yes it will and here is why. A four zone 900mm induction cook top on full power uses 20kW, giving 3.2kW of power lose. This is close to the same power a 15 amp grill uses or 1 and a half domestic kettles which use 3.6kW or 3600 watts. This power lose is given off mainly as heat in the control area. To keep everything working in this heat, cooling fans have to be used and relied on to keep the controls cool. To me this is a constant battle that sooner or later something will fail. 


Right now in Australia there is not an induction zone module repair option available. It could be a simple or cheap component failure problem but there is only one road of repair, replacing the zone completely and at a significant  cost. Until cost efficient zone repairs are available I will not recommend  commercial induction cooktops in Commercial Kitchen installs.