It is that time again where dads are looked up to for all they do as a parental figure. And for their thanks they receive a…Tie? T-shirt? World’s Greatest Dad mug? Come on! There is so much more to the Father’s Day gift giving world! And as Dan preaches in all of his workshops, one of the best times of the year to pickup tools for your tiny house project, whether you are a dad or not. Here are Dan’s picks for the Best and Worst Fathers Day Tool Deals this year.
I don’t do too many product reviews on our blog (or any other blogs for that matter). Unless you want me to recommend a good hammer I just don’t have that many opportunities. But I recently got the chance to try out a Fagor induction cooker that is fairly popular among tiny house dwellers. In fact, we include one with each of our houses. We decided to include an induction cooktop (not this particular model) because it seemed like a great idea since you could cook with it and then easily store it away, thus freeing up counter space. My mom uses one in her tiny house and says she loves it.
Well I recently went camping and the campsite we went to (Jekyll Island, GA) didn’t have any tent spots remaining and so they gave us an RV spot. The downside to these spots is that you are a lot closer to your neighbors and with kids I felt like I had to be more quiet than usual (a 1 and 3 year old don’t mix well with a bunch of snowbirds), but I digress. On the plus side these camping spots have power. It was the first time I ever went camping with an electric heater in my tent which I admit isn’t exactly roughing it, but it was glorious. Anyway, someone else we where camping with brought their induction cooktop which I was drawn to since we give them away and yet I had never used one.
I was surprised at how light it was. It’s less than 7 pounds, which for a cooktop that I am going to be resting potentially heavy pans on I expected it to have more heft. But since the idea is to put it away after each use the light weight was a pleasant surprise.
This cooker got the job done, and fast (which induction cookers are known for)! I was using a cast iron skillet that easily weighed twice as much as the cooktop itself and it heated up to bacon sizzling temperatures in less than a minute. It was noticeably faster than even my gas range at home.
Another great advantage, especially with kids around, is that the unit is cool to the touch even after it’s been used to cook your meal. The unit only heats up the pan itself, so before the pan is put on the top surface there is no heat. Even after the pan had been removed, the surface was only slightly warm from the pan transferring heat back to the surface, which dissipated really quickly.
As far as the negatives, the biggest is that it only works with certain cookware. Basically the cookware has to have magnetic properties like those made with iron and some stainless steel (no aluminum). There is a way to bypass this limitation that involves using a ‘disk’ that heats up and then transfers that heat to your pot or pan, but I imagine that is a lot less efficient and also negates some of the pros of induction cooking.
Another issue I had with this particular unit was that the buttons (which aren’t physical buttons) didn’t seem to be quite sensitive enough for me, but I’m sure I would get used to it.
Finally, the glass surface, while easy to clean, wasn’t that easy to get it nice and shiny like new (see picture). As I mentioned earlier I have a gas range at home and so I am not used to cleaning a glass surface range, so I suspect someone who is could quickly tell me what is required to get them to shine. Either way, not that big of a deal.
I really enjoyed cooking on it all weekend (I do all the cooking in our house, which unfortunately also includes on vacations like camping). It worked great, it was quick, easy to move around, and I would highly recommend one (or one similar). If I didn’t already have a working range in my house one of these would be on my shopping list.
Have you had an experience with an induction cooktop? If so, tell me about it below.