Which way to go when choosing a cooktop for Israel; gas, electric, ceramic or induction?
Hebrew: ?איך בוחרים כִּירַיִם לישראל
Sometimes, when making Aliyah, it makes more sense to leave one’s old, small, kitchen appliances behind and buy new in Israel. Brand availability, smaller kitchens and limited countertop space are just some of the issues and deciding factors so it’s important to do thorough research and get the advice of friends before you make an unwise purchasing decision.
Symbols for gas, electric, ceramic or induction as they would appear on customer information material
Gas is the first choice of most professional chefs and it is a convenient, quick and instant heat source. While gas is the cheapest option in Israel, gas is bottled and so the risk of forgetting to reorder or miscalculating and running out just before the visitors arrive, is a real one. I can tell you though that in our household of 4 people a 5kg gas balloon lasted approximately 3 months.
Gas balloons are sometimes stolen (for their copper connections and empty balloon resale value) and in older buildings you might need to keep your gas balloons chained and locked up which means coordinating with the gas company if you have ordered a refill – sitting at home waiting for the gas man to arrive is a nuisance.
Cleaning a gas range according to Halacha, before Pesach, is a huge mission, labor intensive and time consuming.
Price point: the retail starting price for a 4 burner gas range is around 600 NIS and even 3,000NIS+ for a high-end brand like Miele.
Electric ranges with a coiled cooktop or a smooth cooktop were common when I was growing up abroad, but except for one that sits on the countertop with one or 2 cooktops, I have never seen an integrated built-in, 4 cooktop version in Israel. The advantages of an electric range are that the coiled cooktop heats quickly akin to gas and the solid cooktop is ideal for a slow-food-cook.
Price point: For less than 250NIS you can pick up a Morphy Richards electric cooktop or Israeli brands; Hemilton, Sachs, Electro Hanan and Goldline.
If you are looking for a temporary, inexpensive solution, this is the way to go but you can also get the more convenient, 2-cooktop, ceramic version for the same price.
- Electricity rates
- Israel Electric Company digital services
- Household electric appliances – free word sheet with Hebrew, English and transliterations
We used to call them ‘glass tops’ but in Israel they are referred to as ‘ceramic’. Apparently both descriptions are correct as the coil is under ceramic glass. I switched from gas to ceramic after about 25 years of kitchen duty and have never looked back. It took me a couple of months to get used to the heat distribution but I’ve aced that now. I love the ease of cleanliness and that’s a win at Pesach too. I never have to face running out of gas again or waiting for the gas man to arrive. Electrical power outages are not really an issue in Israel – power cuts are usually just a few minutes long and so electricity powered vs gas is a non-factor.
Our electricity bill only went up by about 70NIS/month, when we bought our ceramic range which was only slightly more than our 50NIS per month gas bill.
Price point: the retail starting price for a ceramic range is around 800NIS and can reach as much as 12,000NIS for a top-of-the-range Siemens or Miele with 5 ringed cooktop and various additional features. We paid 2,500NIS for our 4 ringed, AEG cooktop (a few years ago) and hopefully it will last until the end of my cooking days.
How does induction work? In an induction cooktop, a coil of copper wire is placed under the cooking vessel and an electric current is passed through it. In a nutshell, induction means generating electricity using magnetism and a special cooking vessel that must be made of, or contain, a ferrous metal such as cast iron or some stainless steels.
In most cases, an induction cooktop does not need three-phase power but if you have lots of high powered domestic appliances and a few air conditioners you may require three-phase power in your home which could be an issue in older buildings in Israel.
Price point: A top of the range Siemens induction range retails at over 15,000NIS but the starting price of an induction stove is upward of 3,000NIS
As induction cooking requires 2 special surfaces to generate electromagnetic heat, you might have to replace all your pots and pans which could add another 1,500NIS or even more, to the total purchase price.
Like a ceramic cooktop, induction models are easy to clean. Cooking time is less and very shortly after one of the surfaces in the electromagnetic reaction is removed, the cooktop will be cool to the touch – a big safety factor if you have small kids.