Whirlpool Gold GCI3061XB 30-Inch Induction Cooktop Review
A superior induction cooktop that's also affordable
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Update, March 23, 2016: A high number of online user reviews mention that this cooktop can show a particular error code (F47) and that the repair is frequently needed after the warranty period has expired. We had no such issues during our testing of this appliance, and the majority of negative reviews date back to 2012 and 2013.
A good cooktop requires versatility, speed, and power. The Whirlpool Gold GCI3061XB 30-inch induction cooktop (MSRP $1,399) nails all three.
Like all induction cooktops, this Whirlpool heats cookware directly and doesn't transfer heat from the surface of the cooktop to the pan. That makes it safer to use, more responsive and easier to clean.
Versatility and power come in the form of four cooking zones capable of reaching both very high and low temperatures, and the cooktop’s ability to boil water in less than three minutes is proof of its fast heating speed. As with any induction cooking surface, you’ll have to use pans with magnetic bottoms, but it’s a small price to pay for such high-quality cooking.
Speaking of small prices, this Whirlpool can be found on sale for as low as $1,200. That's a great deal for an induction cooktop. If you want more features, check out the KitchenAid KICU509XBL. It's a very similar product, but it adds extras like a bridge burner.
Design & Usability
Intuitive controls, and not much else
While the GCI3061XB’s black glass-ceramic surface isn’t as flashy or stylish as pricier models, it makes up for a comparatively plain appearance by providing sleek, intuitive controls. The cooktop’s four cooking zones are adjusted by touching and dragging a finger across a power slider to select one of nine heat settings.
A simmer mode can be used on any cooking zone and should come in handy for fans of soups, stews, and sauces. On the other end of the spectrum, a performance boost function is available for the left rear cooking surface area, which increases the temperature above the ninth heat setting, but only for ten minutes or less. That's more than enough time to give any large pot of water a jumpstart on its boil.
The cooking zones are indicated by white circular outlines, with smaller zones found at the front of the cooktop and larger ones at the rear. The smooth surface should make cleaning a breeze, and there are no ridges or raised edges to get dirty.
Fast and powerful, even without the boost
From boiling speeds to heat distribution, this cooktop earned exceptional test results. Not one of the four cooking areas took more than seven minutes to bring six cups of water to a boil. The rear burners were the quickest, taking just under four minutes each. When we used the left rear burner’s Power Boost option, it was even faster, with an amazingly fast boil time of just two and a half minutes.
Maximum temps were as high as one could possibly want, with cooking zones hitting temperatures between 597°F and 660°F. However, those wishing for higher heat can again turn to the boost function: It brings the left burner all the way up to 803°F. As a safety precaution, it'll only stay that hot for a maximum of ten minutes. Also, keep in mind that Teflon is only safe up to 660°F, so keep those coated non-stick pans away from the power boost setting.
On the other hand, the GCI3061X is capable of dipping down to a balmy 100°F. Only one of the four burners failed to drop any lower. Still, with low temperatures ranging from 97°F to 101°F, it doesn’t really matter which burner you’re using: Because they use induction technology, they're all capable of producing gentle heats ideal for melting chocolate or simmering sauce.
Why We Like It
A good price for great performance
What’s not to like? Like all induction cooktops, the GCI3061XB can boil water quickly, and is equally comfortable with extremely high or low temperatures.
But unlike many other induction cooktops, this one isn’t hideously expensive. With an MSRP of just $1,399, it’s more than $300 cheaper than the KitchenAid KICU509XBL induction cooktop, which scored almost as well in our tests. That’s a great deal for induction if we ever saw one.
As far as we’re concerned, everything’s rosy with the GCI3061XB. Even though the GCI3061X’s simple design may not draw focus from across a room, its versatility and cooking power are sure to impress.
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