on October 5, 2013
I bought this and tried it out last night. I have some Tramontina stainless induction cookware and put the dutch oven on the cooktop with about 1/4 full of tap water. When you turn on the cooktop, it senses the presence of induction cookware and immediately went to 1400 Watts (it goes up to 1800 in 200 increments), which according to the user manual is High. The water boiled in a few minutes, and the bubble pattern forming on the bottom of the pan looked very even.
The highest setting, 1800 Watts, is Max/Sear mode and uses your entire 15A electrical circuit (1800 Watts / 120 Volts = 15 Amps) which means you can't have anything else running on your 15A circuit. I can't imagine ever using the Max/Sear mode, especially for no more than a few minutes or seconds to put a crust on a piece of meat or fish. The 1400 Watt setting uses 11.67A (1400W divided by 120V), leaving 3.33A for the rest of my electrical items on the circuit. This was fine with running my mini bar-fridge (0.65A) and my 32" LCD TV (1.0A) and some low-wattage LED ceiling lights (which added up to 56W total = 0.47A) on the same circuit simultaneously. Do the math with what's running on your circuit (don't forget ceiling lights and fans), so you don't trip your circuit breaker!
Watts / Volts = Amps
In the USA, the standard household electrical outlet is 120 Volts, and it's either on a 15 Amp or 20 Amp circuit (check your breaker box, the breaker switch will be labeled "15" or "20") which is your limit for the total Amperage you can have on the circuit. For example, a typical 60 Watt lightbulb uses only 0.5 Amps:
60W / 120V = 0.5A
Switching the cooktop mode from Wattage to Temperature at the push of a button, sets the cooktop to 300°F automatically. Even though it was at 1400W (which according to the manual is 400°F), it still goes to 300°F when you switch to Temperature mode regardless of what setting you were on in Wattage mode. 300°F equates to 1000W (Medium) according to the manual. Water boils at 212°F, so at 300°F, the water in the pot continued to boil without any problem. The efficiency between the cooktop and the pot is excellent.
After I turned the unit off, the cooling fans inside continued to run for a few minutes to cool down the coils and then shutoff immediately.
I haven't tried cooking an entire meal on the cooktop yet, I just wanted to see how it worked, what the temperature control was like, and I can say that it's very efficient and even at 1000W (300°F, Medium) it uses 8.33A and it will cook 90% of what I need at that level, and will play nicely with my other electrical devices running on the same circuit at the same time.
on November 23, 2013
Salton induction cooktop 1401 is at the upper level of cooktop power available for 110/120 vac. There seems to be very little information on it's specifications other than it is maxed at 1800W which is barely supplied by common US house circuits (requires 15amps at 120v or 16.3 amp at 110v whereas US house circuits often have 15 - 20 amp fuses/circuit breakers). So it's best to dedicate one line to this cooktop or watch very carefully what else you plug in. I have to admit, I inadvertently blew my 20 amp breaker a couple times when I had this on and popped in something in a toaster. (I've since moved this to it's own circuit). On the box it advised to go to the salton.com website to see a video demonstration. However at the time of this review, this model is not even listed as being a Salton product, let along have a video, specs, or instruction manual. There IS an instruction manual in the box so someone in Salton knows it exists. The outside of the product box also is not very informative about the specs.
So, for interested viewers, you can set cooking for power, temperature, and time. It has a digital display and 6 touchpad type 'buttons': 'Set and Lock', timer, temp/power, '-', '+', on/off . There are 8 settings for power. The manual lists them as 300W, 500W, 700W, 1000W, 1200W, 1400W, 1600W, 1800W. I didn't check it with a power Kill-A-Watt meter yet, so I'll have to believe them. There are 8 settings for temperature: in degrees F: 140, 195, 250, 300, 355, 400, 430, 465. You can change the reading to deg. C by pressing Temp/Power button three times and the corresponding deg. C settings are: 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 200, 220, 240.
You can adjust the power and temperature settings up AND down by using the '-' and '+' buttons, but the timer settings is designed like a digital clock setting, where pressing the button only allows you only to ADD hrs ('-' button) /mins ('+' button), but don't allow you to back off or subtract from the time setting. For me, that's a serious negative. On top of that, the DEFAULT time when you push the timer button is 30 MINUTES. So set a time for ten minutes, say for a hard boiled egg, you have to push the the '+' button for 40 minutes (that is, you increase the time past 59 until it cycles to the next 60 minutes, then set it to 10 minutes). Poor design. They could have easily have the '-/+' buttons work as expected and have dedicated hrs/min buttons as some clocks do if that's what they intended. Also, default time should be zero or one, not 30 minutes. Thankfully, a positive is that if you tap and hold the buttons '-/+' for two seconds, it speeds up super fast. Nowhere is this lifesaver feature mentioned in the manual so remember it. I almost returned the Salton when I started tapping it 31-59 times to get the right time, then got tired and jammed my finger down to accidentally discover this.
Another thing that seriously bothered me is they decided to be artistic and made the digital readout and lights look like they were underwater (or on fire?). They appear so odd such that I thought my vision was going, but nope, it was the unit. In the kitchen, you need clear displays, please! The displays were bright enough, just odd. Also, when the unit is plugged in, the power indication BLINKS constantly: you can have the power indication on but blinking usually is used to indicate a malfunction. Very annoying. If you get confused setting the time and wait too long, the timer function disappears and switches back to power. Then when you start hitting buttons, you change the power.
Other portable induction cooktops have high noise levels from the fan and inductor (strong hum). All I could hear is a medium loud fan on the Salton even at the highest power. Safety features is a overtemp shutoff and a set/lock function that locks the controls (except power on/off).
Maximum pot size on bottom is stated as 8 inches for 'uniform' heating. I don't know what the size of the actual inductor coil is (it varies from cooktop to cooktop).
So to sum up -
pros: high power, decent number of power settings, surface is one sheet of easy to clean glass, quiet.
cons: quirky timer settings to say the least, fuzzy digital readout, touch sensitivity too high (I would prefer real buttons), annoying blinking power on indicator when off.
I decided after testing the functions to not return it. I like the power levels and the clean surface. I hope I can get use to the sensitivity of the touch buttons and the strange way to set the timer. Too bad the designers never bother to have some real cooks test it before selling it. Also, at the time of this review the store that starts with 'cost' has it at a good deal!
Hate to say it but finally had to return unit and revised my rating to one star. Really wanted to like it but 'eo' errors started to crop up randomly with pots I use all the time on other induction units I have. Then it will go 'beep, beep, beep...', then continue heating, then start beeping again. I figured it would only get worst with time. Too many problems.