Our home appliance and cookware editor Dim Nikov shares his impressions of the Whirlpool 6th Sense induction cooktop.
I’ve been cooking on a Whirlpool 6th Sense induction hob for almost two months (the three-burner Whirlpool WS B2360).
So if you’re considering buying one and want to know if it’s any good, I invite you to read on. In this post, I will share my overall impression of this appliance.
The long and the short of it:
The Whirlpool 6th Sense induction hob helps you cut down on energy bills, heats your pans and pots quickly, and cooks your food evenly. With no burner flame or heating panels, cleaning up after cooking is a cinch. On the flip side, the 6th Sense controls are not the most intuitive I have ever worked with, and getting used to them took me a while.
Let’s talk about electricity consumption because energy costs—whether we’re talking gas or electricity—seem to be going through the roof these days.
If you are replacing your old cooktop, chances are that energy efficiency is high on your list of buying criteria, especially if you’re somebody like me who cooks all the time.
Like all other induction cooktops, Whirlpool’s 6th Sense cooktops tend to use less energy than their conventional electric or gas counterparts.
Exactly how much, you may be wondering?
Energy Star, an appliance certification program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, says induction cooktops use up to 10% less power on average than coil or radiant cooktops and as much as three times less energy than gas cooktops.
However you look at it, that’s quite the difference.
That’s because induction hobs don’t use gas burners or electrical elements to heat your pans and pots. Instead, they create a field of electromagnetic energy around them that causes their particles to vibrate so strongly that they heat up from the inside on their own.
Fill a pot with water, put it on the hob, and crank it up to eight or nine. Almost immediately, you will see tiny bubbles rising from the bottom of the pot to the surface of the water. Soon, that water in your pot will be up to a full boil, so you’ll be ready to cook.
My experience with frying pans has not been that different. I have stainless steel and carbon steel cooking vessels in my home, and both got hot much faster than they would have had I placed them on a gas, coil, or radiant cooktop.
The three zones on my model, the Whirlpool WS B2360, are sized just about right for my daily cooking.
The smallest zone is for my Italian coffee maker. The middle is for my 8-inch Ikea Vardagen egg pan, and for my smaller pot I boil eggs and pasta in. My Misen Dutch oven and IKEA IKEA 365+ pan go on the large zone.
Mind you, I am cooking for two. If you are cooking for a household of three or more, consider a Whirlpool cooktop with at least four burners, as you will probably need more zones than I do.
I have to say it took me quite a while to figure out how to use the 6th Sense functions—Melting, Keep Warm, Simmering, and Boiling—on my hob.
Once I did, I found the Melting and Keep Warm functions very useful when I wanted to melt chocolate or keep pork chops warm without drying them out. For the rest, I found it easier to just set the cooktop to the right level for simmering and boiling.
Cleanup after cooking is easy; much easier than on other types of cooktops.
All you have to do is wait for the cooktop to cool down after you’re done cooking and wipe it down with a few paper towels, a microfiber cloth, or a soft, non-scratch scrub sponge.
Everyone tells you that these cooktops stay cool while cooking, but I’m having a hard time agreeing with that. Indeed, they don’t get hot because no flame or heat comes from them. But when you cook, plenty of heat is transferred from your cookware to the glass-ceramic surface.
Suppose you spill cooking water that drips down between the cooking vessel and the cooktop’s surface. In that case, the water will evaporate, and you will need to remove the food residue from your cooktop with a microfiber cloth or soft sponge after you’re done cooking.
It’s important to note here that this isn’t a flaw of Whirlpool’s 6th Sense cooktops (or my model in particular). It’s simply a fact of induction cooking that few reviewers remember to mention.
Even so, these hobs are the safer option if you have children in the house and want to minimize the risk of burns. Even if your child turns on the cooktop in your absence, it won’t get hot on its own. As long as you keep your cookware in the cabinets, as I’m sure you do, they can’t hurt themselves.
One peculiarity of my cooktop is that it keeps beeping when the area directly above the controls is wet, even if I’ve already locked it. I found this annoying as I can’t clean the cooktop without getting it wet, and I can honestly do without the beeping every few seconds.
There’s also a delay between touching the controls and the action that I want it to do. For example, if I want to set a zone on my cooktop to level 4, I have to lift my finger to level 3 to keep it from going to 5.
Both of these are nuisances I can live with, but wish weren’t there.
All in all, the Whirlpool WS B2360 is a great cooktop. It’s compact, efficient, and, most importantly, gets the job done. While we don’t have hands-on experience with Whirlpool’s larger cooktops, we expect them to have similar highs and lows and think they’re definitely worth the money.