Around The Home

Paragon induction cooktop offers low-cost precision cooking

Paragon induction cooktop offe...
Paragon pairs with a wireless sensor to precisely monitor and maintain cooking temperatures
Paragon pairs with a wireless sensor to precisely monitor and maintain cooking temperatures
View 6 Images
The precision cooktop can keep food at serving temperature without overcooking it
1/6
The precision cooktop can keep food at serving temperature without overcooking it
Paragon pairs with a wireless sensor to precisely monitor and maintain cooking temperatures
2/6
Paragon pairs with a wireless sensor to precisely monitor and maintain cooking temperatures
The sensor attaches to pots and pans magnetically, and is accurate to within 1 °F (0.5 °C)
3/6
The sensor attaches to pots and pans magnetically, and is accurate to within 1 °F (0.5 °C)
The Paragon can be used for a wide range of cooking techniques
4/6
The Paragon can be used for a wide range of cooking techniques
The cooktop itself plugs into a standard 120V socket and can reach temperatures of up to 500 °F (260 °C)
5/6
The cooktop itself plugs into a standard 120V socket and can reach temperatures of up to 500 °F (260 °C)
The iOS companion app adds a layer of convenience to the product, offering step-by-step guides and recipes, the ability to adjust burner heat and displaying notifications when the desired cooking time or temperature is reached
6/6
The iOS companion app adds a layer of convenience to the product, offering step-by-step guides and recipes, the ability to adjust burner heat and displaying notifications when the desired cooking time or temperature is reached
View gallery - 6 images

Paragon is a low-cost induction cooktop from GE-subsidiary FirstBuild, designed to provide precision cooking to the masses. The product, which is currently the subject of a crowdfunding effort, pairs with a temperature sensor and links up with an iOS app, all with the goal of providing a less stressful kitchen experience.

Paragon consists of an induction cooktop with a 12-inch (30.5-cm) diameter, a wireless sensor for keeping track of temperatures and an optional iOS app. The cooktop itself plugs into a standard 120V socket and can reach temperatures of up to 500 °F (260 °C). It uses induction heating, which is superior to more traditional electric cooktops as it provides a constant heat level at the desired temperature rather than cycling the burner on and off to adjust heat levels.

The sensor attaches to pots and pans magnetically, and is accurate to within a single degree Fahrenheit (half a degree Celsius). It continuously monitors temperature, wirelessly sending information to the cooktop via Bluetooth, and automatically adjusting heat output to ensure that the correct temperature is maintained throughout cooking. The company estimates that the sensor will last around three months before it needs recharging, which is handled via microUSB.

The sensor attaches to pots and pans magnetically, and is accurate to within 1 °F (0.5 °C)
The sensor attaches to pots and pans magnetically, and is accurate to within 1 °F (0.5 °C)

The iOS companion app adds a layer of convenience to the product, offering step-by-step guides and recipes, the ability to adjust burner heat and displaying notifications when the desired cooking time or temperature is reached. There are also capacitive touch controls on the cooktop itself, so you’re not completely out of luck if you’re not an iOS user.

One of the key uses of the Paragon is sous-vide cooking – a method that involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic bag and placing it in hot water for an extended period of time, then briefly searing it. The ability to precisely set and monitor cooking times and temperatures makes the product well suited to the in-fashion cooking style.

The precision cooktop can keep food at serving temperature without overcooking it
The precision cooktop can keep food at serving temperature without overcooking it

Luckily, the Paragon isn’t just a one-trick pony, but can also be used for searing, poaching, simmering, deep frying and braising. It can even keep food at serving temperature without overcooking it. FirstBuild is encouraging community members to think up additional applications for the cooktop, such as brewing beer or cooking rice.

The Paragon has already surpassed its US$50,000 target with 32 days left on the clock. The company has several hundred spots left for early bird backers at the pledge price of $149. Assuming everything goes to plan, the cooktop is expected to start shipping in December, with the final retail cost rising to $249.

You can check out the company’s Indiegogo pitch in the video below.

Source: Indiegogo, FirstBuild

Paragon Induction Cooktop by FirstBuild

View gallery - 6 images
5 comments
mhpr262
Most induction cooktops also use on/off cycling to adjust power/heat levels. Only the most expensive ones actually adjust power and apply it continuously. What would be far more interesting is whether the bottom of the pot is heated over its whole surface or just in a ring-shaped area, as with most induction tops. That takes a very good, expensive pot/pan to avoid hotspots, all the more important because of the instant power of induction and the on/off cycling. Also, looking at the pic the sensor is obviously not attached magnetically, which wouldn't work with stanless or aluminium anyway, which is 99% of modern cookware. Instead it grips the wall of the pot like a clothespeg.
Gadgeteer
mhpr262,
You're right on some counts, wrong on others. Less expensive cookers do cycle power. I know my Duxtop does. The advantage of induction is not what this article claims, but rather that it heats the cookware directly, without needing hot resistive coils, so it's more energy efficient. It does not need an expensive pan to avoid hotspots. Decent clad pot sets, pans and even pressure cookers, all with aluminum cores, are available for under $100. Heavy carbon steel woks and frying pans are about $30-40. There is both magnetic and non-magnetic stainless steel. Cookware made with the former is compatible with induction cooking. That's the usual test for stainless cookware. If a magnet will stick, it will work with induction. The temperature sensor isn't clipped on. You have to look at the picture on the Indiegogo site. It's just stuck to the outside and the gooseneck reaches inside but keeps the probe away from the wall of the pot. It's just a bad picture here that makes it look like it's clipped on.
That said, there are a few reasons I wouldn't buy this cooker. It only has 1440 watts, a figure buried far down their Indiegogo page. If you want high heat, that won't cut it. Especially if you're using a huge stockpot full of water as they claim it can handle. Sub-$100 cookers are available with 1800 watts, which is what's recommended. The wireless sensor appears to be only useful for sous vide, which looks like what this was primarily designed for. Since it mounts on the outside, the lid won't be able to close properly, which will waste heat. It doesn't mention a second temperature sensor in the base, which would be necessary for pan frying at a set temperature or any other method that doesn't use a lot of liquid, something the wireless sensor needs.
Martin Hone
"standard 120V socket' won't work in Oz....
Clare Love
When we moved to our new home in 1952 our new range had one thermostaticaly controlled burner. The sensor was spring loaded and contacted the bottom center of the pan. No digital readout, but it was pretty effective.
RifatTabassam
I bought a precision induction burner last December. It cooks faster and consumes less electricity than my previous gas burner. Here are some reviews: http://inductioncooktopreviews.net/. Paragon's new model sounds really great. I would like to try it soon.