Samsung makes three induction cooktops: two 30-inch models and one 36-inch model. We take a look at all three of them and discuss the features and pros-and-cons of each.
These cooktops get great reviews overall, so if you're looking for an induction cooktop, Samsung should be on your list.
Samsung Induction Cooktops at a Glance
Samsung makes three induction cooktops. Two are different sizes of the "NZK" model--30-inch and 36-inch--and the other is the 30-inch "NZA" model. The "NZA" model is the basic offering and most affordable. This table shows the important features of all the models.
Note that prices are approximate and subject to change. Be sure to check all the sites because prices can vary.
Samsung Induction Cooktop Models
NZ36K788OUS/UG (stls/blk stls trim)
stls/blk stls trim)
-36" cooktop w/stls or blk stainless trim
-30" cooktop w/stls or blk stls trim
Dimensions (HWD in.)
4.0 x 36.0 x 21.25
4.0 x 30.0 x 21.25
4.25 x 30.0 x 21.25
No. of Burners
Power/Power Boost (W)
LF: 1800/2600 (7")
LR: 1800/2600 (7")
RF: 2200/3200 (8")
RR: 1400/1800 (6")
Cntr: 3600/4800 (7/11")
LF: 1800/2600 (7")
LR: 1800/2600 (7")
RF: 1400/1800 (6")
RR: 3600/4800 (7/11")
LF: 1800/2300 (7")
LR: 1800/2300 (7")
RF: 1200/1500 (6")
RR: 2300/3800 (11")
Flex Zone (Synced)**
Yes (app. 7"x15")
Yes (app. 7"x15")
Digital or magnetic dial
Digital or magnetic dial
Smart Home enabled
Smart Home enabled
Hot surface indicator
Hot surface indicator
Hot surface indicator
1 year mfr warranty
1 year mfr warranty
1 year mfr warranty
Install over oven?
*When Flex Zone is not activated.
**There is no virtual flame feature on the Flex Zone.
Samsung is a huge South Korean conglomerate that makes appliances, smart phones, and several other products: they're involved in everything from computer components to nuclear power plants. They have assembly plants and sales networks in more than 80 countries.
In January of 2018, Samsung opened a plant in South Carolina (which for now is making only washing machines). Their goal, they said, was "for South Carolina to become Samsung’s U.S. hub for every stage in the home appliance lifecycle—from concept and R&D to manufacturing, quality assurance, distribution and customer care," (from DigitalTrends.com). They plan on opening plants in several other states, as well over the next several years; as of 2021, the South Carolina plant is the only one we know of in the US.
The great thing about this is that many Samsung replacement parts are here in the US now, so there is no several-week waiting period for parts to come from South Korea. This is true for some Samsung induction cooktop and range parts, but we don't know if it's true for all induction parts.
In 2016 Samsung also acquired Dacor, an American maker of premium kitchen appliances, providing even more evidence of their desire to be a strong player in the American appliance market. Dacor appliances are still made in southern California.
Is Samsung a Good Quality Choice?
Despite the horror stories you'll read online, Samsung is a good quality brand. Their induction cooktops get good ratings from Consumer Reports and if you read the reviews on sites like Home Depot and Lowe's, you'll see that most people give the products high ratings.
You may get a lemon, but this is true for any brand. Most buyers say that Samsung customer service is good, and that they have a shorter wait for parts and service than they've had with other brands. This is not always the case, but it seems to be the case most of the time.
Whatever appliance brand you buy, you should do two important things:
- Buy the extended warranty, as most brands have a 1 year warranty;
- Make sure you have certified technicians in your area: this is especially important for induction, because not all technicians know how to work on this technology.
For about 10% of the cost of the product, you can have a 5-year warranty on any appliance. That's certainly money well-spent. The appliance with zero service calls doesn't exist yet (and in fact the number of service calls has increased), so you should protect your investment, whatever you buy. Samsung is a reliable choice--as long as you can get service in your area.
Is Induction Cooking Safe?
Some people worry that the magnetism used induction cooktops and ranges can be dangerous, especially to children, pregnant women, and people with pacemakers.
We've done a lot of research and believe that induction cooking is safe. For a detailed discussion of this, see Is Induction Cooking Safe?
The magnetism can be problematic to certain brands of pacemakers, not because induction cooking is inherently dangerous, but because of how pacemakers are affected by magnetism in general. Very few pacemakers are going to interact negatively with an induction cooktop, but if this is an area of concern for you, definitely check with your doctor before buying an induction range or induction cooktop.
There's also a concern about pan placement and burner coverage. If pans are placed off-center on a burner, or if the pan diameter is small compared to the burner diameter, you will have considerably more stray magnetic fields from an active burner. If this concerns you, be sure to center your pots on the burner hobs and not use too large a burner for the pan size.
Do You Need Special Cookware for an Induction Cooktop?
Induction works by magnetism, so you need magnetic cookware. This includes cast iron, carbon steel, and most clad stainless steel (pretty much all new clad stainless cookware, made since the mid-1990s, should be induction compatible).
Aluminum and copper cookware are not magnetic, but many pans now have a magnetic plate on the bottom so they work with induction. Check with manufacturers before buying.
Also, a magnet should not only stick to the bottom of a pan, it should stick strongly. The more magnetic a pot is, the better it will work on an induction burner.
For more information on induction cookware, see our Guide to Induction Cookware.
Buying Considerations for an Induction Cooktop (And How Samsung Stacks Up)
These are the important features to consider when buying an induction cooktop:
- Size and Model
- Electrical and Installation Requirements
- Power and Power Boost
- Bridge Functionality
- Smart Features
- Safety Features
- Warranty and Service Considerations.
Size and Model
You need to know the size of your space, or, if you're remodeling/building, you need to know the size cooktop you want.
The most common sizes for cooktops is 30-inch and 36-inch, with the most common size the 30-inch.
A 30-inch cooktop will have 4 burners; a 36-inch range will have 5.
The Samsung induction cooktop comes in both 30-inch and 36-inch sizes.
If you're buying a cooktop, then you must also decide where you want to install a separate oven. Many times the oven will go below a cooktop, but not all cooktops are able to be installed above an oven. Samsung induction cooktops can all be installed above an oven.
Electrical and Installation Requirements
Most 30-inch induction cooktops require 40 amp wiring, while most 36-inch cooktops require 50-amp wiring. If you're replacing an existing cooktop or range, your wiring is probably good. However, if you're replacing an older cooktop in an older home, you may have 30-amp wiring, and you may need to update it.
These are important details because if you try to run a 40-amp cooktop or range on a 30-amp hookup, you'll likely have to deal with tripped circuit breakers repeatedly. It can also be a fire hazard.
Samsung induction cooktops require a standard hookup: 40A/240V for the 30inch models and 50A/240V for the 36-inch model.
Power and Power Boost
Power determines how quickly a burner will heat, so it's important to know how much power can go to each burner.
There is a surprising range of power options for induction cooktops, too, so the variation can be huge. Some have a power boost feature that sends extra power to a burner for a short amount of time, usually ten minutes, for boiling water (for example) as quickly as possible. Not all induction cooktops have power boost, but most do. It can be to one burner, two burners, or all four (or five) burners. When a burner is in power boost mode, there is less power available to the other burner on the same circuit (usually one other burner, but sometimes all the burners).
Power boosts can range from 3000W up to 7000W, so it's good to know the power boost features before you buy if this is important to you.
The good news is that even the lowest powered induction burners are going to provide plenty of speed and plenty of heat, so while more powerful burners sound good in theory, they aren't necessary for your induction cooktop to be lightning fast compared to gas or conventional electric. But power boost is still a nice feature, that offers incredible speed.
Samsung offers power boost on all three of their induction cooktops to all the burners. The "NKZ" models (30- and 36-inch) have a boost of 4800 watts to the largest burner. The "NKA" basic model has a boost of 3800 watts to the largest burner.
4800 watts is an excellent amount of power boost, while 3800 watts is about average or slightly above.
For the boost levels of all the burners, see the table at the beginning of this article.
Most modern appliances have touch controls: electronic control pads which can be frustrating to operate quickly (and quick is something you should have on a cooktop), and/or they don't work well when the surface or your fingers are wet.
While electronic controls are the norm today, you can still find induction cooktops that use manual dials. And even though you may prefer the sleek look of a cooktop with all the controls under glass, you should make sure you can live with them--manual dials are faster and easier to use.
(For a review of an induction cooktop with manual dials, see our Best Induction Cooktops review.)
The Samsung "NZK" model induction cooktops offer both options: you can use your finger on the cooktop surface or use a magnetic knob that functions as a manual dial. There is just one magnet knob, and you place it on the control you want to use it on. The idea is that you get the best of both worlds: a manual control, but still with a sleek glass surface that's easy to clean.
This is a neat idea, but the execution isn't perfect. The magnetic knob doesn't always work very well, especially if the cooktop is wet, so it's often easier to just use your finger. It also doesn't have the same feel as a real manual dial, and can take awhile to get the hang of using.
Other than the magnetic knob, the control panel is simple to use, as you can see above: each burner has its own settings, the Flex Zone and Power Boosts take just one press to activate, and you can turn each burner on or off individually as well as shut down the whole cooktop with one press.
There are 15 power levels, as shown above.
The Samsung "NZA" 30-inch model has digital controls only, but they're pretty good controls and get good ratings for ease of use: you just select a burner and swipe your finger along the line to select a setting:
“Bridge” or "Sync" Functionality
A bridge element allows you to control two burners like one large one ("sync"). It's great for large or rectangular pans like griddles.
The Samsung NKZ induction cooktops have a bridge function (called the Flex Zone):
This Flex Zone also allows you to use several smaller pans of different shapes, and the entire area heats rather than just the burners (i.e., there's no gap in between the burners as there is on some cooktops). This is a great feature, as many induction cooktops have a gap between burners.
The "NZA" model does not have bridged burners but rather just has four separate ones:
Appliances keep getting "smarter," meaning that you can control and monitor them from an app or with a device like Alexa. Since we don't recommend leaving any active cooktop unattended, we question the value of smartness for cooktops and ranges.
But if you like the idea of smart appliances, Samsung has some of the smartest ones on the market. You can use an app or voice commands Alexa (and others) to control your cooktop. If you have the Samsung range hood, it connects to the cooktop and will automatically switch on when you turn on a burner (we also question whether this is something you'll always want).
Induction cooking is much safer than gas or electric. The burners won't come on without an induction-compatible pan in place.There's no open flame, and the heat source itself does not get hot--just the pan. The surface will retain heat for awhile, and cooktops have “hot surface” lights to indicate this.
The Samsung induction cooktop have all the industry-standard safety features, including a child safety lock so it can't be inadvertently turned on. You're going to find these features standard across all brands, but some may have better locking features than others.
The virtual flame feature on the NKZ cooktops is also a safety feature, letting you know when a burner is in operation. Burners only have residual heat, but they can still get quite hot.
Warranty and Service Considerations
Of course you also need to understand the warranty and service available where you live. We strongly recommend getting an extended warranty and making sure there are certified technicians in your area. This is especially important with induction because it requires special training.
Most appliance dealers today offer extended warranties and service nationwide, but make sure this includes induction certified service.
All Samsung cooktops come with a 1 year limited manufacturer warranty (like most appliances today).
Tips for Buying Online
1. Understand the Terms
The Internet has ushered in a golden age for consumers. It's almost impossible to not be a well-informed buyer these days. And the competition for your business is fierce, which means you should always be able to find great deals--often much better deals than you'll find at your local appliance store or even a discount warehouse.
On the other hand, buying online can be risky, especially for large appliances. For example, did you know that many manufacturer warranties are voided if you purchase through Amazon? While Amazon itself will usually cover returns, manufacturers may not. You should make sure (by e-mailing or calling the manufacturer) before buying from Amazon.
The moral: Be sure you understand the terms before you buy online.
Additionally, in a nationwide or even global market, it's easy to overlook some important things. Here are questions to be sure you have answers to before buying:
2. Make Sure Service Is Available Where You Live
When you read appliance horror stories online, you'll see that they are often the result of "terrible service." With induction especially, which is the newest and least familiar cooking technology in the American market, many service people don't know a lot about repairs. If you buy online without checking that there are reputable, knowledgeable service technicians in your area, you could find yourself in a bad situation.
You'd be surprised how often there isn't service available. Even for major brands--premium brands!--if you live in a rural area, there may not be qualified service people available, or not enough, so you'll have to wait weeks to get an appointment.
Online dealers often have service contracts with local dealers in many cities. Make sure, though, by emailing them or calling their service number. (If their website doesn't have a service number to call or a chat box to ask questions, buy somewhere else.) Talk to the service department or customer service representative, and not a salesperson, to be sure you get correct information.
If you buy from a major national retailer like Home Depot or Lowe's, you'll probably be covered. But you should check with them, too, via email, call, or a visit to your local store to be sure.
And we've already mentioned this, but we can't recommend strongly enough that you purchase the extended warranty.
3. Read A Lot of Reviews
Once again, as much as we'd like you to buy through Rational Kitchen, the smart thing to do is to read a lot of reviews. Whether other review sites like ours or user reviews at dealers (including Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.), the goal is always to find out as much as you can about a product before buying it.
Remember too that reviews, both user reviews and review sites, can be biased. (Rational Kitchen is only biased in finding the best products for you, but other sites may have different biases: cost, brand loyalty, and other unpredictable things.) You never know, so take all advice only in the context of other advice.
Also: keep in mind that 5 star reviews are often from people still in the honeymoon phase with a product, and 1 star reviews are the unlucky folks who got the rare lemon and/or bad service along with it.
The reviews in the middle--2, 3, and 4 star reviews--tend to be the most accurate. Unless of course a product is just that good. It's rare, but it happens.
Also pay attention to the distribution of good and bad reviews, if that information is available (as on Amazon). Two products can have the same average rating and have a very different rating distribution. For example, if a product has 80% 4- and 5-star reviews and less than 5% 1-star reviews, that's a good indication that it's a decent product. However, if a product has only 50% 4- and 5-star reviews and 30% 1-star reviews, proceed with caution.
When you've read enough and learned enough about a product--any product!--you'll be able to tell by the number of positive reviews, the number of negative reviews, the issues reviewers discuss, and other common sense pointers, whether a product is as good as its average rating suggests.
Which Samsung Induction Cooktop Should You Buy?
We like all the Samsung induction cooktops. Of course the first decision is which size to get: do you have a 30-inch or a 36-inch space?
See Samsung 36-in induction cooktop at Home Depot (both trim packages)
See Samsung 36-in induction cooktop at AJ Madison (both trim packages)
See Samsung 36-in induction cooktop at abt.com (both trim packages)
NZ36K7880US (stainless trim package, about $2000)
NZ36K7880UG (black stainless trim package, about $2400)
If you have a 36-inch space, then your only Samsung option is the NZ36K7880US or the NZ36K7880UG: the difference is that the "US" model has stainless steel trim and the "UG" model has black stainless steel trim.
There is no advantage to either and the decision is purely aesthetic. However, the black stainless trim package adds about $400 to the price. This price will vary depending on where you buy, but we've seen this price difference everywhere.
We think the difference in appearance is minimal and the stainless trim is fine.
See 30-in induction cooktop "NZK" at Home Depot (both trim packages)
See 30-in induction cooktop "NZK" at AJ Madison (both trim packages)
If you have a 30-inch space, then there are two cooktops to choose from, or three is you count the different trim packages on the NZK:
NZ30K7880US (stainless trim package, about $1550)
NZ30K7880UG (black stainless trim package, about $2150)
Or, you can go with the simpler, less expensive NZ30A3060 model, which has no bridge feature and a lower power boost (3800W vs. 4800W on the other model). It also does not have the magnetic dial, so you are relegated to finger swipe controls--but they work pretty well on this cooktop and are easy to use:
We like both of these cooktops, but at about $1100, the "NZ30A" is a much lower price. It is also an EPA Energy Star award winner in 2022 for emerging technology. If you can live with a little less power and no bridge element, it's an excellent cooktop, especially at this price.
Final Thoughts on Samsung Induction Cooktops
Samsung is now the number one appliance seller in the United States. Their appliances tend to get good reviews and ratings from Consumer Reports and users alike. Induction technology isn't cheap, but Samsung is about in the middle of the pack price-wise. Their technical service has improved, and now that they have a plant in the US, many parts are available in just a day or two.
Samsunt offers two induction cooktop options: the first is a high powered option with bridged elements and a 4800 watt power boost in 30- and 36-inch sizes. This model has two trim packages available--stainless or black stainless--and also has a magnetic knob you can place over any burner control to make it manual; without the knob, you just use your finger.
Samsung also offers a more basic induction cooktop in 30-inch size only. This cooktop is much less expensive, but it lacks the bridged burners and the power boost is only 3800 watts. There are also no trim options. Otherwise, it's a really nice, moderately powered cooktop for an incredible price (about $1100).
Whatever you decide to buy, do yourself a favor and get an extended warranty--and make sure there are certified technicians in your area that work on the brand you go with.
Thanks for reading!
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