Stovetops induction: Pros and Cons of Induction Cooktops and Ranges

Pros and Cons of Induction Cooktops and Ranges

Some home chefs say induction cooktops and ranges are the way of the future, offering a safer and more energy-efficient way of cooking.

An induction cooktop is a special type of electric cooktop that gets its power and precision from induction technology. This means it generates energy from an electromagnetic field below the glass cooktop surface, which then transfers current directly to magnetic cookware, causing it to heat up.

Induction cooktops and ranges generally outperform every other kind of range in Consumer Reports’ tests. In fact, every induction cooktop and induction range tested through our range lab delivers fast cooktop heat and superb simmering. What’s more, if you buy a new induction cooktop or range, you may be eligible for financial incentives created by the Inflation Reduction Act.

Induction cooktops and ranges look and function a lot like typical glass-top electric models, except that they cook via a magnetic field. On most 30-inch induction cooktops, the field is concentrated into four spots (or elements).

As for the ovens in induction ranges, they broil and bake just as other electric ovens do, but their capabilities differ from model to model. High-end options, for instance, might have features like convection, WiFi connectivity, and even in-oven cameras so you can monitor whatever you’re baking with a smartphone. Entry-level options will have many of the same features you’d find on regular electrics, like storage or warming drawers, adjustable racks, and a self-cleaning mode.

To learn more about induction, see our cooktop and range buying guides. Our ratings for induction cooktops and ranges highlight each appliance’s performance and specifications.

There are plenty of things to love about induction ranges, whether you’re obsessed with perfectly prepped food or interested in energy efficiency. Here’s how they compare with gas and conventional electric ranges.

They’re more environmentally friendly. An induction stove is 5 to 10 percent more energy-efficient than conventional electric stoves and about three times more efficient than gas stoves. And unlike gas, it’s better for indoor air quality.

They have a built-in safety feature. If you turn on an induction burner with no pot on it by mistake, it won’t get hot. That’s because the heat is created from within the cookware itself; as soon as you remove it from a burner, that heating stops. So the glass surface never gets as hot as it would on a traditional radiant electric range, and you’re not at risk of burning yourself if you touch it. That surface might merely feel hot in the way a kitchen counter feels hot if you put a pot of just-cooked soup on it.

Food cooks faster. No other technology we’ve tested is speedier than induction. It cuts out the intermediate step of heating up an element and then transferring the heat to the pot. Compared with electric or gas, it cooks more quickly when you turn up the heat and responds faster when you dial it back down. You’ll find that 6 quarts of water will approach a boil 2 to 4 minutes sooner than on a gas or electric stove, which can definitely be helpful when you’re making dinner on a busy weeknight.

Meal prep is easier. With heat generating from within your pot or pan, induction ranges cook more precisely and evenly. No more simmering sauces that break into a splattering boil or chicken thighs that emerge from the pan scorched.

They’re easier to clean. Like other smoothtop electrics, induction surfaces are easy to wipe down.

Before you shop for an induction cooktop or range, consider your budget and your cooking habits. Here’s what you need to know.

Induction cooking feels very different from cooking with gas. Some avid cooks really love cooking on a flame and the immediate visual feedback they get from it at the turn of a knob. No electric option, even induction, can replicate that feel. In fact, because the electromagnetic field on an induction cooktop doesn’t create a glow, you won’t even know it’s on. That’s why manufacturers have started adding virtual flames and other lighting cues.

It can get expensive when you convert from gas to electric. If you’re replacing an electric range, the swap is simple. Induction cooktops and ranges use the same outlet as a standard electric range or cooktop. But if you’re switching from gas, expect to pay an electrician several hundred dollars or more to install the necessary outlet.

You need the right cookware. While most of the cookware in our ratings is induction-compatible, some pans—including those made of aluminum and anodized aluminum—won’t work on induction. Most others, including stainless steel and cast iron, will. If you’re shopping for cookware for induction cooktops, look for pots and pans marked “induction-compatible.” To determine whether your existing arsenal of cookware will work with an induction range, see if a magnet strongly sticks to the bottom of your pots. If it does, they’ll work on an induction burner.

It might emit a sound. “A buzz or hum is common, and often louder at higher settings,” says Tara Casaregola, who oversees the testing of ranges and cooktops for Consumer Reports. “And we often hear the clicking of element electronics at lower settings, as well as the sound of the cooling fan for the electronics.” Heavy flat-bottomed pans help reduce the vibrations that cause this buzz.

You may need an analog thermometer. The magnetic field of an induction cooktop can interfere with a digital meat thermometer.

Induction cooktops and ranges are typically more expensive than conventional electric models. But prices have continued to drop in recent years despite inflation, with some induction ranges in our ratings selling for about $1,000. And buying a new induction cooktop or range may make you eligible for rebates from the Inflation Reduction Act.

To learn more about induction, see our cooktop and range buying guides. CR members can also browse our full list of ratings for induction cooktops and ranges. Here, we’ve highlighted the best induction range in our ratings, as well as the best 30-inch and 36-inch induction cooktops.

If you’ve got the space, a cooktop (along with a wall oven that you buy separately) can be a nice way to break up cooking areas in your kitchen. The two cooktops below are exceptional performers from our tests.

@consumerreports When it comes to our tests, induction ranges are tough to beat. See ratings and reviews at CR.org/ranges. #kitchentok #kitchentiktok #cooktop ♬ original sound – Consumer Reports


Paul Hope

Paul Hope is a senior multimedia content creator at Consumer Reports and a trained chef. He covers ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens, as well as grills, drills, outdoor power tools, decking, and wood stains. Before joining CR in 2016, he tested kitchen products at Good Housekeeping and covered tools and remodeling for This Old House magazine. You’ll typically find him in his old fixer-upper, engrossed in a DIY project or trying out a new recipe.

What is an Induction Cooktop and How Does it Work?

Induction cooking can be described as “the best of both worlds” because not only are induction cooktops sleek and easy to clean like smooth top or glass top electric cooktops, but they also provide the accuracy and control of gas cooktops.

Read on to discover what an induction cooktop is, the advantages of using one and how induction cooking works. Review our best induction cooktops or explore our cooktop buying guide to find out what to consider when purchasing an induction or other type of cooktop.

What is an Induction Cooktop?

An induction cooktop is a stove top that uses electromagnetic energy to interact with compatible pots and pans and turns them into their own heat source. This electromagnetic current passes through coiled copper wire underneath the surface of the cooktop which creates a magnetic current within the cookware, heating it up.

How Does an Induction Cooktop Work?

When you turn your cooktop on, a current begins to flow through a copper coil under the ceramic glass, creating a magnetic field around it. When an induction compatible pot is placed on the cooktop, the magnetic field creates electrical currents inside the pan, turning the cookware into a “heater.” One of the most significant benefits of this type of electric cooktop is that it produces a rapid rise and fall in temperature. So not only will food and water come to temperature quickly, the cooktop cools off rapidly when the pan is removed from the surface.

What are the Benefits of an Induction Cooktop?

Some of the benefits of induction cooktops include responsive temperature control, quick cooking times and easy cleanup since the surface doesn’t get as hot. Additionally, they may reduce heat loss while cooking since the heat is created directly within the cookware and isn’t transferred from a heating element through the cooktop surface.

1. Increased Responsiveness

Induction cooktops cut out the added step of first heating up the heating element that then heats up the cookware. Instead, the electromagnetic currents heat up the pan itself which leads to fast changes in temperatures, for more precise cooking.

2. Precision Control

Induction cooktops heat up the entire bottom surface of the pan quickly and they have fast response times to temperature change, so you can go from a boil to a simmer in a shorter amount of time.

3. Easy Clean Up

Since the surface of an induction cooktop does not generate its own heat, it stays relatively cool compared to a radiant electric cooktop. If spillage occurs when cooking your favorite sauces or meals, the cooler surface can reduce baked-on, charred spills or burnt-on grease stains. Some heat can transfer from the pans to the cooktop, so be sure to allow the cooktop to cool completely before cleaning. Follow the steps for how to clean an induction cooktop in our helpful guide to keep your cooktop looking and performing at its best.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Induction Cooking?

While there are quite a few advantages to using an induction cooktop, it may not be the right choice for everyone. There are a few things to keep in mind with induction cooking, including the need for compatible cookware, getting used to a new style of cooking and some unfamiliar sounds coming from your cooktop.

1. May Need to Replace Cookware

Because the electromagnetic waves have to interact with certain types of metal in order to heat up, you’ll need to use cookware made of metals like cast iron, steel, or pots and pans that state they’re induction ready. 

However, if you want to see if your existing cookware can be used for induction cooking, you can perform a simple test. Simply flip your pan over, and place a magnet on the bottom of the pan. If it sticks, then the pan is ferromagnetic and can be used for induction cooking.

2. Learning Curve 

If you’re new to induction cooking technology, it may take a little time to master the nuances of your cooktop. Keep in mind that induction cooktops are highly responsive and can heat up or cool down quickly.

3. Unfamiliar Sounds

You may notice a buzzing or humming sound coming from your cooktop when using it on a higher setting, as well as the sound of the fan that cools the electronics. To help reduce noise, you can use heavy, flat-bottomed pans.

INDUCTION COOKTOP VS. ELECTRIC COOKTOP

Both electric and induction cooktops offer sleek, smooth surfaces that are easy to clean, but electric cooktops operate a little differently than induction cooktops. Radiant electric cooktops use infrared energy to heat an element, which in turn heats the pan holding your food, while induction heats the pan directly. Unlike induction cooktops, electric cooktops take a bit longer to cool off. Our electric configurations come in 2-burner or 5-burner options.

When deciding whether an electric or induction cooktop is best for you, here are a couple of things to consider:

  • Induction cooktops heat pans quickly, which might change your natural cooking rhythm.  Getting everything prepped and ready to go before you turn on a heating zone is important when it comes to induction cooking. Explore more about the benefits and “how-tos” of mise en place cooking.

  • Induction cooktops may produce operational sounds that you’re not used to hearing on other cooktops including – a low humming noise when cooking at high power, a crackling sound when using cookware that consists of different materials not compatible with induction and a fan noise that comes from a temperature control feature.

INDUCTION COOKING TIP: COOKTOP CARE

Use soap, water and a soft cloth or sponge to clean your cooktop. To avoid damage, don’t use bleach, abrasive cleansers, steel wool or rust removers on your induction cooktop. Always wipe with a clean, wet cloth or sponge and dry thoroughly to avoid streaking and staining. Cooktop cleaner is recommended for regular use to cut through tough, cooked-on residues and for a streak-free, polished shine while a cooktop scraper is recommended for removing stubborn spills.

Induction Cooktops vs Gas Cooktops

Gas cooktops have been popular for a while thanks to the responsiveness they bring to cooking. A natural gas or propane flame is the heat source used by gas cooktops. A flame ignites when the burner is turned on and immediately starts heating the cookware that in turn heats your food.

When deciding whether a gas or induction cooktop is best for you, here are a couple of things to consider:

  • Induction cooktops deliver accuracy and control similar to gas cooktops.
  • Since they deliver similar results, they can be a good alternative if you have an interest in a gas cooktop but don’t have an existing hookup.
  • The smooth, quick-to-cool cooking surface gives induction cooktops an edge in cleaning ease over most gas cooktops.

Discover more about the different cooktops available and let us help you zero in on one that matches your making. Browse our full selection of induction cooktops, electric 4 burner cooktops and gas downdraft cooktops to find the best fit for your kitchen.

Do You Have to Use Special Pans for Induction Cooktops?

You’ll want to use pots and pans that are labeled as induction compatible or are made from metals like cast iron or steel. Use the magnet test mentioned above to see if your existing cookware can be used on an induction cooktop. If you do need to replace them, KitchenAid offers induction compatible cookware designed to heat evenly for a perfectly executed meal.

Can I Use Stainless Steel on Induction?

You can use most types of stainless steels on an induction cooktop. However, if you’re not sure if your stainless steel cookware is compatible, take a magnet and stick it to the bottom of the pots and pans. If the magnet has a strong pull then you can use it for induction cooking.

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what it is, pros and cons, what kind of cookware is needed

Induction technology has been used in cooking since the beginning of the 20th century. But it has become widespread only in recent decades. We found out what are its pros and cons

Photo: shutterstock

All existing stoves and hobs perform the same task – they cook food. But induction technology operates in a fundamentally different way: such models do not heat up, have high efficiency and are safe. They also have their drawbacks: from the cost to the need to update the dishes. We understand how induction cookers work and in what cases they are better than gas or electric counterparts.

  • What is an induction cooker: types and design
  • How
  • works

  • How to connect
  • Pros and cons of the
  • induction cooker

  • Induction Cookware
  • Induction or electric hob?

What is an induction cooker: types and design

adv.rbc.ru

An induction hob is a kind of electric hob that uses the principle of electromagnetism. The main difference here is in the method of heat transfer. If in classic stoves it comes from a tubular heating element (TEN) or a flame, then in induction cookware serves as a source.

Induction hobs, like electric and gas models, are built-in, freestanding and desktop. Like all other types, they are divided into dependent and independent. In the first case, the stove with the oven have common controls and should be located strictly side by side. Independent hobs can be placed separately from the oven or used without it.

The working surface of induction models is usually made of glass ceramic. They can be not only of different colors or with a pattern, but also of different shapes – there are, for example, semicircular and rhombuses.

Photo: shutterstock

Depending on the size (from 30 cm to 100 cm), the induction hob has one to six burners. On some models, their location and layout look unusual. Instead of the classic “pancakes”, intersecting lines, squares are applied, or the center of the heating element is simply indicated. There are also models with functional burners, for example for ducklings, or with a deepening for a wok pan.

Heating and other settings are most often controlled via sensor modules. In some models, for convenience, the burners are equipped with indicator lights that turn on at the time of operation.

In addition, there are combined stove options that combine induction technology with heating elements or gas burners.

Induction hobs can be equipped with additional functions. Among them:

  • built-in hood;
  • pan recognition sensor;
  • Booster mode, or temporary increase in heating;
  • protection against children and overheating, liquid transfusion;
  • residual heat indication;
  • automatic shutdown by timer;
  • Possibility of combining cooking zones.

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How an induction hob works

The main working elements of such a hob are induction coils with copper winding. They are located under the glass panel according to the marking of the burners. At the moment when a current passes through the turns of the coil, a high-frequency magnetic field is formed (from 20 kHz to 100 kHz).

Photo: shutterstock

Under its influence, eddy currents arise in a metal dish placed on a burner, which set the electrons in motion. In this process, heat is generated – it heats the bottom of the pot or pan. The surface of the hob does not get hot. Some warmth may be felt from it – the dishes gave it away.

How to connect an induction hob

The induction hob is powered by 220V. Depending on the number of burners, the power consumption is between 2 and 7.5 kW. When connecting an induction hob, the same requirements are met as for any other electric hobs. For such equipment, a power outlet is output, a VVG-type cable with a cross section of at least 6 mm is used [1], an automatic machine for 32A is installed in the shield.

Induction cooker pros and cons

Pros

  • Heating speed. With induction, heat is transferred directly to the cookware. Therefore, the food heats up, and the water boils much faster. Comparative tests of different hobs have shown that induction hobs, on average, bring 6 liters of water to a boil 2–4 minutes faster than competitors of other types [2].
  • Security. Because the hob surface does not get hot, the risk of injury or accidental fire is minimized. This is especially true if there are children or animals in the house.
  • Temperature control. Thanks to induction, you can regulate the cooking temperature more precisely. When turned off, heat transfer stops immediately, so the likelihood of boiling over or burning is minimal.
  • Easy to clean. Like traditional electric hobs, induction hobs have a smooth glass surface. Because they don’t heat up, splashes or bits of food don’t burn.
  • Energy efficiency. These models do not heat the air around the cookware, so no useful heat is lost. The efficiency of induction cookers is the highest – they are capable of transmitting up to 90% electromagnetic energy [3]. For gas and electric stoves, this range is from 30% to 70%, depending on the model.

Cons

  • Noise. When operating induction cooktops, a slight buzzing or buzzing may occur. This is usually related to the type of cookware that is being used. Lighter stainless steel pans can make more noise than heavier ones.
  • Size dependent. The hob will not turn on if you place a pan with a smaller diameter on the burner. Typically, manufacturers recommend covering at least 60-70% of its area.
  • Work with pacemakers. There is no direct ban on the use of induction cookers for people with pacemakers, but there are a number of studies on the effect of a magnetic field on the operation of such devices [4]. To reduce possible risks, manufacturers recommend maintaining a distance of at least 60 cm [5].
  • Special dishes. Buying an induction cooker will require replacing kitchen utensils.

Induction cookware

Photo: shutterstock

For cooking on an induction cooker, only cookware made of ferromagnetic metal, that is, with high magnetic permeability, is used. For example, cast iron and steel. The easiest way to check if the existing kitchen utensils are suitable or not is to bring a magnet to the bottom. If it sticks, then you can use such dishes.

Copper, ceramic, earthenware or aluminum pans and pans are not suitable for cooking on such stoves unless the bottom of the cookware has a metal insert. Otherwise, the stove simply will not work.

You can get around these difficulties: special adapters are produced for induction cookers. These devices in the form of disks allow you to use not only dishes made of other materials, but also different-sized burners. Adapters are made of the desired ferromagnetic metal and, when heated, transfer heat to ordinary dishes. They can also be used in case of discrepancy between the diameters of the bottom and the burner. For example, for Turks or small ladles.

When using an induction hob, manufacturers advise you to follow a few rules:

  1. The diameter of the bottom of the cookware must match the size of the burner. For most slabs, the minimum dimension is 12 cm.

  2. For even and efficient heating, choose cookware with a flat and thick bottom. Too thin bottom can be deformed during cooking.

  3. The adapter must be the same size as the burner, although a slightly smaller adapter can be used.
  4. Before buying, you should study the markings on the dishes. For induction cookers, it contains a special symbol in the form of a spiral or the word induction.
  5. Such dishes do not require special care, they can be washed in the same way as any other.

Induction or electric hob?

In an apartment with a small kitchen, an induction stove will help to avoid stuffiness and excessive heating of the air when cooking. But, as with a conventional hob, new electrical work may be required before installing it. The same applies to cases of replacing gas stoves with electric ones. In old houses designed for gas equipment, the existing wiring, as a rule, is not designed for such loads.

Colours, sizes and sockets: 10 common mistakes when renovating a kitchen

In a country house, you can use any version of the device, if the input power allows it.

Since both stoves are powered by electricity, it is important that the mains voltage is stable, without surges. Otherwise, the equipment may fail. For some malfunctions, repairing an induction cooker may be more expensive than an electric cooker due to the larger number of electronic control units.

When choosing an induction hob, you need to be prepared that it will most likely take some time to get used to the instant heat and power control features.

The maximum power consumption for the two types of stoves is basically the same. However, it is believed that induction allows better savings on energy bills: the heating element takes more time to reach the desired temperature.

See also: How to choose a refrigerator: 7 tips from experts

Professional induction cookers for cafes, restaurants, canteens and catering, desktop induction cookers

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