When you’re cooking up your favorite recipe, the last thing on your mind may be energy efficiency. But opting for an induction cooktop may be a wise move. Induction cooktops not only ensure a more precise heat but they could also save you money in the long run because your cookware gets most of the heat rather than the air around your cooktop. An induction cooktop uses an electromagnetic field to heat up a pan while leaving the cooking surface cool to the touch and without heating up the kitchen. Even high-end gas or electric cooktops can’t make the same claim.
Induction Cooktop Efficiency
With induction cooking, your pan is heated by a magnetic field instead of having its bottom sitting on a flame as with a gas cooktop or on an element as with an electric stove. With an induction stovetop, the entire bottom of the pan actually heats up, and there’s no need to fit your pan to the burner.
Induction cooking is 60 percent more efficient than with a gas stovetop. With a gas stovetop, a lot of the flame actually heats around the pan rather than on your cookware bottom.
Cooking on an induction stovetop beats an electric stovetop for efficiency by about 40 percent. Plus, you don’t have to worry about heating the kitchen while waiting for the electric element to cool down.
Induction Cooktop Safety
Because the surface of an induction stove or cooktop doesn’t get hot, you—or your curious youngster—can touch it with your fingers without getting burned. This also means that if you splatter sauce onto the cooking surface, it won’t burn, making cleanup easier.
Induction Cooktop Speed
Induction cooktops heat more quickly than gas or electric, saving energy as well as time. A 12,000-BTU gas burner takes 36 minutes to boil 5 gallons of water, but an 1,800-watt induction hob, or heating element, will boil the same 5 gallons in only 22 minutes. (A watt is equal to 3.4 BTUs, so even in absolute terms, induction is still faster.) Plus, induction cookers respond immediately to temperature adjustments, so when you lower the heat, you’ll see the results right away—just like with a gas range.
Induction Cooktop Requirements
Induction cooktops can only be used with cookware that is made of ferrous metals such as steel or cast iron. Aluminum cookware won’t work, nor will glass or ceramic. Here’s a simple test to see if your cookware is induction-compatible: If a magnet sticks to it, it’ll work with an induction stove.
Induction Cooking Equipment
Induction cookers are available in countertop models that allow you to cook with various pot sizes. Most units feature safety functions so they’ll shut off in the absence of a pan, or if a pan is sitting empty. Some even provide burner lights that simulate the glow that comes with gas burners. Drop-in units (which are installed directly into the countertop) and slide-in units (with an oven built in) are also available.
You might experience sticker shock initially, but just think of what you’ll recoup in energy savings
Benefits of induction stoves and cooktops
Induction cooking undoubtedly offers some amazing benefits, such as:
– Fast heating:Induction cooking is fast. It can boil water very quickly, enabling cooks to save precious minutes when preparing meals.
– Superior energy efficiency: Since an induction range cooks food more quickly and loses less heat while doing so, it is considered to be much more energy-efficient than both an electric stove top and a gas cooktop.
– Cool to the touch: Since only the pan becomes hot and most of the cooktop stays cool during induction cooking, induction stoves provide a great safety feature, especially to households with young children. It’s important to note, however, that the heat from the pot does transfer from the surface below and around the pot. This means that if you’re using several induction elements at once, many parts of the surface will become hot as well.
– Easy to clean: Since the unused portion of the induction cooktop remains relatively cool, most spills won’t cook onto the surface, making cleaning a breeze. All you need to wipe up any spills or splatters is a damp sponge or cloth.
– Precise control: Induction cooking provides precise temperature control, enabling the cooktop to hold ideal temperatures for simmering, melting or boiling.
Induction stovetop cons:
Of course, as with anything, there are also disadvantages of induction cooking to consider. Some downsides to switching to induction cooking include:
– Cost: Although some lower-priced models have recently become available, induction ranges are still far from cheap. You’ll definitely want to make sure this cooking method is the best one for you before making such an investment.
– Magnetic pans required: On top of the initial cost of an induction stove, you may also need to spend additional money on a new set of pots and pans. While you can get pans that are specifically designed for induction cooking, there are less expensive alternatives that will work, such as cast iron pans, enamel-coated cast iron pans, and certain stainless steel pans.
– Learning curve: Induction cooking, with its quick heating capabilities and precision control, takes a while to get the hang of. Determining exactly how to control the heat levels will take a bit of trial and error, so you’ll need to be patient and willing to adapt to some new cooking methods. Many of the standard practices used with a gas or electric stove, like chopping vegetables while waiting for oil to heat in a pan, won’t work.
Is induction cooking for you?
Induction cooking is a great way to cook, once you spend the time required to figure out how it works. But it certainly isn’t for everyone. If the benefits are appealing to you and you can live with (or work around) the disadvantages, you’ll want to strongly consider switching to this increasingly popular method of cooking.
over your appliance’s lifespan.
- Best Overall: GE Profile PHP9036SJSSBuy on AmazonBuy on WalmartOwners say this GE Profile induction cooktop offers a hard-to-find combination of quality and value. Available in all black or black with stainless steel trim, this 36-inch cooktop has five heating elements: one 6-inch, two 7-inch, one 8-inch, and one 11-inch. The 11-inch burner has 3,700 powerful watts to make quick work of boiling water; the other burners range from 1,800 to 3,200 watts. A 30-inch model is also available.The Profile is feature-rich, with integrated touch controls that can be locked – perfect for families with small kids – and sensors that heat only to the precise size of the pans being used, and only when pans are on the cooktop. The two 7-inch burners may be used simultaneously with a SyncBurner control to accommodate larger pans or griddles, and indicator lights alert users when heating elements are active or the surface remains hot. Owners say the smooth glass surface is easy to clean and heats up quickly, but some warn that the controls can be a little hard to read. The cooktop is backed by a one-year warranty.
- Best Portable: Duxtop 8100MC Portable Cooktop BurnerVERY GOODBuy on AmazonBuy on Sears.comThousands of happy owners love this little Duxtop portable cooktop, which can go anywhere that there’s a standard 120-volt outlet. It has a single 8-inch burner that can operate at 10 power levels from 200 to 1,800 watts, and temperature ranges from 140 to 460 degrees. And at just 13 by 11.5 inches, it can fit in the tiniest studio kitchens, campers, hotel rooms or dorm rooms.For a portable unit, the Duxtop doesn’t skimp on features. Like most induction cooktops, it automatically detects the presence of cookware and adjusts the heating element based on pan size. There is a built-in countdown timer that can be set for up to 170 minutes and an easy-to-use digital push-button control panel. Owners say that despite its size, this little burner heats up and boils water with blazing speed, and they love how lightweight it is, making it easy to tote around. The cooking surface can be wiped clean easily. But a few reviewers warn that it’s too easy for larger pots and pans to shift around and hit the controls, which are at the same level as the burner. Duxtop 8100MC Portable Induction Cooktop Review
- Best Budget: True Induction TI-2B Double Burner CooktopBuy on AmazonBuy on WalmartSmall kitchen? Smaller budget? No problem – the True Induction TI-2B can accommodate both. This little cooktop is only 24 inches long and has two 10-inch heating elements. Unlike many budget-friendly induction cooktops, this one can be inset in users’ countertops, allowing a more seamless look. However, it can also serve as a portable cooktop for RVs, dorms or other places on the go – all it needs for power is a standard 110-volt outlet, meaning you won’t need a pro to guide a complex installation.The heating elements on the True Induction use power-sharing technology and can share up to 1,800 watts. For example, one heating element can run at a full 1,800 watts of power while the other is off; one can run at 1,000 watts and the other at 800 watts; or both can use 900 watts. There are 10 heat settings. At full power, one burner can boil a cup of water in 70 seconds, and sensors mean the cooktop won’t continue to heat up if no cookware is detected. Owners love this little cooktop for cramped spaces, saying it heats up quickly and cleans easily. A few warn that it might not be powerful enough for buyers used to a full-size model, though. It’s backed by a two-year warranty and a 60-day trial period.
- Runner Up, Best Overall: Rosewill 1800W Cooker CooktopBuy on AmazonBuy on Home DepotChock-full of cutting-edge features and boasting a minimalist design, the Rosewill 1800W Induction Cooker Cooktop is one of the most popular induction cookers available today.Glossy, jet black, and trimmed in gold, the Rosewill’s polished crystal plate surface allows you to cook food with less energy and time, all while adding a touch of elegance to your kitchen. This high-quality cooker has eight power levels and temperature settings, and a large LED screen display so you’re able to clearly seethe cook time and temperature each time you make a meal. The cooker’s built-in digital timer and sleek control panel render the Rosewill easy to use, and a stainless steel pot is even included with your purchase.Reviewers love that it heats up quickly, and the controls are easy to use. The stainless steel pot that’s included is also very good quality. Continue to 5 of 5 below.
- Best High-End: KitchenAid Architect Series II Smooth Surface CooktopBuy on Home DepotBuyers with a little more to spend on a quality induction cooktop should make sure this 36-inch model from KitchenAid is on their list of contenders. It boasts five heating elements. Four are 7 inches, with 2,500 watts; the fifth is a dual 4,800/2,500-watt 12-inch element that can accommodate a range of pan sizes and boil water in a snap. This cooktop is available in all black or black with stainless steel trim.Its higher price means this KitchenAid features a lot of bells and whistles. There are 12 power levels for precise heating, and each element has simmer, melt, keep warm and performance-boost functions. Both pairs of 7-inch elements can be bridged to create two larger cooking zones for oversized pots and pans or griddles. The touch-activated controls are lockable to prevent little hands from turning up the heat, and a cooking timer can be set for up to 90 minutes for one cooking zone. Owners say all the settings allow a high level of precision – perfect for the discerning chef – and report that the glass cooktop is easy to clean. A few warn that the sensors of the 7-inch burners may not recognize very small pots and pans, however. KitchenAid backs the cooktop with a one-year warranty that extends to five years for the heating elements and select other components.