Induction cooktops are innovative, element-free cooktops that are quickly becoming as popular as gas stoves. These electric stoves are best suited for induction pots that heat up using electromagnetic radiation.
Induction cooking is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its hassle-free, fast and efficient properties. This cutting-edge technology transfers heat using magnetic induction.
You will require no pre-heating if you switch from traditional stoves to an induction cooktop. Many people tend to confuse induction cookers with other types of electric stoves, even though the technological working of an induction cooktop is very different.
If you are interested in replacing your old stove with an induction cooktop, you can find everything you need to know about induction cooktops in this guide by HomeDesignX below.
What Is An Induction Cooktop?
Induction cooking is not a new concept but it has only been gaining popularity in recent years. It is important to know exactly what it is and how it works before you invest in it.
Induction cooktops are cookers that use electromagnetic coils to transfer heat energy to the cookware directly, removing the need for heating up the burner beforehand. This mechanism keeps the cooking surface cool, reducing the risk of burns.
There is no evident indication that the induction cooktop is on or off due to the lack of flames, which is why manufacturers add lighting cues or virtual flames to avoid safety hazards.
How Does An Induction Cooktop Work?
People often wonder why the surface of an induction cooktop does not heat up. You need to understand how induction works to answer this question. The cooking mechanism uses the principle of generating heat energy from magnetism, enabled by a coil of wire under the glass cooktop.
A magnetic field is created by an alternating current that flows through the coiled wire. As a result, a resistive electric current is induced, which is directly transferred to your cooking pots and pans, heating them up.
Does an induction cooktop need special cookware?
Yes. You need induction cookware for cooking on an induction cooktop because these pots are specifically made with magnetically conductive materials. These materials have resistive currents that generate heat upon receiving the electric current produced in the coils.
Buying separate pots may seem like an annoying added cost, but it is easily balanced out by the benefits of using an induction cooktop.
How To Use An Induction Cooker
Induction burners only heat the part that comes in direct contact with the glass surface of the cooktop. In order to use an induction cooktop, you need to get the right kind of induction pan. These pans have iron at the bottom, which allows smooth transferring of resistive electric current to heat the pan.
You can also use your existing cookware for induction tops after checking whether they are induction compatible or not. You can simply check this by placing a magnet close to the bottom of the cooker and see how strongly it sticks to the magnet. If the pull is strong, then the cookware can be used with an induction cooktop.
When buying new supplies for your induction cooktop, make sure to get the cookware marked with induction compatibility stickers otherwise you will end up buying the wrong pots and pans.
Once you have the right cookware, all you need to do is switch on the induction cooktop, and place the pan on it. You must carefully time the cooking because these cooktops are much faster than regular stovetop cooking.
Benefits of an Induction Cooktop
Don’t just get an induction cooktop in your kitchen because they’re the new trend. The fact is that they come bearing several advantages. Let’s consider the advantages of induction cooking, one by one:
1. Precision and Ease of Use
Induction cookers come with precise temperature controls, which is why they are given preference over gas stoves and other options. You don’t need any approximation because you can simply tweak the controls and the coils will decrease or increase the heat.
In comparison to gas stoves, induction cookers heat cookware faster, saving time and cutting energy costs! Because the preheating time does not cause a delay in the cooking process, induction cookers allow for more evenly-cooked meals.
The controls are super easy and self-explanatory. However, there might be a learning period before you can master cooking on an inductive cooktop. Once you have overcome the learning curve of switching from gas to magnetic cooking, you will be grateful for your induction cooktop.
2. Easier Cooking
You no longer need to worry about constant stirring or fear that you might burn your food. This is because an induction cooktop provides precise and even heating. It makes cooking way easier than traditional stoves and allows you to do other tasks while your food cooks.
3. Excellent Safety Features
Induction cooktops have several built-in safety functions that reduce the risk of common kitchen hazards. Some cooktops have an automatic turn-off function that shuts off the stove when you remove the cooking pans. This saves you the anxiety of not remembering whether you turned off the stove or not.
The cooktop does not start the heating process unless a pan is placed on top of it, which reduces the chances of injuries.
The burners also cool down quickly, and never heat up themselves. You can even touch the cooking surface while cooking because nothing other than your cookware heats up. This saves you from accidental burns and proves to be extremely useful especially when you have children around.
4. Reduced Chance of Grease Fires
Grease fires are caused by the presence of flame because grease is highly flammable. The likelihood of grease fires is considerably low since inductive cooking doesn’t involve any actual fire for heating.
5. It Only Heats Cookware
Inductive cooking uses electromagnetic radiation to cook food. This means less heat production, which keeps your home and kitchen comfortably cool, especially in the summers.
6. Flexibility of Placement
Induction cooktops allow greater customization and flexibility when it comes to installation because they don’t require pre-built vents or exhausts. They also don’t come with many building codes. This also reduces installation and moving costs, allowing for versatility and portability.
Inductive cooking is highly suitable for motorhomes and RVs. They are also safer than propane since gas-induced incidents are impossible. You only need to worry about a power source for the induction cooktop. You can also find a portable induction cooktop for your dorm rooms and holiday houses.
Cooking on an induction top is speedier when it comes to cooking and cleaning up. Many restaurants bring you your food quickly not only because of pre-arranged meals but also because they use induction cookers. These reduce standing time in the kitchen, proving to be more convenient than traditional cooking methods.
We all dread the cleaning that awaits us after cooking, but this step is a breeze when it comes to induction cooktops. The flat-top style of induction cookers can be cleaned with a single wipe!
You don’t have to worry about finding food in nooks and crannies. You don’t require any special tools for cleaning, either. Plus, it allows for instant cleaning because you don’t have to wait for the stove to cool down.
How Does Induction Cooking Work?
Induction works based on a mechanism known as electrical induction, rather than traditional heat induction techniques. An induction-friendly cooking vessel produces heat within the pan that results in efficient cooking.
The induction hob beneath the cooktop surface transfers an alternating current and the magnetic field induces a magnetic flux that releases heat energy. This is safe because there is no naked flame, it cooks food in half the time thanks to even heating, and it keeps your pans safe from heat damage over time.
Induction Cooktop Features
Induction cooktops are popular in homes because they come with several user-friendly features such as:
1. Smart Controls: Induction cookers come with touch-screen controls that allow more accurate and precise temperature controlling and monitoring.
2. Auto-Shutoff Feature: This feature allows for added safety because it turns off the heating automatically once the maximum temperature is reached or when the cookware is removed from the stovetop. It prevents the food from burning and reduces the risk of hazards, such as grease fires and accidental burns.
3. Easy Installment and Portability: Induction tops can be placed on kitchen countertops that have a power supply close by. You don’t require any existing vents for installation. This feature allows greater customization for your kitchen. You can also select from a range of portable induction cooktops that take up less space and are lightweight, offering easy portability when travelling.
What To Consider When Buying an Induction Cooktop
We have been singing praises of induction cooking and cooktops until now, but there are some things that can considerably impair your experience of using an induction cooktop.
Therefore, you must consider these things before investing in an induction cooktop and lower the chances of disappointment.
Size: If you frequently cook large meals, you’ll know the utility of a large cooking zone. Induction cooktops come with several options of 1, 2, 3, 4 or even 5 cooking zones that cater to all people, such as:
- Students who require 1 cooking zone for dorm rooms
- People who live alone and will need a maximum of 2 cooking zones
- Large families will need multiple zones in their induction cooktop
You can get a stand-alone portable induction cooktop for travelling, or if you have limited space in your apartment. You might want to consider buying an induction cooktop that has a big body size which allows efficient air circulation to keep the PCB cool.
Cooking Zones: You can choose a large or small cooking zone according to your personal preference. Larger cooking zones allow easy handling and don’t cram up your cooking area when using multiple pots on different zones at once.
You can also make this decision according to what is most suitable for the size of your cooking pans. You can get induction cooktops with large, small, and flexible cooking zones in a single panel as well!
Control Panel: Buyers can select from a range of three types of control panels. Induction cooktops come with traditional style rotating knobs, modern button controls, as well as smart touch-screen control panels. This decision can also be made based on your budget, whereby touch screen controls are more expensive but you can get a different type of control.
Depending on the model and brand, the control panels also show various power, temperature, and timer settings.
Other settings: It is important to consider the temperature and power interval settings that induction cooktops offer. A small range of settings and lesser power and temperature intervals are user-friendly because they are easier to control, compared to a wide range of controls that can be potentially confusing and require additional learning time.
Find a model that has a low temperature and power setting of induction as the default and a temperature range of at least 140-430 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the power, the higher your bills will be, so look for an induction cooktop that uses less power as a default. You can, however, tweak the power supply using the power adjustment option on the control panel to suit your needs.
Portability: If you travel often, a portable induction cooktop is better because it can be easily carried and relocated. They are also easier to set up because all you need is a power socket. However, if portability is not a priority, you can find non-portable models of induction cooktops as well.
Design: This is solely dependent on personal aesthetic preferences. You can choose options that go well with the interior design of your kitchen. However, be warned that framed induction cooktops are more likely to collect dust and increase the frequency and time of cleaning.
The framing does reduce spills and prevents them from creating a mess, however. Induction cooktops that are edgeless and only have a glass panel can crack and break easily if heavy objects are dropped on them, but they are easier to clean and maintain.
Are Induction Cooktops Safe?
Inductive cooktops come with several safety features that make them a great option for cooking. The following features ensure safety and protection, and you should make sure the one you’re purchasing has these:
Safety Sensors: This feature monitors the temperature and cuts off the power supply once the maximum temperature is reached. This protects your cookware from heat damage, keeps your food from burning, and saves your cooktop from damages. Some models come with WiFi and smartphone app controls as well!
Automatic Switch Off: This feature is similar to the one we discussed above. When you remove the cookware, the stove will turn off automatically, meaning if the cooktop stops detecting a cooking pot in contact with it, it automatically shuts off the heat, saving power and reducing the risk of accidents.
If a cooking pot is not induction compatible, some cooktops will indicate this through symbols appearing on the control panel and automatically shut off.
Child Lock: The child lock feature is a safety feature that allows you to lock the stove during cooking and clean-up times. This ensures that any operation when the child lock is activated will cease to function. The display setting remains locked when this feature is activated, however, only the ‘power off’ button remains functional.
Small Item Detection: Items that may be compatible with induction but are too small are detected accurately and signalled as incompatible. If you leave a fork or a spoon on your induction cooktop, the stove will flash a warning in the display. However, you will still have to physically remove it because the power doesn’t cut off automatically in this case.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How to select the best induction cooktop?
The best way to make a choice is to consider all options before buying. Induction cooktops come in different shapes, sizes, designs, and with different features. It is difficult to say which ones are the best.
The important thing is to find an induction cooktop that is perfect for your needs. Therefore, you must consider all the important features we highlighted above before making a purchase.
2. What is the most reliable induction cooktop?
Induction cooktops need care and maintenance that helps them stay functional for longer and makes your investment worthwhile. You can find the most reliable induction cooktops here, or our list for the best portable induction cooktops here.
3. Are induction cooktops electric?
Yes, induction cooktops are powered by electricity. This is why most people get confused between electric stoves and induction cooktop. However, they do not use electricity to cook the food, but simply require electric power to generate an electromagnetic field that is responsible for heating.
4. Does induction cooktop use gas?
No, induction cooktops are powered by electricity and need a power socket for connection. They don’t use gas or fuel such as propane.
5. Can cast iron be used on induction cooktops?
As long as your cast iron cookware passes the magnet test mentioned earlier and doesn’t have any bumps or ridges that might cause scratches to your cooktop, then yes. Induction cooktop cast iron compatibility will depend on these two factors.
6. Are there any induction cooktop safety concerns?
Some might worry about exposure to electromagnetic fields that are produced by induction cooktops, but they are uncommon and not hazardous to your health, unless you have any preexisting ailments that might be triggered by it. Arguably, induction cooktops are safer than traditional stoves for both commercial and domestic use.
7. Why choose an induction cooktop?
There are several reasons why you should switch from traditional gas-powered stoves to induction cooking. Induction cooktops are a safe and user-friendly cooking device that reduces energy costs, has added safety measures, and allows for faster cooking. They also come with excellent features.
Now that you have all the information that you could possibly require before buying an inductive cooktop, you are good to go!
Make sure that you choose a model that best suits your needs!
Remember that all good things come at a price and require care, so don’t be alarmed when you go to the store or online to get yourself a new induction cooktop
We suggest that you do a preliminary market survey and set a budget accordingly before settling on just any induction cooktop. It is best to consider all options before making a long-term investment like this one.
We hope you find this induction cooktop buying guide useful! Feel free to drop your comments, queries, and suggestions below!