The Induction Cooktop
All About Induction Cooktop Appliances
If you haven't shopped for a new stove or cooktop for some time, then perhaps you are not familiar with the induction cooktop. Before you buy a new appliance, you should learn more about these devices. They provide a number of advantages over other traditional cooktops.
On this page you can learn about how these cooktops differ, what their advantages are, how they work, and even find a few tips for choosing the right one. There are a number of portable and built-in induction cooktop appliances available on this page. But, even if you don't find the one that is right for you, there are others out there in various sizes and finishes. Just click on any item to go to the store to see a more complete selection.
Photo by anamoly23.
What is Different About an Induction Cooktop?
They don't use radiant heat. With gas and electric stoves and cooktops, the element generates heat, with an induction cooktop, the electricity generates a magnetic field and the cookware that is placed on top of it will become the heating source. This means that the cooktop itself remains cool and less energy is wasted.
An induction cooktop will work with cookware made with ferrous metal. The golden rule is that if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the cookware, it will work with an induction cooktop. Glass cookware is the primary thing that will not function with this type of cooktop.
Learn more about the advantages of induction cooking and how it works below.
The Advantages of Induction Cooktop Appliances
An induction cooktop offers a number of advantages over traditional electric and gas stoves and cooktops. Here are a few to consider:
1. They are safer
An electric induction cooktop uses no open flame and they cool to the touch much more quickly than an electric cooktop, thus burns are unlikely. The overall surface of these cooktops remain cool even when the burners are in use. Of course they offer a number of other safety features such as automatic off when cookware is not on the burner, which reduces wasted energy and burns which occur with traditional cooktops when elements are left on inadvertently.
2. They are more efficient
These appliances save energy by concentrating heat which virtually eliminates lost heat. The area of the cookware is heated, not area surrounding the pan or the rest of the cooktop. These units are said to be 70% more efficient than traditional cooktops and can save up to 30% on your cooking related utility bill.
3. They offer faster and more precise cooking control
An induction cooktop heats more quickly than traditional cooktops but they also cool down more quickly. When making temperature adjustments, the reaction is much faster as well. For instance, if a pot boiling at a high temperature is about to boil over, the user can adjust the temperature downward and see an immediate decrease in boiling rather than having to remove the pot from the burner. Cooks can almost instantly speed up or slow down the cooking process.
In addition, there are fewer spills and instances of burned food. Cooking is also more even with these appliances. The magnetic field interacts with the cookware, making it a heating source, which allows the entire pan to heat more evenly versus having all of the heat centered over the heating element itself.
4. They can be easier to clean
An electric induction cooktop generally has a smooth ceramic surface with sealed burners that make them much easier to clean than gas burners or electric cooktops with exposed elements. Thanks to their controls and spill sensors, users also tend to experience far fewer spills as well. With rapid cooling, they can also be cleaned up before spills dry or cook to the top surface.
See How Induction Cooktops Work
A Few Tips on Choosing an Induction Cooktop
Before you select an induction cooktop, here are a few things to consider:
Portable or Built In
If your induction cooktop will be the primary stove in your home, a built in model will probably be the best option. These range in size, but 30" and 36" models are the most common. However, if you just want to supplement your current cooktop or have one available to take with you when you are away from home, a portable induction cooktop will be the better choice. There are single and double units available and both will sit on a countertop.
Induction or Hybrid
Some of the cooktops below offer induction cooking only. If you have cookware that won't work on an induction cooktop then you'll either need new pans with a magnetic bottom or a disk that will allow them to function properly. On the otherhand, some cooktops will offer induction elements as well as traditional electric elements so that it can accommodate both types of cookware. Hybrid induction cooktops will tend to be a bit less expensive as well.
Of course you'll want to look at the overall size of the cooktop to be sure it will fit the space you have available but beyond this, you'll want to assure it offers the number of cooking zones or burners that you'll need in order to cook a typical meal in your home. For a family of five, two burners won't be enough.
Obviously 3600 Watts of power will provide more and faster heat for cooking purposes than 1600 Watts. Beyond this however, considering the number of power levels matters too. The more power levels offered generally means more precise control.
Convenience and Safety Features
Of course you'll want to consider what features are important to you. Control locks to avoid accidentally changing settings while cleaning your cooktop, child safety locks, touch controls versus dials and buttons, timers, a rapid heating mode, and so forth are examples.