What is an Induction Cooktop
Electric Induction or an induction cooktop uses magnetic currents to directly heat your pots and pans. Because the energy is directly focused on the metal of the cooking surface rather than an entire surface, electric induction provides perhaps the fastest and most efficient way to cook. Only the pan is heated and not the surface surrounding it.
How Induction Stove Works
An induction cooktop uses magnetic energy to create electric currents which heat metal pots and pans. With induction, only the metal surface area of the pan is affected, so there is little or no wasted heat or energy. Hence, the benefit of electric induction cooking is ultra-fast heat-up times, and better control of cooking temperatures. While there are pros and cons to any technology, electric induction does have its advantages and disadvantages as mentioned above. Here is a bit more about the pros and cons of electric induction. Let’s get the cons out of the way, first.
Induction Cooktop Cons
If electric induction sounds like the greatest invention since sliced bread then why doesn’t everybody own an induction cooktop? The biggest, initial drawback to the induction cooktop or induction range is probably cost. An induction range costs 4 – 8 times more than a traditional, electric cooking range. Fortunately, there are great deals to be had which I will share with you a little bit later. The 2nd factor that pushes some people away from electric induction is that they require induction-ready cookware. Basically, that means your cookware needs to be magnetic. So, any pan that will attract a magnet will work on your induction stove. To be sure, bring along a magnet with you next time you shop for cookware. Many new cookware will have a label on them stating that it is ‘induction-ready’. Stainless steel and cast iron are the two, most obvious choices when it comes to choosing induction cookware. One important consideration is that there are still many choices which are non-stick such as ceramic and porcelain which are made with magnetic cores and are induction-ready. Really, the only other con I can think of to electric induction is that controlling the heat may not be as intuitive to us. Mostly, this is just a matter of getting used to the ultra-fast and efficient way in which induction works. This brings us to the induction cooktop pros.
Induction Cooktop Pros
Induction cooking is ultra fast. I can boil 500 milliliters of water (see below) in less than half a minute. Because induction only works when there is a magnetic current, this means it is very efficient at controlling the temperature. You can heat things up and cool things down much more quickly than you can with a traditional electric cooktop. Electric induction saves energy over traditional, electric cooking. The other benefit of this is safety. If you leave a burner turned on without a pan touching it, there are no worries about anything burning. Why might you want an induction cooktop over a gas stove?
Induction vs. Gas
Fire is a very natural way to cook and gas provides you with a real, flame. However, gas stoves have their own problems. From my experience, gas stoves tend to be very difficult to find the lowest flame setting. An induction cooktop provides you with precise, numbers to gauge the temperature. With induction, there is no guessing of your dialed-in temperature. Since gas stoves can be left on without a pan they are not as safe. Even when the flame is out, gas stoves continue to push natural gas fumes into your kitchen and home. Of course, gas stoves also require natural gas to be piped into your kitchen. On the flip-side of that, gas stoves are less expensive, so the extra cost for natural gas installation is more than a wash. Finally, most head-to-head performance tests reveal that you can boil water faster on an induction stove than a gas stove. Electric induction is more energy efficient than gas. With induction 80-90% of the energy is directly focused on the food. With electric stoves the efficiency is just 70%, and only 38% for gas.
Boiling Water on an Induction Stove
Best Induction Range
The best induction range has to be reasonably priced. When I bought the Kenmore Elite Induction Range last September for just $1,355.00 on Amazon I really lucked out. If you visit the link today, you will see that it is currently unavailable. While I really do like everything about this induction range, I think what I really like best is simply the induction technology. Cooking with induction is fast and fun! One thing that was important to me about this induction range was the knob, heat controls for each burner. The digital, up-and-down arrow keys on some induction models would feel difficult for me to control. The Kenmore Elite has 4-Induction burners, 1 warming zone burner, full convection roasting/baking oven, and a warming drawer underneath. The black-stainless looks really nice.
If you are interested in an induction range, below are some other models that might suit you just as well: