Ever since early humans discovered how to make fire, people have been eager to cook with it. Over time, cooking techniques have become ever more sophisticated and efficient and more portable and compact. Today, one of the leading and most benefit-rich cooking methods is called "induction."
We are seeing a lot of interest in induction cooktops and ranges. Induction is the fastest-growing cooking technology in the United States. Industry-wide, induction kitchen appliances represent about 10% of the range and cooktop sales. We expect that number will increase in the future as more consumers are learning about the benefits of induction.
In this article, learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using an induction cooktop to do your cooking.
Induction Cooking Explained
Induction is a term that refers to a specific method for generating heat. A traditional electric stove uses radiant heat to cook your food. A microwave oven uses micro, or small energy waves, to do the same. An induction range uses electromagnetism to cook food inside the pot or pan.
With induction, there is an electromagnetic reaction between the burner and the pot or pan itself. If there is no pot or pan on the burner, just turning the burner on will not generate any heat. The key to making an induction cooktop or range work is to use a specific type of pot. You need to use a magnetic pot or pan to generate the electromagnetic reaction to cook the food. Typically, this will mean using cast iron or magnetic stainless steel. An easy test is to take a refrigerator magnet and hold it up to your pots and pans. If it sticks, your pan should work on an induction cooking surface.
What appliances have induction?
AJ Madison carries the widest selection of home appliances. You can shop over 200 induction ranges and cooktops on our site from over 30 different brands.
Next to professional gas cooktops and ranges, induction is a top choice. Consumers choose induction for its cleanability, safety, speed, and efficiency. The great thing is there is an extensive assortment of induction cooktops and ranges to choose from. There is an induction product for every space and budget.
For large kitchens, we typically specify a big 36-inch cooktop paired with a double wall oven, steam oven, microwave drawer, perhaps even a pizza oven! This way, home cooks have more space to spread out.
In a medium or small-size kitchen, ranges are the top choice. Overall, most buyers are choosing induction ranges as they are budget-friendly and can easily replace an old electric range.
How much does induction cost?
Induction is more affordable than ever. We are seeing more brands offer induction cooktops and ranges so everyone can enjoy the benefits of this amazing technology. To test if your cookware is induction-ready, simply place a refrigerator magnet on the bottom of your pan. If the magnet sticks to the bottom, your cookware will work great on induction.
Wi-Fi-connected smart appliances are more popular than ever before. Connecting your new induction appliance to your home Wi-Fi network can deliver a new range of benefits including built-in guided recipes, remote control from your smart speaker, and remote diagnostics for an easier service experience. We love smart induction cooktops and ranges with built-in recipes so you can expand your culinary skills and make amazing meals the whole family will enjoy.
We find that some consumers are interested in induction cooking, but are hesitant to commit to a full induction surface. Some pro ranges deliver the best of both worlds, a pro gas range with induction cooking elements. So instead of all gas burners on the top, select pro ranges come with a few induction burners for added versatility.
Fisher and Paykel recently released a 48-inch dual fuel range with 4 powerful gas burners and 4 induction burners. It's the first of its kind to offer half gas and half induction.
5 Pros of Using an Induction Cooktop
These pros are your payoff when you switch to induction-based cooking.
1. Induction cooking is fast.
Because of the rapid response of the electromagnetic cycle, you can shave up to 50 percent off your average cook times for many of your favorite meals.
Induction cooktops use electromagnetism to excite the molecules in your pots and pans. This magnetic field vibration creates heat, which cooks your food. Induction works instantaneously, so your pan will create heat in seconds. You can boil a small pot of water in less than two minutes, which is far faster than most gas, radiant electric cooktops, and coil top cooking elements.
Induction also affords you the benefit of control. Induction burners respond immediately so you can go from a rolling boil down to a simmer in seconds.
2. Induction cooking is planet-friendly.
Since induction cooking is faster than traditional stovetop cooking, it also uses less energy. It generates almost less residual heat (any heat will be in the pot or pan and not coming from the stovetop itself). This makes for less energy usage and lower energy bills.
Induction is the most energy-efficient cooking technology. It heats your pan right away; it's said that 90% of induction heat reaches your food. That amount of heat far exceeds traditional gas or electric heating elements.
Induction also requires less ventilation so it's a great solution for city dwellers, or homes where venting outside is not possible. When it comes to energy efficiency, induction is a clear winner.
3. Induction cooking is safer - especially with kids and pets nearby.
Induction uses the electromagnetic reaction to heat the contents in the pan or pot. The burner will remain less hot than regular electric burners throughout the process. Within a few minutes of turning off the burner, both the pan and burner become much cooler, making burns much less likely.
Induction is the safest method of cooking. It's a great option if you live with young children or aging family members. You can't turn on an induction cooktop by accident. Since induction causes the pan to heat up, it won't turn on unless you place an induction-ready pot or pan on the surface.
Induction cooktops are smart. If the appliance senses a boilover, most will turn off automatically. Induction heats the cookware, not the glass. This means that the glass is far less likely to cause cooking burns.
4. Induction cooktops almost never make a mess.
Unless there is an outright spill, cleaning up after a session of induction cooking is a breeze. The glass cooktop requires only a wipe down and since the stove stays relatively cool throughout, food seldom sticks to it.
Induction cooktops are different than radiant electric cooktops. With regular electric cooktops, a heating coil under the cooking surface heats the glass which heats your pan. When you cook the glass surface gets scorching hot. If you spill when you cook on a radiant electric cooktop, you will notice burnt circles over time which can be difficult to clean.
Induction is different in that the inductors cause your pan to heat up, not the glass. Although the glass under your cookware will be quite warm, you are less likely to experience those hard-to-clean messes. This means your induction range or cooktop will look brand new for years to come.
After you finish cooking, you can wipe your induction surface down right away with a damp cloth or paper towel making it easy to clean as you go. For even easier clean-up, you can place a towel under your cookware to catch splatter, so cool!
5. Ease of Installation
Induction cooktops and ranges are easy to install and can go anywhere in your home. If you have an old electric range, you can easily replace it with an induction model. Just make sure to check the specs to ensure your electrical breaker has enough amps. Induction cooktops come in all shapes and sizes and can make a great addition to a guest suite, pool house, in-law apartment, or even your home office.
5 Cons of Using an Induction Cooktop
Here are five cons that can arise from switching to induction cooking. Overall, I'm a huge fan of induction, but like with everything else you buy, it's good to be prepared!
1. Induction appliances are more expensive.
Since induction is still a relatively new technology, an induction cooktop is going to cost more than the same-sized gas or traditional electric cooktop.
2. Special cookware is required.
You must use magnetic cookware or the induction process won't work correctly and your food won't cook. For some, this may require investing in cookware as well as the induction cooktop.
3. Induction cooktops make noise.
It sounds kind of like a soft buzz, a hum or a floor fan, depending on who you ask. This is usually a result of the type of cookware you use and not the cooktop itself. Cheaper stainless-steel pans can produce more noise than heavier pans made from cast iron.
4. You have to do your prep work early.
This is not necessarily a con, however if you are used to a traditional electric cooktop, induction is much faster. Make sure you cut your vegetables before turning up the burner becuase it will be up to temperature in no-time!
5. You won’t be able to cook if the power goes out.
If you are a gas cooktop enthusiast, you may have had occasion to appreciate being able to eat a warm meal even during a power outage. This won't be the case with induction cooking, which requires electric power to work.
For many, the pros outweigh the cons as induction cooking is the fastest-growing cooking method. By understanding what you get and what you give up with induction cooking, you can make an informed decision about which method is best for you.