What is Induction Stove Top and How Does It Work?
Induction technology has been used in cooking since the early 1900s; however, it has only gained mainstream consideration in the United States in the past few decades. Manufacturers are now working to produce more cost and energy-efficient models, which are gaining popularity all over the world.
If you’re in the market for a new cooktop, you’ve got some options.
There are several different methods of stove heating, including gas and electricity, but many people are unaware that there is a third option called induction. While each hob has its own unique qualities, it's important to add to your kitchen collection a product that you can feel confident using every day.
Gas and electric cooking are the gold standards of most household kitchens, but we wanted to highlight the increasingly popular and dynamic cooking trend: induction. This cooking method has gained traction as of late because consumers are seeking out more energy-efficient cooking options.
What is an Induction Cooktop?
Let’s start with the basics. On the surface, induction cooktops look quite similar to standard glass-top electric cooktops, but an induction stovetop uses electromagnetic waves to heat cookware, essentially turning your pots and pans into their own heat source.
An induction cooktop is a cooking surface that heats by transferring currents from an electromagnetic field located below the glass surface directly to the magnetic induction cookware placed above.
Unlike thermal conduction, it heats this cookware directly without the need for a flame or burner. Because there is no heating of a separate element, an induction cooktop can heat cookware faster than any other medium. This temperature control typically leads to faster heating, especially during more time-consuming tasks such as boiling water.
Induction cooking surfaces are known to boil water 50 percent faster compared to their gas and electric counterparts, and they maintain a consistent temperature so occasional spills or boil-overs occur far less often.
How Does Induction Cooking Work?
Whereas gas and electric appliances might use thermal conduction to transfer heat from a burner to a pan to your food, induction cooking eliminates the middleman, working almost instantly to heat the cooking vessel itself.
An electric current passes through a coiled copper wire underneath the cooking surface, creating a magnetic current throughout the cookware. And the best part is, the entire cooktop remains cool-to-the-touch so burns become less of a worry. Induction cooking is known to be more efficient than traditional cooking methods because very little heat energy is lost during the process and you can heat your cookware without heating your entire kitchen. Additionally, the heat is directly sourced, which means the temperature tends to stay much steadier than electric or gas ranges as well.
What Types of Cookware Can Be Used with Induction Cooking?
Any cookware in your kitchen that features a magnetic base can be used on an induction cooktop surface. Common induction-compatible cookware includes cast iron and certain types of stainless steel. Stainless steel pots and pans that have nickel added to them are non-magnetic and can't be used with induction cookware. Common types of magnetic stainless steel include 430 stainless steel and 18/0 grade. To test your current cookware, you can simply hold a magnet up to the bottom of the pot or pan. If it strongly sticks, then that piece will work. If you’re purchasing new cookware, look for any type of “induction compatible” labeling.
An induction stovetop will not work with non-magnetic materials such as copper or aluminum.
What are the Benefits of Cooking with Induction?
In addition to faster boiling times and precise temperature control, the induction stove top also offer an easy-to-clean surface. Since heat is absorbed through the burners, the cooktop remains cool enough to wipe off spills and grease splatters smoothly before they fully char and burn onto your stove. Ambient heat from the cooker can still cause the cooking surface to heat up, but it cools down much faster than a traditional cooktop, so you can respond to messes quickly.
Induction is a much safer option because the stove doesn’t get scorching hot. If you have young children who like to get their hands on everything or unruly pets that like to jump up on kitchen surfaces, they can contact the appliance without getting burned.
If you want to know more about the difference between an induction stove top and an electric ceramic cooktop, you can read the previous article - What's the difference between a Ceramic and Induction Cooktop?
Follow Your Heart
When shopping for a new stove, decide which appliance model is best for your cooking needs. If you want to step out of your comfort zone and invest in a unique and dynamic kitchen appliance, induction hobs are a great choice. With faster heating, greater energy efficiency, and enhanced safety features, it seems like a no-brainer.