Induction cooktops are becoming all the rage in a new kitchen. While many people are adopting induction cooktops into their kitchen designs, many people are also uncertain about all the hype. Here we will go through what they are, what they do, the benefits of induction and popular ones currently available in Australia.
What Are Induction Cooktops?
Traditional methods used to generate heat to cook food include gas and ceramic.
Gas cooktops burn gas to heat a pot or pan. The pan distributes the heat and cooks the food. Ceramic cooktops heat an element via electrical currents, which then heats the pan and cooks the food.
Induction cooktops stand apart from these familiar heating methods. Induction Cooktops use electromagnetic energy to cook food. The heat is not transferred from gas or an element. The cooking vessel (pot, pan, etc.) itself becomes the original generator of the cooking heat.
How Does Induction Work?
- A copper coil sits invisibly underneath the surface of the cooktop. When the cooktop is in use, low current electricity flows through the coil.
- The electric flow is alternates, producing both a strong current and a magnetic field.
- The pot used for cooking must be made out of electrically conductive materials such as magnetic-grade stainless steel or iron.
- Once the pot has been detected, the magnetic field induces an electric current with-in the pot, heating the pot and its’ contents
Induction cooktops can detect whether a pot is present (or if it’s contents are boiled dry) as it is generated by an electric current that can monitor power absorption. The surface is made from ceramic/glass material which is a poor conductor of heat, so it often remains cool to touch once the pot has been removed. Less heat transference also makes it more energy efficient.
Induction cooktops, however, are often more expensive than gas or ceramic tops. In time, we expect prices to come down and the technology to advance. We should start to see more flexinduction (flexible induction cooking zones) cooktop models available at reasonable prices.
The Pros and Cons
Thinking of transferring over from gas or electric to an induction cooktop? We compiled a list of pros and cons to help you decide.
- Rapid heating. It takes approximately two minutes to bring 1L to the boil, compared with eight minutes on a gas cooktop.
- Instant temperature changes. Change is reflected instantly when you change the temperature, similar to gas.
- Safety. The surface doesn’t heat up and only gets as hot as the pot does. In most cases it is safe to touch shortly after you remove the pot.
- Easy to clean. The flat ceramic surface can be wiped easily. Spilled food does not burn, as the surface does not heat up.
- Energy efficient. A low current of electricity is needed and there is little transfer heat lost.
- Pricey. Although the prices are coming down for induction cooktops, they are still more expensive than ceramic or gas cooktops.
- Inflexibility of cookware. You will probably need to invest in a set of new cookware, as induction cooktops cannot use aluminium, glass, pyrex or copper. High grade stainless steel and iron are good heat conductors.
- Undefined cooking zone. The cooking zone on some models are not clearly defined, so you have to watch where you place your pots.
- Susceptible to damage. The glass ceramic cooktop can get damaged by sliding pans and high impact. Aluminium foil can melt on the top and cause permanent damage.
- Buzzing sound. There may be a small buzzing noise associated with the magnetic field when in use.
Popular Induction Cooktops
Omega Induction Cooktop O164BB
LED touch controls
Child safety lock
Residual heat indicators
Electrolux Induction Cooktop EHD68210p
Auto warm-up function
9 heat settings and boost on all zones
Stop and go function
Child safety device
Neff Flexinduction Cooktop T44T97N0
Removable magnetic central control
Residual heat indicator, LED display and timer
Induction cooktops are fast, energy efficient, and easy-to-clean. The ability to control heat instantly, and it’s appealing safety features make induction cooktops a great choice of appliance. The initial cost may be higher than traditional cooktops, but the benefits will pay off if you love cooking.