Induction cooktop mini guide


Induction cooktops can make converts, with power and performance as good as or better than gas. We look at the features to consider when buying one.

If you’re planning to go all-electric—to reduce your bills and carbon footprint as suggested by ATA analysis (see—you’re going to need an electric cooktop. Not so long ago, that meant an element-style cooktop with all the downsides that went with that: slow response to turning the heat up or down and the consequent risk of burnt fingers (or melted implements) as the elements stayed hot for a long time after being turned off. Many keen cooks favoured gas cooking for these reasons—but induction cooktops are changing that.

Should I go induction?
In ReNew, we’ve recently covered several stories about readers’ satisfaction with the switch to induction; in fact, many would call themselves induction converts who would never go back to gas.

Fans of induction cooktops cite many advantages—fast performance, excellent temperature control from low to high, increased safety as the cooktop doesn’t get as hot, ease of cleaning of the flat surface and, last but not least, energy efficiency.

There are a couple of disadvantages which can make the switch more costly for some. One is that you may need to replace your saucepans and frypans. Most new cookware is induction-compatible, but some older cookware fails the ‘magnet’ test. See ‘Cookware requirements’ for more on this.

Another potential cost is that you may need an upgrade of your electrical switchboard or the wiring to your kitchen. Induction cooktops have varying power requirements, but all are likely to require 20 amps or higher, up to 42 amps. See ‘Installation and power requirements’ below for more on this.

Cooking with science
The speedy performance of induction cooktops can seem like magic, particularly if you’ve experienced the slow response of electric element cooktops. But it all comes down to science.

They work by producing an oscillating magnetic field. Because the magnetic field is constantly changing, it induces a matching flux into any magnetic cookware on the cooktop. This induces very high currents in the cookware, causing the cookware to get hot due to the metal’s electrical resistance.

Because the pot is heated directly by the magnetic field, the amount of power being fed to the pot, and hence the running temperature of the pot, can be varied almost instantly, giving induction cooktops heat control capabilities as good as or better than gas.

Features and considerations
When you’re buying an induction cooktop, there are a few considerations to make sure that the cooktop you buy will suit your needs and will be easy to use.

Featured image: Samsung

Read the full article in ReNew 142.