They’re sleek. They’re precise.
And they can boil water in about half the time of a conventional stove.
But are they right for your kitchen?
An induction cooktop is a special type of electric cooktop that gets power and precision from induction technology. This means it generates energy from an electromagnetic field below the glass cooktop surface, which then transfers current directly to magnetic cookware, causing it to heat up.
It works. Induction cooktops and ranges generally outperform every other kind of range, and new induction cooktops and ranges are eligible for a 20% incentive through Loup’s EnergyWise Program.
Induction Cooktops and Ranges: The Pros
There are plenty of things to love about induction ranges, whether you’re obsessed with perfectly prepped food or interested in energy efficiency. Here’s how they compare with gas and conventional electric ranges.
- They’re more environmentally friendly. An induction stove is 5 to 10 percent more efficient than conventional electric stoves and about three times more efficient than gas stoves. And unlike the case with gas, it’s better for indoor air quality.
- They have a built-in safety feature. If you turn on an induction burner with no pot on it by mistake, it won’t get hot. That’s because the heat is created from within the cookware itself; as soon as you remove it from a burner, that heating stops. Therefore, the glass surface never gets as hot as it would on a traditional radiant electric range. That surface might merely feel hot the way the kitchen counter feels hot if you were to put a pot of just-cooked soup on it.
- Food cooks faster. No other technology we’ve tested is speedier than induction. It cuts out the intermediate step of heating up an element and then transferring the heat to the pot. So compared with electric or gas, it cooks more quickly when you turn up the heat and responds faster when you dial it back down. You’ll find that 6 quarts of water will approach a boil 2 to 4 minutes sooner than on a gas or electric stove. Life-changing? Probably not. But definitely helpful when you’re making dinner on a busy weeknight.
- Meal prep is easier. With heat generating from within your pot or pan, induction ranges cook more precisely and evenly. No more simmering sauces that break into a splattering boil or chicken thighs that emerge from the pan scorched. As with other smoothtop electrics, induction surfaces are easy to wipe down, too.
Induction Cooktops and Ranges: The Cons
Before shopping for an induction cooktop or range, consider the cost and your cooking habits.
Here are a few pointers:
- It feels very different from cooking with gas. Some avid cooks really love cooking on a flame and the immediate visual feedback they get from it at the turn of the knob. No electric option, even induction, can replicate that feel. In fact, because the electromagnetic field on an induction cooktop doesn’t create a glow, you won’t even know it’s on. That’s why manufacturers have started adding virtual flames and other lighting cues.
- It can get expensive when you convert from gas to electric. If you’re replacing an electric range, the swap is simple. Induction cooktops and ranges use the same outlet as a standard electric range or cooktop. But if you’re switching from gas, expect to pay an electrician several hundred dollars or more to install the necessary outlet.
- It requires the right cookware. Magnetic cookware is needed for induction to work. If a magnet strongly sticks to the bottom of a pot, the cookware will work with an induction cooktop. Some stainless steel and cast iron cookware is induction-capable, and some isn’t. Those made of aluminum and anodized aluminum—won’t work on induction. If shopping for new cookware for an induction cooktop, look for pots and pans marked “induction-compatible.”
- It might emit a sound. There may be a noticeable buzz or hum, and often louder at higher settings, as well as the clicking of element electronics at lower settings or the sound of the cooling fan for the electronics. Heavy flat-bottomed pans help reduce the vibrations that cause this buzz.
- It requires going old school with an analog thermometer. The magnetic field of an induction cooktop can interfere with a digital meat thermometer.
- Induction cooktops and ranges are typically more expensive than conventional electric models. But prices have continued to drop in recent years, despite inflation.
— information from energy.gov