We all are aware that friction creates heat. We have been taught since childhood that rubbing our hands in cold season keeps them warm. The faster we rub the warmer the hands become.
Following the same principle, instead of friction being created in hands, it is created by the electrons inside the cookware.
While gas or electric requires turning on a heat source, induction cooking makes a heat source out of the cookware itself.
The word ‘Induction’ is a short form of electromagnetic induction.
It generates electricity using magnetism. The theory that goes is that when a fluctuating current goes down a wire, it creates an invisible pattern of magnetism all around it.
When induction is powered on, an electromagnetic current begins flowing through its coil. When we place induction compatible cookware on top of induction, the currents will pull the pans electrons into a formation.
The electrons react stubbornly and try to resist the formation. This constant pull and push of the electrons create friction inside the cookware.
Increasing the current creates more resistance. This results in an increase in friction and increased friction as we know – creates more heat.
When you are done with cooking and switch off the current, the induction cools down the moment it loses contact with an electric current (which means it cools down almost instantly).
I am a huge fan of Induction cooking, but it does come with a little bot of negatives (and a lot of positives as well).
Induction Cooking – Pros and Cons
In this article, I will give you a complete view to give you the pros and cons of induction cooking.
Pros of Induction Cooking
Let’s start with the goodness (the pros of induction cooking).
It’s energy efficient
In Induction cooking, the energy is not wasted heating up the burner or element and then the vessel. Instead, all the energy goes straight into the cookware.
According to UK based trade magazine ‘caterer’, when a person uses induction, more than 90% of every pound spent on energy goes straight into the pan.
Food cooked with induction receives about 90% of the heat generated.
US Department of energy did some water boiling tests to see the efficiency of various cooktops. Induction efficiency was found to be 84%.
When the induction is not in contact with any vessel and is in power mode, no energy will be lost as no heat will be produced. Even if we increase the temperature there will be no energy produced or lost. That is because there is no magnetic force produced.
It also distributes heat more evenly across the entire cookware while cooking.
It saves time (cooks faster)
As soon as the power is switched on, the heat is almost instantaneous. The pot and whatever is inside it heats up at lightning speed.
The time taken to cook is ~50% faster with Induction cooktops.
Water can be brought to boil in just 90 seconds. It heats up and cools down very speedily.
According to a lab record, the time taken to bring 6 cups ounces of water into boiling temperature by induction cooktop was the fastest (3 minutes 7 seconds). The newer inductions can boil even faster.
Induction stoves are highly responsive.
The strength of the electromagnetic field can be easily controlled. This means one can control the temperature precisely.
It might take time to get used to cooking without watching the flame or element, but with practice, you will be able to know precisely which temperature you should use for excellent results.
Consistent cooking for a long duration or quick cooking in a hurry, both can be managed precisely and accurately.
It’s comfortable to use
Since almost all the heat is going directly to the food, there is no heat dissipating into the atmosphere and causing discomfort to the person cooking.
It provides a cool comfortable atmosphere for cooking. It is a boon especially in hot summers where temperatures are 40-degree centigrade and above.
If there is no adequate ventilation in the kitchen, it is fine as it does not release smoke or heat into the atmosphere.
Many of new induction cooktops have built-in temperature settings which are wifi or smart device controlled.
Another comfort factor is that it can be used around children and there is no danger of them getting burned or inhaling vapors of CO2 or smoke. Since the rest of the induction remains cool, there is no harm if they bump or inquisitively touch the cooktop.
Since there is no flame there is no risk of burning. It can be easily switched on and off. Accidentally touching will also not cause any burns since the induction remains cool in other parts.
There is no fear of gas leaks. There is no worry about gas fumes or leaving the electric socket on since it will only work with cookware on top.
Newer innovations have brought built-in sensors which will automatically switch off the induction if its left switched on accidentally or an empty cooking vessel is kept on it.
There are also sensors which automatically shut the induction off if the cooking vessel overheats. There are mild traces of residual transient heat which quickly dissipates.
They can be locked, preventing children to change the setting. They also have time control features.
Related Article: Is Induction Cooking Safe?
Portable + Easy to Install
Now since the induction cooktop is only a couple of inches thick, it can be easily installed (and can be carried easily).
It requires no more than 2 inches of depth vertically below the countertop surface when fixed.
They can be fitted to any height and that’s why they are adaptable. It works great for physically handicapped or wheelchair-bound people who want a low-level fitting cooktop.
Since it requires only an electrical socket to work, it can be carried easily and used anywhere in the house on in your RV.
Once it is purchased, it does not require a lot of things for installation. It only requires an electric socket of a 220-240V electrical outlet.
It requires very little power, lesser than an electric iron or water heater. Almost all homes have an electrical socket which can be used.
Easy to Clean
As the cooking vessel is the only source of heat, there is no risk of food burning into the cooktop.
Also with precise temperature control, there is no risk of spillage
With the rest of the induction remaining cool, there is no risk of baking of spilled food residues.
Since the surface is quite smooth, it can be easily wiped without much effort. A gentle wipe with the damp cloth followed by a wipe with a dry cloth after every use is sufficient.
In case of burning gas, byproducts vaporize but eventually condense on the surface of the cooktop. There is no such condensation in case of Induction cooktops.
Also Read: How to Clean an Induction Cooktop
CONS of Induction Cooking
While there are many great things about induction cooking, there are a few negatives as well.
Needs Induction Ready Cooking vessels
The induction vessels should be flat, smooth and magnetic.
So it requires a ferrous metal for cookware. A method to check would be to use an ordinary magnet on the base or bottom of the cookware. If it sticks, it will work in induction cooking.
Stainless steel works quite well on induction cooktops.
Cast iron cookware and enameled cast iron also work on induction stoves. Some cast iron cookware has a rough base and may cause scratches to the induction surface. It’s best to use a parchment paper in between the cast iron cookware and the induction surface.
Aluminum, glass and copper cookware cannot be used for inductions.
If one purchases an all-metal induction it will cost more and use high frequencies. The other option is that after investing in induction, one invests in the converter. These are iron plates which fit between the cookware bottom and the cooktop.
Can be a bit Noisy
At high powered settings there can be some noises like lighter weight lids vibrating, the vibration of pans with irregular bottoms and vibration due to loose fitting handles of the cookware.
To dissipate excess heat, fan sound can be heard sometimes on high settings.
However, some units have a fan and some don’t. There can also be occasionally a ticking sound due to power controllers cycling the element on and off to keep the power steady and stable.
Food cannot be charred
Food cannot be charred since there is no flame.
For those wanting to roast peppers or marshmallows on a flame, induction cooktop is a setback.
Initial Cost can be high
A good quality cooktop will require you to shell out extra cash.
Only the initial purchase cost will be expensive. Nowadays due to intense competition and public awareness, the price ranges are falling in the US and people are opening up their kitchen to induction cooking.
Also purchasing induction friendly cookware can be costly.
In some units, very small pots and pans will not be detected. The minimum base size is 4-5 inches depending on the particular unit.
On the other extremes, the bases with more than 12-14 inches also create issues.
To overcome this some inductions (not all) have a feature like an element bridging.
Usually, cast iron and stainless steel will rapidly and evenly spread the heat throughout the cooking area. Hence this is a minor issue and not a major con.
For those who use unusually big or larger cookware, nowadays there are zoneless units which will take the shape and size of any cookware that is used to cook.
Can Interfere with Pacemakers & digital meat thermometers
Induction cooking may not be safe for patients on pacemakers or similar medical device which is sensitive to electromagnetic induction.
More details can be found in the research done here.
Repairs can be costly
Repairing an induction cooktop may require special tools and equipment.
This is because it relies on solid state circuitry. Repairing or replacing them will require skilled professionals and can be heavy on the pocket.
Smooth tops are susceptible to scratches. Care should be taken not to drag the cookware over the cooktop and not to handle it roughly while placing or removing.
Induction cooktops are the most advanced and superior technology today.
They are very easy to learn and use. The cooking process is very fast. It is convenient for those wanting to save time.
Having built-in sensors and child locks is the safest feature any cooktop can provide
Its portability and ease of installation give a wide range of possibilities for placement and ease. That gives the consumer the freedom to cook in his/her style. It also does not require a lot of space
It can even be used in those kitchens where there is not much ventilation. It doesn’t require chimneys or windows or exhaust to remove fumes.
It is worth the investment. While purchasing it is a good idea to ensure some sort of warranty coverage to overcome the odds of repair and maintenance if needed.
The pros clearly beat the cons. No longer will cooking be a sweaty, long, dangerous task it once used to be.
Lastly, always try to get the best for yourself and know that induction is the best option present as of now.
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