Induction Cooktop Vs Gas Cooktop – Which one is better?

Induction Cooktops Vs Gas Cooktops

As far as familiarity is concerned, many people are loyal to Gas cooktop as a gas pipeline is what they have been using for most of their lives and they are familiar and content with installing the gas pipeline and using it for cooking.

Newer technologies in the last decade have brought induction cooking as a new method of cooking. The attraction brings with it is speed and no fuel requirement.

In this article. I will be comparing Induction cooking with Gas cooking and compare these on various parameters to show you which one is the right choice for you.

Induction Vs Gas Cooktops – Mechanism of action

Let’s first start with gas cooktops.

It consists of a gas pipeline, a rotating knob to regulate the amount of fuel and two or more burners on which cookware is kept for food to be cooked. Multiple burners allow different foodstuff to be cooked simultaneously. The flame comes out from the tiny holes of the burners.

To light, the burner one needs to rotate the knob. This provides a sufficient amount of fuel to the burner. A gas lighter consisting of piezoelectric crystals and a hammer is used to provide the necessary spark to the fuel in order to light it.

The cookware is placed on the burner. The flame raises the surface temperature of the utensil with the help of which food inside starts to cook. The flame can be increased or decreased by increasing or decreasing the amount of fuel reaching the burner with the help of the knob.

And now let’s see how induction cooktops work.

The word induction is a short form of electromagnetic induction. It generates electricity using magnetism.

Beneath the glass/ceramic plate lies a coil of copper wire. With the help of an electrical socket, an alternating current is passed through it. This alternating current produces a fluctuating magnetic field that will indirectly produce heat.

In Induction cooking, one needs an electrical outlet and specific cookware which can be used on induction. Once the cookware is placed and the power is switched on, the magnetic field produced by the cooktop penetrates the metal of the cookware.

So we have a fluctuating magnetic field moving around and inside the cookware ( base and inside of the utensil)  and that makes an electric current flow through the cookware.

Now this current produced is a kind of whirling swirling current with lots of energy but nowhere to go. It is called an eddy current. This eddy current swirls and dissipates energy inside the utensil.

This leads to utensil becoming hot and heats up food inside by conduction and convection. Conduction means the heat energy is directly transferred into food and in convection, liquid food rises and falls in the utensil carrying heat energy with it.

The materials most inductions work on should have ferrous metal such as cast iron or stainless steel.

Most of the induction cooktops cannot heat copper or aluminum or glass because the magnetic field cannot produce a concentrated current. A method to check is to place a magnet underneath the utensil. If it sticks then it is induction friendly.

There are some new technologies coming in the market like all metal induction tops which use much higher frequencies. In these inductions, cookware of any material can be used if placed on a suitable metal disk which functions as a conventional hotplate.

Let us compare Induction cooktop Vs Gas Cooktop with some important factors regarding both of the cooktops which can help you decide which one to choose

Visualization of Cooking

One of the things people like about gas cooking is that it’s easy to see the flames.

The flame in gas cooktops can be visualized and can be increased or decreased according to convenience.

To overcome this in Induction cooktops, the new models of induction cooktops feature LED flames to give a visual idea to the cook about the intensity of heat.

Verdict: Gas cooktops are better if you are more comfortable when you see the actual flames while cooking.

Energy efficiency

Induction cooktops are more energy efficient when it comes to cooking. Food cooked over induction will receive about 90% of the heat generated.

On the other hand, food cooked over the gas top will receive 40-55% of the heat generated.

Consistent cooking for long durations or quick cooking both can be efficiently managed in induction cooking.

The time taken to cook is ~50% faster in induction cooktop

The US Department of energy did some water boiling tests to come up with the efficiency of various cooktops. The gas cooktop was found to be efficient around 40% with regards to heat transferred to the cookware.

The efficiency of induction cooktop was found to be 84% with regard to the heat transferred to the pan kept on top.

But hold on.

When we look at the larger picture that includes primary and secondary sources of energy we should know that cooking gas is a primary source of energy.

This means it is directly used in the form available in the environment. Electricity, on the other hand, is a secondary source of energy. Either coal or gas is used to generate electricity. There are transmission losses and generation losses of energy with electricity.

This means by the time electricity reaches our homes, a lot of energy is already lost.

The conclusion of this debate is that when we keep in mind the larger picture of losses incurred before electricity reaches homes along with efficiency both the sources work out the same efficiency.

Verdict: Induction cooktops are more energy efficient

Accidents and Burns

There is less risk in induction cooking when compared to gas cooking.

That is because there is no open flame and the cookware and the place where the cookware is kept is the only source which is heated while the rest of the induction remains cool.

If there is no utensil kept on the induction then no heat is produced. This makes it almost a no risk for burns.

However, one should switch off the induction and let it cool down before cleaning. There is also no fear of gas leaks and can be used around children.

The flame over the gas cooktop can be controlled only up to a limit and can burn or cause a fire. If oil gets spilled, it can lead to a bigger fire.

Some gas cooktops manufacturers place a low-quality rotary knob as a cost-cutting technique. What happens is that even when the knob is in off position, a small amount of gas leaks consistently into the surroundings. Since the gas is highly flammable, a spark can cause massive fire or cylinder burst in such cases.

Verdict: Induction cooktops are safer and there is an extremely low chance of any accidents of burns

Comfort when Cooking

Lack of flames in induction cooking keeps the kitchen cooler and comfortable while cooking. Its an asset in hot climates where the temperature goes up to 40 degrees.

Unless there is a utensil on top of the stove, no heat is produced (which also saves energy and any chances of accidents).

In the case of gas stoves, it heats up the surrounding. That can increase the cooling bills if the surrounding environment is air-conditioned.

A ceiling fan cannot be used.  The flames produce CO2. Adequate ventilation is required to remove fumes with the help of exhaust, chimneys, etc.

Another comfort factor in induction cooktop is temperature control.

Nowadays many induction cooktop temperatures are wifi or smart device controlled. Some inductions feature built-in timers and built-in temperature sensors. Some switch off automatically when switched on without keeping a utensil or keeping an empty one by mistake.

However one can use only flat surface utensils in case of induction cookware.

On the other hand gas cooktop also have a comfort level due to easy to use manual knobs to increase or decrease the flame.  Some Gas cooktops have inner and outer rings to place different size utensils on the same burner. Others have three or four different sizes of burners to capacitate different cooking vessel sizes.

One drawback is that ideal temperature and heat cannot be maintained in gas cooktop whereas in induction the exact temperature and heat can be maintained.

As far as switching on and off are concerned both are comfortably switched on and off. Most inductions automatically switch off as soon as cookware is removed from the cooktop. Some of them are cool to touch within seconds.

Since only the place where cookware is kept gets heated up and the rest of the induction remains cool if children accidentally end up touching the induction they won’t get burnt. This is not the case unfortunately in gas cooktop.

One advantage of a gas cooktop is that it can be used even when there is a power cut. Since induction cooktop works on a constant supply of electricity, it does not work in power cuts.

The gas cooktop can be used to roast certain foods directly on fire flame like marshmallows, peanuts, etc. Tossing around fried noodles or rice can be challenging as they can be stir-fried in the induction and not tossed around.

As far as the comfort level in terms of portability is concerned, induction is a portable device which only needs a socket. So it can be moved to a new location inside the kitchen or home. Gas cooktop, on the other hand, is fixed as it needs a stove with a gas pipeline.

Now since gas cooktops have been used since ages, this can also be an asset where one can cook using high, medium and low flames and does not get into precise temperatures. To shift from flame heat settings and cook on precise temperature settings on Induction requires practice and time.

Verdict: Induction cooktops are more comfortable, especially because it doesn’t release excessive heat while cooking

Cost-effectiveness

As far as budget is concerned, it depends on the readiness of the kitchen environment. For example, if there is no gas line or gas stove, one may require a good amount of budget to buy a gas stove and install a gas line.

If there is an electric socket, then induction cooktop requires an only 220-240V electrical outlet. It requires very little power, lesser than electric iron or water heater and is economical. However to purchase an induction cooktop will be costly.

Also, different pots, pans, and cookers will be required in case of induction cooking as only specific materials can be used on an Induction cooktop.

In gas cooktops, one can use any type of utensils especially those with round bottoms.

Gas cooktops, due to their less complex design do not require replacement of any parts. The metal burners can withstand heavy weights and rough textures.

Verdict: If you already have a gas pipeline, gas cooktops are going to be more cost-effective. But if you don’t have a gas pipeline, induction cooktops are more cost-efficient.

Cleaning wise

In this regard cleaning, induction cooktop wins hands down. After every use, there is not much to clean and wipe with a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth mop.

The cooktop of the stove can get burnt due to high flame and it needs cleaning and mopping with extra care especially near small holes where the flame come out from. Sometimes the holes get blocked.

Spillage is quite common in gas cooktops. One needs a good working lighter as well in traditional gas stoves.

However, most modern gas stoves come with a built-in lighter.  Removable parts like knobs, burners, and grates should be washed and placed back.

Verdict: Induction Cooktops are way easier to clean

Conclusion

What will ultimately help you reach a decision is your personal preference, budget, style, and availability of options like gas pipeline or stove and type of cooking vessels.

If you’re a nomad and have electric power supply then opting for induction is the best option for you. It will remove you from the headache of gas lines etc.

Another important factor is the roasting food. Now, for some, this is a very important part of our meal and cannot be neglected. The only solution for this is Gas cooktop. Roasting by burning the skin of vegetables is another common dish which cannot be made without flame.

If you’re a novice in Induction cooking be prepared for over and undercooked as one is not able to equate the gas cooktop flame with precise temperature and power control of Induction. It will require a little bit of getting used to before mastering induction cooktops.

To be fair, it is the same when one just starts gas cooktop cooking. A lot of trials and errors makes one perfect.

Remember a lot of failures and sweat and uneatable cooked food go into the making of a master chef who is competent in the art of cooking both on Gas and Induction.

Having said that I personally recommend an induction cooktop due to to the ease of usage and low-maintenance.

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