Induction cooktops and cooking methods have evolved recently and becoming popular. Because of this many homeowners have started to experience it’s pros and cons over conventional gas or electric cooking.
The advantages, disadvantages, benefits, problems, limitations, traits and usefulness will always vary from person to person, but there will always be some pros and cons that are universal no matter who uses the induction hobs for cooking. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Pros of induction cooktops and cooking system
1) As compared to standard electric or gas cooking ranges, induction ranges supply more energy to the vessel in which food is being coked. In gas cooking only 40% heat is actually transferred to the cooking vessel on top of the range and the remaining gets dissipated into surrounding atmosphere. This can make the cooking
area hotter and the person cooking around uncomfortable.
But in induction hobs the percentage of heat actually transferred to the cooking vessel is about 84%. This makes induction cooking much more efficient as compared to gas cooking. You get most of the energy transferred to the cooking vessel instead of getting wasted into atmosphere.
2) The speed with which heat is generated in the induction system is much faster that gas or electric stoves. Here is a video that shows how fast water boils in both gas vs induction hobs.
3) Power control in induction system is controlled by a programmed electrical circuit, which means it is much more precise than standard knob controls like in a gas range.
4) Most induction systems detect a vessel kept on it’s surface and if not found will display an error message. This means accidently no one can turn it on and keep it on for a long time. Most induction stoves have an auto-shut down facility if no vessel is kept on their surface for more than 60 seconds.
5) A vessel which is not compatible to detect electromagnetic waves generated by the induction range or hob, will not work and this will save energy. Some induction hobs can even detect a non-ferrous metallic vessel and refuse to function.
6) Most induction stoves have a timer system to shut down after specified time interval. This saves time as well as electrical consumption as unwanted operations are automatically shut down. If any person has a habit of forgetting things then this feature can be a great help.
7) Induction systems allow very precise control of heat flow into the cookware. You can control using the standard numbers system from 1-10 or using degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius or even in wattages. By having these many options, any person can choose the best possible system that suits his knowledge and experience and apply the perfect quantity of heat to the cookware and cook food of the best quality.
9) Most cooktops look very sophisticated with touch panels in front and a clean glass surface on top. Unlike most gas ranges which are ugly looking and heavy, induction cookers are extremely easy to clean and maintain. Just wipe the top glass surface once it gets a little cooler and you are done with cleaning.
10) Unlike gas or electric cooking ranges, induction hobs are very lightweight. You can even carry them from one room to another if the need arises and cook your favorite food right there.
Now let’s have a look at some cons of induction cooktops and cooking system
1) Induction cooking range work only and only on electricity. If areas where you live have problems of frequent power outages then relying solely on induction cooking systems will be a big problem. A typical solution would be to invest in hybrid systems that have induction as well as gas facility on them.
2) Some people do not have sufficient power supply necessary to run induction systems in their kitchen. In such cases you’ll need to upgrade your power supply that can safely carry the load required for induction ranges and this can be a little expensive. Most induction ranges require a 110V for a single burner cooktop and bigger if you want to go with an induction range.
3) In induction heat is generated using electromagnetism and vessels that are kept in the vicinity of their electromagnetism generate eddy currents that are responsible for heating the pot.
But the pot must be of a ferrous (containing iron) metal. Which means that not every and any metal will work on an induction cooktop? You can perform a simple experiment in your home for this. Take a simple magnet and stick it to the bottom of the top, if it sticks there without falling then this means that the metal has sufficient content of iron in it and it will work great on an induction hob.
If most of your cooking vessels, pots, pans and cookware are made with aluminum then they will not work with induction ranges. This means that for some people buying an induction ready cookware set or sets is an investment of money for long term use.
4) Most cookware with convex surfaces will not work well with an induction range.(for example a wok) In short if you do not have cookware with flat surfaces, you’ll need to buy them. Flat surfaces will be in the vicinity of the electromagnetism with much better effect than convex surfaces.
You must read the user manual that come with induction ranges that clearly mention the minimum and maximum diameter of the cooking vessel that will safely work on the cooking stove. This can be a great limiting point when it comes to cooking large volumes or quantities of food for some people.
On most induction hobs cooking area is marked with circles for minimum and maximum sizes for pot diameters. You cannot exceed these marking when it comes to sizes (in diameters) for your cookware. At the same time a vessel smaller than the smallest marking will not work for cooking anything.
However there is solution to this problem and many people say that this could be the future of induction stoves. “Zoneless” induction ranges are available in the market on which you don’t have the limitation of induction zones and no messing around with limited diameter circles and limited pot sizes. You simply place your induction ready pot anywhere on the surface and get the cooking job done.
5) Most induction hobs and ranges have an inbuilt electrical circuit that controls how and when electromagnetic energy is to be generated. The functioning of this system is out of reach of most common people.
If something goes wrong with the induction hob, then the only option remains is to wait for technical assistance from the manufacturer and this can be expensive in some cases. In most gas ranges, a simple mechanical control of knobs is used to control the gas flow and hence the heat generated. If something goes wrong any person with little knowledge can get along with it easily.
6) A round wok with concave bottom will not work with in induction cooker. This is because the cookware must be in contact with the bottom surface so that it can get heated. With a round wok very less area will be in actual contact with the bottom surface of the induction cooktop. A wok with flat bottom will definitely work with an induction cooktop because of obvious reason that the flat surface will be in contact with the glass surface.
7) I don’t know if this should be called as a con or not but some people don’t like the buzzing sound during initial startup of the induction. Actually the buzzing noise in induction totally depends on several things like
a) Cookware used
b) Size of cookware
c) Induction range model
d) Temperature settings in different ranges
In spite of all these many people have complained little about the buzzing noise in induction cooking.
8) Most induction stoves do not allow you to use griddle while cooking, which is very well common with a gas range. Many manufacturers will completely disallow you to use griddle to span across the width of the induction range or hob. In these ranges the area within which the electromagnetic waves will affect the pot is very limited and having a griddle across the width of the stove can be a big problem. Even you try to span it on the surface it won’t heat up because of the limitations of affecting area.
9) Many people who have used induction cooktops are not yet aware how to do
- Canning or pressure canning.
- How To flambé. For a flambé you need a flame of fire which is certainly not possible with an induction cooker.
- How to roast peppers with induction stove.
10) Many people have complained that since induction does not allow using aluminum cookware which is (lightweight) they must use heavy cast iron cookware and pots. In order to have electromagnetism turn it’s magic on it is necessary that pots, vessels and utensils used for cooking must have iron content in them. Because of this heavy cookware, the bottom glass surface of the induction stove may get scratches when food is stirred in the cookware and over a period of time this looks really ugly.
Easy workaround to this is using paper napkins between the cookware and bottom glass surface. This prevents getting the glass scratches as well as sliding of the pans while stirring.
11) Still for many people cooking is like passion and an art and this truly can be experienced only with REAL fire the way it gets generated in a gas range and not with invisible source of heat like induction.
12) This is not a universal law but some people say that a home with gas cooking range has more resale value than a one with an induction cooking range. I know this sounds stupid but some people do believe this to be true. If you are selling a house with an existing gas range and gas connection installed there is more chance of getting it sold immediately. Though this is not a rule in itself, it can be considered as a con for induction systems as still many people don’t know the induction technology.
Whether you decide to go in for induction cooktop or not it is always better to read reviews of induction cooktops and get yourself educated about experiences of real users who are already cooking using this new technology.