Most cooks are on the lookout for better and faster cooking methods, but environmental concerns have made finding energy-efficient options a priority as well. Induction cooking is often considered the one method that fulfills all of these needs. Utilizing a high-frequency electromagnetic field to generate heat, induction cooktops are entirely different from traditional gas and electric options. However, while induction cooking has many benefits, there are drawbacks as well. If you are thinking about an induction cooktop for your kitchen, understanding both the pros and cons help you make a more informed decision.
Pro – No Wasted Heat
On an induction cooktop, the bottom of your pot or pan is heated directly by the magnetic field so it receives all of the heat energy that is generated. With traditional cooktops, the cookware receives heat indirectly because the energy must be converted to heat before it can be applied to the pot or pan. As a result, there can be significant heat loss because some of the heat winds up warming your kitchen instead of your food. With an induction cooktop, your kitchen will likely be cooler, which can be particularly appealing during summer months.
Pro – Safe to Touch
Because the heat from an induction cooktop is only transferred to magnetic objects, the individual induction elements do not get hot except for the area directly under the pot or pan. As a result, there is no risk of burned fingers if children accidentally put their hands on the edge of the burner. In addition, spills and stains do not become baked onto the cooktop so clean up is much easier.
Pro - Energy Efficient
Induction cooktops are more powerful than gas or electric alternatives so they get hot much more quickly. Their instant heating coupled with their lack of wasted heat means that food cooks much faster and requires less time on the cooktop. Faster cooking times allow you to consume less energy, which is better for the environment and can lower your energy bill.
Con – Only Certain Cookware Can Be Used
The biggest drawback to induction cooking is that only certain types of cookware can be used on the cooktops. Because it relies on a magnetic field to heat items, all pots and pans used on an induction cooktop must be made from magnetic materials. Some cookware materials that are compatible with induction cooktops include cast iron and stainless steel. These types of pots and pans are not necessarily that expensive, but if you already have a kitchen full of copper, aluminum or glass cookware, the expense of replacing all of your cooking vessels can add up quickly.
Con – Noise
The induction cooking process itself is noiseless, but many induction cooktops are equipped with a fan to prevent overheating. For individuals who are sensitive to noise, the ticking sound of the fan as it cuts in and out can be irritating. In addition, vibrations from the unit’s magnetic field might sometimes cause loose pot or pan handles, lids or irregular bottoms to make rattling noises as they move.