How Induction Works

Induction uses magnets to excite the molecules in the pan so just the pan becomes hot and not the cooktop. Induction is faster to boil and provides an instant simmer. Yes, even faster than the fastest professional gas range.

Benefits

Safety

Induction is the safest cooking method. Unlike the glass on a traditional electric cooktop, the top on an induction cooktop does not heat the pan. Instead, a magnet excites the molecules in the pan so that the pan itself becomes the cooking surface, directly cooking the food.

Efficiency

Induction is the most efficient cooking method because there is very little loss of heat when cooking. It is 90% efficient which is better than gas at 60% and electric at 55%. This translates into less heat and less venting so you won’t need a powerful hood. You can also use induction with a downdraft, unlike professional gas ranges and rangetops.

Response

From a functionality standpoint, induction is one of the easiest cooking surfaces to control. Is is very responsive with the ability to quickly transition from a high power sear down to a low simmer.

This rapid response to temperature change can only be done with induction as the only thing changing is the power level of the coil. In electric cooktops, the heating element and glass needs time to cool down or heat up, so the response time is not as fast.

Noise Tests

Since noise level is not something manufactures advertise, I conducted a quick experiment to compare the dBa levels amongst four popular induction cooktops.

The test was done on 36” Cooktops that are currently installed in our Framingham showroom. They are all are located in different areas of the building and have different ceiling heights above them. This and other factors can affect the results.

The constants are: same pan, same app to measure dBa level, done on biggest element of each brand. dBa level was taken with unit off to get a base ambient noise level and when unit is powered on with boost. The difference between those two numbers should give us a rough idea of how much additional noise the cooktop added to the ambient level.

The induction advantage

Induction elements typically heat quickly and no other technology that we’ve tested is faster than the fastest induction elements, but we’re talking 2 to 4 minutes faster to bring 6 quarts of water to a near boil. Life changing? Probably not. However, if you turn on an induction element by mistake with no pot on it won’t get hot, and when you remove a pot from an element the heating stops. And an induction surface stays cooler than a radiant smoothtop, which should make cleaning up spills easier. But your pots will get very hot while cooking and that heat transfers from the surface below and around the pot. So if you’re using several induction elements the surface will heat up too.

how-induction-works
Why Is Induction Cooking Better? The Science of Induction
Read more

Choosing An Induction Cooktop

The two most common determining factors most consider when purchasing a new cooktop are package promotions/rebates and cooktop layout.

All of the induction cooktops will have a similar range of high to low power. You should really base your decision on functional characteristics like the layout of the cooking surface.

You need the right cookware

Magnetic cookware, or more accurately, induction-capable, is needed for induction to work. If a magnet strongly sticks to the bottom of the pot, it will work with an induction cooktop. Some stainless-steel cookware is induction-capable, and some isn’t.

What’s that noise?

“A buzz or hum is common and often is louder at higher settings, says Casaregola. “And we often hear clicking of element electronics at lower settings and the sound of the cooling fan for the electronics.”

Dig out your dial thermometer

The magnetic field of an induction cooktop can interfere with a digital thermometer so you may need an analog thermometer, an old-fashioned solution to a modern problem.