Portable Induction Cooktop

Induction Cooktop Pros and Cons

  • Varsha Singh
  • Best Cooktop
  • October 13th, 2015
  • Comments Off on Induction Cooktop Pros and Cons

Induction cooktop has not just changed the way of cooking but it has revolutionized the whole cooking concept. Gone are the days when cooks especially women used to sweat in extremely heated kitchens while cooking. Now it is possible to cook tasty food in a clean and cool kitchen without breaking into sweat (unless it is summer heat outside!!). You may be wondering why we are saying big words in praise of induction cooking. Well because it has so many features which overcomes its trivial flaws and if you don’t believe our statement then assess these pros and cons of induction cooking and analyze the benefits of induction cooking for yourself. So here we go!!!!

Induction Cooktop Pros and Cons

Pros of Induction Cooktop

It always feels better to know good things first. Isn’t it? That is why we are starting with pros. Here are the unique features of the induction cooking:

Adaptability

We want everything to be adaptable be it living or non living to tolerate different kinds of environment, circumstances and conditions. In context of cooking, professional cooks are the best judge for any cooking practices because they know how to cook, in what time and at what temperature and induction cooking give you a freedom to set all these cooking parameters in a digital way. Change the settings and you will get the desired temperature instantly and with great precision by just pushing a button.

Before the introduction of induction cooking, cooks used to prefer gas dependent cooking over all other cooking methods due to its ability of instant adjusting of energy flow which is not possible with other method say coil or halogen heater because these devices takes time to adjust (increasing or decreasing) the temperature to your required cooking temperature. But the scenario has changed with the induction cooking concept because in this technology, every bit is instantaneous and exact like its gas counterpart but without having the flaws of gas driven cooking which will discuss further in article.

induction cooktop

The elements of induction cooking can be adjusted to various temperature levels used in cooking which can be extreme and fine. This makes it an ideal alternative for professional cooks who require such elements which can adjust the temperature within seconds and be gentle on the food as well in cooking practices like simmering. The way induction cooking has carved its niche in the food making industry and domestic environment and still growing every day, we can predict that the future generation will look at the gas as historical artifact as our generation looks at the coal burning kitchen stoves.

No heat wastage

Induction cooking is based on the principle of magnetic fields which produces heat directly into the cooking vessel and nowhere else unlike conventional cooking devices such as gas and electric cookers (including halogen) where the energy is transformed into heat outside the vessel and then transferred to it which causes dissipation of heat into the surrounding area. This results into heating up of your kitchen and wastage of energy.

Induction cookingThe image provided in the left shows the precise direction of heat which is heat generation into the vessel. You can see that the ice remains unaffected at the portable induction cooktop just beside the vessel in which water is boiling. The image illustrates two drastically different temperatures (cold and boiling point) on the same cooking surface which is impossible to achieve with any other cooking method.

The energy stats shows the comparison between energy efficiency of gas stove and portable induction cooktop where 40 percent (less than half) of energy is consumed during gas facilitated cooking while 84 percent energy is consumed in case of induction based cooking which is also greater as compared to energy consumed by electric cookers. You can clearly see this heat related consequence in the given image where an egg is placed half on the metal frying pan and half is on the induction cooking surface. The portion of egg which is contact with the metal frying pan is cooked while the egg portion on the cooking surface area remains uncooked because there is no heat because the surface has not detected any metal surface over it. This is the beauty of induction cooking that the surrounding surface of induction cooktop does not get heated up in any situation which gives you a cooler kitchen. Induction cooking has given the reason to modify an old saying “if you can’t stand the heat then get out of the kitchen”. Now you need not to step out of the kitchen as there will be no heat!!!!

The cooking surface of portable induction cooktop doesn’t heat up itself and you will only feel some heat under the cooking vessel and that also comes from the vessel not from the cooking surface. It means there will not be any incidents of finger burns, baked on spills or accidents involving kids in the house. The given images proved the functionality of induction based cooking where only cooking vessel does get heated up in order to cook.

Product NamePriceImages
DUXTOP 1800-Watt 8100MC$59.99
DUXTOP 1800-Watt 9100MC$79.99
DUXTOP 1800-Watt Sensor Touch 8300ST$75.99
DUXTOP 1800-Watt 8100MC$129.77
DUXTOP 1800-Watt 2013$149.99

Safety and convenience

Before talking about the safety, you first look at the image in your right where you can see a dollar bill is placed under the cooking vessel in which water is boiling and the bill is still unaffected by the heat. What is your take on this situation?

Done with the right image? Now look at the left one where a man who is wearing a metal ring placed his palm on the cooking surface and guess what, the induction element is on the maximum level as you can see temperature indicator in the image. Neither the hand not the metal ring has affected by the cooking surface. How???? If you are thinking that it is magic then you are truly wrong. This is pure science my friend!!!

induction cooktop

As we have told you earlier that the heat gets generated inside the vessel and that too should be induction compatible means made up of ferromagnetic material. Induction cooktop has very fine and efficient sensors which detect the material of the vessel or any article placed on the cooking surface and activates the heating process of vessel when it found that the vessel is a magnetic material. The energy get transferred to only magnetic materials in case of induction cooking and not to any other material that is why the hand and ring remains unaffected even at the maximum temperature as the sensors has detected the non ferrous nature of the hand and ring. There will be no left out energy floating around the cooking surface as heat is generated inside the vessel means even there is a vessel placed on the cooking surface and temperature is set on the maximum level; you can easily touch the cooking surface because only the vessel get heated up and not the cooking surface. When you will consider all the examples illustrated by the given images and features then you will see yourself that induction cooking has taken care of all the safety measures.

In comparison to its gas counterpart, it is much safer because it doesn’t carry the risks associated with its competitor such as risk of gas flame, pilot light, blowing of gas container and gas leakage in the house etc. These issues are still small but the bigger concern is the cooking gas which poses health risks. Don’t believe us, just Google the term “cooking gas health risk” and see the results which clearly states that it is responsible for ailments like asthma, respiratory illness and impaired lung function especially in young women (as reported by a British medical journal, The lancet in 1996). If you think that gas cooking is relevant at the cost of your health then gives it a second thought.

Now we come to the convenience part so let’s assume another situation where you have special needs means you have to cook something while remaining seated in the wheelchair. Then also you can easily access induction cooktop as they are very sleek and you just need to push buttons to change the settings while rest of the job will be done by the appliance. It means no lightening of burners, manual adjustment of temperatures, no uncomfortable surrounding heat and no need of paying extra attention to the food. Just adjust the time and temperature settings and the beep sound will notify you that your job is done.

Max Burton 6200 Deluxe 1800-WattMax Burton 6400 Digital Choice Induction Cooktop 1800 Watts LCDMax Burton 6500 ProChef 1800-Watt CommercialMax Burton 6050 Induction Cooktop
Best PriceBest PriceBest PriceBest Price
$78$105$231$100

Easy installation

We have already mentioned that induction cooktop is very sleek means it is very thin vertically and doesn’t require more than two inches of depth below the counter top surface. As you can see the image in the left that a woman seated on a wheelchair is easily accessing the vessel on the induction cooktop because it is very thin which makes it a convenient option for the specially designed kitchen for the people with special needs.

Simple power requirement

Induction cooking requires uninterrupted supply of electrical energy which will be converted into heat for cooking. This requirement can be easily met because electricity is found almost everywhere unlike its cooking gas counterpart which needs gas pipeline or ugly, space consuming and hazardous propane container or regular truck visits. If the user lives in a place where power cut is very frequent then also there are other alternatives which can provide electricity for the induction cooking like power or solar inverter.

DUXTOP 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 8100MC$59.99
Max Burton 6200 Deluxe 1800-Watt Induction Cooktop$89.94
Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice Induction Cooktop 1800 Watts LCD$123.50
Rosewill 1800-Watt Induction Cooker Cooktop with Stainless Steel Pot (RHAI-13001)$59.99
Inducto A79 Professional Portable Induction Cooktop Counter Top Burner$49.99
DUXTOP 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 9100MC$79.99

Easy maintenance

Induction cooktop is very easy to maintain besides being an effective and stylish device. It doesn’t produce any byproduct which can condense on the cooking surface or the areas in the vicinity like in gas based cooking. Any dirt or spillage can be easily removed by wiping with a wet cloth and you will get new and shiny cooktop again.

CONS

Cookware compatibility

We have already mentioned that induction cooktop works only with induction compatible cookware that is made up of ferromagnetic material. This can be counted as the drawback of induction cooking. The compatible material for induction cooking is stainless steel and cast iron as they show magnetic property. These days, high quality induction compatible cookware is easily available in the market but if you already have a stock of cookware made up of expensive Aluminum, copper, glass or Pyrex then buying induction cookware can be an extra expenditure. But if you don’t have a stock of expensive stuff then you can replace it with high quality induction cookware. You can find specially designed cookware which is compatible with both induction and gas dependent cooking.

Product NameImageBest Price
Nesco PIC-14 Portable Induction Cooktop, 1500-Watt that has a 1500 watt Power range and is priced in mid-range.$62.99
NuWave PIC2 - NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop 2 is the third one with middle-level pricing and 1300 power watts.$129.99
DUXTOP 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner 8100MC that is also priced in mid-range.$59.99
Spt 1300-Watt Induction Cooktop, Silverthat has 1300 power watts in a range of mid pricing cooktops.$57.98
Nesco PIC-14 Portable Induction Cooktopthat has 1500 power watts in a range of mid pricing cooktops.$62.99
Cooktop, Single Induction, 1600-Watt/120-Volt takes up the eighth place with 1600 watts in the mid-range price category.$130.48
BergHOFF Single Touch Screen Induction Cooktopwith a 1600 power watt range and priced up in the premium category.$179.99
BergHOFF Induction Range, XLCooktop that has 1600 watt power level and is priced in the premium category.$219.99
Max Burtoin 6200 Deluxe 1800-Watt Induction cooktop that has 188 power watts and falls in the middle range pricing.$89.94

Stainless steel also works well with induction cooking but not all of them are equally compatible to induction units. The workability of a stainless steel cookware depends on composition and arrangement of layers of metal in the cookware. Stainless steel contains Nickel which is used to give a shiny appearance to the vessel but it can remove the magnetic field produced by induction cooktop. Thus, percentage of nickel in the stainless steel decides the compatibility of the cookware. If the vessel is nickel free “18/0” then it will work perfectly on induction unit while if it is “18/8” or”18/10” then it shows higher percentage of nickel which won’t let the vessel work effectively on the induction cooktop. There is an all time favorite test for checking percentage of ferrous material in the stainless steel is very simple and easy. You just have to take any magnet and keep it near to the base of the vessel. If the magnet clings to the bottom strongly then the vessel has high composition of ferrous material and will work nicely on an induction cooktop while if the magnet doesn’t cling to the vessel or poorly attaches itself to the vessel then the vessel will not work properly with an induction unit. You can carry the magnet with you while shopping for cookware offline but if you are buying it over the net then don’t forget to ask for quality certificate, warranty card, written or emailed statement that the cookware is fully induction compatible and if it is not found so then you will get your money refunded.

Although, there are many adapters available which facilitates cooking in any kind of vessels but such thing can convert the induction cooktop into normal stovetop and thus lose many benefits of the induction based cooking. These adapters are less efficient, heat up easily and may be restricted to the maximum temperature level.

Product NameProduct ImageProduct Price
NuWave PIC Pro High Powered Model Induction Cooktop$150.53
Nuwave Precision Cooktop$86.95
Nuwave PIC2 - NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop 2 with Grill$119.99
NuWave PIC Titanium 2015 Model Year 1800 Watts Highest Powered Induction Cooktop$159.00

Cooking power

There are so many misconceptions regarding power consumption by an induction cooktop. As we have mentioned the comparison of the efficiency percentage of energy utilized by the gas cooker and induction cooktop which was
40% and 84 % respectively. The difference in percentages clearly shows how efficient and powerful an induction cooktop is with respect to gas cooker. In other words, if you take a gas range from a reputed brand whose burners might be rated at 15000 BTU/hour or even more to 18000 BTU/hour and compare it with induction cooking then you will find that the power of gas range can be covered by the induction unit in just 2.1 – 2.5 kW and many induction units comes with elements which is up to 3.6 – 3.7 and greater than that. It means that questioning the cooking power of an induction unit is a useless and ignorant thing in itself.

Radiation emission

You will certainly come across this myth about the portable induction cooktop therefore we have included this issue in our discussion. Scientific studies have proved that there is no occurrence of harmful radiation emission from induction cooktop and it is safe to use by any user even by person with imbedded cardiac devices such as pace maker. The magnetic field produced by the induction cooktop is much localized and readily absorbed by the cooking vessel and if there is no cooking vessel on the cooktop then there will be no production of magnetic field. Detection of cooking vessel on the cooking surface by the sensors is essential for generation of magnetic field. You can check yourself in genuine medical literature websites such as PubMed for hazard associated with induction cooking and we assure you that you will find such allegations to be false and groundless.

Noise generation

The induction process is a very silent process which is carried out by an electric equipment which is also a silent source but even the most efficient equipment lose some of the heat generated by the equipment to the surrounding either passively by radiation and natural air flow which is a silent way or with the aid of a cooling fan fitted in the equipment which can cause some noise depending on how tightly it is fitted and within how much space it is embedded. But even if the induction cooktop has an embedded cooling fan then it doesn’t necessarily run all the time. It is used usually on the high temperature settings but quality product manufacturers ensures that the fan will be soft sounding and gives an occasional ticking sound when the unit turn it on or off.

Another source of noise in case of induction cooking is the cookware which can produce sound due to various reasons:

  • The handles of the vessels can be of loose fitting.
  • Vessels with uneven bottom can also vibrate quite audibly on the cooking surface.
  • Light weighted vessel lids can also make sound at high temperatures.
  • Clad cookware of low quality can produce buzzing sound due to microscopic vibration of aluminum or copper particles which are just encapsulated instead of welded within the steel.

Electricity dependency

It is fully dependent on electricity for its functioning and interruptions in the supply of electricity to the device can cause improper functioning means you will not cook on the induction cooktop. As we have mentioned earlier that people who are living in a place where power cut is very frequent can arrange a backup like power or solar inverter or propane powered generator to use induction cooktop.

Char flame production

Induction cooktop doesn’t produce any kind of flame and those who think that charring in an open flame is important then you can count this aspect as a drawback in induction cooking.

NEUTRAL ISSUES

Energy costs

The prices of cooking gas and electricity are subjected to change and even relative to each other which can be inferred by the reports of United states’ Department of energy released between 1999 – 2008 which states that the annual average residential cooking gas price is doubled within these years and varied considerably on different locations even on the same day and same time by as much as 3:1 ratio. But in any condition, this variation does not become a big issue as the cooking accounts for about 2.7 % of an average home’s total energy consumption and this small percentage include energy utilized by various cooking appliances such as toaster, oven, microwave etc and not just the stovetop. In simple words, if you change your cooktop then the difference in energy will be couple of dollars a month which doesn’t look very significant.

According to a report of November 2009, the induction cooking electricity costs about 1.43 times of gas cooking cost because cooking gas was $11.25/ thousand cubic feet (about 1,020,000 BTU) while electricity was 11.33 cents/kW-hr (about 7,185 BTU). While considering the overall household energy cost this cost can be a big variable which is $5 – $10 per day. Let’s assume it to be $7.50 a day then it becomes about $228 a month from which 2.7 % means approx. $6 spends on cooking costs. If we assume that all of the cooking energy is utilized by the stovetop and all household is using gas for cooking then the electricity cost would be 43 percent greater than normal means no significant savings.

According to an energy resource site, a person saves $13 in a year by cooking on gas. So if you are very concern about the difference of a buck in a month then you should not change to induction cooking which is more efficient than any electric cooking appliances.

Market price

Induction cooktop prices starts from thousand dollars means higher than the gas range but then you should compare the feature as well. Induction cooktop features worth every penny of yours which you are spending on it. The most trending gas ranges costs about $1350 while the induction cooktop ranges from $1150 and more which has increased the competition between these cooking methods. These days, the prices of induction cooktop have become more affordable and thus it is gaining access in every household.

Cookware size

The size of vessel matters a lot because very small and very large sizes can cause issues with the induction cooktop because it cannot be detected by the sensors inbuilt in the unit. These sensors are designed very conservatively therefore, sometimes the small vessel (base size less than 4 inches) is not detected by the sensor. The minimum base size detected by the sensor is 4 – 5 inches and it can also vary depending on the induction unit.

Bigger vessels such as griddles or fish poachers with base size 12 – 14 inches in at least in a single dimension cause issues with the cooktop. This is a drawback of induction cooking but this problem is also overcome by “element bridging”, a feature in which left front and back pair of the vessel is bridged so that it acts as a single unit and heat is evenly distributed in the cooking vessel.

This is a neutral issue because you can also face such issues while using a gas range. For example, a burner of 9 – inch – diameter can heat up the base region of the same diameter which also happens in the induction cooking. If you place a 12 inches diameter on the cooking surface then still the heat will generated in the 9 inches diameter range if it is the range of induction element. The vessel made up of clad stainless steel and cast iron radiates the localized heat to the whole body of the vessel and then maintain the temperature evenly once it get well heated.

There is several induction units available in market with bridged element pairs (as shown in the image at your left) means two units are bridged to work as a single unit to accommodate large vessel like grill, griddle or fish pan.

Find out what other users say about induction cooking

The consumer has become smarter these days with the development of internet in recent years. There are consumer forums, reviewing sites, user communities etc. from where you can gather information about a particular product but sometimes these sites can confuse you as well. If you want to know about reviews of actual users of induction cooking then you can try these sites.

Usenet is a group discussion forum where you can type the word “induction” in search box and you can see the corresponding discussion on induction cooking. You can also Google search about induction cooktop reviews on online stores like Amazon or other such sites.

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