Induction Cooktop vs Electric | Which Is Right for You in 2022?
In the interest of cost savings
Buying a cooking surface, it is important not only to look at the cost of the model, but also to calculate what the cost of its operation. All of these advantages spell the conclusion: An induction stove saves energy and is cheaper to run than an electric stove. But at the same time the price of a new “induction grinder” is higher than that of an electric stove.
It’s also worth considering the cost of buying new cookware if you don’t have a cooktop that matches the burners.
How does the induction stove work?
Induction hobs. a relatively new type of cooking equipment, which is gaining popularity due to safety and ease of use.
Tabletop induction cooktops are more expensive than gas or electric cooktops, but have a number of advantages over them.
Cookware heats up using the energy of a magnetic field. This means that it is not the cooking surface that heats up, but the bottom of the cookware. The burner itself remains cold around the edges.
If you want to buy a tabletop induction stove, you will also have to buy special cookware.
The bottom must be made of ferromagnetic materials (cast iron or stainless steel). Other materials will not heat up. Without special cookware placed on the hob, the unit will not turn on. The pot or frying pan must occupy at least 70% of the cooking surface.
Pay attention to the Booster mode of operation. It allows you to transfer power from one burner to another. This is convenient if you need to cook or heat something quickly on an inactive burner.
Induction stoves are the pinnacle of technological progress. Here the principle of a transformer is used: one winding is under the glass, and the second winding is the pan.
Heat is released directly into the pot. If the pan is removed from the induction burner, the heating will stop. This makes induction stoves more economical. there is no intermediate heat loss. Induction hobs are also safer to use because they are less hot.
- Small-sized portable with one burner (table-top);
- built into the kitchen furniture;
- Combination: part of the burners are induction burners, some of them work on heating elements.
At maximum power the stove operates at a frequency of 50-100 kHz, when the power is reduced the frequency decreases. At 20 kHz, the burner operates in intermittent heating mode.
A special feature of these stoves is the cold surface around the heating zones, which minimizes the possibility of getting burnt during cooking.
Stoves are equipped with different types of heating element:
- spiral heaters. the spiral heats up quickly (15 seconds);
- Strip heaters. designed in the form of a ribbon coiled in the form of a spring, like a mechanical watch (heats in 8 seconds)
- halogen heaters. a tube filled with a halogen gas that has a built-in heater. Current flowing through the heater emits halogen gas that heats the cookware. Heating up immediately after switching on. Works at full power in 3 seconds;
- Induction heaters create a powerful magnetic field of high frequency which heats the bottom of the pot.
What you need to know about the installation
Since such a device is source of electromagnetic radiation, it is important to follow some rules on installation and connection of the induction panel. Study our small installation instructions and you will never have problems with the operation of the hob and other kitchen appliances.
Maximum intensity of the electromagnetic field observed at a distance of approximately 10 cm from the coils, the average value of about 137 volts per meter. Such an impact has a negative effect on the operation of other plugged-in appliances, and is undesirable for humans and pets.
When moving away from the panel for more than 50 cm the intensity of the electromagnetic field drops rapidly, the average value is not more than 15-19 volts per meter, which is normal.
A simple conclusion: the installation of an induction hob is considered correct and safe if the appliance is more than half a meter away from any other appliances. These include not only refrigerators, microwave ovens, electric kettles and dishwashers but also boilers and radiant heaters if they use electricity as source of energy. Ovens are rarely on this list because most manufacturers insulate the heating element and electronics of such appliances from electromagnetic radiation.
If you are experiencing difficulties with the installation and connection of an induction hob due to lack of space or peculiarities of the design of kitchen furniture. it is better not to experiment and ask for help from an experienced craftsman. Professional specialists in installation of household appliances will always find a rational solution that does not require major repairs or redevelopment of the room.
In addition, do not forget to take care of the presence of serviceable socket, a good line filter and a special machine for emergency shutdown. Such appliances put less strain on the mains than conventional electric stoves, but it is still better to insure against sudden voltage fluctuations.
Grounding your appliances is another important aspect of installing induction cooktops. Connection of the contact should only be made to the socket terminal, and never to other electrical appliances or to the battery. This is made easy because modern models are equipped with a special protective rail.
When the installation and grounding of the induction stove is finished, the first startup can begin. Turn on the test mode, follow the instructions and check the condition of the mains cable: it should not be stretched or kinked to avoid problems when reconnecting.
English physicist Michael Faraday discovered the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction in 1831, but cooktops with this type of heater appeared even later than conventional electric. Despite the fact that people already had some examples of mains-powered appliances in their homes, consumers were not yet ready for such “miracles”. Many were skeptical of a stove that, without direct heat, made the water in the pot boil. Some have even called this technology quack, and the manufacturers of the stoves. cheaters.
The twentieth century has put everything in its place: thanks to the efforts of engineers, the production of such units has become cheaper, their cost has fallen, and the number of models available on the shelves has expanded. Now everyone could try it and see that there was no magic in this invention. pure science.
The first full-fledged induction cooktop didn’t go into mass production until 1987. Today such appliances have become more compact, efficient, economical and generally better, but the principle of their work has not changed much.
The operation of the induction hob is based on the principle of creating a magnetic field: current flows to a special lacquered copper coil, the generated electromagnetic energy passes through the glass ceramic surface and creates eddy currents at the bottom of the metal dish. Stray charge is released in the form of thermal energy. it is a localized temperature effect. The heat does not disperse, does not heat other objects, and with careful handling can never cause burns. Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of induction hobs.
Pros and cons
The electromagnetic method of heating is considered one of the fastest, safest and most economical. A promising area for the creation of practical and effective kitchen appliances. Here is a short list of pros and cons:
- Perfectly flat glass-ceramic surface (stylish design, ease of use);
- absolute safety (heats up to 60°C in the center and up to 25°C in the periphery);
- Loss of thermal energy is minimal (the best energy efficiency among analogues);
- leftovers do not stick (ease of maintenance is an important advantage of such stoves);
- cost more than many other categories of appliances;
- Cookware contact area and its material are the key parameters for cooking (you need to buy special utensils);
- The induction heater is source of electromagnetic radiation (affects the operation of other units).
Most models are represented by built-in appliances with independent connection. Due to the small insertion area, you can choose an induction hob with a wide cooking surface and conduct installation even if there is not enough space in the kitchen. On the market there are models with different number of heating zones. They can be round, rectangular, square and combined. The connection scheme implies the use of a normal household network, but you need to place the unit half a meter away from the refrigerator and other large appliances or home electronics.
Does it make sense to buy special cookware?
Electromagnetic heating only works on certain materials. So you’ll need special cookware for induction cooktops. Can be used: cast iron, enameled steel or specially coated stainless steel. The bottoms of pots and pans should be flat and wide (cooking with WOK is problematic).
The Myth of Harmful Induction Surfaces
Scientists have long said that such devices are not harmful to human health, but some consumers still have doubts. Experts fully “justified” induction hobs at the beginning of the 21st century, conducting a number of studies and proving that:
- Electromagnetic radiation from such devices is in a spectrum safe for humans and animals;
- field is completely dissipated already at a distance of 30 centimeters from the unit;
- materials and objects in the environment absorb almost all of the energy;
- The local spreading nature limits the inductance.
The only important thing to keep in mind is that people with pacemakers or defibrillators should not come closer than half a meter to a working machine.
Saves energy and time
Induction hobs have a very high efficiency: about 90% of all heat released is directly applied to the food. This concentration saves time: the pan heats up faster than on an electric stove, so the dish is cooked faster. If the stove operates for a shorter period of time, it means that less energy is used.
To prove the speed of heating, we made an experiment: we boiled half a liter of milk of the same temperature on a gas, electric and induction stove. So the results were as follows: electric stove. 5 minutes and 32 seconds, gas stove. 4 minutes and 48 seconds, induction cooker. 4 minutes and 10 seconds. So for those who do not want to give up gas hobs with protruding burners in favor of smooth glass ceramic ones just because of the speed of heating, this issue is now solved.
What to choose and what to look for?
Induction hobs are relatively new.
The peculiarity of such a device is that only the bottom of the used cookware and products in it are heated, while the walls of the cookware and the stove itself are not heated.
The number of burners
Choosing cooktop with induction, it is important to decide how many burners you need.
Surfaces can be equipped with a different number of heating zones, this number varies from one to six.
This figure will depend on the number of people in the family and how varied food you are used to cooking.
For a couple or a single person, as well as a family that is used to eating out, a compact version of the device equipped with one or two burners will be enough. This will save space in the kitchen.
For a large family, it is recommended to give preference to the panel, which will have at least four heating zones.
Devices like these are among the most popular among customers because they allow you to cook a full meal at the same time. But you will need more space to accommodate such equipment.
In terms of configuration and location of burners, standards for their placement have long been assumed exclusively square or diamond-shaped.
The heating zones can be arranged in a row, in the form of a triangle, oval or semicircle. When choosing this parameter, you should imagine how convenient it will be for you to have access to each of the burners, so that the dishes on the neighboring ones do not interfere with each other.
Also consider the diameter of heating zones, their shape.
Otherwise, the device simply will not turn on. In the most advanced induction hobs can automatically detect the size of the cookware and adjust to it.
The most common coating material is glass ceramic. The second most common is tempered glass.
The first option will cost cheaper, but differs in strength to mechanical influences.
It is difficult to clean, because sugary liquids like compote and jam can leave indelible traces.
Panels coated with tempered glass are a little more expensive, but they are quite fragile and require careful handling. But this material is more aesthetic and practical to care for, it is not afraid of scratches and abrasions.
Induction hobs may have a metal frame or beveled edges.
Both options have their advantages:
Choosing an induction hob you should consider different design options.
Most models are available in dark colors that perfectly match any interior style.
Induction hobs with floral patterns are available for country and Provencal decorations.
For modern interiors in high-tech style, models that do not have the marking of the heating zones and look like a solid piece of glass are well suited.
Rarely you can find on sale devices with silver or white color, which also look very advantageous.
Dust, grease stains, and water stains are less visible on light-colored surfaces, making them especially attractive. It is worth noting that cleaning both light and dark hobs is not very difficult.
You can remove dirt even when you’re cooking because the surface won’t heat up.
Some hobs are decorated with patterns, inscriptions and icons for easy operation of the appliance.
It is important that the size of the hob fits perfectly into the interior of your kitchen.
The narrowest varieties are only 30 centimeters wide. They are equipped with one or two heating zones and are a great find for small kitchens.
Panels wider than 60 centimeters usually accommodate five burners, and with a width of about 80 centimeters the heating zones can already be five or six.
The thickness of induction hobs can also vary. The range is usually from 4 to 10 centimeters.
Standard thickness is 6 to 8 centimeters.
Cooking induction hobs can be independent devices, which can be placed anywhere in the kitchen.
For these devices it is only important to have a nearby power supply and a flat surface for installation.
Another kind of induction hobs are built into the kitchen worktop. They tend to be slightly more expensive, but look one with the kitchen set.
They do not differ much in functionality.
The presence of various additional options in the selected model can make cooking a very pleasant experience.
Below is a list of the most common features found in today’s appliances:
- Control panel unit for the appliance. Especially useful if there are small children in the family.
- The safety switch-off increases the level of safety in using the appliances by disconnecting them in case of boiling liquids on the stove, lack of cookware on it or significant surges in the mains voltage.
- Timer. It is convenient in that you can set the time required to bring the dish to readiness and not to stand at the stove constantly controlling the process. Advanced models are not only able to turn off the heating at a given time, but with the help of an audible signal will inform the hostess about the end of cooking.
- A residual temperature indicator lets you know if it’s safe to touch the surface. The hob itself is not hot, but it can become hot when in contact with the cookware.
- In modern induction cookers there is a special mode for fast heating (Turbo Boost) which allows you to cook the desired dish quickly by increasing the power of the chosen burner at the expense of neighboring ones.
- Controls electricity consumption and temperature settings. The hostess only needs to set the device a rate of flow or temperature settings, which will then be maintained automatically. All readings are stored in the internal memory.
- Pause cooking and heating functions (keep warm). Convenient to use if the household members are used to eating each in its own mode.
- The most modern cooktops are equipped with new induction technology without borders, which does away with the usual burner markings. It’s enough to put the pot with food in any place, and smart appliances provide the necessary heating zone.
When the induction hob is switched on, it heats the metal pans and their contents, and not the hob itself. Cooking on the ceramic glass top is inherently secondary in nature. That’s why the worktop of appliances with induction heats up much less than that of electric models with Hi Light burners. But in some cases the induction hob can also overheat. The most common causes: not enough liquid in the pan, too viscous consistency of the dish, using pots with too large a diameter or objects with a very thick bottom.
Miele range stoves are equipped with overheat protection to avoid overheating. This function requires a sensitive probe to be installed under each heating zone. The burner is automatically switched off if the permitted temperature for proper functioning of the equipment is exceeded. You can use the appliance as normal once it has cooled down.
Overtemperature protection reduces the thermal load on the ceramic glass, induction coils and hob electronics. Automatic shutoff prevents overheating of the cooktop and other objects in the vicinity and reduces the risk of burns.
What makes it different from other stoves?
Induction stoves compare favorably with other types of stoves (gas or electric).
- Efficiency of induction stoves is up to 90%. For comparison, in gas stoves this figure is only 30-60%, and in electric stoves. no more than 70%;
- High heating speed (devices with heating elements or gas burners can not boast of this feature);
- Efficiency. The cooking area does not need to be switched off manually after removing the dishes. it does it automatically. In the case of electric or gas stoves, the burner continues to run, which leads to higher gas and electricity consumption. In the summer, this is especially important, because there is an additional heating of the air, which complicates the process of air conditioning (cooling) of the room;
- Precise temperature control. On stoves with heating elements or gas-powered stoves, the temperature is adjusted “by eye. In the case of induction stoves, it is possible to maintain the same parameter for the entire cooking time;
- Safety. If a person accidentally mixes up the cookware and puts an item with a non-magnetic bottom, the burner will not work. To activate the burner, the cookware must cover the area of the burner as much as possible, 50% or more;
- Lots of extra features which classic gas or electric stoves can’t boast of.
Induction stove works on the principle of electromagnetic induction by physicist Michael Faraday electric current occurs in a closed circuit after a change in magnetic flux that passes through that circuit. We can say that the induction hob is a transformer.
Underneath the glass ceramic hob is an induction coil, under which the electric current flows.
The coil is the primary winding, the cookware is the secondary winding and induction currents are sent to the bottom of the coil. This is how pots and pans get hot, as well as the food in them. Ceramic glass surface only gets hotter from cookware.