Induction cooktops are becoming so popular that many households are beginning to have them installed in their kitchens. Many love induction cooktops for the fact that they heat up really quickly. Besides that, induction cooktops make cleaning up easier too. If you are wondering what cookware work well with induction cooktops, then read on to find out!
What is an induction cooktop?
An induction cooktop uses the power of electromagnetism to transfer currents to heat up magnetic cookware. A common misconception about induction cooktops is that the surfaces will not get hot at all after cooking.
“Contrary to popular belief, induction cooktops can get hot, but the heat is transferring from the cooking pot to the glass through conduction, much as a hot pan would transfer some heat to a countertop it you set it down to rest.” – Consumer Reports, Inc.
However, once the pan is removed from the induction cooktop, the heating stops and the surface will never get as hot as it does on an electric cooktop since heat is going from the pan to the induction cooktop.
How is it different from a portable induction burner?
A portable induction burner works exactly the same way as an induction cooktop. The only difference is that it often comes in a single unit, taking up lesser space and offering the advantage of portability. If you do not have enough counter space, you can even use it in your living room if you wish to.
Essentially, you can use a portable induction burner anywhere as long as there is a plug. Students who live in dorms often have it in their rooms as it is so convenient and does not take up a lot of space.
Induction Cooktop vs Electric Cooktop
Many people often think induction cooktops and electric cooktops are similar but do you know they are actually very different? To save you time from Google-ing different sources, we have summarised their differences in a table below!
|How does it work?||Uses the power of electromagnetism to heat up your cookware||Converts electricity to heat via the spiral shaped burners which in turn heat up your cookware|
|Cleaning||Clean-up is easy because food will not stick to the surface of the cooktop as there is no heat anywhere else except where your cookware sits||Clean-up can be troublesome if your cooking overflows|
The cooktop will most likely have food caked on it since there is heat on the surface
|Speed||Heats up faster||Takes a longer time to heat up|
|Compatible Cookware||Cast iron, enameled cast iron and most stainless steel cookware (depends on the metal content) are induction compatible||Cast iron, copper, stainless steel and aluminum cookware are compatible|
|Cost||Might be slightly more expensive||Less expensive|
|Safety||Safer because there is no direct flame|
Surface also cools down faster when one turns off the heat
Even when it is switched on, it only activates when a pan is placed on it therefore there is no risk of overheating
|No direct flame but surface will be hot because the whole cooktop heats up|
If you are not careful, you might burn yourself
Induction Compatible Cookware
Cookware that are made of ferrous metal like steel or cast iron can be used on induction cooktops. This means your cast iron, enameled cast iron and most types of stainless steel cookware are induction compatible. However, some stainless steel cookware containing aluminum or nickel will not work.
Zenez non-stick ceramic-coated cookware is one that is induction compatible. Made in Korea, this non-stick cookware is made with this unique thermal spray technology. This technology ensures that heat can be transmitted quickly and evenly, shortening your cooking time by 30%.
In contrast, cookware made of aluminum, all-copper and glass are incompatible with induction cooktops unless there is a layer of magnetic properties on the bottom of the cookware.
“Is it impossible to make my cookware work on induction cooktops?”
We understand how it feels when your favourite cookware does not work on induction cooktops. Therefore, manufacturers have come up with something called an induction disc. It transforms all your previously incompatible cookware into induction-compatible cookware. These thin discs are made of materials that interact with the magnetic field generated by induction cooktops.
All you have to do is place the induction disc on the surface of the induction cooktop and it will start to heat up the same way an induction-compatible cookware would. After which, place your stainless steel or aluminum cookware on top of the induction disc. The heat will be transmitted to your cookware and you can start cooking!
How to tell if your cookware is induction compatible?
The simplest way to tell if your cookware is induction compatible is to check the packaging for a “induction compatible” symbol like the one above. Most manufacturers have started placing it on the packaging of cookware that can be used on induction cooktops.
An alternative method is to do a “Magnet Test” if the packaging does not have any indication. Simply hold a magnet to the bottom of your cookware.
- Compatible – If the magnet clings to the bottom of your cookware
- Might Be Able to Work – If the magnet grabs the pan softly (but trust us, the success rate is pretty low)
- Not Compatible At All – If there is no pull on the magnet at all
Induction Cooktop Problems
As much as we love the convenience of having an induction cooktop, there are also some downsides to owning one.
Flexibility of Heat Control
For those who cook frequently, an induction cooktop is definitely not their choice of cooktop. If you have noticed, induction cooktops are designed with various temperature settings on its surface. If you own a portable induction cooker, the surface of it probably looks something like this.
With induction cooktops, you lose the flexibility to control the amount of heat to your cooking, something that frequent cooks absolutely adore about the conventional gas stove. You can only control the amount of heat via the given temperature settings. For instance, you may want to cook at a medium heat, but which temperature setting on the induction cooktop is exactly equivalent to it?
If you have been using a gas stove for a very long time, you will probably stick with it since you already have an idea the amount of heat to apply to the different dishes you cook. It might be much harder to gauge the right temperature using an induction cooktop.
You Can’t Use Some of Your Favourite Cookware
Induction cooktops have a flat surface. This means any cookware with a round bottom, like your favourite Chinese wok, will not work on it.
Are induction cooktops better than electric ones?
What do you think after looking at the comparison table? Its all about weighing out their advantages and disadvantages against your needs and preferences. If your priority is safety, then induction cooktops will be what you might want to consider. On the other hand, if you want to go for something cheaper then electric cooktop will probably be a better choice for you.
What type of cooktop are you using in your kitchens? Share with us below!