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Induction cooktops work by generating heat in the cooking pot or pan rather than transferring heat to the cooking container. This is similar to microwave cooking where water molecules in the food are heated.
When a current passes through a copper coil in the element a magnetic field is produced. This field then creates a current within the cooking vessel that generates heat. This is the same as when a wire heats up when an electrical current passes through it. The surface of the cooker does not generate any heat and the surface will only heat up due to heat being conducted from the pot or pan.
Pots that work on induction cooktops
In order to generate a current the pot must be able to conduct electricity. Ceramic or glass pots will not work. The best results are gained with ferric or iron cookware. To see if cookware will work on an induction cooktop simply hold a magnet to it. If it sticks it will work. Copper pots have great heat distribution and so are great for cooking, however they do not work with induction heating.
Power efficient cooking
Induction cooking is very efficient with regards to power usage. As it is the cooking vessel that is generating the heat there is no loss through transmission from the cooktop to the pan. Another way to look at it is that with induction you are not heating an element or even the air between a burner and the pot. Targeting the heat generation where is it needed cuts down on heat loss.
Typically induction cooktops use 50% to 80% of the energy of a conventional heating vector such as gas or electricity.
Heat control when cooking
A great benefit of induction cooking is the heat control available. Like gas, the amount of heat generated can be finely adjusted to allow for perfect cooking temperatures. Also for cooking at very low temperatures, such as melting chocolate, the control is so fine there is no need for a water bath.
Safety Issues With induction
It is generally considered that there are no issues to persons with pacemakers or defibrillators, but persons with these medical items should seek suitable advice on using an induction cooktop.
A good safety feature for persons with disabilities is that as the surface of the cooker only gains heat from contact with the cooking vessel it will be cooler than a gas flame or electric element and cool faster. The reduction in heat helps reduce the chance of burns. Also the smooth ceramic top is easy to clean and there are not sharp edges to catch on.
Induction cooking seems to have combined the best features of gas and electric cooktops with the added bonus of increased power efficiency.
If you’re looking for more cookware products, we suggest looking at these helpful guides:
- All-Clad Cookware
- Calphalon Cookware Set
- Carbon Steel Pans
- Copper Chef Set
- Double Boiler Pot
- Gotham Steel Pans
- Le Creuset Cookware
- Non-Stick Cookware Set
- Red Copper Pans
- Stainless Steel Cookware Set
- T-Fal Cookware Set
While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!