When I last wrote about induction hobs in late 2013, they were still relatively new and unheard of. Fast forward to 2016, and the induction cooktop is a hugely popular fixture within people’s kitchens. Since I last wrote about them they have also changed a lot, evolving to include greater choice, more flexible cooking options, and more affordable prices. But before saying more on the benefits of induction cooking…
…Here’s a quick recap on what an induction cooktop is:-
Induction hobs look similar to ceramic cooktops, with both displaying marked cook zones upon the surface for your saucepans.
Ceramic hobs work via a plate beneath the glass surface which heats up, and in turn heats the cook zone above. Comparatively, an induction cooktop doesn’t get hot during cooking. Rather than a plate, induction hobs are different in that they contain a circular and tightly wound coil beneath each cook zone. Switch the appliance on and these coils generate an electromagnetic field, yet no heat is produced. But place a ferrous metal saucepan onto the cook zone and the coil’s magnetic field is able to penetrate the iron inside the saucepan. This induces heat within the pan, and in turn this cooks your food. At the same time, the surface of the induction cooktop remains cool.
10 great reasons to choose an induction cooktop
Whilst many people remain steadfastly loyal to gas cooking, if you’re unsure whether it might be time for a change, then read on for 10 great reasons to choose an induction cooktop:-
1. Induction hobs are really fast
For many of us, long working hours are frequently followed by a long commute, the gym, shopping, or a quick post-work drink with friends…so by the time you get home at night, you’re more than ready for a meal which won’t take ages to cook, but which is still tasty and healthy. When time is of the essence, induction hobs are brilliant because they are so fast! In fact, some induction hobs can cook foods 50% faster than gas hob models. It takes 9.06 minutes to boil two litres of water on a standard hob, 12.24 minutes on a 1.9 k/w gas burner, and 7.39 minutes on a 1.9 k/w gas hob; comparatively an induction cooktop can do the same in 4.01 minutes. This saves time, effort, energy and also cost, as shorter cooking times mean lower energy bills.
2. An induction cooktop is really safe
One of the reasons induction hobs are a popular kitchen choice for families is because they are the safest type of cooktop. As mentioned earlier,other types of hob become hot during cooking, whereas the surface of an induction cooktop will remain cool. As it is only the pan that gets hot and not the hob, it is harder to burn yourself (or others) during cooking. (There may be a small amount of heat on removing the pan but a residual heat light indicator will alert you if this is the case).
Only ferrous metals work on an induction cooktop, and most have integrated sensors that can distinguish between varying metals. This means if you accidentally leave a metal fork or spoon lying on the hob’s surface, it will remain cool. Finally, most modern induction hobs are fitted with child locks so your children (or pets) can’t accidentally turn on the hob. The control panel also gives you the option to fix the temperature in place during use.
3. Induction hobs offer a clean sleek look
Many induction cooktop models now offer a seamless fit with the worktop for a sleek and minimalist kitchen look. Unlike a gas hob this means there are no burners or dials interrupting the clean lines of a modern kitchen design. Instead, their ‘fuss-free’ surface makes for a timeless look. It also makes induction hobs an ideal choice for small kitchen spaces where a clutter-less look is essential.
4. Induction hobs are easy to use
As well as an impressive look, induction hobs have very simple controls, and so are incredibly easy to use. They are instantly responsive, meaning at the touch of a button you can quickly change the temperature. The range of temperatures you can reach (whether high or low) is also more extensive than gas cooking.
5. Induction hobs offer varied cooking options
Induction hobs are available in a range of sizes to suit requirement. But there are also further options to choose from to enhance use such as flexInduction. Rather than separate zones, this type of induction cooktop provides an enlarged single zone, with an even distribution of heat across it’s surface. This means you can use pans of any size and anywhere across the single zone, allowing more flexibility and control during cooking.
Flexible induction hobs can even detect the shape, size and number of pans you have placed upon the surface at any one time. There are also accessories specifically designed for flex induction hobs such as Teppan Yaki, Roaster and Griddle plates. And if you really can’t make up your mind then consider the Domino hob. Named because of their distinctive rectangular shape, these offer the possibility of installing 2 or 3 different hob cooking options, side-by-side.
6. An induction cooktop is really easy to clean
Other hobs usually mean having to wait for the surface to cool before wiping any spills and splashes. During this time these spills can solidify or burn onto the glass and become harder to remove later on. But with an induction cooktop the surface is cool already so you don’t have to wait to wipe it clean. Cleaning is not only faster but involves less elbow grease, and only a damp cloth is sufficient. As the entire surface of the induction cooktop is flat you also don’t have to scrub at individual burners and rings as you would with a gas hob.
7. Induction hobs cost less than they used to
When induction hobs first became available, their technology was really innovative. This made them somewhat of a niche product compared with gas and electric hobs, but it also meant they were very expensive. Since then, technology has advanced to the extent that induction hobs are now much more accessible to homeowners, and available within much wider price ranges among competing brands.
But a potential drawback of the induction cooktop is all saucepans require a ferrous-metal base for them to work. This means stainless steel or cast-iron pans, but not copper or aluminium. You can check your existing pans with a magnet prior to buying; if it sticks they should work but if not you would need to invest in new pans. Some appliance models come with pans, but if you have to buy new ones always look for a set displaying the ‘induction cookware’ logo, pictured right. For best results you should also ensure your pans have an even and flat base. Any that are dimpled or ridged might compromise the otherwise even heat distribution during cooking.
8. An induction cooktop can save on space
The fact that induction hobs are more minimal in appearance than gas hobs makes them an ideal choice for small kitchens where space saving is essential.
When not being used for cooking, their flat surface allows extra counter space for other uses. It is also worth noting that the connections for an induction cooktop takes up less physical space beneath the worktop than the connections required for a gas hob. This allows more storage space, or else provides access for any wheelchair users.
9. An induction cooktop is more energy efficient
Apart from the appliance itself being less costly, another advantage of an induction cooktop is they are more energy efficient than other cooking methods, resulting in lower energy bills. This is because they are faster but also operate at low voltage. Another reason is that less energy is wasted during cooking, with at least 84% of the generated energy transferred directly into the pan for cooking, compared with only 40% of energy during gas cooking.
10. Induction hobs are easier to install than gas hobs
The connections for an induction cooktop are more straightforward than gas, making it easier to install. The preparations for this are also simpler because everyone has electricity but not always gas. It is also absolutely essential to have some form of ventilation for gas cooking to prevent gas from accumulating within the home and becoming dangerous. This isn’t the case for induction (although we would still always recommend an extractor as it also acts to remove cooking smells).
So do you need it?
Like all mod cons and technology (I-pads, smartphones etc) no one actually needs an induction cooktop. But they are well-suited to modern lifestyles, and very convenient; this means they really enhance the cooking experience. I can vouch for this personally after recently switching from gas to induction. Having never used an induction hob before it took me a week or so to get used to such a different style of hob, but I am now a total convert and even find that I cook a lot more than I ever used to. For me, it is the look, speed, and ease of cleaning which are the main draw, and now that I have one, I would never want to go back!
If want to know more about induction hobs, or for help with choosing the right type of appliances for you and your home, please contact the LWK Kitchens team on 020 7536 9266 or email: [email protected]