Host Kevin O’Connor discusses induction cooktops with home technology expert Ross Trethewey. Ross sets up a comparison test with two tea kettles, comparing the difference in the amount of time an induction burner takes to boil water over a gas burner. Ross explains how induction technology works, as well as how he believes it will be the future of kitchen appliances.
What is Induction Cooking and How Does it Work?
Induction cooking works differently than gas. Rather than using a fuel source and creating heat, induction cooktops have copper coils underneath their glass tops. When electricity flows through the coil, it creates a magnetic field.
That magnetic field stimulates the iron molecules in the cookware, causing them to vibrate and rub against each other. The friction from the rubbing causes heat, even though the cooktop stays cool.
Induction Cooking is Targeted
Gas stoves need oxygen to burn gas, so the space around the burner needs to be wide open. This allows oxygen in, but also allows heat to escape, making these cooktops around 30% efficient. With induction cooktops, the heat is targeted on the cookware and doesn’t escape as readily, allowing these models to be up to 90% efficient.
It’s Faster Than Gas
Due to its targeted energy usage, efficiency, and the way it heats, induction cooking is much faster than gas or electric. Electric takes a long time to heat up, while gas produces instant heat but inefficiently disperses it to the cookware. With induction heating, expect it to take half the time to boil water as it would on gas (which is already much faster than electric).
Hoods Can Be Smaller
With induction cooktops, the range hoods that exhaust air can be smaller than they would be with gas. Gas burners require the user to exhaust the hot air and particles from the fuel with a large, powerful hood while also bringing in fresh air to prevent depressurizing the house. Induction cooktops do not need fresh air and the hoods they require can be much more modest.
Induction Cooking is Easy to Control
Induction cooking temperatures are much easier to control and adjust than electricity or gas-powered burners. The temperature stays more consistent while using it because of the concentration of heat energy, allowing users to easily increase or decrease the temperature instantly.
Induction Cooking is Safer than Gas or Electric
Since induction cooking doesn’t create heat the way gas or electric units do, it’s much safer. All of the heat is in the cookware, not the open flames or burner. This means that the surrounding surface is safe to the touch during use and almost immediately safe after removing the cookware.
Downsides of Induction Cooking
There are a couple of downsides to consider, though. Induction cooktops require cookware that contains iron, such as stainless steel or cast iron, while aluminum pots will not work. Also, induction cooktops are more expensive than gas or electric, so shoppers will have to budget for the extra expense.
Ross explains how induction works, compares its efficiencies against gas, and talks about the features, benefits, and downsides. Ross and Kevin set up one propane single burner and one induction cooktop in the studio to test which one brings a kettle of water to a boil first. This test showed Induction heats up about twice as fast as gas, bringing the water to a boil.
Induction is more efficient than both electric and gas cooktops at ~80% efficiency, while gas is about40%. Induction is known for its great response when adjusting the heat level. These cooktops are easier to clean than gas stoves and they can be placed on top of or under a counter, island or oven.
Induction is safer as it only heats up the pan/pot not the cooking surface and it turns off without apot sitting on the surface. This also minimizes accidental injury (if children or pets touch the surface) or fire since hot-pads or towels won’t catch fire upon contact.
The downsides are induction cooktops can be more expensive than both gas and electric cooktop andthey will not work in a power outage (unless backup battery or generator). You must use cookware that contains some iron in order for the magnetic technology to work.
The cooktop used was Insignia Single-Zone Induction Cooktop 1,800 watts. The propane burner was Stansport Single Burner 5,000 BTU Propane Stove.