What is Induction Cooking

Welcome to our post where we answer the question – “what is induction cooking”.

What is Induction Cooking

Unlike the more conventional forms of cooking which use gas and electric rings to heat pots and pans, induction cooking uses electromagnetic current to directly heat the cooking vessel. For a more technical explanation of the processes involved check out our technology guide here.

If you want to know what is meant by induction cooking and what it means to the general consumer check out the videos and guide information below.

The Advantages of Using an Induction Cooktop

Induction cooking is very responsive.

The primary advantage of induction cooking is its responsiveness to temperature adjustment and the general speed of cooking. Induction cooking directly transfers energy straight to the metal of a pan unlike conventional forms of cooking such as gas which use heat transfer. For a more technical explanation see our technical guide.

As an example of the speed involved, the time taken to boil two quarts of water by type of cooking method is as follows:

What is Induction Cooking

The following video also provides evidence of the speed of cooking on various induction cooktops as opposed to gas.

Induction cooking provides precise temperature control.

Whilst induction cooking can generate great heat in a short space of time, induction technology can also deliver temperatures very slowly and at much reduced temperatures. For example, on the lower settings of appliances, you can easily melt and maintain melted chocolate without a bain marie.  Induction is also great for sauces such as bernaise that require slow and gentle preparation.

Induction cooking is Safer.

There is no open flame and so the chance of flame transfer or radiant heat igniting fumes or flammable material is non-existent. In electrical cooking the red hot coil can sometimes over lap the pot and takes a while to cool down. With induction cooking, only the pot only heats up when it is in contact with the electromagnetic coil. With induction cooking you can safely place your hand on the cooking area a few seconds after a pot has been lifted. The surface will always stay cool to the touch therefore making this an ideal option when kids or disabled people are in the home. The following videos confirm the safety aspects of induction hobs.

Induction cooking is Cleaner.

Induction hobs and cookers are designed with ease of cleaning in mind. Materials such as glass ceramic are used in the build and can be cleaned very easily with just a damp cloth and the minimum of fuss. Also, because the cooktop itself does not get hot there is little opportunity for food overspill burning and messing the glass-ceramic surface.

Induction cooking is Cooler.

Traditional gas or electric cookers are highly inefficient as they also heat up the air around a cooking vessel. It is generally considered that they lose up to half the heat that they generate to the surrounding environment. Within a combined space such as a small kitchen, RV or tent, this heat waste builds up quickly and can make for a very hot and sometimes uncomfortable environment when cooking takes place. Induction cooking generates very little ambient heat as all the heat energy is being transferred straight to the cooking vessel itself.

Induction cooking is Energy Efficient.

Because Induction cooking is far more energy efficient it costs less money to run than more conventional forms of cooking appliance. The table below identifies the power efficiency of the appliances.

Stated Power vs. Delivered Power
Type Power Efficiency Delivered Power
Induction 2.8kW 90% 2.52kW
Halogen 2.2kW 60% 1.32kW
Electric Coil 2.0kW 55% 1.1kW
Gas 3.5kW 50% 1.75kW

This is further backed up by the U.S. Department of Energy who state that the efficiency of energy transfer for an induction cooker is 84%, versus 74% for a smooth-top non-induction electrical unit. This provides for an approximate 12% saving in energy for the same amount of heat transfer

Is Induction Cooking Safe

As is demonstrated in the videos above, induction cooking is incredibly safe. Tests have demonstrated that the glass ceramic surface  used in the cooktops only gets to around 212°F (100°C) when boiling water. If you are frying food temperatures will get up to a maximum of 482°F (250°C),

A typical conventional ceramic cooktop with electrical heating elements on the other hand will heat up the cooking surface to around 1,112°F – 600°C).

The obvious point about increased safety also comes from the fact that there is no direct open flame used during at any point of the heating. This makes the entire environment safer for children, disabled people or for use in enclosed areas such as boats, RV’s and student dorms. Because heat is only generated by the cooking vessel itself the hob will not ignite combustible materials that are placed on the hob (see video above).

Many modern induction cooktops are also built with sensors to stop overheating, over boiling, and spillage. Additional functionality is also built in to ensure only appropriate cookware being used and that child locks prevent tampering of controls by small children.

It is worth mentioning that scare stories do surface regarding the use of electromagnetic technology and pacemakers.

Induction Cooktop problems

As well as the many advantages cited, a small number of concerns and negatives have been levied at the technology. These are listed as follows:

An obvious negative is the fact that the technology is still based on an electrical current being available to supply electricity to the copper coil.

Induction cooking only works with stainless steel and iron based cookware. Pyrex, glass, aluminium and copper cookware will not work directly with the induction cooker. (Note: induction disks are available to get around this problem)

The cookware used must have a flat bottom as the electromagnetic power drops the further way the pot is from the copper coils.

A tiny amount of ambient noise may be heard form cooling fans within the products however this is usually eradicated with cladding within the better built products.

The lack of a flame can reduced the cooking experience and some people find it difficult to master cooking techniques like stir-frying and searing.

People who have cardiac pacemakers or other electronic medical implants are often advised to avoid sources of magnetic fields. Although the general consensus is the induction cooking is safe with the implants, users should also seek advice from their medical advisor.

Despite the negative concerns that have been raised, induction cooking is going from strength to strength across the world. With its popularity extending from Japan, Asia, Europe and the US and the technology has also been adopted by many of  the best chefs, restaurants and hotels.

Induction cooking can bring a great cooking experience to a wide variety of environments and occasions. Whether its flexibility, safety or economical reasons there is a induction cooktop available to meet your needs.

Tags: