- 1 Background
- 2 History
- 3 How Does an Induction Hob Work?
- 4 Induction Hob Units
- 5 Conclusion
To fully explain what an induction hob actually is, I will first explain a little bit of history about how it came about via the invention of gas cooking…bear with me here, I promise you I will be explaining about induction cooking in a moment.
The reason I decided to write this post is because I love to cook and I have a massive post detailing the top 3 best induction cookware pieces on the market right now, as well as an article talking about the pros & cons of induction cooking.
I thought that many folks aren’t sure what induction cooking actually is, and seeing as I have researched this topic very thoroughly, I wanted to share with you what I learnt.
Cooking is the technique, craft, or art in preparing food with the use of heat.
Cooking techniques also vary across the world with different cultures and tastes…I know this first hand from living in a country called Laos where even their coffee is different!
Although there’s clear archaeological evidence when and how humans began cooking food to eat, most archaeologists believe that cooking started 250,000 years ago. Some believe that our ancestors invented cooking 1.8 million to 2.3 million years ago.
One major improvement that changed the way we cooked food forever; was the invention of gas stoves.
Its use of propane, butane, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and other flammable gas as a source of fuel was revolutionary, and was first developed during the early 1820’s and was improved upon and used until the modern era.
Today, technology has introduced us now way of cooking without the use of fire as a direct heat source.
Induction hobs, also known as induction cooking, are an alternative to cooking with gas and are a great new way for cooking faster, cleaner and safer meals.
Essentially, induction cooking is the use of electromagnetism to heat cooking vessels.
Induction hobs were first showcased on a touring GM showcase in the mid-1950s by the Frigidaire corporation, a division of General Motors.
During the early 1970s, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation worked on the modern implementation of induction hobs in the United States. It was displayed at the 1971 National Association of Home Builders convention in Texas.
This modern implementation was a stand alone single burner range named the Cool Top Induction Range.
The Westinghouse Company made a few hundred units of this model and named them Cool Top 2 (CT2) Induction ranges.
These ranges were sold at $1,500 with high-quality cookware made of a laminated combination of carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
How Does an Induction Hob Work?
Induction cooktops have a coil of copper wire where the cooking pans or pots are to be placed.
Through this copper wire, an alternating electric current passes through, resulting in a fluctuating magnetic field that prompts a magnetic flux.
The pots, pans and other cooking vessels should contain or be made of cast iron, stainless steel or other ferromagnetic metal.
This is because the induction hob should be able to magnetize the cooking vessels to produce a large current through them and heat them.
Induction Hob Units
Most induction hobs have one, two, three, four or even five induction zones.
In the United States and Europe, induction hobs (30 inch in width) that are most commonly used have four zones. Some induction hobs have touch-sensitive controls and memory settings to set how long the heat is applied.
The cooking surface of induction hobs is made of glass ceramic material which is a poor heat conductor. In a typical operation, this cooking surface is significantly cooler than the cooking surface of other cooking methods.
However, extra care should be observed right after the induction hob is used because the surface is extremely hot as the cooking vessels leave too much heat.
They're Energy Efficient
The cooking properties of an induction range compared with cooking with gas stoves, are:
- Improved thermal efficiency
- Faster heating
- More consistancy
Induction hobs are more energy efficient because only the magnetic parts are heated. So even if you place some other materials on the hobs or under the pots, they won’t cause damage or fire hazard.
The control system of induction hobs automatically shuts down when the cooking vessels are removed. There is no heat produced when there is no metal pan on the induction hob.
electric cooktops are Easy to Clean
Let’s be honest with each other here; this is easily 1 of the top 5 reasons why induction cookers are so darn super duper.
Gas stoves have metal grates over each burner that holds the pots over the flame. It’s common that food is spilled around these burners and it can be messy.
On the other hand, induction stove cooktops don’t have those metal grates. Even if food is spilled on an induction hob, its flat and smooth surface makes it easy to clean and the spilled food doesn’t get hot enough to stick or burn onto the surface.
I won’t even get into the difficulty in cleaning the actual metal grates!
Induction Hobs Ensure Maximum Safety
An inductive cooktop keeps the stovetop cool.
Because an induction hob doesn’t use fire as a direct heat source, the fire hazard is reduced. It uses electromagnetic energy that is transferred only to massive electromagnetic cooking vessels.
So even if you put some other non-electromagnetic stuff on top of the induction hob, they won’t get burned or produce fire.
Induction cookers are More Expensive Compared to Gas Stoves
One of the major drawbacks of an induction hob is that it’s two to three times more expensive than gas stoves. The energy efficiency savings aren’t usually significant enough to return the price difference.
Induction hobs are more expensive however, because you need to use cooking pans or pots with iron and usually these are sold as special induction cooking pots and pans.
These kinds of cookware are more expensive compared to typical copper, aluminium and glass cookware, but they do have an added benefit of being of a higher quality than simple cookware due to the materials needed.
One could use the analogy of Japanese kitchen knives compared to basic kitchen knives. The Japanese variety are usually more expensive as a result of specialty, but this is also because of their superior build and steel.
they Only Work With Electricity
Another drawback is power failure.
They only work with electric power, so if there is a power failure for hours, you won’t be able to use it or cook your food.
Many people who use induction hobs have emergency power generators to be able to keep cooking in case this happens.
Induction stove tops are one of the most promising technologies we have today.
Although many households and other accommodation establishments prefer to install induction hobs for cooking; gas stoves, brick ovens and other traditional ways of cooking are still used by many.
Induction stove cooktops are modern and have many advantages in terms of safety, efficiency and cooking speed but they also have disadvantages.
There are still people who use fire and gas stoves, because they can’t afford induction hobs. Induction hobs, as well as the actual induction ready cookware, are much more expensive than gas stoves, but the benefits are numerous.
Of course, there are still many chefs who prefer cooking on gas because of the control it provides as well as certain traditional aspects, but induction cookers are fast catching up and the level of control they offer nowadays is pretty astonishing.
When deciding whether to use gas stoves or induction hobs, it is important to weigh the pros and cons.
For modern houses and commercial establishments, induction hobs are preferred. It’s important to consider certain things when making this decision, including:
- Energy efficiency
- Heat consistancy
- Kitchen structure
- Interior design
I hope this article provides enough information about what an induction hob actually is, and will help you in the future to decide whether to opt for an induction cooker or not.