What Is An Induction Hob?

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Updated: 13/01/2021

To fully explain what is an induction hob, I will first present 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 in a moment.

I decided to write this post 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 is, and seeing as I have researched this topic very thoroughly, I wanted to share what I learned with you.

Background

Cooking is the technique, craft, or art of 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 of 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. Gas revolutionized the way we cook today

One significant improvement that changed the way we cooked food forever; was the invention of gas cooking.

Its use of propane, butane, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and other flammable gas as a fuel source was revolutionary and was first developed during the early 1820s and was improved upon and used until the modern era.

Today, technology has introduced us now a way of cooking without fire as a direct heat source.

Induction cookers, also known as induction cooking, are an alternative to cooking with gas using an electrical current and are a great new way of cooking faster, cleaner, and safer meals.

Essentially, induction is the use of electromagnetism to heat cooking vessels.

History

Induction hobs were first showcased on a touring GM showcase in the mid-1950s by the Frigidaire corporation, a General Motors division.

During the early 1970s, the Westinghouse Electric Corporation worked on the modern implementation of induction devices 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 laminated carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum combination.

How Does an Induction Hob Work?

Induction cooktops have a coil of copper wire that uses a magnetic field where the cooking pans or pots are to be placed.

An alternating electric current passes through this copper wire, 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 cooktop should magnetize the cast iron or stainless steel cooking vessels to produce a large current through them and heat them.

Induction Cooktop Units

Modern induction cookers have massive amounts of adjustability 

Most manufacturers make their induction cooking surface to have one, two, three, four, or even five magnetic field induction zones.

In the United States and Europe, they (30 inches in width) that are most commonly used have four zones. Some of them have touch-sensitive controls and memory settings to set how long the heat is applied.

The cooking surface of the electric cooktop is made of glass-ceramic material, which is a poor heat conductor. In a typical operation, this cooking surface is significantly cooler than other cooking methods’ cooking surface.

However, it would be best to observe extra care right after the induction cooktop is used because the surface is hot as the cooking vessels leave too much heat.

Advantages of Induction

They’re Energy Efficient

The cooking properties of an induction range compared with cooking with gas stoves are:

  • Improved thermal efficiency
  • Faster heating
  • More consistency
  • Magnetic field means that the induction cooktop is safer to use
  • Fast to create boiling water as the residual heat surrounds the entire magnetic cookware so cooking time is reduced
  • Induction cooking surface can hold more varied sizes of cooking units
  • The bases are safe for children

Induction heaters 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 setting of this type of element automatically shuts down when the cooking vessels are removed. There is no heat produced when there is no metal pan on the electric cooktop.

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 cookers have metal grates over each burner that holds the pots over the flame. It’s expected that food is spilled around these burners, and it can be messy.

On the other hand, induction cooktops don’t have those metal grates but rather coils that you use a different setting to adjust. Even if food is spilled on an induction heating element, 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 Heating Elements Ensure Maximum Safety

An induction cooktop keeps the stovetop cool.

Because an induction device doesn’t use fire as a direct heat source, instead using a copper coil, the fire hazard is reduced. It uses electromagnetic energy that transfers the current flow to electromagnetic cooking vessels. They often also have a switch that prevents them from overheating.

So even if you put some other non-electromagnetic stuff on top of the induction cooktop, they won’t get burned or produce fire.

Disadvantages of Induction

Induction cookers are More Expensive Compared to Gas cookers.

Induction stove cooktops tend to be more expensive than gas cookers, but they are also very high quality

One of the major drawbacks of an induction stove is that it’s two to three times more expensive than gas options. The energy efficiency savings aren’t usually significant enough to return the price difference.

However, they are more expensive because you need to use cooking pans or pots with a ferrous metal such as iron, and usually, these are sold as special induction cooking pots and pans.

These kinds of cookware are more expensive than typical copper, aluminum, and glass cookware. Still, 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 essential kitchen knives. The Japanese variety is usually more expensive due to specialty, but this is also because of their superior build and steel.

they Only Work With Electricity

Another drawback is a 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 an electric cooktop have emergency power generators to keep cooking if this happens.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Distance from a Cabinet Side Can an Induction Cooktop Be?

It doesn’t really matter which manufacturer you use, an induction ready cooking surface can be placed very close to any form of cabinet in your kitchen. This is because there is no residual heat coming from the actual element. Instead, the electric current flow from the induction heat energy is being directly transferred to your stainless steel pans. One thing you need to be aware of though, is that the induction cooking surface may not pose any threat to your cabinets, there could be food or sauce residue that spits out from your induction-ready saucepan.

Will my regular pots and pans work on an induction cooktop?

Is they contain ferrous metal then they should be fine. If not then you will need to purchase a new set that does include said metal.

Why induction cooktops are so popular

They are safer than traditional gas options and are often more cost effective.

Is the quick boil feature on electric induction stove tops only used to boil water?

It is recommended that you only use it for this purpose. This is because other liquids have different boiling points and very viscous liquids could bubble and burst causing injury.

Can a 9in pan work on an induction cooker with a 8 in cooking ring?

As long as contact is made between the materials, then it should be fine.

Conclusion

Induction stovetops are one of the most promising technologies we have today.

Although many households and other accommodation establishments prefer to install induction options for cooking, a gas cooktop, brick ovens, and different traditional cooking methods 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 a gas cooktop because they can’t afford induction options. Induction hobs and the actual induction-ready cookware are much more expensive than gas stoves, but the benefits are numerous.

Of course, many chefs still prefer cooking on gas because of the control it provides and certain traditional aspects. Still, induction cookers are fast catching up, and the level of control they offer nowadays is pretty astonishing.

When deciding whether to use gas cookers or induction options, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons.

For modern houses and commercial establishments, induction cooktops are preferred. It’s essential to consider certain things when making this decision, including:

  • Energy efficiency 
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Cleanliness
  • Heat consistency
  • Affordability
  • Kitchen structure
  • Interior design

I hope this article provides enough information about what an induction hob is and will help you in the future to decide whether to opt for an induction cooker or not.