The Pros and Cons of Induction Cooking Technology
Induction Range Explained
Induction ranges are currently trending in the U.S.. Touting faster cooking speeds, precision temperature setting, better safety features and being more environmentally friendly, we can see why they’re already common in Europe. Now more restaurant chefs and home cooks on this side of the pond are choosing to have them installed, and experiencing great results. This is understandably the case as they have the same capabilities of electric and gas ranges, but with several improvements.
The exterior of induction ranges are much the same as electric ranges as both have glass tops. The difference lies with the heating element. Unlike gas and electric, the heating coils underneath the glass use electromagnetic energy to directly heat the iron in your cookware. This means that your cookware actually becomes the heat source, not the cooktop.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros of cooking with induction.
The Pros of an Induction Range
Here are some of the biggest reasons restaurant chefs and home cooks are now opting for induction ranges:
Speedier Cooking: Ready to boil your pasta water faster and generally get dinner on the table quicker? Induction stovetops cook faster than both gas and electric stoves. This is due to induction directly heating your cookware instead of needing to first heat the heat element. Not only does induction cook more quickly when you turn up the heat, but it also responds faster when you turn it down.
Energy Efficiency: Cooking with induction is more energy efficient than cooking with either gas or electric. Barely any energy is wasted since the heat is transferred directly to the cookware, so no “middleman” is required. With induction, 90 percent of the energy goes to heating food. In contrast, 74 percent goes to cooking food using electric, and when it comes to gas, only 40 percent goes to cooking food. The wasted energy just goes into the air around your pots and pans. This efficiency and faster cooking times mean lower energy bills for you. Plus, your kitchen stays cooler while you cook since excess heat isn’t put out into the air.
Precise Temperature Control: Did you know that with induction, you can program the exact temperature you need? This makes induction cooking much more precise than cooking with gas or electric. Precise temperature control also means there is a much lower risk of your food overcooking or boiling over, and simmering is much easier.
Air Quality: Like electric, induction ranges produce zero pollutants. Recent studies are now showing that gas stoves are more harmful than initially understood. Gas stoves emit harmful chemicals into your home, especially if your range isn’t well ventilated, and even pollute even when turned off. Of particular concern is Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), which can cause respiratory illnesses. A 2022 study found 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases in the U.S. are due to gas stoves. We encourage you to at least consider switching from gas to electric, if you’re not quite ready for induction.
Safety: Since only the cookware gets hot, induction cooktops always stay cool. Not only that, as soon as a pan is removed, the stove automatically turns off. This practically eliminates the chances of getting burned by the cooktop. Even more importantly, without the open flames of a gas stove, your home’s safety against a fire occurring goes way up. No more worrying about a dishtowel or your clothes catching fire!
Lessen Your Carbon Footprint: Induction (and electric) ranges are better for the health of the planet. Gas stoves use nonrenewable fossil fuels that pollute the air.
The Cons of an Induction Range
There’s always a rub, right?
Cost: Induction ranges are currently more expensive than electric and gas models. That being said, the price will inevitably decrease as they become more common here in the U.S. Also, because of their better energy efficiency, you will see savings on your electric bill. There are also opportunities for rebates.
Converting: To properly convert to induction from a gas stove, you will need to have a professional electrician do the installation for you. The electrician will first make sure that you have enough amperage available on your electrical panel, and then bring the circuit up from your panel to behind your new range.
Cookware: While you may need to buy some new cookware, you might already have some in your cabinets. Induction cooking requires cookware that contains iron such as cast iron, stainless steel and ceramic covered metal. You can check your current pots and pans by seeing if a magnet attaches strongly to the bottoms. When shopping, look for cookware that says “induction compatible” and bring a magnet along to be extra sure.
Learning Curve: Of course there’s a bit of a learning curve to getting familiar with cooking on something new. You will find, though, that you will quickly adapt to the speedier cooking pace and to the cooktop automatically turning off as soon as you remove a pan.
Induction ranges are the wave of the future. The pros of speedier cooking, precise temperature control, improved energy efficiency, better safety and healthier air inside and out really do outweigh the cons.
If you’re interested in installing an induction cooktop or range into your home or business, contact one of our licensed electricians today to get you started!