I knew there would be a lot of decisions in a renovation, but I wasn’t worried about any of them as much as figuring out what cooktop to buy. From the beginning I wanted an electric stove and Ian wanted gas. And we weren’t really negotiable on these points.
Ian was the first to bring it up. I had honestly never heard of such a thing, but I was feeling mildly open minded one afternoon, so I listened to him. He was talking about induction cooktops. For those of you as out of the loop as me, these ranges look like their electric counterparts, but instead of using radiant heat to cook your food, they use an electromagnetic field. Yup, you read that correctly – they cook with magnets.
We’ve now been using this cooktop for a few months and I have to say I’m totally in love. I will probably never buy another type of stove again. To help other appliance buyers, I’ve compiled a list of the benefits of induction cooktops (along with the concerns).
The Benefits of Induction Cooktops
- They are easy to clean. This was a big one for me. Because honestly, after making spaghetti on a busy weeknight, the last thing I want to do spend 15 minutes cleaning splatter in-between all of the heavy metal grates and contours of the stovetop. I’m just spent at that point, and it’s so gross! This is an easy wipe-down and you’re done.
- They boil water in like 2 seconds. Clearly a bit of an exaggeration here, but they do boil water wicked fast. Fast enough that I’ve had to adjust my cooking times. And yes, they are MUCH faster than electric and gas. How is this possible, you ask? Because…
- They are the most efficient option. Did you know that 60% of the heat produced on a gas stove is lost before it gets to the pot. I didn’t know that either, but I guess it makes sense. All those big flames are cool to look at, but you’re ability to see them means that you are losing lots of heat.
- The low controls are actually low. This was another biggie for me. Many of the recipes I use have me bring something to a rumbling boil then immediately simmer it (Alfredo sauce, anyone)? Both gas and electric have a hard time going from one extreme to another. Additionally, I have three specific ‘low’ controls; simmer, melt and keep warm. This means I have a lot of control over the temperature of what I’m cooking.
- They are the safest cooktop. The only part of the stove that gets hot is directly under the pot (where the magnets touch). I still worry about a pot of hot water getting tipped off the stove, but I definitely worry less about little fingers getting burned. (Cool side note: Since the only things getting hot are what the magnets come in contact with, you could literally put a piece of paper in between the pot and to stovetop and cook an entire dinner on it without it ever getting warm. Trust me – I’m a nerd and tried it once! This isn’t all that useful except that food splatter and wayward recipe books won’t scald the surface or go up in flames).
Some Things To Note
- You will probably need new cookware. This is possibly the biggest deterrent that keeps most people from buying induction cooktops. Your cookware has to be induction friendly (i.e. magnetic) for it to work. We had non-stick Calphalon pots and pans that all needed replaced. Good news, we bought a whole new set on Amazon for relatively inexpensive and they work great. More and more manufacturers are making induction friendly sets.
- Induction cooktops are typically more expensive than electric. This was a bigger concern a few years ago when induction first came on the market, but since then the prices have dropped dramatically and the price difference is much less.
- You will probably have to adjust your cooking. These induction cooktops don’t mess around and the cooking process is a bit faster. Additionally, it took me a few meals before I adjusted to everything being touch screen having cooked with knobs my entire life. Overall however, switching to induction was not as big of a process as I expected and I like that everything is done a little sooner!
I hope this helps clarify some of the mystery around these cooktops. In the end I think that the benefits of induction cooktops far outweigh any of the concerns. Now that we have this system, I don’t ever see myself going back to gas or electric. Here is a link to the specific model that we bought, but every appliance manufacturer has at least one on the market, so shop around.
(For a review of the appliances we picked at the Hill Street House, click here.)