How to Choose an Induction Cooktop
The top performers in our review are the Bosch NITPO66UC, the Gold Award winner; the Frigidaire FGIC3067MB, the Silver Award winner; and the KitchenAid KICU509XSS, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing an induction cooktop to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
Technology is making it possible to get more done in less time, affecting all aspects of our lives, including our time spent in the kitchen. Induction cooktops are one such appliance, using new and advanced technology to save you both time and energy while creating your culinary masterpieces. The technology in these cooktops not only decreases the amount of time you spend boiling water, but it also provides advanced safety measures that prevent burns and other injuries. For more information, check out our articles on induction cooktops.
How Does Induction Cooking Work?
Induction cooktops provide faster and more energy-efficient results because they distribute the heat directly to your cookware instead of to a burner, which then heats up your pot or pan. The heating element or burner on an induction cooktop is an electromagnet, and when a magnetic metal such as your cookware is on it, it creates an electric current, which results in heat. This allows heat to be directly transferred to the cookware and its contents, rather than through an electric coil.
Pros & Cons of Induction Cooking
There are numerous benefits to this type of technology, but one great advantage is how quickly it heats up food and water in your cooking vessels. With an electric stove, for example, the electric coil must first heat up, and heat is transferred to the pot. With induction cooktops, you don't have to heat up any coil; the heat is directly transferred to the pot. This also makes these cooktops much more energy-efficient. Furthermore, this allows you to quickly adjust the temperature of the element without waiting for the coil to heat up or cool down.
However, one drawback to this cooktop technology is these products are known to be much louder than electric or gas stovetops. They can make a loud hum due to the magnetic currents, and the frequency of the sound varies depending on several factors, including the setting and the material and quality of the cookware you use.
Do I need new pots and pans?
Induction cooktops require special cookware. To use this advanced technology, you must be able to create an electronic current for the cooking vessel to heat up. Induction cooktops only work with cookware made with magnetic materials, such as stainless steel or cast iron. To ensure your cookware works on the cooktop, you can perform a magnet test. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of your cooking vessel, it's most likely to work well with your induction cooktop. If a magnet does not stick, you may need to invest in new cookware made from different material in order to use the cooktop.
However, if you are determined to use stainless steel cookware with your induction cooktop, remember not all stainless steel is created the same. Some works better than others on an induction cooktop. It is important to use the magnet test before making any purchases to ensure the cookware will work.
Are Induction Cooktops Safer to Use?
Because heat is transferred directly to the cooking vessel, the cooktop surface itself does not get as hot as a gas or electric stovetop. This reduces the risk of severe burns from touching a hot cooktop, particularly with small children. However, after extensive use of a burner, the cooktop may be warm, and you will need to proceed with caution. There are some concerns about induction cooktops causing interference with individuals who have pacemakers or defibrillators, but studies show interference only occurs if the individual has a pacemaker that is unipolar and positioned on the left side and the individual is extremely close to the surface of the cooktop.
Induction Cooktops: What We Evaluated, What We Found
All of the cooktops on our lineup are only 30 inches wide. We only evaluated ones that feature four burners; however, many of these cooktops provide a bridge element that allows you to combine two burners to create one large heating element. However, there are cooktops available such as the Miele KM5773, a model that is not on our lineup, which provides similar power and feature sets as the 30-inch, four-burner induction cooktops on our lineup, but it is 36 inches wide and features five burners.
Induction cooktops are more costly than electric or gas cooktops. The ones on our lineup fall within a price range of $1,000 to $2,500. You can find more advanced cooktops than those on our lineup, but these products also come with a much higher price tag.
What Else Is Important?
When searching for the right cooktop, there are several things you should consider, such as the size of cooktop you desire, how many burners you need, and even the design and finish of the product. Here are a few additional characteristics that you should not forget when looking for the right induction cooktop for your home.
Induction cooktops are just as powerful as any gas or electric cooktop. Most cooktops range in power from 1,400 watts to 3,700 watts of power. Furthermore, some of the best cooktops offer a power boost feature. With this feature, the heating element provides maximum power to heat up your dish, whether it is boiling water or searing food, to provide the fastest and most powerful results. Products with this feature have an advantage and ranked higher on our lineup than those that did not.
However, on some induction cooktops, elements are paired together and share an induction generator. This means that neither burner in the pair can use the maximum amount of power. If one burner is using a high amount of power, the other element can only use the remaining amount. Cooktops that feature four induction generators scored higher in this area than those with only two.
Most induction cooktops drop right into your countertop. Aside from the product dimensions, you should also take a look at it cutout dimensions to ensure you have the right cutout space for it to fit properly. Induction cooktops' energy source is electricity, and if you are installing a new induction cooktop in your home, you may need the guidance of a professional electrician to ensure the electrical circuit can handle the power of the product.
Induction cooktops are flat. They don't feature any type of coil or grate that you have to remove and regularly clean. These units feature glass or ceramic surfaces, and all of the ones on our lineup boast touch controls so you can easily and quickly adjust the temperatures and settings. The flat surface is a benefit, as there is nowhere for food to go, such as in drip pans or on coils, and this makes it simple to clean. Additionally, because the cooktop itself doesn't heat up, you don't have to spend time every night scraping off burnt food.
Ventilation is still necessary when using an induction cooktop, even though little excess heat and hot air escapes from it. However, odors, smoke and grease are still present when you use an induction cooktop, resulting in the need for a ventilation system. Range hoods, ventilations hoods and exhaust fans are all options. Few induction cooktops provide any type of ventilation system built into the device. You will have to purchase a ventilation system separately.
Induction Cooktops: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Our top three cooktops ranked higher than similar products on our lineup thanks to several factors. All three provide power boost capabilities to cook foods more thoroughly and cut down on cooking time. Additionally, all their burners are a minimum of 10 inches in diameter, which allows you to cook with a wide assortment of pots and pan sizes.
The Ikea Nutid did not make our top 10, but it still offers many of the same features you will find on our top 10 cooktops. The control-lock capabilities, for example, are an excellent addition, as they prevent touch controls being pressed and the heat elements activating without your knowledge. Additionally, the multi-burner timers allow you to set a timer for each specific burner on the cooktop, instead of the unit just coming with a standard kitchen timer. This cooktop also has the power boost feature of the best induction cooktops.
With the elements to create the right induction cooktop, you can increase the safety in your kitchen, reduce cooking times, and avoid messing with coils and grates. Cleanup is a breeze, and the design will add a pleasing look to your kitchen.