3 Little Known Benefits of Induction Stoves Magnets! Is there anything they can’t do?
From MRI scanners to maglev trains they are one of the modern world’s unsung heroes. And now, we can put them to use melting chocolate and making cheese sauce in our own homes.
Induction stoves are making slow but steady inroads into our homes as more people understand the untapped value of these incredibly clever appliances.
What do you know about induction cooking?
Today we’re unpacking this topic in detail to help you make an informed decision when next you’re shopping for a new stove or cooker.
What is an Induction Stove?
On the surface, induction cooktops look much the same as many standard electric hobs with an opaque or coloured glass surface equipped with heating rings. That’s pretty much where the similarities stop though, as the heating coils in an induction stove are powered by electromagnetic energy, as opposed to a heating element.
When activated, the iron particles in the cookware are agitated by electromagnetic energy which heats the pot or pan up quickly. Unlike an electric or gas stovetop, there is no heat or energy loss while the pan heats up. Bizarrely, the induction cooker itself remains cool to the touch, as the effect is only on the cookware you’re using and its contents.
While this may sound like some futuristic magic, it’s an exciting option available to us all right here in South Africa, right now.
What are some of the benefits of adopting induction technology?
Benefits of Induction Stoves
Anything that saves us time and money and adds to the safety of our homes is a good thing, right? That’s exactly what induction cooktops bring to the party.
1. Induction Stoves are Faster
One review on the benefits of induction cooking says, “Induction cooktops are masters of the quick change—gentle enough to melt butter and chocolate, but powerful enough to bring 48 ounces (1.5 litres) of water to a boil in under three minutes.” A gas or electric stovetop will perform the same function in 10 – 15 minutes.
The physics behind this is simple: It takes time for the electric elements in a conventional HOB to heat up the burner, then the burner heats the cookware, which in turn will cook your food.
Cooking at these speeds may cause you to wonder about burning your dinner or achieving the ideal temperature for your dish. The fact is that, due to the immediate nature and the way the heat is generated, we can achieve super-precise temperature control; even more so than with an electric stove.
2. An Energy-Efficient Choice
Logically, faster cooking leads to less energy usage. However, there are two aspects to energy efficiency that bring induction cookers out on top.
- The first aspect is heat loss. “With induction cooking, 85-90% of the heat energy generated is used for cooking. In comparison, with a gas stove or electric cooktops, only 65-70% of the heat is used for actual cooking.” (Source)
- The second relates to actual energy expenditure. “Research clearly shows that induction cooktops are more energy efficient: gas cooktops are about 40 percent efficient; electric-coil and standard smooth-top electric cooktops are about 74 percent efficient; induction cooktops are 84 percent efficient.” (Source)
3. Advanced Safety Features
An induction cooktop or stove maintains a cool cooking surface. The only element that gets hot is the pan, so there are no fire hazards and no risk of burns resulting from a hot element. (As a result, cleanup is also quicker.) However, your cookware and the food inside remains hot as it would on any other cooking surface.
Another smart safety feature is that the cooking surface becomes inactive when the pot is removed, as the electromagnetic energy has nothing to react with. For those of us who routinely leave the stove on while we’re busy in the kitchen, this is a major plus.
Further to this point, the risk of fires is eliminated as there is no way a dish towel or anything flammable can catch alight from the cooking surface.
Does this all sound too good to be true? Surely there must be some downsides to cooking with induction stoves!
The Cons of Induction Stovetops
As you may have deduced, not all cookware will work with an induction cooker. Electromagnetic energy reacts to iron particles, so stainless steel pots or cast iron pans are ideal. Some older ceramic or glass cookware won’t be compatible. (If you’re unsure whether your existing pots and pans will work with your new cooker. Check whether a magnet sticks to them. If so, you’re good to go.)
Another factor is that there is a learning curve to consider as induction cooking takes some getting used to. Many new to induction cooking may overcook food as they are not used to the faster cooking times. Likewise, if the pot is not properly positioned on the element, or your pan base is not completely flat. Your stove may not cooperate with your efforts.
Some cite cost as a problem when buying a new induction stove. You can decide based on your budget, but in actuality, it isn’t much of a deal, especially in the mid-range options.
For example, if you are interested in a single plate induction HOB then you can buy one for under R2000. If you’re looking for a larger induction stove for sale then a mid-range alternative is the Whirpool 60cm Induction HOB, or a beefy Bosch 90cm Induction Ceramic HOB.
Choosing Your Induction Stove
In summary, the reasons for making an induction stove your next purchase are:
- Superfast heating
- Precise temperature control
- Lower energy consumption
- Enhanced safety
- Heat transfer stops as soon as the stove is turned off
- Easy to clean with no possibility of burnt food on the stovetop
- Reduced risk of fire
- Cooler kitchens
Over and above these compelling benefits, your carbon footprint is reduced when you choose an induction stove. South Africa needs all the help it can get in this department, so you will certainly be a force for good.