An induction cooktop, also known as induction cooker or induction burner, is efficient, green, and inexpensive.
Induction cooktops converts electricity into a magnetic field which heats only the pan.
Compared to an entire induction range top, which runs into the $thousands, the portable cooktop is a deal.
Using induction to cook food is extremely efficient. That’s because induction heats only the pan, not the cooktop. That means the induction cooktop isn’t heating up your kitchen, which saves on cooling.
An induction cooktop boils water faster than a microwave or a gas burner!
More about the details of induction cooking later.
For now, let’s take a look at the most inexpensive way to try induction cooking — the portable induction cooktop burner, used throughout the world for efficient, low-cost cooking.
Here are two good ones.
1. The Duxtop Induction Cooktop
- Duxtop Induction Cooktop uses 120 volts, 15 amps of electricity – standard in all homes; Lightweight and compact for easy handling and storage
- Digital control panel
- Built-in count-down digital timer with 5 min increments up to 170 minutes; 10 temperature range from 140°F to 460°F; 10 power levels from 200-1800Watts; 6 ft cord
- The auto-pan detection will shut the unit automatically after 60 seconds if no cookware is detected; Equipped with diagnostic error message system, Low and high voltage warning system; ETL approved
Although it’s a bit more expensive, check out this induction cooker.
2. The Update International (IC-1800W) – 12″ Countertop Induction Cooker
This 12″ Countertop Induction Cooker 12 inches wide and sits on a countertop.
Compact size and portability
Push-button operation and a temperature range of between 140°F and 464°F.
1800 watts of power
Attractive ceramic top for maximum durability and ease of cleaning
Produces an incredible 1,800 watts of power using a standard 120 volt electrical supply
Basics of induction cooking
Induction Cooktop Checklist
Whatever induction cooktop you get, a reading of the reviews indicates that you want:
1,800 watts — the point of induction cooking is focusing POWER right into your food
A wide burner — people complain of hot spots on some induction cooktops. I noticed that cast iron seems prone to hot spots
Reliable controls and circuits — not all induction cooktops hold up or even work first time out of the box
What about my pans? Do I need special cookware for an induction cooktop?
Copper or aluminum pans don’t work with induction.
An induction current interacts only with ferrous metals — iron and steel, including stainless steel.
Picking a pan for induction cooking is not complicated.
If a magnet sticks to it, a pan will work on an induction burner! How special is that?
The Strangest Properties of Induction Cooking
According to Wikipedia article on induction cooking, “In an induction cooker, a coil of copper wire is placed underneath the cooking pot. An alternating electric current flows through the coil, which produces an oscillating magnetic field. This field induces an electric current in the pot. Current flowing in the metal pot produces resistive heating which heats the food.”
Induction is a new approach to cooking.
Cool For any material that is not ferrous metal, induction is completely cool. You can put you hand on the surface. You can cook on a towel. At high temperatures, the pan will scorch the towel, but the field passes right through it.
Self Monitoring If there’s no pan on the cooktop, the magnetic field has nowhere to go. The cooktop senses that and turns itself off.
If you really get into induction cooking, you may want to try an entire induction range top.
The GE Profile PHS925STSS has an induction cooktop “hybridized” with an electric oven.
In the meantime, the cost of trying induction on a single cooktop burner (or two) is surprisingly low.
Have you tried induction cooktop cooking? Leave a comment!