Induction cookers have become affordable and have deservedly grown in popularity over recent years. After years of living with a slow electric cooker I fully intended to change to a gas hob when the kitchen was revamped but a little research soon convinced me that induction hobs (cooktops) are far superior. An induction cooker is easily as fast as gas, bringing the contents of a pan to the boil with impressive speed and, just like a gas cooker, responds instantly when a reduction in temperature is required.
The first obvious advantage of induction cookers over gas cookers, halogen hobs and ceramic hobs is that of safety – especially important if there are children or elderly users to consider. The induction hob (cooktop) works by using magnetism to heat the pan itself – the rings do not heat up – consequently the risk of burns from naked flames and hot surfaces is reduced to practically zero. (There is some residual heat when a pan is lifted off but this is nothing like the temperature of a conventional hob).
Still on the subject of safety, even when switched on, an induction ring only starts to work when a suitable metal pan is placed on it, so no worries about a stray spoon left on the hob becoming dangerously hot. Also, the induction rings automatically switch off after a short delay when a pan has been removed, so no more forgetting to switch the cooker off.
Another advantage of the induction hob (induction cooktop) not getting hot itself is ease of cleaning. It is possible to wipe splashes up during cooking without any danger at all and the whole hob can be wiped over in seconds as soon as you take the pans off. Food splashes and spills do not stick to the surface of the induction cooker as it remains cool, so no more time wasted dismantling gas hobs or using abrasives and chemicals to remove stubborn, burnt on food residue.
Induction cooking is also very economical. You are only using the energy you need to heat a pan, virtually no heat is wasted.
I was warned that it would cost a fortune to buy new pans for my induction hob (cookware must have a high iron content) but this proved to be completely wrong. All you need is a magnet – if it sticks firmly to the base of a pan, the pan will be perfect for induction cooking. Take two minutes to test all of your pans and you may be surprised to find how many of them can be used on an induction hob – some cheap ones as well as expensive cast iron cookware such as Le Creuset were all fine. Manufacturers are producing more and more cookware suitable for use on induction hobs and I was able to buy the one or two extra pans I need at very reasonable cost from a supermarket.
If you have a special pan that will not work on an induction cooker, it is possible to purchase an induction cooking adapter, which is a cast iron plate to sit on the hob. The idea is that the plate gets hot and will heat any pan placed on top of it. These do work, but you lose many of the advantages of speed and safety as the plate gets extremely hot and takes a long time to cool – perhaps better just to buy a new pan.
Induction cookers come in a variety of designs, with rings of different shapes and sizes. My Bosch induction hob is a basic four ring model, the largest ring being 21cm diameter and has proved to be an excellent buy. It is possible to buy models with extra large or specially shaped rings for fish kettles, but I would think carefully about how much you will actually use these features before going to the extra expense.
I love to cook and am delighted with my new induction hob (induction cooktop) and thoroughly recommend induction cookers.