Induction Cooker Pros & Cons

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Today induction cooking is the most favourable and efficient cooking but then also some pros and cons exits.


1. Instant Adjustment/ Instant heat control:

To serious cooks, the most important favorable point about induction cookers is that they are as or more "powerful" at heating as any other sort and sametime you can adjust the cooking heat instantly and with great precision. Before induction, good cooks, including all professionals, overwhelmingly preferred gas to all other forms of electric cooking for one reason: the substantial "inertia" in ordinary electric cookers--when you adjust the heat setting, the element (coil, halogen heater, whatever) only slowly starts to increase or decrease its temperature. With gas, when you adjust the element setting, the energy flow adjusts instantly.

But with induction cooking the heat level is every bit as instantaneous--and as exact--and even better as with gas, yet with none of the many drawbacks of gas (which we will detail later). In Induction cooking,the controls can be adjusted to increments as fine as the induction cooker manufacturer cares to supply (and nowadays that is very fine, especially at the critical low-temperatures end), and--again very important to serious cooks--such elements can run at as low as required cooking-heat level as wanted for gentle simmering and such like (something even gas is not always good at). 

2. No Wasted Heat:

As we know that in  induction cooking, energy is supplied directly to the cooking vessel by the electro-magnetic field; thus, almost all of the source energy gets transferred to that vessel. With gas or conventional electric cookers (including halogen), the energy is first converted to heat and only then directed to the cooking vessel--with a lot of that heat going to waste heating up your kitchen (and you) instead of heating up your food.

As a comparison, 40% (less than half) of the energy in gas gets used to cook, whereas with induction cooking 84% percent (or, by many estimates, even more) of the energy in the electricity used gets used to cook (and the rest is not waste heat as it is with gas).

There are two important heat-related consequences of that fact:

a. Cooler Kitchen: of course the cooking vessel and the food itself will radiate some of their heat into the cooking area--but compared to gas or other forms of electrically powered cooking, induction makes for a much cooler kitchen-we call it green kitchen (recall the old saying: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."); and,

b. A Cool Stove Top: that's right! The stovetop itself barely gets warm except directly under the cooking vessel (and that only from such heat as the cooking vessel bottom transfers). No more burned fingers, no more baked-on spills, no more danger with children around. 

3. Safety:

We have already mentioned that the stove top stays cool: that means no burned fingers or hands, for you or--especially--for any small children in the household.  And for kitchens that need to take into account special needs, such as wheelchair access, nothing, but nothing, can beat induction for both safety and convenience. (see the paragraph farther below).

Furthermore, because its energy is transferred only to relatively massive magnetic materials, you can turn an induction control to "maximum" and place your hand flat over it with no consequences whatever--it will not roast your non-ferrous hand! (Nor any rings or bracelets--the units all have sensors that detect how much ferrous metal is in the area that the magnetic field would occupy, and if it isn't at least as much as a small pot, they don't turn on.) And, while an element is actually working, all of its energy goes into the metal cooking vessel right over it--there is none left "floating around" to heat up anything else.

Moreover, LPG gas Stoves and induction's are  only real competitor's and has special risks of its own, not all of which are as well known as they perhaps should be. While the risk of a gas flame, even a pilot light, blowing out and allowing gas to escape into the house is relatively small, it does exist. But a much bigger concern is simply gas itself, even when everything is working "right". Use any web search engine and enter the terms gas health risk cooking and see what you find (really: do try it now in google); if, for example, you visit the Gascape web site, you may never again want to even enter a house with gas laid on (take some time to really poke around on this site--you may be shocked). And, of course, all combustion releases toxic carbon monoxide.

4. Ease And Adaptability Installation:

Unlike most other types of cooking equipment, induction units are typically very thin in the vertical, often requiring not over two inches of depth below the countertop surface. When a cooking area is to be designed to allow wheelchair access, induction makes the matter simple and convenient. 

5. Ubiquity:

It is an obvious but still very important fact that induction cookers are powered by electricity. Not every home actually has a gas pipeline available to it--for many, the only "gas" option is propane, with the corollary (and ugly, space-taking, potentially hazardous) propane tank and regular truck visits. But everyone has clean, silent, ever-present electricity.

6. Cleenliness:

Burning gas has byproducts that are vaporized, but eventually condense on a surface somewhere in the vicinity of the cooktop. Induction cooking or Electrical cooking of any kinds eliminates such byproducts.


1. The Cooking Vessel:

The most obvious and famous drawback to induction cooking has already been mentioned: it only works with cooking vessels made of magnetic materials. The commonest of such materials used for cooking vessels are stainless steel and iron or cast iron. Cookware suited for use with induction cookers, from the extreme high-quality end down to thrift-store modest, is readily available; but if you already have a stock of mostly expensive aluminum or copper or glass or pyrex cookware and little or no cast iron or stainless, you might be up for a cookware investment.

On the other hand, if you have a significant quantity of non-ferrous cookware that is not terribly expensive, you can replace it--possibly with much better stuff!--as part of the process; cast iron is by no means "spendy" cookware. If you have ever seen the inside of a real restaurant kitchen, you will surely have noticed that most or all of the cookware is either cast iron or nice, shiny stainless steel (even when they are still using gas for their cooking). Steel is most cook's preferred cookware material for many good reasons we discuss elsewhere on this site ,and recall that enamelled steel cookware also works beautifully on induction.

(Note that not all stainless-steel cookware works equally well on induction units; much depends on how the maker has assembled the layers of metal of which the pot or pan is made. Do not assume that all cookware labelled "stainless steel" will work on an induction unit--but almost all makers whose products do work, which includes a lot, will proudly say so in their advertising material or specifications. The easiest test in the world is to take any magnet--a refrigerator-decor type works fine--and see if it will cling to the bottom of a piece of cookware. If it doesn't, or if it clings very weakly, that item of cookware will not work on an induction cooker. If you're shopping for cookware that you want to be able to use on an induction unit, now or in the future, just take such a magnet along with you. Or, if you're buying off the web, make sure the product description says the item is induction-compatible, or ask for a written or emailed statement that it is, with full refund privileges.)

For the curious, the difference is how much, if any, nickel was added to the stainless, as nickel kills magnetic fields; the sort labelled "18/0" is nickel-free, whereas "18/8" or "18/10" stainless has too much nickel to work effectively on induction cooktops. (Nickel is used because it tends to make a shinier steel.)

As we noted elsewhere, technology to allow use of any metal cookware--even copper and aluminum--is in the pipeline, but there are definite problems with getting sufficient power levels with that technique, so it will likely be many years before units with it start showing up in the mainstream (if they ever do). So, for now, the need for ferric cookware does remain.

(There are now, however, adaptors available that will allow any pot or pan to be used on an induction element; because they essentially turn an induction element into a standard stovetop type of heater, they lose many of the advantages of induction--they are less efficient, they get very hot, and may be restricted as to maximum power level--but if you have a special-purpose item of non-ferrous cookware, such as glass or ceramic, it can be made to work on induction)

2. Inadequate Power:

This is not a valid negative- but we list and discuss it here because there are so many falsehoods and misunderstandings floating around on this matter. As we clearly showed, with hard numbers, induction cooking units are not merely as powerful as even "pro" gas ranges (residential "pro", that is), they are almost invariably much more powerful. (And that's using conservative figures for both gas and induction efficiencies.) To recap, a top-line (and top-price) so-called "pro" home gas range might have burners each rated at 15,000 BTU/hour or, in a few cases, as much as 18,000 BTU/hour--but that is only about 2.1 to 2.5 kW for induction elements, and even the most modest cooktops have at least one element of at least 2.4 kW (and many have elements up to 3.6 or 3.7 kW or even more!). Any concern over the adequacy of the "cooking power" of induction units is simply silly and ignorant.

3. Electricity Failure:

If the electricity supply to your home is interrupted, you will be unable to cook; gas supplies can be interrupted, too, but such interruptions are normally somewhat less likely than electricity interruptions. If the electricity where you are frequently goes out for hours at a time, the loss of cooking ability may be an issue for you. Most people living in such circumstances will have provided themselves with a backup, such as a propane-powered emergency generator--but if that's you and you have no backup, factor the matter into your decisions.

3. No 'Char' Flames:

For those to whom charring such items as peppers in an open flame is important, the lack of such a flame is a drawback. (It is, of course, one shared with all non-gas cookers.) But nowadays, most good ovens--gas certainly, but probably even electric--can do an acceptable job of charring food.

Neutral :

1. Energy Cost:

Energy-cost differences are hard to reckon because the prices of gas and the price of electricity these days are highly volatile, even relative to one another (the DOE--the U.S. Department of Energy--reports that between 1999 and 2008, the national annual average residential natural gas price more than doubled), and vary considerably from locale to locale even on the same day at the same hour (and, of course, by season, too), sometimes by as much as a 3:1 ratio. But in any event, it is not a really large factor: according to the DOE (Table A.4), cooking accounts for only about 2.7 percent of an average home's energy use--and that use includes ovens, toasters, microwaves, and whatever else, not just stovetop cooking. The difference in cost for various cooktop energy sources is at most on the order of a couple of dollars a month.

Where does that come from? In November of 2009, on a national average, induction-cooking electricity cost about 1.43 times what gas-cooking cost (gas was $11.25 per thousand cubic feet, about 1,020,000 BTU, while electricity was 11.33 cents a kilowatt-hour, and 1 kilowatt-hour equals about 7,185 BTU). Overall household energy costs were estimated by one source--and this is a big variable--at $5 to $10 a day. Assuming, then $7.50 a day, that's about $228 a month, of which on average 2.7%, or roughly $6, goes for cooking costs. The 43% greater cost of electricity would be about $2.60, but that's way high because it assumes that all of the cooking energy is used for stovetop cooking, and that all households were using gas, the lowest efficiency method, for their cooking. So a couple of bucks a month is probably too high an estimate.)

As one often-cited energy resource site put it, Most people can't save much energy by changing their cooking methods. That site estimates saving about $13 a year for gas cooking rather than electric, and that's not induction electric, which is significantly more efficient than most other electricity-powered cooking methods. So perhaps even a buck a month difference is too high an estimate. In short, the energy cost differences just don't matter. (Which, of course, is why they're in this "neutral" category.)

2. Purchase Cost:

It's hard to say that induction cooktops are "comparable" to gas cookers when induction-unit prices start at close to a thousand dollars: nonetheless, we will say it. The reason we do is because one needs to be careful to compare apples to apples, and the conventional 30-inch slide-in kitchen stove is an orange in this analogy. It is not always true that "you get what you pay for", but it is always true that you don't get what you don't pay for. An induction unit is so clearly superior, in so many ways, to any other form of cooking that it is hard to exaggerate the differences. One can say that a Chevy and a Rolls Royce are both "cars"--vehicles that take a given number of passengers from Point A to Point B--but there are valid reasons for the difference in their prices.

Moreover, a cooker--ordinary, fancy gas, induction, whatever--is a very long-term investment. The cost difference between a simple, inexpensive plain kitchen stove and a decent or better induction unit is not much when averaged out over the likely lifetime of such a unit. Moreover, consider: right now (early 2013), the top-ranked gas range on Consumer Search's list costs about $1,350; ranges topped with induction cooking surfaces range from $1,150 or so up, with a half-dozen under $1,500. That is awfully competitive. (Curiously, induction-topped ranges cost little more than induction cooktops.)

3. Vessel Sizes:

Cooking vessels at the extremes of size--the very small and the very large--occasionally raise issues. Because the auto-detect feature that all induction units have is meant to assure that things from cooking implements (such as metal tongs or spoons or ladles) to jewelry (rings or bracelets) will not activate an element, the detectors are often set rather conservatively, so much so that on some units very small pots or pans will not be detected (the usual minimum pot base size for activation is from 4 to 5 inches, depending on particular unit.) But that is scarcely a major issue: if you really must have such a pot--say "a butter warmer"--there are accessories available that make it easy.