We are all familiar with gas and electric cooktops, both on ranges and as stand-alone units. However, there is a new contender in the arena of stovetop cooking: the Induction Range.
This newest heating method heats a cooking vessel using magnetic induction, instead of by thermal conduction from the electrical heating element, or a flame. Because inductive heating directly heats the pot or pan, very rapid increases in temperature can be achieved.
How Does It Work?
A coil of copper wire is placed under the cooking pot and an alternating electric current is passed through it. This magnetic field induces a flux, which repeatedly magnetizes the cooking vessel; much like the magnetic core of a transformer. This produces large eddy currents in the pot, which, because of the resistance of the vessel, heats it.
Benefits of an Induction Range
Induction cooking is quite efficient; it puts less waste heat into the kitchen, can be quickly turned off, and has safety advantages compared to gas stoves. Cooktops are also usually easy to clean, because the cooktop itself does not get very hot.
There is a catch. For nearly all models, a cooking vessel must be made of, or at least contain, a ferrous metal such as cast iron or very few stainless steels.
Many major manufacturers have developed these ranges and as the technology becomes more common and refined the price has become more competitive when compared to gas or electric.
As they are usually the top of the line ranges for their brand, nearly all feature convection in the oven, and a list of other high end features. I list a few favorites below...
Something of a latecomer to induction, this unit is not yet rated on my site, but features dual convection and the temperature probe like the previous models. However, it has a storage rather than warming drawer.
In short, Induction has come out of its infancy and is gaining momentum, with customers saying it cooks as evenly and quickly as gas, but much safer than either of its competitors.