We, as a kitchen faucets guide, usually write about different faucets and its reviews only. But, when we got a very useful and detailed article on choosing the best induction cooktop for your cooking needs, we thought of publishing it for our readers. Just like our guide on selecting the right kitchen faucet, this article will help you choose the best induction cookware for your cooktop.
The Basics About Induction Cooktops
There is no better way to start this guide than to give a proper introduction to the induction cooktop by presenting some of the basic facts that every interested buyer should know.
What is an induction cooktop?
An induction cooktop makes use of an electromagnetic field to heat your cookware without heating the actual cooking surface. Simply put, it doesn’t use open flames like a gas burner or heated coils like an electric cooktop. Induction cooktops come in a single burner or double burner types which can also be built-in or portable.
How does it work?
Induction cooking merely depends on the mechanism of an electromagnetic field which emits energy. This will eventually result in the heating-up of the pan (its base) which is positioned on the induction cooktop. Electromagnetic energy gets activated when the induction cookware’s base, which contains iron (ferrous substance), heats up.
Hence, the cookware base made up of stainless steel, aluminum or anything which does not contain iron material logically does not work. Some of the manufacturers these days symbolize Induction Compatible marks to make it easy for consumers to identify the same.
What to look forward to when buying induction cooktop?
Just like gas and electric cooktops, induction types also come with different styles and features. If you browse through the internet for induction cooktop reviews, you will most likely read about some features that are commonly associated with this device. Here are some of the things you can look forward to when shopping for your new cooktop.
Built-in vs. Portable Induction Cooktop
As mentioned earlier, you have the choice of purchasing a built-in unit or a portable one. A portable induction cooktop will naturally be installed into your kitchen counter while the portable type can be placed as is on top of the counter.
The decision of which type to purchase must also be based on your available kitchen space at home. Note that each type has a different number of cooking zones. If you don’t have enough room for multiple burner types, then a portable unit with a single burner will be your best bet.
Although an induction cooktop doesn’t make use of open fire like a gas burner does, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the need for a safety feature. Some models include an automatic shutoff feature that turns the power off after a few seconds or minutes of not detecting any pan or pot on top of the cooking surface.
For example, the True Induction S2F2 model shuts off in just about 10 seconds after you remove the pot or pan from the cooktop.
Aside from a pan-detection sensor, induction cooktops are also equipped with precise temperature settings. Many models boast of instant adjustment in temperature using the touch controls found right next to the cooking surface of the cooktop itself. This is especially helpful if you want your food to cook at specific temperatures.
Let’s take the True Induction S2F2 model again as an example. For this unit, the temperature range is 150°F-450°F. These figures may vary depending on your unit.
Aside from the customizable temperature settings, induction cooktops also have different power settings or power levels. Again, these power levels can vary from model to model. Some units have 5, some have 10, while others have as much as 20 power levels. Note that these levels offer varying power wattage as well.
The exciting thing about this feature is the power boost function. If you need more power to speed up the heating process and overall cooking time, then a power boost can make that possible.
The different power levels of an induction cooktop combined with the different temperature settings may seem overwhelming at first to those who are more accustomed to gas or electric burners. However, once you get the hang of it, you will learn to appreciate the advantages of induction cooking that you can’t or will have difficulty achieving in gas or electric burners.
Easy to Clean Surface
This is definitely worth looking forward to. Induction cooktops are easy to clean because of their flat surface that allows you to wipe off any splatter or dirt with a kitchen towel or any damp cloth, something you can’t easily do with gas or coil-electric burners.
A Guide on types of Cookware to use for Induction Cooking
People nowadays look into new technologies to make their lives comfortable. When it comes to the fundamental part of life, COOKING, there has been a massive revolution with the introduction of impressive kitchen appliances. When choosing a stove top, people generally feel skeptical of buying an induction cooktop since that raises the point of replacing your old cookware with induction cookware. Spending extra bucks for the right cookware is another question.
As the title suggests, it is not surprising to come across people who are much more hesitant about buying sets of cookware which are compatible with an induction cooktop. For this very reason, it is a great idea to ponder upon how this induction technology works, so that choosing the right induction cookware becomes an easy job.
Materials in sync with the Induction Cooktop:
Magnetic materials under the induction cooktops are steel, cast irons, and those of which that contains traces of iron. Ceramic sheathed and burnished pans and pots work well with induction cooktops since they have a ceramic layer of iron which is magnetic and hence complies with the working of an induction cooktop.
Materials incompatible with the Induction Cooktop!
Glass, Copper, Aluminium wares do not work in the same wavelength with the induction stoves unless they have a magnetic material inbuilt.
What about the pots & pans you have in your kitchen?
This is one question that will flutter your mind as switching to the Induction cooktop will leave all the old utensils useless in your kitchen. However, you might feel the need to give it a second thought by scrutinizing the base of your utensils. If it has a ferrous base which will attract the magnet, then that’s your induction based cookware. If not, then you aren’t lucky enough to go with it!
What should you consider before buying a new induction based cookware?
Note: There are different types of induction cooktop products available in the market to choose from. Before you decide your cookware, you must identify the type of cooktop you have at home. The base diameter of cookware is a factor which influences compatibility with an induction cooktop.
The fundamental idea here is to identify your cooking mode beforehand. Remember, every cookware will give various output and retort differently. It is highly impossible to perform a check in the shop, for obvious reasons, of course, so choosing a basic pan or pot that can almost do all of your cooking in various modes like boiling, frying, steaming, deep frying, etc is something you can go for!
This all-in-one capability is your basis of knowing how your cookware performs and then you can decide for yourselves in the next round of investment.
An Array of Materials
Stainless steel, cast iron, steel plated pans, and pots imparted/lacquered with an iron base are generally advisable. Exceptions like glass, copper or Aluminium are not compatible unless they are tested and have the induction compatibility mark.
Cookware which has cast iron is comparatively durable and high on the pocket. It needs to be maintained thoroughly to get the best results. Cast iron is known to transfer heat in a neat and even manner at the lowest mise en scène. It’s super thick layer heats up after a long time, and same goes with its cooling which makes it contrasting to the other cookware.
Some manufacturers offer a layer of cast iron on the cast iron pans and pots to prevent rust. The only care that you need to take care is that it should not be scrubbed and used roughly to avoid chipping and affecting the material.
Stainless steel preferred by many for cookware, owing to its features like strong, non-brittle and non-corrosive. Although not a great conductor of heat, it’s incorporated with Aluminium in different layers with a magnetic coat to make it apt with the induction cooktop.
Aluminum solely is not at all compatible with an induction cooktop. However, manufacturers combine steel and aluminum by plating the base of the cookware with a steel plate to make it appropriate to use with the induction. Cookwares staying in line with this combination conduct and hold heats well are affordable anti-rust and lightweight.
Choosing the best Cookware based on your cooking style:
Quick Cooking when you run short of time:
Choose cook wares which have stainless steel layer since they heat up fast and hence cooking happens rapidly. Since the pans have a thin base, the heating occurs quickly and the food cooks fast. Yes, you will have to keep a close eye on cooking with this cookware since there are chances of burning or sticking or overcooking if left unattended. These pans are relevant for steaming or boiling water.
Slow Cooking When You Have a Lot of Time
Heavy based pans are suitable for slow cooking. They are not prone to fast-burning and take an invariable time to heat up. These types of cookwares own all-around features of cooking food which require time to make it more lip-smacking. Aluminum cookware (of course with a steel base) or cast iron cookware works best with induction cooktops.
Final Thoughts on the Best Induction Cooktop Buying Guide
By now, you should already have an idea of how to choose the right cookware for your induction cooktop. These tips and information will surely resolve your doubts and give you holistic information to buy the exact cookware you would prefer as per your choice of cooking. Plus, you can also consider the price, durability and brand factor while hitting the bull’s eye.