Induction cookers: what are the pros and cons of using

Induction technology has been used in cooking since the beginning of the 20th century. But it has become widespread only in recent decades. Find out what are its pros and cons.

All existing stoves and hobs perform the same task – they cook food. But induction technology operates in a fundamentally different way: such models do not heat up, have high efficiency, and are safe. They also have their drawbacks: from the cost to the need to update the dishes. We understand how induction cookers work and in what cases they are better than their gas or electric counterparts.

Table of Contents

    What is an induction cooker: types and design

    An induction cooker is a kind of electric cooktop that uses the principle of electromagnetism. The main difference here is in the method of heat transfer. If in classic stoves it comes from a tubular heating element or a flame, then in induction cookware serves as a source.

    Induction cookers, like electric and gas models, are built-in or freestanding. Like all other types, they are divided into dependent and independent. In the first case, the stove with the oven has common controls and should be located strictly side by side. Independent hobs can be placed separately from the oven or used without it.

    The working surface of induction models, as a rule, is made of glass ceramic. They can be not only of different colors or with a pattern but also of different shapes – there are, for example, semicircular and rhombuses.

    Depending on the size (from 30 cm to 100 cm), the induction hob contains from one to six burners. On some models, their location and layout look unusual. Instead of the classic “pancakes”, intersecting lines, squares are applied, or the center of the heating element is simply indicated. There are also models with functional burners, for example for ducklings, or with a deepening for a wok pan.

    Heating and other settings are most often controlled via sensor modules. In some models, for convenience, the burners are equipped with indicator lights that turn on at the time of operation.

    In addition, there are combined stove options that combine induction technology with heating elements or gas burners.

    Induction panels can be equipped with additional functions. Among them:

    • built-in hood;
    • dish recognition sensor;
    • Booster mode, or temporary increase in heating;
    • protection against children and overheating, liquid transfusion;
    • residual heat indication;
    • automatic shutdown by timer;
    • the possibility of combining cooking zones.

    How an induction cooker works
    The main working elements of such a stove are induction coils with copper winding. They are located under the glass panel according to the marking of the burners. At the moment when a current passes through the turns of the coil, a high-frequency magnetic field is formed (from 20 kHz to 100 kHz).

    Under its influence, eddy currents arise in a metal dish placed on a burner, which set the electrons in motion. In this process, heat is generated – it heats the bottom of the pot or pan. The surface of the hob does not get hot. Some warmth may be felt from it – the dishes gave it away.

    How to connect an induction cooker

    The induction cooker is powered by 220V. Depending on the number of burners, the power consumption is between 2 and 7.5 kW. When connecting an induction hob, the same requirements are met as for any other electric hobs. For such equipment, a power outlet is output, a VVG-type cable with a cross section of at least 6 mm [1] is used , and a 32A automatic machine is installed in the shield.

    Pros and cons of an induction cooker


    • Heating speed. With induction, heat is transferred directly to the cookware. Therefore, the food heats up, and the water boils much faster. Comparative tests of different hobs have shown that induction hobs, on average, bring 6 liters of water to a boil 2-4 minutes faster than competitors of other types [2] .
    • Safety. Since the hob surface does not heat up, the risk of injury or accidental fire is minimized. This is especially true if there are children or animals in the house.
    • Temperature control. Thanks to induction, you can regulate the cooking temperature more precisely. When turned off, heat transfer stops immediately, so the likelihood of boiling over or burning is minimal.
    • Easy cleaning. Like traditional electric hobs, induction hobs have a smooth glass surface. Because they don’t get hot, splashes or bits of food don’t burn.
    • Energy efficiency. These models do not heat the air around the cookware, so no useful heat is lost. The efficiency of induction cookers is the highest – they are able to transfer up to 90% of electromagnetic energy [3] . For gas and electric stoves, this range is from 30% to 70%, depending on the model.


    • Noise. Induction cooktops may produce a slight buzzing or humming sound when operating. This is usually related to the type of cookware that is being used. Lighter stainless steel pans can make more noise than heavier ones.
    • Size dependent. The hob will not turn on if you place a pan with a smaller diameter on the burner. Typically, manufacturers recommend covering at least 60-70% of its area.
    • Working with pacemakers There is no direct ban on the use of induction cookers for people with pacemakers, but there are a number of studies on the effect of a magnetic field on the operation of such devices [4] . To reduce possible risks, manufacturers recommend maintaining a distance of at least 60 cm [5] .
    • Special utensils . Buying an induction cooker will require replacing kitchen utensils.

    Cookware for induction cooker

    For cooking on an induction cooker, only dishes made of ferromagnetic metal are used, that is, with high magnetic permeability. For example, cast iron and steel. The easiest way to check if the existing kitchen utensils are suitable or not is to bring a magnet to the bottom. If it sticks, then you can use such dishes.

    Copper, ceramic, earthenware or aluminum pans and pots are not suitable for cooking on such stoves unless the bottom of the cookware has a metal insert. Otherwise, the stove simply will not work.

    You can get around these difficulties: special adapters are produced for induction cookers. These devices in the form of disks allow you to use not only dishes made of other materials, but also different-sized burners. Adapters are made of the desired ferromagnetic metal and, when heated, transfer heat to ordinary dishes. They can also be used in case of a discrepancy between the diameters of the bottom and the burner. For example, for Turks or small ladles.

    When using an induction cooker, manufacturers are advised to follow a few rules:

    1. The diameter of the bottom of the cookware must match the size of the burner. For most slabs, the minimum size is 12 cm.
    2. For uniform and efficient heating, you should choose dishes with a flat and thick bottom. Too thin bottom can be deformed during cooking.
    3. The adapter must be the size of the burner, although a slightly smaller adapter can be used.
    4. Before buying, you should study the markings on the dishes. For induction cookers, it contains a special symbol in the form of a spiral or the word induction.
    5. Such dishes do not require special care, they can be washed in the same way as any other.

    Induction or electric hob?

    In an apartment with a small kitchen, an induction stove will help to avoid stuffiness and excessive heating of the air when cooking. But, as with a conventional hob, new electrical work may be required before installing it. The same applies to cases of replacing gas stoves with electric ones. In old houses designed for gas equipment, the existing wiring, as a rule, is not designed for such loads.

    In a country house, you can use any version of the device, if the input power allows it.

    Since both stoves are powered by electricity, it is important that the voltage in the network is stable, without surges. Otherwise, the equipment may fail. For some malfunctions, repairing an induction cooker may be more expensive than an electric cooker due to the larger number of electronic control units.

    When choosing an induction hob, you need to be prepared that it will most likely take some time to get used to the instant heat and power control features.

    The maximum power consumption for the two types of stoves is generally the same. However, it is believed that induction allows better savings on energy bills: the heating element takes more time to reach the desired temperature.

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