Cooking equipment specialist Hatco has revealed the top seven myths it hears about induction cooktops.
Although induction cooking has been around for decades and offers a safe and efficient alternative to gas and electric appliances, the company said it’s “gotten a bad rap because of a few pesky rumors”.
In a bid to put the rumblings to rest, here are its top seven mythbusters:
1. Induction isn’t as powerful as gas
There’s a common misconception that gas delivers more power — and consequently more speed — than induction solutions. However, the opposite is true. Induction delivers more power and speed because, unlike gas solutions, it heats the entire pan directly (as opposed to indirectly) with minimal wasted energy.
While induction uses 85-95% of the heat it generates, gas only uses 35-65% and loses the rest to the atmosphere. This means that you can cook much faster with induction, and you can reach and adjust temperatures with zero lag time and greater precision.
2. Induction is like cooking with a microwave
People have unjustly put induction in the same family as microwaves. Sure, microwaves are convenient just like induction cooktops, but the way they cook food is entirely different. Microwaves heat the food, whereas induction heats the pan. By heating the pan — which then heats the food — you can get a crisp sear and evenly-cooked food that’s impossible to achieve with a microwave.
3. Glass tops are not strong
While the word “glass” doesn’t exactly call to mind images of durability, the glass tops used on induction cooktops are incredibly strong. In fact, they have to undergo stringent testing where they must withstand the impact of a 1.2 pound (0.4 kg) steel ball that’s dropped from 21 inches (533 mm), and a 4 pound (1.8 kg) pan dropped 10 times from 8 inches (203 mm). Just look for induction solutions that use ceramic glass, as tempered glass can bow at high temperatures, like when a pan has been heating on the top for an extended period.
4. You shouldn’t use induction if you have a pacemaker.
Induction cooktops have been around for over 30 years, while induction technology has been used in industrial applications for well over a century. There are no recorded cases of any injury (or harm done to a pacemaker user) in all of that time. The American Heart Association lists a number of everyday devices and appliances that should be avoided (including mobile phones). Induction cooktops are not listed among them. The wave only extends about an inch above the surface of the cooktop and is ‘fully captured’ by the pan in place. Without a pan in place, the unit only ‘pings’ looking for a pan, but does not fully energize. Even compatible small objects, such as spoons, are ‘ignored’ as a safety measure.
5. Induction is more expensive
While you may pay more for an induction cooktop up front, you’ll save in the long run. Since induction solutions are efficient and use 85-95% of the energy they generate — as opposed to only 35-65% for gas and 40-50% for electric — you have lower utility bills. As a general guide, if you use induction, you’ll typically spend 25% less on fuel alone. And, since you aren’t wasting heat, which brings the temperature of the room up, you can estimate about 10-20% in air conditioning cost savings.
6. You have to spend a lot of money on special pans
Sometimes the phrase “induction compatible” is used by pan manufacturers to command a premium. In truth, any magnetic pan will work but the higher the ferrous (iron) content, the better. This includes pans made of steel, cast iron or aluminum pans with a steel core. All-aluminum or copper pans will not work. A great simple and cheap compatibility test is a fridge magnet — the stronger the attraction to the bottom of the pan, the better it will work. Easy, peasy!
7. All induction is created equal
A lot of vendors have jumped on the induction cooking bandwagon — and for good reason. However, when it comes to induction, some cooktops are better than others, especially when it comes to quality, precision, power, efficiency, durability, safety, and aesthetic appeal.