Induction: an electronic process that has saved many homes from going up in flames.
Induction burners run under two kilowatts of power to create a direct electric current that generates a magnetic field which passes heat directly into the cookware. The low wattage is one of the biggest selling points to induction burners, aside from their practical uses as an alternative to a traditional stovetop cooking. An induction burner will keep your kitchen cooler and your kiddos safer, as heat is only transferred from the burner to the pan.
These futuristic magnetical devices are immensely popular overseas (specifically in Japan and throughout Europe). To be more specific, they make up for 50% of stoves sold in Europe and sales for induction cooktops are expected to hit 27 billion by 2025.
Imagine being able to cook without ever worrying about burnt fingers from wandering hands. Once what was a pipe dream for parents and pet owners, has been almost perfected in recent history. While it is currently only widely used in Europe and East Asia, induction stovetops are finding themselves in more American homes each day.
These cookers are ideal for those who travel or live without a large kitchen. More and more people realize the safety and convenience of this new form of cooking.
Understanding Induction Cooking
How Do Induction Cooktops Work?
Induction stovetops work by a process called electrical induction. The heat transferred from the element to the pot is created by a coil and copper wire producing a magnetic field. The polarity of the field changes rapidly and only transfers energy to magnetic surfaces, with no energy spilling into the surrounding area.
This is why Induction stovetops require magnetic pots and pans. Anything not magnetic, though, will be safe from the transference of energy through the cooker. They don’t need as much power as you expect either, with almost every model coming with a standard wall plugin.
Designed for Smaller Cooking Areas
Most conventional induction cookers nowadays do not have huge cooking areas. They are typically made a little smaller for a few reasons. Smaller tops are often cheaper to manufacture, given the price of the materials used to make the coil.
While the coil is the main factor for keeping the induction cooktop small, the temperature probes and fans also need to be considered. Developers have to balance the size of the coil with the machine for optimal storage and use by consumers.
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Most models boast that they offer exact temperatures in record time over traditional stoves. The ones that have listed temperatures controls can maintain that temperature within 2 degrees.
Switching between power allocation and temperature levels allow for more customization than conventional stoves. The models that come with temperature probes are even more impressive. They provide a much more accurate temperature of your food.
This allows for worry-free cooking as you focus on other dishes. With temperatures more reliable than your favorite weatherman, the induction cooker takes on the responsibility in stride.
Ease of Use
Most devices are easy to pick up and get cooking.
Some models even offer remote access through apps to ensure your safety and comfort of use.
Models that clearly describe the temperature are excellent at maintaining their heat.
Since these cookers are cool almost as soon as you turn it off you can quickly wipe it down and store it away.
Buyer’s Guide: Common Induction Features
Should You Consider Getting an Induction Cooker?
While it is not a necessity for most people, everyone can find a use for this innovative technology. If your kitchen does not have a large stove or doesn’t always work, these are a safe alternative that works just as well.
Induction cookers are not ideal for camping, traveling, or any other situation in which you wouldn’t normally have access to electricity. However for family events, church potlucks, or hosting guests, these provide a safe continuous heating source for food without the threat of burning little hands.
Since they don’t emit much heat you can keep the heat out of the kitchen.
And if nothing else, they provide another source to cook for those big family meals.
What to Look For
When purchasing an Induction stovetop, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for. Buying a model more suited for beakers instead of burgers will most likely not have the most extensive heating element. That being said, most of the options on the market on perfect for the amateur chef looking to add to their toolbelt. Specific temperature settings and a comprehensive interface should be high on your priorities. Nothing is worse than being clueless at the temperature your food is at. Models with specific buttons for things such as boiling make for instant worry-free cooking. Most options heat up in record times, so no matter what model you get, you’ll be cutting your cooking time in half. The models with ridges allow for traction on your pans to keep from slipping but are harder to clean. The sleeker options cause pots to slide if on an uneven surface but make cleaning seamless. Storage should also be considered to keep from running out of space on the bigger models.
Induction cookers are the safest way to prepare all the dishes you love. With the built-in burn-free tops and specific temperature controls, cooking has never been easier. With models that will impress the critics and consumers alike, it is definitely on its way to the forefront of cooking technology. Those who find themselves with an induction cooker will soon be cooking faster, safer, and in a way that makes you look like the next Gordan Ramsay.
There are different features you can find in induction cooktops. Here are some of the key features and what you should know about them:
- Cooling Fan – All of the models on our list emit a whine or whir from the fan, some are louder than others. We found that the cheaper models tended to have a louder fan.
- Portability – Do you travel? Consider a smaller portable model if you don’t need to use it for everyday cooking.
- Ceramic Cooktop – Ceramic cooktop is not common in cooktops. It is a non-conductive material which means it doesn’t conduct electricity or heat.
- Cooking Modes – Not all inductions are created equal when it comes to temperature controls. Some have ideal presets that work well, others require you to cook in manual mode to really have precise control.
- Overheat Detection – Overheat detection is a nice feature that all the induction cookers have which we looked at. This allows the device to turn off once it detects overheating.
- Pan Detection Sensor – The advanced induction cooktops have pan detection sensor which automatically detects the pan to start working. When you remove the pan, it will turn off. This is common with all induction cookers.
- Auto Shutdown Timer – Most cooktops come with auto shut down timer. If it remains idle for several hours, it automatically shuts down. You can also set up the timer manually.
- Power Efficiency – While all models are more efficient than cooking on electric stove, some models are more energy efficient than others, even when the burners are similar in size.
Here are our top picks for induction cooktops ranked in order:
1. Breville PolyScience Control Freak
This is, without a doubt, the best induction cooktop for those who are serious about cooking on the go. Whether you suddenly need to make a five-course meal or if you want to make some hot chocolate on a campout, the Control Freak has the precision to make it happen. With a thermostat that touches the pan, you can rest assured that the temperature will be accurate within a degree. That precision makes cooking temperature specific foods a breeze, as you don’t need to watch the temperature or product continually. The control is also paired with the safety of the heat only being transferred to the pan. Because of this, you can walk off and leave it to simmer while you babysit whatever you are cooking on your classic stove.
- The Control Freak has the largest burner on this list, making it ideal for those who need to cook a meal using a larger pan.
- The temperature control is guaranteed to keep the heat within two degrees of the ideal temperature.
- The inductor coil heats up faster than both Gas and Electric, boiling water in under 20 minutes.
- It does not come with much instruction. (That’s the worst part.)
2. Duxtop LCD P961LS
- Twenty power settings allow for optimal settings for any meal.
- It heats up quickly, while you are still able to touch the burner where you will only feel the heat that was transferred from the pot.
- The glass cover makes for easy cleanup and storage when you’re finished.
- It’s larger bulkier size will take up a large percentage of counter space. (It is lightweight, however.)
- The Duxtop beeps very loudly with each press of a button. There is no way to get around this short of cutting the wire connected to the speaker. (Not recommended)
3. Max Burton #6450
This is a much more compact induction burner for those who need to cook on the go, but can’t risk taking up extra space. However, it’s smaller size does prohibit some larger pans. If you tried to use them, it would cause the center to get hot, and the edges would take much longer to catch up. The LCD screen makes operating the inductor a breeze, ideal for people of all ages. That makes this one of the most user-friendly on the list. With one-touch boil and simmer options, you can make a hearty stew in no time at all. Make an excellent fondue, and leave it sitting with no worry about anyone getting burned from the open burner. With cleaning a breeze, your meal preparation times will be cut in half with a noticeable improvement in the way it tastes.
- It is a more compact option from this list. The small size makes for ample room on your counter and secure storage.
- The flat and sleek look makes the surface easy to clean.
- For its size, it is remarkably powerful. It will heat up just as fast as it’s larger competitors.
- The six-inch inductor coil makes any wish of cooking with larger pots a pipe dream. You can try, but you will end up with food that is burnt in the middle, and undercooked on the edges.
- The beeping is loud, and nothing can be done about it.
4. Hestan Cue Smart Cooking System
- The app allows you impressive easy to follow recipes and remote connectivity to the inductor.
- Heats up quickly and maintains heat over a long period.
- Step by step instructions with the recipes, going as far as to heat the pan remotely by itself while you take care of preparation.
- The app is plagued with advertisements and the occasional bug.
- The app only has a couple of dozen unique recipes, and most of those have a lot of elements repeated.
- The larger size takes up a lot of space, making preparation space slim.
5. iSiLER 1800W Sensor Touch
Adding sleekness to innovation is what this inductor has to offer. The iSiLER has overheat protection and a childproof lock to make sure that you have nothing to worry about when it comes to protecting your loved ones. Add that to the already safe burner of the induction cooker, and your kitchen will soon be the safest room in your house. It also features a glass top that protects against grime as well as keeping the inductor safe from the normal wear and tear. The buttons on the machine’s surface are intuitive and easy to use, making this the choice of new and experienced cooks alike. iSiLER is so sure that you will enjoy their product, that they offer a 90-day return policy as well as a 12-month warranty. Set the timer for up to 3 hours in advance for meals that won’t need a watchful eye. You can also take advantage of the 17 options for temperature and power to make the most out of every meal.
- Safety measures added on top of the already safe inductor coil.
- Sleek design with many customization options.
- Glass cover makes it easy to clean and prevents wear and tear.
- Temperature is that of the coil, not the pan. This can lead to some errors if you’re not careful.
- The sleek top can cause pans to slide if not placed on an even surface. This is due to the lack of any traction on the surface.
6. Tasty One Top Smart Induction by Cuisinart
- The ridged surface keeps your dishes from falling off the top of the inductor.
- The surface sensor tracks the temperatures of your pan. Thus the system can keep a consistent cooking temperature.
- The app that comes with the Tasty is praised heavily by those who use it. Both with and without the induction cooktop.
- The minimalistic design of the interface is stylish, sure. Still, it is not beneficial when trying to find a precise temperature.
- Technical problems inside the app can cause the inductor to shut off if the app crashes while you’re connected to the Tasty.
- The app could use more recipes and a better system for finding those recipes.
7. Duxtop 9620LS LCD (Double Burner)
You can get twice the cooking done with this double stove stop inductor. The sleek and slender design will fit in with any number of decors. Use the LCD screen to completely optimize the Duxtop to customize the power and heating modes for whatever your dish requires. The high and low voltage warning systems will let you know if there is a problem as it occurs. This allows you to fix it on the fly and then get back to doing what you do best, cooking that fantastic meal that your family and friends will love. The two separate dual burners won’t heat up as fast as the singular models. But this is due to the sharing of a lone power source between them. While using one at a time, it should be able to match its singular models.
- This model’s dual stovetops are perfect for those who love to multitask.
- The sleek and elegant design is beautiful and makes for easy cleanup once you’re finished.
- It requires a little more power and performs slightly slower than the single stovetop models.
8. Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop
Packing power in a small package is where Duxtop’s single model shines. It boasts an 83% energy efficiency while still offering an impressive amount of temperature options. It heats up fast and produces effective results. Its size makes it very portable while still having an induction coil big enough to accommodate most pans. While the company warns that loud whistling noises are very apparent, they also offer a 2-year warranty for those who experience any additional problems.
- The small size makes it great for cooking indoors, outdoors, and wherever you might find yourself.
- This packs a lot of power. So make sure that you test the different settings before you begin cooking for the first time.
- It often emits a loud whistling noise.
- The coil causes the center to heat up much faster than the edges of larger pans.
9. Copper Chef Induction Cooktop
- This is a great option if you already have some of the Copper products.
- The compact design makes it so that you can take the inductor with you so that you can cook wherever you go.
- The cooktop offers unreliable temperature control for anything that isn’t one of their pans.
10. NuWave PIC Flex
The Nuwave PIC offers 45 different temperature settings at 10-degree increments. There are also different power options for maximum efficiency. This will allow you to be able to control most of the aspects while you cook. The NuWave is affected by wear and tear; the print on the buttons often wears off. The size also leaves much to be desired, leaving larger pans out in the dust.
- A fair amount of options to customize the temperature and power usage.
- The NuWave is small and still not powerful enough at times.
- It is very susceptible to wear and tear.
Why Induction Cooktops Are Popular
Those who have always used conventional electric or gas stoves might scoff at this seemingly inferior method of cooking.
On top of saving you from having a hefty electricity bill, induction cooktops offer a much cleaner and consistent heat. Basic electric and gas can’t match what this modern cooking improvement has to offer. Additionally, most models come with temperature probes, allowing for even more specific cooking temperatures on top of what was an already impressive level of precision.
Induction cooktops are most useful for those who are seeking an alternative to the classic stoves we’ve come to know. Whether it be a college dorm room, your family’s RV, or an outdoor sporting event, an induction cooktop is the perfect choice when you need a safe and reliable cooking source.
Induction burners are also able to maintain a temperature for multiple hours without the slightest decline in performance. They can boil water faster than your conventional stovetop and keep it going until the pan is empty. Don’t worry about turning it off though, as soon as you remove the compatible cookware, the heat will turn off, thus alleviating any concerns of wandering little ones burning their hands.
- Cleanup is easy – Surface is made up of resistant glass or ceramic, combine this with the fact that there are no flames, and it is less likely to burn food that comes in direct contact with the burner.
- Fast – Modern induction cooktops are fast and deliver quick results.
- Accuracy – You need to set the right temperature and it will do the rest.
- Portable – They are compact, easy to store and carry. They are supposed to be the best choice for cooking outside and for small places.
What to Know Before Buying an Induction Stovetop
When it comes to buying one of these innovative cookers, you are sure to find so many options that your head will spin. What’s most important, however, is knowing what you’re looking for.
If you need to cook a whole meal and don’t have access to your stove and oven, then a larger inductor with a wide range of control is what you need. If you’re just going to be cooking while you take a cross country trip in your RV, then maybe a more compact option is what you’re looking for.
Keep in mind the wattage, the temperature control, and the size of the pans that the device is compatible with. Once you know all that, then picking an option becomes effortless. Use this list as a guide, and you’ll find yourself an inductor that will meet your every need.
After reviewing the items on this list a couple of times, it is no competition. The Breville Polyscience Control Freak is really a cut above the rest. Those who use this inductor rave over its sheer quality.
With a large burner and heavily customizable temperature and power options, there is almost nothing that you can’t do with this truly next-level piece of technology. Whether it be a large scale meal for your extended family or a small late-night snack, this cooker is more than adequately prepared to change the way that you think about cooking.