For those who are confused about the new phenomenon of induction cooktops, here is a detailed discussion of the working and use of induction cooktops so you can choose the right one for your kitchen. These are also knows as Induction stoves or induction chulhas or induction plates or just ICs.
As India catches up with the rest of the world with rapid progress, our way of life is also changing accordingly. Our lifestyle is improving every day and almost all aspects of our life have now gone electronic. So it is no surprise that induction stoves have now presented the electronic answer to the good old gas stove. But have you understood everything about this power packed appliance? If not, you will find all the relevant information here.
What is an Induction Cooktop?
Let us understand what an Induction cooktop really is. Most conventional cooktops, ovens and stoves use radiation, convection or thermal conduction from an electrical heating element, or from a flame. An induction cooktop uses none of these elements.
An induction plate or stove or cooktop is an appliance that heats a cooking vessel by eletro-magnetic induction. This new technology is a game-changer and is being increasingly adopted by households and professional cooking establishments rapidly. It is now a fundamental aspect of the modern modular kitchen.
Pros & Cons of induction cooktops
- Faster cooking
- Easy to clean
- User friendly
- Optimum use of energy
- Minimum loss of heat
- Temperature control and timer available
- Expensive as compared to other types of cooking stoves including gas stoves
- Requires specific type of cookware
- Cannot be used without electricity
- Food that requires an open flame cannot be cooked
How does an induction cooktop work?
In an induction cooktop, a coil of copper wire is placed under the cooking pot and an alternating electric current is passed through it. The resulting oscillating magnetic field induces an electrical current in the pot. This large eddy current flowing through the resistance of the pot results in resistive heating.
Types of induction cooktops
There are approximately five main types of induction cooktops available in the market today:
Built-in Induction Hob
Built in Induction hobs are fitted right into your kitchen counter-top itself. They will usually have multiple burners or cooking zones. These are high-end models and have not yet broken into the Indian market too well although we do come across modular kitchens including these cooktops in their design element. These cooktops are ideal for large families and professional kitchens.
Freestanding Induction Cooking Range
These cooking ranges come with a multi-zone Induction cooktop as well as one or two ovens and a heating cabinet. You get these ICs in different colors and sizes. They are easy to install, use, and clean. However, these are rather expensive.
Compact and Portable Induction cooktop
These are single cooking zone appliances. These portable induction cooktops are the most popular in India. They are compact and easy to clean. It is ideal for small families and students. Double cooking zone cooktops are also available and can be included in the same category.
Hybrid gas cum induction chulha
These look like normal double burner gas stoves but they have an Induction plate at the centre with one or two gas burners on the sides.
Commercial grade Induction stove
These are only meant for professional use in commercial kitchens. They have extremely high power from 3000W to 4000W.
Induction Stove versus Gas Stove
- ICs work faster as compared to gas cooktops because of the high amount of heat that they produce. However, when you regulate the temperature, the performance of both these cooktops is more or less the same.
- Gas stoves have an open flame and the cooking is regulated by reducing or increasing the flame. On the other hand, with portable induction cooktops, you can pre-set the timing and let the cooktop do the rest without much need of human intervention.
- Induction stoves are comparatively easier to clean as compared to gas stoves.
- An IC seals nutrition into the food and vitamin loss is comparatively reduced when cooking on an induction plate.
- Induction plates require cookware of specific size and material whereas gas stoves work with any type of cookware.
- Gas stoves are cheaper than induction stoves in terms of purchase price.
- The monthly cost efficiency of usage also varies slightly.
Advantages of using induction chulhas
|Appliance used for heating||Heat energy actually transferred to the water|
Electric cooktop or kettle
The energy efficiency is measured in terms of the ratio of energy that gets delivered to the cookware to the energy that is consumed by the cooktop. The efficiency also depends on the size of the cooking vessel and the heating surface.
Frequently Asked Questions about Induction cooking
ICs cook much faster than gas stoves. They work by transferring heat directly to the cooking utensil with very little heat being dissipated into the environment. But with gas cooktops, a significant part of the heat is lost into the environment. Some of the modern induction plates come with anti-magnetic walls that further prevent dissipation of the magnetic energy into the environment.
Yes. Induction plates are safe and good for health. The quality of the food does not suffer in any way when it is cooked on an IC. In fact, induction cooking is good for locking in the vitamins in the food.
Yes, induction plates are comparatively pricier to buy than conventional gas stoves. But due to their high efficiency, a portable induction cooktop will bring more savings in terms of monthly fuel bills.
Approximate price range of various cooktops available in India:
The price of the portable Induction cooktops available in India vary significantly based on the power (wattage ‘W’) of the IC model. Other features like touchscreen control panel, quality of top plate, sensors and safety lock etc can also affect the price of an IC unit.
Power / Wattage
2000 – 4000
2500 – 4000
1500 – 4500
2500 – 5000
4500 – 6000
As seen above, the initial cost of buying a portable induction cooktop and suitable cookware is surely high. However, this high purchase price is offset by the monthly fuel cost of cooking on an induction cooktop which is comparatively cheaper which means you will save more money in the long run with an IC.
Induction plates are faster than gas stoves in transferring heat to the cooking vessel. They also do not dissipate much heat into the environment. Reduced heat loss means less wastage of fuel which adds to fuel efficiency and savings. They also come with pre-set timers. By setting the timer for each cooking operation, you can be sure that your food will be ready in that time and you do not need to supervise the cooking as much as you have to with gas stoves.
Only for those who receive subsidized LPG cylinders, it is cheaper to use a gas stove. Otherwise for people who do not get any subsidy cooking gas, portable induction cooktops offer the most economical option. The cost of heating 10 liters of water in various appliances is as follows:
Mode of cooking
Cost of usage
For using any pot or pan on an IC, what matters is the bottom of the vessel. The induction heating element will work with any vessel with a ferromagnetic bottom surface. As long as the bottom of the pot or pan you are using is comprised of an induction-compatible material that renders it ferromagnetic, like cast or enameled iron (like cast iron or steel) the rest of the body of the vessel can be of any other metal like copper or aluminum or even glass or ceramic for that matter. In other words, aluminum or copper or glass utensils with sandwiched steel bottoms are usually compatible with induction.
Also, you can only use flat-bottomed cookware that will cover the entire area of the cooking plate. Cookware of too big or too small sizes may not work.
No, it does not matter if the circular patterns on the bottom of your pot or pan do not align perfectly with those on the induction chulha. As long as the vessel you are using has an induction-friendly ferro-bottom, it will work.
ICs from the following brands are available in India.
Yes, induction cooktops are emission-free and environment-friendly.
- Absence of open flames means that ICs are safer than other stoves.
- The concept of induction is based on transfer of heat directly to the vessel without heating the cooktop.
- Induction plates have inbuilt sensors that can detect when there is no vessel on the cooktop and stop the heating.
- Overheating of food can be avoided with a timer.
- The magnetic field produced by an induction cooktop gets projected only about 2-3 cm which poses no harm to the users.
Hopefully, we have been able to answer all the questions and doubts you might have had regarding induction cooking. But if you still have any questions or doubts, do feel free to comment below and we will try our best to satisfy them.