The Myths & Truths of Induction Hobs & Cooking
By Caroline Warren, in-toto Kitchens Stratford upon Avon
The induction hob has been commonplace in the kitchen appliance market for well over a decade now and has become a run- away winner in popularity and sales in the hob sector. Recently, it has enabled electricity to overtake gas as the fuel of choice for consumers when it comes to cooking and this makes kitchen design and installations much simpler. However, many consumers are still reluctant to consider them when buying a new kitchen or replacing old hobs. This is largely due to rumours and myths based on old news and some of the earliest technology. These are the most common myths with the truths that go with them.
Myth: You’ll have to replace your pans and cookware to use an induction hob
Truth: Some manufacturers recommend using their own cookware which is where this myth comes from, but in fact any cookware with a high ferrous or in other words, iron content, is suitable for induction cooking. A simple test using a fridge magnet with your pans will soon reveal whether your cookware can be used or not. Stainless steel pans are good and even aluminium and copper pans are suitable so long as they have a ferrous content base. It’s the bottom of the pan that needs to be compatible with induction and the rest of the pan can be made of another material including enamel.
Myth: The diameter of the bottom of the pan must be the same size as the induction zone
Truth: When induction hobs first launched this may have been the case. Induction technology has moved quickly and the latest models on the market have cooking zones rather than rings resembling older electric hobs. The cooking zones mean that the cooking area of the hob is far greater than in older models and it is possible to put multiple pans on the hob side by side. The AEG induction shown below is a great example of this technology we have a working one in our showroom to demonstrate to our customers.
Myth: Induction lacks sufficient power for efficient cooking
Truth: Some people have used inferior equipment or non-ferrous based pans with induction and while they have got hot, they have only absorbed a small proportion of the energy available. Induction is capable of heating far quicker than any other cooking method and is also the most energy efficient. This is the key reason why induction has become so popular and has taken the crown from the gas hob with their greater speed, safety and flexibility. For loyal users of gas, there are models coming onto the market that combine induction and gas in one appliance.
Myth: The humming of induction cooktops is loud and annoying
Truth: This really depends on the quality of the induction hob in question, on its sturdiness and construction, the surface it is placed on and your sensitivity to sounds. The induction system that powers the heating element makes a recognizable sound that most people would describe as a hum, a buzz or a whiz. However, these sounds can barely be heard in a regular environment, where you can hear electrical noises all the time.
Myth: Induction cooking isn’t safe
Truth: Usability research has shown that induction hobs are the safest cooking appliances compared with the electric coils that get very hot quickly and stay hot for a long time after cooking has stopped. Because induction works using the magnetic field created by the connection to the pan the element itself does not get hot and is very safe to use. It is the glass top that gets hot but only in the cooking zone being used. It is even possible to clean up spillages on the hob while cooking so food doesn’t burn on and become stubborn to clean off. Also, gas cooktops work with actual flames which creates toxic by-products that aren’t healthy for you. All induction cooktops come with a variety of safety features that prevent overheating, burning or high-low voltage fluctuations.
Myth: Induction Hobs are Really Expensive
Truth: As the technology has become established and more cost-effective to manufacture, the entry point for induction hobs has become more accessible. The most popular induction hob remains the most affordable – the 600mm model with four zones. This perfectly suits the replacement market, offering a like-for-like sized alternative. However, advances in technology and what this can offer means that some customers are willing to up their spend for larger-sized and more premium-priced induction hobs. This has been partly influenced by the continuing development of zone-less technology but more recent product developments combining extraction with hobs has moved these appliances into another dimension. Downdraft technology enables hob-to-hood solutions and the key benefits of this will appeal to wider sections of the market as this product type develops. The induction hob will therefore not only be central to cooking but also to extraction, as it will also operate the cooker hood and govern its power levels.
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