Induction Cook tops: worthwhile or bewitching?

Posted by Steve Kleber on Oct 27, 2010

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I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about induction cooking recently. Surely you’ve seen Kelly Ripa in the Electrolux commercial dancing around the kitchen to the “Bewitched” theme song while she boils water in 90 seconds and flawlessly cooks a roast for her dinner guests. It’s not magic…it’s magnets, and it seems to be generating a notable pull with consumers. I wonder, can induction cook tops bewitch the consumer and find their place as a mainstay in the modern kitchen?

The induction range, which uses an electromagnetic coil to generate heat, is not new technology. Induction has been around since the early 20th century and is a popular means of cooking in Europe and Asia. Given the country’s current interest in energy conservation, induction appliance sales have significantly increased here in the US.  In fact, in addition to Electrolux, Kenmore, Viking, Frigidaire, Samsung and GE have all released induction appliance lines, and single induction burners are increasingly more affordable and available.

How does it work? Induction appliances use a high-frequency electromagnet coil. When another magnetic vessel (pot) is placed into the magnetic field generated by the coil, energy is transferred between the two magnets, creating heat only within the vessel and resulting in much faster cook time. As soon as the vessel is removed from the coil’s magnetic field, heat stops immediately. Induction burners emit very little heat so that even the smallest kitchen remains comfortable while cooking. Clean-up is painless, too. Because the surface of the induction burner does not get hot, spills are wiped away easily and pots don’t scorch.

Induction appliances are popular among younger consumers who are concerned about energy conservation and who are more willing to adapt their cooking techniques. Induction cooking uses 90 percent of the energy produced compared to 55 percent used for a gas burner and 65 percent for traditional electric ranges. Still, seasoned cooks are apprehensive about switching to induction. The rapid heating completely changes traditional cooking methods.

Frankly, I think induction is not only superior by most energy conservation and cooking time metrics, but it’s also just plain cool. The range comes to life quickly and provides a bit of futuristic fun. Aside from the initial cost of the appliance and compatible cookware, what’s not to like? It’s safer, faster, cleaner and more efficient.

Are you likely to switch?
For those of you who have an induction cook top or have used one, what do you like about it? Does it deliver the same satisfaction as a gas or electric stove?

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 at 2:10 pm and is filed under Green Initiatives, Home Building & Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.