These stove marvels are fast and energy oriented, meaning they save energy than spend it in excess. The ‘green’ potential of portable induction cooktops or even slightly wider and heavier varieties, are outstanding. However, as with all things, there are pros and cons.
No Heat Wastage
Seeing as how heat energy is applied directly to the cooking vessel and stopped when that vessel is taken off the stove, induction using magnetic field heating is extremely energy efficient. When it comes to gas or other conventional electric cookers, you’ll see heat conversion first before it is transferred to the cookware. This is certain to cause loss of energy; even halogen stoves cannot hold a candle to induction stovetops.
Estimates have it that while 40% of gas energy is used to cook (the rest being wasted), induction uses all of 85% of the electricity to heat a pot or pan. By extension, you’ll also have a cooler kitchen due to smaller quantities of ambient heat.
For starters, the stovetop itself does not get warm or hot. The coils are underneath and heat is transferred to the vessel without spreading across the cooking surface. This is the genius of induction cooktops. Only residual heat from the pot or pan is left behind on the surface, which cools and dissipates in a few minutes. No more burned fingers or hands.
The stove recognizes the difference between the shape and feel of a pot or pan and, say, other chunks of metal or even your own hand for that matter. This is where the magnetized coils show their intelligence. You can turn the stove on and even place your hand on it, it will not start the heating process.
Lack of Current Supply
This is the biggest disadvantage of induction stoves. If there is a power outage or blackout, you cannot cook. It relies on direct current not a battery that stores power for use at any time. Unless your electricity is steady and non-fluctuating your induction stove will not even come on.
Most people living in conditions where your electricity supply goes off for hours on end can use the energy saving potential of induction cooktops as long as you have a propane powered emergency generator for when the lights go out.
If your cooking vessel is not made of magnet-friendly metal (i.e., if magnets cannot attract them), they will not work on induction stoves. As mentioned earlier, the whole safety feature depends on this difference. So, you can rule out plastic (which is only advisable for microwave heating and that too only if it’s microwave friendly) and ceramic.
Stainless steel and cast iron are the most common cookware used on induction stoves. Copper and aluminum do not count. They are not as effective as stainless steel or cast iron, which both restaurant and hotel chefs themselves recommend. Besides, the electromagnetic properties of the heating coil in induction cooktops respond primarily to ferric cookware.