What is the Difference Between Induction and Electric Cooktops?
Many customers get confused between induction and electric cooktops due to the fact that both need electricity to operate. Both have plugs that need to be connected to a socket so that it could ‘fire’ up and cook your food. This, however, may only be one of their very few similarities.
If you are not sure on the best one to buy, read on through, as the two will be compared based on the factors to consider before purchasing cooktops. Depending on your needs, your budget, and many other factors, both may have its own pros and cons.
Inductions vs. Electric: Which is better?
It’s really difficult to choose the better cooktop especially if you aren’t sure about what each of them boasts about. Also, one massive positive for one person, may be a huge disappointment to another. Everyone has their own needs, wants, and quirks so don’t compare yourself to others, especially if your neighbor says that her cooktop is the best there is.
How does it work?
It’s important to find out what induction and electric cooktops are made from. From this, you’ll learn how they function because even though they have the same power source, the way they work is totally different form each other.
Electric cooktops come in two varieties, coil (where the heating element is exposed) and radiant (where a glass ceramic covers the heating element underneath). Electric cooktops heat up when the energy is transferred to the coil. The coils then heat up greatly (you’ll know because the coil glows red when hot) and transfer the heat to the cookware.
The electric current heats up the coil depending on your choice of temperature and this heat goes to the cookware. It is basically just like gas without the open flame.
Induction cooktops work by having copper coils underneath the ceramic glass that houses it. These coils create an electromagnetic field that transfers the energy onto the cookware itself. Therefore, there is no heat on the coil or element itself but rather heat is generated in the cookware.
For this technology to work, only magnetic cookware should be used such as stainless steel and cast iron. Cookware made of aluminum or glass won’t be able to conduct such energy so it won’t heat up. One con that users might not like is the fact that you have to change your cookware as well if you shift to induction cooktop.
How much does it cost?
Price greatly varies between the two. It can be determined by the style you have chosen, the brand, and the materials used. Extravagance aside, you can get both electric and induction cooktop below $100, but these are the single burner type that can be taken anywhere.
If you are looking for smooth glass top ones that can be installed underneath your counter, electric cooktops may prove to cost much lesser. Look at the products below for comparison:
Frigidaire FFEC3024L 30" Electric Cooktop with Ready-Select Controls and Color-Coordinated Control
Is an electric cooktop that has four heating elements and costs less than $500. This one has smooth ceramic glass covering the heating elements and can be installed in a counter. Comparing the above product to a similar one that is induction, the:
GE PHP900SMSS Profile 30" Stainless Steel Electric Induction Cooktop
Also has four heating elements housed in stainless steel but it is nearly three times the cost of an electric cooktop.
Key Takeaway: Considering the brand, the finish, and the material used, the GE induction cooktop may be worth its price but is still considered very costly compared to the electric smooth cooktop by Frigidaire.
Which is more energy efficient?
This is very easy to answer once you have understood how induction and electric cooks your food. When using induction cooktops, the heat is generated by the cookware or cooking vessel itself rather than the coil and transferring the heat to the vessel (like what electric does), therefore, the more efficient cooktop to use is the induction.
Why? Because induction cooktops lessen the heat loss when it comes to cooking. All heat is directed onto cooking your food. The heat is also very precise because the cooktop itself remains cool to touch despite all the simmering and boiling happening inside the cookware.
Key Takeaway: Induction cooking is also hotter than electric cooking so you’ll be able to cook for less amount of time. For instance, most induction cooktops boasts about boiling water in only two minutes. It is also safer as the cooktop itself doesn’t heat up. It’s cool to touch so no accidental burns or catching fire through the open flames.
Which is easier to clean and maintain?
Depending on the electric cooktop you have, you may be troubled with the cleaning if you have the coil one. This is because any drops, spills, or food scraps that falls off underneath the coil may be difficult to get. You have to wait until the coil is fully cool to touch before removing and cleaning that part.
Check out this coil cooktop:
GE : JP201CBSS 21in Electric Cooktop, 2 Coil Elements, Removable Drip Bowls - Stainless Steel
There are catchers or reservoirs underneath the coils to catch any spills but because it is made of stainless steel, it’s easy to just wipe and maintain.
Induction cooktops, on the other hand, are generally much easier to maintain, as all you have to do is wipe the cooktop with a cloth. Because it doesn’t heat up, you can clean as soon as you’re done with cooking. Most induction cooktops are also made of lightweight materials, usually a combination of glass and stainless steel.
A great example is the:
DUXTOP 1800-Watt Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner
For the efficiency and maintenance, induction cooktop wins against electric cooktops. For the price however, electric cooktops may have a shot. Smooth top versions or radiant electric cooktops can easily par against the smooth top induction and the naked eye may not even tell the difference, but induction heats up and cooks up faster. Not to mention, the whole electromagnetic technology is pretty cool.