As I’ve grown as a chef, I’ve learned to appreciate cooking with an induction cooktop.
Easy to clean, quick cooking, consistent results. What’s not to love?
I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about induction cooking and help you find the best induction cooktop for your cooking needs.
Let’s take a look.
What is an Induction Cooktop?
Before I dive into some of my favorite induction cooktops on the market, let’s start with the basics. When I started my cooking journey over five years ago, I assumed that an induction cooktop was just another fancy term for an electric stove.
As someone with limited experience in the kitchen, you may have similar thoughts.
If you confuse an induction cooktop with a traditional electric stovetop, you’re not completely wrong, but induction cooking is one of a kind. An induction cooktop utilizes an electromagnetic field to head up your cookware, and some of the benefits include even cooking and a cooking surface that remains cool to the touch.
The details of induction cooking can be a little confusing, and if you’re interested in learning more about the mechanics of it, you can check out more about electronic induction.
When you use ferromagnetic cookware (more about cookware later) small currents, which have magnetic fields, react and activate the molecules in the cookware.
Induction cooktops are designed to increase the current and frequency to provide quick and efficient heat. When you use the right cookware (which contains iron), the heat generated for cooking comes from the electrical resistance, as iron is a poor conductor of electricity, and the changes in the magnetic makeup of the cookware.
How Do Induction Cooktops Differ from Electric Cooktops?
Nearly anyone who has cooked with an electric cooktop may agree that it is a bit challenging, to say the least, or at least until you get used to cooking on an electric stove.
Some people love their electric cooktops and make a perfect meal effortlessly every night. I, personally, find it to be challenging, and electric cooktops may turn many budding chefs off of cooking.
Ceramic glass electric cooktops (also known as radiant cooktops) are often easier to cook with and use than the traditional electric coil cooktops, but many will agree that induction cooking is still much easier regardless of your experience in the kitchen.
Not only are electric cooktops harder to keep clean, but they often cook with uneven heat, and it can be difficult to “find” the perfect temperature. To cook more evenly, you also need to make sure that your cookware fits the burner. Induction cooktops will only heat the bottom of the cookware that comes into contact with the cooktop.
Electric cooktops are more likely to cause burns and can heat a kitchen while induction cooktops do not. In short, induction cooktops often give you more control over your cooking where electric cooktops require patience and a lot of trial and error.
The Pros and Cons of Induction Cooktops
As with any kitchen appliances or cookware, it’s always smart to weigh the pros and cons before you invest.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages.
PRO:Induction Cooktops Cook Faster
Every cook knows the frustration of waiting for water to boil. As minimal as it may seem, it’s time-consuming and often inconvenient. Induction cooktops typically boil water two to four minutes faster than other types of cooktops. While some cooks don’t see that as a huge advantage, it’s a selling point for others.
PRO: Safer to Use
Since there’s no open flame or hot coils to deal with, you are less likely to burn yourself when using an induction cooktop. There’s always the risk of burning yourself on the cookware or when transferring hot food or liquids, but the risk is lower than other types of cooktops.
CON: Induction Cooktops Interfere with Thermometer Accuracy
Due to the magnetic fields in induction cooktops, the cooktop can interfere with the accuracy of a digital thermometer. Since accuracy is essential to cooking meats and other types of food safely, it’s always best to have a dial thermometer on hand.
CON: Some Induction Cooktops Make Noise
Some users who use induction cooktops comment on the clicking and buzzing noises that come from the cooktop. Keep in mind that some electric stoves make noises as well. While most of the noises of an induction cooktop can be reduced or eliminated with heavier cookware, it’s a “con” worth mentioning.
CON: You May Need to Invest in Different Cookware
As mentioned earlier, induction cooking requires a special type of cookware. Have a cast iron skillet that you love? It should work well on the induction cooktop.
A surefire way to see what will work and what won’t, especially if you don’t see a label for induction cooking, is to grab a magnet and see if it sticks to the bottom; if it does, it’s safe to use.
5 Best Induction Cooktops
Induction cooktops are available as a standard-sized multi-burner cooktop that you can install in place of an electric stovetop or portable countertop induction cooktops. I review a few of my favorites from both so that you can decide which one is best for you.
It can be challenging to find a high-quality induction cooktop with more than four burners (often described as “elements”). GE has a long history in making a variety of different cooktops, and their 36” induction is an excellent option for cooks who want a larger cooktop with more than four burners.
The induction cooktop has two 2500 watt, one 1800 watt, one 3200 watts, and one 3700-watt burner. You’ll find the electronic touch control conveniently located in the front center of the cooktop.
The GE model has control features that include an all-off control and a control lock capability for safety. There’s a kitchen timer, a melt setting (which is perfect for delicate sauces or chocolate), and five hot surface indicator lights (commonly seen on radiant heat stovetops), so if you are used to a “friendly reminder” it will be a familiar feature.
Induction cooktops are more energy efficient than electric stovetops, but the GE cooktop has a size sensor that will only heat the area of the cookware. This feature allows for more even cooking and less wasted energy.
The GE 36” cooktop has a design that’s easy to install on your own, but to ensure a proper fit or if you need to modify any countertop space, you may find it more convenient to have a professional installation.
- Sleek profile and no knob design is easy to clean
- Heats food quickly and boils water in under a minute
- Versatile wattage and size elements
- Touch controls are designed around safety
- Quieter than other induction cooktops
- Cooktop can be slick when wet causing cookware to slide around
- Some users note electronic issues after the first year of use
The Empava 30” Induction Cooktop has four different sized burners which include two 1500-watt, one 2100-watt, and one 3000-watt burner. The tempered glass surface makes the cooktop easy to clean, and you can always tell if the cooktop surface is hot, as the letter “H” will appear.
The induction cooktop is equipped with nine heat level controls, a child lock, a heat setting slider, and a “keep warm” control. While induction cooktops cook food and boil water faster, the boost function (300 to 600 extra watts) is handy if you’re limited on cooking time.
Empava includes a manual so that you can easily install the cooktop yourself, but you may prefer to hire a professional to ensure the wiring is hooked up properly (especially if you’re replacing appliances or remodeling your kitchen).
Induction-friendly cookware works well with the cooktop but for best results consider using a heavy pot or pan with 100 percent ferrous material (such as a cast iron skillet).
- Smooth tempered glass is designed for easy cleanup
- Digital features are easy to use and allow for faster cooking
- Variety of wattage on burners allows for diverse cooking temps
- Easy to get used if you’ve used gas or electric cooktops
- Installation can be challenging for some
- The cutout may not fit your counter space and may require extra construction
- Error messages require contacting the company for troubleshooting
Not every budding chef has the luxury of having a large kitchen. The ECOTOUCH Built-In Induction Cooktop is an option worth considering for any kitchen but particularly if you have limited counter space.
This space-saving induction cooker has two burners: one is 1500-watt, and the other is 2200-watt. Although this is a small built-in compared to others on the market, it has nine power settings which are easy to access with touch control.
Features include an auto-switch off, auto-pan detect sensor, child lock, and a timer that shuts off the cooktop to prevent overcooking.
The installation of this 12” built-in is a simple DIY project and comes with an installation guide and a four-foot power cord. ECOTOUCH Induction Cooker is also available with four burners.
- Ideal size for small kitchens or counters
- Comes with rubber feet to use on top of a counter (rather than as a built-in)
- Has power boost settings to speed up the cooking process
- Easy to clean
- Safety features to prevent accidents or burned food
- Installation may be complicated
- The cooktop works better as a built-in rather than on top of the counter
- Some users note mechanical errors which require contacting customer support
If you live in a studio apartment or have a micro kitchen, the Duxtop Portable Double Induction Cooktop may be the perfect option for you. As long as you have a flat surface and an outlet, this induction cooktop can transform the way you cook into the way you want to cook. It’s also an excellent option if you’re attending a cookout or doing a cooking demonstration outside of a kitchen.
The two-burner induction cooktop has 20 preset levels per power or temperature mode, and you can switch between the two modes easily. They recommend the “power mode” for keeping your food warm or boiling water, while the temperature modes are best for precise cooking.
The power-sharing feature will keep the induction cooktop working efficiently without overheating, and there are other features such as a child safety lock.
- The power cord is five feet long
- The cooktop is easy to clean with an easy to read LED display
- A variety of power and temperature modes for versatile cooking
- Portable and lightweight
- Multiple features and settings may be confusing or difficult to remember without the manual
- Some users note issues with error codes and inaccurate temperatures
If you’re on the fence about induction cooking or simply don’t have the budget for a larger induction cooktop, the Rosewill Single Burner Induction Cooktop is a great and affordable starting point. Not only is it portable and small, but it’s an easy way to introduce yourself to induction cooking.
Even if you decide to get a larger induction cooktop later on in your cooking journey, this single burner will always come in handy. The Rosewill cooktop has eight power levels ranging from 300 watts to 1800 watts and eight temperature settings that range from 150 to 450 degrees F.
There’s an LED display that makes it easy to read the temperature, touch control panel, and a three-hour timer setting. The cooktop also has an overheating protection function.
- A great “starter” cooktop
- Easy to use and clean
- Comes with a 3.5-quart stainless steel pot with lid
- Non-slip pads
- Included cookware is not high-quality
- Some users experienced error codes
- May shut off randomly
My Top Choice for the Best Induction Cooktop
Induction cooking changed the way I cook, and due to the ease of use, convenience, and not having to worry if I’ll start a fire or burn myself, I spend more time doing what I love: cooking.
While I love that induction cooktops come in a variety of styles and sizes to meet the needs of every chef, regardless of the size of their kitchen, my pick is the GE 36 inch Induction Cooktop with 5 Burners.
Not only does it offer versatility, but I like to be able to cook many things at once. With an induction cooktop with more than two burners, I can sauté’ on one, boil water on another, and pan sear on another burner without wasting time or energy.
The safety features are important, as are the additional settings. While I was able to install the induction cooktop on my own, I recommend hiring a professional to help you out if you feel uncomfortable hooking up the cooktop or making space for it on your countertop.