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induction vs electric stove top

I'm doing a kitchen reno this summer. I'm not sure I really understand what the difference between induction vs electric stove top. I'm unable to get natural gas in my area (bummer, I know). So, my choice is electric or induction.

I'm throwing my hat in the arena for some discussion and an education from those that have induction. Will I be able to use my cast iron, enameled cast iron, and heavy bottom/nonstick Scanpans? Is induction heat easier/quicker to control than electric? What are your pros/cons?

Thanks everyone!

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  1. You will be able to use anything that is magnetic. Cast iron isn't ideal, but it works with induction.

    Most clad bottom cookware has stainless bottoms that are magnetic.

    Not all stainless is created equal though. What you'll find out there is 18/0 & 18/10 stainless. 18/10 is preferred for the interior cooking surface as 18/0 pits badly. But 18/10 isn't magnetic. Therefor, the bottom/exterior should be 18/0 for use with induction. Sounds confusing, but it really isn't. Just pay attention to the pan specs. 18/0 bottom & 18/10 interior. Aluminum or copper inside the "sandwich" is fine.

    We are about to get our first induction also...and our neighborhood DOES have Natural Gas. We chose to forgo the gas range as residential ranges suck unless you spend mega bucks...plus I don't like disassembling the gas ranges every time I finish cooking to clean the things.

    14 Replies
    1. re: JayL

      I have no idea why anyone thinks that CI doesn't work as well on induction. I have two homes and two induction ranges and I use CI cookware probably daily and love it..

      This thread has loads of good info. I'm with the above poster. We do house exchanges and I feel like I've taken a huge step down when I'm 'forced' to use Wolf, Viking, etc :)

      ETA: Forgot to mention that I have a flat-bottom wok so that's no problem either.

      Additionally, a WHOLE lot of cookware manufacturers are now making induction capable stuff. Here's a link for some info I found a few months:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8811...

      And ANYONE who says that cleaning it isn't a selling point hasn't used it. It takes almost nothing.

      As you can see, I'm sold and will NEVER go back. Never :)

      1. re: c oliver

        <I have no idea why anyone thinks that CI doesn't work as well on induction.>

        I was wonder that too. Cast iron should work very well.

        1. re: c oliver

          c oliver and Chem,

          CI works with induction. I didnt say it wouldn't.

          CI isn't as magnetic as some metals...although it IS magnetic and will work. That is why it isn't "ideal". It works, but it may take a little more time to heat up.

          I have plenty of CI that will be used a great deal on induction.

          1. re: JayL

            That may be what the "books" tell you - I hadn't read that. But just the other night I fixed a couple of pieces of foie gras (25th anniversary of our 1st marriage!). It got so hot so fast that I could have wound up with a puddle of very expensive fat. I have old and new CI, skillets and DOs have nothing but praise for them with the induction. I think you're in for a pleasant surprise.

            1. re: c oliver

              Yep, can't wait. 36" top in new home...hopefully a couple months away.

              1. re: JayL

                :) I'm like a convert to a new religion! I'm 65 and thought having a freezer on the bottom, French door fridge was exciting. So this is just completely over the top. Looking forward to your reports...about everything. Congratulations.

                1. re: c oliver

                  <thought having a freezer on the bottom, French door fridge was exciting. >

                  Wow, that is an exciting design.

            2. re: JayL

              <CI isn't as magnetic as some metals.>

              Among cookware metals, cast iron is very magnetic. Yes, its magnetic permeability is not as strong as Mu metal, but that is really comparing extreme cases which are not used for most cookware applications.

              To put it in perspective, cast iron's and steel's relative permeability is about 100-200. Aluminum's and copper's are about 1.

              Now, you may still find that your cast iron cookware takes some time to heat up, but that may have more to with the fact that it is a thick construction.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Beat me to it Chem. With the induction of induction we expect instant heat but that pan will still take time to heat up.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  So after all the conversation...CI still works just fine on induction.

                  LoL

                  1. re: JayL

                    <CI still works just fine on induction. >

                    More than just fine. It is great.

                    Halle Berry is more than "just fine".

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Stop breaking my sentences apart! LoL

                      You're saying exactly what I'm saying but with slightly different terminology.

                      We agree! LoL

            3. re: JayL

              Cast iron is absolutely fine on induction. The reason some folks feel it is "not ideal" in practice is that cast iron pans still acts like cast iron. Takes time to pre-heat, takes time to heat evenly (as evenly as cast iron heats), but holds heat very well. Good for high heat searing applications, etc. Induction does not change any of that except that heating up may happen a bit faster.

              As for "efficiency," that's a term that gets used in a lot of different ways. Sometimes folks mean something like high mileage in cars. Induction is "higher mileage" but, as Kaleo points out, it can take quite a while to recoup the savings. (Unless you are served by a rural electric co-op for which "deregulation" has resulted in electric rates at 35 cents/kWh). There is also "efficiency" in the sense of putting most of the energy into the pan rather than waste heat into the room. DOE estimates 84% for induction, 60%-70% for coil electric, 50% for radiant electric, and 33%-40% for gas burners.

              A search here will turn up numbers of other detailed (and passionate) discussions of induction. Also, lots of useful discussion of specific models of induction stoves and cooktops in the Appliances forum at gardenweb:

              http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/

            4. Hi, Page:

              From the manufacturer's website:

              "Can SCANPAN CLASSIC & PROFESSIONAL be used with induction ranges?

              No. Induction ranges use magnetic fields. SCANPAN CLASSIC & PROFESSIONAL have an aluminum core which is not magnetic.Scanpan CTX, IQ and CSX can be used with induction ranges."

              The functional difference between induction and resistive electric is that with induction, the stove turns *your pan* into the heating element, whereas with resistive, a separate element is heated, and then *that* heats your pan.

              Induction tops only come under glass, as do many resistive electric tops. If you like this feature (looks sleek, modern, "easy" to clean) you could have either. But some people hate the effort required to keep the glass looking perfect.

              IMO, induction's biggest advantage is its responsiveness, you can adjust the heat up or down and the heat delivered changes very quickly. Resistive electric is slower to respond, but if you're used to and OK with this slowness already, it wouldn't be a big deal.

              IMO, resistive electric is generally a more even heat source. There is (usually a single) loop hidden beneath the glass of the induction stove from which the magnetic field emanates, and the field drops off sharply with distance, so you may find that you get a "hot ring" effect, depending on your cookware and preparation. Electric coils tend not to suffer from this.

              Induction tends to run cooler, so if you live somewhere where a hot kitchen bothers you, that's an advantage. It's also a little safer as far as kid-safe goes.

              Induction is theoretically more energy efficient, but the difference is not as great as the sellers would have you believe. If there's a $500 difference in price, it would take you a long time to recoup your investment in energy savings.

              Finally, there is a HUGE amount of info here in other threads. I encourage you to use the Search function, and study up.

              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              3 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                :: Induction tops only come under glass, as do many resistive electric tops. If you like this feature (looks sleek, modern, "easy" to clean) you could have either. But some people hate the effort required to keep the glass looking perfect. ::

                This is an area of big difference between induction and regular resistive-heat electric smoothtops: The resistive burner areas get much, much hotter (and stay hot longer) than induction burners, so that spills quickly burn and harden into hard-to-clean 'shellac'. In contrast, spills on an induction top can be cleaned up almost right away (because the glass top doesn't get that hot, or stay hot for long), and won't sizzle into 'food varnish'.

                1. re: ellabee

                  Hi, ellabee:

                  I would say it's an area of small difference. But there is a difference, so point taken.

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Cooks who move from smoothtop electric to induction report it as a major difference. I have no experience with smoothtops, so am only passing on the reports.

              2. Thanks to both of you. Very informative.

                My scan pans are the IQ, so that would work. I do adore my cast iron though, so since it isn't ideal I might shy away from the induction. Although I live in AZ, so the cooler summer kitchen is attractive.

                My ideal would be gas (I have a partner who cleans the counters and stove tops :), but since I'm used to electric I think I might just stick with it!

                2 Replies
                1. re: pagesinthesun

                  Many people with cast iron use it on induction. There's no reason at all it won't work. Some worry about scratches on the glass, but that would apply equally to an electric smoothtop range.

                  But wait, there's more! Induction stays cool enough that you can place a paper towel or piece of paper (great way to recycle newspaper!) between the cast iron and the cooktop. Seriously.

                  Have you seen the new Samsung induction? The left-side cooking elements are wicked cool, and it has some kind of split shelf in the oven that bakers seem to love.

                  http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/...

                  I'm in your camp, beginning our reno next week with tile tear-out and new island. then we're laying new tile throughout the house. Doing it ourselves, ouch! My knees will never be the same. Next year we'll replace the POS smoothtop builder's grade range.

                  1. re: pagesinthesun

                    I have IH and I use enameled cast iron frequently and it is a glorious thing. It is far superior to anything else on the IH. It gets such beautiful even heat. I don't see why cast iron would be any different I don't have any cast iron at the moment, but have only seen positive reviews on using it on IH on chowhound. There are many threads on chowhound about people loving using cast iron on their IH, I wouldn't let cast iron prevent you from getting IH.

                  2. induction is absolutely the way to go. i have a miele for about 2 years and love it. you need magnetic pans so some of your old ones may not work - they do have to be magnetic. i cook a lot and had a gas range before but induction is ahead of that. No comparison against coil electric. Induction is faster, more even and more controllable both up and down in power.

                    cast iron probably takes 5 minutes to fully heat up but it holds the heat well and is very even. try the miele gallery in scottsdale where they have unit on display. you probably can try it out as well

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tfed

                      This is a good idea, to go into the showroom and actually be hands on with induction. I'll try out the Miele gallery. Thanks for the suggestion.

                    2. Yes, induction is wonderful. BTW, I've used both cast iron and Le Cruest and have been very pleased with the results. They worked perfectly. An added bonus-the handles don't get hot because they aren't over a gas flame or electric burner. Up til six months ago, I hand only ever cooked on gas. I now carry a small magnet with me in case I see pots or pans that I like. The only nonstick one I've found is All Clad and I didn't want to spring for that much money.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: 555732

                        Vollrath Tri-Ply non-stick is induction-friendly. About 1/2 the price of All-Clad at least where I am.

                        1. re: 555732

                          Hi 555732,

                          Just FYI, some nonstick cookware that works on induction:

                          Swiss Diamond (model numbers with an "i" at the end)
                          Scanpan CTX
                          De Buyer CHOC Induction
                          Analon Nouvelle Copper
                          Te-Fal