Induction Ranges & Cooktops Q&A
Most frequent questions and answers
Induction cooking uses electromagnetism to induce heat directly in cookware.
1) Methane gas and electric coil appliances cook indirectly by first producing a heat source which is then transferred to the surface of your cookware. Since induction directly induces the cookware to become hot, it is far more efficient at using energy. (90% efficient, compared to about 74% for traditional electric systems, and 40% for gas – source: ACEEE)
2) The strength of the electromagnetic field can be precisely controlled, enabling precision cooking temperatures and control. Think digital compared to analog.
Yes. The health benefits are enormous. Cooking with methane (“natural”) gas releases toxic emissions such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Multiple studies have associated these emissions with diseases and illnesses including asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, Alzheimers, mental illness, childhood IQ and development, and premature death. (If still cooking with gas, always use the back burners first, always use your hood fan and use it on “high”, and open windows for ventilation. For more gas cooking safety tips, go to electric4health.org)
As Forbes says, “…while the (gas) unit is cheaper (to purchase), the operational cost is more expensive than electric cooktops. Gas cooktops are also less energy-efficient than an induction cooktop, plus they emit a lot of radiant heat that will emanate through the kitchen, potentially raising your cooling costs.” This doesn’t include the savings from better health and not having to install kitchen gas infrastructure.
Generally, either stainless steel or cast iron must be used with induction cooking. The cookware must be ferromagnetic, meaning that a magnet must stick well to its base. This enables the induction process to work. Since not all stainless steel is ferromagnetic, either do the magnet test or look for stainless steel labeled as induction-ready. (Note: There are also ferromagnetic induction adapter cooking disks and plates, upon which can then be set non induction-appropriate cookware. However, because of the additional heat transfer step, cooking is not as efficient. Follow all product directions when using such intermediary devices.)
There is not a simple answer to this. Like microwaves, induction cooking produces electromagnetic fields. Always consult a healthcare professional for questions about your personal health and safety. You can also access the report “Do induction cooktops interfere with cardiac pacemakers?” published on the US government’s National Library of Medicine website, here.