The pros and cons of cooking with induction come up quite a lot at AlbionBKE. (You could say customer requests have reached boiling point). So, we’ve put together this handy induction hob buying guide and answered your hot topics.
Q. Are there different types of induction hob?
Yes! And the differences aren’t talked about enough. There are three kinds of induction hob you need to be aware of when deciding on what’s right for your cooking needs.
- Plug-in: The less disruptive option, ideal for replacing a gas hob as there’s no extra electrical expense. It does the job and is ideal for everyday standard cooking.
- 20-amp induction: you’ll need a 30 amp supply of electricity for this (6mm cable). You’ll find your rings reach temperature a little bit faster with the extra bit of juice.
- 32-amp induction: the most expensive but most versatile option. Some come with flexi-zones, which allow you to join two or more heating elements together — ideal for heating larger pans or griddles. This powerful induction hob uses a standard cooker cable (6/10mm cable). This means you’ll get the greatest power – and fastest cooking – out of your induction hob.
Q. How does an induction hob work?
An induction hob has a surface made from ceramic glass. Underneath the hob are induction coils made from copper wire. The coils create a magnetic field as soon as you supply a cooking zone with electricity.
Q. Will I need new pans for cooking with induction?
Cooking with induction may require new pans. Your pans must have a ferrous metal base to use induction (some aluminium pans have a metal encased base). To check, see if a magnet (grab one off the fridge) will stick to the bottom of the pan. Place a pan without a metal base on the induction hob and it won’t detect it so will remain cold.
Stainless steel, aluminium, copper, glass or hard anodised will not work unless they have an induction plate built into the base.
Cast iron cookware and any pan made from some form of ferrous material will work.
The pan must have a flat base, to ensure good conductivity. It must also be close in size to the induction ring.
You can also look for an “induction compatible” symbol which looks like this:
Q. How easy are they to use?
All induction hobs are touch sensitive with the power controlled by either pressing an up or down arrow or sliding your finger along a power bar. The heat selected is usually output on the hob as a number making it easy to select where you need to be to cook the perfect dish. Once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to set the correct number depending on what you’re cooking.
Q. Is it safe to use?
Yes. Electrical and magnetic fields are found on all devices driven by electricity. Such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners and hair dryers. There are internationally recognised limits and standards that all manufacturers adhere to.
If you remove the pan the hob stops cooking and will switch itself off automatically after a short period of time. Additionally there will be an indicator showing which ‘ring’ has recently been on and that it may still have some residual heat. If you worry about those little fingers touching the buttons you can activate the child lock feature.
Q. Is cooking with induction something I can afford?
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Induction hobs will cost you more to buy than traditional electric or gas. It’s like buying a smartphone over a basic mobile phone — the technology is more advanced. But the price of induction is inching downward. You have to think about how induction enables you to cook any type of dish faster. Add that to the potential savings you can make on your energy bills and you’ll start to see your return on investment.