Induction cookers have only been around for a few years now, but in those few short many things have been noted about them. Some are hard facts, whether they be negative ones, or positive ones, some are just myths that are hard to dispel once out there. Of which there seems to be no end. Here we'll give you a full guide into what an induction cooker is, what to look out for, if they are good value for money or not, and the good and bad points about them.
But first off, let's have a quick science lesson on what is an induction cooker. Basically induction is what is known as electromagnetic induction, and this means that it uses magnetism to get heat straight into the pan. Now the pans have to have magnetic properties to work. So electromagnetism is pushed out of the hob, and picked up by the magnetic pan base and the heat goes directly into the pan. Once the pan is removed the heat is then gone also.
We didn't really need to know all that. Just remember that you'll need special pans. Ones that have magnetic properties, the better the magnetism, the more efficient they will be, and another thing to note is that on average gas only uses about 40% of the heat to heat the pan, an induction cooker uses 90% of the heat of the pan. It's a far more efficient way of cooking.
We hope that cleared it up a bit for you. Now let's look at what this means for actually cooking with an induction cooker and the pros and cons of getting one.
Benefits to Cooking with Induction Cookers
One of the main reasons people who love to cook always say how they love a gas hob and cooking with a real flame because of the instant heat you get. You just can't match that with an electric hob, but with an Induction hob you do get that instant heat transfer. Now you don't get the chance to judge the heat by looking at the flame size that you'll get with a gas hob and cooker, but you can't have it all ways and there are people out there who just love to bash new technology without even giving it a go.
Opinions and mind sets are slow to change on Induction cookers though, and still many people think they're aren't as good as a good old gas hob. We think it's pretty simple. They are cleaner, safer and cheaper. They heat up just as fast, and cool down just as fast. Essentially, the same as gas for cooking, but better in so many other ways. Let's have a look at the main benefits of an induction hob and cooker below.
Safety is a big thing when cooking. All kitchen appliances carry an element of risk and an induction cooker is no different. The risk of an induction cooker is far lower than that of a gas, and also lower than that of a conventional electric cooker and hob. The hob is always cool even when cooking at the highest temperatures with an induction cooker. Many people find this claim hard to believe, especially since after seeing a pan of water boiling away, it's instinct to not want to them touch the hob that has been making it boil. But you can. An electric hob will remain hot for some time after it's been turned off, and there's usually not much indication that it's still hot either. One of the many myths we'd like to dispel right now is that if you touch an induction cooker hob with a ring on, your finger will get burnt. A ring does not have nowhere near the amount of ferrous metal needed to turn on a induction hob. The same can be said for bracelets and any other type of jewellery too.
So that's how much safer it is than electric hobs, now gas cooker and hobs. Gas has very little risk of causing fire if it's installed and serviced correctly. It is very safe and we really don't want to do any scaremongering here. But you are still dealing with a service that can go wrong catastrophically, not matter how unlikely that is. You just don't have that with electricity, any overload and a fuse is blown, that's the worst that could happen. Gas, no matter how unlikely still carries serious risk to using it. Another myth to bust now. Induction cooker causes radiation. Ummm, yes and no is the best answer. This myth is getting traction because it's not really a myth. Induction cooking does emit radiation, but it's localised by within the magnetic field of the hob surface and the bottom of the pan. And as soon as the pan breaks contact with the hob, it not longer does this. This is not something that you ever need to concern yourself with. These products have been well tested to make sure they are as safe as can be.
Kitchen Doesn't Get As Hot due to the fact that the hob never gets hot. Gas doesn't just heat the pan. It heats up everything thats around. An induction cooker and hob never gets hot so your kitchen will stay cooler. Now it will get a little hotter as the contents of what you're cooking get hotter, this will have a residual effect on spreading heat around the kitchen, but nothing to the affect of a gas hob during away.
Installation of an induction hob and cooker is so simple. If you're replacing it with a pre-existing electric hob and oven, then it's a simple swap out, (providing both are the same width). It get's a little trickier if you're going from a gas cooker to an induction cooker. You'll need an electrical to run the correct wiring needed from your consumer unit to where the induction cooker will be located. Once this is done though, it's a simple as plug in and away you go.
They Are Easy To Clean due to the face they have a flat even surface with no open parts that food and grease can get into. They simple wipe clean. Because the hob never gets hot, any food that get's split on there never gets heated and baked onto the surface. It can be wiped up, even straight after finishing cooking.
Downsides of Induction Cookers
Just to be clear, we think the benefits far outweigh the downsides to using an induction cooker and hob as opposed to a gas cooker and hob, but they are still out there and need to be noted so you've got the full information before buying an induction cooker. So let's go though the main draw backs for induction cooking and cookers.
Pots and Pans have to made from magnetic materials. Most stainless steel pans will have magnetic qualities, but in a lot of cases nickel is added, to make them shinny, but this reduces the magnetic qualities. So the best thing is to get pots and pans made specifically for induction hobs. Now these can be a little expensive, but if you look at if from a long term perspective, them the quality of the pans you're buying will make them last far longer than a cheaper set of pans. So, yes, it's a negative that they are more expensive, but it's offset we think in the long run.
The Unit's Are Expensive when put next to electric cookers and gas cookers. But this again is a little of an unfair comparison. A cheap induction cooker and hob will cost as much as a mid range gas cooker and hob, but the induction cooker will outperform it on many levels, so again, it's really good value for money. Like we said earlier too, it will save you money of cheaper household bills too as they are cheaper to run.
As you can see from the pros and cons of getting a good quality cheap induction cooker and hob we think they are far better than gas and electric cookers and hobs. They may be a more expensive initial outlay. But the value for money and the savings that you can make far outlay this bigger upfront costs. Add to that the greater cooking potential and other pros we mentioned and getting a good sale on induction hobs is the best way to go to getting a cheap deal. Making the savings even better.