Q: I’m considering a new electric stovetop. Can you explain the different options available?
A: In addition to standard electric stovetops, induction is a newer option growing in popularity.
According to a study completed by Electric Power Research Institute, 74% of the energy from an electric range is transferred to food. Induction cooktops are the most efficient option at 90% energy transferred to food. Regardless of your stovetop choice, right-sizing pots and pans to the burner is important to avoid wasting energy.
Electric cooktops are a tried-and-true option for many homes, and they are typically the most affordable option. Glass-top models offer a cleaner look than the traditional coil elements and are easier to clean but tend to be a bit more expensive. The most common complaint about electric cooking is that the heating controls are not as fast or precise.
An induction stovetop can offer a higher-end cooking experience than a standard electric stovetop.
Induction stovetops use electromagnetic energy to heat the pan, reducing energy waste. Instead of heating the stove’s surface, they heat the pans themselves. Because the pans heat directly, you don’t have to wait for the heat to transfer like you do with gas and electric stovetops, resulting in faster cooking times. Induction stovetops also allow for more precise temperature control, which can deliver better results.
Cool burners offer additional safety benefits. Induction cooktops are typically more expensive than electric models. They also require you to use specific cookware. Stainless steel and cast-iron cookware are both compatible with induction cooktops. If you want to test your pots and pans to see if they are induction-compatible, do the magnet test. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it will work on an induction stove.
Cooking on an induction stovetop takes a little time to get used to, but many people have made the switch and enjoy the experience.
Miranda Boutelle writes on energy-efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.