Technology is improving at a faster rate than ever before, and kitchen appliances certainly haven’t been left out. From dishwashers that actually sanitize your dishes to refrigerators with door alarms, the kitchen is quickly becoming just as high-tech as your living room’s home theatre configuration. Not to be missed among these developments are the new induction cooktops available today.
Induction cooking technology is relatively new to the kitchen; revolutionizing stovetop cooking in much the same way coil electric cooktops revolutionized a world of gas-burning stoves. With an induction cooktop, you can boil water in the blink of an eye—often in less than two minutes—while still maintaining the subtlety needed for delicate cream sauces and melting chocolate.
Induction cooking works by transferring heat directly to the pan and its contents, instead of to a metal coil. This means the cooking vessel, not the cooktop itself, is what gets heated. So before you shell out the admittedly big bucks for an induction cooktop, you should make sure your cookware is compatible. Most stainless steel and cast iron pots and pans should be fine; if you’re not sure, try the “magnet test.” Just see if a magnet sticks to the bottom of your cooking apparatus. If it does, you’re probably fine. Once that’s settled, here are a few more things you should consider while searching for the right cooktop.
Do you need four or five burners? How big should they be? How high should the wattage be? Are the controls raised knobs or flat touch buttons that are easier to clean? How precise should the temperature settings be? You should consider your cooking style and needs to figure out the answers to these questions. Another key feature is an “on” or “hot” indicator light, which is crucial to remembering to turn off the cooktop and avoid injury.
Just because induction cooktops directly heat the cooking vessel doesn’t mean they don’t get hot themselves from contact with the pot or pan. The best cooktops have built-in safety measures to prevent you from getting injured, from overflow or overheat detectors to a child safety lock.
Other features often combine out of convenience and safety. While they aren’t always necessary, features like pan pressure sensors, warming or simmer modes, kitchen timers and boost features certainly make cooking easier and more enjoyable. Some induction cooktops even offer flexible burner space, which allows you to adjust the cooking element to fit the pan size.
Ease of Installation
Most induction cooktops on the market are available in 30-inch or 36-inch widths. To keep things simple, we only looked at 30-inch models, though many of them also are available in a larger size. Make sure you know what size workspace you have to fill before you make a purchase. Also, check cord length, drop-in dimensions and whether the cooktop can be installed over an oven. If you run into installation problems, or if you prefer to have someone else install it, check to make sure the manufacturer has suitable options.
If you’re considering investing in an induction cooktop, you’re probably a few steps above a novice chef. With induction cooking, your culinary creations are sure to be even more impressive with even less effort. Check out our induction cooktop articles to decide which one will work best for you.
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