Keeping it Cool: Induction Cooktop beats Gas in today's Modern Kitchen

One of the most common questions I get from clients who are considering a kitchen remodel is

"What's new in kitchens that I may not even know to ask for?"

There are several ways I could answer this questions, but the go-to reply is always: Induction Cooktops.

Thermadore Induction Cooktop

I must first start with a confession.  I'm a kitchen designer, not a chef. In truth, my husband cooks most of the meals in our home.  I've never found cooking or baking to be particularly enjoyable so I avoid it if possible. That being said, when I do cook I use the cooktop. 

When we purchased our home there was a range (cooktop and oven combo) that was all electric. Before we moved into the home I had a plumber run a gas line to the location so that I could have a dual-fuel range instead of all electric.  My thought at the time was that cooking on a gas cooktop was the "best" and would give me the most accurate temperature control. I'm glad I made the switch from standard electric to gas but if I had things to do over again I would have taken the road less traveled and opted for the third choice in cooking technology.

I was familiar with induction cooktops but felt intimidated by the prospect of having to buy all new pots and pans as well as spending so much more for the appliance itself. "Electric induction cooktops use a magnetic field to heat cookware rather than the cooking surface itself. This magnetic field is harmless and imperceptible -- until you put a metal pan on the burner. When that happens, the magnetic field reacts with iron molecules in the pan, exciting them and generating heat." 1

With the average 30" induction cooktops ranging from $1,200 to $2,000, there is a significant price difference between induction and their more common gas or electric predecessors.

So, what's so great about induction? Here's my top 7 reasons to invest in this technology:

  1. Safety - The cooktop surface doesn't get hot in the same way an electric or gas cooktop does.  I once saw a demonstration where the salesman boiled a pot of water on an induction cooktop and when he moved the pot he put his hand directly on the surface where the pot had been.  If you have children, pets or any other people in your home who are occasionally careless with where they place flammable items or body parts...induction will save you from potential injury.
  2. Energy Efficient - Since the energy generated to heat the pot is put directly into the pot itself rather than heating the air under and around the pot, there is no heat loss.
  3. Doesn't add Heat to the room - Have you ever refused to use your cooktop on a warm summer day because you can't stand the thought of introducing more heat into the house? With induction there is almost no ambient heat introduced into a space. Your energy bill will thank you all summer long!
  4. Speed - Induction cooktops will actually boil water FASTER than gas so you will spend less time waiting to cook and the task of preparing a meal will be accelerated so you can get on with more important and enjoyable things! Just be careful to adjust your cooking times so you don't burn dinner.
  5. Control - Taking a soup from a boil to a simmer is instantaneous with induction. This was always the biggest problem with standard electric cooktops as it took quite a while for the heating elements to cool down.  With induction the response time is similar to cooking on gas. When you turn down the temperature, you'll see the results immediately in the pan.
  6. Easy to keep Clean - This is a big one. The glass surface of an induction cooktop is easy to keep clean because it doesn't burn any bits of sauce or food that spills over the edge. Since the surface doesn't get hot in the same way as an electric cooktop, the spills are MUCH easier to wipe up when you're done cooking.  Also, since it doesn't have the metal grates of a gas cooktop, the process of cleaning it is as easy as wiping off the countertop.
  7. Space Saver - Let's be honest, you aren't always cooking while in the kitchen. Sometimes your unloading groceries, hosting a party, helping kids with homework or any one of a million other things that take place in modern kitchens. Wouldn't an additional 30" of counter space come in handy? Induction cooktops are flat and smooth to integrate into the counter space around them. Who wouldn't love that?

Most cities have higher end showrooms that will allow you to demo an induction cooktop to see the product in action.  I highly recommend making an appointment with your local showroom to see if this technology would be a good fit in your new kitchen!