Induction power is faster, more consistent, and more efficient than traditional stovetops. Induction works by heating the cookware instead of the cooktop, which is a simple way of describing the chemical process of electromagnetism. There needs to be a high rate of change in the magnetic field between the cooktop and cookware in order for heat to happen. This is why the cookware needs to have a high resistance to electricity. Though the process is the same for all induction cooktops, they don’t all put out the same power. Power is measured in volts and watts, with volts measuring what the induction stovetop requires in order to work. Most stovetops just need the standard 120 volts of a household outlet. Many induction stovetops have a range of the watts they put out, so they can be as small as 200 to as powerful as 1800. 1500-1600 watts is a more common range.
Since induction stovetops require cookware with a high resistance to electricity, not all pots and pans will work. Make sure your cookware is made from a ferromagnetic material, such as cast iron, enameled cast iron, steel, or stainless steel. Many induction cooktops have a magnetic feature so you can tell if the pot will work based on if it sticks to the cooktop. You can also test a pot by just sticking any magnet to its surface. When ferromagnetic material comes in contact with the induction cooktop, triggering a flow of electrical currents within the cookware. This is how induction cooktops heat up the cookware itself.
You can control an induction cooktop using the touch controls. Cooktops come with different settings, so you can select power or even function, such as melt/warm, boil, and sear. Some cooktops have as many as 7-10 power levels, so you can more gradually increase the wattage power and cook more precisely. The touch controls also offer digital displays with features like auto shut-offs and a minute timer.
Induction stovetops have a wide range of temperatures. It should be noted that they do not offer temperatures as high as ones you get with a traditional stovetop with gas or an open flame, but they still get very hot. The lowest temperature setting you can get on most induction cooktops is around 100-150 degrees. You can usually adjust the temperature up to 450-degrees, or even close to 600-degrees. This is a versatile range that allows you to prepare a variety of dishes, from those that require lower temperatures and a slow cooking time, to fast and hot sears.
Induction cooktops come in very convenient sizes. Some are even portable, so you can use them outside for camping or in a RV. A standard cooktop measures about a foot wide and a foot long, though some come with two burners, so those will take up more space. Induction cooktops are designed to be compact and lightweight, so they start at about 5 pounds. The heavier ones only get to about 8-10 pounds
If you want to go greener, induction cooktops are a great addition to your eco-friendly lifestyle. They can be 70-90% more efficient than traditional stovetops, and include energy-saving features like a sensor that turns off the cooktop when no pot is present. With no wasted energy, you can forgo a double boiler and just melt chocolate in one pot.