Surprisingly to most people we have been selling induction cooktops since 1985 – things have changed drastically since those days with the costs dropping and plenty of brands to choose from as well as some great new safety features. The technology is the fastest of all cooking surfaces ( yes, quicker than gas.), the safest to use (apart from pacemaker users) and the easiest to clean. Pricing ranges drastically for a 580mm wide from cheaper slower Chinese made units around $800 to middle european ranges $1000 – $1500 to the upper level $1500 – $2500. In the larger sizes 800 – 900, entry $1500, mid – $2200, high end $3000 – $4000.
To say gas cooktops haven’t changed is an understatement – you now have the choice of multiple wok burners to Glass, Stainless and Matt black finishes with flame failure. The fitting is also been improved with the ability to flush mount, meaning some cooktops are sunken into the bench so as to only have the trivets protrude over the bench, a very nice modern look. Pricing starts with a square version at $300 – $450, mid range $550 – $800 and toping out at $1000, 700 to750mm versions from $500 – $1500 and 900mm $800 – $2000.
A great buy these days with the prices dropping considerably due to the growth in popularity for Induction – they work with all pot types and are easy to clean with a window scraper and ceramic cream. A couple of models with knobs available but far more popular in touch control with easy cleaning a major reason. Starting with a square arrangement at approx. $400 – $600, upper end $650 – $1000 with rectangular from $800 – $1500.
How does Induction work ?
As the diagram above illustrates induction cooktops look for any steel content and vibrate that to cause heat – hence a slight buzzing noise when they are on. The easiest explanation I like to use is if you held a horse shoe with pliers over an induction cooktop it would glow red like an element cycling on and off as needed to boil the pot. This is the reason why induction is so efficient and also why they require specific pots, it also explains why you can put your hand right next to a pot and it does not get burnt – there is no heat coming from underneath the cooktop. If you cracked an egg and it ran down the side of a frypan it will remain raw on the cooktop with paper towel an easy clean up . The easiest way to test a pots ability to work on induction is to put a magnet on the base, if the base can hold a magnet on it – induction will work with that pot.
What to look for in Gas Cooktops
Wok burner – really just an intensive burner designed for frypans, stock pots and woks – these burners are compared in megajoules (or kilowatts) and generally range from 10mj – 22mj or 3kw – 5kw.
Flame Failure – A great device for the elderly or those with young children, it is a safety feature that doesn’t run the gas if the flame is out due to a spill over or if the knob is turned on accidentally.
hints when buying – look for good separation of the larger burners , nothing worse than having pasta boiling and not being able to fit a frypan for the meat and sauce next to it. Try to avoid cooktops with side controls as this takes up valuable space between the burners – better to have front controls
Whats under a ceramic cooktop ?
Generally as pictured there are thin ribbon style elements under ceramic cooking surface which are fast to heat up and offer better control than say solid or thicker coil elements of old.
Is the Glass fragile? – no it is a ceramic glass which makes it very durable, most breakages are from overhead spice racks or jars landing on the corners or centre. Pots and pans are very seldom the cause of a glass breakage.