Induction cooktops: What they are and why they may be worth considering
Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin, CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, November 2, 2018 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, November 2, 2018 7:34PM PDT
If you’re shopping for an oven range and have decided to go for a smooth top electric, you have one more big decision to make. Should you spend a little more to spring for something called an induction cooktop?
It’s similar in appearance and, in fact, the oven operation is no different. But the way the induction cooktop heats and the way it performs set it apart.
“Instead of a red-hot element below the glass surface, induction elements below the surface generate an electromagnetic field. The field interacts with a pot and the pot itself gets hot,” explained Tara Casaregola, Consumer Reports tester.
That means if you turn on an element where there’s no pot, it won’t heat up.
Every induction range and cooktop Consumer Reports tested has high-power burners that provide quick cooktop heat and superb simmering.
So are these cooktops worth the price? Induction ranges are getting cheaper: You can get a CR recommended model for around $1,200. The Frigidaire Gallery FGIF3036TF gets excellent ratings for heating and speed.
But there are some things to keep in mind. Induction burners don’t glow when they’re hot like radiant smooth top burners do, so some manufacturers have added imitation flames so you can tell when a burner is on.
And if your current cookware isn’t magnetic, you will have to replace it. Try sticking a magnet to the bottom to check. If it sticks, it will conduct heat on an induction cooktop.
You can also check for an icon on the bottom of cookware you’re considering that indicates it will work on an induction smooth top.
One other drawback: a buzz or hum is common when using the higher settings, and you may notice clicking sounds on lower settings.
Consumer Reports says that some manufacturers of induction cooktops recommend that people with pacemakers check with their doctor before using one because the magnetic field could pose a risk.