Should I choose an induction hob?
Making decisions about which appliances to choose for your new kitchen can be confusing. There is so much information available, so many reviews…so many opinions. How can you possibly know whether you’re making the right decision?
In the ‘Appliances in focus’ series of blogs, we’ll be getting up close and personal with some of our favourite types of appliances so we can give you exactly the information you need to make the best decision for you.
How do they work?
Did you know the term ‘induction’ is actually short for ‘electromagnetic induction’?
When an induction hob is switched on electricity passes through a copper coil located under the ceramic glass cooking surface of the hob. This creates a magnetic field but doesn’t in itself produce heat. It’s only once you place an induction-suitable pan on top of the hob that you’ll begin to feel any warmth building up.
Unlike conventional electric or gas hobs, the cooking surface does not get hot. The magnetic field from below causes an electric current to flow into the pan. Thanks to the induction pan’s lack of conductive ability (being made from iron or steel) and the fluctuating nature of the electromagnetic field, the current flows around the metallic structure of the pan dissipating some of its energy as heat. This raises the temperature of the pan and transfers heat to the food within.
Are there any downsides to choosing induction?
It is true that an induction hob may cost more up front than an electric or gas hob, but thanks to cheaper running costs you should find that over the life of the appliance you’ll more than make the difference back.
One of the most widely cited ‘cons’ of choosing induction is the fact you’ll likely have to buy a new set of saucepans, as not all pans will work with the electromagnetic technology. You’ll need to make sure that any you plan to use are made from iron or steel. Yes, it can be costly to replace your cookware, but in all honesty, when you compare this to the cost of your new kitchen overall it is a drop in the ocean and shouldn’t be the basis for your decision.
TIP: You can use a magnet to check if any of your current pans are suitable for use. If the magnet sticks, it should work on induction.
There are concerns that the electromagnetism can interfere with certain types of pacemaker, leading the British Heart Foundation to recommend that people with a pacemaker keep their distance from induction hobs. If you could be affected talk to your GP or consultant about the manufacturer’s guidelines for your particular model.