Induction hobs are modern and attractive, and are increasingly popular with households and budding chefs. This isn’t surprising since they offer a whole range of advantages... but these are offset, as always, by a few disadvantages and constraints. Let us explain...
Induction hobs operate using electricity, but unlike conventional electric hobs, which heat your pots and pans by conduction (i.e. by contact with a hot surface), they work by electromagnetic induction.
Underneath the induction hob where your food is simmering away is a copper coil in which an electric current flows when the hob is in operation. When a magnetic metal surface (the bottom of your saucepan or pot) approaches, an electric current is induced in the bottom of the pan.
|It is therefore the bottom of the pan that heats up directly and not the surface of the hob.|
With an induction hob, 90% of the energy generated actually heats your pot or pan. With gas, it's 60%. Cooking with induction therefore consumes less energy.
No more scrubbing your hotplate after letting your pan overflow: with induction, the residue does not burn onto the hob because the heat is contained within the metal at the bottom of the pan.
Induction presents less risk of burns, again, since it is primarily the metal of the pan that heats up and only then does the hob heat up through contact. Unlike gas, there is no flame. In addition, you can usually activate a childproof lock.
New induction hob models offer a range of interesting features. For example,
Also, the power from induction is much more modular than gas:
Induction hobs are generally tactile and have a very clean and modern look.
The price goes up significantly if you buy a large induction hob. For small formats (60 cm wide, 4 cooking zones), allow for between € 350 and € 400. For larger formats with plenty of options, you can easily reach €2500 or more.
By way of comparison, a 4-burner gas stove costs between € 100 and € 200.
This means that, even if your induction cooker is more efficient, it will not reduce your energy bill. If you have solar panels, on the other hand, cooking with electricity can make sense to use up the surplus energy you produce!
To use an induction hob, your cooking equipment must have a flat, smooth bottom and be magnetic (if you put a magnet to the bottom of your pan, it will stick).
|Don't worry, you won't have to part with your favourite casserole dish: there are adapters that act as an intermediary between the hob and your pan. However, these accessories can slow down the cooking time.|
Each coil is equipped with a small cooling fan. They can be quite noisy, especially as they age and more especially on a cheap model. This is particularly true if all four hotplates are working at the same time.
On some models, it is not possible to operate all four plates at full power at the same time: the appliance will automatically distribute the available electrical power between the plates, heating one after the other alternately at full power, which will slow down the overall cooking of the whole hob.
There are different models of induction hob:
In the second case, a few precautions must be taken to ensure a safe connection.
In short, it is advisable to call in a professional.
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