An induction hob is one of the types of electric stoves for cooking. It cannot be argued that such equipment is a novelty: they appeared on store shelves several years ago, but since then they have become more stylish, functional and comfortable. When choosing a suitable model, it is important to take into account the features of the device, advantages and disadvantages, as well as evaluate the entire range of different price categories, because the cost is quite often expressed in the “abilities” of the equipment.
General description and principle of operation
There is a look at the photo or live, outwardly induction cookers are similar to ordinary electric ones (rapid, halogen or hi-light). You can find both stand-alone and portable or built-in models – the latter are more popular due to their compact size, optimal power and various shapes.
Dimensions directly depend on the number of heating zones – they can be from 1 to 7. The shape of the panel is either traditional square or rectangular or non-standard. Plate surfaceas a rule, glass-ceramic and can be made in black, gray, white or golden.
The fundamental difference between the induction cooker is the type of heating element and the method of heat transfer. If in the usual electric stoves they install shadows that heat the burner, then induction coils are located here. Under the influence of electricity, they create a powerful high-frequency magnetic field, which heats the dishes.
Here it is worth paying attention to the fact that in the process of work, the kitchen utensils are directly heated, in which there is a certain content of ferromagnetic particles. Only a small part of the heat from the pot or pan is transferred to the burners.
If we turn to the scheme of a conventional induction electric stove, it will contain 5 elements:
- glass-ceramic surface;
- a coil that induces vortex flows;
- frequency converter;
- Control block.
Induction panels are produced in standard or non-standard dimensions, due to which they are easily integrated into kitchen furniture, and the dimensions do not always affect the number of options and technical characteristics.
Metal frames can pass along the contour of the built-in plates – they are designed for additional rigidity and edge protection from chips.
As a rule, the stove is a smooth glass-ceramic surface, under which all nodes are located. Control Panel most often located in the front, but there are modifications where each burner is equipped with an individual set of touch buttons.
The design of induction electric cookers will impress even demanding users: universal colors, concise control zone, informative markings, in a word – Hi-Tech in its full splendor.
The latest generation of induction cookers are more reminiscent of glowing artificial intelligence screens, which are often seen in science fiction films about spaceships. In addition to traditional heating functions, manufacturers build in a lot of additional service modes that turn culinary experiments into a sequence of simple commands that are accessible even to a beginner.
This is perhaps the most important part of the hob, with which manufacturers are constantly experimenting. The simplest models have touch buttons with cooking modes. More advanced ones offer their owners the control of horizontal or circular sliders that respond to the touch of their fingers.
But the leaders of kitchen appliances are building full screensresembling electronic notebooks. Such miniature databases will contain not only a list of possible modes, but also step-by-step recommendations for preparing a variety of dishes.
And, of course, a good induction cooker, like all kitchen appliances, can integrate into the smart home system. It will not only independently turn on the hood and adjust its power, but will be able to be controlled remotely from a smartphone.
The structure of the location of the heating elements in the induction cooker differs from the design of the electric surface. If the last heating point is located directly below the marked perimeters in the form of pictograms, then the induction coils are smaller and more numerous. Thus, they cover about 90% of the panel, which allows you to connect additional heating according to the given mode. This feature is most often called Booster, but some manufacturers use the name Power or a mixed variant – powerboost.
Connecting an additional source can increase the heating power from 2.5 to 4 watts. However, the function has a time limit, which is about 10 minutes.
Changing the heating zone
Also, the induction model is able to independently determine the required heating zone for a standard frying pan or pan, including wave coils only in the place where the dishes are. Recent developments no longer limit the rigid contour of the invisible “burner”. The pictogram “x” may be applied to the surface, indicating heating center or a sufficiently large rectangle, not tied to the size of the bottom. The farther the pan is moved from the center point, the weaker the heating will be. Thus, the PowerSlide or PowerMove mode allows you to “add or reduce the fire” simply by moving the dishes on the stove.
A large coverage area for heating the induction surface will be useful when using non-standard or large cookware. It can be a large “boiling” for jelly, a square grill pan or an oval duckling. For even heating of a large capacity, it is enough to turn on the Bridge function. The name suggests that a kind of bridge will be laid between the two cooking zones, which will ensure simultaneous operation and general heating.
Determining the presence of dishes
Sensors on the surface of the induction hob can read the presence of dishes placed on it. Therefore, the risk of spontaneous switching on of an empty plate is eliminated. However, you should be careful not to leave a plate or a large cup on a deceptively cold surface that is not equipped with a special magnetic bottom. Heaters will only ignore small object (spoon or fork).
The usefulness of the mode lies in the fact that when cleaning the pot or pan with the finished dish, the surface will turn off on its own.
Interrupt work and panel lock
Often there are cases when it is necessary to stop the cooking process for a while in order to return to it later. For such cases, two basic options are provided.
- If it is necessary to turn off briefly (up to 30 seconds) to remove spilled or spilled ingredients from the surface, use pause cleaning function. After half a minute, the induction hob will continue cooking automatically.
- If there is a situation where you need to leave the kitchen for a longer time, the manufacturer suggests turning on the interruption for an indefinite time. It may be called Stop&Go or Re-Start. When activated, the program will remember the time at which it stopped. After returning, just press the same mode and cooking will continue.
Concerning child safety features, then it will work indefinitely until an adult releases the block.
One of the most important functions that all cooks are familiar with is cooking control. For example, when cooking soups, there is a practice of gradually adding ingredients. Often it is necessary to wait until the liquid boils, after which it is necessary to “make the fire quieter”. Some induction panels have learned to independently recognize the boiling process and reduce the heating energy in order to continue cooking without human intervention. This will exclude cases of liquid transfusion onto the stove or strong evaporation.
A setting can be set to notify you when the boiling temperature is reached. Since induction waves do not heat the bottom of the dish, but only its contents, when boiling bubbles appear in the water, a vibration effect will occur. The cooker counts it and beeps.
Mode “heat support” similar to the ability of multicookers to “simmer” the dish for some time after cooking is completed. This skill will be useful if not all family members have returned home or are not yet ready for a meal.
Touch panels of premium induction cookers can contain not only individual modes for cooking, but also give step-by-step recommendations. Sometimes included in the package electronic temperature probe while cooking steaks or fish. In this case, the electronic notebook will issue instructions for the desired roasting temperature.
Cooking dinner by timer in the new hobs has been replenished with an intelligent calculation function. Stove can turn off a little before the set cooking timeso that the dish “reaches” on the residual heat. This ability further increases the efficiency of energy consumption on the induction cooker, which, even during normal cooking, is less energy-intensive compared to the “electric” sister. The speed is achieved due to the direct heating of the contents of the pot or pan. At the same time, heat is not spent on the surface and bottom of the dishes.
Freestanding induction cookers include a hob and an electric oven. As a rule, these are powerful household appliances, the number of burners is from 4, with full cooking and safety functionality. With all the advantages, they also have a significant drawback – high power consumption (12 – 15 kW), which will require special powerful electrical wiring.
It should be noted that in apartments of old layouts, the use of such an electric induction cooker will be problematic.
Embedded The induction hob is a panel with burner markings and touch control buttons. The range includes not only standard dimensions of 60×50 cm, but also interesting creative solutions: rounded, rectangular or elongated with smooth transitions. Installation does not imply complex actions: you can purchase a kitchen cabinet for embedding household appliances or cut the necessary shape into the countertop. The main thing here is to comply with the installation requirements, the presence of minimum ventilation gaps. You can read more about this here.
Separately, it is worth highlighting portable models induction cookers, they are small in size, designed for 1 or 2 heating zones. With low power and price, they have no less functionality, they can have about 10 modes, several cooking settings and standard options (pause or Boost). For example, Kitfort induction cookers with one or two burners have enviable features: several modes, delayed start and cooking timer functions, as well as security options.
Interesting devices that combine the induction type of heater with a conventional electrical element (hi-light stoves operating at higher power). As a rule, this is a 4-burner panel, where two zones are “induction”, and two are shade. This solution combines the advantages of two types of plates in one.
Pros and cons of an induction cooker
The special principle of operation of the induction cooker and various modern technologies are expressed in the practicality and many advantages of the household appliance. What is so special about an induction hob?
- Profitability. Such tiles consume 40-50% less electricity, which does not affect the heating power. The efficiency of induction cookers is at least 90%, which is the highest among all types (gas, electric).
- Safety. Because the heat is transferred to the pan and not to the burner, the hob surface does not heat up. Thus, it is impossible to get a burn on the stove, the food that has got into it will not burn, and the accidentally placed plate will not melt. In addition, the panel turns on only if at least 70% of the area of the heating zone is covered.
- Convenience. The cooking process takes less time than on conventional hobs, thanks to the quick heating of the dishes. And unlike electric heaters, which need time to cool down, magnetic coils stop working immediately after being turned off. The user does not have to rearrange the pan so that the food is not overcooked.
- Practicality. The care of the panel is elementary: glass-ceramic is resistant to mechanical stress, and due to the low temperature of the plate, food does not fry on it. To maintain cleanliness, it is enough to wipe the glass-ceramic surface with a damp sponge and soapy water.
- Functionality. Various options greatly facilitate the use of a household appliance, you can pause it, set an intensive heating, set a timer, adjust the temperature.
- Optimum room temperature. Everyone knows that when using a gas or electric stove (with a heating element), the air temperature inevitably rises. Especially in the summer, this creates discomfort, and without good ventilation it will be hot in the kitchen. A stove with induction heating eliminates the creation of such inconveniences.
The disadvantages of this device are subjective, but can largely affect the choice of the optimal model.
- Only suitable for induction electric cooker special utensils (enamelled, stainless steel), it is marked with a spiral marking. Brass or copper utensils are also suitable, but due to the low content of magnetic substances, they heat up much more slowly. Ceramic or glass cooking utensils should not be used on an induction hob at all. In addition, the bottom of the dish must be flat and clean.
- There are models where the power does not allow the use of 3 or 4 burners at the same time (the power of such stoves is about 4 kW).
- Installation regulations prohibit mounting the recessed panel above a refrigerator, microwave oven, or other metal surfaces.
- The electromagnetic field is capable of exerting (to a small extent) an effect on nearby devices, and users with pacemakers It is recommended to refrain from buying such equipment.
- When the stove is turned on, it makes a little noise – this is the cooling system, but there are models in which the operation of the fan is almost inaudible.
Advantages of the cooker adapter
When choosing the optimal model of an induction hob, an accessory such as an adapter for a stove is often found. This device will be extremely useful when using any type of dishes from various materials that are not originally intended for this type of stove.
The advantage of the accessory is that such a solution for an induction hob will allow you to save on the purchase of a set of special dishes or make it possible to use the usual ceramic or glass kitchen utensils for cooking. In this case, the efficiency will be the same 90%, there are also no heat losses, and, consequently, excessive consumption of electricity.
The average diameter of the adapters that are most often found in stores is 22 – 24 cm, but it is also possible to install smaller dishes, such as a cezve for coffee or a small container for melting cheese, chocolate.
For many users, purchasing an adapter will be a great alternative to changing kitchen utensils.
What to look for when buying
It is easiest to decide on the type of plate, but it is not always easy to understand the modifications and additional options. What should I pay attention to when choosing a good induction hob?
- Number of burners – it can be different, it is worth determining which one will be optimal.
- Number of cooking modes can vary over a wide range, the average value is 15.
- The size. For many, the dimensions of a household appliance play an important role, if there is not much space in the kitchen, you can look at portable or built-in 3-burner models, they are quite stylish and will allow you to place other kitchen items nearby.
- Intensive heating function Boost is useful for those who live in a hard rhythm. It will allow you to quickly heat a kettle, water for soup or pasta.
- Function Stop&go allows you to pause the cooking process for a short period of time.
- Maximum cooking time – often it is limited to 3 hours, which goes against some recipes. Naturally, the cycle can be extended, and the device will continue to work.
- Mode switching – not every induction surface will allow you to set different modes on different burners, most often, this option is not available for budget models.
Understanding what an induction cooker is, what options it can have, it is quite easy to make the right choice when looking for a new cooker. Comparing the induction and traditional electric stove, you can identify the pros and cons of both options. In general, induction hobs have an intuitive interface, a number of safety systems and convenient cooking modes.