When it comes to preparing a meal, most of us are used to the traditional cooking methods that come standard in our homes. For the vast majority of Americans, gas or electric stovetops are the only way to cook our food, and that’s the way it’s been for decades. But does it have to be this way? Is there a better option available? There is, and it’s called induction cooking.
When you are cooking your food, usually you will put a pot or pan over an open flame or on a heated coil. While this method works just fine, there are some significant drawbacks. Most notably, you use a lot more energy to cook your food since most of the heat is wasted by radiation. Also, hot surfaces and open flames are a fire hazard, not to mention a burn risk.
Induction cooking, however, is a smarter and more efficient way to cook your food. The way it works is that electromagnets charge the metal in your pot or pan, causing it to heat up. What’s different about this method is that the heat is not generated by the stovetop, but rather by the connection from the stove to the pan. What this means is that the cooking surface stays cool to the touch. Induction cooking is much more efficient and much safer since you aren’t wasting energy, and you don’t have any scalding surfaces.
Today we’ll be talking about the benefits of induction cooking, as well as provide reviews of induction cooktops so you can see what options are available.
Table of Knowledge
- 1 How Much are Induction Cooktops?
- 2 Drawbacks of Induction Cooktops
- 3 Recommended Best Induction Cooktops
- 3.1 Secura 8100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Gold
- 3.2 Secura 9100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Black
- 3.3 NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop
- 3.4 NuWave PIC Titanium 2015 Model Year 1800 Watts Highest Powered Induction Cooktop
- 3.5 Gourmia GIC-100 Multifunction Portable 1800W Induction Cooker Cooktop
- 3.6 Countertop Burner with SmartSense Auto Detection, Timer, Temperature and 8 Power Level Controls, White
- 3.7 Max Burton 6200 Deluxe 1800-Watt Induction Cooktop
- 3.8 Ovente BG62B Double Portable Ceramic Induction Cooktop, Black
- 4 Methodology for Induction Cooktop Selection
How Much are Induction Cooktops?
For a long time, induction cooking was seen as some sort of sci-fi fantasy, which meant that commercial induction cooktops were not widely available, making these machines expensive and impractical. However, over the last few years, this cooking method has taken off, which has prompted more companies to start making top quality induction cooktops. As a result, you can now buy a portable model for less than a hundred dollars in some cases.
For full-size models, you can get one installed for a couple thousand bucks. While that sounds like a lot, a full-size gas range will cost about the same. For our induction cooktop reviews, we’ll be looking at portable models that are both cost effective and much more versatile. Each unit is between $50-$150, with our most expensive model costing over $200. However, the benefits of induction cooking make each device well worth the price tag.
Drawbacks of Induction Cooktops
Although induction cooking has a lot of advantages, there are still some drawbacks, as with any new technology. Here are the most notable downsides of induction cooking.
When you’re cooking over a gas range or on an electric stove, you can use pretty much any kind of pots and pans. Whether it’s copper, stainless steel, or ceramic, you can cook your food without any issue. Induction cooking, on the other hand, requires cookware that is magnetic. Otherwise, the process will not work. Thus, when buying an induction cooktop, you have to make sure that your pans are compatible. A good way to check is by placing a magnet on the bottom. If it sticks, then you’re ready to go.
If you like to cook in a wok or any other kind of curved container, then you cannot use an induction cooktop. The only way the system works is to maximize your surface area, so your cookware has to be completely flat on the bottom.
Since most of us cook with heat, we’ve learned how to use it to our advantage. Whether it’s letting the pan heat up with oil or using the residual heat to let our food cook a little longer, many of us are just used to the subtle nuances of heat-based cooking. With induction cooktops, however, you need to relearn how to make certain dishes, since the pan will get hot much faster and there won’t be residual heat once you remove it from the stove.
When using an induction cooktop, the unit will be much noisier than a traditional stove. Usually, the device will emit a loud hum as it operates, which can be annoying in some cases.
With digital technology becoming more ubiquitous, many of us may use a digital thermometer to check our food. However, the magnetic field generated by an induction cooktop can mess with the readout, so you’ll have to use an old-fashioned dial thermometer instead.
Recommended Best Induction Cooktops
Secura 8100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Gold
- Easy to use with a simple yet precise control panel
- Adjustable settings to get total control over your cooking process
- Lightweight and portable design
- Built in timer for your convenience
- Requires induction compatible cookware
- Heat distribution is somewhat limited
First on our list is the Secura 8100 MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop. Secura is one of the best and well-known brands for kitchen equipment, so it makes sense that the company would make some of the top rated induction cooktops.
This countertop induction cooktop uses a modest amount of electricity: only 120 volts and 15 amps of power. Like most commercial induction cooktops, this model uses far less energy than traditional cooking methods, including microwaving.
The 8100 features an intuitive digital control panel that gives you precise control of your cooking. The panel includes a countdown timer (up to 170 minutes), ten power levels, and a customizable temperature range of 140 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit.
For safety, this cooktop will shut off after 60 seconds if no cookware is detected. The 8100 also comes with a digital diagnostic screen that provides high and low voltage detection for your safety and convenience.
Secura 9100MC 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner, Black
- Simple and efficient operation with an intuitive control panel design
- Fifteen adjustable settings give you to total control over your cooking
- Top quality health and safety features
- Lightweight and portable design
- In rare cases, the temperature range may not be as accurate as it should be
- In some instances, the machine may show an error message when nothing is wrong
Next on our list is another model from Secura. While the 8100 is a great portable induction cooktop, the 9100MC has a bigger range of settings, making this model a bit more versatile and precise in its controls. Both models are top rated induction cooktops, though, so no matter which one you choose, you’re sure to be satisfied either way.
The 9100MC is a versatile and handy machine. This model has fifteen power settings (from 200 to 1800 watts), and also has fifteen temperature settings, so you get precise control of your cooking every time you use it. Like the 8100 model, this countertop induction cooktop comes with a standard countdown timer that can be set for any length of time up to 170 minutes.
Like with all Secura products, safety is important. The 9100MC comes with an automatic shutoff detection system that turns the unit off if no cookware is detected. It also shows a digital error message if the machine detects high or low voltage issues.
Finally, the 9100MC comes with a one-year limited warranty.
NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop
- Lightweight and portable design will work in a wide variety of settings and environments
- Energy efficient
- Customizable cooking options give you greater control over your cooking process
- Durable and long-lasting
- Not quite as powerful as other induction cooktops
- In rare cases, certain components may break under stress
When it comes to high-quality induction cooking, no brand is quite as synonymous with the technology as NuWave. For years, this company has made some of the best top quality induction cooktops, and the one that started it all was the Precision Induction Cooktop, which is usually referred to as the PIC.
Like most induction cooktops, the PIC doesn’t use a lot of electricity. In fact, this model uses even less power than the Secura cooktops, since it only uses 1300watts of energy rather than 1800. However, the reduced wattage does limit the capacity of the PIC somewhat, as the temperature range is a little less than the Secura models. This cooktop only has six temperature settings, ranging from 140-575 degrees. You can manually adjust the heat by ten-degree increments for greater control over your cooking.
Safety is one of the primary concerns of the NuWave system, which means that it comes with high-quality safety features to prevent accidents or burns. The PIC will automatically detect if there is no cookware present on the coil, and shut off after 60 seconds. The system also has a digital error message screen for your convenience.
NuWave PIC Titanium 2015 Model Year 1800 Watts Highest Powered Induction Cooktop
- Super precise temperature settings give you greater control over your cooking
- Wider base allows for oversized pots and pans
- Delayed shut-off feature enables you to take a pan off and then replace it without losing power
- Extra accessories come with the unit to help get you started
- The directions of the cookbook can be a little hard to follow in some cases
- On rare occasions, the unit may not hold temperature properly
Next up we have the NuWave PIC Titanium. If the PIC is the standard of the NuWave Lineup, then the Titanium Model is the deluxe version. While both induction cooktops offer precise control and long-lasting shelf-life, the Titanium is much more versatile and allows you to customize your cooking experience in a much better way.
When comparing the Titanium with the regular PIC induction cooktop, the first thing you’ll notice is that this model is bigger. The Titanium has a diameter of 9.5 inches, compared to the normal PIC’s diameter of nine inches. This makes the Titanium better suited for large pots and pans.
As far as precise control, the Titanium model has you covered and then some. With 94 temperature options, you can cook at almost any setting you can think of. Also, instead of ten-degree increments, the Titanium allows you to adjust the temperature by five degrees, so you have more control.
Like the original model, safety comes standard with the PIC Titanium. This model still has an automatic shutoff feature which will turn the unit off if no cookware is present. However, the biggest difference is that the Titanium will also not shut off immediately once cookware is removed, like the original PIC. Instead, this unit has a delay so you can take your pot or pan off the coil and return it without any loss of power. The delay only lasts ten seconds, however, so you have to be quick on the return.
What also sets the Titanium apart from other models is the fact that it comes with some extra goodies to start your induction cooking experience. This unit comes with a full cookbook, a quick start guide, and an instructional DVD so you can get started without any hassle.
Finally, the Titanium is built to last. According to NuWave, this model should last you up to fifteen years without any major issues.
Gourmia GIC-100 Multifunction Portable 1800W Induction Cooker Cooktop
Countertop Burner with SmartSense Auto Detection, Timer, Temperature and 8 Power Level Controls, White
- Lightweight and portable design
- Dial-based control system is more fluid and dynamic than a button control panel
- Super easy to clean and maintain
- Does not get as hot as other induction cooktop models
- Sensors may not be as accurate as they should be: error message may pop up even if a pan is on the unit
When it comes to high-quality kitchen appliances and devices, Gourmia is one of the top brands around. The company has a long history of commitment to quality, and the GIC-100 induction cooktop is the perfect example. This cooktop has a lot of the standard features that other models on this list have, but there is one major difference that sets it apart.
Most other induction cooktops use a button based control pad to adjust temperature settings. However, the Gourmia GIC-100 uses a knob so that you can control the temperature and power much more fluidly. While neither system is necessarily better than the other, some people may prefer a dial knob to a set of buttons.
When it comes to custom settings, the GIC has you covered. This top quality induction cooktop comes with eight power settings ranging from 200-1800 watts. Similarly, it also has eight temperature settings between 140-460 degrees Fahrenheit. While this model doesn’t get as hot as others, it is still a capable and worthwhile investment. The GIC also comes with a built-in timer that lasts for up to 180 minutes.
As far as safety features, the GIC has all the standard options. The cooktop will detect if there is no cookware and automatically shut off after a certain amount of time. This model also has an overheat sensor that kills the power if things get too hot. One thing to remember, however, is that for the unit to start heating, a pot has to be on the coil. If there is nothing there, then the display will read an error message.
Max Burton 6200 Deluxe 1800-Watt Induction Cooktop
- Simple and efficient control system
- Wide base for pots and pans
- Indicator light will tell you if a pan is compatible with the system
- Lightweight and portable
- Not as powerful as some other induction models
- In rare cases, certain components make break under pressure or stop working suddenly
Near the end of our list, we come to the Max Burton 6200 Deluxe Induction Cooktop. Much like the other models on this list, the 6200 is a lightweight, portable cooktop that you can use almost anywhere. This is another button-based control system. However, it does not have as many options as some of the other cooktops we’ve featured. Fortunately, though, fewer buttons just makes the overall operation much more streamlined, so it’s not necessarily a drawback.
The Max Burton induction cooktop is a powerful device that uses 1800 watts to give you better performance. This model has ten power settings ranging from 200 to the full 1800 watts, so you can use just as much power as you need. Similarly, the 6200 has ten temperature settings ranging from 140-450 degrees, so you have total control over your cooking experience.
Like all induction cooktops, you need to have the proper kind of cookware to use this machine. However, the 6200 has an indicator light to tell you if the pan you’re using is compatible or not. While you can test your pans with a handheld magnet, the 6200 makes it much easier to tell which cookware will work.
Safety features include an automatic shutoff switch if no cookware is detected and an in-line fuse to prevent overheating and protect against power surges.
Ovente BG62B Double Portable Ceramic Induction Cooktop, Black
- Double-wide cooktop allows you to cook multiple dishes
- Adjustable timer settings give you more control over your cooking
- Easy to use control pad
- Thin and lightweight, even with two coils
- In rare cases, the unit will pop up error messages by accident
- Warranty service is not as helpful as it should be
Finally, we come to the Ovente BG62B Double Portable Ceramic Induction Cooktop. As the name would suggest, this model is a double-wide version so that you can cook twice as much food at the same time. If you want more versatility to make multiple dishes simultaneously, then the Ovente Cooktop is for you. Ovente is another top-tier brand of kitchen supplies, and the BG62B is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to quality.
This induction cooktop is a powerful and versatile machine that uses 1800 watts of power to give you pristine performance every time. This unit has eight variable temperature controls that range from 140-465 degrees for both coils. You can also operate each side independently, which gives you many more options for cooking. This unit also has five timer settings so you can monitor your dishes much more effectively.
The BG62B comes with all the standard safety features, including an automatic shutoff if no cookware is detected as well as surge and overheating protection sensors.
Methodology for Induction Cooktop Selection
So how did we come up with our induction cooktop reviews? To compare each model, we wanted to look at the same features and settings so as to get a good baseline from which to rate the units. Here are the factors that we looked at when choosing our list.
For most people, when it comes to buying a new appliance, the cost is usually a major factor in the decision. Thus, we wanted to make sure that each cooktop we featured would be cost-effective so anyone could potentially buy one, even if you are on a budget. That’s why most of these units are less than $100. Fortunately, however, a lower price tag does not mean lower quality in this case.
Since one of the biggest benefits of induction cooking is the efficiency with which you cook, we wanted to look at the power requirements of each unit and showcase models that didn’t use a ton of electricity. Since efficiency is the name of the game, we looked at cooktops that could provide the right amount heat without using too much power.
Another major selling point of induction cooktops is the fact that you have much more control over your cooking than with gas or electric. With these cooktops, you can set the exact temperature that you need so no energy is wasted. With that in mind, we chose models that gave you a full range of temperature options so you can have precise control over your cooking experience.
While induction cooktops are inherently safer than traditional stoves, we still wanted to make sure that each model we featured had standard safety features so you won’t run into any issues or potential accidents. Each model on this list is highly rated both for the quality of performance and safe operation.
When comparing the different countertop induction cooktops, we compiled a list of some of the best, top quality models we could find. Thus, if you decide on purchasing any cooktop on this list, you are sure to be highly satisfied with it. That being said, though, there are a couple of units that stood out from the pack.
The first is the NuWave Titanium, which has the power and control that we like to see in a top quality induction cooktop. Our next top choice would be the Ovente Double model since you can cook more than one dish at the same time. A perfect example of the benefit of the Ovente Cooktop is that you can cook pasta and heat your pasta sauce simultaneously.
As far as the rest of the induction cooktop reviews, each model has a lot of the same features and qualities, so it will ultimately come down to your budget constraints and personal preference.