Black electric cooktop

Induction cooktops vs. electric cooktops

Though induction and electric cooktops are types of electric stoves, they generate their heat in very different ways. Electric cooktops produce radiant heat by passing electricity between heating elements and sending heat waves to cookware. Induction cooktops use copper coils to generate an electromagnetic field and heat cookware similar to a microwave. If you’re deciding between induction and electric cooktops, use this guide to determine which stovetop is right for your home.

Woman cleaning up a spill as sauce cooks on an electric cooktop Woman cleaning up a spill as sauce cooks on an electric cooktop

How do induction cooktops work?

Induction cooktops turn pots and pans into their own heat source by creating electromagnetic energy through copper coils that directly interacts with compatible cookware. Induction cooktops can provide fast cooking and optimal cooking temperature because the heat doesn’t have to transfer through a cooking surface. This also allows for easy cleaning once cooking is complete as the surrounding glass top stays cool.

What kind of dishes can you use on an induction cooktop?

Only ferromagnetic pots and pans are compatible with induction cooking. Ferromagnetic cookware either contains a layer or is entirely made of magnetic materials. When non-ferromagnetic cookware is used on an induction cooktop, it will not be detected by the burner and will not heat.

Induction-compatible cookware includes enameled steel, cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans. Avoid using glass, ceramic, copper or aluminum cookware on an induction stovetop as they can scratch your induction cooktop and will not heat up.

Benefits of induction cooktops

Induction cooktops offer unique benefits to help make cooking for your family easier. Some benefits of induction stovetops include:

  • Temperature control- Cooking temperatures can be instantly adjusted to heat up and cool down more quickly.

  • Easy cleaning- Smooth, flat cooking surface without grates or burners stays cool during cooking to help cut down on cleanup time.

  • Fast cooking- Induction technology transfers energy directly into compatible cookware. Whirlpool brand offers induction cooktops that can boil 12 cups of water on average 25% faster1 with the Booster option.

Shop Whirlpool® induction cooktops

5-burner electric cooktop on a white counter 5-burner electric cooktop on a white counter

How do electric cooktops work?

Induction cooktops are one of three basic types of electric cooktops. The other types of electric cooktops – coil and radiant – feature metal coils that heat up and transfer heat to cookware placed on the stovetop. Coil cooktops use electricity to heat up a metal coil that comes into direct contact with cookware and heats from the bottom of the pot or pan. Radiant electric cooktops use heated coils that are housed beneath a ceramic-glass surface. This heat radiates through the surface to heat the cookware from the bottom.

Benefits of electric cooktops

When you’re shopping for a new cooktop, you have to weigh the pros and cons of each option to find the right model for your kitchen. Select electric cooktops from Whirlpool brand include the following benefits: 

  • Easy cleaning- Smooth cooktop surfaces on newer models are easy to clean once completely cooled.

  • Flat surface- The flat surface of the ceramic-glass cover offers stability for pots and pans.

  • Easy install- Electric stovetops only require grounded outlets for installation, no gas hook-up is needed.

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Fries cooking on an induction cooktop Fries cooking on an induction cooktop

Is an induction cooktop better than electric?

Whether an induction or electric cooktop is the better option for your kitchen depends on your personal cooking needs and preferences. If you’re looking to shave off a few minutes from your weekly meal prep time, you may want to consider an induction cooktop over a standard electric model. Select Whirlpool® Induction Cooktops can bring water to a boil 25% faster1 on average than some radiant electric cooktops, so you can save time in the kitchen. Traditional radiant or coil cooktops are not as responsive as induction cooktops and may take more time to heat up and cool down. Heat loss may also occur more frequently with electric cooktops as they heat the surface under and around cookware, rather than heating the pots and pans directly.

If you prefer familiarity in your appliances, an electric stovetop may be the better fit for your kitchen. Because radiant or coil cooktops are more commonly found, you may already know how to work with this type of electric stovetop and you won’t have to adjust to a new style. Radiant and coil cooktops also don’t require compatible magnetic cookware like induction options, so you won’t need to upgrade your kitchen’s cookware if you select a traditional electric model.

Black induction cooktop on a white counter with a stainless steel vent Black induction cooktop on a white counter with a stainless steel vent

Are all glass top stoves induction cooktops?

No. All induction cooktops have a glass stovetop, but not all glass stovetops use the induction process to generate heat. Many radiant electric cooktops have a ceramic-glass cover over the heating elements to create a smooth surface for cooking.

Discover Whirlpool® induction & electric cooktops

Whirlpool® Induction and Electric Cooktops can help you get dinner to the table in less time. Select models offer features like the Warm Zone Element, assisted cooking functions for boiling and pan frying or FlexHeat™ Dual Radiant Element. Discover your next cooktop when you shop induction and electric options from Whirlpool. And explore our guide on the best induction cooktops for your kitchen.

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1. Comparing the 3,000 watt induction element to a Whirlpool brand 3,000 watt radiant element.