What is the difference between an induction stovetop vs. electric?
There are three basic types of electric stovetops and induction is one of them. Induction cooktops use an electromagnetic charge to create heat directly within compatible cookware. The other two—coil and radiant—feature metal coils that heat up and then transfer their heat to cookware placed on top.
Coil: Uses 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: Houses the heated coils beneath a ceramic-glass surface and radiates the heat through it to cookware sitting on top. Also heats cookware from the bottom.
Induction: Houses a copper coil beneath a ceramic-glass surface but generates an electromagnetic charge that reacts with magnetic cookware to create heat directly within pots and pans, not radiating from the coil itself. Depending on the magnetic material used throughout the cookware, induction cooktops can cause a heating reaction throughout the entire pot or pan.
When comparing induction cooktops vs. electric cooktops using coil or radiant heat, keep these differences in mind:
Traditional radiant or coil electric cooktops use radiant heat to cook food—transferring heat from coils to a ceramic-glass surface (if present), and then on to cookware. Because it takes time for each of these surfaces to heat up and cool down, electric cooktops are not as responsive as induction cooktops. In addition, some heat loss might occur since electric cooktops heat the surface under and around cookware, rather than heating it directly.
An electric cooktop may be a very familiar cooking appliance in some households, so it won’t require adjusting to a new style. You also probably have everything you need to cook with one in your kitchen already. Induction, however, only works with compatible magnetic cookware. If you don’t already have it, switching to induction may mean you’ll need to replace some of your cookware with compatible pots and pans. Learn more about induction cookware.