ARTICLE

Induction vs Gas Cooktops: The Great Debate

5 mins read

Cooktops have been a topic of hot debate since the dawn of the modern kitchen. Many amateur chefs are loyal to gas, while others have embraced induction as their chosen tool for cooking delicious meals for the whole family. But which one is better?

If you’re building a new kitchen (or considering renovating your current one), chances are you may have stumbled into this debate. Before you decide what to buy, it’s important to understand how these cooktops work, plus the pros and cons of each. Who knows – you might even try something new based on what you learn!

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What is an induction cooktop?

Similar to an electric or gas cooktop, an induction cooktop is a glass surface in your kitchen where you cook your food in pots and pans. It has revolutionised home cooking and is considered one of the safest and fastest ways to cook. What makes it so different is that it doesn’t rely on the standard ways to cook, like convection or radiation.

It’s also incredibly efficient – you can turn an induction cooktop on and off fairly quickly, and because it’s a glass surface, it’s typically easier to keep clean.

How does induction cooking work?

Induction is an energy transfer process where electromagnetic coils underneath the glass cooktop transfer energy (in the form of heat) into a metal object on the other side of the glass. The coil creates a magnetic field underneath the glass, creating an electrical current in the pot or pan sitting on top of it. This allows for lots of power and fast, high temperatures (no more waiting for that water to boil!).

One of the biggest advantages of having an induction cooktop is since the pot or pan is the only thing being heated, the rest of the cooktop stays cool. This makes it a great option if there are young people at home learning to cook.

Induction cooktop vs ceramic cooktop: what’s the difference?

Now that you’ve been inducted into cooktops, you also have another option: ceramic cooktops. It has a smoothtop surface, like an induction cooktop, but instead it’s top is made from tempered ceramic glass. It works by heating the specified cooking zone (the ring on the glass top) and is a popular choice for its sleek, modern design.

Unlike an induction cooktop, ceramic cooktops use heat, so the surface will be hot and take a little time to cool down after it’s used. The key advantage you get by installing a ceramic cooktop is you don’t need to purchase special cookware – regular pots and pans will work just fine.

What is a gas cooktop?

As the name suggests, a gas cooktop is a stove powered by a combustible gas – like natural gas or propane, among others – that uses an open flame to heat cookware. The burners come in all shapes and sizes and they’re what’s responsible for turning the gas into a targeted flame beneath pots and pans. Gas cooktops are fast, efficient and very powerful, often the cooktop of choice for professional chefs due to the amount of control you can have with the temperature and size of flames.

How does a gas cooktop work?

Ready for a quick science lesson? A burner is attached to a small gas valve which is then connected to your gas line. When you turn the knob to light the burner, the gas valve opens up, letting the gas run through a tube that’s wide at the ends and narrower in the middle. There’s a small hole in the tube where oxygen gets sucked in and combusts with the gas, which is then sparked into a flame by a pilot light (that’s the clicking sound you hear when you turn on the burner).

Once the burner is lit, if you want a bigger flame you can turn the knob higher (which lets in more gas and oxygen). This process happens almost in an instant, which is why you can change the temperature of the burner faster than the traditional electric cooktop.

“One of the biggest advantages of having an induction cooktop is since the pot or pan is the only thing being heated, the rest of the cooktop stays cool”

Is induction cooking better than gas?

If you’re looking to make the switch from gas to induction, you’ve probably already asked this question. And the answer largely depends on your cooking style and preference, as both are great options.

Before you decide, one thing you can do is check your home connection. Induction cookers tend to use a lot of energy and often require special connections – such as a 20A, 32A or even 42A connection – which will need to be installed by a licensed electrician. Gas cooktops, however, will need a gas connection, so if you have one already you’re primed – but if not, they can be expensive to install.

To help you make a more informed choice, let’s take a look at the key advantages of both types of technology.

Advantages of an induction cooktop

· Induction cooking is fast – the rapid response of the electromagnetic cycle can save up to 50 percent off your average cook times, which is great for meals in a flash!

· It’s safer – the coil only heats the metal cookware placed on the glass cooktop, it’s safer to use around pets and children (and also easier to clean).

· It’s very precise – you can control the temperature more accurately with even heat distribution

· It’s efficient – unlike a gas flame, very little heat energy escapes from induction cooking which can save you time and money on your energy bill!

Advantages of a gas cooktop

· It gives you intuitive control – by slightly turning the knob up or down, you can see the gas flame react, allowing you to intuitively control the gas flow (the heat) coming from the cooktop (rather than using a preset temperature level).

· It’s durable – the metal used for gas cooktops tends to be more robust compared to the glass tops of induction cooktops, which can be easier to scratch or mark.

· It’s cost-effective – overall, gas tends to be more affordable than electricity, and this becomes even more beneficial if you cook a lot. Plus, there’s no need to ditch your favourite pan or purchase new cookware as with gas appliances, you can use any type of cookware.

· It’s not dependent on electricity – if your home loses power, you can still use a gas cooktop by lighting the burner with a match or lighter. This is especially helpful if you live in an area with inclement weather or frequent outages.

Does an induction cooktop need special cookware?

The short answer? Yes. As explained earlier, the induction coil directly heats cookware, so any old pan won’t do, but the pots you already have might be compatible. They’ll need to have a ferrous bottom, so to check if this is the case, try to attach a magnet to it. If it sticks, chances are it will work with your induction cooktop. If not, you might need to get new cookware.

The best induction cooktops

If you’re set on exploring induction cooktops, you’ll find a tonne of options from brands you already know and love, like Miele, Fisher & Paykel, Electrolux and Smeg. To point you in the right direction, here are two of the best induction cooktops to help you turn every meal into a culinary adventure.

Miele 62 cm induction cooktop

The first thing you may notice is how beautifully designed this Miele cooktop is. Perfect for a cutting-edge kitchen, this cooktop is all about flexibility. You can choose from a range of settings and even join different cooking areas together into one large area if you’re using larger cookware, like a griddle pan. And if you need to step away, there’s a handy Stop & Go feature which drops all cooking zones to the lowest setting.

Smeg 60cm induction cooktop

Experience precision cooking with this Smeg induction cooktop. With three cooking zones and nine power settings to choose from, you can quickly make winter favourites like soup and stir frys in a flash. Plus, if the little ones are helping out in the kitchen, there’s a child safety lock and residual heat indicators to avoid any accidents.

The best gas cooktops

If gas cooktops are in your plans for the kitchen renovation, then you’ll have the pick of an amazing range of products. You can get multiple burners in a variety of finishes, in different sizes and shapes. Find the perfect cooktop for your budget and get ready to show off your chef skills every day at home.

Smeg 60cm gas cooktop

Burn, baby burn! This gas cooktop from Smeg has four versatile burners, including one for a wok, so you can dish up a delicious stir fry for the family. With a stainless steel finish and cast iron trivets, it’s easy to keep clean and wipe down after each use (great for busy people working from home).

Bosch 75cm gas cooktop

If you’re looking to up-level your cooking game, this gas cooktop from Bosch is a great option. Its sleek design and easy to clean features make it a fabulous addition to any modern kitchen. Powered by natural gas, this cooktop has five distinct burners, giving you the freedom and flexibility to try new recipes and experiment with food. Other bonus features include cast iron trivets, a flame failure safety device and an electronic ignition.

Get a new cooktop and let us install it

Buying a new appliance is exciting, especially something as significant as a cooktop. Make sure you also check out our selection of combination cooktops (which have both gas and induction) to get the best of both worlds!

Once you’ve chosen your cooktop, let our team of specialists install it for you, show you how to use it and even take away your old cooktop. Simply pick your service and we’ll take care of the rest. That way you’ll have the tools you need to get cracking in the kitchen.

If you’re renovating your home and need some inspiration, have a look at our home renovation ideas.

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