Induction cooktops are becoming increasingly popular because of the many advantages they offer. They transfer heat to your pots and pans through the use of a magnetic field, which means that while your cookware heats up, the cooking surface doesn’t.
This technology allows you to boil a pot of water in just a couple of minutes, revolutionizing the speed at which you can undertake many kitchen tasks. Induction cooktops can also hold very low temperatures, which is great for simmering a stew for hours or ensuring a delicate sauce doesn’t burn. Because they don’t feature open flames and don’t stay hot, they’re also safer than other cooking methods. Additionally, they’re energy efficient, using 10 percent less energy than standard electric stovetops and half the energy of gas ranges.
The only catch is that induction cooktops only work with cookware that contains the high percentage of iron needed to create a magnetic field. That means that while most of your stainless steel and cast-iron cookware is compatible with induction cooking, pots and pans made from copper, aluminum, and ceramic are not.
- BEST OVERALL: Frigidaire FGIC3066TB Gallery 30″ Induction Cooktop
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GASLAND 30″ Built-in Induction Cooktop
- BEST 36-INCH: KitchenAid Architect Series II Induction Cooktop
- BEST 30-INCH: GE Profile 30 in. Induction Electric Cooktop
- BEST TWO-BURNER: Cuisinart ICT-60 Double Induction Cooktop
- BEST SMART: Cafe 36 in. Smart Induction Cooktop
- BEST PORTABLE: Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop
Types of Induction Cooktops
Induction cooktops come in one of three formats: they can be built-in, freestanding, or portable.
Also referred to as fixed cooktops, these induction ranges are built into your countertop. They offer flexibility in the design of your kitchen because they can be placed on an island or peninsula rather than being paired with an oven. They likely require professional installation and provide a custom aesthetic to your space. Most built-in induction cooktops are either 30 or 36 inches in width, which matches the standard measurements for most ranges.
Freestanding, slide-in ranges take the place of a standard gas or electric range in your kitchen. They are paired with ovens and can either fit in between cabinets or can stand alone in your kitchen. While some only feature induction cooking zones, others feature a mix of induction and electric, providing versatility in terms of cooking methods. Like built-in cooktops, freestanding units typically measure 30 or 36 inches in width.
Portable induction cooktops are compact and lightweight and simply need to be plugged into a power source. They are useful for dorm rooms, offices, and other spaces that don’t feature a full kitchen. They can be used in your backyard or on the go while camping or traveling in an RV. Households that host large gatherings and need an extra heat source could also benefit from a portable induction cooktop, which can be used in addition to their standard range. Portable induction cooktops are typically smaller than built-in or freestanding versions, offering just one or two burners.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Induction Cooktop
When shopping for an induction cooktop, there are some key factors to consider. The following sections detail some of the most important qualities to keep in mind when shopping for the best induction cooktop for your needs.
The size of your induction cooktop will vary depending on which type you choose. Most standard ranges measure 30 or 36 inches in width; therefore, most built-in and freestanding induction cooktops will feature the same dimensions. Portable options can be much smaller, with single-burner products measuring as little as 12 inches in width.
Power and Temperature Settings
While most electric and gas cooktops use power levels to control the temperature of each element, induction cooktops feature more precise temperature settings. This allows you to set each element to a specific temperature, which is useful when it comes to tasks that require high levels of accuracy. Those who are accustomed to using power levels may find it’s difficult to get used to using temperature settings. Luckily, some induction ranges provide both options for your convenience.
Single vs. Multi Element
Built-in and freestanding induction cooktops typically feature between four and six elements of varying sizes. Smaller portable versions, however, come in single- or dual-element varieties. The right number of elements for you will depend on the intended use and whether the induction cooktop is functioning as your primary cooking surface.
In terms of portable induction cooktops, single element products are typically more powerful because their full wattage is used for a single burner rather than being split between two burners.
The settings of induction cooktops are controlled through control panels that can feature buttons, knobs, or touch sensors. The most basic models will allow you to simply change the temperature of each element, but many cooktops feature more in-depth display features. Many have timers—some of which are multifunctional and allow you to set an individual timer for each element. Some also display voltage levels and electricity consumption.
Preset Cooking Menus
One thing that sets induction cooktops apart from their gas and electric counterparts is the inclusion of cooking presets. While not present in all induction stoves, some models feature menus that provide a number of presets for common cooking techniques, allowing you to steam, grill, fry, or sauté with the click of a button.
Even the most basic induction cooktops feature advances in technology that aren’t typically seen in gas or electric ranges. Beyond that, however, there are also even more high-tech versions that can be paired with smart technology using Wi-Fi, allowing you to control the temperature and settings through your phone or tablet. Many smart induction cooktops are compatible with apps that feature guided recipes, which automatically change your stove’s settings for you as you go through each step.
Because these cooktops don’t feature an open flame or electric coil like gas and electric stovetops, induction is a safe choice—especially for those with children. They can come with a number of additional safety features.
- Auto-off features turn off the burner when a pan is no longer detected or after a specific period of time.
- Lock buttons set an element at a specific temperature so it can’t accidentally be changed.
- Child locks prevent children from inadvertently turning cooking zones on.
- Overflow sensors are able to detect when there are liquids on the cooktop—like when water boils over—and automatically power down.
- Residual heat sensors let you know when the elements are still hot after they’ve been powered off.
Induction cooktops can come with a range of additional features.
- Auto heating detects the temperature of your food and raises or lowers the temperature of the element accordingly.
- A booster function allows you to use up to 1.5 times the typical power capacity of the element to rapidly heat a dish.
- A pause function allows you to quickly turn down or power off all cooking zones if you need to deal with another task and can no longer monitor the stovetop.
- Food warming keeps dishes at the ideal temperature while you finish cooking.
- LED flames indicate when an element is on.
- Cookware detection features alert you when there is no pan on the burner while it’s turned on and can even identify cookware that isn’t induction compatible.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know more about induction cooktops, it’s time to start shopping. The following picks consider all of the features above, including type, size, settings, and additional features. This list offers a variety of choices for a top-notch induction cooktop that suits your needs and budget.
This built-in, four-element induction cooktop allows you to boil water in just 90 seconds using its powerful burners, which offer up to 3,800 watts of power. It has additional high-tech features including a hot-surface indicator, pan-presence indicator, and pan-size sensor, which adapts the heating area to fit the size of your pan. It also has a melt-and-hold feature that maintains an even temperature for up to an hour.
The touch control panel is integrated into the ceramic glass cooktop, resulting in a streamlined aesthetic. This version is 30 inches wide, but this cooktop is also available in a 36-inch version for those looking for a larger cooking area. This built-in unit can be installed either in a countertop above cabinets or above a wall oven.
This built-in, four-element induction cooktop offers many of the features found in higher-end models at a fraction of the cost. It features two 6.3-inch elements and two 7.1-inch elements. The larger burners have a maximum power of 2,000 watts while the smaller ones have a maximum power of 1,500 watts. The cooktop has a sensor-touch control panel as well as nine power levels.
It comes equipped with a number of safety functions including a child lock, auto-off feature, overheating protection, and small-object detection. It also includes a multifunctional timer that can be set for up to 99 minutes.
Its dimensions are 30.3 inches by 20.5 inches by 2.2 inches.
This five-element, built-in KitchenAid induction cooktop has 12 heat settings, offering a wide range of temperatures. It has a 12-inch dual 4,800/2,800-watt element as well as four 7-inch 2,500-watt elements. The smaller elements feature a bridge function, allowing you to use two simultaneously with one larger piece of cookware like a griddle. It features a number of presets including simmer, melt, warm, and performance boost. It additionally includes a hot surface indicator, a control lock, and a cooking timer.
The touch control panel has temperature-control sliders and is integrated into the cooking surface. It has a width of 36 inches and is available with either a black or stainless steel finish.
This 30-inch built-in unit from GE is sleek and modern-looking with a black glass surface and digital touch controls. It features a powerful 11-inch 3,700-watt element that boils water quickly, as well as two 7-inch elements that offer synced cooking. The cooktop has pan presence and size sensors, detecting whether there’s cookware on the surface and adapting the heating area perfectly to the size of your pan. It has hot-surface indicator lights that will warn you if there’s any residual heat on the elements. Additionally, it features control-lock capability to prevent unintended activation of the elements.
This portable two-burner induction cooktop from Cuisinart makes a great addition to your kitchen if you need extra cooking surfaces. It can also be used while camping or traveling by RV. The larger burner has eight heat settings, while the smaller burner has five heat settings. Each individual burner has a 150-minute timer, and the burners automatically power off if no pan is detected for more than 30 seconds.
It has a bright LED display, allowing you to clearly see the control panel even in dim lighting. Its dimensions are 5.25 inches by 26.75 inches by 17 inches, and it weighs 11.6 pounds.
This smart built-in induction cooktop offers a number of impressive features including “Gourmet Guided Cooking,” which allows you to automatically pair the settings of your stovetop with an app using Wi-Fi. The temperature is adjusted for you based on the recipe you choose, making for a cooking experience that’s almost fully automated.
It has five induction elements as well as a multielement timer, helping you keep on top of every dish you’re preparing. It’s also incredibly powerful—offering a 3,700-watt burner that can boil a quart of water in just 101 seconds.
It has automatic pan detection, and the burners can be temperature synced if you want to use a griddle. The high-tech touch control panel offers glide-touch capabilities, allowing you to simply swipe to change the temperature.
This portable induction cooktop has a digital control panel with 10 temperature settings ranging from 140 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit as well as 10 power levels that range from 200 to 1,800 watts. It has a pan-detection feature that automatically turns off the element if no cookware is detected for 60 seconds. The Duxtop 1,800W has a voltage warning system that alerts you if the voltage is too high or too low.
With measurements of 13 inches by 11.5 inches by 2.5 inches and a weight of 6.5 pounds, it’s compact and lightweight. It has a sleek design and comes with either gold or silver accents. It’s compatible with standard 120-volt, 15-amp electrical outlets.
FAQs About Induction Cooktops
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about induction cooktops.
Q. What is the difference between an induction and electric cooktop?
Electric cooktops heat up using an electric coil and directly transfer heat thermally to your pots and pans. Induction cooktops, on the other hand, use electromagnetism to transfer heat to your cookware via a magnetic field.
Q. Do induction cooktops require more power than electric ones?
Induction cooktops actually use 10 percent less energy than conventional electric cooktops.
Q. Can induction cooktops interfere with other electronics?
It is possible that induction cooktops could interfere with other electronics. For example, those using induction cooktops may require an analog cooking thermometer rather than a digital one to reduce the risk of the electromagnetic field causing the thermometer to deliver an incorrect result.
Q. Do I need special cookware for an induction cooktop?
Induction cooktops are only compatible with certain types of cookware. As a general rule, you can use your existing stainless steel and cast-iron cookware with an induction cooktop. Induction cooktops, however, are not compatible with copper, aluminum, or ceramic cooking vessels.
Q. Do induction cooktops scratch easily?
Most induction cooktops feature glass tops, like modern electric cooktops. They are built to be strong and are not easily scratched, but they can potentially be damaged by certain types of cookware.
Q. How long do induction cooktops last?
Most induction cooktops have a lifespan of approximately 2,500 hours. This translates to a lifespan similar to that of other large appliances—10 to 15 years.