24 Aug CERAMIC vs INDUCTION HOBS
Induction hobs are on the rise. Even if they are still a bit expensive, they seduce consumers with their design and efficiency. Speed, consumption and safety of use are among their strengths. Should we opt for induction? Which induction hob to choose? Que Chooser helps you decipher the induction hob market to help you make the right choice.
- The induction hob works thanks to a magnetic field system and requires suitable pots and pans.
- While induction hobs are generally more expensive than ceramic hobs, they consume less energy. Their cost of use is therefore lower.
- There are hotplates with 2, 3 or 4 burners. Some also have a modular cooking zone.
- Some induction hobs are mixed, combining induction and gas hobs.
- Most induction hobs have independent timers assigned to each household.
- The power may be different depending on the lights. Several power levels make it easy to manage.
- Induction allows an extremely rapid rise in temperature.
- Some manufacturers offer connected cooktops.
- Induction hobs are easy to maintain.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CERAMIC HOB AND INDUCTION HOB?
Characteristics of induction hobs
If the two types of tables are made of ceramic glass plates, their heating system is totally different. Induction works thanks to a magnetic field that is activated in contact with the metal of the container. If the container is removed from the induction zone, the induction zone then switches off automatically. Not all cookware is compatible with induction hobs. If you try to use a pan without a ferromagnetic bottom, the hob will simply not turn on. Induction cooking allows the temperature to rise very quickly, for example allowing water to be boiled in a very short time. It is also more economical: it heats the bottom of the container directly and not its surroundings, avoiding any loss of energy. In addition, when the container is removed,
Characteristics of ceramic hobs
The so-called vitroceramic plates, on the other hand, work like an electric plate by diffusing the heat produced not via a cast iron hearth, but thanks to a radiant or halogen system. This is what gives greater safety of use to induction hobs. Unlike radiant (blushing) hotplates, induction cooking zones do not directly heat the ceramic glass (only the bottom of the pot heats it). The glass therefore does not rise as high in temperature and cools more quickly. Thus, so-called glass-ceramic hobs are certainly cheaper to purchase and do not require changing the pans and saucepans, but they are more energy-intensive than the induction system!
The advantages and disadvantages of ceramic vs induction hobs
|A climb in temperature||-||+|
|Decrease in temperature after use||-||+|
|Budget on purchase||+||-|
What utensils with induction?
On an induction hob, only certain types of utensils can capture the electromagnetic energy given off by the inductor and transform it into heat. These utensils must have a ferromagnetic base (cast iron, enameled steel, etc.). To find out if your pans, casseroles and saucepans are compatible with induction, check for the presence of the "induction" symbol. Most often, it is screen printed directly under the bottom of the utensil. More simply, the word "induction" can also be spelled out there.
Another method is a simple test. Place a magnet on the outside bottom of the pot. If it remains magnetized, the utensil will operate on induction. Warning ! If its bottom is not completely flat, it is however not recommended to use it. An old enameled saucepan will work on an induction hotplate, but if its base is not completely flat or homogeneous, cooking faults may be observed.
WHAT CRITERIA SHOULD BE USED TO CHOOSE YOUR INDUCTION HOB?
Convenience of use
Used on a daily basis, it is better to opt for an easy-to-use hob.
Cooking performance is an essential criterion in choosing an induction hob. These can vary greatly from one model to another. Temperature rise, low-power cooking and cooking homogeneity are among the criteria evaluated during our induction hob test.
To avoid an excessively high electricity bill, it is better to choose an induction hob with reasonable consumption. Unlike built-in ovens, induction hobs do not currently have an energy label. However, there are some differences between the models. The measurements are thus carried out during the heating of the water, during the cooking of pancakes, as well as in standby mode.
The vast majority of induction hobs have standard built-in dimensions, namely 56 cm wide and 49 cm deep. These measurements correspond to the dimensions of the cutout in the worktop and not to the external dimensions of the plate. The size of the glass can thus vary from one model to another. The width of the glass is to be taken into account if you want to set up your table against a wall or a piece of furniture for example.
Narrower, dominoes are hobs made up of only 1 to 2 zones. Their installation width is limited to 27 cm for always 49 cm deep.
More and more induction hobs are offered in an extra-large version. These models have specific installation dimensions. Before investing in such models, remember that the day the induction hob breaks down, you will have to buy a model of the same size. A constraint that risks limiting your choice.
Induction hobs are generally relatively quiet. However, their sound level may increase depending on the power used or when the booster is used.
If your hob ventilates for too long after use, there may be an installation problem (insufficient ventilation under the hob, for example). On the other hand, nothing abnormal that your plate makes some light noises. The clicking sounds are, for example, quite normal: it is the noise emitted by the electronic card in order to regulate the temperature. If in doubt, do not hesitate to call a professional.
Most induction hobs are black in color. However, it is possible to find them in slightly lighter tones (gray, dark gray, anthracite…), even beige or white. These colors can be messier and less durable than black.
WHAT IS THE PRICE OF AN INDUCTION HOB?
The price of induction hobs can vary from $280 to over $1000. This price difference is justified above all by the number of burners and options offered: the greater their number and their greater flexibility, the more the price of the hob will increase.
HOW MANY HOTPLATES OR COOKING ZONES TO CHOOSE?
2, 3 or 4 cooking fires
Historically equipped with 4 zones, induction hobs have been able to play the innovation card by also offering variants with 3 zones. This 3 e area is usually very wide (greater than 28 cm), which allows the use of large containers such as bowls jam, paella dishes or pans of large diameter. However, the cheapest 3-zone tables are most often equipped with 3 conventional fireplaces, which is equivalent to a 4-zone table from which one zone has been removed.
The most generous induction hobs can have up to 5 cooking zones, which poses some installation and electrical connection constraints.
There remain the “dominoes”, these very narrow cooking hobs which consist only of 2 cooking zones, or even just one. They are particularly popular in town, in small spaces, and can replace the traditional domino of 2 cast iron electric hobs that equip the kitchenettes.
As for mixed 3 + 1 hobs (3 gas hotplates + 1 electric hotplate), there are mixed induction hobs most often combining 2 induction zones with 2 gas hotplates or, more rarely, with 2 radiant hotplates.
Advantage: by combining these two technologies, we ignore the drawbacks of each to choose the most suitable for its container or recipe. Note, combination induction-gas hobs will always operate in the absence of electricity, with the exception of the electric igniter. A good choice for those who live in areas where power cuts are frequent.
Expandable induction zones or modular zones
Tables with an extendable or modular zone are more and more widespread. With dimensions of approximately 40 × 20 cm, this XL zone is made up of several independent inductors and offers two possibilities:
- cook two dishes separately, at two different powers, placing them each on one half of the area;
- cook a single large dish, placing the utensil over the entire area.
Total induction cooking zone
In 2011 models appeared with a single, 100% modular zone. The number of containers and their position are detected by the table. The power and the cooking time are adjustable via a touch screen.
Hearth diameters and cooking zones dimensions
The operation of induction hobs can be confusing for many novice users and become a source of questions or dissatisfaction. In general, the induction zones adapt to the diameter of the bottom of the container used, up to a certain limit. Containers of too small a diameter will not necessarily work on induction.
Likewise, if you want to use the full power of an induction stove, you must use a container whose bottom is of a diameter equal to the stove in question. The efficiency of the induction zone is linked to the diameter of the container. If it is smaller than the recommended minimum diameter, it will only receive a portion of the maximum zone power.
We therefore recommend that you use a pan with a base diameter as close as possible to the diameter of the induction cooking zone. Be careful not to confuse the diameter of the bottom and the diameter of the container. This difference is particularly important for frying pans. For example, a 28 cm pan will have a bottom of approximately 23 cm.
Finally, be sure to read the user manual for your induction hob model, you will surely find useful details for handling it, each model may have different behavior or specific functions.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT OPTIONS (POWER, BOOSTER…)?
Unlike vitroceramic hobs with radiant or halogen hotplates, induction hobs mainly benefit from control panels with touch-sensitive buttons. They allow use without force and are activated more or less easily according to their factory-set sensitivity. A point that we take into account during our tests.
The arrival of induction hobs with modular zones has led to the appearance of touch screens. They pride themselves on offering a greater number of functions and easier use. To see in practice, the different sensitive screens do not offer the same quality of use.
The power of the induction hobs is between 4,600 W and 7,600 W for a model with 3 to 4 zones. This is the maximum advertised power or electrical connection power. The power of each individual zone is lower and varies between 1400 W for a small household and 5000 W for a large zone with booster. It is also common to have zones of different powers on the same model, depending on their size. Some cookstoves will be faster, for example, to boil water.
In addition to the speed of heating, induction hobs are also appreciated for their reactivity and flexibility. The many power levels (between 9 and 20) allow the temperature in the containers to be gradually raised. Melting chocolate or butter is easy thanks to the lowest powers, only a few hundred watts.
If you are not used to induction, you may be surprised by its speed of heating, but also by the principle of the booster. The booster allows a cooking zone to be used at very high power, beyond its maximum power. To operate, it borrows power from complementary zones. The inductors are in fact coupled in pairs. The booster cannot therefore be used simultaneously on two inductors of the same pair. In rare cases, all the inductors in a table can even be coupled together. The booster assigned to a zone will then limit the power of all associated zones.
On 3-zone models, the largest of the hotplates is generally independent of the other two. The two smaller ones therefore operate in a coupled manner. The same is true for the 2 zones making up an expandable zone. It will therefore not be possible to use the booster function simultaneously on the two coupled zones. If one of these two zones uses the booster, the power of the second zone will be limited (approximately to the power level corresponding to “simmering”).
Timers are particularly useful. Generally easy to use, they make it possible to limit the cooking time to a given power and warn you by an audible signal, more or less audible and recurring. Any danger of letting your food burn is thus eliminated.
Please note, not all induction hobs have a timer. If there is a timer, it can be reserved for one or the other of the cooking zones. This is mainly the case of entry-level devices, more stingy on the features offered as standard.
Timers should be easy to program. And a display, preferably independent, should allow you to view the remaining cooking time. Points that we do not fail to verify during our tests.
Connected induction hob
As with washing machines or ovens, there are now connected induction hobs. This option makes it possible to control the plate remotely, via a dedicated application, which does not, however, exempt from all surveillance.
Some manufacturers also offer to directly connect the hob and range hood. This allows the ventilation to be automatically triggered depending on what you have on the fire (number of hotplates used, power selected, etc.). While they do not necessarily require a network connection (wi-fi, Bluetooth, etc.) or an application, the two devices must nevertheless be compatible (and generally come from the same manufacturer).
WHAT ARE THE SECURITIES?
9, 10, 12, 16… the number of securities is the subject of bidding up between manufacturers. Update on the main securities and their interest.
|Residual heat indicator|
|If the cooking zone does not heat up directly, it can heat up through the container placed on it. The residual heat indicator makes it possible to identify areas that are still too hot, even when switched off. In practice, an indicator light remains on as long as the temperature is not below the burn threshold.|
|This security is activated by pressing one or more keys. It is used to inhibit the control panel. Very useful to protect from awkward use by a child or when cleaning.|
|The operation of the induction hob is cut off in the event of an overflow on the sensitive controls of the hob.|
|A temperature sensor limits the operation of all or part of the induction hob.|
|Detection of small utensils|
|Induction is compatible with any type of ferromagnetic utensil. However, the inductor will not start if the utensil is too small, the size of a cutlery for example.|
|Presented as a security, the detector of the absence of receptacle is rather linked to the principle of operation of induction. The presence of a ferromagnetic element in fact remains essential for its use.|
|Some models automatically shut down (or reduce their power) after a certain time without user intervention. This duration can be variable depending on the power used. From several hours at low power to a few minutes at maximum power or from the booster.|
HOW TO MAINTAIN AN INDUCTION HOB?
The smooth, hard, buttonless surface of induction hobs simplifies maintenance. Sensitive keys can be disabled during cleaning. In addition, induction cooking zones remain at a low temperature compared to ceramic hobs equipped with halogens or radiators, which prevents any discoloration of the cooking zone.
Before starting the cleaning, it is necessary to wait for the hob to cool down. To clean a table with a glass surface, do not use an abrasive sponge (scouring-backed sponges or wire straw pads). A soft sponge will do. If food has adhered to the plate, you can use a flat scraper. Avoid any abrasive products! Certain specific products make it possible to clean the glass-ceramic while limiting post-maintenance traces.
In case of overflow, immediately clean the plate. Beware of sugary products in particular, they can stick to the plate once hardened and damage the microscopic scales that make up the ceramic glass of induction hobs.
In summary, favor a quick, but frequent cleaning after each use if possible.