17 May Induction hob: principle of operation, pros and cons
Modern household appliances are becoming more economical and comfortable to use. Induction electric stoves are a visual representative of such devices. In this article, we will tell you how they work and whether they are dangerous to health.
One of the most modern options for kitchen appliances is the induction hob. However, despite its appearance on the market more than 30 years ago, many users are still skeptical about this method of heating, considering it unhealthy, and the equipment is too expensive. Although, if you know how an induction cooker works and what features it provides, you can find many reasons for buying it.
Features of work
The differences can already be guessed by the name of the induction cooker, the principle of operation of which is based on the action of induced eddy currents. Inductors are located under the surface of the plate. When an electric current passes through them, an electromagnetic field is formed, which, in turn, creates eddy currents in a nearby vessel made of ferromagnetic materials. This allows food to be heated with minimal heat loss.
The main parameters of induction cookers can be presented in the form of such a list:
Equipment efficiency - up to 90%;
- surface temperature - no more than 60 ° (heating from hot dishes);
- the frequency of the current in the coils is from 30 to 60 kHz, for the most powerful models up to 100 kHz;
- power - from 0.05 to 3.5 kW for the burner, more than 10 kW for the entire stove;
- the number of burners - from 1 for portable models such as Galaxy GL3053 to 5-7 for such commercial equipment as Smeg CPF9IPWH;
- control - touch or mechanical, combined into one unit with a working panel;
- surface - glass ceramics or, in rare cases, tempered glass.
Among the functions of the equipment, it is worth highlighting the combination of heating zones. There are cookers with a Booster setting that switches all the power to one hotplate and versions with childproof lock. You can find models of a portable type (for 1-2 burners), devices built into the kitchen worktop and installed separately, equipped with electric ovens.
Induction hob: pros and cons
When deciding whether to buy induction equipment, it is worth getting to know its advantages and disadvantages. The pluses include:
- High heating rate of dishes and their contents. The efficiency is comparable to gas stoves and noticeably exceeds that of most electric stoves.
- Security. Due to the lack of heat sources, the surface does not heat up, which protects against burns from accidental touch and unpleasant odors from the combustion of food and oil particles.
- Easy maintenance. The surface is almost not contaminated due to the lack of heating, it can be easily cleaned with a sponge and household chemicals.
- Automatic shutdown in the absence of suitable dishes. The hob will not work if a foreign object falls on an active but free burner.
- Profitability. Modern models automatically determine the size and shape of the dishes, adjusting the area of the heating zone for them. This significantly reduces the power consumption of the stove.
- Lots of features and settings. It is possible to choose the conditions that are better suited for stewing, cooking and frying - this means that the products do not lose vitamins or useful elements.
- Possibility of combining heating zones. Several burners become a single whole, receiving common settings and allowing you to cook in large dishes (ducklings, flat-bottomed cauldrons).
With an impressive number of advantages, induction cookers have disadvantages that do not yet allow them to become the most popular type of kitchen appliances:
- The need to abandon glass and aluminum dishes. Although cast iron and steel utensils can still be used.
- One of the main disadvantages is that induction cookers cost 2-5 times more than gas and electric counterparts.
- Brittleness of glass-ceramic surfaces. Heavy objects falling on the slab may split the slab. You can increase the degree of protection by using steel linings.
- Difficult renovation. The cooker can be considered quite reliable, but a broken induction hob is difficult and expensive to replace.
- A noticeable decrease in power when combining panels. The simultaneous operation of several burners puts a heavy load on the hob, which does not work as efficiently.
It is believed that in the list of minuses there is a health hazard of stoves. In fact, the harm from eddy currents and electromagnetic radiation is exaggerated, and the radiation attributed to technology is completely absent.
Health benefits and harms
The reasons for the appearance of rumors about the dangers of an induction cooker for human health are rejection of new devices. Moreover, those whose principle of operation is not as clear as the operation of gas and electrical equipment. However, there is scientific evidence that the radiation dose is not higher than that from mobile phones. And all the plates are checked for excess - and, even if we assume the presence of a faulty coil, the range of the field does not exceed 1 meter.
The high degree of safety of the plates does not exclude the observance of certain rules:
- A person with a pacemaker or other medical implant should not be near the stove. The minimum distance is 40 cm from the surface.
- It is undesirable to bring drives, smartphones, laptops and bank cards to the stove. Next to such a technique, the risk of complete or partial erasure of information from them increases.
- The crockery must be of the correct size. If the bottom covers less than 60-70% of the area of the hotplate, the radiation increases.
Users of induction cookers should know not only about real or perceived dangers, but also about the benefits of their use for cooking. Cast iron and stainless steel cookware increases the iron content in ready-made meals, making them especially useful for people with anemia and a number of other diseases. The same element allows you to increase immunity even in a healthy person.
Features of use and care
To increase the reliability, efficiency and service life of induction cookers, the following recommendations can be followed:
- before installation, it is worth making sure that the power grid will withstand such a load - the average power of the equipment is 7 kW, which requires the use of a cable with a cross-sectional area of 3-4 sq. mm;
- the temperature and humidity specified in the plate's passport data must be maintained in the room;
- do not place dishes and utensils above the surface of the plates, which can damage the glass-ceramic surface if dropped;
- for cooking, you can only use utensils with a perfectly flat bottom so as not to damage the glass ceramics.
The best material for cooking on induction hobs is cast iron. However, due to its heavy weight, it is necessary to use it with the utmost care - heavy dishes can easily damage the equipment. Enamelled steel is also suitable for such equipment, although its coating deteriorates over time. Cookware made of ceramic, glass, aluminum or copper is completely incompatible with induction hobs. An exception is special combined items, in the bottom of which steel elements are inserted.
Important! Today special adapters are produced, the use of which allows you to use any kind of cookware. The device resembles a flat (pancake) pan with a handle that acts as a stand for the pan. The cost of such an adapter is within 1000-2000 rubles.
Attention should also be paid to detergents. Manufacturers recommend using only special household chemicals - however, they have a high price. Therefore, you can choose cheaper products that do not contain abrasive components that can damage glass ceramics. Stubborn dirt is removed by moistening the desired area with water and leaving for a short time before cleaning - but it is best to prevent their appearance immediately by wiping the surface in time.
Modern induction cookers are well protected against voltage surges, overheating and water ingress on the surface. Built-in diagnostic systems automatically detect problems, but users should still be alert for the specific smell of burnt insulation or smoke. If any signs of a malfunction appear, the device must be disconnected from the mains and contact the service.
Comparison with other stoves
For comparison with other types of equipment, you should know how an induction cooker differs from electric and gas. Gas surfaces are cheaper to purchase, they are not afraid of falling heavy objects, they allow you to cook food in the usual way. They are inferior to induction cookers due to their explosiveness, the need for a permit for the installation and gasification of housing, complex maintenance and low efficiency (up to 50% instead of 90%), the appearance of soot and soot on the walls and ceiling.
When compared with electric models, it is worth noting the lower price of electrical surfaces, as well as the ability to use almost any utensil. An induction hob has a lower power consumption due to increased efficiency and shorter heating times. They are also safer to use and easier to clean. Therefore, choosing between the two options, it is worth giving preference to induction models. Those who want the benefits of each type can find a compromise by purchasing a combination appliance with 2 burner options.