Induction is the most energy-efficient cooking technology available today. It cooks food faster than traditional stoves and has the power to match.
Traditional stoves need an open flame burner or radiant electric coils to heat pans. Induction cooking is efficient because it uses electromagnetism to heat the pan directly. No open flames, which means less heat is lost to the surrounding air to help kitchens stay cooler. Furthermore, induction can cook food 25–50% faster than traditional stoves!
The difference is in the technology.
Ready to try induction?
Sign-up at ebce.org/induction-cooking for a no-cost, no-obligation opportunity to test drive an induction cooktop.
Professional and home chefs appreciate the precise, steady control, wider temperature range, and quick response time they get with induction cooktops.
More powerful and responsive than gas
The most powerful gas stoves currently on the market offer up to 20,000 BTU in a single burner. Comparable induction ranges have up to 7,700 watts in a single burner, which is equivalent to about 26,000 BTUs (1 watt = 3.41 BTUs).
Induction is the most energy-efficient cooking technology currently on the market. Around 90% of induction heat reaches your food; far exceeding traditional gas or electric resistance heating.
Since only the metal of the pan heats up, all the energy goes directly into the cookware. Whereas with electric or gas stovetops, some of the energy spills over, heating the air and the surrounding stove area.
Precise Temperature Control
Go from a rolling boil to a simmer in seconds. Heat transfer stops immediately when you turn the burner off which means less chance of overcooking.
Safer way to cook, especially around kids and pets
The heat element is never exposed, preventing fire hazards and the risk of burns. Also, it won’t turn on without a pan and features lockable controls.
Easy to clean
Induction cooktops rarely get very hot so food doesn’t burn onto it.
Cook with clean power
Induction stoves run on clean electricity with a low carbon footprint. As an EBCE customer, you can make your kitchen free of toxic gasses and carbon neutral with an induction cooktop and 100% renewable energy.
What is induction?
Electromagnetic induction, generally referred to as induction, is the process of generating electric currents with a magnetic field.
Below the glass induction cooktops are coils of copper wire. When electricity passes through these coils, it creates a magnetic field that induces (hence the name “induction”) an electric current in the metal of the pan. The induced current travels around the metallic structure of the pan, dissipating its energy in the form of heat.
By turning the cookware into the source of heat, induction cooktops heat food more quickly, evenly and efficiently.
Magnetic cookware is required for induction to work.
Since induction stovetops use magnetism to heat cookware directly, they require pans that contain enough iron to be magnetic.
Cast iron, enameled cast iron, and many types of stainless-steel cookware are all induction compatible.
Aluminum, all copper or glass cookware will not heat up or turn on unless it has a magnetic metal layer at the bottom.
To check if your cookware is compatible, place a magnet on the bottom of your pan. The stronger the magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, the better the cookware will work with induction.
The problem with conventional cooking
Cooking with gas has serious downsides.
Gas ranges emit dangerous indoor pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates that could have long-term negative impacts on health. This is particularly true for children, seniors, and those suffering from existing respiratory conditions.
Electric resistance is inefficient.
It heats up the electric resistance coil, which transfers that heat to the cookware, which then transfers that heat to food, resulting in wasted energy. Plus, electric cooktops take a lot of time to heat up and cool down.
Induction is the most energy-efficient technology available today.
It cooks food faster than traditional stoves and has the power to match.Compared with gas or electric cooking, induction cooking is more energy efficient because it heats only the pan, not the burner. Less heat is lost to the surrounding air, and therefore, the kitchens stay cooler.
There is a learning curve with induction cooktops:
Induction stoves can heat up quickly. Preheating your pan is not necessary, and you don’t need to wait as long to heat up the pot or pan.
You can overcook food because they are so fast.
When you lift the pan off of the cooktop, the power turns off.
Magnetic cookware is needed for induction to work.
The heat value on induction cooktop knobs is different than that of gas ranges or an electric stove.
Be sure to try your hand at different meals in order to understand how much heat you need during cooking.
EBCE has partnered with Acterra to provide you a chance to try induction cooking—for free.
The Induction Cooktop Lending Program is a way for East Bay residents to borrow and “test drive” induction cooking in their home.
The Induction Lending Kit includes a portable induction cooktop, a compatible pan, cooktop operating instructions, recipes and carrying bag. The loan period is 21 days.
This program is available to all East Bay residents—EBCE customers as well as non-EBCE customers who receive service from PG&E.
Induction is more accessible than ever with options at a variety of price points and rebates to help cover costs
There are three types of residential cooktops and ranges currently on the market:
Portable Units. These 1 and 2 element units can be placed directly on a countertop and will usually work with standard outlets. Portable induction units generally don’t have the power boost option to heat up as fast as range and countertop models, but they're still very fast.
Induction Countertops generally have 4 to 5 cooking elements and fits into an existing countertop installation. Easily replaces gas or electric cooktops. Requires a 240V electrical connection.
Induction Ranges have 4 to 6 cooking elements and are typically paired with an electric convection oven. Induction ranges are available as slide-in, drop-in and freestanding units. Requires a dedicated 220V circuit or a 240V electrical connection, depending on range type and model.
Standard features for induction cooktops include: child safety lock, overflow detection, hot surface light, timer with automatic shut-off, and pan detector.
If you’re replacing an electric range, the swap is simple. Induction cooktops and ranges use the same outlet as a standard electric range or cooktop. Just make sure to check the specs to ensure your electrical breaker has enough spare capacity.
If you’re switching from gas to electric, be sure to consult an electrician prior to purchase and installation.
Get up to $300 for a new induction cooktop range when you replace an existing gas appliance.
Cooking with induction: tutorials & recipes
Frequently asked questions
- Will the induction cooktop trip my circuit breaker?
It is possible that using the induction cooktop will trip your circuit breaker if you use multiple high-power appliances (e.g. microwave and the induction hob) together at the same time.
- Can I use wok with an induction cooktop?
Yes, as long as the magnet sticks to the wok. Round-surface induction hobs are generally used for round-bottomed woks. Flat bottomed woks can be used with flat-surface induction hobs.
- How can I tell if the induction cooktop is “hot”?
When you’re cooking on an induction cooktop, only the pot or pan gets hot. If the cookware is not on the induction burner, the surface will not heat up. Most induction cooktops have a notification light to indicate that the surface is still hot from the residual heat of the cookware.
- If I accidentally leave the induction cooktop running, how can I be sure that it won’t burn my house down?
Without an induction-compatible cookware over the cooktop, there will be no heat. Most induction cooktops include a safety feature that automatically turns the burner off after a predetermined amount of time.
- There is a buzzing, humming, and/or high-pitched noise coming from the cooktop. Is something wrong?
Noise can be due to a variety of reasons: the cooling fans that keep the induction cooktop from overheating; the cookware’s shape, material composition, and quality that may interfere with the induction cooktop’s functions; and/or it could be the result of electricity flowing through the equipment’s components (often called coil whine). Most of the time, the induction cooktop is safe to use despite these noises. The sound will often go away when you turn down the heat, or add food to the pan.
- Is an induction cooktop safe to use for people with a pacemaker?
Studies (PDF) have shown that induction is generally safe to use for people with pacemakers even at close distances, though caution is advised. Please consult with your physician before using.
- Is it dangerous to wear a ring while using an induction cooktop?
When there is a cookware over the induction cooktop, the magnetic field won’t extend far enough to interact with the ring and generate heat.