5 things you need to know about induction cooktops

Are you considering replacing your gas or electric cooktop with an induction cooktop. Here are 5 things you need to know about induction cooktops.

When we bought our home, the first big remodeling project we tackles was our kitchen. On my wish list was to replace the 20-year-old stove with an electric induction cooktop.

I researched the top rated induction cooktops to make sure I wanted to go with a countertop induction stove rather than gas or a ceramic electric cooktop. I knew an induction stove cooktop was the newest technology, plus I’d never liked cooking with gas.

Are you wondering if an induction stove cooktop is right for you? Here were some of the best induction cooktops tips, tricks and nuances that you may not be aware of.

1. Cost. Induction cooktops can be expensive.

While the cost has gone down considerably since the days when they technology was new, an induction stove cooktop can be much pricier compared to a gas or electric cooktop.

Even the prices between models vary quite a bit. I hemmed and hawed between a Bosch and the GE induction cooktop model I eventually got. Both models were highly rated, and I knew that Bosch induction cooktops were highly desirable.

Plus, I owned a Bosch dishwasher and knew it was a good brand. However, at the time I was looking, there was a $600 difference. So I decided to go with the GE induction stovetop instead because of price and buyer reviews.

When deciding what model you’ll end up with, besides cost, brand, and user reviews, look at number of burners, and other design features. Since I wanted five burners and a larger cooktop, that helped eliminate quite a few models for me right away. But it also meant I was looking at higher priced models.

2. Installation. Induction cooktops must be professionally installed.

If you are replacing an electric stove top, it’s not just a matter of hooking it up to the old power source either. An electrician will need to run a 50 amp breaker with a #6 gauge Romex line (#8 minimum). It’s all in the installation book if there are any questions, so make sure to factor that into your budget.

3. Induction cookware. You’ll need pots and pans that work on an induction stove cooktop.

Another item to consider in your budget is that you may need to get special induction cookware, since an induction cooktop relies on an electromagnet to heat iron or steel cookware.

The best way to determine if your current cookware works with an induction cooktop is to test it with a magnet – a refrigerator magnet will do. If it sticks to the pot or pan, you can use it on your induction stove top. Anything else will need to go to Goodwill, though you may want to save lids and steamer inserts to use with any new pots or pans you purchase.

I’ve been lucky that my extensive Le Creuset cookware, since it’s enameled cast iron, works perfectly on my induction cooktop as does my Lodge cast iron. I did have to replace all my non-stick sauté pans and found a couple of wonderful ones by KitchenAid and a Calphalon spaghetti pot.

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round French-Dutch Oven for your best induction cooktopsLe Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Round French-Dutch OvenLodge L8SK3 Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inch for your best induction cooktops Lodge L8SK3 Cast Iron Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 10.25-inchCalphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 13-Piece Cookware Set for your best induction cooktops Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 13-Piece Cookware SetKitchenAid Stainless Steel 10" for your best induction cooktops KitchenAid Stainless Steel 10"

4. Care and cleaning. It’s easy to take care of an induction stove top once you know how.

The biggest reason I didn’t want to purchase a gas cooktop is because gas burners are a pain to clean. One boil over and you have to completely take the stove top apart to clean it up.

I previously had an electric ceramic cooktop, and loved how easy it was to clean. I’ve found that an induction cooktop is even easier to clean! As soon as the stove top has cooled down, you can clean up any spills with a wet sponge or paper towel. For bigger spills or dried on messes, use a ceramic cooktop cleaner.

GE induction cooktops come with a little bottle of Cerama Bryte, but I prefer Weiman Glass Cook Top Heavy Duty Cleaner and Polish. Just squeeze a little of the cooktop cleaner, spread it around with a paper towel (not a scrubbing sponge!) and then wipe it off with a clean paper towel. Wipe on - wipe off. LOVE IT! Very easy and you have a new looking, sparkling cooktop every time.

Weiman Glass Cook Top Heavy Duty Cleaner & Polish, 10 oz, Pack of 2Weiman Glass Cook Top Heavy Duty Cleaner & Polish, 10 oz, Pack of 2

Another induction cooktop tip is that you must careful not to scratch your induction cooktop. Try not to slide your cookware around carelessly. Instead, pick it up and place it on top of the burners.

I’ve had my induction stove for over two years now and haven’t had anything scratch it, but I still try to be careful. Also, don’t drop a heavy cast iron skillet on your induction cooktop. It’s strong, but it’s not metal!

5. Heats food quickly. This is why so many cooks love induction stove top cooking!

There’s a learning curve on how to cook on an induction cooktop. I found that a large spaghetti pot of water takes only five minutes to come to a boil and a smaller pan only a minute or two, so don’t walk away!

You might be used to cooking things on very high temperatures and now find that you’re having a lot of boil overs or burning your food. Except for bringing water to a boil at H (or 10 depending on the induction cooktop you buy) try cooking on medium temperatures until you get used to what your induction stove can do for you.

The beauty of induction cooktops is that if you find that you need to get something hotter quicker, it’s easy to do very quickly – just dial up the induction dial a bit. (My induction cooktop has half settings – 5, 5 1/2, 6, 6 1/2, and so on.)

If what you’re cooking needs to come down quickly, take it off the burner for a second to get rid of some heat, dial down the burner, and continue cooking. You’ll get used to it soon enough.

Looking for the best induction stove top? Try a GE Profile PHP9036SJSS 36GE Profile PHP9036SJSS 36Looking for the best induction stove top? Try a GE Profile 36GE Profile 36Looking for the best induction stove top? Try a GE Cafe CHP9536SJSS 36GE Cafe CHP9536SJSS 36

Our purchase – a GE Profile 336" Black Electric Induction Cooktop

Ultimately, we bought a GE PHP960DMBB Profile 36" Black Electric Induction Cooktop. After over two years, I’m extremely happy with it. I love that this induction cooktop has five burners and allows me to cook many things at once. The induction cooktops heats foods quickly and evenly. I find that with the help of Weiman Glass Cook Top Heavy Duty Cleaner and Polish, the induction cooktops cleans up easy and still looks brand new.

Purchasing the GE induction cooktop through Amazon was very easy, too. It came with an installation guide that gave the specs that the countertop installation guys and our electrician needed.

UPDATE March 2016: The GE Induction cooktop that I originally purchased is no longer being made. Instead, you may want to look at the GE Profile PHP9036SJSS 36" Built-in Induction Cooktop in Black with Stainless Steel, the GE Cafe CHP9536SJSS 36" Built-in Induction Cooktop, or the GE PHP9036DJBB Profile 36".

Originally published on May 22, 2014. Updated with new pictures and product information.