5 things you need to know about an induction cooktop stove

Pots and pans on an induction cooktop stove on a granite countertop.

I love induction cooktops. It was the first thing on my wish list to buy when we remodeled our kitchen.

I researched the best induction cooktops to make sure I wanted to go with a countertop stove rather than gas or a ceramic electric cooktop.

I knew induction cooking was the newest technology, plus I'd never liked cooking with gas.

Wondering if induction cooktops are right for you?

Here were some of the best induction tips and tricks that you need to know.

1. Cost. An induction cooktop can be pricey.

While the cost has gone down considerably, induction stoves are much pricier compared to gas or electric cooktops.

Even the prices between models vary quite a bit, I hemmed and hawed between a Bosch and the GE induction cooktops. I eventually got a GE though both models were highly rated.

Price and reviews:

I decided that I liked the GE induction cooktops better because of price and user reviews.

What to look for when you're deciding:

  • number of heating elements
  • type of digital touch controls
  • hot surface indicator
  • surfaces
  • child locks and safety features
  • meat thermometers
  • types of power settings
  • to get stainless steel trim (or not - I didn't)
  • other controls and features like Bluetooth, timer, etc.

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 that provided lots of watts of power.

(Some models go from 3,700 to 4,800 watts of power to put out enough cooking heat.)

Shop around:

We ordered our GE induction cooktop through Amazon. Prices were better online than through the big box stores.

Man in blue shirt installing an induction stove in a kitchen counter.

2. Professional installation. Your induction stove must be professionally installed.

If you're replacing a gas or electric stove top, it's not just a matter of hooking new electric cooktops to whatever electric power is around.

An electrician will need to run a 50 amp breaker with a #6 gauge Romex line (#8 minimum) for these types of electric cooktops.

If there are any questions, the details and specs are in the installation book, so make sure to factor that into your budget.

When planning your installation costs with your electrician, you can usually find the manufacturer installation instructions online before you order your stove.

Will the cooktop stove fit?

Since the cooktop will need to be set into a countertop, you may need to work with countertop installers as well.

Decide what size appliance you want.

How many inches will work for the counters in your kitchen? For some people a 30-inch induction cooktop is perfect.

We went with a 36-inch induction cooktop since we had a large kitchen with a big center island.

When I replaced my old electric stove, it was when I redid my countertops. Then I was able to give the installers the specs and they cut the countertops accordingly.

If you're replacing an old cooktop with a new one, don't assume you can just swap them out. MEASURE!!! Then measure again.

Red frying pan and sauce pot with glass lid on induction cooktop stove.

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

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

The best way to determine if your current cookware works on induction stovetops is to test it with a magnet. Any refrigerator magnets will do.

If it sticks to the pot or pan, you can use it on your induction cooktop.

Anything else will need to go to Goodwill, though you may want to save lids and steamer inserts to use with new pots or pans you purchase.

Ideal induction cookware:

Le Creuset cookware

Lodge cast iron

Non-stick induction cookware sets

How to trick an induction cooker if you don't have induction cookware.

In an induction cooktop (also called an induction hob) there are coils of copper wire under the ceramic glass top that work wirelessly with your cooking pots and pans.

Electric current is passed through the wire and the resulting magnetic field induces an electrical current in the pots and pans.

If a pan with a magnetized base is placed on the induction hob, the magnetic field causes it to heat up. Plus, the induction hob remains cool, with only some residual heat from the pans.

However, non-magnetic pans put on the induction hob cooktop remain cold.

So what do you do if you don't have induction cookware?

Use an induction adapter plate to trick an induction cooker.

One way you can get around not having induction cookware is to use an induction adapter plate.

However, I would try using one of these only if you have non-induction cookware that you love and cannot part with.

After reading the reviews of the various adapter plates, I'd be concerned that it wouldn't work on your induction stove.

Or that you wouldn't get enough power, heat and quality performance to do the kind of cooking you're used to doing.

Person's hands in blue gloves cleaning induction cooktop stove in a sunny modern kitchen.

4. It's easy to clean and care for your induction cooktop.

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

I previously had an electric glass surface cooktop, and loved how it was easy to clean.

I've found that an induction cooktop stove is even more easy to clean.

As soon as the stove top has cooled down, you can clean up any spills with a wet sponge or paper towel. You can also spray a little of your favorite countertop all-purpose spray and wipe it off with a sponge.

Don’t scratch your cooktop.

You must careful not to scratch your cooktop. Try not to slide your cookware around carelessly. Instead, pick it up and place it on top of the burners.

Also, don't drop a heavy cast iron skillet on your induction cooktop. It's strong, but it's not stone or metal.

For tough spills or dried on messes, use a ceramic cooktop cleaner.

GE cooktops come with a little bottle ofCerama Bryte. But I prefer Weiman Glass Cook Top Heavy Duty Cleaner and Polish.

Just squeeze a little of the cooktop cleaner and spread it around with a paper towel. Then wipe it off with a clean microfiber cleaning cloth.

Very easy to clean and you have a new looking, sparkling cooktop every time.

Meal being cooked in a modern kitchen on induction cooktop stove.

5. Learning how to cook on induction cooktop

Food heats up quickly. This is why cooks love induction cooking.

There's a learning curve on cooking with induction on an induction cooktop. But it will soon become one of your favorite kitchen appliances.

I found that a large spaghetti pot of water takes only five minutes to come to a boil. The cooking time with a smaller pan takes 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 are 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 cooking with induction is that if you find that you need to get something hot quickly, it's easy to do. Just move up the temperature settings up a bit.

If what you're cooking needs to come down quickly, take it off the burner to get rid of some heat. Then dial down the power levels and continue cooking. You'll get used to it soon enough.

Our purchase – a GE Profile 36" Black Electric Induction Cooktop.

Ultimately, we bought a GE PHP960DMBB Profile 36" Black Electric Induction Cooktop Stove. After many years, I'm extremely happy with it.

I love that this cooktop stove has five burners and allows me to cook many things at once. It heats foods quickly and evenly.

I find that with the help of Weiman Glass Cook Top Heavy Duty Cleaner and Polish, my GE induction cooktop 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 specs that our countertop installation guys and electrician needed.

UPDATE March 2020 : The GE cooktop that I originally purchased is no longer being made.

Instead, you may want to look at this high-end induction cooktop:

Blue non-stick pot and pan on an induction cooktop stove.

We moved and bought an induction range.

Sadly, we moved out of our home with the cooktop stove. It was a hit with many of our potential buyers, who loved the look and size of the stove.

I’m now in a vintage 1928 Tudor home with a small gallery style kitchen that’s a quarter the size of my old kitchen.

So now I cook on a Stainless Steel GE Profile PHS930SLSS Smoothtop Cooktop Induction Range that replaced the 1970s electric range that came with the house.

It’s got more features and buttons than the Starship Enterprise (much more than I take advantage of) and was the perfect fit for my tiny kitchen.

I found a GE Over the Range Microwave to match, which saved on counterspace.

If you’re looking for an induction range, checkout the Frigidaire FGIH3047VF Gallery Series 30 Inch Stainless Steel Induction Electric Convection Freestanding Range, which gets terrific reviews, too.

Have an induction range? Learn How to Clean Your Oven with Baking Soda.

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