As the debate between induction cooking versus gas continues, we put together a short guide looking at the pros and cons of both.
We know that the way people cook is a personal preference and sometimes they are not keen on changing methods. However, as time goes on and technology advancements are made, interesting options become available. Induction cooking is a newer method than gas, and that’s why it’s important to know all the facts before you decide whether to try it or not.
What is Induction Cooking?
Induction cooking has been widely used in Europe and Asia for decades. However, for whatever reason, this cooking appliance hasn't been very popular in the United States until recently. Now, companies such as Max Burton and Secura are spending development dollars to improve upon first and second generation induction cooktops. Other companies are copying the technology from the more successful brands and manufacturing budget induction cooktops.
This type of cooker heats a pot or pan using magnetic induction instead of an electrical heating element (like electrical cooking), or a flame (like gas cooking).
There are two main pieces to most portable cooktops: 1) glass/ceramic cooktop and 2) the user interface, associated electronics (power supply, printed circuit board, components etc.), micro-controller, sensors, and induction coil.
Underneath the surface of the ceramic/glass plate is a coil of copper wire through which electric current can pass. When this happens, a magnetic field is produced. As soon as an induction suitable vessel is placed on the burner, this magnetic field generates electric currents in the pot or pan. The heat is transferred to the ingredients in the vessel.
Induction cooking is puts less waste heat into the kitchen and is a lot safer than your average gas cooker. Since the cooktop of induction cookers are flat, they’re easy to clean and the surface doesn’t seem to get very hot compared to the other methods.
What is Gas Cooking?
Possibly one of the oldest methods of cooking is cooking on a gas stove. Although butane, propane, or petroleum gas can be used, most gas stoves run on natural gas. Before the advent of gas, a lot of very old gas stoves used fuel from wood or coal, but more modern gas stoves just use flammable gases. Chefs enjoy gas cookers because of the accuracy the flame provides and the ability to adjust it visually.
There is a wide variety of gas ranges in terms of size, features and price. In addition to the appliance, there is the cost of materials and installation to consider. The better the energy rating of the oven, the lower your fuel cost. Fuel prices change according to the market of supply and demand.
Pros and Cons of Induction Cooking
Despite what everyone says, there are both pros and cons of induction cooking and that’s why we think it’s important you know all the potential outcomes of buying an induction cooker. Everything to do with your household cooking is personal preference so you will want to have a general idea of the advantages and drawbacks of induction cooking before you make your final judgment.
- Induction cookers heat up very quickly and despite what people may think, they can get really hot.
- A wide range of temperature and power settings are available.
- They’re aesthetically pleasing to the eye and will match up with modern kitchens.
- Induction cookers are very easy to clean; you simply just have to wait until they’re relatively cool then you can use a sponge or rag and wipe over it.
- The full-size units are expensive to buy initially which often puts a lot of people off buying them. However, the portable units are reasonably priced.
- Not all pans and pots are compatible with it. Cast iron, enamel cast iron, steel and magnetized stainless steel are induction ready. This article discusses induction ready cookware.
Pros and Cons of Gas Cooking
Even though gas cooking is an older method compared to induction cooking, it too has its pros and cons and that’s what we’re going to list below. This will help to give you a more balanced view of both the types of cookers you can buy.
- Heat is immediate to any gas cooker, so if you’re in a rush or you need instant heat then it’s definitely a contender.
- You can use any type of cookware on it, as long as the cookware doesn’t state that it’s not compatible – but there are very few pieces you can’t typically use on a gas cooker.
- You can turn the temperate up or down using the knobs on the side or front of the gas cooker; this allows you to have control over the temperature and how hot or cold the pan is.
- Gas cookers aren’t the safest option; there is a naked flame which can be dangerous, especially around young children. There is also the possibility of having an accident with a tea towel burning or even burning yourself by accident.
- They aren’t easy to clean because there are a lot of components to clean around, and taking it apart after every time you cook can be annoying, especially if you’re in a rush. There are the plates which get dirty, as well as the inside of the rings to think about; if you don’t ensure it is always clean, it can lead to more danger.
Which One is Better?
This is a difficult question as it is mostly down to personal preference. One is not necessary "better" than the other. If you’re concerned about the safety of your kitchen and you want a more modern kitchen-friendly cooker top, then you will want to consider an induction cooker. If you don't cook that much and don't have a lot of floor space, then a portable cooktop is an option.
However, if a naked flame is better for your cooking style, you like being able to control the temperature visually, and you want to use all types of cookware then a gas oven is probably a better fit for you.
For those cooks who are not fans of gas stoves, this quick read discusses electric stoves versus induction cooktops.