When you’re planning to purchase a cooktop, you want to ensure whatever you get is the best product available within your budget and is easy to operate. Before purchasing your specific cooktop, there are many factors to consider such as price, the amount of space available in your kitchen, and the features that will be beneficial for you.
There is often a lot of confusion between ceramic cooktops and induction cooktops and although they look alike there is a big difference when it comes to cooking and how they work. That’s why we thought it would be helpful to provide this guide detailing the differences between the two.
How Induction and Ceramic Stoves Work
The main difference between a ceramic and induction cooktop is how they create heat and how it spreads and transfers into the pot or pan.
Under the glass/ceramic surface of an induction cooktop lies a coil through which electric current flows. A magnetic field is created which goes through the bottom of the induction compatible pan or pot that sits on the surface of the cooktop. A current is then generated in the base of the cookware. This electrical energy is changed to heat energy which is transferred from the vessel to the food.
Underneath the top of the ceramic/glass cooktop lies coiled metal elements. These elements are heated to the set temperature. The coils heat the cooktop surface and then heats the cooking vessel. Finally, after heating the ceramic surface of the cooker, the heat is transferred to the pan.
Compared to each other in terms of how they heat up pans, we believe the induction cooker is more efficient as it only heats up the pan itself.
Induction cooktops heat up faster and are more efficient than ceramic cooktops. The design of induction hobs is such that the pan is heated instantly. Additionally, since no heat is lost to the area around the induction cooktop, the amount of time it takes to cook the food is a lot less than that of ceramic cooktops.
One factor to consider before buying a new cooker is its safety especially for families with children in the home.
A ceramic cooktop retains heat a lot longer after cooking than an induction hob. However, there are now a lot of modern ceramic cooktops models that come with a heat indicator that tells the user the hotter parts of the cooker. Ceramic cooktops also offer safety features which vary according to the model selected.
Since induction cooktops heat the pot or pan directly as opposed to the top of the cooktop, the cooking surface doesn't get hot until the induction ready cookware is placed on the cooking zone.
Some units automatically shut off if it does not detect any cookware on the burner. This is a really nice feature since it reduces the chances of a burner being left on accidentally. Additionally, induction cookers cool down quicker than conventional electric or gas stoves.
One of the nicer features of many induction cooktop models is that they have a lock feature that when activated, prevents settings from being changed.
Cleaning Your Cooktop
Ceramic and induction stoves are similar in that they are both flat and smooth, thus making them equally as easy to clean (you can normally just wipe them down with a wet cloth).
However, when the surface of the ceramic stove gets hot, if anything is spilled on the top of it, the food or liquid can dry or bake onto the surface. In this case, it is essential that you clean it up as soon as you feel it is safe to do so. If burnt or spilled food is left on the cooker top for a while it can cause more problems in the long run.
Since the area around the pot or pan on the induction cooktop typically does not get all that hot, spilled food or liquid isn't as apt to get baked on the surface. Generally, hot soapy water and a cloth are all you need to clean your induction hob.
What Type of Cookware Should I Use?
Another factor to consider before purchasing or choosing your model of the cooker is the cookware you will use.
Pots and Pans for Induction Cooktops
Induction cooktops require certain cookware materials. The base of the pots and pans have to contain magnetic materials for them to work on induction burners. Examples of types of cookware that are induction compatible are: cast iron, steel, enamel cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans with a magnetized base.
If you already have a collection of cookware in your house, you can use the magnet test to see if they’re compatible (if the magnet sticks securely to the base of the cookware then it is induction ready). If your pots and pans aren’t compatible, then have to the expense of new cookware is a consideration.
Cookware for Ceramic Cooktops
General Electric, a manufacturer of ceramic cooktops, recommends using stainless steel (especially sandwich clad bottom pans), heavy-weight aluminum, copper, porcelain coated cast iron, carbon steel, titanium. and porcelain/enamel pans (as long as they have a thick, flat bottom) on ceramic cooktops.
They do not recommend glass, ceramic, stoneware or cast iron cookware. 
Overall, there are some differences between the ceramic and induction cooktops, but both are unique and it comes down to your lifestyle, kitchen needs, budget and personal preference.
Some consumers decide to buy a portable single or double induction cooktop because they are much less expensive than built-in or full induction and ceramic cooktops.