What is the most important element in the kitchen? Naturally, this is a stove or hob, because this is where food is cooked. But if a few decades ago the assortment was limited only to ordinary gas stoves, now the choice has become wider. The most modern at the moment are induction hobs: they have a number of advantages over gas and electric stoves.
It is worth dwelling on the fact that it is the independent hobs that are more convenient than their dependent counterparts. Dependent is a structure in which the hob and oven are interconnected and cannot be used separately. This comes in handy when you intend to use the oven frequently, as it is cheaper than buying two separate items. But an independent panel gives great freedom in terms of organizing the kitchen interior: it can be built anywhere, it does not take up much space, and for kitchens where the oven is not popular, it is generally an ideal and compact option.
Benefits of an induction hob
Induction stands out among all hobs. Their action is based on electromagnetic induction, and the main difference from a number of other stoves is that there is no intermediate heating stage. In this case, the dishes are immediately heated, under the influence of which the food is prepared. At the same time, heat losses are minimal, and the efficiency of induction cookers is at the level of 90%, while gas cookers can boast of 60-65%, and electric ones – 50-60%.
Other advantages of induction hobs include:
- fast and economical heating, since the dishes are heated directly, which means that the cooking time is reduced and the consumption of electricity is reduced;
- safety. The risk of getting burned on such a panel is less than when using gas and electric stoves, because the surface itself does not heat up here. But it is better not to lose vigilance, since during prolonged cooking, the panel can heat up from the dishes. Heating is turned on only if the surface of the burner is occupied by 70% or more, therefore, a knife forgotten on the surface will not activate it. It is impossible to start a fire with such a surface, even if you forgot to turn it off, because without pots and pans, heating will not occur. No more harmful radiation emanates from such a device than from a TV set, so an induction cooker cannot do anything bad to health;
- smooth regulation of the degree of heating;
- improving the microclimate in the kitchen, since the induction surface does not heat the air, unlike competitors;
- The food escaped from the pots does not stick to the surface of the stove, so maintenance becomes as simple as possible.
Among the disadvantages of induction surfaces, perhaps only their cost, which is still high for many buyers. Some are also repelled by the myth that for normal use of such a surface all the dishes will have to be completely changed, but this is not entirely true. All those pots and pans to which the magnet is attracted can also be used on an induction cooker: cast iron, enameled dishes, stainless steel products. But cooking in aluminum and glass dishes will have to be abandoned, as well as placing under the oven panel, because any metal product can affect the work process.
Choosing an induction hob
Induction hobs have many more advantages than disadvantages, and using them brings one sheer pleasure, helps to save money and take care of your own safety. Despite the fact that the principle of operation of all such products is the same, at the moment there is a huge assortment, which is not so easy to understand. Therefore, before choosing an induction hob, evaluate it according to several parameters, which are given below.
Experts unanimously recommend trusting only well-known and proven brands. So, for example, induction hobs from Neff have proven themselves not only for excellent quality, but also for reasonable prices and excellent functionality. Devices from Bosch, Zanussi, Hansa, Samsung, AEG, Gorenje, Miele, Whirpool and many others also received good reviews. Before dwelling on a particular manufacturer and a specific model, try to find reviews from other users, which should indicate all the pros, cons and some nuances.
It is important to remember that the probability of getting high quality for a low price from an unknown manufacturer is very small. Therefore, there is no point in trusting induction hobs “no name” – “a miser pays twice.”
Number and size of cooking zones
If you need to cook food for one person or a couple on the stove, then it makes sense to choose a model with two burners. For a larger family, it is better to buy a hob with four burners. Explaining this state of affairs is probably not worth it, because the more a person lives in the house, the more often someone will need to cook or heat something and the more they will have to cook in large quantities, which is more convenient to do with a 4-burner stove. There are devices on sale with an odd number of hotplates, so if necessary, you can find a hob with three or five heating zones.
The size of the entire hob also depends on the number of burners and their arrangement. It is necessary to choose a specific device after taking all measurements so that the induction hob fits exactly into the working area of the kitchen.
The shape of the burners can be round, oval and even honeycomb, but this has almost no effect on the process and speed of cooking. Here you should be based on your own aesthetic preferences.
As a rule, burners of different diameters are located on one hob. This parameter must be selected depending on what kind of dishes will be used, since heating is activated only if 70% of the burner area is closed. By the way, almost all models provide a function for adjusting the heating area: it can be narrowed down to a certain level so that cooking in pans with a small bottom is more efficient and faster.
Adjustment range and energy efficiency class
When using an induction surface, it is imperative to adjust the degree of heating, and some dishes require compliance with a strictly specific temperature regime. The flexibility in choosing the optimal temperature depends on how many temperature conditions are provided in the model. The optimal amount is 14-16, if there are fewer of them, then cooking in some cases can be a little difficult, and a larger amount is no longer necessary, and why pay more?
Choosing the right temperature will allow you not only to properly prepare the dish, but also save electricity. It is also possible to assess the economy of a particular induction surface by the energy efficiency class. Devices of class A and A + are preferable because they have the highest efficiency and the lowest possible power consumption.
The advantage of using induction surfaces is not only in the heating method, but also in the mass of additional possibilities. Even the simplest device is equipped with several functions that can be useful in the cooking process. Focusing on your own needs, you need to make sure that you have the following modes:
Booster – a mode that allows you to significantly reduce the amount of time for cooking, boiling water, etc. The principle of operation lies in the fact that in induction cookers the burners work in pairs, and when this mode is activated, the powers of two adjacent burners are combined, which makes it possible to achieve faster heating;
Timer. A useful function that allows you to completely entrust the cooking process to the induction hob. After porridge, soup, pilaf, broth or anything else has boiled, you can use the timer to set the time until shutdown – a guarantee that you will not forget to turn off the dish, being busy with another business;
Recognition of the size and material of dishes. This function is necessary so that the induction hob does not turn on when there is an empty cookware on it or a signal is given that this material is not suitable for use;
Automatic shutdown. This mode is provided in almost all devices and allows you to turn off the burners if there are no dishes on them, or if any manipulations are not carried out for a certain period of time;
Autoboiling and maintaining the temperature will be required for those who often leave the hob during cooking;
Protection from children. This function completely blocks the surface, so the child cannot harm himself;
The heat indicator shows the temperature on the induction surface to exclude the possibility of scalding on the hot plate from the cookware;
- Automatic cooking, defrosting and heating programs, recording certain cooking programs in the device’s memory, switching off when liquid is spilled – these and other additional functions can also be found in induction hobs. But if they are available, the cost of the device increases, and some never use a huge number of additional features, so before buying, you need to soberly weigh whether any functions are really needed.
Induction panels are mainly made of glass ceramics, but tempered glass products are also found. The latter look a little better, are more expensive, but in terms of functionality they are no different.
Control and display
Induction panel control can be magnetic, touch and slider type. The latter is the most modern and advanced, it is found in a small number of devices, but the touchscreen is the golden mean in terms of convenience, reliability and functionality. The digital display should display all the necessary information conveniently and correctly: temperature conditions, all enabled functions, etc.
As a rule, induction hobs are made in high-tech style, so they fit perfectly into the interior of a modern kitchen. The black surface is in good harmony with both light furniture and dark furniture, and the burners on it can be marked with white or red. It may also be that there will be no rings of the burners on the surface, which means that heating can be carried out by any zone of the surface.
Some devices are decorated by designers with different patterns: abstraction, flowers, drawings in Japanese or Egyptian style. When buying just such panels, you need to be extremely careful and analyze whether they will fit into the existing interior.
Induction hobs are modern functional devices with high efficiency and safety. With them, you can cook your favorite dish much faster and at the same time not be afraid of getting burned, they save energy, allow you to smoothly regulate the temperature regime, do not heat the air, and have additional capabilities. Despite the widespread use in Western countries, our induction hobs are just beginning to gain popularity.