Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

Induction vs electric cooktop is the key question when you're looking to buy a new smooth-top stove. They look the same, with their flat glass-ceramic surface, but the experience of cooking on them is vastly different. And you’ll notice pretty quickly that there’s a big difference in how much they cost.

I'm the founder of Designer Appliances, a premier appliance store in New Jersey, and I have 15+ years of experience. I've test-driven these cooktops (and their predecessors) and sat through countless hours of training. Most importantly, I've heard real-life feedback from our customers in real-time.

In this guide, I'll answer all your questions about induction vs electric cooktops and touch on the reasons why I think induction cooktops and induction ranges deserve a boost in popularity. And did I mention that induction's the fastest way of all to boil pasta water? Let's dive in.

The TRUTH about induction cooking. Our exclusive video review.

Appliance Matchmaker Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

Is induction a match for you?

Pros: Reasons to Buy Induction Cooktop

  • Induction gives you instant temperature control just like gas. While induction uses electricity, don't confuse it with slow to respond electric coil or electric smoothtop cooktops.
  • It's easy to clean, just quickly wipe it down with a wet cloth. No heavy grates to deal with like on a gas cooktop.
  • They're the safest cooktop option. Only the pan gets hot. No gas leaks.
  • Most efficient. An induction cooktop boils water faster than electric or gas. Over 50% of the heat generated by gas is wasted and escapes around the pan. Induction is up to 90% efficient which also means faster heat up and boil times.

Cons: Reasons to Avoid Induction Cooktop

  • Most cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans work with induction, but if you have aluminum or copper you may need to buy all new cookware. If a magnet sticks, you're good to go.
  • While the price has come down, induction is usually the more expensive option.
  • The all black glass has a sleek modern look and might not go with farmhouse or more traditional decor.
  • The largest induction cooktop is 36". If you were looking for a 48" or larger range with induction you're out of luck.
  • The surface can be prone to scratching, especially with heavy cast iron. These silicone pads work great to prevent that.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?
Induction is hands down, the fastest way to boil water. (Photo: Frigidaire)

Appliance Matchmaker Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

Is Electric a match for you?

Pros: Reasons to Buy Electric Cooktop

  • Electric cooktops are affordable. Technology has been around for a while.
  • It's easy to clean. You can wipe down the glass surface with a sponge.

Cons: Reasons to Avoid Electric Cooktops

  • Electric cooktops are slow to heat up and are not known to be responsive when it comes to changing the temperature. If you've used an induction or gas cooktop before, you will have a hard time adjusting to electric.
  • Most people mistake its glass surface for an induction cooktop. Induction cooktops are a significant improvement over electric cooktops.
  • The glass surface may scratch. Try to avoid heavy cookware.
  • Clean-up is tough if food burns on it. The surface stays hot even after your turn off the burners. Make sure you wipe down remnant food right away.
Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?
The GE Profile induction stove comes with the Hestan Cue guided cooking system. (Photo: GE)

Good to Know: Even though it'll take a while for water to start heating, ultimately water boils more quickly on an electric stove than on a gas range. But neither works as fast as an induction stove. That's one big reason many home cooks want to make the switch. It's also why you see induction burners in many restaurant kitchens.

What Do Chefs Prefer and Why?

Chefs love the same things you’ll adore about induction cooking. Every second counts in a professional kitchen, so they appreciate the speed with which things cook. And even more, they rave about the absolute control over the heat setting that they get from an induction burner. When they’re whisking delicate sauces like Hollandaise or melting chocolate, they can be sure the heat will stay at a temperature that prevents the sauce from curdling or chocolate from seizing.

And as we all know, restaurant kitchens get hot! The fact that induction cooktops don’t give off any additional heat the way a gas or electric stove does is another thing pros love. If you live in an apartment or have a smaller kitchen (or heck, if you just tend to run hot), you'll appreciate it just as much.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?
The Bosch NIT8069UC induction cooktop, shown here with a Bosch down draft range hood. (Photo: Bosch)

7 Induction vs Electric Questions, Answered

1) What's the difference between an induction and electric cooktop?

Most electric cooktops now have a smooth glass-ceramic surface with elements below the surface. These so-called radiant elements heat up and radiate heat through the cooking zone to the cookware, which in turn heats up your food. If you’re preheating a pan before searing a steak or cooking something with a short cooking time, like an omelet, it'll take a few minutes for the pan to get hot enough to add your food.

Induction cooktops have the same smooth top as electric cooktops, but below it are coiled copper wires. When an electric current passes through these metal coils, it creates a magnetic current, which heats up pots and pans directly without heating the surface of the cooktop. Because of this direct heat transfer, induction cooktops heat up pots and pans much faster than gas or electric cooktops do. That means you won’t have to wait several minutes for a skillet to get hot before you brown your pork chops or your butter starts to melt. Even a large pot of water for spaghetti can come to a boil in less than 15 minutes.

Because induction elements react instantly when you turn them on and off, induction cooktops are much more responsive than electric cooktops. You get ultimate control over the heat level on an induction cooktop. As soon as your soup comes to a boil, you can lower the heat setting and reduce it to a simmer before it starts boiling over or spattering.

Induction elements also give very precise temperature control. Select a setting and the heat remains steady. If you’re cooking a marinara sauce or pot roast, the heat stays at a constant simmer, so you don’t have to continually stir and/or adjust the heat up or down. When you’re melting chocolate and butter for brownies, the heat stays so low that the chocolate won’t become grainy or the butter turn brown.

An induction cooktop also has a safety advantage over an electric cooktop. If an induction element is turned on by mistake, it won’t heat up unless there’s a pot on top of it, so you don’t have to worry about accidental burns. And even when it’s operating, an induction cooktop stays cooler than an electric one. The surface of the cooktop doesn’t get heated up, although it can get absorb heat from contact with a hot pan.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

Needless to say, induction as a heat source is also safer than the open flame of a gas cooktop. There's also no possibility of accidental gas or carbon monoxide leaks.

Induction cooktops use about five to 10 percent less energy than electric cooktops and are three times more efficient than their gas counterparts. That’s because heat is transferred directly to the cookware and none is lost into the air. It'll cost you less to run the cooktop as well as operate your heating system. Although the savings to your household may be low, the more popular induction cooktops become, the bigger the energy savings on a national level, which is ultimately better for the environment.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?
The Frigidaire GCRI3058AF induction range can boil water for pasta in a minute and a half. (Photo: Frigidaire)

2) Will my pots and pans work on my induction cooktop?

That depends. In order to work with induction, cookware must have magnetic properties. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of your pot or pan, it'll work on an induction cooker. That covers most types of stainless steel, cast iron, and enameled cast iron.

One other note: While magnetic pots and pans may heat up, they’re unlikely to distribute heat evenly unless they have a perfectly flat bottom. Turn your cookware upside down and place a ruler across the bottom. If the edge touches the pan evenly across the entire surface, it’ll heat up uniformly. Any pans that have a flat disc attached to the bottom are preferable.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?

3) What pots and pans will work on my electric glass cooktop?

While a cooking vessel doesn’t have to be magnetic to work on an electric cooktop, it does need to have a nice flat bottom that makes good contact with the glass-ceramic surface in order to give good results. If it doesn't, you'll need to be vigilant about stirring or rearranging food to make sure it heats or browns evenly.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?
Stainless steel pas with a flat bottom, like the one shown, works best on induction cooktops like this Bosch NIT8069UC. (Photo: Bosch)

4) How do you clean an induction or electric cooktop?

For the most part, their smooth glass surfaces can be wiped clean—easy! There aren't any grates, coils, or burner pans to remove, soak, and put back in place.

However, on an electric cooktop, the glass-ceramic surface gets hot so splatters or boilovers can burn on the cooktop. That's much less likely to happen on an induction burner, which doesn't retain heat in the same way. While the area directly under a pot on an induction cooktop can get hot from contact with a pot, it won’t reach as high a temperature as the surface of an electric cooktop.

On either surface, wipe up spills with a wet sponge or paper towel as quickly as you can. Avoid using glass cleaners like Windex, which can leave streaks, or abrasive cleaners or scouring pads that can cause scratches.

If you allow spatters to remain on an electric cooktop, they can begin to cook on the surface and become harder to remove or even bond to the glass. To remove burned-on residue, use a razor blade or a glass scraper made for this purpose, holding the blade at a 45-degree angle. The Scotch-Brite Glass Cooktop Cleaning Wand is another handy tool for stubborn messes.

To polish the glass cooktop surface and get rid of smears, use a small amount of a glass-ceramic cleaner made by EZ Brite, Weiman, Carbona, or Affresh and a soft, clean cloth.


5) Do induction cooktops use radiation?

Induction cooktops create non-ionizing or low-frequency electromagnetic radiation. There's no association between this type of radiation and any health issues.


6) Are induction cooktops noisy?

Some people find that induction burners click, hum, or buzz. The sounds can be caused by the cooling fan or by lightweight or warped cookware that doesn’t completely cover the burner. It's less likely to happen with heavy, high-quality pans that match the size of the burner. While the noise can be disconcerting initially, it's perfectly normal and not loud enough to interfere with conversation.


7) Is there any difference in the durability of the glass-ceramic surfaces on electric and induction cooktops?

The cooktop surfaces on electric and induction ranges and cooktops are made of the same glass-ceramic material. It can withstand changes in temperature and is highly resistant to scratches and cracks. However, it isn't totally scratch- or breakproof. To prevent scratches, you should be gentle when using cookware like cast iron skillets that have a rough bottom that could mar the glass and particularly careful not to drag any type of cookware across the surface. If you drop a very heavy pot on the cooktop, it's possible for it to shatter. Luckily, that's pretty rare.

In our experience, electric and induction stovetops that have stainless steel trim fare better over time than those with glass-ceramic edges. If you're concerned about potential breakage, look for a model with sturdy trim.

Induction vs Electric Cooktop: Faster Than Gas?
Many cooktops, like the Thermador CIT30YWBB shown here, can come with or without protective stainless steel trim.

Our Top Induction Cooktops and Ranges

Cafe CES700P2MS1
GE Profile PHS930YPFS

Our number-one choice in an induction range is the very reliable GE Profile PHS930YPFS, which has four cooking elements plus one for keeping food warm or melting butter. It’s a slide-in model, but it has finished sides; you can leave it exposed on one or both sides, which gives you more flexibility in planning where to install your range in your kitchen. It also has the Hestan Cue guided cooking system, which works with Hestan cookware to perfectly tune the temperature of your pot or pan for your recipe. You'll never burn anything again—it's really very cool.

Frigidaire GCRI3058AF

If you’re on a tighter budget, we recommend the very reasonably priced Frigidaire GCRI3058AF, which is equipped with a nice large oven.

For a gorgeous top-of-the-line product, you can’t beat the Miele HR16222i. It has lots of unique features, including the ability to boost power to each of the elements, a guided cooking system called MasterChef with preprogrammed recipes, and a wireless temperature probe.

We think that overall the best induction cooktop is the Bosch NIT8060UC 800 series. All four of its elements are high powered but can also be used at very low heat and each one has 17 heat settings.

If you’re looking for the most technologically advanced induction cooktop you can buy and money is no object, you’ll love the Thermador CIT30YWBB. Rather than having cooking zones or burners, it automatically senses a pot anywhere you place it. You can use the entire surface area for cooking with five pots and pans of any size simultaneously in any position.

Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop - Secrets Unlocked

Our Top Electric Cooktops and Ranges

Our number-one recommendation is the Café CES700P2MS1 slide-in electric range. For starters, it'll give your kitchen a pro-style look for a lot less than many high-end brands. It features a power boil element and can be connected to Wi-Fi so you can program it remotely.

If your most important consideration is price, consider the GE JB735SPSS. We love the fact that it has an air fry setting in the oven so you don’t have to buy a countertop-cluttering air fryer.

If you're looking for a cooktop rather than a range, our top pick in a 30-inch size is the sleek GE JP5030SJSS. It has a high-power element for quick boils and searing steaks as well as a bridge burner that connects two elements to form one long one; it's great for when you want to use a griddle or a fish poacher.

The Bosch NET8669UC is our recommendation if you want a 36-inch cooktop with five burners. It features a unique countdown timer, which allows you to set a timer for individual heating elements. You won’t have to worry about burnt rice or stringy beef stew.


Conclusion

Hands down, induction ranges and induction cooktops are a better choice than electric cooktops in every category except price. And the prices of induction cooking appliances have been dropping so that you can now buy one for around $1,000.

When you cook on induction, you’ll find that pots and pans heat up faster and your spaghetti water boils more quickly, even compared with gas cooking. Plus, you‘ll have precise control over whatever you’re cooking so your chicken never overcooks, your tomato sauce doesn’t scorch, and your pudding doesn’t curdle. Besides, clean-up is easier, and you’re less likely to wind up burning yourself by accidentally touching the hot cooktop.

Because induction stovetops are more energy-efficient than electric or gas stoves, you’ll also save a little on your utility bills, too. If you can find the money in your budget for an induction cooktop or range, I think it’s well worth the cost.

Back to blog