Get cooks talking about stoves, and they are bound to have an opinion. So, I shouldn’t have been surprised when a small mention of my desire to swap from gas to an induction stove in my last No Space Too Small column sparked a flurry of comments. It seems some people are wary of induction cooking and have lots of questions while others are passionately in love with the technology.
Induction cooking was first introduced at the World's Fair in Chicago in...1933! It has been widespread in Europe for decades, as those countries have moved more quickly to electrification, but in the United States, it makes up a really small market. According to a Morning Consult survey of around 2,200 adults, induction accounted for only three percent of the ranges or cooktops uses, while 39 percent use gas, 59 percent use electric; the same study found that only a third of respondents were likely to consider induction.
So, what’s the deal with induction? We looked at the state of induction cooking from our community of trusted home cooks, architects, and appliance industry experts. Here’s everything we learned about it, along with some of our experts’ favorite induction cooktops.
What is induction cooking?
Don’t confuse electric-powered induction cooking with the electric-coil ranges of the past. The technology that powers induction cooking is electrical induction, rather than thermal conduction from a flame or an electric heating coil. “Induction is super fast, super safe, and super efficient,” says Albert Fouerti, CEO and co-owner of Appliances Connection, which has been selling stoves for more than 20 years.
Induction cooktops are better for your health than gas stoves.
Cooking gas negatively impacts indoor air quality—a big contributing factor behind the move toward induction. Four research and advocacy organizations—the Rocky Mountain Institute, Mothers Out Front, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Sierra Club—partnered on a literature review, assessing more than 20 years’ of peer-reviewed studies and found that “gas stoves may be exposing tens of millions of people to levels of air pollution in their homes that would be illegal outdoors under national air quality standards.” The impacts are particularly acute for asthma sufferers and young children. Research also suggests that our stoves are leaking harmful pollution even when not in use.
They heat and cool faster, too.
Speed is one of the areas where induction technology has improved. “In 15 seconds you can have a pot of boiling water,” says Fouerti. A Food52 member who goes by Complicity also points out that induction is fast to cool down because there aren’t any heat-retaining grids—a major plus for safety and hot days.
Induction cooking technology has greatly improved.
If you tried induction in the past and found it lacking, you might be pleasantly surprised by today’s models. Fouerti says the induction technology has greatly improved over time. “In the beginning, [induction] wasn't fast enough. It was more powerful than the standard electric cooktop, but it wasn't as efficient as the high-end [gas ranges]. In the past 10 years, we have seen a huge improvement in induction.” There are also new cooktops with a fully activated surface, so the old worry of matching pan sizes with the burner is no longer relevant.
You may not have a choice between gas or induction.
Not every home’s electrical wiring can support an induction range, as several of Food52's community members point out. This is especially true in older apartment buildings where it might cost thousands of dollars to get adequate amperage for an induction range.
Many cities are also banning new gas hookups, including New York City, Seattle, and 50 cities in California. They’re not going to take away your current gas stove, but if you’re building a new home with the proper infrastructure, you might have to go electric. Architect Yaiza Armbruster, the principal of Atelier Armbruster in NYC, says her firm would no longer design kitchens with gas stoves because of health concerns and her firm’s climate goals.
Induction is a boon to small spaces.
I’ve noticed that many European apartments make do with just a two-burner induction range, which frees up counter space. Induction cooktops also blend more seamlessly into kitchens, as Food52 member Marion B., who has a KitchenAid 30-inch induction cooktop, points out. “I love the way the cooktop provides extra counter space and visually disappears into my black granite countertop, making the space look sleeker and bigger.”
But you might have to switch up your cookware.
Despite all the pros, there are drawbacks to making the switch—namely, not all your cookware will work on an induction stovetop. Among the Food52 community, many people said that they missed their favorite non-stick pans, which won’t work on induction. On the flip side, others were rediscovering the glorious non-stick properties of a well-seasoned cast iron pan. If you need recs for induction cookware, we have the best ones right here.
Options are limited, but growing.
Small-space dwellers looking to replace their old 24-inch gas range (like me!) have noticed that there are no 24-inch induction ranges available stateside. Likewise, a high-end interior designer told me she was longing for a 48-inch version for one of her clients. Fouerti says 30 or 36 inches is the standard, but more options are coming. (In fact, his company is working on producing a 48-inch induction range). “It is a bigger piece of glass, so you have to think about how to transport it,” he says. The problem is also price, he points out. “It’s expensive right now. People don’t want to spend $2,000 or $2,400 on a 24-inch range,” he says, adding that prices will eventually come down as demand grows.
Fouerti is clearly excited for the future of induction, but he says we’re still a few years out from full market saturation in part due to supply chain shortages, but also because the U.S. market didn’t anticipate how quickly demand would grow. In terms of style, Fouerti is excited by the “beautiful” ranges from Ilve and “amazing, almost touchless” cooktops from Monogram and Gaggenau.
If you’re still on the fence, you can even test drive the technology with a portable burner. One Food52 member has been using hers for three years, even though she initially bought it as a stop-gap measure when her previous stove broke. And if you need some more convincing, here are 10 induction cooktops and ranges that our experts and community members love.
Fouerti likes this Frigidaire model for its “smudge-proof” finish (a boon for busy families). Plus, he notes its design is “sleek and perfect for a modern kitchen.”
Samsung's tech-forward model features a combination of stainless steel and black. Fouerti says, “I especially like the added attention to detail with the blue illuminated LED buttons and Wi-Fi capabilities.”
Fouerti says you can’t go wrong with Fisher Paykel for design or performance (a sentiment echoed by another homeowner I interviewed), but he likes this model in particular because it has all of the elements of a modern cooktop but has the look of a more traditional model.
Susan Serra, kitchen designer and founder of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., says, “The majority of my clients are requesting induction cooking.” Serra has used a variety of induction cooktops in her client’s homes, but she says her favorite is by Gaggenau. “You can put a pot or pan anywhere and it will heat, and if you're adding another pot to the cooktop, you can move it over and the cooktop detects the location of the pots.”
Serra also likes the SKS induction cooktop due to its flush installation and extra powerful burner.
Another favorite is the GE Cafe smart control cooktop, which Serra likes for its cool features. Reviewers like the syncing burners feature in particular.
7. Dacor 36-inch Induction Cooktop, $3,699
Serra recommends Dacor for “truly intelligent features that I find useful, smart, and fun.” One standout is the “virtual flame” created with LED lights to visually signal when the cooktop is in use.
8. GE Profile 36 in. Electric Induction Cooktop, $2,198
Stefan Bucur and Maegan Bucur, founders of Rhythm of the Home in Lewisville, Texas installed one of GE’s Profile cooktops in a kitchen remodel years ago, calling it a great choice that’s still going strong.
Vicky Cano, a recipe and meal kit blogger, cooks on a Benchmark Induction Cooktop by Bosch. “This cooktop is a little on the pricier side, but not without reason as it's more of a ‘smart’ cooktop,” she says. “The FlexInduction lets you combine two smaller heating zones into a larger one, which is a life-saving feature—especially during holiday cooking.”
10. Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop 36'', $5,799
At home, chef Bridget Bueche (@cooksperspective) uses a Thermador Freedom cooktop, which lets you use the entire surface of the cooktop as one continuous cooking area. “It’s a built-in, flush mount,” she says of the sleek design. When she’s cooking on the go, including outdoors and at events, Bueche uses three portable CookTek tops. “People are starting to practice with portables to get a feel for induction,” she says. “There are also electrification groups and utility agencies offering rentals to promote the switch.”