The whole world is currently undergoing a big change. It is shifting towards a more sustainable way of living. More and more people are adopting appliances that run on electricity instead of oil and natural gas. That’s why induction hobs are in great demand today. But with this change comes a big confusion: what are the best pans for induction hobs?
But you do not need to worry anymore! We have compiled all the information that you need to know about cooking with induction hobs. Relax and let us explain all about the best pans for induction hobs.
Our Top 5 Induction Pan Picks
If you want to skip past our buying guide, you can click on any of these top 5 products we have chosen to find out more about them:
- Tefal 30 cm Comfort Max
- Blackmoor 67099 Non-Stick Anti-Scratch Frying Pan
- MasterClass Lightweight Casserole Dish with Lid
- Velaze Pot & Pan Sets
- Morphy Richards Accents Induction Saucepan Set
What Is An Induction Hob?
An induction hob (“induction stove” or “induction cooktop”, as it is known to some) is the newest addition to the cooking technology. It uses electricity to produce heat for cooking. It does not rely on radiation, convection or conduction processes to transfer heat to the cooking pot. Some instruments that use these technologies are microwave oven, gas stove, and electric coil cooktop. The induction hob uses a completely different physical phenomenon to transfer heat. This phenomenon is known as induction, which also gives the instrument its name.
The Working Of An Induction Hob
The induction hob consists of a thickly wound coil of copper wire that is placed under the cooking surface. When an alternating current is passed through this coil, it produces a magnetic field. The domestic electricity used to power households has alternating current.
When a cooking utensil is placed on top of the cooking surface of the hob it gets affected by the magnetic field that is produced by the coils inside it. The magnetic field induces an electric current in the utensil. The current faces a lot of resistance from the utensil material while flowing inside it. This resistance causes the utensil to heat up. Over time the heat adds up and reaches a temperature that is ideal for cooking food.
So, unlike traditional methods that heat up the cooking surface and then transfer that heat to the pan, an induction hob heats up the pan directly.
A Brief History Of Induction Cooking Technology
The first patents date back to 1900s. It was introduced to the public in the Chicago world fair in 1950. To demonstrate the safety and convenience of cooking with the induction technology, the presentation was done by keeping a newspaper between the cooking surface and a pot while boiling water. Modern developments in induction cooking started in the 1970s. Even NASA has used induction cooking technology for its space programs!
Important Features Of An Induction Hob
The induction hob has a lot of features that make it different from other traditional cooking methods. Let’s go over them in detail:
- Power usage: Induction hob provides faster and more even heating than other sources. It is very energy efficient. That’s why it consumes less electricity than many other appliances like water heaters and electric irons.
- Controls: Induction hobs can be turned on and off quickly. The heat levels are very easy to control. If you change the heat level, it is quickly reflected as the output. It saves a lot of time as you can bring a boiling temperature to simmer or vice-versa very fast.
- Safety: The hob can detect if a pan is kept on it or not. It turns itself off when you take the pan off. It can also detect when the temperature is too high. If the pan sits for too long and gets dry, the hob will get turned off automatically.
- Surface: The hob surface is made of ceramic. It is flat and smooth, which makes it quite easy to clean. You need to wipe it with a wet cloth once followed by wipes with a dry cloth. The surface does not get too hot, so there is less hazard of burning and food sticking to it.
- Noise: A little noise is produced by the fan of the internal cooling unit present in the hob. A very faint, electric humming sound could also be heard. But it is easy to ignore and will not disturb you.
- Efficiency: Cooking methods that use flame or heating elements lose a lot of heat to the surrounding. Whereas, induction hob directly heats the pot, instead of transferring it heat from a certain source. That means a lot less loss of energy and high efficiency.
- Heat generation: Since the induction hob loses minimal heat to the surrounding, it can keep the kitchen at much lower temperatures when compared to other cooking methods, especially gas. Hence, you can work comfortably with induction hobs even in basic ventilation.
- Versatile cooktop: A hob can have one or more than one cooking area. Induction hobs with 2, 3, and 4 cooking areas are the most popular. But some can accommodate 5 areas too. Some hobs do not have assigned cooking areas, which means you can place as many pots as you can anywhere on them.
- Compact: An induction hob is a very compact apparatus. It is very easy to move around. It does not take too much area in the kitchen and is lightweight too. It is easy to install, it just requires a 220-240 Volt electric socket.
After reading so many big words you might be wondering if it is even safe to cook with these high-tech appliances. You do not need to worry about it. An induction hob is very safe for human use. The magnetic fields spread only within 2-3 cm of the appliance and they do not harm the users. If you are still sceptical, some manufacturers produce hobs that have anti-magnetic walls around them. These walls will make sure that you will stay out of the reach of magnetic radiations.
Some Other Features
Apart from the major features listed above, here are some other interesting features present in many models of induction hobs.
- Timer settings: Induction hobs come with a timer setting where you can set the amount of time for which you want the food to be cooking. It is quite handy when you have to do simple tasks like boiling water or tea. You can go tend to other tasks without worrying about boiling the pan dry.
- Preset cooking menu: Many inductions include preset cooking menus such as grill, stir, boil, and fry. They define heat and duration for each menu option. They save your time and efforts you would have spent in adjusting the settings all the time.
- Multifunctional display: Induction hobs come equipped with a nice display screen. It will display the current temperature level, voltage, timer setting and child lock setting. It also helps you keep track of how much electricity you are consuming.
- Safety sensors: It has a lot of sensors designed for different tasks. It can detect if a pan is present or not and turn the power supply on and off according to it. It also monitors the temperature of the pan base and turns off if it is too hot. That keeps your pan from burning over.
- Child lock: When you engage the child lock feature, the induction hob becomes immune to any changes done to it. You can use it when you have a child around and have to leave the hob unattended.
- Small-item detection: The induction hob can detect if the utensil placed on it is too small. In that case, it will not heat up the utensil. It proves to be really useful when you place a spoon or a fork on the hob accidentally.
These features are very helpful and make cooking a really enjoyable experience. However, there are some situations when an induction hob might not be an ideal option.
We have covered almost all you need to know about induction hobs above. But there might be some practical questions you might have. Check the answers below if you feel that you still have some confusions about cooking with induction hobs.
Can you harm your induction hob with a generator?
The answer is no, you can not harm your induction hob with a generator. But you should be careful about the maximum power you need for your induction hob. Take care that it does not go over 1 KW as it may result in overloading if your generator is of low power. You can get precise information about using a generator with an induction hob on the user manual you get with it.
Can you use an induction hob while camping?
Yes, you can use an induction hob while camping. You can choose single cooking zone induction hob available in the market. They are very compact and lightweight. You can easily carry them anywhere and use them without any problem if you can get a power supply nearby.
Can you use parchment paper under a cast iron pan while cooking on an induction hob?
Yes, you can use parchment paper under a cast iron pan while cooking on an induction hob. It will prevent scratching of the cooking surface that can happen due to the roughness of the cast iron pan. There is no fear of burning the parchment paper.
Is cooking food on induction hob bad for health?
No, cooking food on an induction hob is not bad for health. Induction hobs create electromagnetic waves, but these are low energy waves. They do not cause any harm to human health. The radiation emitted is of a very low level. Moreover, the radiation is limited to 2-3 inches from the cooking surface. They will not affect you in the slightest. You do not have to worry about bad health caused by induction hobs as there is no such thing.
Do induction hobs become too hot?
No, induction hobs do not become too hot. In fact, before cooking it is not hot at all. You can easily touch the surface without any fear. Take care to leave the surface to cool down after cooking, as it may have become a little hot due to heat from the pan. It will still not get too hot. So any food that spills over will not burn and stick to the surface, and can easily be cleaned off.
Do induction hobs save energy?
Yes, induction hobs save a lot of energy! They are good for the environment too. They can convert almost 90% of the electricity that they use into heat. So the energy loss is quite low. For comparison, gas hobs are only 40% efficient! More than half of the energy is lost in the form of heat to the surrounding.
What is a hybrid induction hob?
A hybrid induction hob has induction cooking combined with either a gas burner or an electric hob. It allows you to cook with a lot more flexibility. What you can not do with the induction hob can be done with the other hob. You can choose from either a hybrid induction electric hob or a hybrid induction gas hob. Choose the option that suits your cooking preference and allows you more freedom in the range of cuisines.
What is a freedom induction hob?
A freedom induction hob is a type of induction hobs that do not have assigned zones for cooking. You can put your pan anywhere on the surface, unlike regular induction hobs that have specified areas to put a pan on. This provides you with much more freedom. You can use a very large pot too as long as it fits on the cooking surface. You can fit as many pans and pots as possible and the hob will work fine with all of them.
A hob is not suitable if you want to deep fry food. You cannot use it to char or roast food because it has no flame. You cannot use too large or too small utensils on it. A pot with a base too small will not be detected as suitable cookware. And for pots with a large base, the available surface area will not be enough. People who wear pacemaker are advised to stay away from induction hobs as the magnetic field produced by it might interfere with the instruments. Although its negative effect is not a proven fact, it is good to do so for additional safety measures. If you use a digital thermometer to take the temperature of food, magnetic fields might interfere with that too. It is better to use an analogue thermometer in that case.
Getting an induction hob repaired can be costly as it requires a skilled technician to do so. It also requires cookware made of ferrous materials. Simply put, they should be able to attract a magnet. If the utensils in the kitchen are unable to do so, they are not suitable for induction cooking. Later in the article, we will see the best pans for induction hobs.
Cookware For Induction Hobs
To use an induction hob, you must have cookware that is compatible with it. Most models only allow ferrous metal cookware. Ferrous metal is a metal that has magnetic properties or can attract a magnet. The pans and pots to be used with induction hobs should have a flat bottom. Magnetic field decreases rapidly with distance from the hob surface. Hence curved bottom pans are not suitable for cooking on induction hobs. Induction compatible pans can be used with all other kinds of stove.
Some induction pans or their packaging is marked with the word “Induktion” to show its compatibility. Induction hobs work well with any pan that has high ferrous metal content in its base. Cast iron pans will work well with induction cooking surface. Stainless steel pans are good too if their base is made with magnetic grade stainless steel.
The Magnet Test
You can do a small test at home to check if your pan is compatible with the induction hob or not. It is called “The magnet test”. All you have to do is to hold a magnet close to the bottom of the pan.
- If the magnet clings to the bottom, the pan is compatible with induction hobs.
- If the magnet is attracted to the bottom but does not cling firmly, the pan could work but it will do a poor job.
- If there is no attraction at all then the pan cannot be used with induction hobs.
The non-compatible pans will not harm your induction hob. They will simply not get heated up. There are some models of induction hobs that do work with all kinds of metals, even non-ferrous ones. But they are very rare and quite expensive. They also consume more power than the regular induction hobs.
An Alternative Method
There are disks available in the market that can make non-compatible pans work with induction hobs. These are known as induction disks or converter disks. They are made of ferrous metals. They are flat and are placed between the surface of the hob and the base of the pan. They interact with the magnetic field and generate heat. Then they pass this heat to the pan’s bottom. But this method is not very energy-efficient as it loses a lot of heat to the surrounding. It is better to opt for a pan with a ferrous metal base. It will allow you to utilize the induction hob in its full efficiency.
Aluminium and copper pans do not work well alone with an induction hob. They allow current to flow easily. It encounters very less resistance and therefore produces very less heat. However, aluminium and copper conduct heat very efficiently. This property is very desirable for cookware metals. A method for manufacturers to overcome this dilemma is to make ‘tri-ply’ pans. These pans have a base that has an outer layer of stainless steel. The inner layer and the walls are made of aluminium. It gives the pans ability to capture the magnetic radiation and generate heat from it as well as the ability to spread that heat around the pan quickly and evenly. That makes ‘tri-ply’ pans the best pans for induction hobs.
While boiling liquids such as water and stews, the liquid spreads the heat throughout itself. It prevents focusing of heat in one spot resulting in uneven heating. But when working with other foods like sauces your pan must have a thick stainless steel base and aluminium walls for even heating and reducing the risk of burning the food.
Avoid the direct contact of thin conductive metals, like aluminium foil, with the surface of the induction hob. It can get too hot and burn, posing a risk to the equipment and the user.
Factors To Consider For Induction Hob Pans
There are some important factors that you should keep in mind while selecting an induction-compatible pan for yourself. These factors distinguish the best pans for induction hobs from normal pans. The best pans will help you use your induction hob in a much more efficient way. Let’s go over them one by one.
- Material: As some materials work better than others on an induction hob, it is important to choose one with the best output. Stainless steel is a popular choice for induction compatible utensils. It is strong and is also resistant to corrosion. It is not too heavy and can be cleaned very easily. Another option is to go for cast iron pans. They are a very good magnetic material. They can be expensive but they have a very long life. It has a thick base which ensures even heating but can take a very long time to heat up. They can be quite heavy. Aluminium is very lightweight and thus makes very light pans. It conducts heat very well. And it does not develop rust. But it is not compatible with induction on its own. To make it fit for use with induction hobs aluminium pans have a base made of stainless steel plate. The plate captures the magnetic field, gets heated up and then passes this heat to the rest of the aluminium pan.
- Your cooking method: If your style generally consists of slow and steady cooking, opt for heavy base pans. They will take time to heat up but once they are hot they will provide steady and even heating. They are ideal for cooking food that takes a long time to prepare. If you do fast cooking more often, you should go for a stainless steel base. They are slimmer and heat up fast. They will also reflect any change in temperature settings quickly. But you need to be a little careful with them as they are prone to burning if left on high heat for too long.
- Size: You will notice a circular area marked on your induction hob. It is the area where you are required to rest the base of your pans while cooking. This area is packed with magnetic fields and will help your pan generate the most amount of heat. Most induction hobs provide a large enough area to fit your pans. But still, when you are looking for a new pan do consider the size of that area. Do not buy a pan with a base that is either too big or too small for your induction hob. If your hob does not have a marked area, that means you can keep your pan anywhere on it. In that case, you are free to buy any pan of reasonable size.
- Base: The base is the most important part when considering induction cookware. Because it is responsible for generating heat you will want to ensure that it is a good fit for that task. As mentioned earlier, for working with induction hobs the pan should have a magnetic base. Even if rest of the pot is made of aluminium, if the base is of stainless steel or iron, it will work well for you. You should also take care of the shape of the base. Since it is required that the base should have maximum contact with the hob surface, prefer a pan with a completely flat surface. Pans with a warped or curved surface are not a good choice as they will fail to generate enough heat.
- Number of pieces: If you cook a large variety of food you will require different types of pots. One frying pan will not be enough for you. You will need a saucepan, a stewpot, a casserole dish and much more depending on the cuisine. In that case, you can opt for buying a set of different pans and pots. If you are looking for a set, the number of pieces becomes an important criterion as it will affect your range of cuisine as well as the total cost of the set.
- Handle: Prefer pans with handles that have a plastic, rubber or silicone coating on them. It will protect you from heat while holding them. If the handle is made of metal, make sure that it is hollow. It will be better if you can get a pan with a long handle.
- Cost: Induction compatible pans come in a variety of price range. You can get a pan of your choice at any cost. So you do not need to compromise with your budget to find a perfect cooking pan. It may take some time to browse through so many options but at last, you will find a compatible pan that suits your needs and is not hard on your pocket.
5 Best Pans For Induction Hobs
Now that you know all about induction hobs and pans to be used with them, it is time to look at some great products. All these products are some the best pans for induction hobs. They are of very high quality. The users have given them more than satisfactory ratings. They all are highly recommended and we are sure that you will find a pan of your choice among them.
These are manufactured by the Tefal company. All the pans are made from stainless steel. These pans have a power resist coating that gives them non-stick properties. They are highly durable.
They come equipped with the thermospot technology. It lets you know when the pan has reached the right temperature to start cooking. These pans are safe to wash in a dishwasher. They come in various sizes. The size chart includes pans of 20 cm, 24 cm, 26 cm, 28 cm, and 30 cm in diameter. The frying pans are available with and without the top lid.
Apart from frying pans, Tefal sells many other utensils that are safe to use with an induction hob. Those include stewpot, saute pan and wok. These products are also worth checking out. You can also buy pans in a combination of a 3 piece set or a 5 piece set.
They are sold by the brand Blackmoor. All the frying pans are non-stick. These can be used for cooking food on electric hobs, gas hobs, induction hobs, and hot plates. It comes with a hybrid stone coating. The coating allows the pan to conduct the heat faster as well as to retain it during the cooking process. The pans do not require oils or fats for cooking. It also has an anti-scratch coating which allows you to use it without the fear of damaging its surface.
Blackmoor pans are available in a variety of forms. Some of the options include 16 cm milk pan, 18 cm saucepan, 20 cm frying pan, 20 cm saucepan, 24 cm casserole dish, 24 cm frying pan, 28 cm frying pan, 28 cm griddle pan, 28 cm saute pan, 28 cm wok, and a 3 piece pan set. All these pans are available in black and grey colours.
This casserole dish is manufactured by the brand MasterClass. The dish is made of cast aluminium. That gives it all the properties of a cast iron utensil, but the use of aluminium keeps it lightweight. It heats quickly and evenly. It is available in shallow and round shape. The exhaustive list of choices goes like this: 2.5 litres round dish, 4 litres round dish, 4 litres shallow dish, and 5 litres round dish.
All the pans come with a lid. The lid has self-basting property, which means it retains moisture inside the dish and keeps the food juicy and succulent. It is also oven safe. It has two layers of an anti-scratch material which makes it resistant to abrasion. It also has non-stick quality. All the pot come in 3 colours: black, metallic blue, and ombre grey. The lightweight cast aluminium collection is built to last a lifetime, hence it comes with 25 years guarantee from the manufacturers.
This cookware set is manufactured by the company Velaze. The set comes in a variety of combination of pots and pans. The available sets are 7 piece set, 8 piece set, 12 piece set, 14 piece set, and 16 piece set. The biggest set includes:
- a casserole dish with a glass lid of capacity 1.6 litres
- a pot with a glass lid of capacity 1.6 litres
- a bigger pot with a glass lid of capacity 3.1 litres
- a saucepan with a glass lid which is 24 cm wide
- a pan with a glass lid which is 24 cm wide
This set is ideal for preparing all kinds of foods including vegetables, fish, salad, and meat. The pots and pans are made of high-quality stainless steel. They are rustproof, polished, and shiny. The glass lid allows you to keep an eye on the food while it is cooking. They are suitable for all heat sources, including induction hobs. They are safe to be washed in a dishwasher. Large handles protect you from burn and provide comfortable lifting experience.
The last recommendation on our list comes from the Morphy Richards brand. You can opt for either a 2 piece frying pan set or a 3 piece saucepan set. The frying pans come in the width of 24 cm and 28 cm. The saucepans have a width of 16 cm, 18 cm, and 20 cm. All the pans are made from pressed aluminium. They are suitable for all hob types, including induction hobs. They are safe to be used in an oven up to 220 degrees.
The inside of the pans is coated with ceramic. It makes them non-stick and that’s why they require very less oil for cooking. The lids are made of tempered glass and have steam vents for extra safety and strength. The handles are also made of stainless steel, but they are hollow so that they stay cool and provide a comfortable handling experience. All the pans come with one year guarantee. The colour options include black, red, cream, translucent black, titanium, and titanium black.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you use normal pans for induction hobs?
No, you cannot use all types of normal pans with induction hobs. If your pan is made of cast iron or stainless steel it will work fine with the hob. But if it is made entirely of copper or aluminium, it will not get heated up. This hob works by converting electricity into magnetic fields. Then your pot catches the magnetic field and converts it into heat. For a pot to work with induction hob, it has to be made with ferrous material and have a flat base for maximum contact with the hob surface. They interact actively with the magnetic field and convert it into heat more efficiently.
- What happens if you use normal pans for induction hobs?
If the object is not magnetic in nature, the magnetic fields generated by the induction hob will not interact with it. Hence the object will not get heated up in the slightest. For example, if you place a glass bowl on the hob surface, it will not heat up even after a long time. For the same reasons your hand will not burn if it comes in contact with the hob before cooking. So if you use normal pans, which are not made of iron or stainless steel, they will simply not get heated up.
- What are the best pans for induction hobs?
Any pan that is made from a magnetic material is good enough to work with induction hobs. But many companies design pans that are specially made for cooking on induction hobs. These pans have a thick base made from a high grade of magnetic stainless steel. It allows it to capture more magnetic fields generated by the hob. These pans also have a flat base for maximum contact with the hob’s surface. More surface area is crucial for the efficient working of the pan. It facilitates better heat generation. These factors combined make these pans the best pans for induction hobs.
- How do you know if a pan is suitable for induction hobs?
For working on an induction hob, a pan needs to be made of a magnetic material. Cast iron and magnetic quality stainless steel are the best choices for making such pans. While aluminium and copper base pans do not work with induction hobs. To easily check your pan’s compatibility with induction hobs at home you can do a small test. Hold a magnet to the bottom of the pan. If it clings to the bottom of the pan tightly you know that your pan is suitable to be used with an induction hob. If it does not cling at all or if its hold is pretty weak, then that pot will not work very well with the induction hob.
- Can you convert normal pans to induction compatible pans?
Yes, you can adopt some methods to make your pan work fine with an induction hob. You can use a converter disk to make normal pans suitable to be used with an induction hob. A converter disk is a flat disk made of iron or high-grade magnetic type stainless steel. It captures the magnetic field and converts it into heat. After that, it spreads the heat evenly throughout the base of your pan. However, this is not a very power-efficient solution. Converter disks come with a heatproof handle to hold easily. To use a converter disk you need to place it on the surface of the induction hob. It sits in between the surface and the pan. Be careful to not touch it immediately after cooking as it gets too hot.