We had our new kitchen fitted in early 2011 and were really keen to get an induction hob at the time, drawn to the fact that they are so much easier to clean than a gas hob, with all it fiddly bits and bobs, not to mention their energy efficiency. Whilst cleaning the gas hob this morning …(oh the joy) we were debating why on earth we didn’t get one and came to the conclusion that we were put off by some friends who had to have the energy input to their home increased, so that they could run theirs. Back then, we were trying to make sure that the running costs in our new home were as low as possible and figured that if you needed to increase the electricity supply to your home to run your hob, it must be an energy hungry appliance to own.
Being somewhat daft and up to our eyeballs with a renovation, we never really looked into it in any depth, but today, almost two years too late and feeling hacked off with the fiddly knobs on my gas hob. I decided it was time to learn a bit more about induction hobs and their pros and cons and wanted to share my findings with you.
An induction hob works by an electromagnetic field and transfers energy directly to any magnetic pan on contact. No energy at all is wasted in the area surrounding the pan, which is better for the planet and should in theory mean they cost less to run too. They heat up incredibly quickly, so there is little to no time hanging about. I guess this is where the high kick of energy is required, although it would seem that this energy is required for less time which is a plus. When you remove the pan from the hob, it goes off and the only heat you will find on your hob is the transferred heat from the pan. This makes the induction hob far safer to use than other alternatives, but it is definitely not a good idea to test this out by sticking your palm on the hob after cooking to check that it is cold. (You will have to trust me on this one).
The fact that you could only use magnetic pans with an induction hob, meaning some pans, for example copper ones, wouldn’t work, was once perceived as a major disadvantage, but nowadays the majority of pans are made with this in mind and include a magnetic material in the base to make sure they are suitable, making this much less of a problem.
Induction hobs are clever; some of them will not work if the pan is empty, whilst others have functions like cutting out if you accidentally allow the pan to boil over and ‘keep warm’ settings. In terms of speed and efficiency for the job they certainly appear to excel.
From my little bit of research today, I have learnt that pacemakers and induction hobs are not always friends – the electromagnetic field can potentially mess around with your blood pressure. I also found out that certain models can consume a great deal of energy whilst merely on standby – so if you are aiming to minimise your homes energy consumption this is a point worth exploring when searching for the right hob for your kitchen.
The range we chose with its electric oven and gas hob certainly appears to have been the more cost effective choice, ( even if the hob is a pain in the butt to clean), but if you are looking for the ideal electric hob – the induction ticks all of the right boxes.
So there you have it. If you are still awake, thanks for bearing with me. If I lost you several paragraphs ago, I’m really sorry about that.
Link to the above image here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/13985356@N05/1808982517/