With the evolution of induction cooktops, it’s now easier and more affordable to install in your kitchen. However, most people don’t realize that induction cooktops require special induction compatible cookware for the induction to work.
Because induction cooktops are different than electric or gas cooktops, you have to be more considerate when you go shopping for cookware. So, how do you know if you’re grabbing induction compatible cookware?
There are a couple of ways that you can tell if you’re buying induction compatible cookware and if your current cookware will work. There’s also a way that you can make non-compatible cookware work with your induction cooktop.
Induction cooking creates a magnetic field between the magnetic coils and the bottom of the pot beneath the cooktop. The energy that’s created in the electromagnetic field is what is used to heat the contents of your pan. There are several benefits to using induction cooktops instead of gas or electric:
Induction compatible cookware must have ferromagnetic materials: it either has a magnetic layer, or it contains iron.
There are also a few cons with having an induction cooktop:
The materials that make the most induction compatible cookware includes many types of stainless steel, enameled cast iron, and cast iron. There are a few exceptions, however. If you find cookware that is made from aluminum and stainless steel, it’s not going to be induction compatible. Because of exceptions like this, stainless steel is the most confusing material to try to figure out if it’s induction compatible cookware. This is because it can be made with quite a few different other metals; having a high nickel content can block the creation of the magnetic field.
Glass, all-copper, and aluminum cookware won’t work unless they are designed with a magnetic layer. Many manufacturers have started to add a magnetic layer to the bottoms of pots and pans, but older cookware won’t have this. Copper and aluminum require a much higher frequency to generate enough heat to cook your food.
If you want to tell if your current cookware is induction compatible cookware, there is an easy test that you can perform. Simply hold a magnet up to the bottom of the pan, if the magnet:
Note: There are quite a few manufacturers that have begun to put an “induction compatible” symbol on the bottom of their pots and pans or will note the induction compatibility on the box. The symbol often looks like a coil or a horizontal zigzag.
Do you have an induction cooktop, but your favorite piece of cookware isn’t compatible? If so, you might still be able to use it. There are products, such as a stainless-steel induction hob heat diffuser, that can be placed on the cooktop underneath the pan that will create a heat reaction which will heat the contents in your pan.
Before you purchase any induction compatible cookware pieces, there are a few strategies that you should follow to help save you some time and money.
Induction cooktops have become increasingly popular over the years but finding induction compatible cookware can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. There are a few different ways that you can tell if a certain cookware set is induction compatible, including using a magnet and reading the label. Always use the magnet test when you’re unsure because then you’ll know if an electromagnetic field will be created with your induction cooktop.
Stay away from certain metals (e.g., aluminum) or stainless-steel that is mixed with other metals. The chances of these types of pots and pans working with your induction cooktop are very slim and not worth wasting your hard-earned money. Remember to follow the strategies listed above to help you save time when going shopping for induction compatible cookware.