Induction Introduction

Induction cooking is the way of the future, and actually, is the state of the art right now. In fact, in Europe and Asia, this has been the predominant form of cooktop for over a decade. What is induction cooking? Induction cooktops rely on electromagnetic currents that directly generate heat in your pan’s metal. For that reason, cooking pots and pans need to be able to conduct the current. Cast iron skillets work great as does any pot that a magnet will stick to.


Induction cooking is nothing like your parents’ electric stove. Unlike those old electric cooktops, induction cooktops are highly responsive to increasing or decreasing temperatures – even faster than gas burners! Power boosters let you boil a pot of water in half the time compared to gas stoves. In addition, induction cooktops offer precision cooking; you can finely control the temperature of your heating element. Another bonus: it is cooler in your kitchen, since there is no gas flame, and all of the heat is directly generated in the pot.


Another very important advantage of induction cooking is your health. Your gas stove creates a large amount of indoor air pollution every time you turn on a burner: nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, etc. The level of indoor air pollution produced while cooking a meal on a gas stove is HIGHER than the EPA would allow in outdoor air. These indoor pollutants pose significant health risks, including increased risk of respiratory diseases such as asthma, and are particularly of concern for children although they provide hazards for everyone.

Our portable countertop induction stove. Precise temperature control and timer control make cooking virtually foolproof. Photo Ann Feeney.

Choose your options: Starting at the top of the line, for about $4500, try a Thermador Freedom 36” cooktop. The entire cooktop is fully usable, with automatic pot detection to recognize where your pot is located, so any size or shape pot can be used. I wish we were building out our kitchen now – I would LOVE this cooktop! There are many options for mid-range induction cooktops, available at many big box stores. At the bottom of the scale, try what we did: a $100 single burner cooktop from Amazon. We place it right next to our gas stove, which we now only use when we need 2 burners simultaneously.


Want to try it out first before making the leap? San Diego Green Building Council has a cooktop loaner program, where they will let you try one of their single burner cooktops for 3 weeks. ( Give it a try – you will love it.