Induction cooktops are becoming more popular among commercial chefs.You can quickly turn up or down the heat as with a gas cooktop, it’s easy to clean like an electric cooktop, and it doesn’t heat the surrounding area - almost all the heat goes to what you're cooking!
According to this fabulous article by Wirecutter, induction cooktops have been pretty widely available since the mid-2000s. With that being said, only 1% of stoves and 15% of built-in cooktops use induction. Why is that?
Well, one reason is that induction cooktops require certain pots and pans to even work. It can also be confused with a smoothtop electric cooktop that looks identical to it. So some of the stereotypes that come with electric cooktops can be projected onto them.
Induction cooktops, (which are still powered by electricity), look exactly like the smoothtop variety of electric cooktops, but instead of using coils that heat up, they create a magnetic field to heat the pan! So if you turned it on and put your hand on it, you wouldn’t feel a thing. Be careful though, if you’re wearing a ring, that will get hot!
As far as the price, there is a misconception that they are far pricier than their gas and electric cousins. An entry-level induction cooktop may go for a few hundred more than an entry-level gas or electric, but high-end gas cooktops tend to be pricier than a nice induction cooktop.
They are the most efficient out of the three styles and use only around half the power of an electric cooktop.
The Case For Gas Cooktops
Gas cooktops are the flashiest and, dare we say, most iconic of the three styles. When you think of a professional kitchen, one of the first things to come to mind are the line cooks sauteeing various dishes along a long row of gas burners.
Gas cooktops offer a sense of familiarity to most people. They also work well with pots and pans of different shapes and sizes, while electric cooktops perform better with pots and pans that have flat bottoms. On top of that, induction cooktops require pots and pans that a magnet can stick to (check what you already have, many pots and pans, and cast iron skillets are compatible with induction cooktops).
Gas cooktops allow you to adjust the heat to the level you desire instantaneously, as do induction cooktops. On the other hand, electric cooktops take some time to heat up and cool down. It’s kind of like the heat in your house, you can turn the temperature up and down, but it takes some time to respond.
Gas cooktops use more energy but are also cheaper to operate than electric. What does that mean? Well, while less of their heat makes it to the pan than with an electric cooktop, gas is still cheaper to operate than electricity in most cases.