Strap on your seatbelts and prepare for a wild ride, as today’s article is about induction cooktops, or, to be more precise, about how to choose the best induction cooktop money can buy. To begin with, induction cooking is the best thing ever invented since grilled slice bread, but all jokes aside, induction cooking is really cool. First, here’s how it works: unlike gas-operated or electrical cooktops, which basically radiate heat which is transferred to the cookware and then into the food itself, induction cooking works very differently.
An induction cooktop produces an electromagnetic field around the glass surface, and the specially designed cookware is turned into the actual heating element once it’s exposed to the energy “field” created by the cooktop. During induction cooking, the stove itself stays cool, as everything is taken care of by magnetism. The advantage of induction cooking is that there are no exposed flames (as in zero heat) on the cooktop/induction range, which means this technology is one of the safest around.
One small disadvantage of induction cooking is that you’ll have to use special gear, as everything revolves around the magnetism between the cookware and the cooktop, i.e. you’ll have to make sure you also have the best induction cookware. However, even if induction cooktops and cookware are not cheap, the benefits of induction cooking are dramatic, especially for busy people.
When it comes to advantages, an induction pan will heat incredibly quickly, and yes, that reduces cooking time significantly. The same goes for boiling water, i.e. via induction cooking, water will boil almost twice as fast compared to an electrical coil/gas operated cooktop. Induction cooking is also one of the easiest surfaces to control, as it transitions quickly from high power to low, which means it’s extremely responsive.
How to Choose the Best Induction Cooktop
Whether we’re talking about portable or a regular cooktop, you must choose the size first and also think about how many cooking zones you’re going to need. A 60 cm cooktop is comfortable enough for 3 cooking zones, but if you want four zones or more, you should go for a 70-75 cm, or even a 90cm for accommodating 5 zones comfortably.
If you only need one cooking zone, just go for a portable cooktop, i.e. something portable and very compact. It doesn’t make sense to waste your money, as these appliances are not cheap. In terms of features, safety sensors are important but don’t worry, almost all modern induction cooktops have them. The safety sensor automatically adjusts the power output in order to avoid damage to your cookware, by monitoring the temperature of the bottom.
Another must-have feature is auto switch-off in case of overheating and safety cut-out. However most if not all models have a variant of the respective features, so don’t sweat it too much. Auto heat-up or Booster are similar, as in they allow you to heat the cooking zone to a higher setting initially, then it automatically turns down after a certain amount of time to a preset setting. Protection against overflows is good in cases of spillovers, as it automatically shuts down the cooktop if disaster strikes. Power management and pan detection are nice safety features to have, and they’re available in higher-end models.
Digital control readings, child lock, gadgets like Wi-Fi, and similar high-tech bells and whistles are also available on some expensive models, but they’re hardly deal breakers in our book. What’s actually important in choosing the best induction cooktop is the power rating (the higher, the better as in faster cooking), the quality/richness of the pre-set menu (helps you cook various dishes with a single touch), the safety features (induction cooking is the safest cooking method by far by the way), the pan size, and, finally, if that’s the case, portability.
With all these in mind, let’s take a look at our top picks for today right after a short commercial break.
Best Induction Cooktops
Bosch 30″ 800 Series Black Induction Cooktop NIT8069UC
The Best High End Induction Cooktop
We’ll start with the Bosch NIT8069UC, a sleek induction cooktop arriving in a black design. This 30’’ cooktop measures 4.13 (height)x31(width)x21.25(depth) and comes with 4×11’’ cooking zones. The power ranges from 1400 Watts to 3700 Watts (30A), and before you ask, yes, this Bosch cooktop is perfect if you’re looking to cook large meals, or if you want your food to be ready quicker because it has lots of power.
The solid power output is spread across its 4 inductions for an even heat coverage, and, most importantly, the 4 high powered elements are also perfectly capable of heating at very low levels, due to the Bosch NIT8069UC’s impressive and intuitive touch controls that allow you to program/preset cooking settings as you see fit. Basically, this home appliance comes with impressive customization options and delivers a high tech cooking experience.
To enumerate a few cool features, we must mention the SpeedBoost thing, which allows you to give more juice to the cooktop if one so inclined for a quicker cooking process, or the AutoChef feature, that automatically adjusts the temperature at the bottom of the pan for a more even heat transfer, being especially useful for beginners. There are no less than seventeen power levels when it comes to temperature, as well as a count up timer that can monitor each individual dish (each cooking zone has its own), a child lock and even Wi-Fi capability, for integrating your Bosch NIT8069UC with your smart home.
- Slim jet-black design profile, high powered cooking zones, intuitive touch controls
- Well built, performs well at both high and low temperatures, 3700 Watts maximum power output
- Features Auto Sizing to accommodate pans and pots of different sizes, an excellent choice for any home kitchen
- Relatively difficult to clean
- The fan duct is square instead of round
Samsung NZ36K7880UG 36″ Induction Cooktop
The Best 36-inch Induction Cooktop
Samsung Electronics is a relatively new player in the induction-cooking business, but the Samsung NZ36K7880UG induction cooktop is very interesting, as it comes with a unique design and solid features. Design wise, the Samsung NZ36K7880UG looks great, featuring a smooth top cooking surface with 5 cooking elements, which can adapt to different sizes and shapes, for more flexibility.
The cooking area is relatively large for the cooktop’s dimensions and offers 15 heat settings and precise adjustment for perfect control over your food. What’s rather unique about the Samsung NZ36K7880UG is the dual flex zone element and the cool blue LED lights, designed to simulate a flame burning under the pan, provided the respective burner is in use. The Flex Zone feature works by combining two specific cooking zones, i.e. it joins them together thus making for one larger cooking zone to accommodate a big pan or whatever you’re using.
The combined Flex Zone measures 8″ x 15″, and that’s a great feature to have with oval pans and griddles. You can use analog or digital controls, whatever you see fit, plus you’ll get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for connecting/syncing your cooktop to a Samsung hood, or to connect your kitchen appliance to your smartphone, and control it by remote (turn it on/off etc.). The Samsung NZ36K7880UG also features Control Lock, Melt Mode for tempering melt butter or chocolate, Simmer Control for even/constant temperatures, and Power Boost for faster boil/cooking on each burner.
- Beautiful design with virtual flames, offers both analog and digital control options
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, Power Boost, Timer. Control Lock
- Can be installed over an oven, 15 heat settings, short learning curve, easy to clean
- None we can think of
Frigidaire 36″ Induction Stove FGIC3666TB
Best Value 36″ Induction Cooktop
Compared to other induction cooktops, the Frigidaire FGIC3666TB is quite large, and that’s the first thing you’ll notice actually: its generous 36’’ width. Even if 36 inches doesn’t sound like much, due to the FGIC3666TB’s 5 cooking zones, it will be more than enough for the vast majority of cooking tasks that you’ll throw at it.
The five individual “burners” can be each set to run at a different temperature, so you’ll be able to cook a wide variety of dishes. On top of that, you’ll benefit from the auto-size feature, i.e. each burner is capable of detecting the size of the pan and concentrate on heating the respective pan. Moreover, the heat is distributed evenly across the entire surface of each burner, thus making cooking a very easy process.
Another important advantage of the Frigidaire FGIC3666TB is that is significantly cheaper compared to the previous induction cooktops reviewed before, so if you’re on a limited budget, this baby would make for a very reasonable asset to introduce you to induction cooking.
- Great value for money, well designed, generous cooking surface
- 5 cooking zones, heats evenly, can set temperature separately for each “burner”
- Easy to clean, fast to boil, comes with a full 12″ round burner in the center
- Touch controls are finicky especially when wet
GE PHP9030DJBB 30″ Induction Cooktop
The Best 30-inch Induction Cooktop
Our next pick is the 30″ GE Profile induction cooktop, a relatively affordable kitchen appliance that comes with touch-sensitive controls, which is almost the norm in the industry nowadays, plus a melt setting and a bridge element for delivering a precise and efficient induction cooking experience. The child safety lock is also present, in order to prevent your kids from turning on the cooktop without your permission.
But what’s really nice about this induction cooktop is that it is very powerful, as in it has a wide enough power range to allow you to cook basically anything, though it lacks the power-boost function available in other (more expensive) models. Here’s the deal: you’ll get 4 heat elements, and each of them has a range from 1800 watts to 3700 watts of sheer power, which is pretty impressive for an induction cooktop of this size.
The lower power settings are calibrated perfectly for simmering foods, while the higher power is ideal for boiling water and searing meats. The melting setting is great for melting chocolate or butter without burning, and there’s also a separate timer feature available for each specific burner, so you can cook several different dishes simultaneously.
The touch sensitive controls allow you to adjust settings and temperature easily due to their modern and clean design. The smallest induction surface has six inches diameter, which comes handy for small tasks, and the largest is eleven inches, which is, let’s say impressive for a 30″ induction cooktop.
- Comes with 4 cooking zones, sync burner feature, timer, lock feature
- Relatively compact and light at 34.8* 26.6* 10 inches, 11″ 3,700-watt induction element
- Has pan presence and size sensors, digital touch controls, hot surface indicator lights
- No Power Boost feature
GASLAND Chef IH30BF
Finally, we have the GASLAND Chef IH30BF, a small and highly portable 12″ induction cooktop which retails for peanut-money compared to its predecessors. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense 2-burner induction stove with nine power levels, child safety lock and sensor touch control, the GASLAND Chef IH30BF would definitely fit the bill, being perfect for kitchens with limited space.
Measuring 0.5″ x 11.3″ x 2.2″, the GASLAND Chef has two cooking zones which vary in both dimensions and power output as it follows: there’s a 6.3″ round cooking zone, which can deliver a maximum of 1500 watts, while the second measures 7.1″, and can be juiced up to 2000 watts.
The necessary features are there, including a child safety lock, auto shutdown protection, overheating protection and detection of small articles; moreover, in order to make your life easier in the kitchen, you’ll also get a multifunctional timer. We know, that’s not much, but remember this is a very affordable product that’s also highly portable and versatile, yet it delivers 9 heating level settings, it’s fairly easy to operate and completely safe.
- Well built, compact design, amazing value for money
- Easy to clean and to maintain, multiple protection functions, digital sensor touch controls
- Multi-functional timer, 2 different cooking zones, durable vitro-ceramic surface
- None really at this price
As you can see, the induction cooktop market has something for each and every one of you. Now, depending on your budget, you can go for a high-end feature-rich induction cooktop like the model from Bosch, or, if you’re looking for something more affordable and/or more portable, the GASLAND may very well fit your bill. Regardless of your choice, everything boils down to your unique cooking style, needs and what you actually look for in an induction cooktop.
We feel confident that the models listed above will give you enough to consider as you search for the best induction cooktop.