Thanks to modern invention, an extensive range of cooktops are available for your kitchen. So if you’re in the market for a new one, deciding which to get can be overwhelming if you’re unsure what you’re looking for.
If you’re set on a sleek and modern stove, your best bet will probably be between an induction and a radiant cooktop. But considering they look similar at first glance, is a radiant cooktop the same as induction?
Both may have ceramic glass surfaces, but there’s more to them under the hood. Read more below to help you decide which stovetop is the right fit for your kitchen.
What is an induction cooktop?
A type of electric stove, induction cooktops use electromagnetic energy to heat your pans directly. Instead of radiant heat, it has a copper coil that produces electromagnetic energy once you place a magnetic pan on the burner.
Since it doesn’t use any open flames, it’s considered safer than other types of stoves. Plus, its ceramic glass surface doesn’t get hot when cooking, which reduces the risks of burning accidents.
But despite their pros, induction cooktops aren’t as popular in home kitchens because of their price tag. But users that had the chance to upgrade to one swear by their efficiency.
What is a radiant cooktop?
A radiant cooktop is also a type of electric stovetop that uses metal coils to cook your food. But instead of electromagnetic energy, electricity will directly heat these coils. The ceramic glass surface is an insulator for the coils underneath, allowing them to warm up rapidly and transfer heat to your pan.
Since its surface can turn hot when cooking, you’d have to be careful not to place your hand or plastic containers nearby. But most models have a feature where the burners glow red to signify that they’re on.
Although the technology of a radiant cooktop isn’t as impressive as an induction stove, it’s still considered a viable option for modern kitchens because of its elegant and polished design. It also has a more affordable price point for a reasonable budget.
Is radiant cooktop safe?
If the mention of the surface turning hot has put you off against trying a radiant cooktop, there’s no need to be afraid because they’re perfectly safe.
As mentioned above, its burners do glow red as they heat up, but the system automatically turns off when it hits your desired heat setting to maintain the temperature.
Similar to an induction stove, a radiant cooktop also doesn’t use an open flame for cooking, lowering the risks of fires in your kitchen.
To ensure your radiant cooktop is safe, it’s also highly advisable to let professionals install your stove to ensure each part is properly set up.
Radiant heat vs. induction cooktop
If you’re still unsure about the difference between an induction cooktop and a radiant cooktop, here’s a quick breakdown of their pros and cons to help you decide which is best for your kitchen:
1. Induction vs. radiant cooktop: Efficiency
If you’re considering upgrading your stove, one of the factors you have to look out for is how fast it can cook your food.
Since not everyone has the time to cook, shaving off a couple of minutes for cooking could be a major lifesaver for your daily routine. So if you’re still torn between the two types of cooktops, you’re probably wondering:
Is induction more efficient than radiant heat?
One of the first things home cooks notice after switching to an induction cooktop is how it cooks their food faster than other types.
That’s because 84% of its heat is directly transferred to the pan instead of leaching out into your surroundings. This results in a lesser cooking time and energy consumption than radiant heat.
Although cooking with a radiant cooktop is also more efficient than a gas stove, an induction stovetop wins this category if convenience is your top priority.
2. Induction vs. Radiant cooktop Cookware
Despite the numerous upgrades that an induction cooktop has, one downside to switching to it is that you’ll need magnetic pots and pans for it to work. Unless you already have them at home, getting new cookware can get pricey if you’re on a limited budget.
But if you’re considering the other type, do you need special pans for radiant cooktops?
Luckily, most types of cookware material are compatible with radiant cooktops. But make sure they have flat bottoms so the heat can distribute evenly. Avoid glass, stone, and ceramic pots because their rough texture can scratch the glass ceramic surface of your stove.
Similarly, can you use cast iron on a radiant cooktop?
Although a cast iron pan can work on a radiant stove, it’s not advisable to use it daily. Due to its heavy weight and rough exterior, it poses the risk of scratching the glass ceramic cover of your radiant cooktop.
But if you prefer to cook on cast iron, remember to avoid sliding the pan around to minimize the chances of leaving any marks. Better yet, you can switch to cast iron cookware with a porcelain coating since it covers its grainy surface.
3. Induction vs. radiant cooktop: Noise
Another reason some home cooks get dissuaded from an induction cooktop is that it can emit a buzz or hum when cooking. Radiant cooktops don’t have this issue since the heat comes from the metal coils and transfers to the pot.
While the electromagnetic energy of an induction cooktop vibrates on a molecular level to create its heat — that’s why some pots produce noises during cooking.
If you like using induction but are not a fan of the noise, one way of solving this issue is to use heavier pans. Because of their weight, the buzzing sound won’t be as prominent as when you’re using a lighter pot. The same goes when your cookware has more content compared to containing less.
The size and flatness of the pan can also cause this issue, so try switching it to a cookware that has the same size as the burner or find one with a sturdier base.
4. Induction vs. radiant cooktop: Cleaning
Since induction and radiant cooktops have ceramic glass covers, they’re both easy to clean because they don’t have any nooks and crannies to scrub through compared to a gas stove.
But because the surface of a radiant stove can get hot, any spills or splatters can burn up if you don’t wipe them away immediately. Some users even have to use a razor blade to scrape away any stains after cooking.
Meanwhile, an induction stove requires less effort to keep clean because its surface doesn’t get hot while cooking. Any grease or liquid overflow from your pot doesn’t burn up, so it will only take some soap and a damp towel to wipe away.
But if you’re worried about making a mess, you can lay a piece of paper towel or parchment paper between the burner and pot to absorb any spills.
Which is better: induction or radiant cooktop?
Even though a radiant cooktop can be handy in the kitchen, many home cooks attest to the wonders of an induction cooktop and refuse to switch back to other types of stoves.
As discussed above, it’s more efficient than a radiant stovetop, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s also easier to clean. Although it does have its own limitations, the investment is still worth it in the long run.
But if you’re only looking for a sleek set-up that doesn’t hurt your wallet, a radiant cooktop can also be perfect for your kitchen. It’s easy to use and reliable, and you don’t have to worry about switching out your cookware.
The bottom line
The elegant flat top designs of induction and radiant cooktops can be pleasing for the modern home cook. But choosing between one doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you think.
Although an induction cooktop can give you a better cooking experience, its price point can be a dealbreaker for some.
But if you want to experience the benefits of an induction stove without totally splurging out your budget, you can also consider getting a hybrid stovetop. That way, you can get the convenience of an induction cooktop without giving up your non-magnetic cookware.
But if you don’t mind switching to a radiant cooktop, it’s safer than a gas stove and can accommodate daily use.
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