If you aren’t cooking with gas, induction ranges are definitely the way to go. Although the best induction ranges used to be outrageously expensive, prices have come down significantly in recent years, and the technology has only gotten better.
Of course, there are some critical differences between induction and electric ranges, which I will outline and discuss below. Additionally, there are some important questions to consider before diving in – what kind of pans do you need? What kind of electrical hookup is required?
But before getting into the nitty gritty of installation and cookware, let’s break down the best induction stovetops out there. Here are the six best induction ranges currently on the market.
This Built-in Induction Cooktop from Gasland is very cool, and I’ll say right up front that it comes in a variety of sizes, from 12 inches all the way up to this 36 by 19.3 inch model. The cooktop features five cooking zones, arranged as you might expect, with four zones at the corners and one slightly larger zone in the center.
The Gasland cooktop is also quite powerful, with a maximum power output averaging about 7000W. You’ll need a special power outlet for this – be forewarned – something that can run on 240V. These are the same high capacity outlets for most modern cooktops and ovens, as well as other larger appliances like refrigerators and washer/dryers.
The whole system is operated by a digital touch control, conveniently positioned front and center on the cooktop. The controls are pretty easy to use as well, with nine power levels on each “burner.” The controls are pretty sensitive though – one of the very few downsides – meaning you can accidentally adjust the temperature if you drop food on the front panel.
In addition to controlling temperature, the digital panel is also programmed with lots of convenient functions like a timer and even an automatic shut off. The automatic shut off is actually a safety feature, as are the child safety locks and controls against overheating.
The Gasland Built-in Induction Cooktop heats quickly and stays hot without even the slightest temperature variation, but it does make a soft hum as it warms up. Not to worry, this doesn’t mean anything is wrong, but it is worth mentioning as it might be alarming otherwise.
If you’re looking for a moderately sized and portable induction cooktop, the Cuisinart ICT-60 is a perfect option. Efficient and affordable, with a variety of temperature settings, it’s great as both an auxiliary cooktop and a stand alone cooking station.
Did you know that induction cooktops use up to 70% less energy than conventional cooktops? That’s pretty incredible. I really like how energy efficient this thing is without skimping on power.
There are two “burners,” one on the left that is rather large, with eight different temperature settings, and another on the right, which can be adjusted to five different temperatures.
The digital controls are extremely simple, with separate buttons for both temperature and time. But what I really like about this induction cooktop is that the controls are separate for each burner. What I mean to say is, you can set independent timers for each burner, and that’s pretty cool!
While the cooling fans are a bit noisy, that can be overlooked by the convenience of portability. The fact that it can be moved from countertop to table – even used to serve fondue – is in my opinion quite amazing.
If moving a cooktop around makes you nervous, rest assured that the Cuisinart ICT-60 is also super safe. Not only is it nearly impossible to burn yourself on an induction stovetop, this thing also shuts off automatically 30 seconds after removing your pan.
All in all, the Cuisinart ICT-60 is incredibly versatile, and just a really great addition to have in your kitchen, or even as a primary cooktop in a small apartment or even dorm room. This product without a doubt lives up to, and in fact exceeds, the level of quality attached to the Cuisinart name.
This Thermomate 30 Inch Built-in Induction Range is in many ways comparable to the 36 inch Gasland range above, with a few notable differences. There are a few features on this Thermomate that give it an advantage over its Gasland counterpart, but to be fair, there are also a few areas in which it falls behind.
In the following few paragraphs, I’ll outline where the Thermomate compares to other, similar model induction ranges, where it exceeds other models to truly be the best in its class, and where it could improve.
First things first, let’s start with cooking zones and power distribution. There are five cooking “zones” or “burners” distributed in standard format, with four corner burners and one larger burner in the exact center of the range.
While I appreciate the distribution and power variance – it’s always nice to have a burner to turn to for high heat – I think that trying to fit five burners into 30 inches simply doesn’t work. That is to say, you won’t actually be able to fit five simultaneous pans on this range without things becoming extremely crowded.
To be clear, this potential for crowding is really only that, potential. And in fact the Thermomate does great with four or fewer pans at once; just don’t overburden it.
The unit is also plenty powerful, operating on AC220-240V power (see below for more details on electrical outlets) with a maximum power output of about 7400W. The burners are also very easy to use, each with a touch sensitive digital control operating independent of the other, with nine precise power settings.
The Thermomate also has fantastic safety features, such as overheating protection, a residual heat indicator – this is let’s you know if a burner is still cooling down – an automatic shutdown, and of course, a child safety lock.
And a few simple details put the Thermomate, in my opinion, a step ahead. First, the power cable is four feet long, which doesn’t sound like much, but actually makes installation much more convenient. You’ve already committed so much brain energy into fitting the built-in range into whatever stovetop recess you’ll be working with, and this takes the additional worry of finding the nearest outlet out of the equation.
Lastly, there are some great features that make operating the Thermomate 30 inch built-in a true delight. Obviously, the Thermomate has timers – not a huge deal – but what it also has is a heating boost, warming and stop-and-go functions. In my view, these are game changers when it comes to timing the perfect meal.
The Ecotouch IB640 24 Inch Built-in Induction range is a compact and efficient induction range, ideally suited for small kitchens or as an auxiliary range in a larger space. There are no fancy features or frills here, but it does its job quite well and at a very affordable price.
First off, this thing is quite compact – at just 24 inches across. In fact, Ecotouch also makes a 12 inch drop in option, which is just two burners side by side, if you’re looking to go even smaller.
I really appreciate that they don’t try to fit too much into this range. 24 inches is small, even for four burners, yet the space is used efficiently. The Ecotouch operates on 240V – so it’s just as powerful as larger models – giving it plenty of output on each burner.
The Ecotouch also has a boost function on the lower left hand burner for rapid heating, something that is particularly convenient for boiling water. There is a digital control system that I think could be slightly more intuitive, though certainly not impossible to learn, and nine different power levels for each burner.
And like the Thermomate, this induction range has a four foot power cord for easy installation, something I’ve discussed above as quite convenient. The Ecotouch IB640 is also loaded with safety features, such as child safety locks, automatic pan detection, overheating protection, automatic shut down and a hot surface indicator.
These are really standard features when it comes to induction ranges, and nice to have on such an affordably priced option. There are only two areas in which I think the Ecotouch could perform better.
First, the fan, like comparable models, can be a bit noisy, especially when multiple “burners” are going at once. This seems to be a problem endemic of a lot of induction and electric ranges, and as such one that’s hard to avoid.
The second, albeit minor critique is the temperature control. While there are nine power settings, increasing heat as you go up, there seems to be a greater increase at lower levels than as you reach the top.
What I mean by this is that the temperature heats incrementally, but by relatively even measures, meaning that if level one is equivalent to 10% power output, and level two is around 20%, you’re in effect doubling the heat when moving from level one to level two, and only modifying it slightly as you move from 7 to 8 (around 70% to 80%, respectively).
These are extremely nitpicky critiques, admittedly. I think of them more as areas for improvement rather than strikes against this range. Despite these small issues, the Ecotouch IB640 really is a fantastic product.
This 36 inch, built-in induction cooktop by Frigidiaire takes things up a notch. It’s the full size, complete induction stovetop range that you’ve been looking for, and a great option for nearly any kitchen that will fit it.
The Frigidaire FGIC3666TB (and its smaller, 30 inch variant) really has everything, and most importantly, it performs to the exceptionally high standard that has come to be associated with the Frigidaire name. Thanks to a commitment to precision technology and an investment in quality materials, this induction range sits right up there with nearly every other high end brand.
It is, for a variety of reasons, the best induction range currently on the market. Let me detail the many ways in which it exceeds expectations.
First, I’ll zero in on the size, because I do think it’s worth mentioning. In my opinion, 36 inches really is the minimum size stovetop you can have and still fit five burners. Of course, there are plenty of ranges on the market that try to squeeze five burners into 30 inches, and when you examine the range itself it seems feasible. Unfortunately, the instant you set more than three pans on the stovetop you quickly realize the lack of space.
This range clearly does not have that problem. Ample space is a luxury, as is the power backing up each burner. This range runs on 240V, which has come to be standard, pumping out up to 7200 watts.
It heats quickly, boiling water in minutes, and distributes heat perfectly. Perhaps the coolest feature of this stovetop though is the auto-sizing feature that detects your pan’s footprint and automatically adjusts the focus of heat on the stovetop. This novel technology makes the Frigidaire incredibly streamlined and allows for even greater levels of energy efficiency.
Each burner also has a versatile heating range that goes from a “1,” (a low heat good for keeping your food warm) all the way up to a “9,” (the equivalent of high heat, great for pan frying and searing). And in fact, there is also a “P” setting, that stands for “power boil,” which, to put it simply, boils.
This is all easily controlled with a simple and intuitive digital touch control, separate for each burner and with clear on/off indicators. The control panels also have an automatic shut off feature, a residual heat indicator, child safety locks and a timer.
Like other induction ranges, the stovetop makes a soft hum while in use, owing to the fans below deck that keep the whole system cool. This seems to be a problem with all induction ranges – kind of like a noisy computer fan – and not something to actually worry about.
Empava is a pretty cool induction range maker with a variety of products that are worth mentioning before going into detail on this model, the IDCF9 36 Inch Induction Cooktop. They also make a 12 inch induction range, a 24 inch model, a 30 inch model, and even another 36 inch model.
But what sets the IDCF9 product on this list apart from Empava’s other induction ranges is the “Flexi bridge” feature that allows for linking heat zones. This is great for larger cookware that are too big for a single burner, and especially for rectangular griddles.
This model is also extremely powerful, operating off of 240V, of course, which puts out up to 9300 watts. There are five burners, starting with an enormous 11 inch central burner, surrounded by four corner burners. Two of those corner burners are 7 inches in diameter, while the other two are 8 inches.
The combination of burner sizes as well as the Flexi bridge technology make this cooktop incredibly versatile, which I’d say is the biggest factor setting it apart. That said, the heating levels are controlled not by the intensity of the heating element, but instead by the duration of heating pulses. This in itself isn’t bad, but certainly takes some getting used to, especially if you don’t have much experience cooking on an induction stovetop.
And in addition to the Flexi bridge, there are all of the standard features that we’ve come to expect of an induction range of this level, including separate timers for each cooking zone, boost modes for rapid heating/boiling, an automatic shut off, a hot surface indicator, and child safety locks.
And unfortunately, as we can also expect from most induction ranges, the Empava IDCF9 makes a soft hum while in use, thanks again to the fans that keep the system cool. Not a big deal, but worth mentioning!
The stove top is really one of the most important components of the kitchen. It’s where we do probably 90% of our cooking, and without it, we would be lost, restricted to making salads, roasted vegetables and crudités.
Everything in my kitchen – and I would venture to say yours as well – revolves around the heat source. Given its centrality to basically every meal I cook, picking the right range is hugely important.
Here are a few final thoughts when picking the right range for your kitchen.
Considering induction – what is the difference between an induction range and an electric range?
While glass and ceramic top electric ranges may look like induction ranges, they are actually quite different. Let’s start with the electric range, since it’s been around longer and operates by what is arguably a simpler process.
Electric ranges produce heat with the use of an element – usually a metal coil – through which electricity runs. Think of a light bulb, or the metal coils inside your toaster, or even the metal cables inside of an electric stove – these all operate according to the same principal.
We’ve all seen electric ranges with exposed electric coils – watched as they turned bright red and perhaps even burned ourselves on them. The coils themselves heat up, and are easily recognizable.
The confusion comes from electric stovetops in which the coils are invisible below a glass or ceramic surface. The advantage to these styles of cooktops, obviously, is ease of clean up. They are also easier to work on as auxiliary countertops, since they are perfectly flat.
But make no mistake, while glass and ceramic top induction ranges may look similar to these covered electric ranges, they are another beast entirely. That’s because induction produces heat through the use of copper coils and electromagnetic radiation.
In reality, these copper coils don’t actually heat up, much. Instead, electricity passes directly from the copper coil into the cookware itself, resulting in an alternating magnetic field that heats your pan without wasting electricity on residual heat.
Considering size – will an induction range fit my kitchen?
Induction ranges come in all sizes, from 12 inches all the way up to 36 inches and higher. There are also a variety of options. These include built-in models that sit more or less flush with the level of your countertop, within a recessed cut out, and models that are more portable and can be moved around the countertop, used as primary and/or auxiliary stovetops.
Considering cookware – will my pans work on my new induction range?
Because induction ranges conduct heat via electromagnetic pulses, you will need to use the proper cookware. This is critical, because if you’re using the wrong pans they simply won’t heat up – ever.
The easiest way to verify that your pan will work on an induction range is to do the magnet test. Get a magnet and touch it to the bottom of your pan. If it sticks, your pan is good to go for induction.
One reader – with a background in electrical engineering – recently wrote in to clarify exactly what’s going on with induction cooking. Here’s what he had to say:
Induction stovetops generate magnetic fields that interact with magnetically permeable metals like iron and sometimes stainless steel, permeable metals basically work like an amplifier to magnetic fields. As the magnetic fields enter magnetically permeable metals, they create electric circulating currents that generate heat through resistance. This is possible because metals are also conductive to electricity (induced circulating electrical currents), and their resistance causes heating.
It’s important to note that a metal base will always be conductive, but whether it is magnetically permeable determines whether it will work on an induction stove. In fact, the induced circulating currents give the induction stove top its name.
Non-magnetic metals like copper and aluminum will not work on induction stoves, even though they are electrically conductive, this is because copper and aluminum are not magnetically permeable, so while magnetic field still pass through them, any circulating currents induced into them would be very tiny and would not heat the pan.
Another tip – because induction ranges depend on contact with your pan to conduct electricity, it’s also very important that the bottom of your pan be flat. For best results, always avoid warped cookware.
Considering electricity – what kind of electrical hookup will I need for my new induction range?
This is probably the most important thing to check – besides measuring to ensure your new range fits – before buying. Most induction ranges operate on 240V, which is notably different from the standard 110V outlets into which we plug our everyday appliances.
Luckily, most modern buildings and kitchens have been equipped with these outlets for newer appliances that also run on 240V, like refrigerators, ovens and washer/dryers. But if you don’t have a 240V outlet, you’ll need to call an electrician to have one installed.