When presented with the question of whether induction ranges are better than gas ranges, there is no clear cut winner. The most appropriate response would be to say that it depends on what your idea of “better” is. Induction cooking isn’t a new technology, it began in the early 1900’s and an induction range was produced by Westinghouse in the mid 1970’s, until recently however, the price put them out of reach to most people. Now that demand for these innovative cooktops has driven the price down to a manageable level the question of which is better has become the debate of the day among cooks.
As with most things, there are both good and bad aspects of induction cooking and one of the main selling points is safety. The first aspect of this is that the surface of the burner doesn’t get hot. Induction ranges cook with the use of electromagnets underneath the range top. This allows the cooktop to remain cool and reduces the risks of burns. The second safety benefit is that with the lack of open flame, the risk of fires is lessened. If grease or oil spills on a gas range, the open flame can ignite it causing fires. The same holds true for any material that comes into contact with the open flame of a gas range, such as papers, pot holders, loose clothing, etc.
Speed is another advantage to the induction range. Rather than 2 to 3 minutes to bring 1 quart of water to a boil on a gas cooktop, depending on the specs of the induction range it can be done in around 30 to 45 seconds. This holds true when reducing heat as well. An induction range will instantly reduce a boiling pot to simmer, such as when you notice something starting to boil over.
One of the setbacks is that you must use a particular type of cookware with an induction range. Only iron or steel will work with these innovative ranges. If you are fond of your copper bottomed or aluminum cookware, induction cooking may not be for you. The general rule of thumb is that if a magnet will stick to it then it will work, but for many cooks who are specific about their cooking vessels, this might break the deal.
Since small induction cookplates are available for a very reasonable price, the best option for those who are unsure would be to buy one and try it out before spending a large amount on the induction ranges available.