There's no doubt the world is changing and technology shapes pretty much everything we do. Today, life in the kitchen is no exception. Preparing meals on an induction cooktop is an exciting shift in precision-controlled, energy-efficient cooking that also provides a safe cooking surface for any generation. With new induction models that are introduced each year, there are considerations and features we'll help you weigh. In this guide, we'll cover everything from wi-fi connectivity and app integration to high-end design options that influence the quality and usability of your induction cooktop.
So how do you select the right option for you?
We've been reviewing, selling, maintaining and having water cooler conversations about induction cooktops for years. We put together this curated and ranked guide that sums up 5 of the best induction cooktops currently available on the market in 2020. We'll compare multiple brands, price points, and other factors to help you choose the perfect option for your needs. But first — what goes into determining a quality induction cooktop as opposed to one that you're better off skipping?
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What to Look For in an Induction Cooktop
First of all, it's important to understand exactly what an induction cooktop is and how it differs from other cooktops. Gas cooktops use gas to ignite a flame that heats your cookware. Electric cooktops heat electrical elements that transfer heat to your cookware. Induction cooktops use alternating electrical current which creates a magnetic field that produces heat to heat the cooking vessel.
As opposed to other cooking methods which not only heat the cookware but also the general surrounding area, the induction cooking zone only transfers heat to the pot itself. There is no wasted energy with induction, therefore, you can boil water and other liquids faster. Controls are precise and ultra-responsive. Sensors control against the dangers of boil-over cutting off power to the cooktop if there is liquid on its surface.
You will also notice that the induction cooking surfaces are not hot to the touch. Therefore, you will have less risk of accidental burns or melted plasticware left on the cooking surface.
Cast iron or stainless steel cookware with a flat bottom is ideal for induction cooking.
But what makes one induction cooktop better than the other? Here are four of the most important factors.
Cooking Power & Range
When choosing your induction cooktop, one of the most important factors to consider is cooking power. You want to be able to quickly boil water and sear foods at high heat. But the low end of the spectrum is important, too. You need to be able to simmer at very low heats or melt chocolate without burning it. That's where a high degree of heating range comes in handy in induction cooktops.
Some brands are known for producing higher-quality products than others. This extends to everything from the quality of materials used in manufacturing to the ease of maintenance and repair in the event that something does go wrong. The best appliance brands create induction cooktops that are built to last, using the highest quality materials and manufacturing methods while also ensuring quality control for every single unit they produce and sell.
One of the best ways of getting a sense for the reliability of a product is looking at the warranty offered by its manufacturer. If that warranty is comprehensive and extends far into the future, it's likely that the brand trusts its products' ability to stand the test of time and avoid costly repairs in the short- or long-term.
It's not just about heating food anymore—with more and more brands battling for dominance of the induction cooktop market, they've come up with creative ways to improve the experience they offer for home chefs. Choosing the perfect induction cooktop should include looking at the extra features it has to offer. These can include ease of cleaning, wireless connectivity, customizable layouts, and other options that can make your cooking experience more enjoyable.
While bonus features aren't always the most important factor when buying, they should definitely be taken into account to get you the best possible value for your money.
Finally, it's important not to neglect design when it comes to the induction cooktop you select. This cooktop will constantly be on display in your kitchen, not hidden away in a pantry, so choosing one with a look that you enjoy and that suits the overall style and decor of your home is very important.
Our Picks - 5 Best Induction Cooktops
Now it's time to dive into our top picks for induction cooktops.
30-inch Induction Cooktop, 4 Cooking Elements
The Cafe CHP95302MSS offers just about everything you could possibly need in an induction cooktop. In 30-inch width option it features 4 elements of various sizes, 3 of them high-powered, and features powerful touch controls and a gorgeous stainless steel trim. It even comes with a griddle pan to give you increased cooking capabilities. The 36-inch option comes with 5 elements.
Owner satisfaction on the GE Cafe series is extremely high, and we've also found them to be incredibly reliable for long-term use. Both their high heat and low heat capabilities are outstanding, and their ability to bridge two elements together is perfect for cooking on larger, rectangular pans.
In tests, this cooktop was able to bring a large pot of water to boil as fast or faster than every other cooktop on the market. But it also has the ability to function at incredibly low heat levels to manage delicate tasks like melting chocolate or simmering tomato sauce.
What really sets this Cafe induction cooktop is the "Gourmet Guided Cooking" feature thanks to the hundreds of video recipes that come with the Cafe app and the wifi connectivity that is built-in to the cooktop. Take the guesswork out when cooking. The "Gourmet Guided Cooking" will adjust time, temperature and pace.
800 Series, 30-inch Induction Cooktop, 4 Cooking Elements
Next on our list is the Bosch 800 series NIT8069UC, which features four burners and a distinctive jet-black design profile. All four elements are high-powered while also being capable of heating at extremely low heat levels, and this model also features impressive and intuitive touch controls.
This Bosch cooktop also features AutoChef, which allows for programmed and preset cooking settings that allow for impressive customization if your cooking experience. You'll also find a range of other features, including Auto-Sizing designed to accommodate pots and pans of various sizes to suit your unique needs.
With excellent reliability and owner satisfaction levels, plus the ability to perform equally well at both high and low heat levels, this induction-style creation from the Bosch 800 series is sure to make an excellent choice for any home kitchen.
Quick note on Bosch induction cooktop lineup:
We noticed that some of the popular review sites still refer to old Bosch models which have been replaced by this model. Specifically, the popular 30-inch NIT8068UC has replaced by Bosch 800 series NIT8069UC
Also, the Bosch Benchmark NITP068UC has been now replaced by NITP069UC which incorporates wifi controls.
36-inch Induction Cooktop, 5 Cooking Zones, Blue Virtual "Flame"
This stylishly designed and opulently appointed induction cooktop from Samsung has all the bells and whistles you might hope for in a cooktop from one of the most innovative tech brands on the market today.
The cooktop features 5 total elements, with 4 high-power elements all controlled by intuitively designed touch controls. The stainless steel trim surrounding the cooktop is an excellent and stylish choice, while powerful features like WiFi-enabled connectivity give you more flexibility and control over your cooking experience than ever before.
The flexibile cooking zones of the NZ36K788OUG allow you to adapt your cooking surface based on the shapes and sizes of your cookware, and the cooktop even includes a magnetic knob that can be used in place of the touch controls if you prefer a more traditional control style for your cooking.
Perhaps one of the flashiest features of this Samsung induction cooktop is its virtual flame feature, which projects flame images onto the bottom of your cookware in order to indicate that it's being heated by the induction element below. It's user-savvy features like these that earn Samsung a spot on this list.
- More Information: Read our in-depth review of the entire Samsung cooktop selection.
36-inch Induction Cooktop, 5 Cooking Zones
Wolf has been an industry leader in high-quality and high-end cooktops for some time, and their induction cooktop series is definitely no exception.
This model features 5 elements, 3 of them high-powered, and also boasts the intuitive touch controls of its competitors. The stainless steel trim surrounding the cooktop's border is impressively stylish, and the subtle element markings result in a minimalist esthetic that many decor-minded buyers will love.
Wolf's induction cooktop ranks highly in reliability, customer satisfaction, and performance at both high heat and low heat—flexible enough to handle the full range of at-home cooking tasks. It also feature the bridge element feature standard in high-end induction cooktops that allows you to cook with large rectangular pans.
30-inch Induction Cooktop, Use the Entire Surface as Your Cooking Area
Rounding out our list is the Thermador CIT30XWBB. Thermador has been a trusted brand in the appliance market for some time, and their cooktops consistently receive high marks across a wide range of criteria.
This Thermador model packs the most advanced features of induction cooking technology. You can use the entire surface area for cooking. Hence, Thermador uses "Freedom" in their marketing terminology. In practical terms, you can cook with 5 pots and pans of any size, simultaneously in any position. It also boasts an intuitive and brightly-lit touch screen to make controlling your cooktop easy and streamlined.
Wifi connectivity comes built-in with this induction cooktop. Thermador's HomeConnect app features many recipes and allows you to control the cooktop with your smartphone. In addition, cooktop and matching range hood can communicate to turn on lights and ventilation. Thermador sells optional cooking sensors that you can attached to your pots and pans. These sensors are able to measure the internal temperature and they will communicate with the cooktop to help prevent overcooking.
The frameless trim of the cooktop is neat and minimalist while also packing a visual punch, and the flexible cooking zones are designed to give you options when it comes to the size of your cookware and general cooking tasks. The 36-inch sibling CIT36XWBB comes in two options, one with a stainless steel frame, the other one with a frameless design.
While its reliability doesn't score quite as highly as its competitors on this list, owner satisfaction is still sky-high. Buyers love the incredibly precise and powerful cooking capabilities of this high-end range, whether they're cooking at high or low heats for a variety of tasks.
- More information: Read our in depth review of Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop.
The induction cooktop market is filled with quality options with a variety of price points, feature sets, and design styles. Choosing the right one for you will come down to your unique needs, cooking style, and what you look for in the design of an induction cooktop. One thing's for certain—the options listed above will give you plenty to consider as you search for the perfect induction cooktop from Designer Appliances.
What’s the difference between an induction cooktop and an electric cooktop?
While electric and induction cooktops look similar, they heat your cookware in different ways. An electric cooktop uses electricity to heat up coils or heating elements below the cooktop surface, which in turn heats up the cooktop and the cookware placed on it. An induction cooktop, on the other hand, uses induction and magnetism to transfer energy from the cooktop directly into the cookware.
What are the most common sizes for induction cooktops?
Like most cooktops, induction cooktops are most commonly found in 30” and 36” sizes, but you can also find varieties available for 24” or 45”, plus more custom sizes that can be found in specific models from certain companies.
Do induction cooktops require more power than electric?
No, induction cooktops do not require more or special power to operate when compared to electric cooktops.
Can induction cooktops interfere with other electronics?
There have been rumors that the magnetic energy associated with induction cooktops can interfere with other electronics or appliances in the kitchen, but there has been absolutely no evidence to suggest this is the case.
Do I need special cookware for an induction cooktop?
Induction conducts heat through magnetic materials, so your cookware must be made from a magnetic material. These materials include magnetic stainless steel or cast iron. Most cookware will prominently feature on the package whether it can be used on an induction cooktop.