The expression “to be cooking with gas” means to be making very good progress or doing something very well. Will we be changing that to “cooking with electromagnetic fields”?
Induction Ranges are being touted as the new must-have appliance for myriad culinary, health, and environmental reasons. But is induction really better? Here’s what to know if you’re considering making the switch from gas or electric to induction.
What is an induction range?
An induction cooktop stove is the kind of burner that uses electromagnetic fields to cause the pan or pot on top to heat up—meanwhile, your appliance remains cool, thus making this method of cooking safer, faster, and more energy-efficient. As for the ovens in induction ranges, they broil and bake just as other electric ovens do.
PROS AND CONS OF INDUCTION
Pro: Eliminate significant health risks.
The main reason for the proposed ban on gas stoves is air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and nitrogen dioxide. Without proper ventilation, members of the home with underlying medical conditions or underdeveloped health systems can become compromised. A hood that vents to the outside is best, but an open window can also help mitigate some of the toxins being released. Vents work best when using back burners on a gas cooktop.
Pro: Impact on carbon emissions.
In theory, switching from gas to induction should reduce your carbon emissions, since induction ranges don’t emit any carbon dioxide. But, since induction ranges rely on the grid, the actual impact depends on where you live–and how green the grid is. In states that rely on more renewable energy, switching to induction will have a bigger impact.
The average carbon emissions for an induction range and a gas range are about the same in the U.S. right now. As the country as a whole shifts to cleaner energy, those numbers will shift in favor of induction.
Renewable energy production in Maryland involves hydroelectricity, solar power, wind, and biomass. In 2020, renewable sources generated around 11% of Maryland's electricity, of which, two-fifths came from hydropower. Since 2017, some 75% of renewable energy consumed in Maryland is imported.
Con: You’ll pay more for an induction range.
According to Consumer Reports, gas ranges start at $505, electric ranges at $600, and induction ranges at $1,160. On top of that, installation of an induction stove requires special wiring and a dedicated circuit. In other words, you’ll probably need to hire an electrician.
Pro: You’ll save money in the long term.
An induction range is definitely a big upfront investment, but it could pay dividends pretty quickly. For starters, the Inflation Reduction Act means you could earn a federal rebate of up to $840, plus another $500 to cover the costs of switching from gas to electric. Using an induction can help reduce your overall energy use which translates to long-term cost savings.
Con: You may need to replace your pots and pans.
You may need to swap out your pots and pans, which must contain magnetic iron or steel to work on an induction range. Cast iron and stainless steel will work; aluminum or copper pots won’t. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of your pot, it should work with your new induction range. If it doesn’t, you’ll need new cookware.
Perhaps the biggest draw of gas stoves is the ease with which you can control cooking temperatures. Oh, and the instant heat once that flame is lit. Gas also lets you char foods in a way you just can’t with an electric or induction stove.
Like so many kitchen appliances, it comes down to personal preference, not to mention how much you want to spend. If you’re replacing your current gas oven, maybe an induction range is right for you.