Induction cookers–Everything you need to know about

Buying Guide 24 comments

philips induction cooker thumb Induction cookers–Everything you need to know about

Induction cooker- The rising star of modern Kitchens..Before going in details let us discuss about the basic principles of induction cookers

How Induction Cooker works

Induction heating is a completely different method to generate heat as compared with conventional electric heaters such as Coils, Halogen heaters etc. In an induction heater, the cooking vessel itself is a part of heat generating device, or the cooking vessel itself generate heats. In Coils, Hot Plates and Halogen heaters, heat is transferred to cooking vessels through physical contact or proximity. In this case a considerable amount of heat energy is lost.

Induction cookers make use the heating effect of Hysteresis and Eddy current losses of electric machines. These losses are the predominant losses which is termed as “iron losses or core losses” in electric machines like Motors, Generators, Transformers etc. In that case we try to reduce the energy lose due to the iron losses, but here in Induction heating we are generating heat or converting electric energy to heat energy. In other words here we are multiplying the iron losses to generate heat.

Induction heater consists of following parts

  1. High frequency oscillator.
  2. Power supply circuits
  3. Specially designed induction coil to generate electro magnetic field.
  4. Control and timer circuits.
  5. Ceramic Cooktop.

induction heater opened thumb Induction cookers–Everything you need to know about

Here we are going a little bit technical. Heart of an induction cooker is a high frequency electro magnetic coil, which produce a strong high frequency electro magnetic field. This coil is powered by a high frequency oscillator(20 to 75 KHz). This coil is placed just beneath a shiny ceramic plate (where we place cooking vessels). Whenever a magnetic material (iron, or alloys or iron) is placed over this coil high frequency magnetic filed passes through the pot which generate heat within metal due to Eddy current and Magnetic Hysteresis.

Eddy current is nothing but the current induced in the magnetic material due to the change in magnetic field. This current flows in opposes the main current which generate heat. Eddy current is directly proportional to the frequency . Hence a high frequency current can generate more heat.

Another phenomenon is magnetic hysterics- In simple words it is the resistance of magnetic materials to the rapid change in magnetization. The inertia of magnetic particles in magnetic materials due to the changing magnetic field generate heat  within the material. This heat is also directly proportional to the frequency of magnetic field.

Here we can see that the cooking vessel itself is the heat generating element and the whole magnetic field is passing through it. Whenever you remove the vessel from the heater or stops the current flow through the coil, heat generation will be stopped.

Induction heating is a very old technology and it was utilized in industrial  and laboratory applications only, but the recent technological development brought this technology to our kitchens.

Advantages of Induction cookers

1. Excellent energy efficiency: Compared to other conventional electric, gas or kerosene stoves induction heaters are highly energy efficient. As discussed earlier, induction cookers generate heat in the cooking vessel itself. Here the energy is directly supplied to cooking vessel without any loss.  In all other conventional cooking methods like gas flame , halogen heating or electric coils  only few percentage of actual generated heat energy goes to the food. In these cooking methods, energy is first converted to heat then passed to the cooking vessel. Hence a considerable portion of heat is wasted to the surroundings. In gas stove it is 40 to 55% and in electric cookers it is 65 to 70%. Here we can say induction heaters are more than 50% energy efficient than the conventional gas burners. In induction cookers,even the cooking vessel will not be heated up beyond a certain extend. You can remove the cooking vessel from the heater with bare hands.

2. Flexible heating levels and power options: Unlike other electric/gas conventional cookers, induction cookers heat levels can be adjusted instantaneously. In other electric heaters, instant heat variation is not possible. We can only increase or reduce the temperature slowly. Induction cookers give the same flexibility and similar experience of gas burners. Since the heat is proportional to the generated magnetic field, it can be controlled and monitored through digital circuits. Modern induction heaters have pre-set cooking menus like grill, stir, boil, milk, fry etc. You can flexibly set and monitor the power levels. Digital timers help to start/stop the operations.

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3. Safety: Conventional Gas burners and coil electric heaters are notorious on safety accepts. Frequent fire and shock hazards due to these cooking systems underlines that. Highly pressurized gas cylinders are more or less equal to a crude bomb. If not handled carefully, even a smallest spark can blow out your whole house. Moreover cooking gas can not be treated as a healthy way of cooking. Combustion of cooking gas generate poisonous gases like carbon monoxide. At the same risk of electric shock always exists in coil or halogen based electric heaters. In terms of safety we can place induction heaters many folds over other cooking systems. Induction heaters don’t heat anything other than the food, you can even place your hand over the cooking plate. Good buy to burnt fingers, Heated kitchens  and no more danger to children.

4. Clean and Elegant cook top: See the tidy shiny surface of the cook top. Beautiful and clean cook top give elegant look to your kitchen. Unlike conventional electric heaters, induction heaters wont  heat or burn the food spills on the cooktop. It keeps the cooktop cleaner. Moreover it won’t let the frits burn and stick to the cookware bottom.

5. Faster cooking: Normal coil heaters or hot plates take around ten minutes to boil one litter water, while induction heater boils one litter water within three to four minutes. You can set the temperature as per requirement flexibly through the digital interface.

6. Cooler kitchens:  In normal gas and electric cooking a considerable amount of heat is dissipated to the surroundings which increase the kitchen temperature. Induction heaters don’t heat anything other than food, hence your kitchen will be much cooler even after hours of cooking. See the image- Only the portion of chocolate bar over  the pan melts.

cooler thumb Induction cookers–Everything you need to know about

7. Reliability and life: Even though induction heaters can be classified as a high power handling device, it will not be  damaged easily as conventional electric heaters.

Disadvantages of Induction Heaters

Cooking Vessels: One of the most predominant disadvantages of Induction heaters- It works only with certain type of cooking pots only. You can use only iron or iron alloy pots in induction cookers. Stainless steel, Cast iron, mild iron pots work well with induction cookers. You can’t use the copper bottom stainless steel pots, Aluminum, Ceramic, Porcelain, Brass, Bronze,  Glass Cookware in induction heaters. It is important to note that all stainless steel cookware don’t work well with induction heaters. It greatly depends upon the iron content in the cookware. Just do a simple magnetic test to identify whether a stainless steel cookware is induction heater compatible or not. If a permanent magnet is not attracting or poorly attracting towards the cookware, then it is not suitable for induction cooking.

Shape of the cookware: Base of the cookware must be flat. You can’t use the curved base cookware in induction heaters, hence the typical Indian cookware “Kadai” is not suitable for induction cooking. Pressure cookers are the inevitable cookware of kitchens, but most of the pressure cookers are made of cast Aluminum which is not induction compatible. However nowadays special induction heater compatible  pressure cookers are available in market.

Cost: Cost of induction heaters are many times than  conventional electric heaters.  However it is not fair to compare an induction heater with a normal crude electric coil heater. If you pay for electricity, then throw away your coil heaters /hot plates and go for an induction heater.

Size of Cookware:  You will not be able to use very large and too small pots in induction heaters. Normally all modern induction heaters have cookware auto detect feature, means the heater automatically detects the placement of pot to activate the element. It can be considered as a safety measure too. Element will not get energized with the proximity or contact of metallic items such as spoons, tongs or jewelry (bracelets, rings, bangles etc.)

Tips to buy an Induction Cooker

Indian induction cooker market is flooded with Chinese brands. You can get an induction cooker even for Rs 1000/- (~ US$ 20). These cheap Chinese induction cookers are also work good but the reliability of these brands are questionable. Moreover  you won’t get after sales support

Size and number of burners: One of the most important decision making factor. Select a cooker as per your size requirement. If you want to place big vassals then go for  bigger sized models. For a small family single element induction cooktop is sufficient. In India, multi element induction cooktops are not much popular, hence it’s difficult to find the same in local market.

Features: Some features are common in almost all models – The standard features include

  • Heat and power selection
  • Pan detection
  • Pan size detection and adaptation
  • Pre-set menus
  • LED/LCD indicators.
  • Child lock
  • Timers

However some induction cookers are coming with most advanced and uncommon features like

  • Battery backup: Some advanced induction cookers come with an inbuilt rechargeable battery to give backup on power failure.
  • Overflow Detection: Smart sensors detects and prevents overflow while cooking. It will keep your kitchen more clean.
  • Program mode: Apart from the pre-set cook menus, some induction cooker models offer programmable modes for different recipes.  
  • Warm mode: Maintains food at the serving temperature with this setting

Accessories:  As specified earlier,we can’t use all utensils in induction cooktops. To tap the optimum benefit from an induction cooker, special cooking vessels are required. Some induction heaters come with specially designed cooking accessories such as grills, pots, induction base pans etc.

Cost: Induction cooker is not a costlier or luxurious appliance. In India you will get a branded single element induction cooktop in the range of Rs 3000/-  Features of the models available in India are more or less same.

After sales support: Induction cookers are high power devices, high power devices are always prone to damage. Hence good after sales support is important. Go for a brand which gives excellent after sales support at your area. Read the guarantee/warranty terms before purchase.

Popular Induction Cooker brands of India

Bajaj, Prestige, Philips, Morphy Richards, Khaitan, Usha, Jaipan, Crompton Grieves, Pigeon, Sunflame, Preethi, Glen GL, Inalsa, GreenChef, Kenwood etc. are the popular Induction Cooker brands in India. If these brands are not available in your local market, then consider online purchase from the portals like FlipKart, Letsbuy etc.

 Demo video of Philips Induction Cooker



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  • AJAY KUMAR 04/14/2012, 1:03 PM Reply

    NICE, KEEP IT UP & B IN TOUCH

  • mahendra 06/13/2012, 2:18 PM Reply

    This is with reference to you article on induction cooker http://www.techlineinfo.com/induction-cookerseverything-you-need-to-know-about/

    I can find a mention of a battery backup for induction cooker. Please can you elaborate on this. Where did you come across such a product which works on battery. Any small info would be helpful

    Thanks
    Mahendra

  • mahendra 06/13/2012, 4:26 PM Reply

    Thanks Mr Sujith.

  • prasanta 09/19/2012, 8:53 PM Reply

    I WANT TO BUY A PHILIPS INDUCTION COOKER. BUT I HAVE A DOUBT ABOUT ITS MANUFACTURED AREA . I DO NOT WANT TO BUY ANY PRODUCT WHICH IS MADE IN CHINA.PLEASE HELP ME ABOUT THE PRODUCT QUALITY AND DURABILITY OF PHILIPS INDUCTION COOKER.

    • Sujith 09/19/2012, 9:04 PM Reply

      Please change your mindset. Almost all companies have production units in China. It’s mainly due to cheap production cost. They comply with strict quality guidelines. Philips induction cooker is good but a little bit costly due to the brand value.

  • sandeep 09/22/2012, 11:24 AM Reply

    I need to buy an induction cooker and could not come across any site which can compare the difference between brands (Prestige, Bajaj, Philips and morphy). Could you guide me to some of the features and differnce between these ?

  • Riju 10/15/2012, 12:56 AM Reply

    Hi,

    I am looking out for a reliable induxtion cooker, after checking out diffrent sites and consumer forums so far I have shortlisted TCL and Philips induction cooker. TCL has more service centre in south and philips has onsite warranty , but TCL has additonal features and higher voltage range so wanted help in deciding which one is better, or if someone can tell how the TCL company induciton cooker is ?

    Thanks.

  • Sanghram 11/07/2012, 1:34 PM Reply

    Hello,

    Excellent Article i must say. I understand that most of the companies have their components either manufactured in China or at least imported from China. However, to your knowledge do you know any company which has their induction cookers produced elsewhere? I need to know cos i am not willing to buy any Chinese made material.
    Thanks.

  • siraj 11/25/2012, 10:30 PM Reply

    Your article about induction cooker is very informative, it explained everything
    I started using induction to heat water for bathing, as i thought using gas or else storage water heater expensive, because, keeping on gas, the energy of heating is lost and we leave the water to boil for a long time, and regards to the storage water heater, as soon as you drain out water for bathing, the fresh cold water enters the storage tank and automatically the geyser is switched on using the maximum electrical energy, kindly explain about this water heating efficiently in future blogs. which will be helpful.

  • SUBRAHMANYAM 11/26/2012, 7:41 PM Reply

    sIR,

    As all know it doesn’t work for Alluminium and Coppor bottom vessels. I have an idea. If I use a Iron Plate and put the above vessels on it then is it works?

  • Gagandeep 01/30/2013, 6:22 PM Reply

    I want to purchase a Induction cooker with best service support, low power consumption and value for money. With which model I should go.

  • SACHIN MEHTA 01/31/2013, 8:38 AM Reply

    dear mr,sujit,
    good morning!
    we want to start manufacturing of induction cooker in india.
    can you help us,
    with best regds,
    sachin mehta.
    PUNE.
    MAHARASHTRA.
    INDIA.

  • m k m 03/06/2013, 3:49 PM Reply

    Dear Sir,
    I want to replace induction coil with a convention single turn or two turn e-cu tune coil for heating 1.5″ en-8 pin [keeping it surrounded by the coil]upto 150 degree centigrade for a laboratory setup. Pl suggest

    Thanks in advance

    M K

  • Anne J. 04/14/2013, 8:36 AM Reply

    Are Portable Induction Cooktops as good as commercial ones?

  • Harry Joseph 08/18/2013, 11:06 PM Reply

    I come from a very poor country who is suffering from extreme deforestation the country is Haiti. a small island in the Caribbean sea just off the coast of Jamaica. I was thinking about proposing this cooker to the government as an alternative to charcoal energy. My question is how long does the battery backup work and can the stove be used by battery if it is recharged. Thanks in advance.

  • vijendrasingh 01/29/2014, 9:04 PM Reply

    I have purchage Philips induction heater on december 2012. Now it is not working .When supply switch on ,all indication glow for momentary and after this action all indication off.Now I press on switch of induction heater, but it is not take any action . What may be the problem ?

  • Dileep 05/29/2014, 2:13 PM Reply

    I bought the same model of Philips induction cooker shown in this page about 18 months back. Was working fine. Half a litre of milk used to take 3 min to boil and 5l of water 16 minutes on stainless stel vessels.Recently it got developed a problem – not heating enough to boil. Being an Engineer and has some interest on its technicality, and since the warranty was over I opened the unit, just to see what is there inside. The coil had lot of dust and it was not shining in colour. I just closed it and given to authorised service centre of Philips. After one week I got it back repaired. They charged Rs. 450, 350 for spares (coil) and 100 for service. I asked them to show the replaced defective coil. BUt they gave the excuse that techinician has already left and other staff do not know where thedefective spare is placed. As per the work order form signed, the defective spare has to be returned to the customer.In the bill only some part code number was written that start with 532….
    On reaching home, again out of my curiosity I opened the unit, this time opening was quite easy as as only 4 screws were placed instead of total of 7! I found that the same coil with full of dust only was there inside. I could not find any any new part there, even the dust accumulation were not removed and cleaned. i am sure the coil had no problem or all the problem was very minor.Any way it is working now and the service center has given 1 month warranty.

    • Sujith 06/06/2014, 4:06 PM Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • hema 06/16/2014, 10:52 PM Reply

    water accidently went into my induction cooker, now what do i do?

    • Sujith 06/17/2014, 12:34 PM Reply

      Don’t switch it ON, Keep the heater in a well ventilated room and let the water completely drained out and dry.

  • Nandoo 06/21/2014, 7:58 PM Reply

    Prestige induction cooker’s ceramic cook-top has got detached. How do I fix it back? Which glue should I use?

  • deepak 08/05/2014, 5:49 PM Reply

    i want to buy a induction cook top..i heard about prestige…
    plz suggest me the brand and what specification shoul i check before buying like…watts

  • moon19in 11/03/2014, 5:35 PM Reply

    Hi Dileep, Thanks for sharing your experience. I think when Warranty period over and there is problem even not working due to fuse blown, most technician will say “There is problem in coil or circuit.” and charge high.

    I have recently bought Bajaj Majesty IXC7 induction cooktop of 1900 Watt. It really cook fast. But you have to place it in very flat level surface otherwise your pot slide when cooking. As one reader asked , Can we use any cast tawa or flat surfaced and use almunium pot on that.

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