Induction Cooktop vs Electric

Explore the difference!

People who are shopping for cookware often find themselves having to choose between induction and electric cooktops. In this article, we shall be making a comprehensive comparison between the two.

What Is an Induction Cooktop?

An induction cooktop is best described as a type of stove that works using electromagnetism. So, what happens when an induction cooktop is turned on is that an electromagnetic field is created. The electromagnetic field in question here is a strong one, and it has the effect of turning the pan (or whatever other cookware you are using) into a heat source — so that it heats itself up!

Thus, when you are using an induction cooktop on your house kitchen, the pan — or whichever other cooktop you are using, in response to the strong electromagnetic field underneath — functions as some sort of self-heating device.

It is worth noting, however, that in an induction cooktop, the ultimate source of energy is still electricity.

What Is Electric Cooktop?

In this context, the term ‘electric cooktop’ refers to either those that use coils or those that use radiant elements. Now what happens when these electric cooktops are turned on is that the coils or radiant elements in them get heated. It is this heat then that cooks the food in whichever cookware is being used.

Differences Between Induction Cooktops and Electric Cooktops

The differences between induction cooktops and electric cooktops are in terms of working mechanisms, the types of cookware that can be used, energy efficiency, safety, cost and ease of cleaning.

Working Mechanisms

As we have seen, induction cooktops work through electromagnetism, creating a strong electromagnetic field that subsequently turns the cookware being used (e.g. pans) into their own heat sources. This is based on the fact that when ferromagnetic pans happen to be in the presence of very strong electromagnetic fields, they turn into heat sources.

On the other hand, electric cooktops work through a mechanism where electricity heats coils or radiant elements, with the heat then being transferred to the pans or other cookware in use. So, in electric cooktops, there is no question of needing to create electromagnetic fields. Here, electricity simply heats the coil or radiant element. And the coil or radiant element subsequently passes the heat onto the pan or any other cookware being used.

One would then argue that the induction cooktops work through a more complex mechanism than electric cooktops.

The Types of Cookware That Can be Used

With induction cooktops, you have to use cookware that is responsive to the electromagnetic fields. So this means that you are limited to using ferromagnetic cookware only.

With electric cooktops on the other hand, you can use a wider range of cookware, including those that are not ferromagnetic.

Therefore it becomes clear that those who opt for electric cooktops end up with greater freedom of choice in selecting cookware.

Energy Efficiency

Induction cooktops tend to be marginally more energy efficient than electric cooktops. This is because in induction cooktops, roughly 85% of the energy generated goes into cooking the food — with only 15% being wasted. On the other hand, with electric cooktops, the energy that goes into cooking the food is between 75 and 80%, with 20 to 25% being wasted.


Induction cooktops tend to be somewhat safer than electric cooktops. That is because electric cooktops actually get hot, and therefore there is always the risk of touching them and getting  burnt. But induction cooktops don’t get hot (as the whole thing relies on electromagnetism) and therefore even if you happen to touch them, you won’t get burnt. However, it is worth remembering that the pans or whatever other cookware being used with induction cooktops do of course get hot.


Induction cooktops which, as we have seen, work through a more complex mechanism tend to be commensurately costlier than electric (coil-based or radiant element-based) cooktops.

Ease of Cleaning

Induction cooktops come with ceramic glass tops which are quite easy to clean. On the other hand, the radiant element-based electric cooktops tend to be slightly harder to clean. And the coil-based electric cooktops tend to be the hardest to clean.


Clearly then, for those whose biggest concerns are things like energy efficiency, safety and ease of cleaning, induction cooktops are better. Conversely, for those whose biggest concerns are things like cost and freedom in choice of cookware, electric cooktops would be better.

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