Induction vs Gas: The Cooktop Showdown

  • Dan Tibma
  • 12 Aug 2016

The hot debate continues between homeowners who love induction cooktops and those who prefer gas. Each appliance has its pros and cons—which is the best choice for you? We suggest you take the following points into consideration before you make a purchase for your new kitchen.

Induction Cooktops

An induction cooktop has under surface coils that use electricity to generate an oscillating magnetic field.

The steel or iron-based pot itself heats up, rather than the cooktop surface. The energy is therefore transferred directly to the food in the pot, not into the surrounding air, resulting in 90% energy efficiency. An induction cooktop is powerful and heats food up very quickly—it provides the equivalent BTUs of a gas cooktop. Temperature control is instantaneous and precise, making induction as responsive as gas. Induction offers safer cooking than gas since the cooktop surface stays relatively cool to the touch and there are no open flames. It offers easier cleaning with its smooth and flush ceramic glass surface. Certain induction cooktops offer one limitless cooking surface that automatically senses your cookware size, shape and position and maintains the correct power level, even as you change the location of your cookware during the cooking process.

Cons: To cook with induction may necessitate your buying new cookware, unless you already own cast iron, steel or magnetic stainless steel pots and pans. Sliding cookware with a rough bottom, such as cast iron, across the glass top surface can scratch it. Also, the cooktop could shatter if you drop a heavy item on it. If your electricity goes out at home, you cannot cook with induction.

Gas Cooktops

Gas cooktops make use of thermal conduction: the flames generate heat that is transferred to the base of the pot when it comes into contact with the burner.

aug16-gascooktopPros: Gas cooktops offer powerful, instantaneous heat with precise heat control. You can use many different kinds of cookware with gas cooktops—including your round bottomed wok—so you will not need to buy new pots and pans. Gas is relatively inexpensive and clean burning. Some people really enjoy the liveliness of the gas flames and appreciate the visual feedback. They feel the excitement and personal involvement with the cooktop when they are cooking, while they find induction cooking to be a little dull.

Cons: Recent testing has shown that gas cooktops are only 50% energy efficient—one half of the energy put out by a gas burner heats up the pot, the rest heats up the kitchen. There are some inherent risks in that an open flame can cause burns or start a fire, and there is also the danger of a gas leak. A gas cooktop incurs additional costs over induction in that it is more expensive to install a gas line than electrical wiring. The ventilation hood required for a 20,000 BTU gas cooktop is much larger than for induction, and because of its size it is more difficult to install the duct work for the hood. An additional make-up air unit is necessary for gas because the hood is so much more powerful. You often end up paying approximately $3000 for all these extras. Gas cooktops with their heavy cast-iron burner grates are more difficult to clean than an induction cooktop.

Cooktop Showdown

Two different Tibma Design/Build clients have been making the choice between induction or gas cooktops as we have been remodeling their kitchens this summer. One of our clients decided on an induction cooktop and they love it! They say the efficiency of their new cooktop is phenomenal.

Our other client loves to cook and he also has good friends who are professional chefs. These friends have suggested he purchase a professional gas stove. The client remained uncertain about which type of cooktop he wanted us to install in his new kitchen because he has also heard great things about induction.

Our trade partner, Clarke Kitchen and Design Showroom, came to the rescue. Clarke graciously sponsored a Cooktop Showdown for a few hours in their showroom just for this client. They purchased all the ingredients for several delicious recipes: Beurre Blanc, Sabayon, and Duck steak with pasta, peppers and mushrooms. Our client was able to personally prepare these recipes on a Wolf 36” induction cooktop and a Wolf 36” gas rangetop—to help him compare their performance.

He definitely enjoyed the dynamism of the gas rangetop flames. Gas makes more of a show and that is his style. He feels great flipping his pots and pans around. Also, at home he uses a round bottom wok that does not work on an induction cooktop. So our client’s final decision was for the gas rangetop.

At Tibma Design/Build our experience has indicated that the majority of our clients prefer induction cooking, while those that want that flamboyant chef experience prefer gas. Whichever you prefer, be sure to contact Tibma when you are ready to remodel your kitchen that incorporates the best products and utilizes the innovation and creativity of a qualified Design/Build team.