Induction Cooktop vs Glass Top – Which is Better to Cook With?

Published Categorized as Journal, Kitchen Accessories

Induction vs glass cooktop – what’s the difference? While they may look very similar, these stovetops could not be more different! Made using completely different technology, they have distinct features, drawbacks, and price points.

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My aim is to lead you through all of these differences and provide clear explanations along the way, so you know exactly what you’re getting. So, let’s start by examining the terminology around cooktops!

Table of Contents

man cutting veggies by a gas cook top instead of induction cooktop or glass cook top

Are Glass Cooktops The Same As Induction Cooktops? – Defining Stoves

Induction vs Ceramic vs Glass Cooktop

It’s understandable why so many people get confused by this, but there is an easy fix. The best way to clear things up is to think of ‘ceramic cooktop’ as being an umbrella term – simply put, this phrase encompasses any cooktops made of tempered ceramic glass!

A ‘glass’ cooktop is simply another way to refer to ceramic cooktops, though lots of people use it to refer to electric stoves. So, induction and ‘glass’ (ie, electric) cooktops are part of the same group after all! There is another type of electric stovetop that DOESN’T count as ceramic – these electric stovetops are older models, and the only difference is that there is no glass in between the coil and the pan. I’ve put a picture above to demonstrate the difference. When mentioning electric stoves in the rest of this article, please note that I will only be referring to ceramic electric stoves.

So, Are All Glass Top Stoves Induction?

Not so fast! While induction can be considered a glass stovetop, it is only a type of glass stove. There are two main types of ceramic stovetop; electric and induction. This distinction exists because they work in completely different ways due to the divergence in their technology.

But, unfortunately, that’s not all. Of these two types, there are three variations! Thankfully, these differences are only within electric stovetops.

More About Electric vs Induction

Electric

Between the different types of ceramic electric stovetops, one constant remains; the way heat is passed onto the food. The material difference doesn’t matter so much when it comes to this as the heat generated doesn’t go to different places. Essentially, the most important thing to understand about electric stoves is that the heat generated beneath the glass passes onto the surface of the glass, and from there into your pan and your food. This is how the electric differs the most from induction stovetops.

Here is a table of the variations between different glass electric stovetops, with brief explanations of what distinguishes them.

RadiantHalogenSemi-Halogen
Coils of metal are heated under a sheet of ceramic glassHalogen bulbs are the source of heat instead of metal coilsSemi-halogen uses a combination of coils and bulbs as a source of heat

Induction

In an induction stove, there are magnets beneath the glass that are used to interact with your metal pans. This means that the heat is not created beneath the glass, or even on the glass, but directly onto the surface of your pan!

It works by causing the iron molecules within the pan to vibrate – the friction from this generates heat, which then cooks your food. This is why induction is the most energy-efficient – no heat escapes through the air or in the glass, as it all goes directly into your pan.

pan on a glass induction stovetop

Gas Or Propane

Whether you get your gas from propane tanks or pipes, gas stoves are pretty simple. In step with all of the oldest forms of cooking, gas stovetops will require cooking with fire. They work by simply releasing gas in a controlled manner, then igniting it while a pan rests on a metal rack above a burner. One of the disadvantages of gas is that it’s easy to leave the gas stove on by accident, which poses more danger than leaving on an electric stove.

gas stovetop lit up in the dark with blue flame not induction or glass cooktop

Comparing Pros And Cons: Induction Cooktop vs Glass Electric

While any stove is suitable for cooking or baking alike, some just have better facilities! In this section below, I’ll be walking you through the different assets that ceramic-electric and induction stoves offer.

All About Induction

Price Range

Induction ranges are generally more expensive than electric, with the cheapest ranges starting from around $1,000. This is a few hundred more dollars than an okay gas range or a free-standing electric range. Higher-end models, like the Bosch induction range, are pretty expensive coming in at about $3,500.

Safety

The safest stovetop by far is induction. Because of the way it works, there isn’t any heat on the actual stovetop. As the heat is created directly in the pan, you’re much less likely to burn yourself on the stove itself as it will likely only be warm to the touch. In addition to this, when you move a pan off of an induction burner, the burner will automatically sense that there’s no pan there and will ‘turn off’. Add to that the impossibility of gas leaks, and you’ve got yourself an incredibly safe stove.

Energy Efficiency

Induction stoves work by making the iron molecules within the pan vibrate at an extremely high speed. This causes friction that generates heat directly on the pan and into your food. Because of this, it’s an insanely energy-efficient way to cook. With only 10% of the heat escaping, induction stoves are far more efficient than gas and electric.

Required Equipment

Induction works by interacting directly with your pan using magnetism. This means that in order for it to work, the pan has to be made of a material that can react to magnetism. That is why any cookware used for induction must be magnetic and induction-compatible to work, which is kind of a pain but it pays off for some people. If you’re someone obsessed with cast iron cookware, an induction range might be right for you!

However, it’s important to note that some varieties of cast iron won’t work with an induction stove. For example, not all enameled cast iron is suitable – some Staub pots don’t work, but all items from the more expensive Le Creuset lines will. It’s also important to note that any glass stovetop should be protected from cast iron, regardless of whether it’s induction or electric.

Maintenance

The best thing about glass cooktops is that they’re super easy to clean! In this regard, electric and induction cooktops are almost on par with each other… Almost.

You may find induction stovetops a little easier to clean because they won’t be super hot! You can clean them immediately after cooking, provided you’re careful, and don’t have to wait around like you would an electric range. Regardless of this, they’re both much easier to clean than gas ranges because they sport flat surfaces without multiple parts.

Additional Benefits Of An Induction Stove

Another huge selling point of the induction stovetop is its speed in cooking. Because it’s so energy-efficient, more heat stays in the pan so it can heat up much faster! I’ve added a TikTok below that demonstrates just how fast water can be brought to boiling on an induction stove.

Setbacks Of An Induction Stove

Like all novel things, induction stoves come at a higher price point. As this new technology becomes more commonplace over time, the average cost is likely to decrease. Additionally, the amount of money you’d save on energy will eventually lessen the blow of that initial cost! Even so, induction stoves aren’t yet affordable for everyone, so a compromise may be better for some.

Another obvious setback is the need for specific pans. Electric stoves do require certain pans too, but nothing as specific as the requirements for induction ranges. Nonetheless, induction-compatible is becoming more and more popular, and cast iron is having another surge in popularity so it’s likely at least a few of your pans are suitable.

The last concern is just a minor hindrance I’ve seen mentioned. Some ranges emit a buzzing noise on high heat that can be quite irritating. There’s also the issue of hot spots – at high temperatures, parts of the pan may be heated more than others when using an induction stovetop. Of course, this depends on the range you’re using, but it does seem to be more common in cheaper stoves.

Comparing Electric Ranges

I think that the best way to describe a glass electric range is as a middle ground between gas and induction. For example, they may not be as energy efficient as an induction cooktop, but they’re still not as wasteful as most gas ranges.

the most obvious advantage that electric stoves offer is their price range – most electric ranges are much cheaper than induction, and while they’re not as energy efficient, they can still save you some money. As I mentioned earlier, the glass surface is also pretty easy to clean! It’s just not quite as convenient as induction since you still have to wait for it to cool.

Another asset of electric stoves is that most pans will work with them! Although you aren’t quite as limited, there’s still a requirement – you need flat bottom pans. Warped or curved pans don’t work well with electric cooktops; you’ll likely run into problems and lose energy from the burner.

In addition to this, many feel that electric stovetops tend to be more precise than other types – you have to get adjusted to it, but once you’re attuned it’s smooth sailing!

As for cons, I think the biggest is the difference in quality you can encounter. There’s a lot of variation between electric cooktops, so be extra careful if you decide to invest in one. They also tend to be the slowest to heat up and can lag a bit. This can make it difficult to sear on high heat, among other things.

Induction Cooktop vs Glass Electric Top: Comparison Table

ENERGY EFFICIENCYSAFETYREQUIRES SPECIFIC EQUIPMENTPRICE RANGE
INDUCTIONMost efficientMost safeYes, flat and iron onlyMost Expensive
ELECTRICSecond most efficientSecond most safeYes, flat onlyMedian price range
GASLeast efficientLeast efficientNo new equipment requiredCheapest

How Do I Know If My Cooktop Is Induction?

Finding out whether your glass stove is induction is like trying to find out whether your skillet is really a pan! It’s hard to see at first, but with some poking around you’ll get there in the end.

There are a few different ways to tell if your cooktop is induction, but the only way to be sure is to contact whoever purchased your stove. This could be the previous owners, the landlord, or a housing company. There’s also the option of calling someone over to inspect it, or googling your stove if you know the name of the model.

If none of this is possible, however, there are a few little tests you can try out. For example, if you take the pan off the burner and it automatically turns off, it’s almost guaranteed that your stove is induction. Doubly so if the surface of the glass isn’t hot to the touch after cooking. If you want to try this, don’t touch it straight away, just hover your hand over the burner and see how it feels. If it heats up very fast, there’s also a chance it could be an induction stove.

Induction Cooktop vs Glass Top Electric: Showdown

In this video by Pro Home Cooks, different stoves are put to the test. Gas, electric, and induction are compared against each other in different categories to see which outshines all the others. It’s great to watch if you’d like to see these stoves in action and see how they fare in practice.

Induction Cooktop vs Glass Top Electric: FAQs

Are all glass top stoves induction?

There are many different types of glass stovetop, but the main two are electric and induction. These two use completely different methods to generate heat, giving each different pros and cons.

What is the difference between induction vs smooth top?

Induction ranges are a type of smooth top – the other kind of smooth or glass cooktop are electric stoves. They differ in many different ways, but mainly in energy efficiency, safety, and ease of use. The reason for this is that they use different technology to generate heat.

Which stovetop is best?

Induction stoves are the best, but they may not be worth it or suitable for everyone’s needs. They’re more energy-efficient, safe, and easy to clean, but have a very high price point in return.

What should you not cook on a glass top stove?

Glass, cast iron, and ceramic cookware are more likely to scratch your glass stove. However, some glass stovetops require these kinds of pans – in that case, there’s a few different techniques you can use to prevent damage.

Induction cooktop vs electric: power consumption

Induction cooktops are much more energy-efficient than electric cooktops. This is because the heat is generated on the actual pan, providing much less opportunity for heat to escape. This differs from electric in that the heat is created under the glass, then passes through the glass and onto the pan.

Is Induction Better Than Electric Cooktop?

So, are induction cooktops any better than electric cooktops? Objectively… Yes! They’re far more energy-efficient, they’re arguably easier to use than other stoves, and they’re usually quicker. The competition mostly comes down to the costs – and the benefits that come with them. This is why they might not be the best for everyone! Different people have different needs, wants, and restrictions.

To sum it up, electric stovetops come cheaper, but they are generally less reliable than induction cooktops. Induction cooktops tend to be more expensive, but they offer far more benefits than electric and gas ranges. Even so, if you’re someone who’s very attached to your induction-incompatible cookware, it just might not be for you! If the benefits don’t outweigh or justify the cost, an induction stove may not be worth it.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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