When you next come to replace your cooker there's a good chance that you'll at least consider an induction model. It makes a lot of sense, they are more efficient, will save you money on energy bills and that smooth top with no messy rings to worry about is both easy to care for and looks great in the modern streamlined kitchen. Most of us know a lot less about induction cooking than we do about electrical or gas cookers. Here's a basic guide of the things to consider before buying an induction cooker.
More powerful is better
The general trend in household appliances has been that manufactures have learned to do more with less power, we're encouraged to go for energy efficient and lower wattage models. Induction cookers buck this trend, at least for the moment. A more powerful model will cook so much more quickly that the benefits of the reduced time the appliance works for, more than makes up for the higher energy consumption while it's on.
Not all cookware will work on an induction cooker
Induction cooktops utilise a magnetic reaction to create heat. This is excellent in the respect that the surface doesn't get hot, making this much the safest way of cooking, but it does mean that your pots and pans have to be compatible with your new cooker. If a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan you'll be fine, if not you'll need to factor changing your cookware into your initial costs.
The quality of the surface really does matter
Ceramic tops or standard tempered glass are both vulnerable to breakage or cracks if hot objects or materials fall onto the surface. High grade crystal or full tempered glass are much better options. It is possible to get the top replaced on an induction cooker but this is one case where buying better quality in the first place is likely to be more cost-effective than needing to pay for cooker repairs.
Look for a model with automatic pan detection and size recognition
This means that the cooker will only work when there's a pan on it, and only in the area where the pan is. These two factors are major contributors to the energy efficiency of induction cookers so you don't want to buy a model without them.
Consider the size of your work surface and the number and size of zones you need
Induction cooktops can range from 30 cm up to 90 cm. A 30 cm width with 2 cook zones may be adequate for a single person with a tiny kitchen and limited interest in cooking. The 60 cm size with 4 separately controllable cooking zones is roughly equivalent to the top you'd find on a standard family domestic oven.
Touch controls look better and wear better
Push buttons need more cleaning and can get worn, Touch controls set within the glass are less sustainable to damage and of course fit perfectly with modern tastes for seamless surfaces and uninterrupted lines..
There are lots of programming options
You can program the cooker to come on at a set time, come up to a high temperature for a given time then drop back to a simmer. Other cookers can come with present programs for slow cook, deep fry, stir fry and so on, all of which can be accessed simply by choosing the preferred options.
Induction cookers have the potential to make life much simpler, though how many of us will take the time to learn to use them to their full potential is another matter!