Many different types of ranges can be found in cooking. The first one is induction, a range where the heat comes from an electrical current passing through the pan. The second type of range is called convection, which means that hot air or vapor flows through your cooker and replaces your fuel source for cooking. Both induction and convection ranges offer different advantages. It depends on the cook and how they prefer to cook, which range is right for them.
Induction is a heat source in which an electrical coil beneath your cooking surface gets very hot. When you place a metal pot or pan on the burner, the coil creates heat by passing an electrical current between itself and the bottom of your pot or pan. The bottom of your metal pot or pan has to be magnetic for induction to work correctly.
If there is an electrical current passing through the bottom of your metal pot or pan, it will heat the bottom of the pan. This mostly happens because of its magnetic nature. Induction ranges are usually placed on top of your range to maximize the heat transfer. There is usually a heating element under your cooking surface to help transfer the heat efficiently up to the pan, which is on top of the range, so you can cook whatever you want in whatever shape, size, or material you want.
Features of Induction Range
- Induction ranges have different frequency of heating, usually, from 500 watts to 1500 watts, that responds to a different frequency of the electrical current. The higher the frequency of the electrical current, the higher the wattage.
- Induction ranges have a space between each heating element and insulating material on top of it to keep heat inside your pot or pan instead of going outside. This makes it a safer electric range because it does not affect any other heating elements if one element blows out.
- Induction ranges have an electrical power cord so that you can turn them on or off.
- If you place your pot or pan on an induction range and turn it on, the element in the bottom of the pot will heat up and start cooking. The element before and after will also warm up and cook your food, and in between, there is a cool zone that regulates the temperature of your food.
Convection is a type of heat transfer medium created by airflow through your stove or cooker. The main difference between induction and convection is that induction heats the pan on the bottom, while convection uses hot air to cook on top of your pot or pan.
To cook on top of your pan, you need hot air to circulate it. After placing your pot on the stovetop, some people turn on their stovetop fan to create that air circulation. But it is not necessary because you can create the circulating air by inserting your pan into the oven. This can also be done by putting your pan in front of an overhead fan or blow heater.
Convection is used for low-temperature cooking. For example, you use it for cooking steaks on top of a stovetop grill or roast chicken in a convection oven. You place your metal pot or pan on the stovetop grill and then turn on the heat source inside your oven. The circulating air will circulate your pot or pan and cook the food on top of it.
Features of a Convection Range
- Convection ranges have to have a fan to create hot air circulation.
- To cook on top of your pan, you need to put it in the oven. Therefore, to cook on top of your pan, you should have an electrical outlet nearby so you can plug in the range and plug in your pot or pan and turn them both on simultaneously.
- Convection ranges are usually placed under your cooking surface or next to your stove.
- When you put a metal pot on top of a convection range, the flow of hot air will circulate the pot and cook your food on top of it.
Disadvantages of Induction and Convection Ranges:
- Induction and convection ranges are not as popular as other heat sources, such as gas or electric, but most cooks still use them. To use it, you have to know where each component is located and how to use it efficiently. Induction and convection ranges do not require fuel.
- In a convection range, the element that heats the pan on the bottom gets very hot. Therefore, you should wear protective gloves when you cook on top of it to avoid getting burned.
- Both induction and convection ranges need to be hard-wired into the wall to work. Therefore, they are not portable.
- Convection ranges can transfer heat efficiently, but this is because hot air has a lot of energy to begin with, which means that a convection range would be more expensive than a regular electric or gas range. It also needs a fan to work.
- Many electric and gas ranges can offer different temperature control settings, such as low-medium and high. Induction and convection ranges do not have those options; you can only turn them on or off.
Gas ranges are very popular for cooking for many reasons. They require no preheating time as an electric range does. No more sizzling of pans on the stovetop, no more waiting for a pot to boil or cook on a grill, and no more dirty pots or pans. Gas ranges make it an easy way to cook with less mess.
- Heat is not produced directly under your cooking surface but instead flows through the range. The heat source is usually located in the grill that rests above the cooking surface or under it. You can always adjust your regulator for more or less heat if needed.
- You can use those pots and pans that don’t fit on your electric range, such as a huge soup pot. Gas ranges are also very simple to use, as you don’t have to keep track of what temperature your food is cooked at. Just turn it on, and you’re all ready to go.
- A gas range must be hard-wired into the wall to work. Therefore, you have to have a space for it or place it on a table or countertop near your cooking surface.
- The area immediately surrounding the burners is very hot, so you should wear protective gear if you are standing nearby when the range is turned on.
- To have a gas range, you have to have a gas pipe connected to the mainline or city services. Therefore, you cannot just call up your landlord and say that you want a gas range.
Many different types of ranges suit every cook. If you are learning to cook, you should start with an electric range because it is the most common cooking range. But when you are more experienced in cooking, you could try using induction or convection ranges. Gases are also very efficient, but if you do not have the proper gas line in your house, it could not be easy to make your kitchen look completely updated.
Q: Can you cook with an induction top without a pan?
To cook on an induction range, you need to put a metal pot or pan on top of the element. If there is no pot or pan, then the element will not heat up and create heat. A heating element can only heat up when heated by another heat source, such as a metal pan or burner.
Q: How does an induction plate work?
An induction plate is like a stovetop range. It has a heating source under the cooking surface, but instead of using electricity to create the heat, the induction plate uses a magnet. The heating source is like a coil that produces heat and transfers that heat into your metal pot or pan.