Induction vs Electric Cooktop: What Is The Difference?

Are you looking for a new cooktop and can’t decide whether to get an induction or electric cooktop? You may be wondering what the difference is between an induction and an electric cooktop. Well, you are most likely not alone in this situation. Induction and electric cooktops look alike so we understand the confusion.

Induction cooktops use magnetic coils to heat up pans and pots directly which means only the burner where a pan is placed is the only area that gets hot. While an electric cooktop, on the other hand, gives off residual heat after it is turned off which means the cooktop’s surface will still be hot after use.

If you can’t decide between an induction cooktop vs electric cooktop, we will be talking about the difference between the two and we will go over their pros and cons so you can make informed decisions before buying your kitchen appliance. We will also be answering some of the questions you may have regarding both cooktops so make sure to read until the end!

What Is An Induction Cooktop?

Induction cooktops are actually a type of electric cooktop but it generates heat differently than how an electric cooktop would. Induction cooktops provide heat by using electromagnetic fields to heat up your cookware. The magnetic field creates electricity and this electricity heats up the pan that is placed on top of the burner.

A large thin coil of copper wire is used which creates a stronger magnetic field. The flow of electricity through the induction cooktop results in faster heating and cooking of food across all burners evenly.

Using an induction stove requires a 220-volt outlet that is protected by 40 to 50-amp breakers. If you are transitioning from an electric stove, you will be able to use your current wiring to be able to install an induction cooktop. However, if you currently have a gas stove and want to transition to an induction cooktop, you will need to have high-capacity wiring as gas stoves typically use 120 volts.

Pros Of An Induction Cooktop


Since an induction cooktop uses electromagnetism to heat up cookware, it heats up the pan directly and not the whole surface of the cooktop. There is less risk of burning spilled food or burning your hands in case you accidentally touch the cooktop’s surface by accident.

Energy Efficiency

Since induction cooktops transfer the heat directly to the cookware, there is lesser heat loss and there is no residual heat when you turn off the cooktop.

Easy To Clean

With its smooth and flat design, it is easier to clean any food that has been spilled on the cooktop’s surface.

Faster Cooking Time

Induction cooktops heat up cookware faster and can boil water faster than a traditional gas or electric cooktop would.


Since induction cooking is a method that does not use gas, it is a more environmentally friendly option as it does not emit harmful pollutants into the air, unlike a traditional gas range.

Cons Of An Induction Cooktop


Since induction cooktops use magnetism, it requires specific cookware. If you use the wrong pan, it will not likely work and won’t heat up. If a magnet does not stick to your pan, it will not work on an induction cooktop.

Most cookware that works with an induction cooktop is cast iron pans, Dutch ovens (enameled and cast iron), and most stainless steel pans and pots. If you do not have any of this cookware, it’s time to invest in new ones if you are committing to buying an induction oven. Most pots and pans have an “induction suitable” or “induction ready” label on them so make sure to double-check before buying new induction cooking appliances.


Induction cooktops offer new technology along with all of the features and benefits making them more expensive than gas or electric ranges. Since induction cooktops are expensive, it is not accessible to a lot of people plus, buying new sets of suitable cookware can also add up to the cost.

Can be Noisy

cooking at high temperatures can produce a buzzing or humming sound which can bother some people.

What Is An Electric Cooktop?

Unlike Induction cooktops, electric cooktops have a metal coil beneath the surface (usually glass or ceramic) where electrical currents flow to produce heat. As the coil gets hot, it will glow and will transfer the heat to the glass ceramic surface. This heats the burner where your pan is placed. But, electric cooktops offer centralized heating, which gives off residual heat. This means that the glass or ceramic remains hot for a while even after you are done cooking.

Most electric cooktops do have an indicator light that lets you know if the cooktop has cooled down or not. If you are switching from a traditional gas range to an electric cooktop, you will also need an electric panel upgrade. Electric cooktops require 3 or 4 wire 240 volt AC, 60 Hertz circuit protected by a separate 30 amp circuit breaker.

Pros Of An Electric Cooktop

Pros Of An Electric Cooktop

Less Expensive

If you are weighing your options between an induction cooktop and an electric, an electric cooktop is cheaper. Electric cooktops are more affordable and have more options than induction ranges.

Easy To Clean

Like induction cooktops, an electric cooktop is also easy to clean as it also has a smooth and flat design.

Suitable With Any Type Of Cookware

Unlike an induction cooktop, electric cooktops do not use magnetism so you can use your old pans and pots as long as they conduct heat and have a flat surface on the bottom.

Residual Heat

Electric cooktops give off residual heat which means it stays warm for a while after you’ve turned them off. This means you can maximize and use the residual heat to warm up your food before serving or eating the food.

Cons Of An Electric Cooktop

Residual Heat

As much of an advantage the residual heat of an electric cooktop gives, it can also be a disadvantage. If you are not careful, you can burn your hand if you touch the surface accidentally while it is turned on after it has just been turned off. Accidents can also happen if you spill something on the surface while the cooktop is in use.

Slow Heating Process

Since electric cooktops offer centralized heating, it can take longer to heat up. It can also cause longer cooking times if you don’t wait for the burners to reach the right temperatures.

Uneven Heat Distribution

One of the common complaints about electric cooktops is that they heat up unevenly which results in food having cold spots in some cases.  For uneven heating in old electric cooktops, it may be due to uneven burners or the burner socket being warped or damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is induction better than an electric cooktop?

If we are talking about efficiency, an induction cooktop is better than an electric one. Induction cooktops heat up faster as it transfers the heat directly to your cookware. The downside is, you will need to invest in cookware that is suitable for induction.

Does induction affect the electricity bill?

Since an induction cooktop is more energy-efficient,  it can reduce your power bills unless you use it 24/7. Induction cooktops do use electricity but it also uses electromagnetism and transfers heat faster directly to your cookware which can reduce cook time and the use of the cooktop.

Should I get an induction or an electric cooktop?

Both induction and electric cooktops have their own advantages and disadvantages. With new technology in place, an induction cooktop is more efficient and has a built-in safety feature but, it is more expensive than an electric cooktop. You may also need to invest in cookware that is suitable for induction cooktops as not all pots and pans can be used to cook on an induction, unlike an electric one.

How do you tell the difference between induction and electric cooktops?

Induction and electric cooktops look the same with their flat and smooth design. One thing you can tell if a stove is an electric cooktop is that the burners glow red when it is in use while an induction oven does not.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right cooktop can be a hard decision as you will most likely use it on a regular basis. Induction cooktops are becoming a popular choice among homeowners who like to cook because of their features and benefits. 

There are major differences between induction cooktops and electric ones but, they both have their own pros and cons. We have talked about the pros and cons of both electric and induction cooktops in this article which will be helpful when you are deciding what kind of cooktop to buy.

Whatever cooktop you choose, remember that both induction and electric cooktops won’t operate if there is a power outage. If there are no power outages happening frequently where you live, it might be worth the investment to get either one or the other. We hope this article helped you in differentiating an induction cooktop from an electric cooktop.

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