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How Do I Know If I Have An Induction Hob?

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: January 22, 2024

Induction hobs cooktops or stove tops are an incredible gift to modern cooking. There are many advantages to having these modern appliances in your kitchen, no matter what you want to cook.

One of the first things to know about these appliances is what they are made of. You don’t need to roll up your sleeves and understand the complete mechanism and science of how they work.

But it helps to know a few details because you will need the right cookware to use these appliances. And that’s not about using them efficiently but about using them at all.

What Is An Induction Hob?

There are different types of hobs in the market. Some of them have similar functions, but they are not the same. Induction hobs, the subject of this article, usually can heat a pain up straight. They do this by creating a hob ring of heat on the cooktop that heats up the saucepan or frying pan placed on it.

For this, they make use of magnets. These magnets create a magnetic field under the surface of the hob. It gets triggered when you place a pan on it, but you must ensure it is also magnetic.

The circuit completes itself when you place the pan on the hob’s surface, and the heating process begins. If you are not using a magnetic pan for the cooking, the circuit is left incomplete, and that’s the end.

Visually speaking, you know you have an induction hob if you see that it is made of black glass. That’s mostly the case, so they don’t look like most ceramic hobs or electric cooktops.

In induction hob with a frying pan on the front left hob, and the exhaust fan aboveHow Do I Know If I Have An Induction Hob?

Since an induction hob uses a magnetic field and not fire, you won’t actually see any flames on the surface. But if you watch closely, you will notice that there is a little red lighting around the cooking surface which will tell you that the job is underway.

You don’t want to touch it because the red lighting is not just for visual effect. It’s the result of that area actually heating up. It is also good to know if the cooking surface was accidentally left on. But some manufacturers have also put other safeguards, like lights, to warn you.

Speaking of security features, most of them also come with a child lock. It is extremely useful for little ones climbing up surfaces and messing with things because that’s just what little chefs in the making do.

Induction hobs or burners also use electromagnetic energy to generate heat for cooking purposes. They usually have a metal coil that is typically made of copper. The coil makes use of the power when it is switched on and creates the magnetic field.

When you place a pan on that surface, once the magnetic field has been generated, you will help the appliance generate electrical energy too, which is the thing that heats up the pan.

Now, you need utensils made of ferrous metals to use on top of an induction burner. That means they must come with magnetic properties to help the burner create the magnetic field required to move forward. You need enamelled cast iron, cast iron or steel to get the job done.

The best way to know if you’ve got the right cookware is to use it with kitchen magnets and see if they stick to the utensils. You’re in the clear if it sticks.

What Kind Of Induction Hobs Are Out There?

Once you know you have an induction cooktop, here’s what you need to know. You need to look at it and see what kind of cooking zones it has. These are usually quite clearly marked on the surface of the appliance.

frying pan with a fried egg

Whether you have a ceramic or induction hob, you typically have four zones.

Now, it’s possible that you have an induction hob with no zones, but it allows you to place about five pans anywhere on the hob. Those also exist, and the idea is that you can place the pan and get started with the task at hand.

This is meant to make your cooking easy because placing the pan anywhere will get heated up in seconds. These zoneless induction hobs are supposed to be great for heating up water and doing it faster than other appliances.

These hobs are also meant to make it easy to use a pan of any size without worrying about the zone it fits in.

How To Know If You Have An Induction Hob

You can use that trick with the kitchen magnets that were mentioned earlier to know if you have an induction hob. When the magnet sticks, you know you have an induction hob, not a ceramic one. So, if anyone asks, answer in the affirmative.

If you don’t have magnetic pots and pans, you can use those magnets to activate the circuit and get the heat started.

cooking a fried egg in a frying pan on an induction hob

Another option is to look at your appliance, try switching it on, and see if it gets heated up. The cooktop is usually cool enough because most are only meant to heat ‌the cookware, not the glass on top of the appliance. But touching it is still not recommended because it’s not that cool.

Now, you also know that for these jobs, you need the right kind of utensils. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the job done. So, you know you have an induction hob if you see an error message while using regular pots and pans that don’t stick.

If you have a ceramic or electric hob, they will start getting hot when you switch them on. You don’t need to put a pot or pan on the appliance. So, if it works with just about any utensil, you may have an electric hob.

Although it is entirely possible that what you have is faulty, be sure to do a couple of other checks before you decide that all your utensils are totally useless and go shopping for a new kitchen.

How Do I Know If I Have An Induction Hob: Wrapping Up

Now you know that they work on magnetic fields, and that’s how heat is generated. You also know that they only work with magnetic cookware. So, you might need to get a few of those if you don’t have them already.

It is also helpful to know that while there are no flames, there are other ways to tell if you’ve accidentally left your induction hob on and thank god for that. And while you’re here, you should know that these are efficient, consistent and safe appliances.

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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