GREENSBORO, N.C. — Gas vs. electric ranges: Which is better in the kitchen? That has been a heated debate among home chefs for years. And gas stoves—and their emissions—have become a hot topic for others as well. Not sure which one to choose for your home?
Consumer Reports says if you’re looking to replace an old range, don’t let fear of the unfamiliar keep you from switching to induction. This type of range uses an oscillating magnetic field to transfer energy directly from the element to the pan. The result is that it’s much more efficient and heats up faster, too.
Yet, contrary to what you may have heard, you probably won’t need to buy all-new cookware.
"It’s true that induction only works with magnetic cookware, but that really isn’t as limiting as it sounds. Cast iron, most stainless steel, and even an enamel cast iron all work. If you’re not sure about a pan, see if a magnet sticks to it. If it does, it’s going to work with induction," said Paul Hope of Consumer Reports.
Aluminum won’t work, but anodized aluminum might if it has a special base that’s induction compatible.
Another plus is that in CR’s range tests, induction burners typically outperform other types of cooktop burners.
The Frigidaire Gallery GCRI3058AF, from $1,250, earns top scores for low- and high-heat cooking, plus very good scores for baking. And it costs thousands less than many of the other recommended induction ranges in CR’s ratings.
If you’re not ready to be fully inducted into the induction club, you may want to consider a portable induction cooktop.
"They’re a good option if you find yourself without enough burners on your stove," said Hope.
The Duxtop Portable Induction Cooktop 9600LS for $116 heats fast, offers steady simmering, and masters melting. And just like a full-sized induction cooktop, it’s very easy to clean.
Consumer Reports says if you’re making the switch from a gas range to an induction model, you’ll probably need to hire an electrician to install a new outlet, which may cost a few hundred dollars.