What is the difference between Induction and Ceramic Cooktops?

Perini Team

In Kitchen Posted

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of any kitchen renovation, choosing your new appliances does require a little bit of research to ensure a solution you can enjoy for many years to come. When selecting a new cooktop for your kitchen renovation, it is always a great idea to visit your nearest kitchen appliance showroom to view your preferred appliances in the flesh before making any final decisions. Many showrooms also offer cooking demonstrations, which allow you to see just how well a particular cooktop functions, as well as the opportunity to effectively test the product before placing your order. This leads to much less guess work throughout the process, allowing for a more informed decision however, the best place to start is to narrow down your options by deciding on which type of model will best suit your needs.

Induction and ceramic cooktops can often look incredibly similar making it quite the challenge to decide between these two very worthy options. Both models feature a gleaming black, glossy surface and both are renowned for being extremely easy to clean and maintain. So what exactly is the difference between the two?

This contemporary kitchen design by Perini Renovations features a sleek induction cooktop that blends in seamlessly with the space’s ultra-modern aesthetic.

As similar as these cooktop models are, they certainly do have a few key features that differentiate the two. The main difference is that ceramic cooktops use heating elements underneath the glass surface whereas an induction cooktop does not use such elements, but rather makes use of electro-magnetic energy to generate heat. Beneath an induction cooktop’s glass surface, circular coils are employed to generate an electro-magnetic field which is activated only when an iron pot or pan is placed on the surface.

Although an induction cooktop will require suitable cookware to match (a general rule of thumb is that if a magnet sticks to your cookware, it should be just fine to use on an induction hob), they do generally heat up much quicker than any other type of cooktop as they work by heating the pot or pan directly and not the cooktop itself. This process leads to much quicker cooking times and a more energy efficient solution in general when compared to other cooktop options. This also means that an induction cooktop will be much safer where little hands are a concern: there is much less risk of burns when using an induction hob as once again, the hob itself does not increase in temperature but instead, focuses on heating the base of your cookware only.

Smeg’s Dolce Stil Novo 90cm Induction cooktop includes a built in gas burner, offering a more versatile solution in your new kitchen design.

A common drawback of induction cooktops however, is that wok cooking is not anywhere nearly as efficient as it is when using a gas cooker. A gas hob’s flame radiates heat, allowing the curves of a traditional wok to be heated efficiently whereas an induction hob will only heat the base of your wok, thus not providing the uniform heat required in this style of cooking. Thankfully, there are solutions available to combat this issue: Many kitchen appliance manufacturers now offer induction cooktop options that include a single gas element, offering the best of both worlds! Cookware manufacturers have also filled this need by creating unique cast iron woks with a flat base, allowing their use with an induction cooktop without the need for an added gas element. 

This is also a common issue for ceramic cooktops, however, the same cast iron woks with a flat base can also be used effectively on these models. Although ceramic cooktops can look very similar to their induction counterparts, the surface is not actually made of black glass and is instead made of a clay material that has been hardened by heat to create a black glass-look surface finish. This surface is also incredibly easy to maintain, requiring only a simple wipe down with a soft cloth to clean any spills however, the similarities between these two options stops there.

Ceramic cooktops include heating elements releasing constant heat, whereas an induction cooktop will only activate when in direct contact with iron cookware. Pictured here is Smeg’s Classic Aesthetic topmount ceramic cooktop which includes a sleek bevelled stainless steel frame to ensure the ceramic edges of your new cooktop are not exposed and susceptible to damage.

The entire construction of a ceramic cooktop is entirely different from that of an induction hob; using heating elements installed directly beneath the surface, a ceramic cooktop will increase in surface temperature as opposed to the induction models which focus the heat on the base of your cookware only. Although cooking time is not quite as efficient as what is offered with an induction cooktop, just about any of your usual cookware will work just fine on a ceramic model, as these do not work with electro-magnetic fields. 

Although there are a few similarities between these two wonderful options, the final decision will ultimately come down to your own unique preferences and cooking style. Aesthetically, both models offer the same sleek, ultra-modern design however the key differences do rest in their cooking functions and abilities. Our team at Perini Renovations can discuss your kitchen appliance options with you during the course of the design process to ensure your complete satisfaction with your new kitchen – Visit our showroom or get in touch with us to arrange a consultation for your project!