You have probably found yourself wondering why it is important to that you use a specific type of pan when cooking with an induction hob.
Well, we are going to address that question today.
But, in order to answer it, we need to understand how an induction hob works.
An induction hob requires a special type of pan because it works a little bit different from a conventional stove, which is not selective when it comes to the type of stove to be used. It uses an electromagnetic induction, which works by creating a magnetic field between the surface of the hob and the pan. The magnetic field created is what facilitates the production of the heat responsible for cooking your food. So, in Lehmann’s language, an induction hob works by converting an electric current into an electromagnetic field which then turns into heat to warm the pan.
So, to answer the question, an induction hob creates a magnetic field, which means it will have to work with a piece of metal that is a magnetic material (ferromagnetic material). In this case, you will need a pan that can be magnetized easily and iron-based materials fit this criteria. If you use a pan that cannot be magnetized or a material that is not ferromagnetic, you may be disappointed with your cooking results. The only way you can ascertain a material is ferromagnetic is by putting it through a magnetism test, which is pretty simple. For a pan, all you have to do is place a magnet underneath the pan and if it sticks, then the pan will work on our induction hob.
If you find out that the pan you are testing for magnetism only sticks loosely and the magnet can be shaken off easily, then it means that the pan is not a strong ferromagnetic material and may not give the desired cooking results. If the magnet does not stick at all on the pan, you already know what that says about its ability to work on an induction hob.
You can easily find an induction hob-compatible pan on the market. Cast iron is the best ferromagnetic material that can work on an induction hob. As such, any time of cast iron pan is a pan you can buy without worrying about whether it will work. Stainless steel pans are not always compatible with an induction hob unless it is an alloy.
Still, even if the stainless steel pan is an alloy, whether it will work with an induction hob depends on the proportion of iron in the alloy. If iron constitutes only a small proportion of the alloy, then the chances are that it will be a poor ferromagnetic material hence an incompatible induction hob pan.
In case you are wondering which pans you should avoid buying if you are planning on using an induction hob alone in your kitchen, here they are:
However, there are aluminum, copper and glass pans that come fitted with a magnetic coating at the bottom. If that is the one you have or you are buying, then you are just fine because they will work perfectly.
In summation, an induction hob requires a special pan because of the fact that it depends on an electromagnetic field to heat the pan. So, the pan needs to be easily magnetized (ferromagnetic) in order to work well with an induction hob. The best way to find out if the pans you have at home are compatible with an induction hob is by carrying out a magnet test. Check out our induction pans review article if non of your current pans pass the test. There are some great models there at reasonable prices.