The Essential Guide to Choosing Pans for Your Induction Hob

If you've recently made the switch to an induction hob or are considering it, you might be wondering which pans are suitable for this modern cooking technology. This concise guide aims to demystify induction hobs and the types of cookware that are compatible with them.


What is an Induction Hob?

An induction hob is an electrically powered stovetop that heats cookware via a magnetic circuit, rather than through thermal conduction from a flame or electric element. This means they are energy-efficient, heat up quickly, and offer safer cooking options.


Induction vs. Gas Hobs: The Need for Special Pans

Unlike traditional gas hobs, induction hobs require specific types of cookware to operate effectively. The technology relies on magnetic fields, so your cookware needs to be magnetic to engage with the hob properly.


What are Induction-Compatible Pans?

Induction-compatible pans are usually made of ferrous (iron-containing) materials that interact well with magnetic fields. Commonly used materials include:

  • Cast Iron: Highly durable and excellent at retaining heat.

  • Stainless Steel: Generally compatible but ensure it's mixed with magnetic materials. Some stainless steel pans with high nickel content might not work.


How to Check Pan Compatibility

  1. Visual Inspection: Look for a symbol on the base of the pan that resembles a coil of wire with four loops. This indicates induction compatibility.

  2. Magnet Test: If a fridge magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it's usually a good indicator that the pan will work on an induction hob.

  3. Manufacturer's Label: Many brands clearly label their cookware as induction-safe.


Pans to Avoid

Pans made of non-magnetic materials won't work with induction hobs. These include:

  • Glass, including Pyrex
  • Aluminium, unless it has an induction-friendly base
  • Copper
  • Heavy ceramics


    Special Cases: Aluminium and Stainless Steel

    Although pure aluminium pans are generally not compatible, some are constructed with an induction-friendly base made of a blend of magnetic metals. Likewise, while most stainless steel pans are induction-safe, those with a high nickel content may not be.


    Final Thoughts

    Induction hobs offer a range of benefits including energy efficiency, safety, and speed. However, to make the most of this technology, it's crucial to invest in the right type of cookware. Fortunately, once you know what to look for, choosing the right pans is straightforward.

    So, the next time you go shopping for cookware, keep this guide handy to ensure you make an informed choice.