What are the Types of Pans Compatible with an Induction Range?

If you have bought a brand-new induction range, congratulations. You have bought something that is very energy-efficient and is designed for maximum heat conversion. This is very important both to conserve and convert heat as efficiently as possible.

Did you know that the typical flame or electric based range normally wastes 50% of its energy? That is right, 50% of all the heat created by such ranges are actually wasted in the air or surrounding areas. The heat simply does not go to where it needs to go. It would be nice if this energy was completely free. Unfortunately, you’re footing the bill for all this wasted energy.

This is the reason why induction ranges are fast becoming popular. They are extremely energy efficient as far as electricity is concerned, and they do not waste any time as far as cooking your food goes. You can rest assured that the heat generated by the induction process goes to where it needs to go.

How Induction Cooking Works

Induction cooking involves a flat surface that has a current running underneath it. The current simply magnetizes the metal cookware placed on top of the surface. If you were to put your hand on the induction surface, nothing will happen because, the last time I checked, the human hand is not made of iron. You have to have a huge percentage iron in your hand for it to generate heat.

Iron-based materials, when magnetized, create heat because of the resistance of the atoms in the iron. This all takes place in the form of magnetism. That is how induction cooking works. All induction friendly cookware has a heating disc at the bottom of the pot or pan. When the surface comes into contact with the induction range’s current, a high-powered magnetic field is created, and this generates a lot of heat. This system works well if you have a cookware that is made primarily of iron or stainless steel with a heavy iron component. The problem with this is that people often think that you just need an all-iron construction.

The Problem with All-Iron Cookware

If you were to use all-iron cookware and place it on your induction range, you probably will not get much result because you very likely would find it too much of a hassle. First of all, cast iron materials are very heavy. Moreover, it does not conduct heat as efficiently. Believe it or not, as much as there is a tremendous amount of magnetic activity happening, the heat is not distributed by the cast-iron cookware efficiently and effectively.

On top of all of this, you also have to worry about rust. Whenever you have any all-iron components, whether it is a chain-link fence, some sort of metal casing or cookware, rust is always an issue. Rust does not only look bad, but it can also get in the way of food taste and quality.

Multi-metal Cookware Core

The secret to highly effective induction cookware is to use pots and pans that have a multi-metal core. This is just a fancy word for alloys. These are combinations of metals including iron. If you mix iron with zinc and other elements, you create stainless steel. The stainless steel heating disc design at the bottom of cookware mixed with non-iron materials for the sides and other parts of the cookware create a superior pot or pan. Seriously. You get the lightness and heat conduction abilities of the other metals while at the same time being assured of the high level of induction made possible by the iron content of the metal composite.

Stainless Steel Delivers Solid Value

The bottom line is quite simple. Stainless steel brings a lot to the table. Not only do you get a nice lightweight cookware that is too easy to handle and clean; it also conducts heat at a very high level. You can rest assured that if you put your stainless steel pot or pan with the right level of iron in it, the magnetic heating processes of your induction tabletop will deliver solid heat.

Be Very Careful of Stainless Steel’s Nickel Content

A little bit of warning though. As powerful as stainless steel may be in terms of value, make sure it does not have too much nickel. If it has elevated levels of nickel, the pan would have little to no induction capability. The nickel starts getting in the way of its iron content.

Spun Metal Disc Construction

There are many variations of stainless steel cookware. One of the most common is spun metal disc construction. This is just a fancy term for an alloy that used a spinning process to mix aluminum and iron. This aluminum and iron mixture enables the bottom of the pot or pan to heat up through the induction process.

The problem with most spun metal composite pots and pans is that the metal tends to separate over time. The mixing of the alloy is done through a spinning process and, depending on the manufacturer or brand, you might not get lifetime durability. This is a serious total value issue because if you want to maximize the amount of value you get for every hard-earned dollar you spend on your cookware, you need that cookware to last a long time. You need it to withstand the test of time. Unfortunately, spun metal disc construction tends to fall apart because of the way it is manufactured.

Triple-Clad and Five-Ply Core

These are just different names for basically the same technology. What you are doing here is that you are sandwiching aluminum between thin sheets of iron. When you do this, you get the benefit of both metals. You get the excellent heat-conduction capabilities of iron while benefiting from the light weight of aluminum. On top of all this, five-ply core construction also throws in a mix of copper and aluminum into the alloy of the cookware to maximize heat conduction while offering a light pot and pan design. These are superior but they can pack quite a bit of a punch to the wallet so do some heavy price comparison!

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