A few weeks ago, I treated myself to an electric induction hob, the Tefal 1H Everyday. I’ve yet to figure out how to change a gas bottle and as I’m currently on a shoreline, I decided to take advantage of the essentially limitless electricity rather than have the hassle of lugging around heavy steel cylinders. The hob itself runs on 240v and uses a magnetic induction field (doesn’t that sound all Star Trek-y?) to generate heat in the bottom of the pan resting on top of it. The hob itself doesn’t heat up, it simply heats the pan up, which makes it more efficient than a traditional electric hob. These rely on friction to heat an element, which is then used to heat the pan, friction that is caused by putting too much current through a wire. Too much current going through a wire is also how a lot of fires get started. The magnetic field is created in a circle underneath the pan, which introduces eddy currents in the metal of the pan itself. This causes the pan to heat up, rather than the hob.
One of the downsides to using an induction hob is the necessity of having a pan that is compatible. An easy way to test for compatibility is to put your fishing magnet on the bottom of the pan- if it sticks, the pan will work. I paid £7 for a suitable pan from my local bargain store, so buying a specific pan to use shouldn’t prove too expensive.
During testing, wherein I boiled one litre of water in the 3000W kettle and another litre of water in a pan on the hob set to 2100W, the kettle boiled the water nearly a minute faster at 2m32s, rather than 3m28s. However, the kettle is significantly more powerful than the hob.
Some of the upsides are as follows:
- The hob itself cost less than £40 and it can be used quite economically. The technology itself is more efficient than old-fashioned “spiral” rings, but the hob can also be set to use a specific wattage – mine will vary between 450W and 2100W with seven steps in between.
- The model I have will work on a modified sine wave inverter. My current inverter is rated to 1200W, which means I can use any of the four lowest settings – 450W, 600W, 850W and 1000W.
- It’s easy to set the amount of watts used, as the manual power settings correspond to a given amount of energy.
- The unit is small and portable. It’s less than 4″ high, which means it can be stored in the bottom of a cupboard and taken out when needed for use.
- 450W (P1) is sufficient for simmering, but the induction field is switched on and off which may prove problematic for some foods. I’ve never had a need to take it past 1000W (P4). The LED screen shows you exactly what is going on.
- I’ve been able to run the hob and my 1300W halogen oven simultaneously without causing a problem with the shoreline, by keeping the power usage of the hob low.
- The timer feature of the hob can be quite useful. For example, I can simmer rice for 15 minutes and then check on it when the timer beeps. It will also turn the hob off after those 15 minutes, which means that noting is burned onto the pan. An hour’s simmering will draw less than 38 amps from the batteries.
- It’s very easy to clean. The hob surface is a shiny black material that is easily wiped over with a cloth.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with my purchase. It’s compact, runs from the inverter, can be set to specific times and energy uses and is portable. The only change I’d make next time I purchased one would be to buy a model that has two hobs rather than just one.