Is Induction Really Better?

By Michael Thomas

Is Induction Really Better?

It’s induction month at Carbon Switch and I’m excited to share our first two stories.

This week we published two guides comparing the different options homeowners have when it comes to getting a new stove: one on induction vs. gas stoves and another on induction vs. traditional electric stoves.

Friends don’t let friends install gas stoves

Readers of this newsletter won’t be surprised to learn that we recommend induction stoves over gas stoves. Cooking with gas stoves causes indoor air pollution and may be one of the leading causes of child asthma in America.

Just this week, the American Medical Association voted on a new policy position, stating that gas cooking “increases household air pollution and the risk of childhood asthma and asthma severity.”

Gas stoves are also bad for the environment. The methane that leaks from gas stoves every year—just the functioning stove, not any gas lines—has the same emissions potential as 500,000 gasoline-powered cars on the road.

But how does an induction stove compare to a traditional electric cooktop?

Induction doesn’t save much electricity

Many people hear that induction stoves are more energy efficient than electric stoves and think that makes them the clear environmentally-friendly choice. But the truth is that the energy savings aren’t much to write home about.

According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), the average home uses 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. Only 1.4% (140 kWh) of that electricity is used for cooking. Induction stoves are about 10% more efficient than electric stoves. So we’re talking about 14 kWh of savings.

To put that in perspective, consider that switching to a heat pump water heater will save you 2,000-4,000 kWh. Even switching a single LED bulb will save you more electricity (35 kWh per year) than an induction stove.

You’re paying for a better cooking experience

So what’s the appeal of induction over traditional electric? It mostly comes down to cooking performance. Many professional chefs will tell you it’s a superior experience. It’s lightning fast, responsive, and easier to clean up when you’re done.

But that better performance comes with a cost. As Kevin writes in our guide:

“Browsing major appliance vendors, electric stoves cost between $550-$2,000, from the most basic, exposed-coil, knob-operated model to flat-top, air-frying models that clean themselves with steam.​

In the same stores, most induction stoves start at $1,200 and run up to $2,000, within mainstream brands and common sizes. Premium models with more features start at $3,000.”

So the decision of whether or not to choose induction is really a question of how much you’re willing to pay for a better cooking experience. If money’s tight, and the idea of a more responsive cooktop doesn’t speak to you, we recommend going with a traditional electric stove. Otherwise, we say splurge and get the induction stove.

But whatever you do, don’t install another gas stove. To quote Kevin: “Electrifying your home, with as many efficient devices as possible, helps move us all closer to a world without fossil fuels.” And that’s a world we can all aspire to.

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