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Induction Cookers in India: Analysis of brands, working costs, prices and efficiency.

By on April 22, 2016

When it comes to taking a step forward in technology that changes the traditional methods of doing a specific task, people think a lot. Here the specific task is cooking, the traditional method is using a gas stove, and the step is to start using an induction cooker. There are a lot of questions when it comes to using an induction cooker, which makes it difficult for people to take a step ahead. We at Bijli Bachao are here to answer them and help people get rid of the confusion. This article aims at providing all the relevant information on induction cookers.

How induction cooker works

Induction cookers work on the principle of electromagnetism. There is a coil of copper wire placed below the cooking surface (generally made of glass-ceramic), above which the cooking vessel is placed. An alternating current flows through the coil, which creates a magnetic field. The vessel kept above the cooking surface gets induced with a current due to the magnetic field. This current flowing in the vessel, through the cooking surface, generates resistive heating which inturn heats the food in the vessel. Instead of heating the area around the vessel, like in the case of a gas stove or an electric stove, an induction cooker heats the vessel only. This leads to less wastage of heat, in turn keeping the kitchen cool.

InductionCooktop1

Induction cookers in Indian kitchen and cookware

Most of the Indian dishes that are cooked on a regular basis in every house, can be prepared using an induction cooker. Some brands of induction cookers also provide specially programmed cookers with preset functions for Indian cooking. But some Indian food like phulkas (chapattis) can get difficult to be cooked on it.

Induction cookers require compatible cookware to work with it. Utensils made up of ferromagnetic (having magnetic properties) material like iron and steel can only be used. If you want to test whether your existing cookware is compatible or not, simply take a magnet near the base of the cookware, if it clings, your cookware is compatible.                                      

Cost of cooking on induction cookers

The cost benefit of using induction cooker depends on the price of electricity and gas (PNG or LPG) in your city. If cost of electricity is much higher (more than Rs 5 a unit), then it might not be economical to use Induction Cookers. If cost of electricity is low and PNG/LPG are unsubsidized or expensive, then Induction cooker will turn out cheaper to use. In a previous article (Comparison of Cooktops) we did a comparison of Gas and Electric cooktops and we analyzed that at Rs 5 a unit and PNG at regular rates, the costs of using Induction cooker as compared to PNG/LPG comes out to be close (with Induction cooker being slightly expensive). Here is the calculation that we have put in that article:

LPG Stove

PNG Stove

Induction Cooktop

Electric Coil Cooktop

Unit Definition

1 Cylinder (14.2 kgs LPG)

1 SCM

1 kWH

1 kWH

Energy (in Joules) per unit

654620000

41868000

3600000

3600000

Energy (in Joules) per unit factoring efficiency

261848000

16747200

3024000

2664000

Units Required to heat 10 lts of water.

0.012

0.188

1.042

1.182

Cost per Unit (in Rs)

Rs 423 (Subsidized),

Rs 900 (Un-Subsidized)

Rs 23

Rs 5

Rs 5

Cost of heating 10 lts water (in Rs)

Rs 5.09 (Subsidized),

Rs 10.8 (Un-Subsidized)

Rs 4.33

Rs 5.21

Rs 5.91

Are induction cookers expensive?

Yes, they are more expensive than the conventional cookers. But due to their high efficiency operational savings can ensure payback of the extra cost. The cost may vary depending on the brand, type and wattage of the cooker. Approximate price range of induction cookers available in Indian market based for different wattage of cookers is as follows:

WattagePriceRange*
1400W, 1500WRs. 2400 -- Rs. 3700
1800WRs. 2900 – Rs. 3700
1900WRs. 1700 – Rs. 4300
2000WRs. 2600 – Rs. 4500
2100WRs. 4600 – Rs. 6000

*The prices are indicative and may vary depending on the type of cooker and brand.

Are induction cookers faster than LPG stoves?

Cooking definitely gets faster with the use of an induction cooker as compared to the LPG stoves. This is so because in induction cookers the vessel itself becomes the heat source, heat loss decreases and cooking is faster. Consumer Voice, an organization that raises consumer awareness published a report based on the tests that were conducted on various brands of induction cookers. They found that depending on the brand, an induction cooker consumes a minimum of 2.58 minutes to a maximum of 4.04 minutes to boil 1 litre of water. On the other hand, an LPG gas stove takes about 5.36 minutes to boil the same quantity of water. Also, heating time is directly proportional to the wattage of the cooker. 

Efficiency of induction cookers

Efficiency of induction cookers compared to gas and electric stoves as per the boiling water tests conducted by the US department of energy is as follows (Source:US: DOE):

GasElectricInduction
Efficiency40%74%84%

The efficiency is measured in terms of the ratio of energy that gets delivered to the food to the energy consumed by the cookers is dependent on the size of the pan and the heating flame/surface. So yes, induction cookers have the highest efficiency. 

Safety of induction cookers

  • Absence of open flames make them very safe to use.
  • Since the heat is eventually produced by the vessel itself, the surface of the cooker below the vessel is much cooler than the vessel, making it less risky to use.InductionCooktop2
  • There is a control system that stops the heating process if a vessel isn’t kept on the cooker or the vessel isn’t large enough.
  • The magnetic field produced gets projected about 2-3cms, which does not pose any harm to users (People with cardiac implants should consult their doctors before using it though). Some induction cookers also have an anti-magnetic wall that ensures safety for users from the magnetic radiations.
  • Temperature control feature regulates the energy supply very easily and efficiently, making it very safe to use.
  • Overheating of food can be restrained by setting up the timer.

Induction cookers are very safe to use compared to other conventional cookers, but certain precautions need to be taken to make it completely safe to use like, not to touch the vessel without some hand protection, not to forget to turn it off, avoid taking a magnet too near to it.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros

o   Very safe due to the controlled mechanism and the safety features.

o   Easy to clean and manage.

o   Consumes less energy, which makes it environment friendly.

o   Heat wastage is minimized, which increases efficiency and results in cooler kitchens.

o   Faster than conventional gas stoves.

o   Temperature controller and timer make it easy to use.

  • Cons

o   Expensive than regular cooktops.

o   Requires special cookware.

o   No electricity, no cooking.

o   Food that require open flame to be cooked (e.g. Chapatti) cannot be cooked.

o   Works only with flat bottomed vessels/pans and very small or very large vessels can raise issues .

So, what did we cook?

Induction cookers havea few limitations, but when it comes to energy saving, cost effectiveness, faster cooking, easy to use, and safer means of cooking, induction cookers can be considered. Induction cookers have not yet started replacing the LPG gas stoves but have started complementing them in Indian kitchens. Here is a ranked (based on lab testing) list of models of induction cookers available in Indian market today, by Department of Consumer Affairs (Ministry of Consumer Affairs) / Consumer Voice

RankBrandModelWarranty/Guarantee ( in years)
1InalsaEasy Cook LX1
2KenwoodIH3501
3BajajPlatini PX130K1
3Morphy RichardsChef xpress 1002
4WestinghouseWKICLBC203
4PhilipsHD49071
5HavellsInsta Cooks2
5PrestigePIC3.0V21
6UshaCookjoy1
7GlenGL30701
8SunflameSF1C011
9KhaitanKIC40951

As per Department of Consumer Affairs (Ministry of Consumer Affairs)/Consumer Voice report the most value for money brands are Inalsa and Bajaj. And the most energy efficient brand is Westinghouse.

References:

http://consumeraffairs.nic.in/consumer/writereaddata/Induction%20cooker-12.pdf (Consumer Voice Report)

http://circulon.uk.com/about-us/induction-cooking-with-circulon

http://theinductionsite.com/proandcon.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induction_cooking

http://www.keralaenergy.gov.in/emc_reports/Induction%20Cooker_a%20brief%20investigation.pdf

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