Due to different heating principles, induction cookers are only compatible with magnetic-based iron pots with cast iron, stainless steel, or enamel materials. Electric ceramic cookers can be used with any pots, including ceramic, aluminium, glass, or teapots. What's more, the entire surface of a grilled electric ceramic cooker can be used for heating. The inception of new accessories, such as seafood steamer sets and Japanese or Korean teppanyaki, are also available for selection, so the associated package is also a key consideration!
It can be frustrated to wait for a long time for water to boil when having hot pots. In general, induction cookers can heat the pot directly, being more efficient. In contrast, the surface of electric ceramic cookers must first be heated before the heat reaches the pot, so the efficiency is relatively lower. In terms of heating speed, the efficiency of cookers with a higher wattage performs better. Taking the 2,000-watt model as an example, it takes about 4 minutes to boil one litre of water; smaller wattage models with lower power heats up more slowly. Therefore, it is vital to pay attention to cookers' power when choosing the best fit option.
Electrical appliances also consume energy in standby mode. The difference in the performance of various cookers can be significant, especially for induction cookers. Consumers may refer to the energy efficiency label of the product when purchasing induction cookers. The third phase of The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme (MEELS) extends the coverage to induction cookers, categorised into five grades. Grade 1 energy label is the most energy-efficient, and Grade 5 energy label is the least energy-efficient. The test results revealed that models labelled as Grade 5 have higher standby power. Therefore, users are advised to switch off the power cord to save energy when idling.
Cooking fire can be distinguished with a naked eye when the heat is turned on. The control board display helps indicate and regulate the amount of heat delivered for electric stoves. The test results suggested electric ceramic cookers to be more stable, with the heat supply relatively more even and easier to control at low heat.
In terms of electronic functions, induction cookers and electric ceramic cookers are better than traditional portable LPG stoves. Most models provide basic functions, including hot pot, soup boiling, fixed temperature, and stir-fry. Some cookers are equipped with functions such as slow cook and sauna steam. Electronic cookers usually have timing functions to power off themselves or cook at low heat at constant temperatures, without cooking supervision required.
Some cookers contain a bonus Wi-Fi function, which can be operated remotely through mobile phone apps – actualising a smart home life.
Since the surface of most models is covered in ceramics, it makes cleaning much easier regardless of oil drops, soup spills, or food crumbs! When purchasing, it is vital to observe the cooker's cooktop, edges, buttons, or knobs to identify any potential dents that may make cleaning difficult.
The light-touch design is convenient but is often touched mistakenly, especially for pets. In case "the naughty pet" jumps onto the stove, accidents can occur at any time. Therefore, a safety lock is also a key factor for consideration. Most models, in general, have the heating button preset for cooking after the on-and-off button has been pressed to ensure safety.
Residual Heat on the Surface of the Cooker
Electric ceramic cookers pass heat to the pot through the gradual heat-up of the cooktop panel. The heat remains on the surface after the cooker has turned off. It is advised to cover the top with utensils after cooking to avoid getting burnt. Moreover, the power cord should be tied up, stored well, and kept from crossing over the cooker's surface. The induction cooker panel retains less heat, and the temperature of the cooker surface is relatively lower after cooking. In addition, less heat retention in the panel also helps to improve the operation efficiency!
Marking and Instruction Labels
Foreigner roommates and domestic helpers should observe whether the control board display has dual language, containing both Chinese and English. Although most of the buttons are relatively simple to use, it is best if all family members know how to operate without obstacles.
Tips for using induction cookers and electric ceramic cookers
- Induction and electric ceramic cookers' wattage is generally high, so do not share the same socket with other high-power electrical appliances.
- Please check the cooker surface for cracks or breakage before use.
- Do not put too much water in the pot to avoid over floating when it boils.
- Cover the pot with a lid as much as possible and reduce the heat to save electricity and retain food moisture.
- Many fumes will be produced when grilling, so it is advised to maintain indoor air circulation.
- Do not unplug the power cords immediately after use as the fans of some models are still operating. It is recommended to allow the heating panel to cool off before turning it off.
Summarising the above main points, even with hundreds of models of induction cookers or electric ceramic cookers, the Consumer Council believes you can choose the most suitable one. If you want to understand further the safety test and the efficiency information of different models, take a look at the comprehensive test of various induction cookers! [Issue 518 "Choice"Monthly Magazine: Induction Cookers are Essential for Hotpots in Winter] (Chinese version only)
You should pay heed to food safety when eating hot pots. Avoid thinking that bacteria will not hurt, thus swallowing uncooked food hastily. You may look at [Issue 320 of Choice Monthly](Chinese version only) for food safety tips on choosing frozen meat and why thawed meat should not be re-frozen.
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