✔️ Material: The material you pick for your induction cookware makes a huge difference. Cookware must contain ferrous metal to work on induction stoves. Here are some materials that go well with this method of cooking:
- Cast iron: This thick and heavy material is extremely durable and can hold heat well. It contains iron, which is the material that makes cast iron work on induction. Uncoated cast iron like our Lodge skillet pick can be rough and might scratch an induction cooktop if the cook isn’t careful but enamel-coated cast iron like the Le Creuset Dutch oven is smooth and gentle on glass cooktops.
- Carbon steel: A thinner and lighter alternative to cast iron, this smooth metal also contains iron and conducts heat very well. This material is especially great for large cookware like the Yosukata wok, which utilizes quick movements and high heat.
- Stainless steel: Stainless steel is an alloy that comes in different grades. If the nickel content in the stainless steel is too high, it will prevent the steel from having a magnetic reaction. Most but not all stainless-steel cookware is induction-compatible. To be sure, check the box or the website description.
- Multi-clad: Includes a copper or aluminum core sandwiched between layers of stainless steel to help the cookware with heat conduction. Our best overall All-Clad set and our best value Tramontina set are multi-clad.
Aluminum, copper, ceramic and glass are not induction-ready but some manufacturers add an iron or magnetic steel disc to the bottom to make it induction-compatible, like with the GreenPan Valencia ceramic set. Our Lab tests found that cookware bonded with magnetic plates doesn’t heat as quickly as cookware made from naturally magnetic materials.
✔️ Heating ability: The heating range of most induction cooktops goes up to 500°F but some high-end models go above 550°F. When shopping for induction-friendly cookware, find pieces that can stand up to these temperatures. Uncoated pans normally have a higher heat threshold than those with ceramic or non-stick coatings.
✔️ Pan size: With induction cookware, it is very important to ensure that the pan size fits the burner. It won’t properly activate the element or heat up as efficiently if it is too big or too small. The bottoms must have a flat, smooth surface to ensure complete contact with the stove’s element.
✔️ Single pan vs. set: We’re big fans of cookware sets. If you’re transferring to induction cookware, you likely need all new pots and pans, so you might as well get the most for your money. For essentials, you’ll want at least one 10-inch skillet, one small pot for boiling eggs and a bigger pot for soups and pasta. A cast iron skillet and enameled pots would be nice bonuses.
✔️ Price: Like any cookware, premium quality induction cookware comes at a premium price. Spending several hundred dollars can buy a set that lasts a lifetime. Less expensive induction-friendly cookware can also perform well, but the material and construction of the pan may be less durable for the long haul.
✔️ Ease of cleaning: Many stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe, but uncoated cast iron and carbon steel are hand wash only and need to be regularly oiled for optimal performance. The best choice for you will depend on how much maintenance you’re willing to put up with.