Stop making these 6 common induction hob mistakes

Whether you are a novice cook or a seasoned chef, don't let these errors impact your cooking experience and damage your hob

common induction hob mistakes
(Image credit: Roundhouse kitchen / Diana Yen / Roundhouse)

An Induction hob is a worthwhile but pricey investment, so, to ensure you get your money's worth, it's crucial to maximize their efficiency and longevity. This means being mindful of the common mistakes that can hinder their performance and durability.  

These cooktops make cooking more seamless, with easy-to-use controls and precise temperature control for daily cooking, however, just like any of the best kitchen appliances, they require proper usage and regular maintenance to prevent issues from arising.

For the best cooking experience, it's important to be fully informed about how to best use and preserve your induction hob. Below, experts explain the six most common induction hob mistakes and how to avoid them. 

Induction hob mistakes to avoid

Not reading your cooktop user manual is the first mistake many people make. This provides important information, including how to clean and maintain the surface, operate the hob, and safety precautions. It also provides answers to often-asked questions and troubleshooting advice for standard problems.

It is essential to follow the information in the guidebook for safe and efficient use of your induction hob. Doing this can help you mitigate any of the issues mentioned below. 

1. Using incorrect cookware

White backsplash

(Image credit: Davonport)

Not all types of cookware are suitable for induction hobs. Many underestimate the significance of using flat-bottomed, appropriately sized pans. This seemingly minor detail can profoundly impact the proper functioning of the hob, and cooking efficiency, and can even risk damaging it. 

Using pots and pans that are mismatched to the size of the heating elements hinders heat distribution, leading to uneven cooking and wasted energy. Induction hob rings come in different sizes, usually ranging from 6 inches to 8 inches in diameter, and to maximize cooking efficiency it's important to choose correctly sized pots and pans.

'Additionally, because induction hobs heat pans with magnetic fields, they require specific pans with magnetic properties. Using the wrong cookware can result in uneven heating or damage to the hob surface,' explains Olga Galenko, electrical account manager of Home Alliance. Test your pots and pans by putting a magnet on the bottom of one and seeing if it sticks. If it does, you can use your pan on an induction stove. If not, you may have to invest in some cookware designed for induction hobs.

In general, it is best to use flat-bottomed induction pans and pots, made of materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, or copper. Investing in quality cookware isn't just about aesthetics; it's also a practical choice for optimizing the performance of your induction hob.  

Olga Galenko
Olga Galenko

Olga Galenko is the electrical account manager of Home Alliance, a company offering repair, maintenance and installation on a range of home appliances, HVAC, electrical, plumbing systems, and more.

2. Not cleaning it regularly

Blue kitchen cabinets, cork kitchen island design

(Image credit: Roundhouse kitchen)

'Neglecting regular cleaning and maintenance can lead to various issues with induction hobs, affecting performance and potentially causing malfunctions,' warns Olga Galenko. 

Over time, food particles and spills can accumulate on the hob rings, as well as the surrounding areas, which can cause uneven heat distribution and interfere with induction connections and sensors, depleting the hob's ability to regulate temperature accurately. 

A build-up of dirt and grime can also hinder airflow around heating elements, causing them to overheat, which will risk malfunctions or permanent damage.

It's important to clean your induction cooktop regularly to prevent any build-up of these residues which can affect its performance and longevity. 

Luckily, due to its smooth, flat surface, induction cooktops are usually easy to clean. Use a soft cloth or sponge with a hob-specific cleaner, such as this Weiman cleaner, from Walmart, or mild dish soap to clean the surface.

Always avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh chemicals, and never clean the surface when the hob is hot as this can damage its surface. 

3. Not paying attention to energy efficiency

white kitchen with marble surface

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

When investing in an induction hob, it would be a mistake to ignore its energy efficiency ratings when selecting the right criteria, as this can significantly impact the hob's long-term operating costs and environmental sustainability.

Choose an energy-efficient appliance with an A or A+ rating. A higher rating means that the hob is more energy-efficient, helping to cut energy bills.

4. Ignoring electrical warning signs

Modern kitchen with dark walls and kitchen island and white kitchen fixtures and flooring, with a large piece of modern art.

(Image credit: DesignSpace London)

'Ignoring electrical warning signs, such as unusual sounds, sparks, or odors, is a significant mistake,' says Olga Galenko. 

'Not addressing these immediately can lead to more severe electrical problems, including burnt-out contacts, faulty wiring, malfunctioning touchpads, heating issues, or even pose a fire risk.'

If the induction hob is not working properly or showing signs of electrical faults, it's important to address the issue promptly by seeking professional assistance. Your hob's instruction manual will most likely have a contact number in case of such issues.

5. Overloading the hob

White kitchen with wood cabinets and marble backsplash

(Image credit: Sola)

Overloading the hob by placing too many pots and pans on it can lead to uneven heating and poor cooking results. 

When you put too many items on the hob, the heat may not be able to distribute evenly across all the cookware, resulting in some food being overcooked while other portions remain undercooked. 

The reason for this is twofold; induction hobs have limited heat output, and overcrowding leads to blocked airflow, preventing proper circulation of heat. 

To avoid this, make sure to distribute your cookware evenly across the hob's surface. If you have limited space, consider cooking in batches or using smaller pots and pans.

Additionally, 'ensure that the ventilation system is functioning properly,' advises Olga Galenko, 'as poor ventilation can affect the hob's efficiency and lifespan.'

6. Using excessive heat

A stovetop with a gold pot and utensils hanging behind.

(Image credit: Diana Yen)

One of the best features of induction hobs is that they can reach high temperatures rapidly, but applying too much heat for too long can not only burn food but also damage the cookware and hob.

Appliance Geeked's Chet Sangwit says: 'If you use your induction cooktop's turbo feature excessively you run the danger of damaging your kitchen or your cookware. The temperature that the turbo function produces is just too high for some pans, which causes them to become bent or deformed.' 

'Additionally, the induction cooktop itself may be impacted by the extremely high heat, which might shorten its lifespan and cause damage or markings.'

Be sure to utilize moderate heat settings and refrain from using the hob's highest setting unless required temporarily (for example, when boiling water).

Seeking professional assistance promptly when issues with your induction hob arise is vital for effective diagnosis and repair.

Faults with your induction hob will require expert knowledge and tools for optimal results. Attempting to fix electrical issues is a DIY task you should never attempt yourself since this can be dangerous, and, if done improperly, can damage your hob. So, it's always recommended to consult an expert.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.