If you're renovating your kitchen, or looking for a more efficient alternative to cooking with gas, a new induction cooktop is likely to be on your shopping list.
A little research will clearly tell you that preparing meals on an induction cooktop is one of the safest and most efficient ways to cook.
Not only will cooking your dinner on an induction cooktop be quicker and more energy efficient, but your stove will stay cool to touch
An induction cooktop heats your food quicker than any other type of cooktop because it produces an electro-magnetic field between the stove and the cookware to directly heat your cookware.
This means that not only will cooking your dinner on an induction cooktop be quicker and more energy efficient, but your stove will stay cool to touch during cooking, too.
Models that aren't worth the money
Though induction cooktops generally perform pretty well, they can also be pricey, with a huge variety of options on offer ranging from around $799 to over $6000, each boasting different features such as flexible cooking zones, cooking pan size detectors, timers and more.
Our kitchen experts have just put a batch of induction cooktops through their paces in the CHOICE labs, so they're really on top of what to look out for when buying this nifty appliance.
Although all models in our latest test received a CHOICE Expert Rating over 70%, (a score which is OK overall), there were a couple of the bottom performers that stood out as appliances our experts wouldn't purchase for their own kitchens. Here we reveal the two models that really didn't impress and why.
The good news is that alongside these low scorers were several cooktops at different price points our experts would happily recommend – CHOICE members can access the full test results.
The induction cooktops our experts wouldn't buy
This Beko cooktop can't easily accomodate larger cookware.
1. Beko BCT601IGN 60cm induction cooktop
CHOICE Expert Rating: 72%
Cooking performance score: 68%
Our testers found several issues with this cooktop. The manufacturer claims that the cooktop can "accommodate any meal" thanks to its 'Indyflex' hob with flexible cooking zones that claim to accommodate either four normal pans or two larger ones. But our testers didn't find this as convenient as it sounds.
"It's really important when selecting a cooktop to look at the cooking zones that it offers and check if it's compatible with your induction pots and pans," says CHOICE kitchen expert Fiona Mair.
"The issue with this model is the flexi zone has a width of only 18cm and the large cooking zone is 21cm in diameter. This means that if you have any saucepan or pan with a base larger than 21cm, it may not cook efficiently.
If you have any saucepan or pan with a base larger than 21cm, it may not cook efficiently
"As part of our testing we also calculate the annual running cost of each model – for this model it is $80, which is slightly higher than the average annual running cost of our six recommended models of $68."
Our kitchen experts also found that this cooktop was a bit hit and miss when it came to the effectiveness of different induction cookware.
"There are plenty of other models around this price point that performed better in our testing, so I would opt for those over this Beko model," says Fiona.
The control panel on this Whirlpool model isn't the most user-friendly.
Whirlpool WS8865NEP 65cm induction cooktop
CHOICE Expert Rating: 76%
Cooking performance score: 73%
A score of 76% is certainly not the worst performance from an appliance we've seen in our kitchen labs, and this model has several pros as well as cons, but CHOICE experts say that for that price, there are better buys out there (check out our reviews to find out the models we rate much higher).
"Ease of use is really important when you're considering which induction cooktop to buy," says Fiona.
"With this model, we found several issues that made the cooktop more complicated to use – for example, the front cooking zones are positioned very close to the controls, so your cookware could cover them up (causing an error that could shut down the controls).
The front cooking zones are positioned very close to the controls, so your cookware could cover them up
"The controls are also a little crowded which could be annoying if you have larger fingers or an issue with dexterity. There's no written labelling and very small symbols which means it's not intuitive to use, and you will likely need to refer to the manual quite a bit when you first use it."
Although this cooktop received an excellent score (95%) for cooking over a low heat (which means it's great for low temperature cooking tasks such as melting chocolate), there is no large cooking zone which means the cooktop struggled to achieve the temperatures needed for high-heat cooking such as stir-fries.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.