Accessible Kitchen Appliances: Induction Cooktop
Have you been contemplating whether you should stick with gas or switch to something completely different like an induction cooktop? It’s quite the move, and a lot of professional chefs actually like them!
For starters, it’s cleaner, efficient and safer cooking all in one! It is electromagnetic which means it only cooks through magnetic pots / pans. Therefore, cooking food is much quicker, more efficient as it evenly distributes heat, AND makes it MUCH safer! No gas, no fires, and no mess.
As a universal and accessible design consultant, I strive to reduce the stress load on my clients and do a lot of digging about products. I also factor in trends, personal experience, and client feedback. The induction stovetop is one of my most recommended appliances for MANY reasons as stated below. Every brand is different; therefore, I hunt to find a few options that are the best fit for my clients and let them do the final picking.
Whether you care about the “ADA Compliant” stamp or not, let’s dive into what that means for cooktops or stovetops. Keep in mind, this label doesn’t mean it’s the MOST accessible cooktop. What it means is that it meets ADA regulations. You may also see the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) or UFAS (Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards) compliant label which means the product meets minimal requirements or recommendations for those with physical disabilities. However none of those labels mean it’s necessarily “universally accessible” or accessible by MOST people regardless of their functional abilities. So, I focus on the term Universal Design which takes personal situations into play when choosing a product.
The government standards apply to design of spaces and products in public spaces and therefore, to meet code, public buildings have to adhere to “ADA compliant” regulations. Some states offer a tax deduction for integrating ADA design and products into your home or small business, so you might want to check with your accountant. Keep in mind these minimum requirements do not apply to residential homes. It is okay to think outside the box and design beyond ADA.
What is an ADA cooktop?
Most stovetops have already relocated the controls to the front for safety reasons. In addition, GE offers a fantastic guide on ADA Compliant Appliances in general and even directs you to a list of their products that meet these regulations.
General ADA regulations:
Max forward reach for controls and mechanisms are within 48” to the top and minimum of 15” from the floor
Controls shall not require reaching across burners (most cooktops now have front controls)
Require less than 5lbs of force to activate controls
All controls must be operable with one hand and not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist
Tips for finding the ONE:
Know the product. This is for any product. Check out consumer reviews especially on maintenance, the quality and longevity and warranty. Some induction brands have been around for some time. In fact, this trend actually started on the West coast.
Know the voltage required or the power rate you need to cook. If you don’t prep the electric in advance, then it can blow a fuse or worse.
Wifi options. This will allow you to access your controls from your phone.
Features. There are many brands to choose from, therefore, check out the features to determine which one meets all your needs. For instance, some even come with a pre-set menu for convenience. Each have different types of safety features from the burner turning off when the pan is removed to setting a time limit on the burner when the pan is removed. For instance, maybe you need to pick up the pot for a few seconds to swirl your ingredients.
The advantages of an induction cooktop:
Safety. Reduces risk of burns and fire. Since heat is only activated by magnetic pots and pans, that means it shuts off or quickly cools when removed. It also quickly cools when powered off. Some will even shut off when water or liquid boils over.
Flexibility. Electric top means space for roll-under option, OR, large drawers for pots and pans. You can choose between induction stovetop only or induction range top with oven.
Easy clean ups. The flat surface makes it super easy to wipe down and clean.
Speed. Quick to heat and quick to cool. Depending on the size of the pot, the water can boil within a few minutes!
Energy efficient. Speaking of speed, quick to heat means less energy to cook and requires less ventilation.
Easy access. With the controls visible from the front, it’s easier to see when sitting or standing and does not require reaching over hot pots and pans to access the controls. In fact, I think the rear controls are actually phasing out anyhow.
Flat surface. Makes it versatile so you can place hot pans from the oven to cool or even serve hot plates directly on the stovetop. Think of it as an extension of your countertop.
The disadvantages induction stovetop:
More expensive. While certainly it’s becoming more affordable, induction is generally more expensive than other electric stovetop or ranges.
Requires magnetic pots and pans. TIP: bring a magnet when shopping for pots and pans, if it sticks it’s compatible!
Glass top. You know what that means, it can scratch when sliding around a cast iron skillet or even break if heavy pans were dropped on the cooktop.