Induction Cooktop Features
Looking at each manufacturers site can quickly lead to confusion as you try and weigh one brand against another. The following list tries to simplify the different features that are available - no one brand can claim them all, and each person will have different desires and favorite features. I'll be honest - as long as it has the basic features I feel I need, I am swayed by how good it looks!
Bridge elements span the gap between two more usual circular burners. This allows use of odder shaped pans such as fish kettles or larger griddles.
High heat sensors are designed to protect the cooktop from damage. They should shut off supply to a burner if dangerously high temperatures are detected – for instance if an empty pan is left on a burner that is switched on
Multiple power levels are available on many cooktops. At the time of writing GE boasts of 19 levels on their current models.
Power boost is a feature allowing you to quickly bring a pot up to high temperature – most useful probably for boiling water. One aspect to note with this is that power boost is usually only available to be used with a few of the elements at any one time. It often works by temporarily reducing the energy supplied to the other burners
Pan detect only supplies energy to the area of the element that comes in contact with the pan. This means no unneeded energy will escape to the sides of the pot, hopefully making your kitchen cooler and more energy-efficient.
Safe start (or pot recognition) features distinguish between pots or pans and smaller items like utensils that may accidentally be left on the cooktop. They usually look for a saucepan at least 4 or 5 inches in diameter before starting.
Control lock capability gives the ability to lock the cooktop's controls, to avoid unintended activation.
Timers vary by brand and can be a simple as a single countwon timer to timers dedicated to each burner
Hot surface indicator lights illuminate when the cooking surface is hot. (Don't forget that even though the surface does not heat up to heat the pan, the hot pan will itself transfer some heat back to the cooktop surface
Warming capability provides low heat capability for foods, making meal coordination simple
Anti-Overflow System: Sensors in the glass can detect large spills or excessive overflow, automatically shut off the cooktop, and sound an alarm to alert you of the situation. (Wow do I need that!)
Trim around the cooktop can vary – some have raised stainless steel lips, some a beveled edge, and some come flush mounted.
Touch pad controls seem to be the norm – I have used these in a previous house and loved them. A few brands still have more traditional style knobs so if that is your preference you should still be OK
Smooth cooktop is there by default on all induction cooktops and makes clean up really easy – especially as there should not be any burnt on spills.