Cooking can be super fun no matter what type of hob you are using, but it can often get intense if you are using many hobs to make a meal, one problem can be having to use a small pan on a large hob ring. You might be wondering if using a small pan on a large induction hob is safe.
There is no danger of using a small pan on a large induction hob, you may just need to adjust the heat to lower to save the waste of electricity and overheating the small pan. As long as the small pan is compatible with induction hobs you won’t have any problems.
In this article, I am going to talk about if it is safe to use a small pan on a large induction hob, does it waste electricity and if it is possible.
Can You Use A Small Pan On A Large Induction Hob Ring?
You certainly can!
At the base of it all, an induction hob is essentially a small set of magnets that create heat through induction. This is true regardless of the size of the induction ring or the size of the pan – you are always making an induction loop between your pan and your stovetop.
This means that as long as those two surfaces are near each other, you will be generating heat for the base of the pan. This rule is valid regardless of any external factors, from the sizes of the pans to the heat in the room – the induction loop will always make heat.
The problem, however, comes in when you begin cooking inefficiently. It’s a commonly known fact that induction hobs are among the most efficient of all different stovetops. This is because they lose very little energy to their surroundings during the process of cooking food.
By comparison, a gas or electric hob will lose a lot of energy to its surroundings.
On a gas hob, the pan is typically elevated above the flames by a centimetre or two, which means that heat is lost out towards the sides of the pan. This waste heat typically goes to warm the room that you’re cooking in or heat the stovetop base.
The element gets extremely hot within its housing on an electric hob, thereby heating the surface above it. When the top surface is hot, the pan will be heating and cooking can commence. This is a profoundly ineffective cooking method because of the number of mediums the heat must transfer through before it can eventually get to the food that you’re cooking. Heat is lost at every stage, meaning that you’re using a large amount of power to do a relatively small job.
Contrastingly, an induction hob generates heat at the base of the pan. The magnets in the stovetop and the material that the pan itself is made from create an induction loop. This loop will generate heat in the base of the pan, leading to a deeply efficient method. You’re only heating the cooking surface, and heat is not passing through different layers to reach your food – a minimum amount of heat is lost to the environment during cooking.
However, when you start to use a smaller pan on a large induction ring, the cooking process becomes very inefficient. Due to the nature of the circuits in an induction hob, all of the magnets will be supplied with power. In turn, this power feeds energy into the induction loop that we spoke about previously.
When you’re using a pan that doesn’t cover the whole of an induction ring, then the power supplied to magnets that are not near a pan will be lost. This lost energy greatly reduces the overall efficiency of a given induction hob.
Therefore, while you can technically cook with a small pan on a large induction ring, you will cook ineffectively.
Is it Safe?
It is perfectly safe to cook with a small pan on a large induction ring.
When considering safety on a stovetop, you need to be concerned with heat and flammability. Because neither of those things is a problem when using an induction hob, you’ll surely be fine!
The only thing that you might want to consider is the current that’s running through an induction hob. As part of an appliance plugged into mains power, the stovetop will have a current running through it. This could, in theory, mean that a short circuit is possible if the stovetop is sufficiently damaged. This is something to avoid, of course, so be wise when placing heavy things on your stovetop.
What Happens if I Use a Small Pan on a Large Induction Hob Ring?
Is it a waste of electricity? Does it cause damage to the pan? Is it likely to burn the food in the pan?
Very little will happen in a small pan on a large ring that wouldn’t happen in a large pan on a large ring. All that will happen is that the power running through the magnets in the stovetop will create an induction loop with the pan, heating it and allowing you to cook your food.
As we discussed above, however, it will be very inefficient. Any area of the stovetop that doesn’t have a pan on will be an area where power is wasted. The circuit will still pass a current through all of the magnets, even ones that aren’t being used. Therefore, any magnets not in use will be wasting electricity.
In terms of the things you’re putting on the stovetop, nothing too dramatic will happen. You might be concerned that the pan would be damaged, but that won’t be the case – the pan will simply heat as if it were being used on a ring that’s more appropriately sized.
Any food in the pan won’t be cooked any differently from normal – the surface of the pan will be hot, and you can cook as you would regularly. The only thing that you might want to consider is if any food does splatter, make sure to clean the stovetop down thoroughly. Objects between the stovetop and the pan will interfere with the induction loop, leading to your stovetop not working correctly.