Electric, Ceramic and Solid Plate Cookers: How Do They Work?
Wondering how your electric freestanding cooker works? This guide provides our expert advice on electric cookers and how to understand their workings.
An electric cooker consists of an electric oven with an electric hob that sits on top of the oven. The types of electric hobs can either be ceramic or solid plate. There are also induction cookers as we mentioned before.
To find out the safest way to install your electric cooker, our hand installation guide can help.
Electric cookers have many advantages when compared to gas cookers. An obvious advantage is the sleek and frameless finish that ceramic hobs have, unlike gas hobs that have pan supports and control knobs sticking out, ceramic hobs give fluidity to your worktop. It has an easy to clean surface that is easily wiped clean. Electric ovens provide an even distribution of heat due to the fan that circulates the heat around the cavity. Whereas you may find with a gas oven that it is usually hotter at the top and colder at the bottom.
How your electric oven works
When you set the temperature on you electric oven using either the dial or touch screen controls, the bottom heating element will be activated. A copper wire connects the temperature control to the oven readings and tracks the temperature, allowing it to make adjustments accordingly.
The heating elements are stationary and consist of wires that are surrounded by metal sheaths. Electric power heats the wires, which then heats the metal that surrounds the wires. As mentioned before some models come equipped with an oven fan that circulates the hot air around the entire oven cavity.
How does your electric hob work?
Electric hobs are becoming increasingly popular but do you know how they work? And are you getting the best out of it?
The word ceramic refers to the toughened glass top rather than the way in which the hob heats up. Unlike gas hobs which generate their heat from the naked flame, ceramic hobs generate their heat from elements that sit beneath the glass. There are marked out zones on the glass hob that when they heat up and glow red, it is warning you that the zones are hot to touch.
An electrical current is passed through a metal coil causing resistance that then generates heat. That then heats the metal coil that transfers heat through to the glass, this is done by infrared energy.
Ceramic hobs are easy to clean as they have smooth surfaces ideal for wiping. The design is sleek and has a premium feel to it. As the hobs heat up quickly allowing you to get cooking as soon as possible.
Solid plate hobs
Solid plate electric hobs use traditional solid electric plates that heat the pans placed on top of the electric plates. All Amica electric cookers with solid plate hobs come equipped with 4 solid plate zones and have a range of power levels and rapid cooking zones.
A heating element is powered by electricity. The element is covered by a solid metal plate where it provides heat to cook with. This form of cooking is known to be slower than gas, because the heating element has to heat the solid metal plates before the plates can heat the pans sat on top.
This style is becoming less popular as ceramic and induction hobs take over, but they are very affordable and ideal for a kitchen with a budget. They are also easy to clean and the steady heat gives you time to prepare your food.
The heating elements are controlled by rotary knobs that can switch the plates on/off and change the power levels of each plate accordingly. There are also handy residual heat initiators that alert you that the plates are still too hot to touch during and after use.
How do electric cookers with induction hobs work?
An electric cooker with induction hob is operated by electricity, the oven has an electric fan along with a choice of hob types. Induction is a form of hob that is operated by conductive heat waves, along with ceramic and solid plate electric cookers.
Induction cooking heats by electrical induction using a magnetic field, instead of by thermal conduction from a flame with gas cooking, or an electrical heating element. The pan or pot must be made of or contain a ferromagnetic metal such as cast iron or stainless steel. Heat is coming from the pan, making this method of cooking a lot more energy efficient. You must ensure your pans are suitable to use on an induction hob.
Copper or aluminium pans will not work unless they have additional layers added onto the bottom that are magnetic. The best way to check if your pans are suitable is to see if a magnet will stick to the bottom of the pan!
An induction hob contains a coil of copper wire underneath the ceramic plate and when a pan is placed on top, an electric current is passed through it. The magnetic field creates a magnetic flux, producing a steady current in the ferrous pot. The flow of the current heats the pan.