A normal electrical stove top relies on resistance in the burner coil to generate heat, while an induction cooktop uses a magnetic field to generate heat directly in cookware. Induction cooktops are faster to heat, safer to use and easier to control, but are more expensive and require specific pans.
The chief problem with an electric cooktop is responsiveness. An electric burner can take several minutes to heat up, and it also takes considerable time for the burner to cool once turned off. This makes it difficult to quickly change the heat levels while cooking, increasing the likelihood of burning food. In addition, since the burner can remain hot for some time after the power is turned off, there is the potential for accidental injury or fire.
Induction cooktops use a rapidly fluctuating magnetic field to generate heat. When activated, an induction burner is cool to the touch, but any cookware containing iron begins to heat up quickly once it comes in contact with the cooktop. Since the heat is generated directly in the pan, food tends to cook quicker with less heat wasted into the surrounding air. However, the rate at which cookware heats up on an induction surface depends on its iron content, which means copper, glass, aluminum and stoneware vessels do not work on an induction stove.