An induction-based Salton cooktop or food warmer produces heat by generating an alternating current within its metal coil, which changes the magnetic field of the pot to create offshoot energy, known as eddy currents. Induction cookers must be used with ferromagnetic pots, such as those made of iron and steel.
As of 2015, Salton's most popular cooktops use induction, but the company also manufactures electric coil-style units. Electric cooktops rely on conductive heating. Electrical energy heats the coil, which transfers heat to a cooking vessel by direct contact. In contrast, induction cooking converts the magnetic energy of the pot to make the cooking vessel its own source of heat. The alternating current fluctuates at an intensely fast rate, forcing the pot's magnetic field to produce a multitude of smaller currents that continually generate rapid molecular energy in the pot's surface.
Salton's conduction and induction models are typically lightweight and portable but must be plugged into a power outlet to operate. Induction cooktops are considered more efficient because they allow precise heat control with a wider range of temperature settings, making it easier to cook foods evenly. While foods cooked on a conduction-based warmer need occasional stirring to circulate heat, induction-cooked foods require less maintenance and the cooktop remains cools throughout use.