Cooktops are one of the most versatile options for flexibility and convenience in the kitchen today and investing in a good cooktop can transform your kitchen space and take your cooking skills to the next level. They also come in different models. We have electric cooktops, gas cooktops, and induction cooktops, to name a few, each with plenty of appealing advantages.
But shopping for a cooktop can be hard, especially for first-time shoppers. The countless options can be overwhelming, and you may be stuck with a cooktop you don't love or don’t fulfill your needs. In this article, we look at the different types of cooktops, their pros and cons, and some factors to consider when buying them.
What Are the Different Types of Cooktops?
Cooktops are standalone cooking appliances that install directly into your countertop, applying heat to the base of the pot/pan. There are different cooktops: gas cooktops that heat cookware using an open flame; electric cooktops; induction cooktops; and downdraft cooktops.
Electric cooktops use electric heating elements for cooking food. Most electric cooktops either use coil or smooth tops as heating elements. Smooth tops are usually installed beneath a smooth, easy-to-clean glass surface, while coils are placed the top of the cooktop surface.
Pros of electric cooktops:
- Electric cooktops use a central heat source for cooking food that is more stable to cook on and easier to clean.
- Easier to install and turn on and off. You simply plug it into an extension cord.
- Safer than gas cooktops as you don't have to worry about gas leakages and open flames.
- More environmentally friendly.
- More expensive to operate as these cooktops use electricity.
- Not reliable. In case of a blackout, you will have to look for another option or wait till the electricity is back on.
- Some electric cooktops have a slower response to temperature changes and can sometimes burn you.
Some of the best electric cooktops include:
1. Frigidaire Electric Cooktop
The Frigidaire electric stove top is a great electric cooktop that is easy to use. It has excellent features such as a 30.625” width and two different element sizes for a great cooking experience. It also alerts you when the cooktop is on and has a hot surface indicator that notifies you when your cooktop is too hot to touch.
2. The Whirlpool 24-inch Electric Cooktop
The Whirlpool electric cooktop has four cooking elements with a 6" inner ring and a 10" expandable outer ring. It is also easy to install and clean. It has a 30 & 40 amp hookup.
3. KitchenAid Electric Cooktop
The KitchenAid KCES550HSS stainless electric cooktop offers great performance. It features a 10" even-heat ultra-power element with simmer setting, a 6" even-heat-ultra with melt setting, and a 10’’/6" ultra-power double ring round element, which is designed to accommodate large stock pots and 6” sauté pans with ease. In total, Kitchen Aid has five elements.
Induction cooktops are special electric cooktops using electromagnetism to heat the cookware. Induction cooktops have electromagnetic coils underneath the ceramic glass surface and transfer energy directly to the cookware, causing it to heat up.
Pros of induction cooktops:
- Induction cooktops heat up faster than electric and gas cooktops. The cooktops heat up cookware through magnetic induction, not radiation or thermal conduction, which makes the process faster.
- Food cooks faster with induction cooktops.
- Induction cooktops are more environmentally friendly because they don't use a lot of energy.
- Safer compared to gas cooktops.
- Require specific types and sizes of cookware.
- You can easily burn your food. Induction cooktops produce a not-so-noticeable flame, and it can be harder to tell when it is turned on.
Top induction cooktops include:
1. GE Profile 25.98” Induction Cooktop
The GE Profile induction cooktop has five elements with a cool-to-the-touch surface that is easy to clean. It has electric touch controls ensuring even heating and less temperature variation and a melt setting. It also has digital controls.
2. Café Induction Cooktop
Café induction cooktop features a 29.75” width that has 4 elements (two 7" synchronized elements), easy-to-adjust temperatures, a kitchen timer, and a gourmet guided cooking manual. The café induction cooktop has a timer allowing you to manage up to four pots at once. It also has a control lock, making it a safer option for families.
3. Frigidaire Gallery 30” Induction Cooktop
The Frigidaire induction cooktop is amazingly fast. It heats up more quickly, saving you cooking time. The cooktop boils water 50% faster than an electric cooktop. It is also compatible with most stainless steel and cast-iron cookware and is easy to use and clean. Frigidaire Gallery Induction cooktop has a built-in timer and delivers even heat across the pan's surface.
Unlike electric cooktops, gas cooktops heat food with an open flame. They use an electric ignition system that creates a spark when you turn the burner on, producing a blue flame that heats the cookware.
Pros of gas cooktops:
- Works well with various types of cookware. Most gas cooktops are compatible with different cookware.
- Gas cooktops heat up faster than electric cooktops and allow you complete control over heat. You don't have to wait for the element to warm up before you start cooking; you can just adjust the temperatures.
- They are more versatile for searing, grilling, and simmering.
- It is much easier to control temperatures.
- Cheaper compared to other methods.
- Gas can create a greasy surface that is sometimes hard to clean.
- Not as safe compared to electric and induction cooktops.
The Top 3 Gas Cooktops:
1. KitchenAid 30” Gas Cooktop in Stainless Steel
The KitchenAid gas cooktop is an excellent cooktop for your home. It has five individual burners, including a powerful 17K BTU Dual Ring Burner, allowing you to easily switch from small to dual frames. The KitchenAid gas cooktop also comes with a cook shield finish to protect the cooktop from accumulating stains.
2. KitchenAid 36” Gas Cooktop
Like the 30” gas cooktop, the KitchenAid 36” gas cooktop also has five burners, but the main difference is the dual ring burner. It has one of the most powerful dual-ring burners available in the market, a 20K BTU. It also features a 6K BTU even-heat simmer burner, a cook shield finish, and multi-finish knobs.
3. Bosch-37” Gas Cooktop
Bosch gas cooktops have five elements with a dual flame power burner for high and low flame settings.
It also has no adjustable power levels for reliable and easy flame regulation and perfect cooking results.
Downdraft cooktops basically do not require an overhead vent. A downdraft cooktop is built to integrate the ventilation system directly into the cooking surface.
Pros of using downdraft cooktops:
- Easy to clean. Downdraft cooktops have fans that suck in fumes, smoke and steam down through the pipe, and you don't have to deal with any build-up, making cleaning easier.
- Downdraft cooktops use more than one fuel type. There are available as gas or electric allowing you to choose your most affordable option.
- A downdraft cooktop is simple and stylish. You don't have to deal with the hood or extractor fan above the cooktop.
- Not suitable for smaller kitchens. Downdraft cooktops work by sucking in the smoke and fumes downward to a pipe, which requires a powerful fan and adequate airflow. With a smaller space, it can be hard to get this, and you may end up with a kitchen filled with smoke.
Three best downdraft cooktops:
1. Jennair 30.9” Electric Cooktop With Downdraft
This Jenn-Air electric radiant downdraft cooktop offers a sleek cooking surface with four radiant cooking elements that make cooking smooth and fast. The Jennair downdraft cooktop also features a JX3 downdraft ventilation system with three speeds, durafinish glass protection, and color-coordinating die-cast metal knobs.
2. KitchenAid KCED606GBL
KitchenAid KCED606GBL features 5 elements, including a 1” even-ultra heat element and a 6” even-heat element with a melt setting that provides versatility for both high and low-temperature cooking.
It also has a 3-speed fan control.
3. KitchenAid 36” Gas Cooktop With Downdraft
The KitchenAid KCGD506GSS cooktop features a 17 BTU professional burner and a 5K BTU even-heat simmer burner that allows more control and more precise simmering and melting. It has five elements, convertible to duct-free ventilation, and a 3-speed fan control.
The KitchenAid downdraft cooktop also comes with electric ignition and automatic re-ignition.
How to Choose the Best Cooktop for Your Home
Choosing the best cooktop for your home doesn't have to be complicated. With clear specifications, you can easily get a cooktop that perfectly fits your needs.
Some factors to consider when choosing a cooktop include the size of your kitchen and its layout, the amount of cooking you are required to do, cooktop dimensions, price, and durability.
For instance, if you have a small space, go with a small cooktop size of 15” to 25”. This will help you save on space.
To find the perfect cooktop for your space, you can measure your countertop dimensions and use that to get the best width. A standard cooktop measures 30” wide and includes at least four burners. However, it is important to note that cooktop sizes can range from 15” to 36”, giving you various options depending on your kitchen space. Other factors to consider include how much working space you prefer in your kitchen and the location of other appliances. It is also important to consider the fuel type, gas or electric, burner configurations, the number of burners, and whether the elements are adjustable.
FAQs About Different Types of Cooktops
As we earlier mentioned, there are different cooktops, and each cooktop operates differently. This section covers the most asked questions about cooktops, from the most reliable and most preferred by chefs to whether you need special pans.
What are the three types of cooktops?
The most common cooktops are gas, electric, and induction. Gas cooktops use gas, while electric cooktops and induction cooktops use electricity. Induction cooktops are a unique type of electric cooktop and use electromagnetism to heat the cookware.
What's the difference between a cooktop and a range?
A cooktop is a flat open surface you cook on and doesn't have an oven below but integrates into countertops. In simple terms, a cooktop or stovetop is a cooking unit without the oven part of the range. Cooktops have burners, knobs, and buttons on top of the counter, while a range has them distributed on top and the front.
What cooktops do chefs prefer?
Most chefs prefer induction cooktops due to their many benefits compared to their counterparts. Induction cooktops have extremely fast heating and precise heat control provided through a high-performance glass ceramic surface. With induction cooktops, you have better control and can increase or drop the temperature easily and fast. They are also easier to clean.
Which cooktop is most reliable?
Gas cooktops are the most preferred in many homes as it is easier to get gas. You also don't have to worry about what will happen in case of a power outage.
In terms of brand, Frigidaire has some of the best and preferred cooktops. Their cooktops excel in energy efficiency, easy maintenance, and great features.
Cooktops have become indispensable parts of any kitchen and buying a cooktop can help take your culinary skills to the next level. As you start shopping, it is important to know the different types of cooktops and their fuel and heat types. You should also review the advantages and disadvantages of each cooktop, the prices, and the shelf life.
Most importantly, you must consider your needs and how you plan to use the cooktop. Knowing this will help you narrow down the size of the cooktop and other things like the fuel types.
If you are looking for more information about cooktops, we have a lot more on our appliance blog. And here is our collection of cooktops for you to choose from.