Cooktop Buying Guide

  • Getting Started

  • When choosing the design of your kitchen, you may find it more spacious to get an in-wall oven unit. But what about a stovetop to cook your spaghetti or soup on? What will you do in order to still have those necessities? The best option for you is to invest in getting a cooktop. This guide holds a few factors that you should take into deep consideration when you are picking out your new cooktop.

  • Size

  • Size is a factor to be considered, especially when you are deciding on the placement of your cooktop. You could place the cooktop on the kitchen island or on the counter top. Where it goes is completely up to you. But when you decide where you want it, you need to measure how much space you would like to use and find a cooktop within that size range.

    Cooktops normally range in size from 30 to 36 inches. But you can find some as small as 21 inches and some as large as 48 inches. Just remember, the bigger the cooktop, the more burners you will be able to cook with. Some come with up to six burners.

  • Burner Layout

  • It would be in your best interest to make sure there is plenty of space from burner to burner. This way you are not juggling all the pots and pans as they basically sit on top of each other. Proper spacing can prevent a huge mess from happening. Also, most people will prefer the smaller burners in the front.

  • Clean Up

  • Get one with an easy clean-up. The best advice to is to find one with removable knobs or a rim that will make cleaning any kind of accidental spill a breeze. Some cooktops do however require some special cleaning supplies so as not to scratch the surface on smoothtop electric models. For gas tops, try to find sealed burners that would be dishwasher safe.

  • Venting

  • Ventilation over your cooktop is very important. You must be able to find a way to get venting so it can clear the air over wherever you decide to place your cooktop. It’s more vital if you decide to go with a gas cooktop. Some options that are available to consumers include: an overhead-chimney range hood, range hoods mounted under a cabinet, or downdraft vents. You just have to figure out what your budget will be when purchasing one. Some vents can cost up to $1500, while base models can be had for a couple hundred dollars.

  • Easy Controls

  • The controls on your cooktop should be easy to be read and easy to get to. New touchpad controls are generally easier to use than knobs or dials. But they are also more likely to malfunction. However, if yours does have knobs and they are located on the front rather than the top, they are more likely to be accidentally reset by being bumped. They could be also be turned on by children. Thankfully some models have childlock safety options.

  • Your Life Style

  • There is not a huge difference in response to a cooktop’s efficiency. Commonly, gas is less expensive than electricity. Most models now are very modern and sleek so as to fit just about any kitchen. Many find choosing a cooktop is just a matter of personal choice. Below I have listed the good and bad about every type.

    Gas cooktops - Generally they are less expensive than electric. However, these require a gas hook-up and are normally harder to clean. They also have issues with maintaining consistently low temperatures. However, these are the cooktops that are most prefered by chefs. Chefs prefer them because they can actually see the flames in order for them to make correct temperature adjustments.

    Electric smooth cooktops - Generally speaking these are much easier to clean than gas cooktops and they are fantastic at simmering. However, they are extremely vulnerable to damage that may come from dropped pots and pans or spills (especially of the sugary variety). These liquid substances can burn onto the top burners and cooktop surface. Many current users of these cooktops say that when they are brand new they look fantastic. The issue is that once they are brought into usage in daily life, they tend to get stained. These stains can hard to remove without scratching the surface of the cooktop.

    Induction cooktops - These cooktops heat much more quickly than electric smooth tops or gas cooktops. They are extremely responsive in terms of quickly adjusting the heat as is needed for specific tasks, such as simmering sauces or for correctly melting chocolate (and not scorching it). On the downside, these cooktops are rather pricey and they require cookware that is made from iron or stainless steel. If you purchase one of these cooktops you will have to replace any pots or pans that contain aluminum or copper.

  • Buying New Cookware

  • Finally, after deciding on your new cooktop, you must now decide if you have to have new pots and pans. Electric and gas cooktops have no specific cookware requirement. Yet many people do like to update their cookware in order to match the new look of their fresh cooktop.

    Now if you have bought an induction cooktop, you will have to most likely replace your cookware. For an induction model, you need magnetic cookware in order for the pot or pan to heat up.

    Some examples of cookware that would work are: cast iron, enameled cast iron, or stainless or enameled steel with an iron core for a base. Do not buy: copper, aluminum, or stainless steel without an iron component. The majority of people who already have induction cooktops would suggest that new buyers take a magnet when shopping for new cookware so they can see if what they like would be compatible with their new induction cooktop.

  • Price Point

  • First, you have to decide what price range you can actually afford. The budget is one of the biggest factors. Your basic and standard cooktops cost between $350 to $750. With cooktops over $500, you find ceramic tops that will have ribbon heating elements.

    Mid-range priced cooktops can cost between $750 - $1500. These are more high-end appliances that include better technological advances. Some examples are: electronic touch controls, low simmer burners, warming zones, and power boiler-burners.

    The most expensive cooktops range from $1500 - $5000. These are top of the line. These cooktops come in bigger sizes with the possibility of having more burners. Induction and chef models appear in this price range. Most chef models include: fryers, griddles, grills, woks, melt-free burners (these are used to keep chocolate from scorching), and dual-stack burners.

  • Summary

  • In conclusion, there is a lot that you must consider when you are on the lookout for a new cooktop. But most importantly, you have to choose one that would best fit your kitchen and your lifestyle.

    The biggest factors are space and the energy type that does the actual cooking. Yet style plays a key role in any appliance purchase. Taking time to choose properly will ensure this is the last cooktop you need for many years.