Choosing a product for your kitchen requires more than just deciding on its aesthetic stance or use. The cooktop is also one of the most important parts of the kitchen, as it forms the basis of cooking. The fact that they can be separate from the oven as they are located on the kitchen counter adds special importance to it, provides more space, and ease of use. However, the selection of the cooktop must be done carefully, you should consider the kitchen layout, your cooking habits, and expectations.
First of all, if you plan to use it for a long time, the cooktop should offer you the ease of use with its location and layout. Even the placement of the buttons will play a crucial role to provide you that ease.
Instead of going through the trouble of returning the cooktop just because it doesn’t fit the ideal place you picked for it, take the measurements of the location first. The smallest cooktops start with a width of 30 cm with a maximum of two cooking zones, while the largest go up to 120 cm. The most common size is 60 cm and they come with four cooking zones.
If you have the habit of cooking more than one food at the same time, decide on the distance between the cooking zones according to the size of the pots you will place on them.
The performances vary in different types. As you make research for a cooktop, decide on its working principle according to its performance. Between the gas and electric options, choose which one’s cooking performance suits your needs.
Every household has different cooking habits. Decide how many cooking zones you need by considering how many types of food you cook at the same time. Choose the one that suits you amongst different options such as two, four, or five zones.
You shouldn’t ignore security either. If you plan on getting a gas cooktop, check if the model you will buy has a gas safety system.
Features to Consider
Cooktops have different features depending on the types and models. We will be listing them below and get to the bottom of it.
Types of Cooktops
a. Gas Cooktop
b. Electric Cooktop
c. Inductor Cooktop
a. Gas Cooktops
They are fast, efficient, and traditional. There is no pre-heat time as it works with fire straight away. The flames provide a good visual to see if the heat level is correct. Since you can adjust the heating with manual settings, you can warm up leftover food with delicate heating and without burning them.
Gas burners, or knobs, are easier to clean as some models have sealed types. They give no room for the food to get trapped under them.
As the gas grates support the round base of the wok, wok cooking is easier with these models. Speaking of grates, seamless cooking grates allow you to slide heavy pots without the need of lifting them.
Gas is compatible with all types of cookware and also known as an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective energy source.
b. Electric Cooktops
As solid and ceramic, electric cooktops are available in two types.
Solid ones feature visible solid heating elements and to indicate when the cooktop is in use, they usually include a red light in the middle of each hotplate.
Ceramic electric cooktops are made of a flat glass surface. The glass can endure the heat but you should be careful not to smash heavy pots on the surface. They are easier to clean than solid electric cooktops.
Since they don’t have grates the food can’t get around, they are easier to clean than gas cooktops.
Just like cleaning, they are easy to use as well. Switch it on and it will do its magic.
Even though they have a pre-heating process to consider, recent models have reduced this time.
c. Induction Cooktops
They are incredibly fast, faster than gas cooktops. Induction cookers have fast working systems. When the fitting pots are placed on the hotplate, the cooking pan turns into a source of heat. The electromagnetic material located just below the surface creates a magnetic field for cooking. The induction-matched pot placed on the cooker receives energy from this magnetic field and heats up. Thus, the heat doesn’t occur on the cooking surface but in the pot placed on it.
With the help of the electronic circuits, the temperature level can be decreased or increased instantly. Unlike traditional cooking units, induction cookers don’t have any heat escape since they don’t burn with an open flame. This ensures that food is cooked much more quickly and homogeneously. Induction cooker models provide 84% high heat efficiency during cooking.
Electric vs Gas Cooktops
- You can operate the electric cooktop easily but a natural gas connection may not be available in your area, which will prevent the installation of the gas cooktops.
- Gas cooktops tend to produce a lot of heat and that can make your kitchen environment hot and uncomfortable.
- Electric cooktops are easier to clean since there are no grates to separate the pots from the source.
- Gas cooktops don’t need a pre-heat time, they cook the food faster.
- Even though electric cooktops are generally the cheaper model, gas cooktops consume less energy than their counterparts.
- The open flame is a big concern with gas cooktops as they might cause inevitable kitchen accidents. A gas cooktop with a flame failure device fitted to each of the zones will create a safer usage. They will automatically shut off the gas supply if the flame goes out. If this feature is not installed, the gas cooktops would be far from a safe option.
Electric vs. Inductor Cooktops
Even though they look and work similarly, there are some differences between electric and induction cooktops.
- Typically anything containing iron, induction cooking requires appropriate cookware like stainless steel. It won’t work on anything else including copper, aluminum, or glass.
- Induction cooktops are more expensive than electric cooktops but their high energy efficiency makes up for the price.
Best Cooktop Brands and Reviews
- Frigidaire FGGC3645QS 36 Inch Gas Cooktop: This gas cooktop has 5 sealed gas burners including an 18,000 BTU quick boil burner that boils water faster, and a simmer burner that is perfect for delicate foods. The continuous, dishwasher safe grates make it easy to move heavy pots and pans between burners without lifting. Seamless recessed burners make the cooktop easier to clean. It can be installed above Frigidaire’s single electric wall ovens and can be converted for use with LP gas.
- Rosewill Induction Cooker: We have mentioned that induction technology heats up faster without the escaping between the stainless steel and the surface. You will be cooking with the power of a magnetic field with this one. If you can stick a magnet to your cookware you can cook with this cooktop but it already comes with a stainless steel pot. It also features a three-hour timer setting, a beautifully polished crystal plate surface, 1800W of power, and heats up to 450°F.
- GE 30 Inch Smoothtop Electric Cooktop: These smooth, four radiant cooking elements cook foods quickly and evenly with two of them being 8″ power boil elements. The hot surface indicator light lets you know when the elements are too hot to touch. Apart from the original settings, there is a melt setting which melts delicate foods without scorching or burning them.
- Forimo 24″x20″ Built-in Gas Cooktop: A traditional gas cooktop that gets the job done, Forimo comes equipped with the stainless steel surface and cast-iron grates for long-lasting durability and effortless cleaning. It ignites fast and creates a safe environment as the flame failure system is able to automatically turn off the stove if there is a leak or the cooktop overheats.
- Deli-Kit 30-inch 5-Burner Gas Cooktop: The first thing that catches the attention is the cooktop’s modern design. The gas cooktop looks as stylish as an electric cooktop with a sleek look and 5 burners. Coated with enamel, the cast iron support is heavy and stable, making it high-temperature resistant and not easy to rust. Suitable for natural gas source but also convertible for LPG.
- MegaChef Lightweight Dual Burner Cooktop: This is one of the practical models that will get the job done without taking up too much space. If you have a small kitchen and are out of space, you will be able to store the cooktop away after you use it easily. If you find yourself in a dorm room, camper, or cabin and having limited space availability this cooktop has you covered. It also cools down quickly and the anti-slip rubbers under them make this cooktop safer to use.