Cooktop Buying Guide
Choosing a cooktop can be a complicated process when there are so many brands, features, and designs to consider. Kitchen layouts, number of people in the household, and design style are all factors in the decision-making process. This handy buyer's guide from Goedeker's can be used to better educate yourself on all the different choices you have when purchasing a new cooktop.
Types of Cooktops:
The Electric Cooktop uses electricity as its power source and usually has a less expensive purchase price. These types of cooktops come in two basic designs, coil and smoothtop.
Induction cooking is also available, which uses electromagnetic energy to “induce” heat into the cooking surface such as a pot or pan. This type of cooktop is favored for its speed in heating and its safety features. Note: Magnetic cookware is needed when cooking on an induction cooktop.
The Gas Cooktop is available in open burner and sealed burner models. A gas hookup must be available in your kitchen before installing. The cooking surface can be heat up in an instant for quicker cook times and fast results.
Only available on the electric range. This cooktop uses a “coiled” metal element to provide heat.
Only available on the electric range. This cooktop has a smooth heating area. The surface may be ceramic, glass, or porcelain. Smoothtop ranges are easy to clean and have a modern look. Induction cooktops are generally this style.
Only available on the gas range. This cooktop has wide openings for the burners.
Only available on the gas range. This cooktop has recessed burners below the surface.
Other Features to Consider When Shopping:
- Grates - These are the metal coverings of the coil element or gas burner where the pot or pan is placed.
- Color – There are several different colors to choose from when buying a cooktop. Some of the more common colors available are white, black, bisque, and stainless steel. Many cooktop models allow customization of the surface, burners, or trim.
- Drip Bowls – Removable, no-drip bowls come with many types of coil cooktops. These collect food drippings from the cooking surface and burners to make cleaning easier.
- Removable Elements – Dishwasher-safe grates and knobs that can be removed from your cooktop make for easy cleaning.
- Frameless Design – Some smoothtop surfaces can be mounted flush with your kitchen countertop.
- Type of Burner – There are several types of burners for any kind of cooking job you can imagine. All-purpose burners are the most common. Tri-ring burners provide better heating control. Precise simmer burners heat more gently than standard burners to avoid overcooking food. Some cooktops may even have a melt setting.
- Warming Zone - This feature allows for low heat in a certain area of the cooktop where you can keep food warm without over cooking.
- Precise Control Settings – Electronic temperature controls give you the ability to maximize cooking temperature and time for best results.
- Electronic Kitchen Timer – Some cooktops include one timer for general use. Others may have several timers, one for each burner.
- Size of Heating Elements – Burners come in many different sizes which can fill all your cooking needs. Some cooktops have burners which are all the same size, and others include burners of varying sizes.
- Number of Heating Elements – Cooktops can have as low as one and as many as ten burners. The most common amounts you will find when shopping are 2, 4, 5, and 6 burners.
- Dual-size Heating Elements - These burners have two size settings so they can be used to heat both small and large pots and pans without wasting energy.
- Touchpad Controls – These replace the dial controls on cooktops for a fresh, modern look.
- Push-to-Turn Knobs – This control feature promotes safety of use because a small amount of pressure is needed to turn on cooktop heat.
- Ribbon Heating Elements - This is the heating element on smoothtop cooktops.
- Bridge Element – This allows you to connect two burners to increase the cooking surface for larger pots and pans.
- Downdraft Venting – This ventilation option funnels smoke and exhaust down through the oven instead of up through a range hood.
- Other Venting Options – Besides downdraft venting, other venting options such as range hoods and vent fans can be considered.
- Electronic Ignition – This feature starts gas burners automatically with an electric spark and is fairly standard on gas cooktops today.
- Hot Surface Indicator – This safety feature is a light that lets you know when the surface of the cooktop is still hot to the touch.
- Pan Presence Sensor – Some cooktops have a sensor that detects when a pot or pan has left surface which turns off the heating elements automatically.
- Child Lock – Control lock capability is an important safety feature to consider when shopping for a cooktop.
- Pan Size Sensor – This feature detects the size of your pot or pan and sets the heating element to match for maximum energy efficiency.
- Halogen Burner Elements – These heat up and cool down quickly for energy savings.
- High Watt Coil Burners - These use more energy and heat up faster than standard coil elements.
- Voltage or Wattage – Make sure to note the voltage or wattage of the cooktop you are considering and see if it is compatible with your kitchen. The most common voltages for cooktops are 120 and 240.
- Miscellaneous Features – Whether your cooktop is installable above an oven, if additional modules can be purchased for it, if it has an automatic safety switch-off or if it has an in-use light are also things to keep in mind when shopping.