These days, there are so many types of cooktops on the market that just determining what’s best for your kitchen can be overwhelming. What size do you need? Will you go with a plain cooktop or a cooktop-range combo? And perhaps trickiest of all: What type of heat source is best—particularly now that induction cooktops are on the rise, in addition to gas and electric options?
When it comes to selecting an appliance of any sort, we like Appliances Connection, the online purveyor of home appliances. They carry more than 300 brands and their appliance specialists can explain the ins and outs of all the different products, helping to make what may seem a daunting selection process easy.
This week, we asked Appliances Connection to weigh in on the gas, electric, or induction cooktop debate, the kitchen renovation topic of the moment. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Photography via Appliances Connection.
The original cooktops, gas ranges use open flames to cook. They’re prized for their precision and controllability, and you’re likely to find them from the kitchens of the finest restaurants to well-equipped home cook spaces.
- Gas cooktops are favored by chefs for a reason: they’re high performing and precise, ideal for maintaining maximum control while cooking
- Quickly and easily adjusted
- Burners heat up much more quickly than electric and turn off immediately, too
- Still possible to use during a power outage
- Emits radiant heat, so can heat up the kitchen
- Fuel source is more expensive than electricity
- Cleaning can be tedious because of the grates
The Fisher Paykel 30-Inch Gas Sealed Burner Cooktop has electronic ignition, continuous grates for easy maneuvering of pots and pans, and a stainless-steel finish; it’s also available in a 36-inch width. Another option, the Forte 48-Inch Natural Gas Rangetop, is larger, with eight sealed, Italian-made burners and continuous grates, all in stainless steel.
Electric cooktops are powered by coils—either visible or hidden beneath a smooth cooktop—that are heated by electricity. They tend to be more affordable than gas cooktops, and they’re extra easy to keep clean. But if you live in a place where you tend to lose power, you’ll be out of luck in an outage.
- Smooth versions are particularly easy to clean—just wipe down
- Doesn’t generate much ambient heat, so won’t add extra heat to the cook space
- Generally much less expensive than gas cooktops
- Burners retain high heat for a while after they’re turned off
- Smooth cooktops are prone to scratches; those made from ceramic can crack if they come into contact with cold water while hot
- Cannot be used in a power outage
A good bet for an electric cooktop and oven combo, the LG 30-Inch Electric Freestanding Range has a smooth cooktop, five cooking elements, and smart capabilities (it’s WiFi-enabled). A higher-end option is the Bertazzoni Professional Series 30-Inch Electric Smoothtop Style Cooktop, which has four cooking elements and a sleek black glass ceramic surface.
Induction cooktops, which use electromagnetism to transfer heat into cookware, have been around for some time, but they’re on the rise in the cooktop world. Generally speaking, an induction cooktop works only with pots and pans that contain iron, and it’s extra safe for families with kids—no risk of burns.
- The heating element itself emits virtually no heat, using electromagnetism instead, so cooktops are safe (particularly useful for households with kids)
- It is eco-friendly–cleaner and more energy-efficient than traditional gas and electric cooktops
- Doesn’t heat up a room
- Less expensive to operate since it doesn’t waste heat
- Induction cooktops themselves tend to be more expensive than their electric or even gas counterparts but can save money over time
- Can only be used with certain cookware; no need to buy a particular brand, but generally cookware must contain iron
When it comes to induction, the Frigidaire Gallery Series 30-Inch Induction Electric Freestanding Range is a good budget option, with a four-element smooth induction cooktop and oven combo. For just a cooktop, the Miele 36-Inch Electric Induction Cooktop has five cooking elements, a sensor that detects the presence of pots and pans, and a keep-warm function.