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How to Choose a Cooktop for Your Kitchen

by The Experts at Friedmans

With the flexibility to install in a kitchen island, the countertop, or a kitchen peninsula, cooktops provide you with the luxury of true customization. What’s better, by pairing a cooktop with a wall oven, you can help minimize kitchen traffic, creating a cooking environment that works for everyone in your home.

In this comparative cooktop guide, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each cooktop style to better help you understand which cooktop is best for your kitchen and lifestyle. So, gather your recipe book and food ideas and get ready to feel inspired!

Smooth Tops, a.k.a Glass Cooktops

The modern kitchen is more than just a place to whip up midweek supper—it’s where you show off your hosting skills over hors d’oeuvres and a glass of your finest wine during a cocktail party. If you believe sleek presentation is everything, then consider smooth glass cooktops the James Bond of cooktop styles.

If your dream cooking surface is the type that’s out-of-sight and out-of-mind, then you might prefer a glass cooktop with digital touch controls that are integrated right onto the surface. As an added perk, these inconspicuous controls also help keep curious fingers away from buttons.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-clean cook surface 
  • No grates or burners where food can get stuck
  • No open flame; safer to cook on

Cons:

  • A glass cooktop surface is susceptible to scratches
  • Electric ceramic glass cooktops are not as responsive as induction or gas
  • Glass cooktops require cookware to sit completely flat on burner

Electrolux Kitchen 36.75" Stainless Steel Electric Cooktop (EI36EC45KS)

This electric glass cooktop features touch-responsive sliding controls, adjustable burners to fit your largest pots, and up to 25 cooking presets  that can be easily powered with the press of a button.

Electrolux Kitchen 36.75 inch Stainless Steel Electric Cooktop installed into countertop above an oven

Induction Cooktops

How about a side of magic with your meals? By using the power of electromagnets, induction cooktops directly heat up your pots and pans. That means, while you won’t feel the heat of an open flame or radiant coils, your cookware miraculously will.

Since induction cooktops are technically also glass cooktops, you can expect a modern look and smooth user experience. Much like their counterparts, induction-style cooktops feature burners that blend into the surface and are often complemented by digital touch controls. The result? A clean-lined package that gives your kitchen a modern edge.

Pros:

  • Quick and precise response
  • No open flame or hot coils means cooler cooking conditions
  • Easy-to-clean cook surface 
  • Safer to cook on
  • More energy-efficient

Cons:

  • Induction cooktops require special cookware
  • A glass cooktop surface is susceptible to scratches

Samsung 36" Induction Cooktop-Stainless Steel (NZ36K7880US)

This 4-burner induction cooktop takes the doubt out of cooking on induction with Virtual Flame™ technology that uses an LED flame to allows you to visualize heat output just like you would on a gas cooktop. A Flex Zone adapts to give you the flexibility to heat up any size of cookware.

Samsung 36 inch Induction Cooktop-Stainless Steel induction cooktop with LED Virtual Flame and pot

Gas Cooktops

Did somebody say flambé? No matter the meal, a little production value never hurts, and gas cooktops deliver the power and performance to make creating even everyday meals feel special. No wonder gas cooktops are preferred by everyone from professional chefs and restaurants to advanced home cooks.

If you’re looking for a style statement in your kitchen that says luxury, gas-fuel cooktops are a premium option. With restaurant-style grates and hefty knobs, a gas stovetop instantly expresses your passion for cuisine and timeless style.

Pros:

  • Instant heat response
  • Easy and intuitive flame control
  • Higher temperature outputs

Cons:

  • Gas line required
  • Can be hazardous (open flame; gas leaks)
  • Gas cooktops require proper ventilation

Thermador® Masterpiece® Star® 36" Gas Cooktop-Stainless Steel (SGSX365TS)

Impressive from the stainless-steel finish to the patented Star® burners, this Thermador Masterpiece gas cooktop means business. Featuring a blazing center burner with 16,000 BTUs and sealed burners, this gas-powered cooktop delivers power from grate to grate.

Pan being heated by Star burner on Thermador gas cooktop

Electric Coil Cooktops

Electric coil cooktops don’t get the best reputation, but as for why, we can’t be sure. True, they aren’t as flashy as a ceramic glass cooktop or deliver the fiery performance of a gas cooktop, but there’s a reason they’re not obsolete: durability.

These virtually indestructible cooktops can handle a lot of abuse. We’re talking shaking-heavy-cast-iron-pans and dragging-metal-utensils-across-the-ceramic-coils kind of abuse. Additionally, whereas ceramic glass cooktops work best with cookware that is flat, electric coil cooktops will still heat up pans efficiently despite warping or damage.

Beyond resiliency, electric coil cooktops are also no-fuss and versatile. No matter what kitchen setup or layout your home might have, electric coil cooktops are easy to install (just connect to a 220-volt outlet) and you’re ready to cook.

Pros:

  • Exceptional value
  • Intuitive controls
  • Easy installation
  • More cost-effective to maintain and replace parts

Cons:

  • Electric coils do not get as hot as gas
  • Exposed, hot coils can be dangerous
  • Not energy-efficient
  • Drip pans require cleaning

Whirlpool® 30" Electric Cooktop-White (WCC31430AW)

With four burners in two sizes (large and small), this Whirlpool electric coil cooktop makes multitasking a breeze. Plus, with drip pans, cleanup is as easy as removing and tossing into the dishwasher. Simple—yet practical—this electric cooktop is ideal for casual cooks who appreciate value and the reliability of trusted brand names.

Closeup of Whirlpool 30 inch Electric Coil cooktop in a white finish

A Perfect Fit

Of course, there are a few steps you’ll need to take before you decide on a cooktop to purchase. Since counter space can be limited, it’s important to accurately measure how much real estate you’re working with.

Measure the length, width, and depth of cabinetry below; the last measurement is needed to ensure electrical or gas pipelines meet the required guidelines.

Depending on the brand and model, each cooktop requires certain clearance between nearby cabinetry and overhead. Make sure to account for these measurements by subtracting the numbers from your overall measurements.

If you plan on purchasing a gas cooktop, make sure you have enough clearance between the cooking surface and overhead ventilation. Typically, 36 inches is the minimum, but always refer to a manufacture’s recommendations to ensure proper and safe installation. 

Need some extra help? Don’t hesitate to give us a call or visit!

Bring the Experience of Fine Dining Home

At Friedmans Appliance, you can trust that every appliance we carry is backed by reputable brands known for performance and reliability. Whether you’re looking to design a kitchen bursting with trendy flavor, become a master chef, or to simply get in touch with your epicurean side, you can count on the Trusted Name in the Bay Since 1922™ to find a cooktop for your stage of life. Shop in-store or online today!