Where you are looking for a new cooktop for your home, there are a few things you need to consider, you budget, your lifestyle, and your favorite cooking methods. Cooktops have come a long way from the basic four-burner ranges. Today, you can find smooth top electric cooktops, stainless steel models with continuous grates, grills, and more depending upon your budget and the features you want.
Three Rules to Buying a Cooktop
Know your budget
Purchasing a new cooktop is a lot like shopping for a new car. You do not want to test drive a $75,000 car if your can only afford an $15,000 vehicle. With all of the modern strides, cooktops have made over the last few decades; the price can run anywhere from $400 up to $10,000. If a state-of-the-art cooktop is what you have your heart set on, you may want make your purchase when retailers and manufacturers are offering sales.
Know your cooking needs
Do you cook on your cooktop a lot? How many pots and pans do you use on average when preparing a meal? What cooking techniques do you execute in your kitchen most often? Knowing your cooking habits and most commonly used cooking techniques will help you decide which type of cooktop is best for you, whether it is fueled by gas, electric or electromagnetic fields.
Consider your options
With the many advancements manufacturers have equipped cooktops with over the recent years, it is important for you to keep the features and your options in mind. You can still purchase basic four-burner models, as well as five to eight burner cooktops. Some manufacturers even include advanced features like a heat indicator, even heating technologies, and more.
Types of Cooktops
Gas cooktops are favored for their high-heat uniform heating. These cooktops use an open flame to surround the bottom of your cookware, allowing the heat to distribute evenly across the bottom.
The heat output is measured in British Thermal Units, commonly called BTUs. Cooktops can vary from cooktop to cooktop, and burner from burner, but offer a heat output ranging from 5,000 BTU up to a powerful 17,000 BTU.
Gas cooktops are extremely popular in areas where natural gas is affordable. These traditional style cooktops do not require electricity to execute their core cooking functions, and can even be used during power outages.
You can find gas cooktops priced anywhere between $450 up to $3,200.
The sleek designed of the glass-ceramic electric smooth top cooktops are growing in popularity thanks their shiny appearance. These advanced electric models features a completely smooth glass-ceramic cooking surface, in place of the traditional electric coil cooktops.
This smooth electric surface uses the tradition four element designs, except the element are positions below the smooth cooking surface. If you are cooking on low heat, the surface may not turn red as it will with high-heat cooking methods, so a heat indicator is included on each cooktop. When the cooking surface is on and in use, or possesses residual heat from you last cooking session, the heat indicator will light up.
The major downfall to this cooktop is the limit it creates on the cookware you can use. Its glass surface is prone to scratching, making it a bad idea to use cast iron cookware or stoneware. No matter what type of cookware you choose to use on the smooth cooking surface, it is in crucial that you do not drag the cookware across the surface.
On the bright side, the smooth surface is quick and easy to clean. You can simply take a damp sponge and mild detergent to wipe away any messes or spills that have reached the cooking surface.
These beautiful cooking appliances can be purchased anywhere from $550 to $4,500.
Electric coil cooktops operate by converting the electricity running through the coil into heat for conductible metals. These old school cooktops can are perfect for those with limited budgets. You can purchase an electric cooktop anywhere from $400 to $1,700.
Many consumers do not purchase these cooktops if something else can be found within their budget. There are a few reasons coil cooktops are not a consumer favorite:
Heat indicators alert you when the cooking elements are on, not if they are hot.
Coil cooktops are notorious of uneven heating.
It is difficult to keep the coils completely level.
These cooktops are slow heating and slow to cool down.
Induction cooktop is the latest trend in the cooking industry. Unlike gas and electric cooktops, neither gas nor electricity is used to heat your cookware; instead electromagnetic fields are used. The neatest thing about induction cooking is the cookware itself becomes the heat source, allowing the cooktop itself to remain relatively cook.
Induction cooktops work via an element below the cooktop surface that creates a magnetic field. When cookware containing iron or steel is placed on top of the magnetic element, the magnetic field is completed allowing the magnetic vibrations to heat the metal cookware.
These modern cooktops can be purchased for $1,700 to $3,000.
Additional Cooktop Features
Many manufacturers today offer several downdraft ventilation system cooktops. Cooking creates steam, grease splatter, and odors that can damage your kitchen cabinetry over time. If you do not have a ventilation hood or over-the-range microwave with a ventilation fan, a downdraft cooktop is an excellent solution for your kitchen.
Downdraft cooktops capture steam, grease, odors, and excess heat at the cooking surface, before it fills the air.
Touch Pad Controls and LED Displays
Many modern cooktops are doing away with the traditional dials and knobs, allowing you to adjust the temperature settings with push of a button. Some new models even offer “disappearing” touch screens. These screens are visible when you touch the screen, and shut the display light off when it is not in use.