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Cooktop Buying Guide

by Viewpoints.com

Cooktops

You will not be disappointed when you make the choice to upgrade to a new cooktop. Investing in a new cooktop is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance and functionality of your kitchen. Today’s cooktops are available in a variety of styles and with several different features. Keep these things in mind when you’re shopping for a new cooktop.

Type.Your cooking preferences will play a role in determining which type of cooktop is best for you. There are three kinds of cooktops available.

  • Electric cooktops - These cooktops run on electricity. The burners are sealed under ceramic glass, so the surface of the cooktop is smooth. Many electric cooktops feature warming zones and variable-size elements. These features allow you to cook with large pots and pans but still heat the entire cooking utensil.
  • Gas cooktops - The burners on gas cooktops typically rise on the surface of the cooktop like coils, though some include gas-on-glass burners. Gas-on-glass burners combine the the smooth surface of an electric cooktop with a natural gas heating method. Many people prefer gas cooktops to other styles because the natural heat source gives them highly accurate temperature control.
  • Induction cooktops - Induction cooktops run on electricity, too, but use electromagnetic energy to heat pots and pans. Thus, the burner itself does not get hot. You can learn more about induction cooking at The Induction Site.

Maintenance. If you want to avoid cleaning up spills and splatters, then an induction cooktop might be for you. Messes do not burn, simmer or harden on the surface of an induction cooktop because the surface never gets hot, so a spoonful of sauce that bubbles over the edge of a pot will take a second to wipe up. Still, the smooth surface of an electric cooktop also makes it easy to clean up after cooking. Only the coils on gas cooktops are difficult to manage.

Size. Cooktops generally run 30 or 36 inches wide, although some new models can be even larger. Four burners fit on to a 30-inch cooktop, while five or six burners fit on the 36-inch models. Make sure you buy a cooktop that will fit in the space you’ve allotted for it in your home.

Some individuals choose to install cooktops directly over built-in ovens. This is possible if the oven measurements coincide with the size of the cooktop. Most standard wall ovens are either 24, 27 or 30 inches wide.

Aesthetics. This is another decision that will be predicted in part by your personal tastes. Some ceramic electric cooktops do come in different colors, so if you choose to buy an electric cooktop you will be able to match it to your kitchen’s color scheme. Most other cooktops are available in white, black or stainless steel.

Features. Some cooktops offer more advanced features than others. You can find cooktops with built-in grills, griddles and downdraft venting. Others have Pan Size Detection and Power Boil modes.

Remember to do your research on specific cooktop brands and models once you’ve identified the type and size of cooktop that you want. Read cooktop reviews from consumers and consult consumer forums to have your specific questions answered.

Copyright © 2009, Viewpoints Network. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission.

Disclaimer: The staff of Appliance411.com does not necessarily agree with the opinions expressed by Viewpoints. The information and links are presented for reference only.

The Purchase: Productopia Tips: Cooktops

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