Cooktops are either gas or electric or a combination of each. Cooktops come either integrated with an oven or as a standalone unit. What will you choose for your new cooktop?
Gas cooktops – provide instant heat, and allow precise control over the temperature. Btu (or British thermal units) measure the heating power of gas cook tops and ovens. For everyday cooking, 9,000 Btu should suffice. For stir-frying and other high-heat cooking, you’ll need 12,000 or more. For simmering you need to reduce it to at least 5000 Btu.
Electric Cooktops come in a variety of types.
- Ceramic radiant – coiled metal elements underneath tempered ceramic glass.
- Halogen or semi halogen – this is where ceramic cooktop elements use halogen bulbs to create heat. Semi halogen cooktops use a halogen bulb along with a coiled metal element.
- Radiant coil – usually found on low end stovetops but they are the most energy efficient of the common electric stovetops apart from induction cooktops.
- Solid – this is the most economic option and each hotplate is a solid metal disk that is slow to heat up and slow to cool down, making them more difficult to control.
- Induction – these cooktops use a magnetic field to heat up the pan, while the cooktop itself stays reasonably cool. It is the fastest way of cooking and you can control the heat as finely as gas.
Also think about the size of the burners, they usually range from 7 to 12 inches but if you cook with very large pots or pans, you may like to find one with a bigger burner. Some cooktops offer bridges so that you can join two burners together, effectively making a much larger burner. Also look for cooktops that are easy to clean. If you do a lot of cooking, or cook a large number of food at once, consider a cooktop with 6 burners as opposed to the standard 4. You could also choose a combination of gas and electric cooktops which would be beneficial if you do a lot of different types of cooking.