Selecting the best cooktops can be a very personal decision. There are various ways in which you can look at your choices when it comes to selecting a kitchen cooktop. You can consider style, as in do you want a range, which is a unit that includes the stove and oven, or does purchasing a stove and oven as separate units make more sense? Size, style and color, features or options specific to a particular brand of kitchen cooktop are also other considerations to take into account.
Although these are all viable when choosing the best kitchen cooktop for your home, another important consideration is the type of heating element. Each kitchen cooktop has their advantages and disadvantages. For example, there are three standard types of cooking methods used in stovetops. One is not necessarily better than the other two, but one may fit your cooking style and needs more than the other cooktops.
There are three types of heat that you use to cook on a stovetop. Gas burners, electric coil heating elements, or electric ceramic burners. Each will get the job done but cooks usually have a preference according to the manner in which a specific source of heat performs. Also, cost can be a factor in choosing which type of stove is right for you.
Many chefs prefer kitchen cooktops with gas due to the fact that the heat can be controlled in a very specific manner and lowering the temperature on a pot sitting on a gas stove will result in an instant reduction of temperature. However, heating is not as fast as electric models. Thus, it usually takes longer to get a pot of water to boil on a gas burner than it does on an electric. Gas stoves tend to accommodate pans and pots with rounded and flat bases and they can handle all sizes.
A kitchen cooktop using electric coils heats quickly and evenly. Coils work well with all shapes of pots and pans. However, when lowering the temperature on an electric coil burner it can take a significant amount of time for the new temperature to take effect as these burners retain heat for quite some time. Also unlike gas burners, after they are turned off they will remain hot for a short period as well. Be aware that spills on the open coils can be difficult to clean up and will often flow below the burner’s surface. This can become a cleaning nightmare if not kept in check.
A kitchen cooktop with an electric ceramic burner is easy to spot—the stove’s surface is completely flat and the heating element is sealed underneath it. There’s no chance of spilling food or liquid directly on the element or into the area that contains the heat source. Spills are easy to clean on these flattop versions of the kitchen cooktop.
The heating elements are covered by a sleek ceramic surface as the cooktop. Induction elements under the glass-ceramic surface generate heat and send it directly to the pot or pan and not to the stove surface. These burners tend to heat more quickly than coil burners.
There are limitations to the types of cookware you can use. Ceramic, aluminum, and copper pans won’t work well on these and the bases of your pots and pans must be flat or only slightly concave. Any dents in bases will undermine the pot’s efficiency. Vessels with a 4-6 mm stainless steel sandwich bases are the choice for these stoves. Finally, the burners for electric ceramic stoves are more expensive than coils.
Once you decide on the type of heat source you’d like, you’ll also need to make a choice between purchasing a range or a stovetop with a separate oven. A range contains the stove and oven in one unit. They tend to save space and are less expensive than purchasing separate units. An ideal kitchen cooktop when space may be limited.
However, purchasing separate units usually results in homeowner having more choices. Also, there’s more freedom when it comes to kitchen design if you’re purchasing separate units. One other positive is your oven can be placed at a more accessible height. There’s no bending down when you open the oven door as there is with a range.
When purchasing your next kitchen cooktop, homeowners find that often major determining factors affecting what they consider to be the best kitchen cooktop are cost, performance, and their preferences as cooks. Electric coils are cheaper to buy than ceramic or gas, however, the latter two are less expensive to operate. In the long run when it comes to operation and maintenance, gas is the least expensive of the three.
Many cooks prefer gas when it comes to performance, finding it easier to control and more responsive. However, the process of heating a pot takes longer when cooking with gas. Ceramic stovetops are easier to control than coil burners and surfaces clean up quickly but these stoves do require specific types of cookware.
No matter what you determine to be the best kitchen cooktop, all three types will do the job one way or another. Before making a choice for your next cooktop, be sure to take time to investigate all your options, including asking friends who use the different cooktops about their experiences and preferences.
And be sure to research kitchen remodeling costs and their return on investment if you may be considering a remodeling project as part of your overall decision to select the best cooktops.
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