Buying Guide: Cooktops
Are you looking for a cooktop but don't know whether gas, electric or induction cooktops best suit your needs? Our buying guide helps break down your choices and the advantages of each when looking to buy a new cooktop for your kitchen.
What Are The Types Of Cooktops?
- Instant heat control and visual feedback when controlling the flame.
- There's a wide variety of designs and finishes: as a rule, enamel is easier to clean than glass or stainless steel.
- Buy a gas cooktop with a wok burner, or place a grill on top for barbecuing.
- Look for flat cookware supports (trivets) that provide a stable support for your pots and pans.
- Ceramic radiant cooktops: Use coiled metal elements under tempered ceramic glass. Other ceramic cooktop elements use halogen bulbs to create heat. Semi-halogen burners combine a halogen bulb with a coiled metal element.
- Radiant coil cooktops: Found on cheaper stove tops, radiant coil cooktops utilise a coil element to heat cookware directly.
- Solid hotplate cooktops: A low-cost electric option. Slower to heat up and cool down than other cooktops.
- Induction coils on the cooktop generate a magnetic field that induces heat in cookware placed on top.
- The saucepan or pot becomes the element, so the cooktop surface doesn't get hot.
- The heat response is quicker and more efficient.
- Induction is the fastest cooking method, taking about half the time of other cooktops to boil water.
If you can't decide between gas and electricity, have the best of both with a dual-fuel cooktop, such as a gas set-up with an electric element.
How Important Is Cookware?
- Induction cooktops: Cookware needs to be close to the same size as the diameter of the hotplates. Pans that overhang won't heat properly around the edges, and those that are too small won't be recognised.
- Electric and gas cooktops: Choose pans with a flat base for good contact with the element.
Temperature Control – What's Its Function?
One of the most important elements of cooking and food preparation is temperature control. A cooktop that heats up too fast, or is unpredictable can burn food.
- Gas cooktops are more controllable than electric cooktops.
- Electric cooktops are useful for cooking at low temperatures, such as a slow simmer.
- Induction is just as controllable as gas, with fast responsiveness to changes in heat settings.
Should I Consider Size And Space?
Take into account where your cooktop will be installed and if you have the bench space to fit it. Also consider the ventilation and clearance for both the rangehood and cupboards.
Is Design A Significant Factor?
- A good cooktop will have an easy-to-clean design – a flat surface, free of dirt traps.
- Induction cooktops are easy to clean because their flat surface doesn't heat up, meaning food doesn't bake onto the surface.
- Look for easy-to-use control knobs; a good size, with easy-to-read temperature level markings.
Match Your Lifestyle
- Cost: A ceramic cooktop is the most affordable option.
- Space: Choose a cooktop that uses your kitchen bench space most effectively.
- Cookware: Save money by using your existing pots and pans.
- Size: Look for a cooktop with more than the standard four elements.
- Speed: Induction cooktops are quick and can save time.
- Safety: With kids hovering around the kitchen, induction cooktops are cool enough to touch while cooking.
- Control: As the industry standard, a gas cooktop gives instant heat control.
- Design: Look for a cooktop that's easy to clean as you cook.
- Versatility: Gas cooktops can be had with a wok burner and hotplate.