Find the Right Cooktop for Your Kitchen
When designing the work areas in your kitchen, having a cooktop that is separate from your oven or ovens allows for greater flexibility. Choosing the right cooktop takes some research, though. Gas and electric have long been the two standard offerings, and while traditional gas cooktops remain a popular choice, you may want to look beyond them and the familiar electric coil option and consider induction or radiant heat. You can also look for different sizes, from compact 30-inch ranges to ones that are 48 inches or larger, as well as different bells and whistles. Finally, you can even install individual modular cooktops that allow you to customize your setup or create a separate area for steaming food or cooking with a wok.
In my opinion, it’s really hard to compare gas and electric cooktops, because they’re such different cooking experiences — it’s like trying to compare a grill to a griddle. But no matter what your preference, here’s a basic guide to the options.
Circles marking the location of the “burners” are usually found on both induction and radiant cooktops, although there are sleek options in which the black ceramic glass appears to have no markings at all.
Gas cooktops. Traditional gas cooktops are still preferred by many, because having a visible flame allows you to control the heat output more precisely. Another difference between gas cooktops and electric ones is that gas cooktop power is measured in BTUs (British thermal units).
|KitchenAid 30-Inch 4-Burner Gas Cooktop – $999.00 »Drop-in gas cooktops. Drop-in gas cooktops sit on top of the counter. They traditionally have control knobs on top as well. Most drop-in gas cooktops have sealed burners and aren’t as powerful as their range-top alternatives. They’re usually 30 or 36 inches wide and offer a burner option only, not the integrated grills or griddles that can be found in range-top options.|
|Wolf SRT484FX 48-Inch Pro-Style Gas Range Top »A few manufacturers offer a 48-inch range top with a French top, which has concentric rings between the burners. These rings distribute heat across the entire space they occupy, with the hottest spot in the center and the cooler areas on the edges. This allows you to simmer, cook sauces slowly and have a few different pots on the surface at one time.|
Heritage Classic Range Top »
This range top has a unique feature: a raised griddle and broiler in one. It’s a great choice if you want both options without giving up the burners.
|Gaggenau Vario Cooktops »
You can combine independent cooktops to create your own custom large-scale cooktop or separate the different elements into independent cooking stations.
|A single countertop steamer is very popular with those looking for healthy cooking options.|
Wolf 15-Inch Integrated Cooktops – $1,570.00 »
A separate steamer, grill or induction cooktop in addition to a traditional gas range is many a home cook’s ultimate dream setup.