Cooktop Buying Guide


1. Type

There are three main types of cooktops: Gas, Electric and Induction. Each different type has its advantages and disadvantages.
 

a) Gas

Gas cooktops give instant heat as flames head to the bottom and the side of the pans. Gas cooktops are also very responsive to changes in heat. Also due to having open flames, foods can be char-grilled. 
 
Pros Cons
Instant Heat If mains gas isn’t available, you need LPG
Cost effective (gas to cheap) More expensive to install
Easy cooking with Woks Can be more unsafe if not fitted with automatic shut off when no flame is on
Better control of heat Harder to clean (due to trivets)
 
 

b) Electric

Electric cooktops are typically cheaper to install then gas types. They heat pans slower and do not respond as fast to heat changes as gas cooktops. However electric ceramic surfaces are easier to clean due to their flat nature.
 
Pros Cons
Tend to be cheapest Typically, lower energy efficiency
Easy to clean (ceramic surfaces) Slower heat up times
  Cannot cook with Woks (need flat pots)
  Glass surface can break
  

 c) Induction

Induction cooktops are safe to touch, so are great for people with children. However, they use magnetic fields to heat up pans and therefore are typically more expensive and require specific pots and pans to work. Induction cooktops also have the fastest cooking times and are typically the most energy efficient. They are also easy to clean as they have a flat surface. 
 
Pros Cons
Fast Heat up times Most expensive
Safest cooktop type (no pot, no heat) Only certain pots and pans work
Easy to clean flat surface Need flat cookware (Can’t cook with Woks)


2. Dimensions and Elements

After you determine the type of cooktop you need to look at the space requirements. After all, if it doesn’t fit, it’s a lot of work to make it fit. The most common sizes in terms of width are:

- 30 cm
- 60 cm
- 90 cm

However, some brands offer a wider range of sizes such as:

- 70 cm
- 80 cm

If you are replacing an existing cooktop you need to measure both your width and depth to see which models will fit.

Alternatively, if you’re looking at a new kitchen install you need to determine how much space you have on your benchtop and given the space you can choose any size.
 
Elements and Burners
Also keep in mind the size of the cooktop will typically determine how many burners or elements you have. An example is if your determined to have more than 4 elements there very good chance you will need a cooktop with a form factor that is larger than 60cm in width.
 
 

3. Features

Some common and noteworthy features to consider.
 

a) Electric Touch Controls

Rather than knobs and dials you control the cooktop heat and settings via electric touch controls.
 

b) Safety – Automatic Turn off

An important feature that brings the safety of your cooktop. This feature will for example turn off the gas if it doesn’t detect a flame. Or it will turn off the heat in an electric cooktop if it doesn’t detect the pan.
 

c) Pan Size Sensors

This feature will automatically adjust the heating area to suit the size of the pot or pan

d) Power or Boost Elements
Cooktops with a power burner or boost will normally allow one element or burner to give additional heat and therefore becomes a high intensity element.


e) Easy Cleaning

Cleaning can be daunting on cooktops, we have all felt this pain. Gas cooktops by their nature are always going to be hard to clean as they all have trivets. However electric and induction cooktops that are flat make it extremely easy to clean.

 

4. Installation

Some considerations when installing
 
  • Install the range hood as the manufactures recommended height to get the best performance during cooking
  • Gas cooktops around tiles can lead to residual heat damaging the tiles
  • Cooktops should be installed by a trained professional