An important question when choosing home appliances is deciding the type of cooktop (also called range) to get. In general, you’ve got four different choices to pick from:
- Induction cooktop - these work by means of an alternating current that induces heat in the appropriate type of cookware. They are safe to touch.
- Gas cooktop - these rely on burning gas to transfer heat to your cookware.
- Electric coil / solid hotplate cooktops - these are inexpensive cooktops that use electricity running through a resistive hotplate or coil to heat the cookware directly.
- Electric ceramic radiant cooktops - these comprise of halogen lamps or coiled metallic elements which emit heat from underneath via a tempered ceramic surface of glass.
Advantages and DisadvantagesThe type of cooktop you should go for depends on your budget, fuel availability, and to some extent, the kind of cuisine you want to prepare. Here are some pros and cons of each type, to help you decide:
- Safe to touch, so ideal for families with little children.
- Highly energy efficient.
- Instant heat up.
- Stylish look.
- The flat surface can be easily cleaned; the food doesn’t get baked on them.
- May be costly.
- Cookware has to be iron or stainless steel.
- Repair / replacement may be difficult.
Electric coil / hotplate cooktops:
- Inexpensive purchase and repair.
- Don’t require a specific kind of cookware.
- Great for simmering and low temperature cooking.
- Considerable heat up time.
- Generally sluggish temperature change.
- Comparatively inefficient.
Electric ceramic radiant cooktops:
- Stylish to look at.
- Flat surface can be cleaned easily.
- Reasonably temperature responsive.
- Don’t need a particular type of cookware.
- Costlier than conventional coil/hotplate electric cooktops.
- Repair might be complicated.
Gas burner cooktops:
- Instant heat up.
- Respond well to temperature changes.
- Cheap operation.
- Can work with special trivets and wok burners.
- Can be used to char-grill capsicum on open flame, just like on television.
- Require gas supply.
- Difficult to clean as compared to radiant or flat induction cooktops (enamel can be cleaned more easily than glass or steel).
- Higher risk of combustion/fire because of naked flame.
Other steps to consider when picking a cooktopBesides considering the pros and cons of various cooktop technologies, you should also answer a few essential questions with regards to your purchase of a cooktop. These can be:
- Would you do better with a combination cooktop i.e. one that combines multiple technologies, as opposed to one that uses just a single technology?
- What’s the size of the family? A larger family, or one that cooks a lot, might be better off with a six burner cooktop rather than four.
- If you’ve decided on a gas cooktop, will a wok burner be a part of your future cooking endeavours?
- What sort of warranty are you looking for?
- Will you require new cookware, if you’ve decided on an induction based cooktop?
- Does the cooktop’s style match the style of your kitchen?