6 Different Cooktop Types

A stove with a pan on it.

A cooktop is a great and functional option for adding beauty and value to your kitchen. Cooktops are cooking stoves that are independent of an oven. These smaller appliances can add versatility to a kitchen, because you have a choice to place an oven at some place other than under the stove, as seen in traditional ranges. Cooktops can be categorized according to the use of gas or electricity, ventilation type, and appearance.

1. Gas Cooktops

A gas cooktop.

Gas cooktops operate on natural gas or propane. These cooktops are popular among serious cooks who appreciate the preciseness and control offered by gas. Burners on gas cooktops are generally more difficult to clean, but newer cooktops feature smooth cooktop surfaces that are easy to maintain. Gas cooktops allow you to monitor the flame.

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2. Electric Smooth-Top Range

An electric cooktop.

A smooth-top range functions on electricity, and is more environmentally friendly when compared to a gas cooktop. You can reduce the temperature to lower levels as compared to a gas cooktop. These cooktops are a more sophisticated version of the electrical coil version. The coil is under ceramic glass.

The main drawbacks of smoth-top ranges are that they lack the control offered by gas cooktops, it’s more difficult to tell if they have cooled down, and these appliances require the use of flat-bottomed cookware.

3. Induction Cooktops

An induction cooktop.

Induction cooktops function on electricity as well, but unlike standard electric cooktops, these appliances use electromagnets as cooking elements. The electromagnets are placed under a smooth cooking surface, and generate resistance when electricity passes through them. This resistance heats up the magnetic cookware that is placed on the cooking surface, which remains cool during the cooking process.

The use of non-magnetic cookware will result in a waste of electricity, as there will be no heat transfer involved. Cast iron cookware can be used on induction cooktops, as well as any stainless steel cookware that has a magnetized stainless steel bottom.

Induction cooktops offer the best features of gas and electric cooktops, and are the most environmentally friendly alternative as well. The drawbacks can be the high price and the requirement of flat-bottomed magnetic cookware.

4. Cooktops with Overhead Hood

A man works on a cooktop hood.

Most cooktops use an overhead hood to draw in the heat and smoke during cooking. Overhead hoods take up space that can be used for counters or overhead equipment. However, they do a good job at ventilating the area while cooking.

5. Downdraft Cooktops

Downdraft cooktops are appliances that use counter-level exhaust fans. The fan may be installed in the cooktop itself, behind the burners, in the center, or on the side. You can also install a separate fan next to the cooktop. Downdraft cooktops eliminate the need for an overhead hood. However, they are not as efficient at pulling in fumes and smoke as the traditional overhead hood.

6. Coil Type Cooktops

A close up on a coil cooktop.

Coil cooktops are the sturdy, traditional version of electric cooktops. Unlike a smooth top range, the heating coils come into direct contact with cookware. These cooktops require more effort to clean, because spills and stains can be difficult to access.

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