Ignited gas burner on a cooktop

CHOOSING DIFFERENT TYPES OF STOVETOPS AND COOKTOPS

A cooktop, or stovetop, is a standalone appliance that installs directly into your countertop. Cooktops look like the stovetop on a range but are separate from the oven. A range, on the other hand, includes both an oven and a cooktop in one appliance. Many people opt for a cooktop plus wall oven configuration because they find it convenient to separate stovetop and oven functions, they prefer the aesthetics or they want to install the cooktop somewhere a range may not work, like certain kitchen islands. Installing a separate cooktop and a wall oven allows you to increase the height of your oven, eliminating the need to bend down to put food inside.

If you’ve never considered a standalone cooktop, you might find that it suits your needs, with electric, gas, induction and downdraft cooktop styles available. Some cooktops even come  equipped with additional accessories like grills and griddles. Read on to learn more about the different types of stovetops for your kitchen.

WHICH DIFFERENT TYPES OF COOKTOPS ARE AVAILABLE TODAY?

Several different cooktops are available on the market including gas, electric, induction and downdraft. Cooktops are usually set apart by their fuel source and how they heat your food. For instance, a cooktop can be powered by electricity, gas or propane. Many cooktops are approximately 30 to 36 inches in size and come with four to six burners. Larger cooktops, up to 48 inches, are available and generally come equipped with more burners.

Gas, electric and induction cooktops heat your food differently, which is another factor to keep in mind. Gas cooktops use an open flame to heat your food, while electric cooktops use a radiant, smooth top to heat your food. Induction cooktops use electromagnetism and require specific, induction-compatible cookware.

Modular cooktops are a unique choice that allow the consumer to customize the cooktop to include different cooking elements.

Read on to learn more about the different types of cooktops and how they work.

Electric cooktop next to a gas cooktop Electric cooktop next to a gas cooktop

1. GAS OR ELECTRIC COOKTOPS

Gas cooktops use natural gas or liquid propane in an open flame to cook food. They offer responsive control over heat adjustments since the flame can be adjusted instantly, and you don’t need to wait for a heating element to heat up or cool down. Because you can see the color and size of the flame, you have a clear idea at all times of how your food is being heated. An open flame is also able to reach up the sides of some pans, which can be a benefit when cooking with sculpted pans such as woks. In order to install a gas cooktop, your kitchen needs to have a gas line.

Electric cooktops cook food using heated metal coils or heating elements often housed in a flat glass or ceramic surface. They’re good for getting to a boil quickly since they effectively direct energy to the bottom of the pot and not around it, and they do not require the use of any special cookware. Electric cooktops featuring a glass or ceramic top are also easy to clean due to their smooth, flat surface. In order to keep from scratching your electric cooktop, you may need to use a special cleaner. Learn more about the benefits of gas and electric stoves.

Cooked meal on a Maytag® cooktop Cooked meal on a Maytag® cooktop

2. INDUCTION COOKTOPS

An induction cooktop is a type of electric cooktop that uses electromagnetism to heat cookware, essentially turning the cookware into its own source of heat. The cooktop surrounding the element does become hot but generates heat through an electromagnetic reaction directly in the pot or pan. The system allows for a rapid rise or drop in temperature. This often leads to faster cooking, especially in saucepans and pots—water will usually come to a boil much faster on most induction cooktops. Another benefit of an induction cooktop is the lack of an open flame or hot cooktop surface to keep an eye on.

Keep in mind that you can't use aluminum or copper cookware on an induction cooktop. To determine if your cookware is induction-compatible, simply hold a magnet to the bottom. If the magnet clings, the cookware is likely induction-compatible. Many induction-compatible cookware options are now labeled by the manufacturer as such, as well. Learn more about how induction cooking measures up.

Downdraft cooktop Downdraft cooktop

3. DOWNDRAFT COOKTOPS

A downdraft cooktop can come in a gas or electric configuration, and it integrates the ventilation system directly into the cooking surface, eliminating the need for an overhead vent. Downdraft cooktops are a good option if you’re installing your cooktop on a kitchen island where there isn’t room for a hood, or if you just like an open feel to your kitchen. Keep in mind that you’ll need under-counter cabinet space to house internal components essential to the operation of a downdraft cooktop.

STOVETOP FEATURES

Some stovetops come with special features that enhance the cooking experience. These special features may include: 

  • Downdraft venting, eliminating the need for a range hood

  • Griddle or grill, allowing you to make pancakes or burgers right on your cooktop

  • High-heat burner, great for quickly heating foods or bringing water to a boil

  • Additional burners, creating space for extra dishes and sides

  • Dual choice elements, allowing you to customize the element to match your cookware

Fajitas cooking on an electric cooktop with a griddle Fajitas cooking on an electric cooktop with a griddle

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST TYPE OF COOKTOP FOR MY HOME?

Start by thinking through a few key considerations like how much you want to spend, where you have space available in the kitchen and which types of burners you like to use.

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BURNER TYPE: GAS, ELECTRIC OR INDUCTION

Choose between gas, electric or induction burners. Most kitchens are set up for an induction or electric cooktop—all you need is an outlet. To install a gas cooktop, you’ll need a dedicated gas line, which can be installed for an additional cost if you don’t already have one.

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AVAILABLE SPACE IN THE KITCHEN

Going with a cooktop plus wall oven configuration may take up more space overall than a traditional range but it also offers more flexibility. Cooktops can work in kitchens of all sizes as they range in size from 15 inches to 36 inches wide. Make sure you have the space you need for two different appliance installations. The number of burners featured on cooktops can range from two to five, or more. Consider your available surface space as well when choosing a cooktop, and explore Maytag’s selection of 4-burner and 5-burner cooktops to see what’s right for you. Remember to accurately measure your available space before you decide on a cooktop.

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PRICE: COOKTOPS VS. RANGES

Cooktops are a little more affordable than a range, but keep in mind that you'll also need to budget for an oven. For example, Maytag® cooktops have an MSRP of around $600 to $1100. Gas and electric cooktops have similar price ranges, but expect to pay more for induction and downdraft models, as well as cooktops with larger widths. 

 

Need to install a new cooktop in your countertop? Read this Maytag Guide to cooktop replacement and installation.

WHAT ARE GLASS TOP STOVES CALLED?

A glass top stove is also known as a ceramic-glass stove top. The smooth glass of these cooktops is generally made from tempered ceramic glass and has heating coils underneath the surface.

WHAT IS A RADIANT COOKTOP?

Radiant cooktops have a smooth, flat surface. Metal coils below the surface radiate heat through the cooktop and heat the cookware on the burner.

SHOP MAYTAG® COOKTOPS

Maytag offers hardworking gas and electric cooktops with features like the Power Burner, which delivers a serious sear or the reversible grill and griddle that can make more meals in more ways.

MORE KITCHEN APPLIANCE INFO TO HELP YOU DECIDE

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