A cooktop is a standalone appliance that installs directly into your countertop. 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. 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. Read on to find the right type of cooktop for your kitchen.
Which different types of cooktops are available today?
Gas or electric cooktops
Gas cooktops use 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. 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.
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. Electric cooktops featuring a glass or ceramic top are also easy to clean due to their smooth, flat surface. Learn more about the benefits of gas and electric stoves.
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 transfers heat directly to the pot or pan by electromagnetism. 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. Keep in mind that you can't use aluminum or copper cookware on an induction cooktop. Learn more about how induction cooking measures up.
A downdraft cooktop integrates the ventilation system directly into the cooking surface, eliminating the need for an overhead vent. They’re 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.