7 Different Cooktop Types

A cooktop is a great 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.

2. Electric Cooktops

An electric cooktop.

Electric cooktops function on electricity, and are more environmentally friendly when compared to gas cooktops. You can reduce the temperature to lower levels as compared to a gas cooktop. These cooktops are available in coil version, or a more sophisticated smooth top. The main drawbacks of electric cooktops are that they lack the control offered by gas cooktops, the cooking surface is slow to heat up or cool 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. Induction cooktops offer the best features of gas and electric cooktops, and are the most environmentally friendly alternative as well. The drawbacks are 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 equipments. However, they do a good job at ventilation.

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 cooktops. These cooktops require more effort to clean, because spills and stains can be difficult to access.

7. Smoothtop Cooktops

Smoothtop cooktops feature smooth cooking surfaces, generally made of ceramic glass. These cooktops are easy to clean because the surface is smooth and even. However, these cooktops are higher in price, and are not as tough as the coil versions. A heavy item falling on the surface can cause scratches or breakage.