It can be a hot topic for homeowners. Electric, gas, induction…. with so many cooktop options, how do you pick what’s best for you?
Before we get into the flavors of cooktops, it might be useful to define a few terms, so we’re on the same page. Stove, range, oven and cooktop are four different words that sound like the same thing – but they’re not. The cooktop is the place where you put a pot or pan, and heat comes up from below. The oven is the box where you put your roast, and it’s enclosed and has a door on it. A range is a cooktop attached to an oven, and a stove is pretty big catch-all term that can confuse the whole thing.
For this article, we are only talking cooktops, the place where you put a pot full of water so you can boil an egg. For the purposes of this piece, we’ll discuss the three most popular: electric, gas and induction. Cooktops are generally built into the countertop or they’re the built into the top of a range. D.R. Horton uses both built-in cooktops as well as ranges, depending on the home and the buyer’s preferences.
From the simple act of putting a kettle on for tea, or sweating over the constant stirring of your grandmother’s risotto recipe, the cooktop serves as one of the most crucial kitchen appliances. And when it comes to choosing the perfect type for your lifestyle, it’s no easy task. Which is why we’ve created this handy go-to guide, hot off the presses, filled with expertly-approved advice to help you find your ideal cooktop.
Electric cooktops, either with coils or smooth glass tops, are the most common type of cooktop. Mostly because they’re the most affordable.
The most affordable option for electric is the coil. These electricity-powered burners poke out above the top of the cooktop. More desirable, however, is the glass-top cooktop, because the heating elements are hidden underneath a pane of glass. There’s less room to drop things into the cracks, and the glass-top cooktop is easier to clean. There are no hidden cracks or crevices for spilled food to hide.
It’s important to take care with the types of cookware you use on a glass-top surface. Because the top is made from glass, you could easily harm the surface with heavy and rough cookware. These can leave scratches or cracks.
The preferred choice amongst both culinary and real estate experts, gas cooktops are the most sought-after appliance in the bunch.
The value of a gas stovetop is mainly seen in its ability to uniformly output heat. Through an open flame surrounding the bottom of your cookware, the cooktop can evenly distribute the heat around it. Like electric models, the power range varies from model to model.
Another key advantage is how quickly a cook can control the heat. A simple twist of the a knob instantly generates flame or removes it. However, gas cooktops can be more expensive that electric, require special hook-ups, and are not as safe.
Gas cooktops tend to cost less to operate than electric cooktops. This can not only lower your cost of monthly utilities but also means it can operate without electricity if your power happens to go out. If you live in a location with unpredictable weather habits, you’ll be grateful for this type of cooktop.
Gas cooktops can be a major pain to keep clean. There are more parts, which means more to take apart and multiple elements to clean.
Induction cooktops might look like the electric smooth top, but they are not the same. That’s because they use electromagnetic versus radiant heating for cooking food.
And, unlike electric or gas, induction cooktops utilize electric currents to directly heat pots and pans through magnetic induction. An electric current passes through a coiled copper wire underneath the cooking surface, which creates a magnetic current throughout the cooking pan to produce heat. Bonus? The technology boils water in less than 2 minutes, which is 50% faster than gas or electric.
Considered a level up in quality from the electric cooktop, these cooktops are also much safer. This is because, unlike gas or electric burners, they don’t use flames or direct heat. And they won’t start to heat if you put something on them that doesn’t contain magnetic material. That’s because the cooktop creates a vibration that converts to heat through a series of magnetic interactions with iron.
They also heat much faster and efficiently than electric or gas counterparts. Like an electric smooth top, induction does offer an easy cleanup. Induction only heats where there’s cookware contract, not over the entire surface of the cooktop. Spills won’t become burned on like on other surfaces.
And, yes, there is the wariness of having to invest in a specific type of cookware that works with the cooking surface. However, Electrolux tells us that’s not entirely true. In fact, if your current cookware passes a magnet test, there is no need to toss it. To test for compatibility, simply place a magnet on the bottom of the cookware. If it sticks right off the bat, the pot will work on the induction cooking surface. If it only sticks softly, or not at all, you should probably use a different pot.
So you may have to buy a couple new pots, but you’ll save money on the cooktop. Frigidaire has managed to reduce the expense of a new induction cooktop, so they’re more affordable than ever. It won’t cost a whole lot more to install induction than electric or gas!
We’ve spent the most time on induction cooktops, but that’s just because they’re so new that a lot of people don’t know much about them. This fascinating, clean, incredibly safe cooktop is a sort of technological wonder. If you would like to learn more, Frigidaire has a very educational page so you can get the whole scoop.
Take the Heat Off
When it comes to choosing the appropriate stove for you and your lifestyle, make sure it suits your lifestyle needs. If you like the speed and accuracy of gas, you might be motivated to add gas hook-ups if your home doesn’t have them. If you prefer safety and affordability, your best bet is probably electric. Induction is essentially the best of both worlds, with speed, accuracy and safety that beats both of the other options.
Depending on the home, D.R. Horton offers electric, gas and induction cooktops. Our cooktops are exclusively provided by Electrolux and Frigidaire, so you know you’re getting high-quality appliances. Frigidaire consistently ranks as one of the most reliable appliance brands in the nation.
Any additional tips and tricks you’d like to add about selecting the right cooktop? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section below.