In this article, we’re going to discuss cooktops. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the different types of cooktops available in the market today. The very first step in buying a cooktop is to know your power source. Cooktops are powered in two ways. The first is gas, which requires a gas line and 110 power source. The second is electric which is available in 110 or 220 volts.
The next step is to know your measurements. The correct way to measure for a replacement cooktop is first to make sure the gas or electricity is turned off. Then, if possible, lift or remove the existing cooktop so that you can measure the cutout space. Make sure to measure from left to right and front to back. It’s important to measure the cut out because most cooktops have a lip that will extend past the cutout dimensions allowing the cooktop to sit securely onto your countertop. You should also measure the space from the back wall to the cutout opening and the area from the very front of the countertop to the cutout opening.
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Another critical measurement is your depth clearance. Make sure to measure from the top of the cabinet to the floor. If your cooktop has a downdraft underneath or if there will be a new or existing oven below, you’ll need the depth from the top of the cutout opening to the top of the stove. Just be sure to check the clearance specs of your new cooktop to make sure you’ve left enough space between the cooktop and your existing or new oven.
Types of Cooktops
Now with all that in mind, you can now discuss the four types of cooktops: gas, pro range top, electric, and induction. Gas cooktops are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 12 to 46 inches in width and can be purchased with one, two, four, five, or six sealed burners. The sealed burners make today’s gas cooktops much easier to clean than those of the past.
Most standard gas cooktops will have at least one high output burner which will range anywhere from 11 to 20,000 BTUs. BTUs stands for British Thermal Units. It’s the measurement of heat output that applies to the power generated by gas cooktops and range tops. One BTU is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degrees Fahrenheit.
Pro range tops function very much like standard gas cooktops except at a much higher level. They range in sizes from 30 to 48 inches wide with the option to have anywhere from five to eight burners or two to four burners with the griddle, grill top, or French clock included.
Here are the differences between a range top and cooktop. A cooktop sits on top of your counter and are usually no taller than four to five inches which allows you to have a drawer or oven underneath them.
Range tops slide into your counter and cabinet. They typically have a standing height ranging from seven and a half to ten and a half inches. And because of the taller standing height, pro range tops cannot be installed over an oven. Pro range tops are available in gas only. All of the burners on a pro range top will be high output burners. Pro range tops will cost significantly more than gas cooktops and require a more detailed installation.
Electric cooktops require a 220 connection in your home, and like standard gas cooktops, can be installed on top of your countertop with a new or existing oven underneath. They are available in sizes ranging from 12 to 45 inches with the availability of one to six burners.
Electric cooktops have three top options: coil, ceramic glass, and induction. Coil burner cooktops have exposed electric heating elements that radiate heat to the pan. The coils remove easily for cleaning and come with chrome drip pans and knobs that are also removable. Coil cooktops take longer to clean but are the least expensive of the three.
Ceramic glass cooktops work the same as coil cooktops except the coils are underneath the glass making these cooktops much easier to clean. These cooktops will have no removable parts except knobs on some models, making them virtually maintenance-free. Ceramic glass cooktops are the most common of the three types and can be used with any cookware, including cast-iron.
Induction cooktops are similar to ceramic glass when it comes to appearance and easy cleanup. But unlike coil and ceramic glass cooktops, induction cooktops work by using magnetic fields to induct a warming reaction in steel based pots and pans allowing the pan to heat the food and not the cooktop surface.
They use less energy than standard coil ceramic tops and will heat up much faster and cool down instantly. Induction cooktops require the use of flat bottom magnetic pans to work. The best way to know if your current cookware will work with an induction top is to place a magnet onto the bottom of the pan. If the magnet sticks, your current cookware will work with induction. Induction cooktops will be the most expensive option of the three types.
Here’s something else to consider when purchasing an induction top. Most standard coil and ceramic glass tops can run on 15 to 40 amps depending on the cooktop size. Almost all induction cooktops, 30 to 36 inches or larger, will require a 40 to 50 amp circuit to function. So keep this in mind when you’re thinking about replacing your current coil or ceramic top with induction.