Shop

The Difference between Gas, Electric & Induction Cooktops

Kathryn Haro, 08/24/2016

Cooktops are a great addition to a kitchen of any size and offer versatile kitchen layouts. Whether you want to add a cooktop to your island countertop or have a built-in oven and need another cooking solution, cooktops are the perfect addition to your kitchen.

When selecting a cooktop, you have three major options to choose from: gas, electric, and induction. Read below to learn the difference between the three and determine which is the best for your kitchen and lifestyle.

Gas

Gas cooktops heat food with a flame. These cooktops offer rapid heat and exceptional control, allowing you to quickly move from high heat to low heat. The flame also makes it easy to judge the heat level.

Consider purchasing a gas cooktop with sealed gas burners which prevent food from getting trapped under the burner, making cleanup hassle free. Continuous grates let you easily slide heavy pots and pans across the cooktop. For extra safety, look for cooktops with flame failure safety which provide automatic re-ignition if the flame accidently goes off and automatic shut-off to prevent gas leakage.

Some gas cooktops also feature downdraft designs where a fan works to draw smoke and odors out of your kitchen. Cooktops with downdraft eliminate the need for purchasing a ventilation hood and are perfect for island installation.

Electric

Electric cooktops heat food without a flame. Electrical coils heat the surface of the cooktop. These cooktops are better at maintaining low heat.

There are two types of electric cooktops to choose from, coil cooktops and smoothtop cooktops.

  • Coil: Coils sit on the top of the cooktop surface or in a recessed cavity. The coils are more vulnerable to spills, but drip pans below the coils will contain most messes. They also have the lowest price point.
  • Smoothtop: These cooktops have radiant elements, similar to coils, installed beneath a smooth, easy to clean glass surface. Smoothtop elements heat evenly and quickly. They also provide a sleek, integrated appearance.

When purchasing an electric cooktop there are several great features to keep in mind, making cooking a breeze. Dual element burners feature an inner ring for smaller cookware and an outer ring for larger cookware. Bridge elements are an extra element between two main elements that can be active to create a long surface for cookware like griddles. To ensure safety, look for hot surface indicator lights which let you know that the surface of the cooktop is still hot even if it is turned off.

Induction

Induction cooktops are a type of electric cooktops. These cooktops have electromagnetic coils beneath the ceramic glass surface and transfer energy directly into metal objects. By heating the cookware directly, cooking is much faster without making the cooktop hot to the touch. You can enjoy precise and even cooking with induction.

Unlike other electric cooktops, only induction ready cookware can be used for induction cooktops. You can easily search for and purchase induction ready cookware. Also, if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pot or pan, this cookware will work with an induction cooktop. Since induction cooktops only heat the area that comes in contact with the cookware, they are a safer option for busy homes.