Main Content

Cooktop Buying Guide

A comprehensive cooktop guide that will give you all the information you need to know when shopping for a new cooktop.

Getting Started

One of the most unique looking and commonly used appliance in the kitchen is a cooktop. A cooktop is a great addition to an island countertop or for those homes who have built-in ovens. When shopping for the right cooktop, you are going to want to keep a few things in mind to stay within your budget and style.
When it comes to choosing the right unit, you may want to begin with getting either gas or electric. If you have the opportunity to install either, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of the two.


Electric Cooktops

Smooth ceramic cooktops have a sleek appearance and offer easy cleanup. However, you will need to use a special cleaner for the ceramic glass. Ceramic cooktops are available in a variety of colors to complement any kitchen design. The ribbon elements on a smooth-top cooktop heat quicker than the old coil elements and some are adjustable in size. Some sealed ceramic cooktops can be recessed so they are virtually flush with the countertop. Smoothtop cooktops have helpful features like variable-size elements, warming zones, and bridge elements.

Gas Cooktops

Sealed surface burners contain spills for easy cleanup. Many cooktops are designed with the sealed burners recessed below the surface of the countertop. Models are available with "gas-on-glass" where the sealed burner is mounted directly on the ceramic cooktop, combining the easy cleaning of an electric smooth top with the performance of gas. Sealed "simmer" burners allow you to cook delicate foods Precise temperature controls allow you to control the temperature for every cooking need. Most cast-iron, porcelain enamel-coated grates are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.


These cooktops use electricity and electromagnetic technology to heat only the pan, leaving the burner plate much cooler than a gas or electric radiant burner. Since this type of current is used, you must use flat bottom, magnetic cookware otherwise no heat will be produced. Quicker, more efficient heating and a safer, quick-cooling cooking surface. Advanced technology allows the unit to automatically adjust energy output to the size of the pan bottom, regardless of its diameter. The most energy efficient cooktop currently on the market.

Cooktops vs Rangetops

Although the two are very similar, there are a few key differences between a cooktop and a rangetop. While a cooktop fits snuggly into a cutout section of your countertop, a rangetop slides into place onto a prebuilt shelf cut to its precise dimensions. Because of these installation differences, controls for a cooktop sit ontop of the counter, whereas a rangetop's controls are positioned on the front of the range, perpendicular to the cooking surface. The easy access to rangetop controls can pose a safety issue in home with small children.
As their name suggests, rangetops are literally the top section of a bulky, powerful kitchen range. Because of this, they often take up more room than a cooktop, offering a large cooking area at the cost of counterspace. Rangetops' bulky roots also provide them with a more professional set of features, often including more powerful burners and more diverse configurations that might include extra burners or griddle sections. However, rangetops typically only offer gas or electric models, leaving induction cooking to cooktops. If you're a serious cook or you'd like to be, and you have a spacious kitchen, a rangetop is an excellent choice. And while many rangetops are sleek and stylish, the concealed nature of a cooktop provides a sophisticated look that's hard to top. Cooktops also provide more than enough fire power for the vast majority of cooks, making them ideal options for most kitchens.


Bridge Element

Combines two or three elements into one large cooking area which is ideal for oversized cooking.

Coil Heating Elements

Provide consistent and even heat on cooktop with a plug-in element that is removable for easy cleaning.

Downdraft Exhaust

Available on some cooktops, they are similar in function to a range hood. A fan draws smoke and odors down into the cooking unit and disperses them outdoors through a venting system.

Electronic Touch Controls

An electronic touch-control cooktop has no knobs and is available on electric cooktops. This type of cooktop offers other features as well: If an unoccupied element is left on, sensors in the cooktop will turn off the element. Sensors adjust the size of the element to the size of the pan being used. The control-lock feature for the elements is a safety feature to prevent accidental activation. A digital reminder timer alerts you when the cooking time is complete.

Electronic Ignition

An automatic system that instantly lights burners on gas cooktops.

Modular Accessories

Some manufacturers offer modular attachments for their cooktops. These attachments are usually 12" to 15" and can come with either gas or electric units. Some examples of modular add-ons include a deep fryer, steamer, wok cooker, grill griddle, or burner.

Open Burners

This type of cooktop has large openings for burners. The opening is a little larger than the burner itself. The cooktop lifts open to clean spills that drain into openings in the cooktop.

Pan Presence Sensor

Detects when a burner element is left "on" and automatically shuts it off when not in use.

Pan Size Sensor

Automatically adjusts the heating element to the size of the pan.

Power Burners

Power burner cooktops will have at least one 14,000 BTU (or more) burner.


Standard sizes for U.S. cooktops are 24", 30", 36", and 45". Professional series cooktops are available in these sizes: 30", 36", 42", 48", and 60".


Although several models of cooktop come with a griddle that can be placed on top of their cooking surface, a few feature a permanant, built-in griddle section. Perfect for breakfast foods, sandwiches, and so much more, having a griddle ready to go at a moments notice is a luxury every kitchen should enjoy. Although this feature is much more common on rangetops, a few higher end cooktops include a built in griddle as well.

What Our Customers Say About Us

See All Customer Testimonials
  • Abt popped up when I was searching to replace a bisque colored microwave. The price and delivery time surpassed all other providers. I researched the BBB rating and reviewed company history. Placed the order and it was delivered on the date quoted. A great choice.
    Lorraine S. - North Port, FL
    May 11, 2021