Regardless of whether your cooking prowess is limited to boiling spaghetti noodles or whether you are a top-tier chef, we can all agree that a cooking stove is one of the essential appliances in any home.
With so many varieties in the market, cooking stoves are no longer designed to offer mere cooking convenience. These appliances have evolved to become a style statement with a variety of installation options as well.
Homeowners are slowly moving away from the range that came with an oven attached down below and instead they are embracing the flexibility offered by cooktops.
Cooktops come in a streamlined non-intrusive silhouette whereby they insert into a countertop and allow for versatile kitchen layouts. They are available in gas, halogen, electric, induction and modular models but the focus here shall be placed on the electric models. This is because the demand for electric cooktops is increasing because these cooktops are more environmentally friendly and come with a variety of high-tech features.
Before looking into the benefits of having an electric cooktop, however, did you know that electric cooktops come in two variations?
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Types of Electric Cooktops
These have exposed coil heating elements sitting either on the cooktop surface or set in a recessed cavity within the cooktop. The exposed coil results in an open flame once the burner is switched on and these cooktops are available in basic white enamel or stainless steel.
Glass Top Version
These have the radiant ribbon elements set beneath a smooth glass surface designed to withstand high-level temperatures. Smooth top cooktops don’t have an open flame, and they are only available in glass-ceramic (often black).
Advantages of Electric Cooktops
a. Electric cooktops are more environmentally friendly compared to gas cooktops.
b.With electric cooktops, you can lower the cooking temperature further down than you can with gas cooktops. This makes them more efficient for simmering foods because electric cooktops hold low steady heat better than gas models.
c.They are easy to operate in that you do not need an ignitor to light the burner. Once you have plugged the cooktop into the power outlet, simply turn the knob, and the element starts heating up immediately.
d.Electric cooktops require less time to clean, and this is especially true for the smooth top versions. This is because cleaning an electric smooth top cooktop is as easy as wiping the smooth glass surface. There are no grooves or trivets to worry about cleaning.
e.Electric cooktops offer a more extensive temperature control range, and you can control temperatures with better precision.
f.Electric cooktops are generally cheaper as compared to other models, and this is particularly true for the electric coil cooktops.
g.Modern electric cooktops feature faster heat-up times as compared to the older electric cooktops.
h.Some smooth-top electric cooktops come with exclusive features such as dual cooking zone, automatic pan size recognition, child lock, built-in fan, etc.
How to Properly Care for Electric Cooktops
Electric Coil Cooktop
The solid metal coil heating element in electric coil cooktops is very sturdy, resilient, and durable. It is very hard to break or damage these coils and so you can confidently use heavy cookware such as cast iron pans on your electric coil cooktops.
Cleaning these cooktops requires a bit more effort because it can be difficult to access spills and stains. However, during cleaning, you can scrub all the parts vigorously without worrying about causing harm to your cooktop. Additionally, cleaning can be done using almost any household cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about getting a special cleaner for your cooktop.
To clean an electric coil cooktop, start by waiting for the coils to cool down completely before touching them. Once they are cool, lift the top of the cooktop and wipe up the messes underneath. For stubborn stains, the drip pans can be soaked in warm soapy water to help loosen any food residue before cleaning.
For heavy duty cleaning, you can wash the electric coils using a scrubber and mild detergent but be careful not to immerse the coils. To avoid shock, make sure the coils and drip pan are completely dry before returning them into the cooktop.
Electric Glass Top
Smooth top electric cooktops have a glass surface, and this makes them more delicate than their electric coil counterparts. While you can place a bag of groceries on an electric coil cooktop without giving it much thought, you cannot do you same if you have a smooth top electric cooktop.
You have to take care not to scratch or break the glass surface, and this includes being mindful of the type of cookware you use. Anything too heavy or with an uneven bottom will end causing you problems. Smooth tops require lighter cookware that has a flat bottom, and you should also be mindful not to slide the cookware across the glass surface.
Unlike electric coil cooktops, electric smooth tops are extremely easy to clean. There are no grooves or trivets to worry about, and so spills can easily be wiped off using a soft cloth. To avoid damaging the glass surface, be careful to clean the cooktop using only special detergents specifically designed for ceramic cooktops. Thorough cleaning is required because if left on for too long, spills can leave permanent stains on the glass surface.
Best Electric Cooktops
The Gasland chef CH77BF electric cooktop is a 30-inch smooth top with four burners and is designed for AC220-240V.
For durability and easy cleaning, this 30.3” x 20.5” x 2.1” cooktop features a scratch-resistant Vitro ceramic glass surface complete with touch controls.
Touch controls are not only sleeker than knobs, but they also offer convenient one-touch activation along with precise temperature change at the touch of a button.
This cooktop comes with nine heat level settings allowing a wide range of options from a light simmer to a rapid boil; and out of the four radiant heating elements, two are expandable to 11” and 9”.
This electric cooktop takes into consideration a couple of safety considerations, starting with the fact that the cooktop is ETL safety certified.
Additionally, it utilizes safety features such as over-heating protection, residual heat indicator, kids’ safety lock, and a timer function. The timer function ranges from 1-99 minutes, and each cooking zone comes with a safety switch which allows for automatic shut-off once the timer runs out.
- It has ETL approved components.
- It features a kids’ safety lock feature.
- Expandable cooking zones allow for efficiency when using large pans.
- Timer function allows for set & go function.
- It could take a while to master the touch controls.
The Frigidaire FFEC3025US electric cooktop is another 30” smooth top electric cooktop which comes with four burners.
By making use of SpaceWise® Expandable Element technology, the 6” right front element can expand to 9” therefore allowing for efficient energy consumption when using large cookware. Additionally, this right front burner also features a powerful 3,000W Quick Boil element which helps a pot of soup or water come to a boil much faster.
The knob controls set against the black ceramic glass surface give this cooktop a classic old-school feel yet still blending in with the modern look of the cooktop. These Ready-Select® controls are easy to clean and allow for easy temperature control as well.
Besides the knobs, there is also a hot surface indicator on the glass surface which alerts you when your glass surface may be too warm to touch.
- It comes with a Quick Boil 3,000W element.
- The control knobs are set safely to one side.
- There is a hot surface indicator light.
- It has an expandable element suitable for large pots.
- It doesn’t come with a child lock option.
GE is a household name in the world of kitchen appliances so you can rest assured that you are getting a superior quality electric cooktop when you invest in the GE JP3030DJBB.
This 30” cooktop comes in a sleek all-black design featuring a black glass-top surface complete with black knobs placed on the side of the cooktop.
Having four burners in total, the left rear and the right burners have 8” 2,500W Power Boil elements offering a high-powered heat supply for rapid boiling. The other two burners have 1,200W elements ideal for gentle cooking and slow simmering.
The analog knob controls feature push-to-turn mechanism, and this makes them easy to use as most homeowners find them familiar.
Another convenience is the temperature toggle system which allows the user to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Additionally, this cooktop comes with two additional control features which are the keep-warm setting and the melt setting.
This cooker is both UL certified and ADA compliant to guarantee your safety and convenience of use. Additionally, there is a child lock setting, a red light power indicator that shows when the appliance is switched on and a hot surface indicator light as well.
- The “Melt” setting gently melt delicate foods without burning or scorching
- It has power-on and hot surface indicator lights
- It has 2 Power Boil Burners.
- It has easy-to-use analog knob controls.
- Like most glass cooktops, it gets dirty quite easily.
Another name brand cooktop, the Whirlpool W5CE3024XB00 W5CE3024XB features a ton of features for your convenience and ease of use.
To begin with, this 4-burner smooth top has two 6-inch 1200W burners, a 7-inch 1800W burner, and a 9-inch 2500W burner. These versatile sizes are to ensure that your cooking needs are met regardless of whether you are boiling a pot of water or cooking an omelet.
Those of us who may be particularly environmental-conscious will be glad to find out that the smooth tempered glass surface of this cooktop features eco-friendly construction using Schott Ceran® Technology. What this means is that during its construction, no hazardous elements, such as antimony or arsenic were used. Such elements are often widely used in the manufacture of glass-ceramic cooktops.
One other unique advantage this cooktop has over its competitors in the market is that this Whirlpool model comes with removable and dishwasher-safe knobs.
In addition to the easy-to-clean glass surface, this allows for hassle-free cleaning of the entire appliance in no time so you can cook freely without worrying about making a huge mess that will take longer to clean.
- It has a hot-surface indicator light.
- It has removable knobs that are dishwasher-safe.
- It features eco-friendly construction technology of the glass surface.
- It has both Power Burners and Simmer Burners.
- The surface scratches pretty easily, so extra care is required.
If you are looking for a smooth top electric cooktop that comes with its own in-built ventilation system, then the GE PP9830DJBB is just what you need.
Having a cooker with a downdraft exhaust system will particularly come in handy if you need to install the cooktop in a location where it might not be possible to have a range hood above it.
This 30” electric cooktop has four burners with one burner having a 6”/9” expandable 3000W Power Boil element.
One of the most exclusive features of this cooktop is the bridge element located between the left rear and the left front burners. The Bridge Element combines these two burners into one cooking zone so that the cooktop can accommodate oval-shaped cookware such as a casserole dish. The Bridge Element can generate an impressive 4400W of power, therefore, proving to be very efficient when using hefty enamelware.
The downdraft exhaust system has three fan speeds: high, medium and low, and is quite efficient when it comes to ridding your kitchen of fumes, smoke, steam and odors often generated during cooking processes. Better yet, this in-built ventilation system eliminates the need for bulky microwaves with ventilation systems or overhead range hoods which can interfere with the sleek look of your kitchen.
- It has a control lock capability to prevent accidental activation or deactivation of the cooktop.
- Burner indicator lights show if any elements are switched on.
- Analog knob controls are placed centrally in the middle of the cooktop for easy access.
- There are hot surface indicator lights
- Installing the ductwork for the fan can be time-consuming.
Owner and Food blogger on The Cookware Geek. She loves cooking, baking, traveling, playing with the cats, and knitting. She believes that eating delicious meals doesn’t require a culinary degree or a Michelin-star chef in your kitchen.