Ceramic cooktop buying guide: How to find the best ceramic cooktop
We'll help you find the best ceramic cooktop for your kitchen.
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Key facts about ceramic cooktop:
- When buying a ceramic cooktop, the most important factors to consider are the size of the cooktop, the number and type of elements it has and how easy it is to use.
- Your budget will also play a part, with prices ranging from around $300 to $2,000.
Compare some of the best ceramic cooktops
Pros and cons of ceramic cooktops
Why consider an electric ceramic cooktop over a gas or induction cooktop?
- They look good. With their flat surfaces, ceramic cooktops offer a clean, streamlined look to your kitchen bench.
- They're easy to clean. Another benefit of this flat surface is that there are few crevices where food and dirt can accumulate. As a result, they're much easier to clean than gas cooktops.
- They're affordable. Ceramic cooktops are generally quite affordable, particularly when compared to induction cooktops, making them a popular choice for many households.
However, there are also a few reasons why a ceramic cooktop may not be the right choice for you:
- Not as responsive. Ceramic cooktops aren't as responsive to temperature changes as induction cooktops, nor are they as quick to heat up your cookware as gas models. That said, modern ceramic cooktops are much more responsive than electric cooktops once were.
- They retain heat. Ceramic cooktops retain heat once you have turned an element down or off, so you need to be careful not to overcook food in pots left on the stove. This also presents a safety hazard, but most cooktops come with warning lights to let you know when the surface is still hot.
- They're less energy-efficient. Electric cooktops aren't as energy-efficient as gas and induction models.
- They can be damaged. You'll need to be careful not to scratch the ceramic surface or damage it by dropping heavy cookware.
How to compare ceramic cooktops
Many well-known appliance manufacturers including Bosch, DeLonghi, Fisher & Paykel, Omega, Smeg, Westinghouse and others all offer their own range of ceramic cooktops, so it's important to shop around before you buy.
When comparing your options, make sure you consider the space you have to work with, the type of cooking you plan on doing and how much money you're willing to spend. Here's what you'll need to take into account:
The most important factor you'll need to consider is the size of the cooktop. The space available in your kitchen will obviously play a big role in determining which size of cooktop you select, so check the dimensions closely to make sure your cooktop will fit. However, the type of cooking you do also plays a part – if you're a keen cook and you regularly have several pots on the go, the more cooking space available the better.
60cm (or 600mm) is by far the most common size and these cooktops will usually feature 4 heating elements. Some brands also offer 70cm and 80cm units, while 90cm cooktops with 5 or 6 cooking zones are also available for those who need more space to work with. If you're short on space, compact 30cm units with 2 cooking zones might be the best choice.
Most 60cm cooktops come with 4 heating elements, but some will only have 3 to allow for 1 of them to be a larger cooking zone. When deciding how many zones you need, consider how many elements you're likely to need at any given time as well as how cramped the surface may become when you've got a full complement of pots and pans on the go.
Some cooktops come with special heating zones designed for large or even unconventionally shaped pots and pans. Manufacturers also offer dual or even triple elements that allow you to adjust the amount of the heated surface area in order to match different-sized pots and pans.
As you'd expect, the larger the cooktop you choose, the more you can generally expect to pay. However, there's also a decent range of variation in prices of cooktops of the same size and prices for a 60cm ceramic cooktop could be anywhere from $300 to $1,000. If you're shopping for a 90cm cooktop, prices range from around $650 up to $2,000.
While many modern ceramic cooktops have touch controls for a streamlined, minimalist look, there are also several brands that offer cooktops with old-fashioned dials or knobs to control the heat settings. Make sure the controls on the cooktop you buy are easy to understand and use.
Some people find touch controls a little fiddly and difficult to get used to, while dials and knobs can be more annoying to clean, so the choice here is really a matter of personal preference.
Also, remember to make sure whether the controls will still be easy to access when the cooktop is full of pots and pans.
Ease of cleaning
Because they offer a flat surface, ceramic cooktops are generally quite easy to wipe clean following a spill. However, make sure there aren't too many crevices where food and other gunk may build up.
This may also influence whether you go for a frameless cooktop or one with an edge. While a frame around the cooktop can stop spills spreading onto your benchtop, it can also become a spot where mess accumulates and is difficult to remove.
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