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Gas cooktop buying guide: How to find the best appliance for you

We'll help you decide if a gas cooktop is right for your kitchen.

Gas cooktops offer fast temperature adjustment and energy-efficient cooking. If you're searching for a gas cooktop for your kitchen, the most important factors you'll need to consider are the size of the cooktop and your budget. Prices can range anywhere from $200 up to $5,000, so you'll need to compare gas cooktop features and specs before you buy.

Our guide will help you weigh up your options to find the best gas cooktop for your needs.

Pros and cons

Pros

Why get a gas cooktop? There are several reasons:

  • Fast heat-up and response. Gas cooktops provide a quick response whenever you adjust the temperature, ensuring that you can quickly raise or lower the heat as needed. They also heat up faster than electric cooktops, while the fact that they turn off straight away when needed means you don't have to worry about residual heat over-cooking your dinner.
  • You can see the heat. One feature many people like about gas cooktops is that you can actually see the flame, which allows you to get an instant idea of the heat level you're using.
  • Energy efficient. Natural gas is also cheap and more environmentally friendly than coal and other sources used to power electric cooktops.

Cons

However, there are also a few reasons why you might decide that an electric or induction cooktop will be a better fit for your kitchen:

  • Connection needed. If a natural gas connection isn't available in your home, you'll need to rely on bottled LPG. This is not only inconvenient but also more expensive, and it's worth noting that not all models will support bottled LPG.
  • Annoying to clean. Gas cooktops have more parts that need cleaning. Cleaning around the trivets on a gas cooktop can be fiddly and time-consuming, and they can be much more difficult to wipe clean than the smooth surface of an electric or induction cooktop.
  • Safety concern. An open flame poses a safety risk in the kitchen, so you'll need to be wary not to leave any flammable items too close.

What are my main options?

Gas cooktops are sold by a host of major appliance manufacturers, including brands like Bosch, Chef, DeLonghi, Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Haier, Smeg, Westinghouse and Whirlpool.

The main way to distinguish between the many different models available is their size. 30cm is the smallest cooktop width available and generally features two burners, but the two most common sizes are 60cm and 90cm:

  • 60cm models typically feature three or four burners
  • 90cm models usually come with five or six burners

That said, there are also several other widths available. Plenty of models fit within the 70-80cm range, while there are also sizable 120cm models available if you want to maximise your cooking surface area. Making a choice is all about matching a cooktop to the space available in your kitchen and your everyday cooking needs.

How to compare gas cooktops

Before you start shopping for a gas cooktop, make sure you know exactly what you're looking for. Think about the size of cooktop that'll fit in your kitchen, the type of cooking you do and how many burners you'll need. As always, make sure you set a budget before you hit the shops.

Once you have a rough idea of the type of cooktop you want, you can then start finding out how gas cooktops stack up against the competition. Here are the key features and factors to take into account when comparing your options.

Key features to consider include:

Size

This is the obvious starting point as the size of the cooktop you'll choose will be dictated by the amount of space available in your kitchen. However, if space is no object, think about how often you cook and the type of cooking you do to decide whether you can justify the added expense of an extra-wide cooktop.

60cm is the most common choice for many households, but there is an increasing number of models available in the 70-90cm range for passionate home chefs who want more cooking space.

Also, remember to check the manufacturer's specifications to find out the minimum distance required between your gas cooktop and rangehood.

Burners

There are multiple factors to consider here:

  • How many burners are there? If you're a keen cook, make sure you'll have enough space to have multiple pots and pans cooking at once.
  • What size and type of burners are included? Are there burners to suit large and small pots and pans? Is there a wok burner for stir fry cooking? Is there a burner designed for cooking in elongated dishes like grill pans or griddles? What about a burner for cooking at very low heats, for example, to simmer sauces or melt chocolate?
  • What is the layout of the burners? Check whether the layout makes sense – will you be able to have multiple pans on the go without the cooktop becoming cramped and without it intruding on the controls?
Price

Gas cooktops can range anywhere in price from just over $200 up to $5,000. Price is somewhat dependent on the size of the cooktop, but the material (stainless steel and ceramic glass are more expensive than enamel), the number of burners and other features also play a part.

You can pick up a 60cm gas cooktop for around $220, with the more expensive models priced up to around $2,000. If you're looking for a 90cm cooktop, prices start at around $500.


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