Choosing the right cooktop for your kitchen is an important decision that requires some research and thought. The cooktop is the heart of any kitchen, and having one that matches your cooking style and needs is key to creating your dream kitchen. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the different types of cooktops available, important features to consider, and provide tips for selecting the best cooktop for your needs.


Your cooktop is one of the hardest working appliances in your kitchen. It needs to be durable, easy to clean, offer the right cooking options for your needs, and fit within your overall kitchen design. With so many different types of cooktops now available—gas, electric, induction, etc.—picking the right one can feel overwhelming.

This guide covers all the key points to consider when shopping for a new cooktop. We’ll overview the different cooktop types, the pros and cons of each, as well as features to look for. You’ll learn cooking considerations for each cooktop type and get answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to simplify the process for you so you end up with the perfect cooktop for your cooking style and kitchen needs.

Types of Cooktops

There are four main types of cooktops available in today’s market:

Gas Cooktops

Gas cooktops use natural gas or propane for fuel. They are characterized by having open burners with manual knobs and dials for control.


  • Provide very high heat output and rapid heat adjustments
  • Allow more precise temperature control compared to electric
  • Gas burners heat up and cool down quickly
  • Offer a professional-grade cooking experience


  • Produce heat, moisture, and combustion byproducts in your kitchen
  • Require proper ventilation above the cooktop
  • Gas lines can be challenging and expensive to install in some homes

Electric Cooktops

Electric cooktops use heating elements powered by electricity to produce heat. They are available in both coil and smooth glass-ceramic styles.


  • Smooth glass surface makes cleaning easier
  • No combustion or gas lines required
  • Even and consistent heat across surface
  • Safer around kids due to no open flames


  • Doesn’t provide as high of heat output as gas
  • Longer preheat times and slower temperature adjustments
  • Coiled styles prone to staining and food build-up

Induction Cooktops

Induction cooktops use electromagnetic energy to induce a current in compatible cookware that instantly heats up. No heating element gets hot.


  • Very energy efficient
  • Rapid heat up and cool down times
  • Advanced safety with no open flames
  • Easy to clean glass surface
  • Precise temperature control


  • Requires compatible induction-ready cookware
  • Noisy cooling fans required to prevent overheating
  • Expensive upfront cost

Hybrid Cooktops

Hybrid cooktops combine different heating technologies like gas burners and induction zones into one cooktop. This allows you to experience the best of both worlds.


  • Enjoy both gas and induction cooking
  • Use gas for boiling, steaming, wok cooking
  • Use induction for simmering, delicate cooking
  • Get high heat output and precision
  • One cooktop has all your needs covered


  • Most expensive cooktop option
  • Can have a steep learning curve using different zones
  • Need proper ventilation for gas components

Important Features to Consider

Beyond just the heating technology, there are several important features you’ll want to evaluate when selecting your ideal cooktop:

Cooktop Size

  • Consider the overall size of the cooktop and dimensions of the burners or heating elements. Make sure it will fit your existing countertop cut-out space.
  • Larger cooktops offer more surface area and burner options but may limit your backsplash space.
  • Pay attention to the size of the grates on gas cooktops and ensure they accommodate your pans.

Number of Cooking Zones

  • The number of burners or elements your cooktop has determines how many pots/pans you can have going at once.
  • 4 zone cooktops are common for average use. Professional-grade options go up to 6 or more zones.
  • Make sure to account for your cooking needs—having one large and powerful burner is useful for boiling big pots of water.

Ergonomic and Smart Features

  • Look forUse features like automatic re-ignition on gas cooktops. This re-lights a burner if the flame goes out.
  • Smart cooking zones with built-in temperature probes help monitor pans.
  • Opt for front-positioned controls for easier access.
  • Auto shut-off safety features provides peace of mind.

Extra Features

  • Some cooktops include extra features like griddles, bread-proofing modes, melt modes for delicate foods, and SyncBurners that link two burners to evenly heat large cookware.

Material and Finish

  • Stainless steel, black stainless, ceramic glass, and enameled cast iron are popular cooktop finish options.
  • Matte finishes hide fingerprints and water spots better than glossy finishes.
  • High-quality materials are more durable and thermally efficient.

Cooktop Buying Considerations

Determining what cooktop is right for your kitchen requires thinking about how you cook, your kitchen setup, and your budget. Here are some key buying considerations to reflect on:

What is Your Available Fuel Source?

If you don’t have access to natural gas, propane, or the electrical capacity, that will limit some cooktop options. Make sure you select a model suited for your kitchen’s fuel capabilities.

What Type of Pans Do You Use?

The type of pots and pans you use will influence what cooktop works best. If you have mostly induction-ready stainless steel or enameled cookware, an induction cooktop is a great pairing. For traditional nonstick pots and pans, a gas or electric cooktop is likely the better fit.

What’s Your Budget?

Cooktop technology significantly impacts cost. Gas cooktops are the most budget-friendly. High-end induction models run the most expensive. Make sure to find the features you need while staying within your desired budget.

What’s Your Cooking Style?

Think about what and how you like to cook. Do you frequently cook at very high or very low heats, do delicate simmering, or need to rapidly boil large pots of water? Your unique cooking style should translate into the right cooktop that suits it.

How Important is Cooktop Aesthetic?

Some customers value a seamless modern look. For these buyers, a sleek glass induction cooktop pairs nicely with the kitchen. Others may prioritize professional restaurant-grade looks and opt for an all gas range cooktop.

Do You Have Proper Ventilation?

All gas cooktops require proper overhead ventilation to remove combustion byproducts. Make sure your existing ventilation meets code requirements before selecting a new gas cooktop. Ductless options don’t effectively remove these byproducts.

Thinking through questions like these will guide you towards picking the cooktop that best fits your needs and lifestyle. Don’t hesitate to bring a list of your priorities and questions with you when shopping.

Induction Cooktops – Pros, Cons, and Tips

Induction cooktops have grown tremendously in popularity over recent years. If you’re considering an induction cooktop, here’s a deeper look at some of the key pros, cons, and usage tips to be aware of:


  • Rapid cooking: Induction zones heat up and cool down instantly. You get the high output you need for boiling and searing with energy efficiency benefits.
  • Precise control: Induction allows you to precisely control low, medium, and high temps. This is ideal for simmering and delicate cooking.
  • Easy to clean: Smooth glass surface just needs a quick wipe down after cooking. No burnt on food or stains to scrub.
  • Cooler kitchen: About 90% of the heat goes to the cookware vs heating your kitchen. This keeps your space comfortable.
  • Safety: No open flames or hot elements make induction safer with less risk of burns. Pans instantly cool when removed.


  • Noise: The required cooling fans and internal components can generate audible humming and clicking sounds.
  • Requires compatible cookware: Pots and pans MUST be induction ready, usually indicated on the bottom. Standard pans don’t work.
  • Potential power limitations: Induction cooktops require more electrical capacity than typical electric. Your electrical panel may need an upgrade to support one.

Tips for Using

  • Use heavy-bottomed pans: Induction works best when paired with high quality cookware like stainless steel, cast iron, and enameled options. Heat spreads more evenly.
  • Get to know the controls: Induction can have a learning curve. Take time to experiment with heat settings and timer functions for best results.
  • Follow cooktop care: Don’t slide pans across the surface. Use mild cleaners to avoid scratching the glass. Promptly clean any spills.
  • Add interface between glass and pan: Small pads or silicon inserts can reduce noise and prevent scratches.

If fast, high-powered cooking is important to you but you want more advanced safety and efficiency, induction cooktops are an excellent choice. Just be prepared for the required cookware adjustments and potential electrical work needed in your home.

Gas Cooktop Buying Tips and Recommendations

For cooks who crave the responsive, high-heat cooking experience of a restaurant kitchen, gas cooktops are often the top choice. If you have decided on a gas cooktop, keep these buying recommendations in mind:

  • Seek out high BTU ratings on the burners, which indicates more power. 15,000+ BTUs are great for fast boiling.
  • Look for options with a high-powered center burner (up to 18,000 BTUs). This gives you extra strength for large stock pots.
  • Choose continuous grates. They allow you to slide heavy pots easily between burners.
  • Opt for a gas cooktop with an electric spark ignition for reliable and easy burner start up.
  • Search for smart features like melt modes that keep delicate foods warm.
  • Seek out models with dishwasher safe burner grates for easy cleaning.
  • Ensure the cooktop width fits the existing cut-out space and countertop in your kitchen.
  • Select finish colors that complement your décor—stainless, black, white, etc.
  • Remember gas lines and proper ventilation need to be professionally installed. Factor these costs in your budget.

With so many quality gas cooktops on the market, think carefully about your cooking needs. This will ensure you select just the right gas cooktop to be the star of your kitchen.

Electric Cooktop Options

While not as powerful as induction or gas, electric cooktops offer a few nice perks that make them a simple cooktop choice for many home chefs. Here’s an overview of the options:

Electric Coil Cooktops

Coil electric cooktops use resistive metal heating coils that get hot and transfer heat to the cookware. They are very budget friendly but prone to food drips and staining.


  • Low purchase cost
  • Easy to repair and replace coils
  • Familiar technology


  • Not as durable or thermally responsive as other cooktop types
  • Coils collect dirt and must be cleaned carefully
  • Uneven heating

Smoothtop Electric Cooktops

Smooth glass electric cooktops use radiant heating elements under the surface. This allows a seamless design that is easy to clean.


  • Smooth surface for easy cleaning
  • Sleek modern look
  • Precise temperature controls


  • Glass surface can be scratched by pans
  • Potentially longer preheat times
  • Expensive element repairs

When paired with the right pans and cooking techniques, electric cooktops can absolutely get the job done for basic home cooking needs. Just don’t expect the power and responsiveness of gas or induction.

Cooktop Installation Tips

Once you’ve selected the perfect new cooktop, proper installation is critical for safety and performance. Here are some best practices to discuss with your installer:

  • Carefully measure existing space – Confirm your new cooktop dimensions fit the existing cut-out and countertop dimensions.
  • Handle gas line access – Make sure technician has easy access to hook up the gas line with proper shut-off valves.
  • Address electrical capacity – For electric cooktops, ensure your home electrical panel can handle the wattage and amperage required. Upgrades may be needed.
  • Mind ventilation needs – Proper CFM-rated ventilation hood must be present for gas cooktops to vent combustion gasses.
  • Allow proper clearance – Cooktops must have proper clearance to combustible surfaces based on manufacturer guidelines.
  • Seal edges – Replacing a drop-in style cooktop requires sealing the edges to prevent spills and debris under the cooktop.
  • Level unit – Small leveling legs on the base allow the cooktop to be perfectly leveled within the countertop opening.
  • Test ignition – After install, thoroughly test each burner or element to ensure proper operation before finishing the countertop.

Following manufacturer instructions for installation spacing, utility connections, and testing is critical to ensure your cooktop provides many years of cooking performance.

FAQs About Selecting a Cooktop

What are the different cooktop fuel options?

The main cooktop types based on fuel source are:

  • Gas – uses natural gas or propane
  • Electric – uses electricity routed to heating coils/elements
  • Induction – uses magnetic energy and requires induction-capable cookware
  • Hybrid – combines gas burners and electric/induction zones

How to choose between gas, electric, or induction cooktops?

Consider your budget, cooking style, cookware, and kitchen setup. Gas excels for high heat and responsive cooking. Electric provides basic but inconsistent heat. Induction offers rapid, high-powered cooking with safety.

What size cooktop do I need?

Evaluate your existing cut-out space and what size cooktop would best suit your cooking needs. Larger 35-36 inch cooktops offer more surface area but limit backsplash space. Standard 30 inch sizes are common for home kitchens.

Should I get a cooktop with knobs or touch controls?

Knobs offer tactile control you can operate without looking at them, which some cooks prefer. Smooth glass touchscreen controls provide a sleek, modern look but you must look at the cooktop to use them.

How important is having high BTUs on a gas cooktop?

Higher BTU outputs indicate more powerful burners. 15,000+ BTUs are great for rapid boiling and stir frying. Having at least one high output burner allows you to achieve very high cooking temps.

What ventilation is required for a gas cooktop?

All gas cooktops require a properly sized overhead ventilation hood to safely remove combustion byproducts. Consult your installer to ensure adequate CFM ventilation exists over your cooktop location.

How can I find a qualified cooktop installer?

Contact local countertop installation professionals to install your new cooktop. Verify they are insured, licensed, have positive reviews, and specialize in kitchen remodeling. Beware of cheap handymen with no professional experience or credentials.


There are lots of great cooktop options available for homeowners and renters remodeling their kitchens. Taking the time to carefully consider how you cook, the types of foods you like to make, your kitchen’s setup, and your budget will ensure you make the right cooktop choice.

Referencing this guide throughout the selection process will set you on the path to cooktop satisfaction. Don’t hesitate to bring a list of questions and priorities with you when shopping at appliance retailers. This will help guide your conversations with knowledgeable sales staff.

With a bit of thoughtful research and planning, you will end up with the ideal cooktop that enhances your joy of cooking for years to come. Here’s to many delicious meals from your new cooktop!