Buying Guide – Choosing The Perfect Cooktop

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    There are many options when picking the right cooktop for your home.

    You will need to decide on which fuel source you want to use or what limits you have based on your home’s services.

    You will also need to take initial cost vs ease of use and maintenance into account. If you are someone that does not cook a lot then you want to make sure making some stirfry doesn’t leave you with 2 hours of cleanup.

    Lets look at some of the options and how they can help you decide which model is right for you.

    First lets look at the different types of heat sources.

    In reality there are two power sources for cooktops you have Gas or Electric but within those choices there are a number of different methods to provide heat.

    Electric Coil Cooktops

    This is the most common type of heating source. Your electric cooktop will be powered by a dedicated circuit from your circuit breaker box. The Electricity is fed through the cooktop coils and with the use of a rheostat similar to a dimmer on your light fixture you can adjust the heat levels your food will cook at.

    Instead of a constant heat you will see that the coils will turn on and off to provide a constant level of heat.

    Along with being the most popular type of cooktop it is also the least expensive choice.

    The Major Drawback with Open Coil Electric cooktops is the fact that spills will flow over into the catch dish. Larger spills will even fill the overflow tray below the cooktop. Cleaning open electric coil cooktops is often laborious and dirty job.

    Gas Cooktops

    This is the second most common type of cooktop. You will find Gas cooktops in professional kitchens because they can provide much higher heats then electric but most home gas cooktops are very close in quality with a good electric cooktop.

    You will need both a Gas Service Line and Electricity for your gas cooktop. Gas can be Natural gas if you live in an area with street service or you can install a propane tank to feed your home.

    Natural Gas and Propane are very similar gasses with Propane burning slightly hotter. Every cooktop sold should come with adapter fittings allowing you to setup the stove for either type when you install it.

    Gas Cooktops have the same cleaning drawbacks as Coil Type Electric stoves. Spills will overflow into a catch tray which can be cleaned and large spills will flow into a catch basin below the stove. In addition to the dificulty of cleaning comes the possibility of causing problems with your gas supply and elements during the cleaning process.

    Many gas ranges provide sealed  burners to aid in the cleanup process. Make  sure that you understand the use and care before you buy.

    Induction Cooktops

    Induction cooktops work with the use of magnets are relatively safe and not a bad choice if this is your biggest concern.  There are no open flames or exposed coil elements that will cause contact burns. This is not to say the cooking surface will not get hot because the heat from the pan will transfer heat into the cooking surface.

    Induction Cooktops will require the use of special cookware. If you are useto using a glass / pyrex type pot to cook in you will need to replace it with a metal pot that will react to the induction magnets.

    Induction cooktops were pretty much a fad until the next type of cooktop we will talk about came to market.

    Glass Surface Cooktops

    In our opinion this is probably the best type of cooktop for the average home owner.  Unless your cooking style requires commercial grade gas or additional addons like a rotisserie or grill then a Smooth Surface Halogen cooktop will reduce much of the cleanup work and provide you a better overall experience.

    Glass top stoves have a sealed surface so spills will not endup in your stove causing burning smells and possibly damage to your elements.

    The heating source for Glass Surface Cooktops can be a variety of different methods including Halogen,  Ribbon or other electric elements located below the glass surface.

    When the stove is hot an indicator light placed near the  heat setting control alert you. The heat indicator light will work even when the element is turned off that way you won’t burn yourself  if you remove a pot and the surface is still hot.

    While the stove is active a light will shine through the glass surface of the cooktop.

    You can use any standard cooking container on the surface without worrying about damaging the glass.

    Cleaning the surface should be done by washing with a mild soap after the stove has cooled down.  Some burnt on material may accumulate and in this case you can use a special glass cooktop polish that will restore the shine.

    Modular Cooktops

    Modular features can be built into many highend cooktops. You can mix and match your fuel source either gas or electric and you can add special features like a vented grill for winter months when you can’t get outside to cook.

    When the special features are not in use you can restore your cooktop to standard round heating elements.

    This is a nice feature for many people that enjoy a variety of cooking methods when preparing their meals.

    The cost and maintenance of this type of cooktop is higher and you may need to special order features to meet your needs.

    Conclusion

    The type of Cooktop you purchase will be based on your own special needs.

    For General home use we strongly suggest the use of a glass surface cooktop. They will make your life so much easier in the long run after you learn how to care for them.

    If you are a hobbyist chef then you may enjoy a Modular cooktop that can add special features such as a griddle or grill.

    If you want the total professional feel at home then you can purchase semi-professional gas cooktops that can achieve much higher cooking temperatures but will most likely require professional instillation.

    If Price is your main concern then Electric Cooktops will have the lowest initial cost. Gas cooktops may cost less over time but it will depend on the price you pay for Gas in your area and whether you are on a Natural Gas Line or Propane Tank.

    If Safety is a concern then you should know that Gas Cooktops have improved quite a lot in the past few years. Even so Gas can be a problem and can cause Health concerns for people with breathing illnesses.

    Installing any cooktop is a procedure that should be performed by a person who has the understanding of the operation. If you have never performed such work then you should allow a professional to do the work for you.

    Never try to service your cooktop without turning off your Electric Feed at your Circuit Breaker and your Gas Feed at your appliance  connection.

    The YouRepair Store carries a full line of cooktops and addons.

    You can also find repair parts and easily replaceable burner overflow dishes.

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