Frequently Asked Questions About Cooktops

Last Updated: 2/14/2023

Author: James Zhao, Sr. Tech Specialist & Alex Park, Product Specialist

Cooktops are an essential component of any kitchen, but with so many options and models available, choosing the right one for your needs can feel overwhelming. This article aims to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about cooktops, covering everything from the different types and size considerations to energy efficiency and maintenance.

Whether you have no kitchen experience or you’re looking to upgrade your abilities as a home chef, this guide will help you find the perfect cooktop for your needs.

Questions we’ll answer in this article include:

  • What are the different types of cooktops available?
  • What is the difference between a gas and electric cooktop?
  • What is an induction cooktop?
  • What are the benefits of electric cooktops?
  • What are the benefits of gas cooktops?
  • What are the benefits of induction cooktops?
  • What is the difference between a single and a double burner cooktop?
  • What is a tri-ring burner cooktop?
  • How do I properly clean and maintain my cooktop?
  • What should I look for when buying a cooktop?
  • What size cooktop should I choose for my kitchen?
  • Are there any special considerations for outdoor cooktops?
  • Are there any energy-efficient options available for cooktops?

What are the different types of cooktops available?

There are several types of cooktops available, including:

  • Radiant Electric Cooktops: Heats cookware by passing electricity through heating elements below a smooth ceramic glass top. Easy to clean, radiant electric cooktops often have variable burner sizes to accommodate different pans.
  • Induction Cooktops: Uses magnetic fields to heat the cookware directly, making them more energy-efficient than traditional electric cooktops.
  • Gas Cooktops: Uses a flame created by the combustion of natural gas or propane to heat food.
  • Dual Fuel Cooktops: Combines gas burners with an electric oven.
  • Downdraft Cooktops: Offers an integrated ventilation system that pulls smoke and cooking odors downward, keeping the kitchen air clean (similar to a range hood).
  • Each type of cooktop has its own benefits, and the type you choose will depend on your specific cooking needs, budget, and preferences.

5-burner gas cooktop with center burner ignited in a modern kitchen.

What is the difference between a gas and electric cooktop?

Gas cooktops heat cookware using a flame created by natural gas or propane, while electric cooktops cook food by sending energy to heated coils beneath a smooth surface.

Electric cooktops are safer than gas cooktops as there is no open flame to cause a fire hazard. However, gas cooktops provide instant heat and precise control, making them ideal for high-heat cooking techniques. (Electric cooktops typically take longer to adjust to changes in temperature.) Gas cooktops will typically require a more extensive installation process, as they may need to be connected to a natural gas line.

What are the benefits of electric cooktops?

Many homeowners with large families or children prefer electric cooktops over gas, primarily for their safety perks. These models use heated coils under a glass top, meaning there is no open flame or fire risk. Some newer models even offer sensors that recognize when there is cookware on them and shut off automatically if nothing is detected on the surface.

Additionally, the smooth glass or ceramic surface of electric cooktops allows for better maintenance and a faster cleaning process, especially when compared to working around gas burners.

While electric cooktops might not be ideal for high-heat cooking, they do provide consistent heat that is perfect for simmering and slow-cooked meals. Many modern styles also offer precise temperature control, making it possible to cook dishes to an exact preferred temperature. Thanks to their precision, electric cooktops are also more energy efficient than gas models, helping to lower your monthly energy bill.

Finally, electric cooktops are often preferred for aesthetic reasons. These cooktops opt for a smooth surface as opposed to burners, allowing them to blend in seamlessly with your countertops. Many newer styles even have touchscreen capabilities, getting rid of the need for protruding knobs.

What are the benefits of gas cooktops?

The main benefits of gas cooktops lie in their cooking speeds and temperature control. Gas cooktops are able to heat and cool quickly, making them perfect for stir-frying or searing food. The gas flame provides more instant and precise temperature control compared to electric cooktops and allows you to make quick and accurate heating adjustments.

Gas cooktops are often more versatile than electric models, and are suitable for a wide range of cooking techniques, including boiling, sauteing, grilling, and simmering food. They also provide a more authentic cooking experience, and many amateur and professional chefs prefer gas cooktops due to their flexibility and ease of control.

Both gas and electric cooktops can be installed relatively easily. So long as there is a natural gas line available in your home, you should have no issues with installation.

What are the benefits of induction cooktops?

Many people consider induction cooktops to be the way of the future. They use electric currents to heat cookware directly through magnetic induction. Not only does this use less energy compared to other heating methods, but it is also safer, as the surface of these cooktops won’t generate heat unless there is an induction through a piece of magnetic cookware (like stainless steel or cast iron).

Induction cooktops are highly energy efficient, as they only heat the cookware and not the surrounding air, reducing heat loss and saving energy. This method also allows for precise temperature control, making it easy to simmer, boil or sauté at low heat.

Because the cooking surface only gets hot under the pot or pan, you’ll never risk burning yourself by accidentally touching another part of the cooktop. This also makes for a simpler cleaning process, as spills don’t get baked on.

Induction cooktops can be an investment, especially because you may have to buy new cookware that is magnetically compatible. There is also a bit of an adjustment period when switching to induction from more traditional cooking methods because even though they disperse heat evenly, your food will cook faster than you may expect. However, we believe that induction cooktops are the ideal choice when it comes to energy efficiency, safety, and speed.

What is the difference between a single and a double burner cooktop?

The main difference between single and double-burner cooktops is their size and the number of heating elements they have. Single burner cooktops have one heating element. They are compact and ideal for small kitchens or single-person households, as they allow for more counter space.

Double burner cooktops are larger and have two heating elements, making them more versatile than single burners. With two burners, you can cook multiple dishes at the same time, making it easier to prepare meals for a larger family or for entertaining guests.

What is a tri-ring burner cooktop?

Some gas cooktops feature tri-ring burners, which are designed using three concentric rings of different sizes to allow for more flexibility and control. The different ring sizes allow for different heat outputs, giving you the ability to switch between high, medium, and low heat settings within a single burner.

Tri-ring burners are known for their versatility and ability to handle a variety of cooking tasks, from rapidly boiling water to delicately simmering sauces. They are also considered to be a more efficient use of space compared to having separate burners for each task.

How do I properly clean and maintain my cooktop?

No matter what style of cooktop you own, there are a few cleaning and maintenance steps you should take to increase its efficiency and lifespan.

  • Wait until your cooktop is fully cooled down before cleaning it.
  • Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the surface of the cooktop. Avoid using abrasive sponges or cleansers, as they can scratch the surface.
  • Use a specialized cooktop cleaner for stubborn spills.
  • Dry the cooktop thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent streaks or water spots.
  • Regularly check the condition of the burners, grates, and knobs. Clean any debris or food buildup from the burners and replace any worn or damaged parts.
  • For induction cooktops, make sure to use cookware that is compatible with the technology.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and maintenance to ensure that you don't void your warranty or damage the cooktop.

What should I look for when buying a cooktop?

When buying a cooktop, you should consider the following factors:

  • Fuel Type: Choose between electric, gas, induction, or dual-fuel options.
  • Size and Layout: Consider your kitchen space and how many people you’ll be cooking for to determine the right size and number of burners.
  • Performance: Look for a cooktop with even heat distribution and fast boiling times.
  • Safety Features: This may include automatic shut-offs, child locks, and spill protection.
  • Ease of cleaning: Choose a cooktop with a smooth surface and easy-to-clean grates.
  • Additional features: Many newer cooktops offer specialized burners, timers, and touch controls.
  • Budget: Cooktops can range from basic to high-end, so consider your budget and how much time you spend in the kitchen before making a decision.

What size cooktop should I choose for my kitchen?

In general, 30-inch cooktops are a good choice for most standard kitchen setups, while someone with a larger kitchen might opt for a 36-inch range. Smaller single or double-burner cooktops may be sufficient for compact kitchens or those with limited counter space.

You should measure the space of your countertop to compare it to the dimensions of the cooktops you are considering. Cooktops can range anywhere from one burner to five or more, so consider your personal needs and how many people you are typically cooking for. If you host a lot of dinner parties or have a large family, you’ll need an adequate amount of cooking space.

Take into account the overall layout of your kitchen, to guarantee that your cooktop is easy to access. You need a cooktop that will provide enough burners, but not something so large that you sacrifice your counter space.

Are there any special considerations for outdoor cooktops?

If you are a frequent griller or are looking for a way to modernize your outdoor entertainment space, you may be considering an outdoor cooktop. You will be more limited to certain styles compared to indoor cooktops. Because your cooktop will be out in the elements, you’ll need to find a style that is weather-resistant and made to withstand outdoor conditions, such as high winds, rain, and extreme temperatures.

You should also consider a propane or natural gas cooktop, especially if you plan on cooking outside frequently. If you don’t want to use propane tanks or connect your cooktop to a natural gas line, electric induction options are also available for outdoor use.

Are there any energy-efficient options available for cooktops?

If energy efficiency is a large factor in your search, induction cooktops are one of the most energy-efficient cooktop options. They use magnetic fields to heat the cookware directly, rather than heating the air around the cookware, which results in faster cooking times and less energy waste.

Radiant electric cooktops do produce more heat waste than induction styles, but they are still more energy-efficient than gas cooktops. Gas models can be energy-efficient to a degree if they have features such as sealed burners, but if you are concerned about saving energy, choosing an electric cooktop model is typically going to be the better option.

About FOTILE Cooktops

FOTILE is an innovator in kitchen cooktops. Our gas cooktops range in size from 30” to 36”, including our tri-ring burner models. We also have 12” induction and electric cooktops available. Shop all our cooktop models to find the right option for your kitchen.