Electric cooktop in a kitchen

5 Best Features of an Electric Cooktop

As the room that brings the entire household together, the kitchen is one area of the house that many homeowners spend much of their hard-earned on to get just right. But the process of creating a dream kitchen, one that ticks all your boxes, requires making numerous big decisions. You’ll need to consider everything from the furniture, to the lighting, to the kitchen splashback that goes on the wall above the cooktop. 

You’ll also need to make decisions about that very cooktop.

The likelihood is that you or your family will be using your stove top regularly, if not daily, so you want to be completely satisfied with the cooktop you choose to install. One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is how that cooktop is powered – with gas, electricity, or the newer electromagnetic induction technology? Let’s take a look at the electric cooktop in all its forms.  

Electric Cooktops 101

Electric cooktops offer a wealth of features designed to make cooking less of a chore and more of a pleasure. You’ll feel like you’re in an episode of Masterchef, but without the added stress and intense pressure that actually comes with being in an episode of Masterchef. The two types of cooktop that use electricity, but in vastly different ways, are induction and ceramic electric cooktops. 

Both cooktop options strike the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetic appeal. Let’s take a look at five key features that make each so highly favoured for the home kitchen.

Bringing The Heat

Ceramic electric cooktops use coiled metal elements situated underneath the toughened ceramic glass surface. These electronically heated elements then heat the glass cooktop surface, which in turn then provides the needed temperature to the frying pan or saucepan. 

Person breaking an egg on a frying pan sitting on electric cooktop

An induction cooktop also uses electricity, but instead of a heated metal element, uses electromagnetic coils that heat only the pan, not the entire surface. Your saucepan or frying pan effectively becomes the heating element, rather than the surface of the cooktop.

Electric Cooktop Energy Efficiency

The induction cooktop is widely regarded as the most energy efficient option as it only heats the cookware sitting on top of the surface, while a ceramic cooktop heats the entirety of the surface. If you’re using a fry pan or a saucepan on a ceramic cooktop, wasted heat energy can ‘escape’ from around the cookware surface especially if it is smaller than the cooktop surface area. Some ceramic cooktop models address this by enabling you to adjust the burner’s diameter to accommodate the pan size.

Safety First

A hot stove top can be potentially hazardous, especially with small children in the house, so it’s crucial to exercise all safety measures and precautions. This is why both induction and electric cooktops come with essential safety features to minimise the potential for serious injury. 

Ceramic electric cooktops often hold on to residual heat once you’ve finished cooking. More recent models have added an indicator light that shows if a particular zone is still too hot to touch. That light then shuts off when the zone has cooled and has become safe.

The induction cooktop is generally considered safer than ceramic, as the cooktop surface remains cool to the touch and there is no residual heat that could cause injury. 

Many ceramic cooktop models also come fitted with a child lock that prevents children from being able to play with the control knobs and potentially injure themselves. 

Precise Temperature Control and Speed

One of the most important features for a kitchen cook is precise temperature control. Both ceramic and induction cooktops offer precise and accurate temperature regulation, but induction cooktops have an advantage in that they reach their desired temperature almost instantaneously while ceramic cooktops can take time to get there. This is because the element in a ceramic cooktop takes time to heat, while induction cooktops reach their heat almost instantly. Both use controls that are digital and touch sensitive, making them a user friendly option for most people.

Electric cooktop burner at peak heat

Keeping A Clean Electric Cooktop

Both ceramic and induction cooktops have a smooth, flat surface. Unlike a gas powered cooktop there are no grates to remove or clean under. The lack of cracks and crevices make both types of induction and ceramic cooktops super easy to clean, as there is nowhere for food particles and grease to get trapped under or build up. Cleaning is relatively straightforward; a wipe down is usually enough to get the job done. Just be sure to clean up any spills on a ceramic surface as soon as it’s safe, as leaving it too long will make cleaning more difficult later on. 

Bonus: Cooking Zones

Electric cooktops typically come with four cooking zones, usually in a square formation. Standard cooktop size is 600mm, which is usually enough for a typical family. Those sizes can vary though, which means the number of cooking zones (and their sizes) can also vary.

Other Points To Consider With Electric Cooktops

Between gas, induction and ceramic, the ceramic cooktop is generally the cheapest to purchase but can be the most costly to run. Conversely, the induction cooktop is generally the most expensive to purchase. However it does offer the greatest energy efficiency so may be the more financially savvy purchase in the long run. 

Your preferred cooking styles can play a significant role in the type of cooktop you ultimately choose. For example, the flat surface of a ceramic cooktop is compatible only with flat-bottomed cookware. So if you’re likely to be cooking regularly with a wok, for example, an electric cooktop will not be suitable for your needs. In which case you’ll be better off with a gas powered cooktop. 

Induction cooktops also require a special type of cookware; one that is compatible with the electromagnets underneath the surface. Standard cookware that you’d use on a ceramic cooktop or a gas powered stove top will not work with an induction model. 

Kettle and saucepan on top of electric cooktop against white wall

A Quick Recap

Ceramic and induction stovetops are both considered electric cooktops, but heat food in vastly different ways. Both offer sleek and stylish design that makes either a perfect option for any home. When choosing a new cooktop, you’ll need to consider these features:

  • How your cooktop is heated
  • Is it energy efficient?
  • Safety
  • Speed and control of temperature
  • Does it have an easy to clean surface?

You’ll also maybe need to consider how purchase price vs. running costs factors into your decision, the size and number of cooking zones you need, the anticipated lifespan of your cooktop, and the type of cooking you’ll most regularly be doing. 

Whichever option you ultimately decide on, it will need to be installed by a licensed professional. They will ensure it is installed safely and to strict Australian standards. Hopefully you’ll end up making the best decision for you and your kitchen, and enjoy many years of cooking!

Published: 2022-08-23

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