If you’re looking for a new cooktop for your oven, we’ve got your back. Let’s talk a little about the styles of cooktops available these days, and then jump into a collection of our favorite models, and the exciting features that they come with.
When it comes to home cooktops, you have three different fuel options, each with their own advantages.
Gas: These are basic burners that channel a natural gas flame up through a durable metal framework where cookware can rest. Open flames are a bit more dangerous than other options, and gas fires aren’t quite as consistent as more carefully controlled heat. However, gas heats immediately with no warmup needed, and it’s a very cheap fuel option.
Electric: Electric tops use burners that channel an electric current and produce heat via resistant, much like an electric space heater. This heat is very precise and continuous, excellent for accurate cooking and generally easier to clean than gas. However, this heat uses a surprising amount of energy to work.
Induction: Induction tops look like electric tops, but they channel an electromagnetic current through the panels and into the cookware itself, essentially making the pots and pans into the burners themselves. Induction is fast, safe and very efficient. However, it doesn’t work on all cookware: Stainless steel in particular might not allow induction cooktops to function correctly. You need to make sure you have the right cookware (as a rule of thumb, if a magnet sticks to the bottom of your pot, it’s induction-friendly).
Cooktops generally come in either 30-inch or 36-inch sizes. Know which size you need before you buy. We’re focusing primarily on 30-inch models for our list, since these are the most common in homes (although even here “cut-out” requirements can differ a bit). However, if there’s a model you particularly like that’s the wrong size, check with the manufacturer to see if it comes in additional sizes. You should also make sure the cooktop is compatible with the rest of your oven before you make a purchase—this may require a call with a local appliance expert once you have narrowed your options down.
Frigidaire FFEC3024LB 30-inch Electric Cooktop
If you’re looking for a great electric cooktop with all the latest features at a discounted price—well, you probably can’t do better than this Frigidaire model. It includes four burners on a smooth black surface and easy-to-use, durable temperature knobs. The cooktop also includes red light indicators for each burner that warn if they are on or not, an important little feature that helps keep you safe when using electric tops. Also, see that the knob controls are placed in an unusual configuration along the side, which means you are closer to the back burners and may not have to lean in as much.
Bosch 30-inch Gas Cooktop
This Bosch line of gas cooktops is often considered one of the best around: Rated at around 20,000 BTUs at its hottest, this model includes a once-piece steal design, LED indicators when burners are on, and an auto re-ignited in case a burner unexpectedly goes out (usually a sign that you need to clean them). Also, note the unique, minimalistic lines of the burner grate. That makes this cooktop particularly easy to clean. While extra little stars and loops on your gas burners may look impressive, all they do is make the grate more difficult to clean off, so this simple design has big advantages.
Frigidaire FGIC3066TB 30-inch Induction Cooktop
If you want to upgrade to an induction cooktop, Frigidaire again comes in with one of the best models on the market in terms of affordability and features. This cooktop utilizes auto-sizing pan detection, which detects the bottom of your pan and adjusts the cooking area accordingly so it’s only charging around the cookware and nowhere else (this also allows you to only heat one side of a pan, etc, with ease). However, it’s important to note the controls are modern-style “sliders” that you slide your finger along to indicate the correct temperature, which is displayed numerically in LEDs by each slider. This may take some getting used to.
Frigidaire FPGC3077RS 30-inch Gas Cooktop
If you want to explore more gas cooktop options, take a look at this durable cooktop from Frigidaire (18,000 BTU max). It has a corner-to-corner grate arrangement with an extra-small burner that is perfect for simmering and large, easy-to-use knob controls. The grates are more complex than some burners, but they are dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to hand-clean them if you don’t want to. Note that this particular purchase comes with a liquid propane converter if needed.
Electrolux EI36EC45KS 36-inch Electric Cooktop
This 36-inch electric cooktop has a few useful features. First, a couple of the burners are, as you can see by the concentric circles, elements that you can adjust between sizes for different cookware, giving you more options for fitting elements to what you’re cooking. You should also take a look at the control panel, which uses the touch-sensitive slider option for setting your temperatures. There are also digital preset buttons for up to 25 various automatic settings.
GE FirstBuild Paragon Induction Cooktop
Need a little cooktop on the go for get-togethers, tailgating, and cooking in unusual places? This little induction cooktop could be just what your list needs. Its 1200 watt burner is surprisingly powerful, and it includes Bluetooth capabilities in an included probe so you can accurately judge temperature for quick cooking projects, with updated temps sent right to your smartphone. If you need to measure base temperature instead of liquid, an included mat has similar capabilities, giving you two different monitoring options to use as needed. While the unit is primarily designed for liquid dishes and sous vide cooking, it can also sear, simmer, saute and so on with no trouble.