If you're thinking about installing a cooktop, read on. These questions and answers will help you decide which style works best for you.
Q: What makes a cooktop superior to a conventional range?
A: The advantages are practical, physical, and visual. You can have a gas cooktop and separate electric oven (the historic consumer preference) or vice versa. A cooktop frees up cabinet space below for pots and pans and can be installed on an island or peninsula, boosting kitchen-design options. You can put a cooktop in one place and a built-in wall oven (easier on the back than a range oven) elsewhere. When two cooks are working at the same time, they each have access to a separate appliance. Because they're installed virtually flush with a countertop, cooktops can be far less visible and utilitarian looking than ranges, an important consideration in kitchens open to adjacent rooms.
Q: I don't have room for a wall oven in my small kitchen. Will a separate oven fit under a cooktop?
A: That depends on the depth of the cooktop unit itself. Most are 4-6 inches deep, others just 2 inches deep. With downdraft models, often 18-19 inches deep because of the fan and ductwork below, there's no room for an oven. Although some ovens will fit in the remaining space under certain cooktops, make sure the ovens are large enough for your needs and can be installed high enough for easy access.
Q: I like the streamlined look of electric ceramic-glass cooktops, but I've heard electric burners are slow to heat up. True?
A: Not anymore. Today, some electric burners reach maximum heat in as few as three seconds. Response time between high and low settings has been cut drastically as well.
Continued on page 2: Island Cooktops & Heat Output