Meant to partner with wall ovens, cooktops make for versatile kitchen layouts. Opting for a cooktop allows you to locate cooking operations in a perimeter countertop, island, or peninsula (with storage space below) and position a wall oven elsewhere in the work core to maximize efficiency.
Cooktops range from 30 to 48 inches in width and are commonly found in white, black, stainless-steel, and bisque finishes. Inset into a countertop, a cooktop offers a streamlined silhouette that doesn't intrude, no matter its finish. So, even a basic white model can complement old-world and modern kitchens alike.
The sleek appliances are available in gas, electric, halogen, induction, and modular models. Gas remains a popular choice for its quickly adjusted flames and fuel efficiency, while electric models are becoming more in demand thanks to their easy-clean surfaces and high-tech features. Halogen cooktops rely on quick-heating bulbs for heat. Induction cooktops, which stay cool to the touch, employ electro magnets that heat pots crafted of magnetic materials. Modular cooktops might combine gas and electric heating elements and/or offer varying configurations of burners, grills, woks, and deep fryers; some customizable types come with empty bays awaiting chef-style additions.
A cooktop's low-profile design creates safety concerns, so look for smooth-top ranges equipped with front controls to eliminate reaching across hot burners; lights that indicate burners are on; sensors that switch off not-in-use burners; and safety locks that ensure burners stay off when you're wiping up spills or when little tykes are about.
Much like ranges, cooktops supply ample utility at every price point but deliver more flexibility and features as costs rise. Here's an overview of what your money will buy.
Standard cooktops, which range from $350 to $750, are 30 or 36 inches wide with four to five burners or heating elements. Lower-end electric cooktops sport traditional coil elements; at $500 and above, you'll find smooth-top ceramic-glass surfaces with ribbon heating elements. Gas cooktops might have standard burners or burners set within a continuous grate that allows for easy moving of pans from burner to burner. You'll also find cooktops with simmer and high-output burners and indicator lights.
Midrange cooktops, costing between $750 and $1,500, have the features mentioned above but offer more high-tech features, including electronic touch controls, power-boil burners, low-simmer burners that maintain low temps for cooking sauces, automatic reigniting (gas models), and warming zones for holding foods at temperature until serving. Electric cooktops might be equipped with bridge elements and different-size heating elements that can be adjusted to suit different pan sizes.
Top-of-the-line cooktops, priced between $1,500 and $5,000, are available in 30-inch, 36-inch, 42-inch, and 48-inch widths with four to eight burners or heating elements. Modular and induction models appear in this range, as do professional chef versions equipped with fryers, griddles, grills, and woks plus melt burners for scorch-free chocolate-melting and dual-stacked burners, with one burner offering two tiers of heat so cooks can easily switch between boil and simmer. High-tech overflow alarms, temperature-limiting controls, and child locks ensure safe operations.
More for You: Wall-Oven Buying Guide
Are you a serious cook? Passionate about baking? Do you enjoy entertaining large gatherings of family and friends? If so, you may want to consider the versatility of a wall oven. I'm Lacey Howard. There are lots of great reasons to include a wall oven in your kitchen. If you have a cooktop rather than a range, you'll need a wall oven for baking and roasting. If you want flexibility in appliance placement, if you prefer an integrated built-in look. Let's check out your options, like every other cooking appliance in a kitchen, your first choice is between gas and electric. Passionate bakers often prefer the more precise temperature control of an electric oven. But for versatility dual heat wall ovens are available. Or you could build in two, one gas and one electric. There is certainly more than one way to cook a chicken nowadays. Thermal ovens are the most conventional method. One heating element on the top of the oven is for broiling, one below is for roasting and baking. In a conviction oven, a fan circulates heated air cutting cooking times up to 25%. Steam cooking minimizes the need for fats and oils and produces incredibly moist meats. For high-speed cooking choose wall ovens that combine traditional heat with microwave or infrared technology. These babies cut cooking time in half or even more. One wall oven may be sufficient but if you want to use different heat sources or cook at different temperatures plan to include two. A pair of wall ovens can stack one on top of the other. Or they can be placed side by side. Always measure your available space carefully, including width, height and depth. Wall ovens don't have side panels so they should be surrounded by cabinets and walls. And just because it's called a wall oven, it doesn't mean it has to go into a wall. You can include a wall oven in a work island or a peninsula. Get more from your wall oven with special features. Self cleaning ovens have textured walls to absorb and burn away spatter. Temperature probes check the internal temperature of a roast or large bird and shut off the heat when it reaches the desired temperature. Digital displays allow you to set precise temperatures and exact cook times. Whatever wall oven you choose make sure it has a large, clear window and a strong interior light. That way you can check on a cake or a roast without opening the oven door.