A closeup of a KitchenAid® gas cooktop with a person cooking food

5 TYPES OF COOKTOPS AND STOVETOPS TO CHOOSE FROM

Investing in a new standalone cooktop can offer fresh inspiration and unlock new culinary possibilities. Explore the benefits of gas, electric, induction, downdraft and commercial-style options to find a cooktop style that complements the way you create.

WHAT IS A COOKTOP?

A cooktop is a standalone appliance with a cooking surface that has gas burners or electric heating elements. The cooktop controls are on the front surface or along the side of the appliance. Its drop-in installation in a hole or space in a countertop or island can provide a seamless integration with your kitchen.

Whether you need to simmer, steam, grill or boil, a cooktop offers a variety of innovative features to match your cooking technique. Similar to a rangetop, a cooktop can upgrade your kitchen design by adding flexibility to the layout. 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF COOKTOPS?

There are several types of cooktop fuel options to choose from, including gas, electric and induction models. These types may also come in downdraft configurations for integrated ventilation and commercial-style options for more features. Cooktops are also available in a range of sizes with different heating element configurations.

An overhead view of a KitchenAid® gas cooktop simmering a pot of food An overhead view of a KitchenAid® gas cooktop simmering a pot of food

1. GAS COOKTOPS

Gas cooktops use an open flame to cook food. They’re great for a more hands-on experience since they offer responsive control over heat adjustments. The flame can be adjusted instantly, so you don’t need to wait for a heating element to heat up or cool down, allowing you to quickly transition from searing to sautéing. An open flame is also able to reach up the sides of some pans, which can be a benefit when cooking with sculpted cookware, such as woks. Most models, like the full line of gas cooktops from KitchenAid brand, feature removable cast-iron grates with a wipeable surface underneath.

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Black KitchenAid® electric cooktop Black KitchenAid® electric cooktop

2. ELECTRIC COOKTOPS

Electric cooktops cook food using heated metal coils or heating elements often housed in a flat, smooth ceramic-glass surface. Select KitchenAid® models include Ultra Power™ Double-Ring Round Element that allows you to adjust the heating element size to fit cookware from hearty stock pots to petite sauté pans. Electric cooktops with Even-Heat™ Technology provide versatility for high and low temperature cooking preferences and ensure consistent heat when boiling, simmering, melting and more. If you’re looking for a compact cooktop, electric models often come in a wide range of sizes. For instance, KitchenAid® electric cooktops come in two-burner, four-burner, five-burner and downdraft configurations.

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A person cooking pasta and shrimp on a black KitchenAid® electric induction cooktop A person cooking pasta and shrimp on a black KitchenAid® electric induction cooktop

3. INDUCTION COOKTOPS

Induction cooktops generate heat directly within cookware, reaching high temperatures quickly and cooling down rapidly for precise control that enables a full range of cooking techniques. If you cook a lot of pasta or rice, they’re good for getting to a boil quickly since they effectively direct energy to the bottom of the pot. Many induction cooktop models, like the KitchenAid® Architect Series II Cooktop, come with a smooth ceramic-glass surface that allows for quick cleanup. Learn more about how to clean different types of stovetops.

Learn more about induction cooktops and their benefits.

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A pan of salmon searing on a black KitchenAid® electric downdraft cooktop A pan of salmon searing on a black KitchenAid® electric downdraft cooktop

4. DOWNDRAFT COOKTOPS

Downdraft cooktops are available as gas or electric models. They integrate the ventilation system directly into the cooking surface, minimizing the need for an overhead vent. They may be a good option if you’re installing your cooktop on a kitchen island where there isn’t room for a hood, or if you prefer an open feel to your kitchen. Electric and gas downdraft cooktops from KitchenAid brand come in four-burner and five-burner configurations. Keep in mind that you’ll need under-counter cabinet space to house internal components essential to the operation of a downdraft cooktop.

Learn more about downdraft cooktops and how they function.

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A person placing a wok on a KitchenAid® gas commercial-style cooktop A person placing a wok on a KitchenAid® gas commercial-style cooktop

5. COMMERCIAL-STYLE COOKTOPS

Commercial-style rangetops and cooktops deliver restaurant-inspired form and function. They pair commercial styling with features like high-BTU gas burners and grill or griddle inserts to help keep up with your culinary potential. Commercial-style cooktops come in extra-wide sizes up to 60 inches, as well as more standard sizes, like the KitchenAid® 30-inch Smart Commercial-Style Dual Fuel Range with 4 Burners.

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HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST TYPE OF COOKTOP FOR MY KITCHEN?

To choose the best cooktop for your recipes and kitchen layout, you will need to determine the cooktop size, fuel type and placement that fits best in your kitchen, as well as any features you would like to have. Explore this cooktop buying guide to learn more about getting the best cooktop for your kitchen.

KITCHEN HOOKUP AND LAYOUT

Start by choosing between gas or electric based on the hookups you already have, keeping in mind that you can have a dedicated gas line installed by a professional. Then, look at your kitchen layout and available space

Cooktops come in a range of sizes to fit your kitchen and cooking style. Sizes range from 15 inches wide for a two-element cooktop up to 36 inches wide for a five-element cooktop. 

If you’re looking for even more space to create, commercial-style cooktops can offer 30- to 48-inch widths, and even 60-inch widths are available from some manufacturers.

Cooktops can be placed in line with cabinets or on a kitchen island, depending on how you prefer to move throughout the kitchen. Learn more about the benefits of installing a cooktop or range on a kitchen island.

COOKTOP FEATURES TO CONSIDER

Whether you seek more control over the heating elements or gas burners, desire the convenience of a cooktop griddle, or are considering an upgrade to a restaurant-inspired design, understanding cooktop features can help ensure that you select one that matches your cooking style and preferences.

GRIDDLE

Some gas cooktops feature a removable griddle that can expand the potential of your cooktop. For example, this KitchenAid® Gas Cooktop with Griddle provides a one-piece flat surface that can be used on the right, left, or center of the cooktop. It is ideal for making a range of dishes from crepes to quesadillas and features an easy cleanup. Learn more about using a griddle on a gas stove.

DUAL AND TRIPLE ELEMENTS

Many electric cooktops offer elements you can adjust according to the size of your cookware. The 10-inch/6-inch Double-Ring Round Element by KitchenAid brand maximizes your cooking flexibility with two distinct sizes.

CONVERTIBLE GRATES

Often seen on commercial-style cooktops, convertible grates let you raise and lower your dishes to be closer or farther from the flame. Three-Level Convertible Grates by KitchenAid brand let you match the heat to your technique. Leave the insert level for high-heat searing and sautéing or flip it over to lift your pan above the flame to simmer and melt. It can also be removed to nestle a round-bottom wok in the flame for stir-frying.

PROTECTIVE FINISHES

Gas, electric and induction cooktops may have their own version of a protective, easy-to-clean surface finish. For instance, the CookShield Finish by KitchenAid brand helps protect electric glass cooktops from scratching and stainless steel gas cooktops from stains that may occur with high-temperature cooking. Learn more about how to clean stainless steel cooktops.

COMMERCIAL-STYLE UPGRADES

If you're looking for restaurant-inspired design, consider upgrading to a commercial-style cooktop. Select models offer premium features like high-heat burners with up to 20,000 BTUs, electric griddles and extra burners. Commercial-styling—like large knobs and stainless steel details—add pro-style durability.

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Explore KITCHENAID®Cooktops

Designed to spark creativity, KitchenAid® cooktops can expand the boundaries of your culinary imagination with a range of styles, heating sources and sleek designs. Whether you crave a gas cooktop, an electric cooktop or even one with induction heating, KitchenAid® cooktops will support you in making your favorite recipes and inspiring new creations.

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