When buying a range you need to pay as much attention to what’s on top as this may sway your decision.  Are you looking for easy installation, quick clean-ups, more counter space and safety features? Are you interested in reducing the heat in your kitchen while maintaining ultimate control over your flame? Find out which stovetop suits you.

Electric vs. gas range top


Ask any cook about whether they prefer electric or gas and you’ll get a long list of preferences. Some cooks prefer having an element that turns on instantly with the push of a button instead of a gas range that sputters to catch a flame. They appreciate the quick clean up of the smooth-top electric ranges. Other cooks prefer cooking with gas because of the even heat and the ability to rapidly change temperatures. It all depends on your cooking style.

Smooth top electric


Busy cooks are going to appreciate how easy it is to keep the new glass top electric ranges clean. You no longer have to disassemble the entire element to clean it. The flat top makes wiping up spills much easier – there’s no place for food to fall into. While it doesn’t take a lot of effort, you do need a special cleaner to clean and protect the surface.

Most of electric ranges are equipped with smart technology with built in safety features. The Frigidaire CGEF3032MF has a temperature probe that instantly gets to the ideal cooking temperature with the touch of a button. The indicator light glows when one or element is turned on so with a quick glance you can see if anything was left on. For additional safety, the hot surface indicator light continues to glow even after all the elements are turned off. It glows until the heating surface has completely cooled down. This added safety feature means no more accidental burns.

The glass-ceramic tops also lend a more sophisticated look to your kitchen. You can choose between black or white and even a transparent glass-ceramic cooktops. The Samsung FER400SX has a sleek black glass-ceramic stovetop that highlights its stunning stainless steel exterior. It makes an elegant statement in your kitchen before you even put it to work.

If your kitchen has limited space then the flat stop top can also be used as counter space – just as long as the elements stays off! Paper cloth or plastic items will melt if the stovetop has not cooled down and this can damage the surface.

The downside is that you do have to take a bit of extra care using them. Don’t drop anything heavy onto the smooth-top because if you crack the glass the stove is finished. Depending on the model, it may be cheaper to just buy a new stove. You also have to use the correct cookware with a smooth, flat bottom. Aluminum cookware and cast iron can leave marks or scratches while painted porcelain enamel can become fused to the glass top if it gets too hot.

Ceran top


Almost all the high-quality smooth-top ranges use the SCHOTT CERAN top. Originally SCHOTT developed this high-quality glass-ceramic for mirrors in space-stations. CERAN was specifically developed to be resistant against abrupt temperature shocks. These cooktop panels are robust and long lasting but also able to transmit heat directly to pots and pans giving you great cooking results.

There are different types of Ceran stovetops. Radiant electric heat is the most commonly found and is the closest to old-style burners. Electricity heats the coil underneath the glass that radiates upwards into the pot. Radiant stovetops also have great heat distribution. You’ll recognize radiant stovetops by the red glowing circles.

Induction Ceran stovetops operate a bit differently. If you look at the Samsung NE597N0PBSR induction cooktop you’ll notice no telltale glow when it’s turned on. Induction turns the cookware into the heat source using electromagnetic energy. The elements will never get hot but your cookware will heat up quickly and you can get the desired temperature must quicker.

When you take the pot off the Samsung NE597N0PBSR, the cooktop automatically turns off. A beep goes off once water begins boiling so no pot will ever boil dry. The coil sensor also detects whether the pan is magnetic or not; if you put something plastic or wooden on the stovetop it’s not going to turn on.

Induction ranges are considered more energy efficient and safer because there is no open flame and the elements never actually get hot. It’s almost impossible to burn yourself. However, you must use magnetic-capable metal cookware in order for this stovetop to work.

Cooking with Gas


Many cooks prefer the gas stovetop to electric because it offers the greatest control over heat. With its sealed cooktop burners, the LG LRG3095ST gas range doesn’t leak any heat. Since the heat turns off immediately you may notice your kitchen remains cooler.  A quicker response times also gives you greater control when you turn the flame higher or lower while even heat distribution means no more scorched food! Since the LG LRG3095ST operates independently from the electrical grid, a power outage means you can still make dinner.

Gas ranges may also come equipped with a griddle or flattop grill. This way of cooking is gaining popularity with those seeking out a healthy diet. Foods on the grill are baked in their own juices rather than fried and you get the benefits of a BBQ without burning anything. Kebabs, vegetables, fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood and fish are grilled to perfection since you have such great control over the temperature.

Most traditional griddle or stovetop grills are a single plate placed on top of your gas burner. Some are made to sit across two burners, while smaller models will rest over only one. Others are designed to have a zone that is less hot so you can cook different foods at different temperatures or keep cooked foods warm. The best quality are made from cast-aluminum, cast iron, or enamelled stainless steel for a good distribution of heat that is also easy to clean.

Installation is more complicated for the gas stovetop. Hire a professional to install your range, because you absolutely must vent the fumes outdoors with a range hood. Any of the Sakura Range Hoods are suitable for gas stovetops.

You can go with the Sakura 30″ Range Hood that is quiet yet efficient using two twin centrifugal turbo fans to remove any gas emissions. The B52 Sakura Range Hood is even quieter with only one 650 CFM single-rotor motor and slide button that lets you control the speed. Dual halogen lights will light up your cooking area.

You’ll also spend more time cleaning since the gas stovetop have metal grates over each burner to hold the pots and pans over the flame. You’re bound to have some spills and this means keeping the area around the grates clean as well as the range hood. It’s easier to get burned using a gas stovetop and you need to be extra cautious around gas leakage or turning the element on without a flame. This can create a fire and breathing hazard.

After checking out the stovetop, be sure to look at the actual oven. If you are more of a baker than cook, the oven might be more important than the stovetop.  Once you’ve determined your needs in the kitchen, you’ll know whether you want to go with electric or gas.

I’ve been covering technology since 1992 and I’ve seen a lot of technology come and go. I enjoy following the trends, spotting the winners and losers and teaching consumers how to get the best products and services for their needs. My work has been published in the National Post, Reader's Digest.com, Yahoo, Miami Herald and other North American publications and websites.