A Guide to Cooktops
Here’s what you need to know when you’re considering cooktops.
There are several fuel types to choose from.
Gas cooktops, which use natural gas (or propane, when converted to LP), offer a bold look—often with commercial-style details—and powerful burners. Jenn-Air® gas cooktops come ready for natural gas use; an LP conversion kit is included with each gas cooktop. Many people prefer gas for its precision in controlling the heat of the burners and its ability to heat up quickly. It’s also ideal for high-heat cooking techniques like searing and wok cooking. (A code compliant gas connection Natural gas must be available in your home to select a gas cooktop.)
Electric cooktops, which use electricity, offer refined design along with elements that achieve high temperatures and great responsiveness, especially in those featuring induction technology. In general, electric cooktops offer greater flexibility than gas cooktops for installation, and the smooth surfaces are sleek and easy to clean.
Induction cooktops, which offer a sleek appearance, use electricity and magnetic fields to transfer heat differently than electric cooktops do. Heat is transferred directly to the pan, so the surrounding cooking surface stays cool to the touch. Combining the precision of gas with the look of electric, induction cooktops are highly responsive as well as energy efficient.
One thing to keep in mind: While most pans work with induction cooktops, not all do. An easy way to determine if cookware is compatible is to hold a magnet up to a pan. If the magnet sticks to the pan surface, the pan can work with induction. (Copper cookware, for instance, will not work with induction.)
Considering a gas cooktop? The basics of BTUs.
BTUs (British Thermal Units) are the measure of a burner’s energy output, and refer to gas burners. Each burner has its own BTU measurement. Higher BTU output means higher heat—important for cooking techniques like searing. Lower BTU output means lower heat—important when melting butter or simmering delicate sauces.
Jenn-Air® gas cooktops (with the exception of modular downdraft models, which offer 10,000 and 8,000 BTU burners) feature a special high-BTU burner, from 12,000 to 17,000 BTUs, to achieve high heat; many also offer a low-BTU burner for greater control.
Select the configuration that complements your kitchen.
Downdraft cooktops feature a built-in ventilation system that captures smoke and odors right at the cooking surface. This means you don’t need a hood, which offers flexibility in kitchen design and in the placement of the cooktop itself. The absence of a hood also adds to the sense of openness in the kitchen, which many designers and homeowners appreciate. Many people choose to install a downdraft cooktop in an island, which allows them to interact with people as they cook.
If you live in an apartment, check to see if your building has drafting requirements. You may want to consider using a downdraft option with a duct-free ventilation kit to accommodate any requirements.
Traditional cooktops feature a smooth ceramic or ceramic-glass surface that houses the heating elements. The flat surface makes it easy to keep clean and maintain its sleek appearance.
Modular cooktops feature interchangeable cartridges that allow you to customize your cooktop. You can select different burner types and griddles, and configure to suit your cooking preferences.
Cooktops need ventilation. There are several options.
If you don’t opt for downdraft, you’ll need to choose a hood for ventilation. The type you choose will depend largely on the location of the cooktop in your kitchen. Also consider how you like to cook. For instance, do you frequently sear, blacken or flash fry?
This determines how much ventilation power you’ll need.
Wall mount hoods are a good option when your cooktop is positioned next to a wall. They offer powerful ventilation.
Island mount hoods essentially “float” directly over where your cooktop is placed within an island, for powerful ventilation right where it’s needed.
Low profile hoods offer a more minimal-looking installation but offer slightly less powerful ventilation than other hood types. They install directly underneath the cabinet situated above your cooktop.
Perimetric hoods, designed to hang on the wall like a work of art, offer powerful ventilation and will make a dramatic statement in your kitchen.
Custom hood liners are ideal to achieve a distinctive ventilation look. They feature a ventilation system mounted to the inside of a custom vent cover. This cover can be made of metal, wood, plaster or tile, and designed to complement cabinetry or make a bold statement.
Choose a finish to suit your taste.
Cooktops offer many options for configuration and placement, and there are several attractive finish options as well. Our cooktops are available in a variety of finishes to complement your kitchen. Choose stainless steel (with our Euro-Style Stainless or stainless steel with black options), sleek black or white glass (with our Floating Glass finishes) or black or white options.
How does a cooktop differ from a rangetop?
There are several fuel type, installation and esthetic considerations.
Both cooktops and rangetops are stand-alone “tops” that feature heating elements or burners only—they don’t feature an oven beneath. Cooktops lie flat on a countertop to become flush or nearly flush with it; controls are positioned flat upon the cooktop surface. Rangetops fit above and over a countertop with controls positioned vertically.
Cooktops offer more installation flexibility; they have fewer infrastructure requirements and can be installed in smaller spaces with or without support from cabinetry.
Cooktops also offer several fuel-type options, while rangetops are typically gas-powered. Our cooktops offer a variety of fuel types and styles: gas, electric and induction. Our rangetops offer high-power cooking options like our most powerful gas burner, along with professional-style details like heavy-duty knobs and grates.See Our Cooktops