Choosing between gas, electric and induction cooktops

man cooking in a pan on a cooktop

Danny Baggs

Posted June 13, 2022


Whether you’re renovating your kitchen or building a new house, your kitchen’s cooktop is one of the most important appliances to consider. Here are the pros and cons for gas, electric and induction cooktops to help you decide which style works for your kitchen.

A kitchen cooktop (also called a range or stovetop) is a key part of any household, allowing you to cook most types of food. Today’s market contains a massive range of cooktops to choose from, but they boil down to three basic choices: gas, electric or induction. 
 
While gas cooktops have long been considered the choice of professional chefs and budding MasterChefs, replacing gas appliances with efficient electric appliances may save households money.

Should I get a gas, electric or induction cooktop?

Gas cooktop: pros and cons

Gas stoves were the first ‘modern’ cooktop: an innovation produced in the 1800s as an easier alternative to wood-burning stoves, cast iron stoves and coal stoves. It burns gas to fuel a high-heat flame directly underneath your cookware.

This traditional cooktop is still used by many professional chefs because it provides instant heat, visual feedback and responsive temperature adjustments. It also provides the ability to char-grill, flambé and toast food. Many homeowners also find gas cooktops more aesthetically pleasing than electric or induction cooktops. They are now a safe option for households because the law requires gas cooktops to shut the gas off once the flame goes out – for any reason.

On the other hand, gas cooktops are more difficult to clean thanks to their cast-iron trivets. The open flames they produce are more dangerous to cook with. Since they are fuelled by gas, your household will need to have a gas line and gas mains professionally fitted. In some areas, gas lines cannot be installed.

 

person cooking food on a gas cooktop

Gas cooktops are used by many professional chefs. Image: Getty


Electric cooktop: pros and cons

There are several kinds of electric cooktops; the most common are ceramic glass and coil burners.

Electric ceramic glass cooktops use coiled metal plates or halogen lamps beneath a layer of tempered ceramic glass to radiate heat onto your cookware. It’s a fairly energy efficient method of cooking. Alternatively, electric coil burner cooktops are inexpensive and quick to heat your cookware, though it requires more electricity to run. Coil burners have recently fallen out of favour with most households, because ceramic electric cooktops are more elegant and easier to clean, thanks to their flat surfaces.

Electric cooktops retain heat even after they’re turned off, making them a hazard to curious children and pets who might touch the stovetop. These cooktops are also less responsive to temperature change requests, making precision cooking more difficult.

 

a hot electric coil stovetop

Electric cooktops retain heat even after they're turned off. Image: Getty


Induction cooktop: pros and cons

Induction cooktops are the most modern, advanced type of cooktop available to everyday consumers. It still uses electricity as fuel, but it heats using electromagnetism. This technology passes an alternating electric current through metallic elements under the cooktop surface. This current is transferred directly to the base of your cookware rather than heating the cooktop surface itself.

Thanks to this electromagnetism, induction cooktops cook up to 50 per cent faster than gas or electric cooktops while using less energy. It also immediately reflects changes in temperature. Because electromagnetism heats your cookware rather than the actual cooktop surface, they are much safer to touch and can be wiped down immediately after cooking.

At high settings, however, induction cooktops may also make a humming or buzzing sound. Induction cooktops also need specific cookware to work properly. Your cookware must be ‘ferromagnetic’: made from materials with a magnetic field, such as iron, cast iron, enamel or magnetic-grade stainless steel.

 

pasta boiling on an induction cooktop

Induction cooktops heats your cookware using electromagnetism. Image: Getty


The verdict: best type of cooktop

Which type of cooktop is the best for your household depends on your priorities in the kitchen.

If you want the ability to cook all types of cuisines and enjoy throwing dinner parties, consider a gas cooktop. If you prefer an inexpensive all-rounder stove, install an electric cooktop. If you want a safer and more environmentally-friendly kitchen, an induction cooktop is your best bet.

While it may take time to adjust to cooking without gas, an induction cooktop powered by renewable energy could prove to be the cheapest and most energy efficient option over the long term.

 

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