Schott Ceran produced the first ceramic cooktop panels in 1971 and has since sold over 120 million. My parents bought a fairly early ceramic cooktop in the early 1980s. It was a white cooktop. The main reason my mom bought it was because it’s easier to clean than coil cooktops.
There are several clear advantages to this cooktop, although many people, including most chefs, still prefer a gas range. If you’re going with an electric cooktop, ceramic is probably the best option (IMHO) given they’re easier to clean and they look much better in the kitchen.
Below we set out extensive lists of pros, cons, and alternatives to ceramic cooktops.
Pros and Cons of Ceramic Cooktops (Smoothtops)
- Actually made from a blend of ceramic and glass, these cooktops have a smooth surface that appeals to many homeowners and helps keeps a kitchen looking sleek and modern.
- These cooktops are very easy to clean if you spill on them while cooking, and they only need to be wiped clean from time to time. As long as you do not allow food to cook completely on them, then you won’t have any problems cleaning them.
- Although ceramic cooktops are susceptible to being scratched, they can be used to place food in serving bowls if you run out of countertop space. This is a great way to add a little extra space to a small kitchen.
- The most aesthetically pleasing cooktop available, homeowners love the appearance of these cooktops and the fact that there are no coils sticking up from the cooktop and counter.
- Homeowners have been very careful when choosing what type of pots and pans they are going to use on this cooktop, as it can be very easy to accidentally scratch the surface. Copper-bottomed and aluminum pots should never be used, as they can mar the surface irreparably. Even enamel pots and pans shouldn’t touch the cooktop as they can stick to the hot surface.
- Anything small and granular that is between the pot and the cooktop can easily scratch it.
- Heavy pots or pans can easily crack the surface if dropped on it.
- Once the heat has been turned off, the cooktop may continue to be hot to the touch. The red eye will disappear and homeowners will not have any way of knowing how warm the stove is, which is dangerous if you have small children who like to be in the kitchen.
- Only certain cleaners can be used on ceramic cooktops if the food does get cooked onto the surface. Common store-bought cleaners can be too abrasive and can seriously damage the cooktop.
- You can not use a water bath canner on a ceramic stove, which can be frustrating if you want to can your own food.
- The cooktop will need to be resealed after being cleaned to ensure that the top is not damaged when you make your next meal with it. This is not a task that many homeowners want to complete on a regular basis.
TEST: What’s the fastest cooktop to boil water: Induction, gas, or electric?
Schott ran a test comparing all 3 types of cooktops. Induction won by a landslide (3 minutes faster than electricity and 4 minutes faster than gas). Interestingly, gas was the slowest cooktop to boil water, yet it’s often favored by chefs.
Alternatives to Ceramic/Glass Stovetops
1. Induction vs. Ceramic
While not as popular as ceramic cooktops, induction tops offer a much more sophisticated way to cook. These cooktops are available in portable sizes, making them ideal for small kitchens or situations where you are remodeling and don’t have a lot of room. In addition, they offer a number of other benefits that other types of cooktops don’t have.
- This is an environmentally friendly way of cooking. Since it is so fast and generates very little heat, you won’t waste a lot of energy with this kind of cooktop. This is great because it will help keep your monthly energy bills nice and low and won’t heat up the kitchen during the middle of the summer.
- This is the fastest way to cook and can actually decrease by up to 50% the amount of time that is required to make your favorite foods. Because these cooktops use an electromagnetic cycle to heat the food, the rapid response of this heating process means that your food will cook incredibly quickly.
- It’s very difficult to make a mess when cooking on an induction cooktop. Because the cooktop itself stays cool, you won’t have to worry about food sticking to it and being difficult to remove.
- The actual burner on an induction cooktop remains cool the whole time that you are cooking, and the only thing that heats up is the food or water that you are heating. This means that as soon as you turn off the burner, it will be cool and the pot or pan will cool down quickly as well.
- Just like ceramic cooktops are valued for their modern and sleek look, induction cooktops are very attractive as well. They blend in with the countertop and keep the kitchen looking modern and clean.
- Unfortunately, with an induction cooktop, you can’t use your old pots and pans. Homeowners who opt for this kind of cooktop have to buy the right cookware. This magnetic cookware is the only way to ensure that the cooking process works, but it can be an investment to make and can raise the price of your new cooktop.
- While growing in popularity, induction cooktops are still relatively new, and this means that they are more expensive than other alternatives on the market.
- When checking the temperature of what you’re cooking, you may be forced to use an analog thermometer, as newer digital ones may not be reliable due to the electromagnetic field produced during cooking.
- There is a buzzing or humming noise that occurs when the cooktop is on, unlike other options which are generally silent.
- While homeowners with gas cooktops can still heat up food when they lose power, induction cooktops do require electricity to be able to work.
2. Gas range vs. ceramic
Perfect for the serious chef who wants to be able to perfectly control the temperature that they use to cook, gas cooktops used to be only available for commercial use. Now, however, they appear in kitchens all over the country and are a great choice for many homeowners.
- Gas cooktops help keep the kitchen cooler while you are cooking because they don’t waste heat or energy. This means that if you live in a hot climate or have a particularly small kitchen, you won’t have to worry about heating up the whole place each time you cook.
- The burners on gas cooktops will evenly distribute heat. This is helpful because it keeps your pan from heating unevenly and accidentally scorching the food.
- Gas burners offer immediate heat, unlike electric options which take a while to warm up. This means that with a gas cooktop, you can start cooking faster and will be able to cook your meal in a shorter period of time.
- By turning the flame lower or higher, you can instantly adjust the temperature of the food you are cooking. This is particularly important if you are following a recipe that requires exact temperatures.
- Even when you lose power, you will still be able to cook, heat up water for bathing, and stay warm in the kitchen with a gas cooktop.
- Cleaning can be a little tricky since you have to clean around the grates and the actual grates that hold the pan up as well. Spills around the burners are common but need to be cleaned immediately
- A range hood with a fan is imperative to help vent all fumes from the cooktop outside.
- Gas leaks can occur if your stove is improperly installed, which is why so many people require an expert to complete installation.
3. Electric coil stove vs. ceramic
These standard cooktops have been available for a very long time and haven’t changed much in design over the years. They are common in many homes and work just as well as their other counterparts, although some homeowners are moving away from them due to their appearance.
While newer coil cooktops are a bit more modern in appearance, these are also more expensive than traditional-looking models.
- These cooktops are great for keeping a consistent temperature if you need to keep your food at a simmer for an extended period of time.
- The raised coils will turn bright orange to let everyone in the home know that they are hot and should not be touched.
- The coils will pop out easily to allow for cleaning and the whole top generally lifts up to easily wipe away any food that has fallen through the eye of the stove.
- They are relatively inexpensive both to install and to repair, making them a great choice for homeowners on a budget or landlords who do not want to dump a lot of money into the kitchens of their rental units.
- This is the perfect option if you have a garden and like to can, as a water bath canner will not damage the cooktop.
- Spills are much less likely to burn on this type of cooktop.
- You can use any sort of cookware on the cooktop without worrying about damaging the surface.
- The coils often heat up unevenly and can cause food to burn or scorch in the pan if the person cooking is not careful to monitor the pan.
- Once the coils have been removed, it can be difficult to install them again so that they lie flat, and this unevenness can be very frustrating for any homeowner.
- The coils take a lot of time to heat up initially and to cool down when you turn down the heat. Due to this sluggish response time, it is very difficult to cook a recipe that requires specific temperatures.
- It can be difficult to get the cooktop completely clean, as bits of food can hide in the eyes and under the coils.
- Many homeowners do not like the appearance of these stoves and want something that is more modern and updated in appearance.