Best Electric Cooktops
If you’re looking for an cost-effective cooktop that gets the job done, an electric cooktop may be the right fit for your household. As well as being more affordable than and , ceramic electric cooktops offer a minimalist, modern aesthetic to a kitchen.
Latest review: We bought the Sterling Cook top and Oven Combo from Aldi - far from impressed with either. The oven works ok for the price, but the white numbers on the setting and temperature dials wore off almost
Price (RRP) $199.00 to $299.00
Healthy and tasty, the Teppan yaki is designed for traditional Japanese at-home cooking with features such as flash frying and precise temperature controls.
touchSlider for easy control
Combinable cooking zones
Westinghouse’s spacious electric cooktop hosts four cooking zones covered in smooth, black ceramic glass - not only stunning to look at but also very convenient to clean.
Latest review: On second Hob which has also failed, with incorrect spare parts in between. No replacements units available at last advice and waiting to see in Nardi are going to be able to supply replacement unit
Latest review: Doesn't like to have too many "things" at one time. Doesn't like getting wet, doesn't get to temp quickly . Shutdown frequently. Exercise in cooking frustration. Takes forever to get a pot of
Latest review: I've had this cooktop for nearly 5 years and it has given me no problems at all, it cooks evenly, quickly and is easy to clean. It just does what it's supposed to do with ease. I would highly
Latest review: I had this installed only 8 months ago in my new kitchen, great to start, however it has now developed a thermal crack in the glass on the biggest hob, 2 weeks before Christmas - bad timing. Check
Latest review: I will start this review by saying that I don’t do much cooking. That said, I have been struggling to use this cooktop. It is my first time with a ceramic cooker. It seems to heat up fast, but to
Price (RRP) $849.00
Latest review: We accidentally cracked the side of the ceramic top. The cost is AU$920.00 plus labour to replace. Most insurance companies for some reason do not cover cooktop glass. Check your policy or perhaps
Latest review: Purchased as part of a budget appliance package. 'Budget' is the bis term here as all of the appliances were made to be cheap as possible. The burners do not work well, I need to have everything on
Latest review: Such an awful piece of equipment. Great big chips fall off the surface, but they will not replace it because they said we must have done it. I will never buy anything from
Price (RRP) $479.00
Latest review: Purchased this from HN Maroochydore for my long awaited new kitchen. The sales rep raved about the product and even talked me into buying the demonstrator as it was the last one. Before I even got
Latest review: I have bought many fisher & paykel products in the past but this cooktop scratched easily, despite my tenant's careful handling of it. The customer service centre advised that special care and
Are ceramic cooktops any good?
- Attractive appearance thanks to the flat surface and streamlined design. This low-profile design also adds a feeling of space to a kitchen, as it’s unobtrusive.
- Easy to wipe off spills due to the flat, smooth surface. You won’t have to navigate the strangely-shaped trivets on gas cooktops or other nooks that trap dirt and grime.
- Cheaper to install than a gas cooktop, especially if you’re getting a natural gas connection fitted into your home.
- More affordable purchase price than both induction cooktops, as well as most gas cooktops.
- Less precise heat control than gas cooktops. The current cycles on and off, meaning electric cooktops are both slower to heat up and slower to respond to temperature adjustments.
- Ceramic glass retains heat. This has two consequences - temperature-sensitive ingredients such as light sauces and chocolate can burn quicker, especially if you have a shallow pan bottom. Secondly, the burning hot glass is a safety hazard to touch.
- Spills can become crusty quickly as the hot cooktop surface can burn any food splattered onto it.
- Can be easily scratched or otherwise damaged by pans with rough bases, dropped objects or abrasive cleaning methods. The ceramic glass construction is delicate and should be handled with care.
- Less energy efficient when compared with gas and induction cooktops.
Types of electric cooktops
This is the most popular type of electric cooktop today. You may recognise them by their flat, sleek design. Many are finished in black ceramic glass, which offers a seamless and contemporary kitchen aesthetic
There are three types of ceramic cooktops.
Ceramic radiant cooktops
These are designed with coiled metal heating elements, which sit underneath tempered ceramic glass. When you turn on the cooktop, these hidden electric coils are heated, and then transfer heat to the zone that you’ve turned on.
These use halogen bulbs as the heating elements. They create radiant or infrared heat, which is transferred to the ceramic glass. Since they’re filled with a gas like bromine or iodine found in gas lamps, they’ll light up straight away, so you always know when the cooktop zone is on and hot.
These use a combination of the above two heating elements, combining coiled metal with halogen bulbs.
Other electric cooktops
These are similar to the electric coils used in ceramic radiant cooktops. However, in this case the coil burners are exposed and visible, sitting on the cooktop rather than underneath.
The coil burners heat up quickly, and are likely to glow orange for emphasis. However, looks may be deceiving, and the heat usually isn’t as strong as that produced by a ceramic cooktop.
These use a solid heating element, which look like raised, circular flat plates.
These are less modern and typically take longer to heat up and cool down than ceramic cooktops. This can lead to the risk of getting burned if you accidentally touch or graze the hot surface.
For electric cooktops using either coils or hotplates, the baseplate material, or cooktop surface, is likely to be made from either enamel or stainless steel. Both of these are cheaper options than ceramic glass cooktops.
What is an induction cooktop vs an electric cooktop?
Both induction cooktops and ceramic cooktops are types of electric cooktops. Both are contemporary kitchen options with a streamlined appearance.
Induction cooktops use copper coils under the cooktop surface instead of the electric coils used by ceramic cooktops. These copper coils transfer heat directly to the cookware using electromagnetic radiation. This special induction cookware is warmed using an electrical current, while the cooktop surface doesn't heat up at all.
Induction cooktops - a premium type of electric cooktop
If you're wondering what the best type of electric cooktop is, induction cooktops use more advanced technology than ceramic cooktops. They heat up the pan much faster, and are highly responsive to temperature changes. For example, if you’ve brought something to the boil but need to lower the heat, and have been busy doing something else, an induction cooktop will respond faster than a ceramic cooktop, so contents won't boil.
They’re also a safe option. Since it's only the pan that heats up, the actual cooktop surface stays cool. This lack of residual heat also means food splattered onto the cooktop during the hearty cooking process won’t burn and congeal onto a steaming hot cooktop surface.
Downsides of induction cooktops
On the flipside, the advanced technology of induction cooktops gives them a premium price tag.
If you’ve never had an induction cooktop before, it’s also likely that you’ll have to replace your existing set of pots and pans with induction-friendly cookware. These are constructed with a ferromagnetic base such as iron, which can effectively conduct heat using the magnetised field an induction cooktop produces.
What should I look for in an electric cooktop?
It's recommended by cooktop manufacturers and retailers that you measure the amount of available space you have on your kitchen countertop, to ensure it can accommodate a cooktop with suitable dimensions.
Not only will a prospective cooktop need to fit, but there should be extra space allowed for ventilation requirements. There is also a minimum distance required to be kept between the glass surface of your cooktop to the rangehood, or exhaust fan, above it.
Number of cooking zones
The number of electric zones you opt for will ultimately depend on your household size, and how many saucepans or pots you’re likely to have bubbling away on the cooktop at any given time.
- 30cm cooktops: On the smaller side of cooktop sizes, these will usually house two cooking zones. They’re suitable if you have a smaller household size (for example 1-2 people) or cook more simple dishes with fewer steps.
- 60cm cooktops: This is a fairly standard size for most households, and is likely to accommodate 4 cooking zones. However the layout may deviate from the standard a little. For example, it could have three cooking zones instead, with one zone made to house extra-large pots.
- 90cm cooktops: These are likely to have 5-6 cooking zones, which can be useful for households with 5 people or more. They can also make your life easier if you have a penchant for whipping up more advanced dishes requiring multiple steps to prepare them.
Electric cooktops are typically available in either square or rectangular models, and the rectangular models are usually more spacious.
The layout of your cooktop will affect how easy it is to cook with. Look for the following:
A variety of zone sizes
Sourcing a cooktop with a combination of small, medium and large heating elements will allow you to cook a variety of dishes. This includes a small saucepan of custard-for-one, or a huge, comforting pot of pumpkin soup for the whole family during winter-time.
If you frequently use one size more than another, opt for a cooktop that comes with two zones in this size. For example, many cooktops are designed with two simmer burners.
Space between zones
Avoid electric cooktops that have a cramped layout. If the zones (and the circles representing them on an unlit cooktop) already look cramped, imagine how congested it will be when you place your pots and pans on top.
Having adequate space in between zones ensures that your widder-rimmed saucepans or stockpots won’t bump into smaller cookware.
It can help to have a think about the size of your favourite pieces of cookware you commonly use. Even if you’re not shopping in-store, taking your top contenders of pots and pans and placing them on the cooktop display to check whether they comfortably fit can be helpful.
It’s a good idea to have smaller cooking zones placed in front of larger ones. Firstly, this is safer, as it means that a large stockpot won’t block your view of a baby saucepan simmering away in the background, potentially unnoticed.
It also means you won’t have to reach over large pots or pans to get to the smaller ones.
Ease of Use
Here are some factors affecting how easy your electric cooktop will be to use on a daily basis.
Dual or triple heat rings
The zones on some ceramic cooktops are designed with 2 or 3 heat rings. These rings offer flexibility in pan size - you can activate the inner ring for a small pan, or all three rings for a large pan.
These are available in more traditional dials or knobs that you turn, or touch controls. Some cooktops have a combination of the two types.
Regardless of the type, controls should be labelled clearly, and it should be clear which control pairs up with which cooking zone. Make sure they’re not positioned too closely to the cooking zones for ease of use. This is particularly the case for touch controls, which might become unresponsive to touch if they’re covered in hardened food residue.
The inclusion of a timer may make it easier to monitor dishes that require precise cooking times. Some will automatically switch off the cooking zone once the timer has finished counting down to zero. However, keep in mind that setting a timer and walking away isn’t always a safe alternative to monitoring the cooktop.
- Residual heat warning lights: These light up to alert you when the cooktop surface is still hot, even when the appliance has been switched off.
- Automatic shut-off: This feature prompts the appliance to automatically turn off. Depending on the model, this happens either after a set period of inactivity, or set period of time that a pot or pan hasn’t been placed on the cooktop.
- Child lock: This mechanism prevents kids from touching and activating the control panel.
Ease of Cleaning
Ceramic glass is easy enough to navigate while you’re cleaning, as essentially you’re wiping down a flat, smooth surface. However, both ceramic and glass are delicate materials.
To maintain the glossy aesthetic of your cooktop, avoid using harsh chemicals and rough cleaning cloths, which can easily scratch the surface. Wait until the cooktop has cooled down, and then apply a special ceramic glass cleaner onto a soft microfibre cloth to clean your cooktop.
Stainless steel and Enamel
Electric cooktops range in price from $300 - $2,000. The price will depend on factors such as the brand, as well as the number of cooking zones and extra features.
Electric cooktops are cheaper to buy than both gas cooktops and induction cooktops, so can be a favourable option if you’re looking to save on some cash.
If you’re looking for an affordable cooktop with a sleek, modern finish, a ceramic electric cooktop could be the right choice for your home. Source a cooktop that’s the right size for your household, with a variety of zone types to allow you to cook a range of dishes.
Reading reviews is also a helpful way to learn how easy to use and clean a prospective cooktop is, which can make life easier.