Trying to figure out which of either cooktop or rangetop is best for your kitchen? This guide is going to show the major differences between the two, highlight their strong points, and help you make an informed purchase.
Cooktops and rangetops are very similar and serve nearly the same purpose. They do not feature an oven and maximize cabinet space. Today’s cooktops and ranges come with exciting features that help you take your cooking prowess to the next level.
If you are moving into a new home or just remodeling your kitchen, you will need to install either a full-fledged range (a.k.a. stove), a cooktop, or a rangetop. They are perfect for kitchens with built-in ovens and also come in handy if you need to set up a kitchen on an island or in a bar.
So, which is better for you, a range or a cooktop?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Fuel Types of Cooktops & Rangetops
Gas Cooktops and Rangetops
Gas cooktops and rangetops run on gas, offering varying degrees of heat and flame visuals. They are very durable, cost-effective, cookware-friendly, and do not require any warm-up time. Gas cooktops and rangetops are great if you have no kids around, and if you are seeking to reduce costs.
Electric cooktops offer better and efficient heating than their gas counterparts. This means your kitchen will be much cooler when running an electric cooktop or range. They provide better consistency in temperature and are also super-easy to clean.
Induction cooktops are powered by electricity yet they operate very efficiently and in a precise manner. They are powered by an induction element that generates heat when magnetic cookware is placed on the cooktop surface. Induction cooktops and ranges are generally safer than their electric and gas counterparts. They are also more efficient, easy to clean and deliver consistent results. We reviewed the best induction cooktops in a separate article.
Similarities between Cooktops and Rangetops
- They do not have ovens
- They are both installed above drawers or on top of storage cabinets
- They are both available in gas
Major Differences between Cooktops and Rangetops
The main difference between cooktops and ranges lies in their basic design and installation.
- Cooktops have their controls on the surface while rangetops have their controls out front.
- A rangetop requires a section of the countertop to be taken out before it is installed as a slide-in unit. It is then flanked on both sides by the counter. The cooktop requires a precise cut-out from the countertop before it is installed as a drop-in unit. Depending on the dimensions of the countertop, the cooktop can be flanked by the counter on all four sides.
- Cooktops typically have only one power burner (alongside three or four other secondary burners), while a standard rangetop may have all power burners.
- Rangetops can easily feature a griddle or a grill on sizes over 36-inches. Cooktops, do not contain a built-in griddle or a grill. (you can always use a griddle plate on them)
Pros and Cons of Cooktops
Cooktops are designed for everyday home use. Because of the way they are designed, they are sometimes referred to as stovetops. Cooktops offer apartment size 24-inch and 30-inch width models and fit right into your countertop. There are also selection of larger cooktops available in 36-42 and 48-inches.
• Cooktops are available in either gas, electric, or induction models
• The control panel and knobs are on the top/surface, making it hard for kids to reach.
• Cooktops are smaller than ranges and take up less kitchen space.
• The entire cooktop unit is on top of the counter and gives the kitchen a classy finish.
• Cooktops are often easier to clean.
• Conventional cooktops come with less professional features than most rangetops.
• Because of the small size, cooktops are less likely to meet the demands of a busy or professional kitchen.
• The controls may be difficult to reach if you have several pots on the surface.
• There is a risk of burns if you try to reach the controls while cooking.
Pros and Cons of Rangetops
Rangetops are great for a professional kitchen, or if you want a commercial-style kitchen in your home. They often have superior power and heating ability than their cooktop counterparts. They save cooking time, and their front knobs give you smooth and better control while cooking.
• Rangetops are available in either electric or gas models.
• Rangetops are sturdy and built for heavy use.
• Rangetops offer more cooking space and can fit large pans.
• The location of the knobs on the front makes it easier to manage cooking even with multiple pots on the rangetop.
• Rangetops often have more professional features than their cooktop counterparts.
• If placed in a typical household kitchen, the rangetop may rather seem too bulky
• Rangetop installation requires significant work on the cabinet counter.
• The location of the controls/knobs may be risky, especially for households with small kids.
• Rangetops often are more expensive than similar cooktop models.
Are Cooktops Better than Rangetops?
So far, we have seen the pros and cons of each.
Cooktops may be more desirable than rangetops in small households, but a rangetop will offer better value than a cooktop in a professional kitchen. Generally speaking, rangetops tend to have better cooking power, more professional features, and better reliability than cooktops.
Now, to the big question, which is better for you, a cooktop or a rangetop?
The truth is, a cooktop might offer you better convenience than a rangetop while your neighbor might prefer a rangetop to a cooktop. It depends on your kitchen space, taste in kitchen design, safety concerns, and cooking needs.
If you have little kids and you just want something for the regular home cooking needs, then you should get a cooktop. But if you will be doing some heavy cooking regularly, or maybe you just want a commercial-grade kitchen, then go for a rangetop.
Before we wrap it up, here’s something to keep in mind. If you are purchasing a rangetop, be sure to make room for adequate ventilation in the kitchen. Rangetops are very powerful and require good ventilation even without an over-the-range microwave. Cooktops can do with less ventilation even with an over-the-range microwave.
Finally, do not forget to go through our articles and reviews on the best electric cooktops and best gas cooktops. You can also find excellent cooktop and rangetop models in our catalog of kitchen appliances.
See what other Designer Appliances readers are saying.