Appliance IQ: Kitchen

What is a Ceramic Cooktop?

Have you considered purchasing a new cooktop? Get to know ceramic cooktops and why they are so popular today.

Ceramic Cooktops: How Do They Work?

Ceramic cooktop with four heating elements Ceramic cooktop with four heating elements

Ceramic cooktops have a smooth and flat surface that is made from ceramic glass. Stores tend to group all ceramic cooktops together.

However, there are multiple choices:

Induction cooktops are powered by a copper coil under the cooktop that produces electromagnetic energy. This magnetic energy then interacts with compatible cookware to heat it.

Radiant cooktops use metal coils under a ceramic glass sheet.

Comparing Radiant to Induction

As compared to other electric cooktop options, induction cooktops tend to produce greater cooking efficiency because they allow the cookware to be heated directly rather than just warming the surface, as is the case with other electric ranges.

Ceramic cooktop red heating element Ceramic cooktop red heating element

The cookware becomes the heat source and the cooktop will not heat up until you place a pan on it. Induction cooktops are becoming increasingly popular because they are highly efficient, easy to clean, and can reach a boil or drop in temperature quickly. This can result in a faster cooking process, especially when water is brought to a boil quickly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ceramic Cooktops

Here are some pros and cons to think about when deciding whether a ceramic cooktop is right for your kitchen. 

The advantages of ceramic

  • The easy cleaning of ceramic cooktops makes them an excellent alternative to gas stovetops. Gas cooktops have grates and burners which need to be removed for cleaning.  Meanwhile, ceramic cooktops are completely smooth, so oil cannot accumulate on them.
  • Many radiant cooktops have heat indicators that show when the stovetop is heated, and induction cooktops do not heat until a pan is placed on them.
  • They look amazing in any kitchen!   Ceramic cooktops blend in beautifully with their surroundings, as an increasing number of appliances are becoming seamlessly integrated.

Induction also offers the following advantages:

  • Improved cooking results due to better temperature control.
  • Improved efficiency can tend to result in faster cooking times. The Department of Energy reports improved efficiency as 85% of the energy arrives directly to the cookware with induction ranges.
  • The hot air generated in the kitchen is reduced when using induction cooking.
  • An instant response to a temperature change.

What are the downsides of ceramic cooktops?

As a whole, ceramic cooktops have very few disadvantages. Here are a few to consider:

  • Scratched glass may be worrying for some owners. It's possible to scratch or crack surfaces with rough-bottomed pans or when objects are dropped.
  • It is generally slower or less responsive for radiant cooktops to emit heat than it is for gas or induction cooktops. Induction cooktops  have a large heat output, excellent temperature control, and a very short heating time. If these factors are important to you, an induction cooktop may be the best choice for you.
  • Ceramic cooktops generally cost more than traditional coil cooktops.
  • If you choose an induction range or cooktop, it’s important to note that not all cookware is compatible with induction. Ferro-magnetic iron cookware is required.

The Whirlpool® brand offers bonus cookware when you purchase an induction cooking appliance. Terms and conditions apply, the offer is subject to change at any time.

Induction cookware Induction cookware

14 Stovetop Habits You Should Follow

Here are some helpful stovetop habits to help preserve your smooth-top electric range or cooktop over time.

Cleaning ceramic cooktop with sponge Cleaning ceramic cooktop with sponge
  1. When cleaning, use soft sponges or cloths instead of metal pads, which can scratch the surface. Use a cleaning solution made specifically for ceramic or glass cooktops.
  2. Do not place jars or cans on the stovetop. The cooktop could crack if you drop a heavy or hard object on it.
  3. Don't leave a hot lid on your cooktop as it may damage it. It is possible to trap air between the lid and the cooktop as it cools, and the ceramic glass may break when the lid is removed.
  4. Immediately clean up food that contains sugar if it spills. Let the cooktop slightly cool down. While the surface is still warm, use a scraper to remove the spills while wearing oven mitts. The sugary spills can cause permanent marks if the top is left to cooldown. 
  5. Avoid dragging cookware or bakeware across the cooktop to avoid scratches. Using cookware or bakeware with copper or aluminum bottoms or rough finishes can also leave scratches or marks on the cooktop. 
  6. Do not cook popcorn in prepackaged aluminum containers on the cooktop. They could leave aluminum marks that cannot be removed completely
  7. Avoid touching any part of the entire cooktop with objects that might melt, such as plastic or aluminum foil.
  8. Avoid using your cooktop as a cutting board.
Cooking fries on ceramic cooktop Cooking fries on ceramic cooktop
  1. In order to conduct heat effectively, flat-bottomed cookware is best. Uneven heating and poor cooking results may occur in cookware with rounded, bent, marred, or dented bottoms. Measure the flatness of a cookware's bottom by using a ruler's straight edge. It should not be possible to see any space or light between your ruler and the cookware while it is rotating.
  2. It is important to make sure that pots and pans are clean and dry before using them. When water and residue are heated, they can leave deposits. 
  3. On a smooth top cooktop, you should not place hot glass bakeware to cool (from the oven). Glass bakeware should be placed on a dry towel on a counter to cool. 
  4. In addition to ceramic and stoneware cooking vessels that have unfinished, rough bases, other cookware can scratch the glass. This should be your oven bakeware instead.
  5. Avoid standing directly on top of (to reach ceiling height) or placing anything especially heavy on top of a smooth-top cooktop. At first glance, it may seem that the glass can support the weight, but when the glass or ceramic is heated, the glass or ceramic may shatter or break.
  6. Never put stirring utensils on a hot cooktop while cooking. Cooktops can be marked or burned when utensils that have foods on them are used, which can take longer to clean.

Ready To Make The Switch To a Ceramic Cooktop?

You may now have a greater interest in cooking more efficiently on ceramic cooktops after reading this article.

If you’re ready to make the switch, explore our induction cooktops and radiant cooktops.

You can also explore our Whirlpool® Buying Guide for more information. Or let us help you find the right model for you by using our Appliance Finder tool.

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