Cooktops are standalone appliances featuring a cooking surface with burners or elements, but no oven. Cooktops provide kitchen layout flexibility since they install directly into countertops, can be placed on an island, and are available in gas, electric, induction and downdraft models in a wide range of sizes. Whether you’re building, remodeling or replacing, use this guide to learn why you might want a cooktop vs. a range and what the best type of cooktop might be for your family. 

Model shown: WCE55US0HB

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Cooktop vs. range: which is right for my kitchen?

Choosing a cooktop vs. a range separates stovetop and oven tasks while creating a streamlined, built-in look. Great for larger kitchens, this configuration spreads out mealtime action in a way that could help you manage the mess and keep meals moving without a lot of bending or squatting. Cooktops can also be a good option for kitchens with limited counter space, since they’re available in narrower sizes than most ranges. For example, Whirlpool brand offers a 15-inch electric cooktop for compact kitchens.

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What types of cooktops are available today?

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Gas cooktops

This type of cooktop uses an open flame to heat cookware. Gas cooktops offer responsive control over heat adjustments, making them ideal when making quick adjustments for delicate dishes as well as everyday meals. The flame can be adjusted instantly, so you don’t need to wait for an electric element to heat up or cool down. Gas heat is measured in BTUs, with some burners offering higher heat, and often a larger flame than others for different cooking tasks. Gas cooktops usually feature removable grates, with some models offering a hinged design like the EZ-2-Lift™ Cast Iron Grates by Whirlpool, which are also dishwasher-safe.

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Electric cooktops

Electric cooktops heat cookware using metal coils or heating elements that may be exposed or sometimes hidden under a flat ceramic-glass surface that makes wiping up spills simple. Many models offer elements whose size can be adjusted to smaller or larger cookware for added flexibility like the FlexHeat™ Dual Radiant Element by Whirlpool. Accommodate extra-large dishes with “bridge” elements that heat the space between the front and back elements and can be found on select electric cooktops.

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Induction cooktops

An induction cooktop is a type of electric cooktop that uses electromagnetism to heat cookware. Induction technology transfers energy directly into magnetic cookware for fast cooking. The system allows for a rapid rise or drop in temperature and, because the cooking surface cools down fast, spills are less likely to bake onto it. Keep in mind that you can’t use aluminum or copper cookware on an induction cooktop unless it features a magnetic core. Learn more about induction cooking or explore the Whirlpool® 30-inch Induction Cooktop.

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Downdraft cooktops

A downdraft cooktop integrates the ventilation system directly into the cooking surface, eliminating the need for an overhead vent. They’re a good option if you’re installing your cooktop on a kitchen island where there isn’t room for a hood, or if you just like an open feel to your kitchen. Keep in mind that you’ll need under-counter cabinet space to house the ventilation system.

Shopping tip: Consider your ventilation needs

Don't forget that you'll need some type of vent near your cooktop. A ventilation system is essential to help clear kitchen air of smoke, odor and grease while you cook. If you're placing the cooktop on a kitchen island, look at island-canopy hoods. If you're installing in-line with cabinets, a wall-mounted canopy hood or over-the-range microwave hood combination might be right for you. Learn more in our guide to choosing the right ventilation for your kitchen

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Continue your cooktop research

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