If you're ready to replace your appliances, there are numerous benefits to outfitting your kitchen with a cooktop and separate oven. A cooktop allows for additional cabinet space below for pots and pans and gives two people easy access to separate appliances when cooking at the same time. From a design perspective, cooktops allow for more options and are typically less obvious than ranges.
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How to Measure for a New Cooktop
If you'd like to purchase a new cooktop, it's very important to be precise when determining the space you have available. Be sure to measure at least twice to ensure accuracy. Remove your current cooktop before you begin and then take the following measurements:
- Cutout width: Hold the tape measure tight and measure from the left to right side of the opening.
- Cutout depth: Measure from the back to the front of the opening. Your cooktop may be a bit deeper than the cutout.
- Countertop thickness: Make sure your countertop is thick enough to secure the cooktop into place. If it's too thin, the cooktop could collapse when placing heavy cookware on top.
Cooktops are usually designed to fit standard-depth counters with several extra inches at the front and back. Standard cooktop sizes are 30, 36 and 45 to 48 inches wide. When selecting your size, make sure to allow for countertop space on either side. If you're fitting a new cooktop into an existing space, many manufacturers make it easy by maintaining the same dimensions for years.
Types of Cooktops
There are three types of cooktops available. Each has its pros and cons, including ability to manage temperature, difficulty to clean and safety.
- Gas cooktop: Traditionally, most people chose this option. It allows the user to have more accurate and immediate control of the temperature. Gas also heats quickly.
- Electric cooktop: These cooktops heat by using electricity and are sold as either a coil element or smooth surface. Coil options are less expensive, but smooth tops, which are made of glass or ceramic, are easier to clean.
- Induction cooktop: This type of cooktop heats through electromagnetic energy. While it heats quickly and is very responsive to changes in temperature, it only works with certain cookware, such as stainless steel or cast iron. The biggest benefit of an induction cooktop is that the surface doesn't get hot.
Exhaust Hoods and Other Options
An exhaust hood pulls airborne grease, moisture and cooking odors up and out of the house and is useful for most cooking. If you're looking to add or replace one, the size of the hood isn't as important as the number of cubic feet per minute (CFM). To determine this, begin with the size of your cooktop.
You'll need at least 100 CFM for every 12 inches of stove width. So, a 30-inch stove would need at least 250 CFM. Next, consider the size of your room — if it's very large, you'll need more CFMs to clear the cooking odors away. Finally, if you have a gas cooktop, it will create a lot more heat, so you'll need additional CFMs.
If you prefer not to have an exhaust hood hanging overhead, especially if your cooktop is on an island and a hood would block the view, there are other options. One possibility is to run a duct under the floor to the outside. If that's not possible, look for a cooktop that has built-in vents. Or, consider telescopic vents that rise several inches above the cooktop when needed and disappear when done.