We spent 80 hours investigating electric cooktops, gathering a healthy selection of models that offer different features, controls, heating levels and more. Although all 10 cooktops we chose are great, the Electrolux E136EC45KS stands out as the best pick for its overall cooking capabilities and versatility. It has an elegant ceramic glass cooktop with heating elements that size to your cookware and a wide variety of power levels and presets. It also comes with an above-average three-year parts warranty.
The multi-purpose Electrolux EI36EC45KS electric cooktop has triple and double heating elements, 15 power levels and 25 presets for cooking specific dishes. It has well-placed controls that nicely correspond to the burners and features that make it safe for children.
Kenmore Elite 45113
Even with its modest price tag, the Kenmore Elite 45113 offers cooking versatility with two regular burners, one dual-heat burner, a total of nine heat settings, and a low-temperature warming burner.
The LG LCE3010SB is only 30 inches wide, but its cooktop gives you five burners – including two dual-burners – and easy-to-reach central controls. There’s also a rapid boil function.
While many cooktops in our lineup have five burners, the four burners on the Electrolux EI36EC45KS have a lot of versatility. The burners include a double and triple element so you can customize the size of the burner to your cookware.
This gives you seven burner sizes, which allows you to conserve energy by not heating up unnecessary burner space.
This cooktop has 15 cooking levels and 25 preset options, so you can set it to cook specific dishes to a preset temperature with the touch of a button and avoid over or undercooking your favorite dishes. The control panel below the burners nicely corresponds to the burners so there’s no confusion about which one you are turning on. The touch controls on the smooth surface are intuitive and make the cooktop easy to clean.
The hot surface indicator will let you know if a burner is unsafe to touch. This is especially helpful if you have small children around the house. There is also a child lock that lets you shut off the controls to prevent children from turning them on when you’re not around, and prevent accidentally turning them on when cleaning. Unfortunately, this cooktop lacks a bridge element, which is a nice feature for cooking with oversized pans and grills. It comes with a better-than-average three-year parts warranty.
In the electric cooktop world, the Kenmore Elite 45113 is modestly priced, but it doesn’t skimp on amenities and works well for all kinds of cooking. This is a trim 30-inch ceramic glass cooktop with four elements, which might be too small and limited for some cooks but could be just right for others.
You get a dual 9-inch element that expands to 12 inches with wattage ranging from 1,800 to 3,000 watts, which gives you considerable flexibility for cooking with different sized pans and foods that require different temperatures. You also get a 9-inch element with a rapid boil feature and a 6-inch element that ranges from 300 to 1,300 watts, letting you simmer foods at low temperatures, and another 6-inch heating area that provides a substantial 1,200 watts. The metal control knobs are safely on the right side of the cooktop, which means you won’t have to reach anywhere near a heating element. Some people might prefer touch controls, but the knobs give plenty of control over the heat. Another great safety benefit is that indicator lights show if a heating area is on, which helps protect against burns and reminds you to turn the cooktop’s element off when you’re done using it.
Best for Smaller Spaces
The LG LCE3010SB measures only 30 inches wide, but its compact size nonetheless includes an abundance of helpful cooking and safety features, and it looks terrific.
This ceramic glass cooktop gives you five heating elements including one with multiple heating rings. These include 6-inch, 7-inch and 8-inch standard burners, a dual burner that can expand from 6 to 9 inches, and a 6-inch warming burner. With so many heating areas, you can use different sized pans and easily cook a variety of foods at different temperatures at the same time. The touch pad controls are arranged in a semi-circle in the central front part of the cooktop and each control area has its own semi-circle of indicators that shows the temperature setting. On the left, you’ll find the “warm” and “child lock” controls.
It has valuable safety features such as a child lock to help prevent youngsters from getting burned, a hot surface indicator and an automatic shut-off function, which is not often found on electric cooktops. If you turn the power on and do not select a burner (LG calls them “cooking zones”) within 15 seconds, this cooktop will automatically turn the heat off to protect you and your kitchen.
Easiest to Use
The GE Profile has a simple, intuitive design. It has five burners with 11 heat settings as well as a triple element that can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit for fast boiling. The controls are easy to access and use, and the burners have graphic representations on each button.
This cooktop has dual burners that bridge to let you cook evenly on a griddle. Also, each of its burners has an individual timer to help you track cook times for multiple dishes simultaneously. After you finish cooking, a heat indicator light stays on until the burners cool.
To protect young children, the GE Profile has a control lock, which likewise gives you burn-protected counter space when the cooktop isn’t being used. This cooktop has a clean, modern look. Although it’s more expensive than many of the cooktops we reviewed, its versatility and ease of use make it an excellent buy.
Why Trust Us
To find the best electric cooktops for our comparison, we researched on the internet, carefully read through manufacturer websites for individual models, checked the fine print in user manuals, looked carefully at warranties and read consumer reviews. We also spent time checking online videos, watching TV cooking shows, and reading articles, cookbooks and cooking blogs. Periodically, we called manufacturers so we could give you accurate information if any questions arose.
We also consulted with experts and industry insiders to get their take on some of the most important new features and to understand the direction cooktops are headed. We talked to Natalie Walsh, a marketing manager for Frigidaire. She said one of the primary concerns of consumers purchasing an electric cooktop is knowing if it will fit into the existing cutout of their counter space. She said the cooktops that are in the process of being launched are redesigned to fit into most existing cutout spaces for cooktops of the same size, whether they be 30 or 36 inches.
Walsh said that when installing a cooktop you should consult the product installation guide for detailed instructions and electrical requirements needed to support the product. You should also consult local and national electric codes, she said. Representatives from Maytag we contacted recommended that consumers consult installers who are familiar with the appliance as well as electricians for proper wire hookup. “Every home situation is unique,” the Maytag representative said. “So wiring recommendations vary based on the need and circumstance.”
The cooktops in our electric cooktop lineup lack induction technology. Top Ten Reviews has a separate review site devoted to induction cooktops. Walsh pointed out that there are many advantages to induction cooktops. They provide faster heat and consistent results with precise temperatures. Plus, they are easy to clean because the surface stays relatively cool so spills and occasional boil-overs don’t burn onto the cooktop. When consumers experience cooking on induction for the first time, they absolutely love it and are amazed by the speed, precision and overall time savings,” Walsh said. Our reviews for the Frigidaire and Maytag will contain more information from our interviews with representatives from these companies.
How We Researched
We spent 80 hours researching gas cooktops to determine the 10 best and did so with the idea that different cooks would want different things. We reviewed an array of top-quality electric cooktops that give you a wide variety of features, capabilities and price tags so you could find the best for your kitchen and culinary style.
Among other things, we looked at sizes. We also checked how the heating elements were arranged on each cooktop, what kinds of controls were available and the location of the controls. In addition, we looked for safety features including child locks, heat indicators and automatic shut-off functions.
We also examined different temperature levels. Some electric cooktops give you a rapid heating function that lets you bring pasta water to a boil quickly. Some also offer a low-temperature heating element dedicated to things like simmering foods or even just keeping them warm while other foods cook on the remaining burners.
We decided to look within a wide but reasonable price range, at models created by popular and well-known manufacturers, and we searched for many characteristics ranging from heating element wattage to overall dimensions.
For our comparison, we chose to evaluate ceramic glass cooktops and avoid the coiled burners of low-end models. Those are extremely economical and they certainly work as far as food preparation goes. However, we determined they did not suit the needs of readers who are looking to renovate or build a kitchen today since our readers likely want a greater variety of cooking, safety and cleaning features, as well as a more modern and streamlined appearance that would work well in today’s kitchens.
What to Look for in an Electric Cooktop
Number of Burners
If you cook for lots of people, or simply love to get plenty of good food ready, then a five-burner cooktop would no doubt be just right for you. However, if you don’t use that many pans, four burners could easily do the job – typically for less money. Frequently, good-quality electric cooktops have double- or triple-burner cooktops, meaning rings-within-rings of elements that heat up as needed when you set the controls. These work well to fit the type of pan you’re using on that particular burner.
An especially popular feature is the bridge, which is a heating area that links two burners and can be used to cook foods in long, oval roasting pans, or for use with grills or griddles. It also makes cooking easy when you have multiple cooking settings for heat levels and preset temperatures for favorite dishes. A burner with a fast boil feature can be very helpful as can a simmer burner.
Most of the cooktops in our lineup have control locks to render the cooktop unusable, so a curious child can’t turn it on when you’re not around. Most cooktops have glowing burners that mimic a coiled burner, so there is no mistaking when it is hot, but this goes away when you turn off the burner, even if it’s still hot. It’s therefore important to have heat indicator lights to let you know when it is safe to touch, especially if you have kids around. It helps to have controls positioned in front of the burners so you don’t have to reach across hot burners to get to them.
We reviewed cooktops ranging in price from under $700 to more than $1,400. Although many consumers look for units priced below $300, these cheaper cooktops don’t have as many burners, settings and features as our favorite models. If you’re looking for a cooktop on the highest end, expect to spend up to $3,500.