What are Electric Smooth-top Stoves?

Electric smooth-top stoves are popular with homeowners seeking to increase their counter space, hoping to have an easier job cleaning their range, and those aiming for a sleek and modern aesthetic for their kitchen.

This kind of stove is usually found in the form of an oven topped with a ceramic or glass surface. Unlike a gas range, it doesn’t have grates covering a flame that prevents food from being trapped if it happens to fall out of the pan. Like the traditional electric coil-top stoves, it still uses coil or ring technology, but the coil is hidden underneath a smooth surface. Heat is conducted through the glass or ceramic to the cookware.

Pros of Electric Smooth-top Stoves

Electric smooth-top stoves offer the same perks as any electric-powered stove. It comes with a lot of advantages:

1. Easy to use

Electric smooth-top stoves are simple to use and effortless to install. There’s no need to install a gas line here – you can simply place it in your kitchen, plug it on and use it. You only need to ensure that the wall outlet has enough voltage to power the stove.

2. Easy to clean

Since the stovetop is smooth, it’s so easy to clean. Simply wipe it with a damp, non-abrasive cloth, and it will be good to go. If there are caked-on stains and food gunk, you can use a single-edge razor blade to scrape them off and wipe them down gently. Unlike old coil-top ranges, food won’t splatter or fall into the burner bowls or below the surface of the stove. You don’t need to clean around the coils or remove any parts to clean.

3. Keeps the kitchen cooler

A smooth-top electric stove keeps your kitchen cooler than a gas stove when you cook. Since heat is transferred only to the cookware and the food, it won’t increase your kitchen’s temperature.  

4. Comes with more advanced features

A neat thing about smooth-top ranges is that it comes with advanced features that you won’t find with coil-top stoves. Though it depends on the model, smooth-top electric stoves have different burner power levels that allow you to achieve a quick boil on one element and a soft simmer on another. You can also find some adjustable settings that allow the burners to match the size of your cookware for more efficient cooking.

Some models come with bridgeable settings that can combine two side-by-side burners into one oval burner, which can be helpful for griddles and other large, oddly-shaped cookware.

Lastly, some smooth-top stoves come with a warming zone set in the center of the stovetop.  

5. Sleek and modern-looking

If you are particular about your interior design, a smooth-top electric stove may be your best choice. It offers a great aesthetic appeal because of its clean and techy look.

Cons of Electric Smooth-top Stoves

While smooth-top stoves have their advantages, they are not without their share of problems. Here are some disadvantages of electric smooth-top stoves:

1. Slow heating and cool down

As with other electric stoves, you will experience the downsides of slow heating. In the same way, this stove also cools down slowly, so it’s common for people to burn themselves when the burners are off without realizing that they are still hot. This usually happens for homeowners who are used to the faster cool-off nature of traditional electric and gas ranges.

2. Risk of scratches and discoloration

Because these kinds of stoves usually have a glass cooking surface, you need to be careful when using cookware. Make sure to lift and place the cookware gently and avoid dragging it across the surface. Manufacturers generally recommend using heavy-weight stainless steel or aluminum cookware to reduce the risk of scratches.

Heavy cookware, as well as abrasive cleaners and cleaning tools, can scratch the cooktop. It cannot be scrubbed with these cleaning materials, and specialized cleaners are usually recommended by the manufacturer.

Also, sugary substances can cause discoloration on a light-colored cooktop if they burn on the surface. Wipe spills as soon as it happens using a damp cloth to prevent this from happening. You will eventually pit and scar the glass surface if you neglect cleaning and allow spills to get caked on, creating a hazy look. But this only happens if you really neglect the upkeep.

3. Risk of breaking the glass

Another downside is the risk of breaking the glass. Since these kinds of stovetops are made of tough materials, breaking the glass can only happen with a direct blow from a heavy object, like when someone drops a big casserole dish on it while removing it from an over-the-range microwave. Replacing the glass can be expensive.

4. Fire hazard

Since the flat surface of the stovetop can be used as a countertop when the range is off, some people get into the habit of putting items on top of it, especially in smaller kitchens. The risk of accidentally placing something on the stove and turning it on is increased, making the stove a fire hazard and a recipe for disaster.  

Tips for Buying an Electric Smooth Top Range

If you want to buy an electric smooth-top range, you need to consider a few factors before purchasing one:

1. Take measurements.

When shopping for a smooth-top electric range, the first thing you need to do when shopping for a smooth-top electric range is to measure the available space you have to work with or measure the current model you’re replacing. Use these measurements to narrow down your search, easily eliminating models that are too big or too small.

2. Check the heating elements.

Most smooth-top stoves have four heating elements, just like older coil-style stoves. Larger elements are usually high-powered and are designed for searing meats and frying, while smaller elements are useful for simmering soups and stews. It’s best to choose heating elements that match your personal cooking habits. Choosing a stove with large, medium, and small elements will cover every cooking style, but if you cook lots of foods that require high-power applications (or vice versa), try to find a range that suits that.

3. Look for hot warning lights.

Smooth-top ranges take some time to cool down after use, and it’s hard to determine if it’s still hot to touch. A range with integrated hot warning lights is a great safety feature that you must look for in an electric smooth-top range. Once elements are cool enough to touch, the indicator light will shut off.