Cooktops buying guide

Here’s the lowdown on buying a cooktop.
 
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03.Gas cooktops

Corner cooktopMost cooks prefer a gas cooktop because it gives instant heat control and visual feedback when you raise and lower the flame. It’s also cheaper and more environmentally friendly than cooking with electricity. If mains gas isn’t available where you live, you can use bottled LPG with many gas cooktops, though it's more expensive than mains gas — just check when you’re buying.

At one extreme, if you like the commercial kitchen look you can opt for an all-in-one stainless steel benchtop with an integrated gas cooktop, sink and draining board, as well as inbuilt storage for utensils — but at a price: over $6900.

For the rest of us, there’s a wide variety of design, colour and finish, including enamel, glass, aluminium and stainless steel (non-marking finishes are now available). There’s also a choice of enamel or cast-iron trivets, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one to suit your taste. Some finishes are easier to keep clean than others: as a rule, enamel is easier than glass or stainless steel.

If you love stir-fries you can get a gas cooktop with a specially designed burner for woks. Alternatively, opt for a rectangular five-burner unit with four regular burners and an oblong (fish) burner in the middle. You can also put a grill or hotplate on top of the oblong burner for barbecuing.

Cookware: All types OK.

Typical prices: Twin-burner: $500–$1000+; four-burner: $300–$1000+; four-burner + one oblong burner: $600–$1100+.
 

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