Cooktops and rangetops are similar kitchen appliances which make the purchasing decision difficult.
Both the cooktop and the range top save space in a kitchen as they don’t feature an oven. This is how they differ from a cooking range. Despite their similarities, they’re different appliances hence the cooktop vs rangetop debate.
To help you buy the right appliance, we’ll delve deep into the rangetop vs cooktop debate so you can decide which of these will best cater to your cooking needs
Let’s find out the differences between a cooktop and a rangetop.
Jump to Section
What Are the Main Differences between A Cooktop vs A Rangetop?
The main difference between a cooktop and a rangetop is in their basic design or control feature.
A cooktop is a kitchen appliance that’s installed on a kitchen counter and has its touch controls or control knobs on the top of its surface. While a rangetop is an appliance installed within the countertop with its controls positioned in front of the appliance (as in a cooking range).
The second main difference between a cooktop and a rangetop is in their installation method. Most traditional homes have a gas range and if your house is one of them, check out our guide for the best cookware for gas stove.
A cooktop is installed as a drop-in unit. The stovetop requires a space on the countertop to be precisely cut out to fit the appliance. And when the appliance is installed, it will be surrounded on its four or three sides by the countertop. A rangetop, on the other hand, is installed as a slide-in appliance. You’ll have to take out a whole portion of the countertop so that the appliance is flanked on both sides by the kitchen counter.
To help you make an informed purchasing decision, we’ll review these appliances individually so you can better understand the differences between cooktops and range tops.
What is a cooktop? A cooktop is a drop-in kitchen appliance that’s installed in a precisely measured cut-out space (or hole) in the kitchen counter. This is because the cooktop has its touch controls or knobs placed on top of its surface. The placement of the control knobs makes a cooktop great for homes with kids as their hands will not reach the top easily.
Furthermore, the cut-out portion is specific to the cooktop such that after installation, the appliance is flanked on three or all sides by the countertop.
Because of this seamless installation, it’s easier to clean a cooktop than a rangetop. Also, compared to rangetops, cooktops are usually smaller, so they give you more countertop or cabinet space but reduce your cooking area.
When it comes to aesthetics and functionality, a cooktop has a modern look and is designed for everyday home use. However, it’s not very powerful as it comes with only one power burner while the remaining three or four burners are secondary.
You can get cooktops in gas, electric, or induction models; offering you more varied fuel sources.
What is a rangetop? A range top is a slide-in kitchen appliance that’s designed to have its control knobs or touch controls in its front.
A rangetop is installed in such a way that a whole portion of the counter is cut out so it extends from the front of the counter to the rear where the kitchen counter meets the backsplash. This way, the countertop will flank the rangetop on the right and left sides while the front will reveal the appliance’s controls.
Range tops are great for professional and commercial kitchens because they have superior heating ability and more power burners than cooktops. They also look more professional. Also, their knobs that are located in front of the cooker are easily accessible and afford the chef better control.
While rangetops are larger than cooktops and take up more space on the kitchen counter, they provide the chef with a larger cooking area. You can find rangetop units in electric and gas models. Plus you can also find models with grill or griddle cooking surfaces.
What are the advantages of a cooktop when compared to a rangetop?
The advantages of a cooktop when compared to a range top are that it saves countertop space, offers you more fuel options, and it’s safer for homes with kids.
When compared to the average rangetop, the average cooktop is smaller, so they save more space on your cabinet or countertop. The appliance is installed or dropped into a hole that’s cut out in the kitchen counter to specifically fit the cooker. This makes cooktops great for small kitchens.
Conversely, a rangetop needs more installation space due to its larger size. It is installed by sliding it in from the front to the backsplash, so it takes up more countertop space and may be too large for a small kitchen.
Safe for homes with kids
Unlike rangetops that have their control knobs in front, cooktops have their knobs or touch controls on the top of their surfaces. This reduces the chances of fire hazards happening as it’ll be difficult for kids to reach the top of the unit. Whereas the front orientation of the range top's control panel poses more safety concerns to homes with little children.
More fuel options
Whichever source of energy you prefer, there’s a cooktop for you. You can get a gas cooktop if you prefer units that cook food very fast. And if you prefer cleaner sources of fuel, you can get electric, induction, or downdraft (that uses your home’s ventilation system) models.
On the other hand, range tops present fewer fuel options: gas and electric.
Cooktops are cheaper than range tops. The cost of a cooktop ranges between $150 to $2,500.
Rangetops are more expensive than cooktops because they’ve got superior heating capabilities. Plus their more professional style and features add to the higher price they command. A range top costs between $300 and $4,500.
It’s also more expensive to install a range top on the countertop or cabinet than a cooktop.
Ease of cleaning and installation
When compared to a rangetop, a cooktop is much easier to clean (especially glass cooktops). This is because cooktops have a seamless uninterrupted installation with the countertop surface, so it’s quite easy to clean the crevices, if there are.
Secondly, it’s easier to install cooktops because they basically require dropping them into a hole you’ve cut out on your kitchen counter. Whereas installing a range top requires more work as the countertop is finished on both ends. You’ll also need to consider the backsplash.
What are the advantages of a rangetop when compared to a cooktop?
The advantages a range top has over a cooktop are that it affords the cook more powerful burners and larger cooking space, and its control knobs are easier to access.
When compared to cooktops, rangetops are more easily accessible to a cook as they have their knobs or control panel in front of the appliance. This also means that when you want to adjust the heat, you won’t have to reach over hot pots or burners since you have easy access.
Cooktops, on the other hand, have their knobs at the top of the surface. This makes it difficult to reach the controls if they’re at the back when there are pots or pans on the stove. Secondly, reaching over hot surfaces may burn your hands.
More cooking area
A range top provides you a larger cooking space for cooking multiple foods simultaneously since they occupy more space on the cabinet. Whereas a cooktop has a smaller cooking area, and you may have difficulty fitting as many pots and pans simultaneously as you would with a rangetop.
Compared to a cooktop, a rangetop comes with more power burners; therefore they offer superior heating to allow cooks to prepare meals faster. This is because they’re designed to serve avid home cooks, professional chefs, and other commercial purposes. Some range tops have all their burners as power burners.
Cooktops do not produce as much powerful heat as a rangetop as they are designed for home use. This is because cooktops come with only one power burner while the other secondary burners don’t cook up to high temperatures.
Professional and heavy-duty
Rangetops come with professional features such as sturdy knobs, surfaces that won’t scratch easily, and are dependable in withstanding the heavy-duty cooking of professional or very busy kitchens. Plus range tops are larger and have more room around them, so that multiple chefs can easily cook at the same time for a large number of people.
While cooktops are designed to handle the everyday cooking tasks of small to mid-sized families.
Which One Is more Usable in the Kitchen Between A Cooktop and A Rangetop?
A range top is more usable in the kitchen than a cooktop due to its ability to withstand heavy use for a long time. A gas range top has the longest life expectancy of most kitchen appliances: it can last for 15 years or more while an electric rangetop can last for around 13 years. Cooktops on the other hand are not as durable as rangetops and don’t last as long.
Secondly, range tops come with professional features such as superior heating for cooking food faster, surfaces that don’t scratch easily, and knobs placed at the front of the appliance. These features make avid cooks and professional chefs prefer cooking with them.
Cooktops don’t have exceptional heating capabilities and their control knobs are placed at the top of the surface which can be too hot to touch. Here's how to use a cooktop.
What foods can you cook on a cooktop?
From your veggies to your fries, pizza, and your roast chicken, you can cook just about any meal on your cooktop. And despite stove tops not coming with ovens, you can bake bread and cakes on your cooktop. Here are some of the best uses of cooktops.
A cooktop is great for small kitchens that can’t accommodate an oven.
What foods can you cook on a range top?
You can simmer stew, boil rice, broil vegetables, and all sorts of cuisines with a rangetop. And unlike cooking ranges, range tops don’t come with ovens. However, rangetops have exceptional heating capabilities that make them great for baking and cooking meals that go in the oven.
A rangetop is great for kitchens that are too tiny for an oven to fit in. Also, if your oven is faulty, a range top can step up to the task.
What are the instances where a cooktop and a rangetop can be paired together in the kitchen?
You can use a cooktop and a rangetop if you cook for a small family and host friends and relatives at your dinner or weekend parties.
Cooktops are made for everyday home use, while rangetops can withstand heavy use and have more space that can allow two or more people to cook simultaneously.
What are the instances where a cooktop and a range top should never be used together?
Do not use a cooktop and a rangetop when you’re cooking for six people or less. Despite a cooktop's small size, it can cook for a small family of six. So you won't need a rangetop as it's designed to cook for larger families and commercial centers.
What to Consider when Buying A Cooktop or A Rangetop?
If you love to cook and are torn between choosing a cooktop and a rangetop, here are the factors you should consider before investing in a stove top.
What size of stove should I buy?
Cooktops and rangetops are categorized based on the number of burners and sizes. Most cooktops are between 30 to 36 inches. Usually, 30-inch stove tops come with four to five burners while 36-inch models come with five or six burners. If you have a tiny kitchen, you can go for 24-inch model.
That said, cooktops are smaller and require a smaller installation space; hence they can fit in small kitchens. On the other hand, range tops are larger, and they may take up too much space on your kitchen counter if you have a small kitchen.
What type of cooktop or range top do I need?
There are three types of cooktops; electric, gas, and induction cooktops. While there are two types of range tops; electric and gas range tops.
Gas cooktops and rangetops are not as expensive to operate when compared to the electric models. These stove tops also heat up very fast, give you more control over your heating, and don’t require any warm-up time.
Electric cooktops and range tops are more efficient in heating since they’re more consistent in their temperatures. They also heat more slowly and keep the kitchen cooler than gas stove tops. However, electric cooktops and range tops are 10 – 30% more expensive than gas cooktops and rangetops.
Induction cooktops are the safest and fastest types of cooktops. However, they’re more expensive than the other appliances, and you can only use them with magnetic cookware.
Does the amount of cooking I do matter?
If you’re a home cook who cooks for a small to mid-sized family, a cooktop will suffice. But if you cook for a large family, restaurant, or regularly host parties on the weekends, you’ll need a more dependable cooker that can withstand heavy use like a rangetop.
Do I need a professional cooker or a simple one?
Cooktops come with features such as a modern look, control knobs made with standard materials, and a power burner plus other secondary burners. These are designed to cater to the needs of the everyday home cook cooking for small to mid-sized families.
Rangetops come with professional features that you may not need if you cook for a small family or you’re not an avid cook.
What are the best brands for cooktops?
The 6 best brands making the best cooktops are Samsung, Bosch, Thor, Thermador, LG, and Viking.
Samsung is one of the best brands making mobile phones and home appliances. And they’ve brought their technology into the kitchen. Samsung has a cooktop that’s enabled with smart home technology. While there were complaints about the technology, the kitchen appliance is a very efficient one.
Bosch is another brand with some of the best gas cooktops. Their cooktops are very efficient in producing high heat and easy to clean. They also come at great prices.
Miele is a high-end brand. Their cooktops are high-quality with well-organized control panels. However, they’re expensive.
Thermador is another luxury brand making some of the best cooktops. Their appliances are expensive but considering the durable and professional features they come with, they’re worth every penny.
Like Samsung, LG has a smart cooktop. When there’s a problem with your appliance, the smart feature transmits data using your phone to LG to troubleshoot the problem. Plus LG’s cooktops are very efficient in cooking at high temperatures.
Viking is a reputable brand making some of the best cooktops. Their gas cooktops are some of the best gas models you can get. They’re durable and designed for heavy use. However, they’re expensive.
What are the best brands for rangetops?
The 5 best brands making the best range tops are Miele, KitchenAid, Wolf, Café, and Bosch.