Sears Knowledge Center


Cooktop Buying Guide

Streamline your kitchen and cook your favorites in style

Cooktops are cooking surfaces that often sit at counter level. Some models are combined with an oven range while others are completely separate and designed to fit anywhere on your countertop. You can find cooktops that use either gas or electric heat in varying sizes to accommodate the amount of space you have available.

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Types of Cooktops

gas burners

Electric vs. Gas Cooktops

When you're looking for a new cooktop for your dream kitchen, one of the most important questions to answer is whether you prefer to cook with electric or gas.  It's a good idea to take a step back and take a critical look at the benefits of each to make sure you are using the best heat source for your cooking needs.

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Types of Burners

What are Open Gas Burners?

An open gas burner offers a full gas flame that aims directly upward without a barrier or cap, evenly heating any pot or pan on your stovetop. Open gas burners are the more traditional of the two types of cooktop burners, with the newer sealed gas burners more recently making their way into the world of kitchen appliances. 

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open gas burners

What are Sealed Gas Burners?

Sealed gas burners are cooktop burners that emit flames from below a protective cap instead of directing flame straight up to your cookware.  The metal drip pan around the base of the burner is sealed, offering a protective barrier from food and grease. A sealed gas burner's indirect flame is not as efficient as that of an open gas burner, but the sealed burner can be much easier to clean. 

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sealed gas burners

What are Dual Element Burners?

Dual element burners are single smoothtop burners which offer various sizes to match differently sized cookware. Instead of having a one-size-fits-all cooktop, you can customize each cooking task with the right amount of heat. The inner circle is perfect for smaller pots and pans while the outer circle is accommodating for your larger cookware, like frying pans and stock pots. Typically, the inner circle is 6 inches in diameter and the outer circle is 9 inches in diameter. 

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dual element burners

What are Power Burners?

Power burners are high-heat gas stove burners that have a significantly higher heat output than traditional stove burners. Power burners begin at 12,000 BTU (British thermal units) and can extend to 18,000 BTU while traditional burners usually range between 7,500 and 9,500 BTU.  Instead of the standard flame of a gas burner, the curling flames of a power burner are perfect for wok and cast iron skillet cooking. 

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power burners

What are Simmer Burners?

Simmer burners are small gas stove burners with a lower heat output than regular gas stove burners. They also give you more fine control over lower temperatures than standard burners. Simmer burners heat to 6,500 BTU (British thermal units) or less while standard burners can usually produce between 7,500 and 9,500 BTU.  Not every dish can be cooked quickly over high heat; many foods require slow cooking over a low flame for long periods of time. 

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simmer burners

Cooktop Features

cooktop bridge element

What is a Bridge Element on a Cooktop?

A bridge element on a cooktop is a feature that allows you to link two separate burners together to create one large burner. Heat is distributed evenly across the two burners to create a single heat element. Much like a dual burner element, a bridge element has multiple settings so that you can choose whether to use a single burner or multiple burners. Found mostly on electric radiant cooktops, bridge elements ensure even cooking and eliminate hot and cold spots when using griddles and oblong or oversized pans.

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downdraft ventilation

What is Downdraft Ventilation?

Downdraft ventilation is a type of ventilation in cooktops and kitchen ranges that pulls cooking fumes and smoke downward. A downdraft ventilation feature is a substitute for a traditional range hood that sucks smoke and steam upward. In addition to ventilating gas and electric stoves from fumes and smoke, a downdraft cooktop offers a modern look in an updated kitchen. 

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