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05 July 2008 @ 03:48 pm
What kind of stove top??  
My oven is dead... kaput... and it's time to buy a new range. I'm considering whether or not to buy one with coil burners, or a smooth top cooking surface. I've only ever used a stove with the coil burners, and I've heard both good and bad things about the smooth tops...

What are your opinions / experiences with the smooth top cooking surfaces? They are supposed to be easier to clean, but it seems that the complaints I've heard about them are exactly related to this, and how NOT easy to clean they are...

Thanks in advance!

UPDATE: Thanks for all of the advice, friendly hipsters! We ended up going with a glass top -- hopefully it was the right decision! :)
Meijhenmeijhen on July 5th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
They are a lot easier to clean if you clean on a regular basis, don't leave spills to sit, etc
But once something gets burned on, I've found it's darn near impossible to get it off. Even if you get the actual burnt stuff off, it leaves a residue or stain (not sure which) that I haven't been able to get off no matter what I use.

It's really easy to wipe up spills, though, that's for sure!
shiny_jen on July 6th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
even a magic eraser?
Alicealice_bunnie on July 6th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, even Magic Eraser doesn't clean everything! ;)

My best friend ruined not only her smooth top electric, but her niece's by letting things spill on the top, and not cleaning immediately. I was there and I spilt something on the stove and I had to scrub, and scrub and scrub and it was a major PITA.

Also, I don't recommend using cast iron on smooth top surfaces, but again this might have just been my friend.
Dolmenadolmena on July 9th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
I use cast iron on my smooth top, but if I had had the choice I would have gone for a gas stove instead. The cast iron hasn't "ruined" the ceramic top exactly, but it does tend to leave residue, and I am paranoid that one day I'll drop a cast iron skillet on the stovetop and crack it.
a tempest in a teapot.wearycommunist on July 5th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
my mother has a smooth top and i HATE HATE HATE it. it does not heat evenly at all, takes forever to warm up, etc. it is relatively easy to clean, though. also, she discovered that the top will crack if, say, you happen to try to kill a cockroach scampering across the top of it with a broom. (oh, the joys of living in alabama) my first pick is always a gas range, but sounds like maybe you don't have a gas hookup?
fotogrrl777fotogrrl777 on July 5th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC)
Nope, gas isn't an option. :(
Vanda Paulino de Noronhasabyne on July 5th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
"my mother has a smooth top and i HATE HATE HATE it. it does not heat evenly at all, takes forever to warm up, etc. it is relatively easy to clean, though"

Pretty much what I was going to say! I've burnt a lot of stuff in it as well, as it takes forever to cool down!
just meleatherfemme on July 5th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
If you have the resources for it, look into induction.

Other than that, the only thing a glass top gives you is an easy to clean surface.
aeryn on July 5th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)
The one time I used a flat-top (I guess it was glass?) , I used the wrong type of cooking pan or something, because flames shot out from it. Never again!!!

I have used electric coil-top, which is what I grew up with. Now I use gas stove, and holy heck, I love it so much. I hate having to wait for the coils to heat up. But looks like gas isn't an option for you... :(
Heatherheathrow on July 5th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
I like my smooth cook top. Clean as you go, and it cleans easily. If stuff gets burned on (and you get lazy), use the bottle of stuff that you get with your stove (mine's called "Cook Top Cleaning Creme for Smooth Top Ranges" - catchy, huh?). That plus a sponge and elbow grease will get it back to brand new status in a few minutes.

I use every type of pan on mine - dutch oven, cast iron, etc. - love it.
fotogrrl777fotogrrl777 on July 5th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Do you find it heats as evenly as traditional coils? What about taking a long time to heat up or cool down?
Heatherheathrow on July 5th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
It takes a longer time to cool down than a traditional coil, but I'm not sure about heating up. As far as heating evenly, I would think it would be more a factor of the pan than the coil, but I could be very wrong. :) I would check out Consumer Reports and see what they say in evaluating coils versus smooth tops. (You could get it at the library.)

The cleaning factor was huge for me - I went from a gas range where I was _always_ cleaning it to this smooth top. It's so nice.
fotogrrl777fotogrrl777 on July 5th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the advice! :)
Dolmenadolmena on July 9th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
My last couple of traditional coil stoves didn't heat evenly, so I have found the flat top superior.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 5th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
I really love my glass top stove - spending two minutes cleaning it instead of 20 is a definite bonus, and it cooks evenly and much faster. Only two minor nits - I can't can on it and pans tend to slide. I've learned to deal with the slidey problem and bought a hotplate for canning, and all is well. I'd highly recommend it.
fotogrrl777fotogrrl777 on July 5th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Mind if I ask what brand/model you have? Uneven cooking seems to be another complaint, but I'm assuming it varies between manufacturers...

Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 5th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
I have a Frigidaire, I don't know the model though.
fotogrrl777fotogrrl777 on July 5th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'll take a look at those.
oatmeal doomcookie: Housewifegeminigirl on July 6th, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
I have a GE smooth top and don't have a problem with uneven heating unless the bottom of my pan is uneven; I have one pot that is uneven on the bottom. I don't use my copper bottom pots on there, I've never bothered to investigate why, I was just told never to use them on there, and since I have plenty of pots, it's not a bit deal. I haven't had problems with stuff staining or leaving residue as long as it's cleaned up promptly, and regularly wiped with an appropriate glass top cleaner.

Meganmestreen on July 5th, 2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
not to hijack from the OP, but I just bought a house with a smooth top, so I'm very interested in this post. Why can't you can? I love to can and will be mad if I can't. Also, what's a hotplate? The only thing I can think of is the little thing I had in college- no way can my huge ass canner fit on that! Thanks!
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 5th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
TBQH, sometimes I cheat and do a small batch on the glass top, but you're not supposed to anyway - the ridged bottom of the canner and the sheer weight are bad for the glass and can crack it or can break the supports, or melt the top I guess. It is possible to buy a flat-bottom canner sometimes, but they're pretty rare, I haven't found one. The hotplate I have is kind of like your college hotplate's steroid-riddled older brother :) I bought a 2-burner catering hotplate off Amazon (I forget which model and it's in the garage); it requires two plugs, but is equivalent to 2 coil burners and does a fine job. You can also use a gas ring like they sell for deep-frying turkey and use it in the garage - I do that when I do pressure canning, which is rarely.
Meganmestreen on July 5th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
hmmmm, I didn't think of the weight of it. I think I have a smooth bottom one (it's old school) but I'll have to look. Thanks for bringing this up, though- I would have never thought twice! That would have been an expensive lesson to learn! :)
piperki: HCIYHpiperki on July 6th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks for the detail. I want to do some minor canning this year for the first time every (maybe jam and/or tomatoes) and I have a coil stove, so looks like I'll be OK? Do I really need to buy a canner for small jobs like that?
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 6th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
Yes, it's fine on a coil stove. If you're just doing a few jars you can use a regular stock pot with a tight fitting lid, but you won't be able to do more than a few jars (2-3 at a time). You can buy special smaller-size canners if you're interested in only doing a few batches.
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 6th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC)
Oh, I forgot - for jelly or jam and things like cooked relishes with a high vinegar content you don't even need a canner, you can do what's called the "inversion" method. You put the jars in the pot and boil them for 10 minutes (don't put the lids in, just put those in warm water, if you boil them you ruin the sea). Then get the jars out with tongs (they have to be hot), drain the water out, fill them to about 1/3 inch from the top, put the ring and lid on and then flip them upside down and leave them that way 10 minutes. One caveat, the seals won't be as strong as processed jar seals, so you don't want to do a large batch this way, but if you're just doing half a dozen jars of jam it should be fine. Don't drop them or bang them together.
The Last Unicornlindsalicious on July 5th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC)
I'd been using coil tops for years before I got my glass top and I much prefer the glass top. There isn't a noticable difference as far as the time it takes to heat up, I spend the same amount or less time cleaning it, and I think the look is more sleek and updated looking. (I'm one of those annoying people who always has the potential for resale in the back of my mind.) It does take longer for the burners to cool, but I don't have little kids running around or anything so that wasn't a huge issue for me.

Oh, and I caught a commercial a few weeks ago for some Scotch Brite glass top cleaning sponge or something that looked promising as far as the burned on residue thing people were mentioning.
Jennifer St.Clairjenstclair on July 5th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I would be afraid that some of the antique cast iron skillets I regularly use would end up too warped to use on a glass-top smooth surface. Even a little bit of warping would make them unusable, I'd think.

I've never used one, but I also never considered buying one. My gas stove is a 1949 Tappan Deluxe stove and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am hoping it lasts for many, many years to come. :)
Sarcasticia Nitpickersontisiphone on July 5th, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I use my gran's cast iron skillets on mine all the time and have never had a problem :)
i'm not really meladyartemisa on July 5th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
we just bought a smooth top, we had a coil one.
i am in love... we have had it for 4 months or so and it is easy peasy to clean.
i clean things up immediately and dont let things just sit there.. so that might be why. if you have a history of not doing this, then you might have issues.
it heats better than our coil one ever did too, but we got a pretty pricey one so i dont know if the lower end ones are like this.
we use mostly cast iron. no issues.
Kristina with a Ktanwen on July 5th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC)
Smooth top stoves
The 2 I've used were all right to clean as long as you didn't let something boil over or burn onto the top. Then it was damn near impossible.
I also hated the length of time they took to heat up & they stayed HOT for quite some time after they were turned off. So much so that the manufacturer installed a light that would stay on as long as the surface was hot. You really had to be careful with it.

Edited at 2008-07-05 10:56 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Marcieeal on July 6th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
My parents switched to a glass top when they remodeled the kitchen and from the perspective of the person who cleans up after Christmas eve dinner, it is a god send (home cooked Chinese food, it used to take hours to get their old range clean).

When we bought our house, it also had glass top and I do really like it. It cleans up easily, but it does take longer to cool. We do have a toddler, but it hasn't proven to be a problem. We have a Frigidare -- don't remember what the folks have.
Komodo Dragon Expertcalieber on July 6th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
The current issue of Consumer Reports reviews ranges.

I'd have to say that if I had an electric stovetop, I'd go for glass over coil if only for aesthetic reasons.
mubmubeimmik on July 6th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
My main beef with mine is it's black and shiny, so if anything gets on it ever my stove looks really smudgy and dirty. That said, if you've got a nice sharp razorblade (they even make special ones specifically for it that have a slightly safer to hold handle) and the correct stove cleaner they're not bad to keep clean.