CHOICE membership

Ceramic cooktops review

We review ceramic cooktops (member content) to help you find the best ones for your kitchen. You can also check out our free buying guide for more general info on ceramic cooktops.

Have you installed a ceramic cooktop? Please share your experience below.

4 Likes

I don’t understand why you would choose a ceramic cooktop. They are somewhat safer and easier to clean than the old exposed element electric stove but that is like saying your car tyres have better grip than banana skin. I realise that gas is not an option in some situations. If you are going electric, induction is way better than ceramic because it is:

  • quicker and more responsive which gives a better cooking control and ease of use
  • a more efficient use of electricity
  • easier to clean because the top does not get anywhere near as hot, with a ceramic the top is hot enough to burn on spills
  • safer due to the cooler top.

Induction used to be very, very expensive but that is no longer the case. Sure you can still pay $4000 or more for an induction top but you don’t have to. The average ceramic is probably cheaper than the average induction but the range of prices of the two styles overlaps and you can get a good induction for less that the top range ceramic.

4 Likes

You should not install an induction cooktop if anybody who may approach it while it is being used has a pacemaker fitted.

Welcome back @flight.

In relation to pacemakers and induction cooktop, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine has the following paper:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16635999

Choice has also looked into this in the past and found. (and in relation to the above paper)…

Associate Professor Neil Strathmore, Cardiologist has a special interest in pacemakers and particularly in issues relating to electrical or magnetic interference. He told us there are no published accounts of an induction cooktop interfering with a pacemaker or similar device. A 2006 study looked at a “worst-case” of a left-sided “unipolar” pacemaker set at the most sensitive setting and concluded that interference theoretically might occur if the person was closer than 60cm to the cooktop. However, nearly all pacemakers in Australia are “bipolar” and not set to such a sensitive setting. Therefore it’s extremely unlikely that any interference would occur in routine use and to any extent that would cause an adverse effect.

5 Likes

Well thank you phb. I stand both corrected and enlightened. Thankfully I don’t have a pacemaker - at least not yet!

5 Likes

As a first-time user of a Ceramic Cooktop. My husband and I find the “auto switch-off, boost, auto heat-up and stop and go” feature bewildering, and hope Choice can clarify its “normal” operation. If professional installers are unable to affirm or give assurance that this is “normal” operation, are customers expected to pay the full price for the service?

The first Ceramic Cooktop we bought for our investment unit was a free standing DeLonghi stove. It was a “Plan B” purchase decision since the preferred Choice-recommended Westinghouse ceramic stove was not available for weeks in any store. A professional electrician and his assistant from Install Right installed the stove, and tested the hubs in front of me for a few seconds. The hub rings quickly turned red so these suggested the cooktop was fine and passed the test.

After two weeks, to prepare the place for lease, my husband and I tested the stove again. We realised that the hubs stay red for only a few seconds then stops. This happens to all hubs, whether or not singly, even if a proper ceramic stove flat-based cookware sits on the hob. We had to postpone our plans to lease the unit since the tenant will not be able to cook.

We contacted DeLonghi who offered an electrician to check our stove out in two weeks. Two weeks without a chance for tenancy was not good, so we contacted our helpful salesman at Bing Lee. Upon his request, I sent a sent a video demonstrating the problem so that he can show it to their in-house electrician and line manager. I explained to him that we not are not happy with the DeLonghi stove since even after a repair (and weeks of waiting), we’d feel like we compromised ourselves with a poorer product/brand or unit. (We paid brand new for a factory second that could break down again.) I requested an exchange to a Westinghouse, even if meant having to pay the $185 installation cost again, and paying extra to upgrade from the DeLonghi model to the preferred Westinghouse. The electrician confirmed there is an issue with our DeLonghi unit and the Bing Lee line manager approved of the product exchange/upgrade.

Days later, the Westinghouse freestanding cooktop was delivered and professionally by another pair of electrician and assistant from Install Right. My husband was with the installers who also tested the hubs for a few seconds only, and were satisfied with the test. (My husband thought that he could just do the more intensive tests on his own later.) However, to our surprise and anxiety, the hubs did exactly the same thing. The hobs stay red only for a few seconds, even with proper cookware. We quickly spoke on the phone with the installers, who had left by then, to report the problem, and ask what we may not be doing right. They couldn’t say whether they can come back to check, nor can they give us advice or instructions on how to make the cooktop work. However, the installer on the phone promised to ring me back. He never did.

Our real estate agent suggested we keep the cookware on the stove and see what happens. We did. To our surprise, after further time on the stove, the hubs turned red again, then off again. In fact, it switches on and off like my iron! This kept happening until the water boiled. I reduced the heat and kept it simmering, this time ignoring how the hub underneath switches on and off.

So, is switching on and off normal operation for a ceramic stove? Is this what the Choice article means when it says, “auto switch-off, boost, auto heat-up and stop and go”? (I hope we came across this particular Choice review while we were searching online for answers.) What does this mean for its power consumption? Were we needlessly anxious, lose two weeks of tenancy, spent extra $185 on installation and $191 for an upgrade to a different stove, bother people, for no reason?

The installer is now charging is for the $156 remaining balance. $20 extra fine if we don’t pay in three days. Should we have to pay when their installer did not bother to get back to us for closure on our issue?

1 Like

I clarify that the user manuals of neither the DeLonghi nor Westinghouse user manuals mention anything about the circle on the hobs turning red on and off.

1 Like

Some I believe have a safety feature to stop the glass getting too hot, from memory of many years ago my Mum’s Chef Sapphire did this but generally only if nothing was on the plate or did not cover the plate sufficiently. Could this be the issue??

2 Likes

Thanks for asking. Nothing suggests that the glass, aside from the hob itself, was getting too hot in just those few seconds (about 10 seconds) that the red rings showed up. In all my stove tests the ceramic stove-compatible cookware was centered and directly on the hob.

2 Likes

Just checked and the answer from another site says the pulsing is normal to stop the glass & cooking from overheating and it is the sensor doing it.

" Home → My ceramic hob keeps turning itself on and off during cooking?

My ceramic hob keeps turning itself on and off during cooking?

  1. This is a normal process to avoid overheating. Each cooking zone has a sensor which allows the zone to pulse during the cooking process."

Several other Electrical appliance sites also state this is normal for a ceramic top stove. Partly it is to protect the ceramic glass from getting too hot but the switching also helps maintain target temperatures.

Boost is a feature usually for a “fast heating” zone on the stove, it uses a lot more energy to quickly heat, the coils are much heavier duty to withstand the increased energy used. The knob for a fast heat or boost zone normally has a label that notes this.

Auto Switch Off …It is a safety setting in that you turn it on but forget you have or don’t put something on the zone so it switches off after a set period for safety.

Auto heat-up …From CHOICE on this one " Automatic heat-up…This feature initially uses high power to heat up the cooktop quickly before switching to a lower temperature. If you’ve forgotten to turn down the heat, this feature takes care of it for you."

Stop and go…no idea at all but found this explanation:

The following manual for a different stove I think explains many of the features:

https://resource.electrolux.com.au/Public/File/?Id=18781

4 Likes

Was there a pot on the hobs? Our Westinghouse stops glowing red soon after a pan/pot is removed and goes red when put back on. This could be a safety/energy efficiency measure.

If one also places anything on the glass top when one hob is on, the stove turns itself off. This is quite frustrating if one placed say a tray from the oven on the stove top to close the oven door…it turns off anything on the stove. This caught me out tonight and only after about 10 minutes I realised what had happened. I believe this is a safety feature to prevent fires…eg. a flammable object placed accidentally on the job when it is on.

We have had gas and electric element stove tops in the past and these stay on until the user turns them off. We feel we have less control with the ceramic hobs.

3 Likes

Does this also apply to the portable induction hobs? I’m considering buying one (or a double maybe)… I dont have the option to install a proper cooktop and I HATE my gas.

1 Like

We have two of the “portable” types. Some doubles require a 15 amp circuit so may not be the best option. The 10 amp ones that have 2 hobs are ok if not running both at the same time above middle levels. We now prefer 2 singles and they work very efficiently. Heating is very fast and while most built in units give finer control of temps we have never found the portables difficult to use. We have currently a gas type built in stove but it sees so little use we are just paying the minimum cost that is stipulated by the supplier.

1 Like

I think it would. The reason for the increased efficiency is the magnetic induction heats the pot which is in intimate contact with the food. It does not heat an element which then has to transfer heat to the pot but also loses quite a bit of heat to the surroundings. There is some loss of efficiency because the conversion of electricity to magnetic pulses is not 100% but that is less than the heat loss of the ceramic.

I can’t see why being portable would make any difference. If it plugs into a normal power outlet it will be limited power compared with a dedicated circuit but you may find that quite acceptable.

A footnote to the tests that were conducted for @neuleaf’s cooktop, it is unfortunately common that salespeople and installers don’t always understand the fine workings of products they sell.

The preponderance of probability from the replies suggests that the unit(s) in question function exactly as they should, yet if a salesperson or sparky/installer did not have one of their own or have explicit training, a consumer could easily lead them astray with honest straight forward questions regarding operation.

That is not on the consumer, it is on training and familiarly with what remain comparatively low volume products most of the sales/installers possibly never encountered so they do not realise they are being led astray by their own lack of competence with the product range. They often assume the consumer knows more than they do so are not equipped to ask all of the relevant and often important basic questions, such as about a pot of water on the cooktop.

3 Likes

Thanks a lot for sharing your research on this. It clarifies its operation.

4 Likes

Yes, I agree. In this case, the cooks knew what the salesperson and sparkies/installers lacked in training and familiarity. Appliance manufacturers could do better by offering salespersons product training, including demonstration of safety features using a pot of water. By doing so, their product can be better appreciated.

I am grateful for all the feedback and input. I hope that other consumers can gain from the shared experience.

4 Likes