Cooktops vary in their methods of heat generation, with some models providing multiple options. The various methods include:
Gas is traditional and well-loved by many expert cooks. Gas responds quickly to adjustments and generally provides high heat output. Gas works with any pan, including the round-bottomed woks that are best for stir-frying. The flame can be useful for cooking a marshmallow or bell pepper on a fork. Gas cooktops are often very durable. Gas cooktops often come with gas ovens, which are not good for producing crunchy and crispy foods.
Electric coil cooktops are cheap, common, but don't allow the heat output to be adjusted quickly.
Induction is the most energy efficient cooktop method which uses magnetic induction energy to produce heat, rather than directly applying heat energy. Induction allows instantaneous heating, which reduces cooking time and reduces room temperatures when compared to other conventional methods. The induction surface is cooler and safer than ceramic cooktops. Induction cooktops have a smooth flat surface that is easy to clean.
Unfortunately, they require flat-bottomed magnetic pots and pans. Aluminum and copper will not work. Stainless steel may work poorly. Cast iron and carbon steel work well.
Induction cooktops now have a significant electronic component integrated in its control and operation. Safety mechanisms such as pan detection, spill detection, temperature sensor - 'safety cutoff' and residual heat indicators (to indicate a surface is hot) are quickly becoming standard features.
Other features include; electronic touch controls, child safety lock, unsuitable pan detection, preset temperature routines and programs, and power consumption optimization.
Ceramic cooktops act like electric coil cooktops, but they are easy to clean. They are also fragile and expensive.