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prairiemoon2

Electric Stoves - Smooth Top or Coil?

We want to replace our stove. We use electric. The one we are replacing was a GE that was fine for the most part for 15 years, but having lived in a time when stoves lasted for 30-40 years, it's really disappointing that instead of getting better, manufacturers are just filling up the land fills with more appliances than we should have to. But be that as it may...


The GE stove we are wanting to replace, has had a few issues. One the coils. They snap in and out for cleaning and they've been falling apart and never level for years. And the underpans are cheap compared to the old enamel ones they used to make. All need replacing, which would cost us over $150. and not sure if we can get the exact model # anyway, so not sure if they wlll fit.


We bought an extended warranty that of course ran out before we started having problems with the temperature regulation in the oven. We figure we have to put the temperature up 20 degrees more than the recipe calls for. And the electronics panel on the timer - stopped working and trying to get it to work, the 'skin' over it is all wrecked.


We spent $700+ for the stove and thought that was not a cheap stove. But at this point, if I could buy a stove that would last longer and not fall apart, I'd want to do that. I started looking, but - I need white to go with my kitchen. And I see some white electrics, but 3/4 of them are smooth tops.


Of course, I'm sure cleaning one is easier, but I can't see how putting metal pans on glass surfaces is not going to scratch up the top. I know it would bug me to death to get a scratched top after a couple of years of use and then have to live with it another 10 years or so.


So, I'm on the fence about getting another electric coil stove.


I was hoping someone who has had a smooth top for awhile could share their experiences with keeping the glass surface free of scratches and problems.



Comments (26)

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    I've been reading on the forum a little bit and see a number of people really don't like the smooth tops. They'd rather an induction. So I am looking at that choice now. Thanks.

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  • Oliviag
    3 years ago
    please, do take a look at induction. easy to clean, easy to use, more instant in response than any electric.
    don't let the magnetic pan thing throw you. an inexpensive set of ikea 365 works great on mine.
    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked Oliviag
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Well, the pan thing does throw me a lilttle. I've invested a fair amount of money in Calphalon and All Clad pans. I plan to test them when I get a minute. And I'm not a big fan of IKEA for the most part. I like a quality pan that cleans up great and stands the test of time.

    And I wonder if the glass top cracks, or chips if you drop something on it.

    I also need white in my kitchen. Black and stainless really look out of place and all the glass tops are black. My current stove is actually white on white. I will see if I can find an induction in white, once I am able to test my pans.

    Thanks..

  • jwvideo
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Not to put a damper on the enthusiasm for induction, but white induction ranges are few and far between in the North American market. Also, very expensive, The least costly one that I know of is the "matte white" double oven, 30-inch wide CHS950 model from Café (formerly known as GE Cafe). Those seems to run about $3700 to $3800 . Everything else I've seen will be Viking and Bertazzoni models which cost upwards of twice that.Of course, there are always the AGA models if you fee like tearing your kitchen apart to accomodate a 48" wide range that will cost $9k or so. :>)

    On your question about cracking and chipping the top surface, the ceramic tops of induction and radiant ranges are pretty tough. They usually won't crack unless you drop something very heavy from several feet up, say having a large cast iron dutch oven fall off the top cabinet shelf onto the stove. Superficial scratching is harder to predict. Generally speaking, the risk is greatest with rough-bottomed pans such as bare cast itron or when shoveling pans around over abrasive spills like salt or sugar. You can protect against that with induction (but not radiant electric) by using something to cushion the surface as by placing silicon matting or a paper towel or a dish towels between the pan and hob surface. (That's part of the "ooohhh, magic" you can do with induction to startle neighbors and friends.) This has been getting discussed every six months or so here over the last few years if you want to search for prior threads.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked jwvideo
  • Jakvis
    3 years ago

    If you go with an Induction range you will most certainly need to upgrade your electric circuit from what you probably have now.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked Jakvis
  • wdccruise
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    The induction Frigidaire FGIF3036TF is well-rated by Consumer Reports and reasonably priced at about $900. The person above wrote that "you will most certainly need to upgrade your electric circuit" but a quick check of coil ranges on the Home Depot website showed that they require a 40 amp circuit which is the same as that required by the Frigidaire FGIF3036TF.

    You're not going to find a reasonably-priced, white induction range.

    I have a smoothtop range but would choose an induction range over it any day (based on my use of a one-burner, portable induction cooktop which I use whenever possible).

    (Of course, you can't beat the price of old-style ranges, as cheap as $400 for a self-cleaning coil model and $560 for a self-cleaning smoothtop at Home Depot.)

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked wdccruise
  • opaone
    3 years ago

    I'd go induction. Massively better than electric. Faster response, much better control, safer, easier to keep clean, usually higher temps.

    The circuit you had for your electric range s/b fine (but check to make sure).

    Why white?

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked opaone
  • salonva
    3 years ago

    Following this for the future. Is there much of a learning curve to go to induction? That range that Lawrence Sprouls posted (the Frigidaire) looks like a great suggestion.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked salonva
  • Joe T.
    3 years ago

    And I'm not a big fan of IKEA for the most part. I like a quality pan that cleans up great and stands the test of time.

    I've got some IKEA 365 pans that I've had for over 15 years. They're holding up just as well as my Calphalon, cast iron, and carbon steel stuff. And I don't baby my kitchen gear—I work it hard.

    Your Calphalon should work just fine for induction, although I can't vouch for it as I'm a solid gas man.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked Joe T.
  • delray33483
    3 years ago

    induction is the way to go. Learning curve is minimal. Bad news is that nothing lasts that long anymore.


    The electric connection may be a three wire connection on the old range. Would need four wire now

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked delray33483
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Jwvideo -

    I looked at that Cafe 30 inch in matte white. It’s gorgeous. I really like the look of it, except for the black top. Which I expect I’m not going to get away from. I thought I saw some smooth tops that were black with a white film over them on a white on white range, but, it really didn’t tone down the black all that much. And with the ‘matte’ white - I’d have to assume we’re not talking about enamel, but rather steel or aluminum parts painted white? The one on the Cafe site - was listed for $4299 MSRP. Really pricey. I was hoping to stay under $2500.

    No - not going in the direction of Viking or Bertazzoni or AGA. Way out of my price range. Love the AGA models.

    The cracking, chipping, sounds like not a big issue and I guess I’m going to have to read about glass surfaces that you can put a paper towel between the heat source and the pan? That does sound like magic. [g]. Scratching I would want to avoid.

    Jakvis -

    I’ll have to check our electrical system to see what we have.

    Lawrence -

    Thanks for posting that Frigidaire - It doesn’t come in white and has no knobs. I’ve not been happy with the electronic panels on my current range, so I’m looking to go to all knobs if I can. Yes, looks like I’m not going to find a white one.

    I’ve pretty much written off the smooth tops after just a few posts about baked on food and scrubbing and scraping. I’d rather clean underpans and enamel on a coil stove than that and not risk stained, scratched glass after a few years.

    We paid $700 for our last range, a GE white on white. It’s been fine, but for the electronic panel and the coils, under burners wearing out really fast and now the temperature on the oven is about 20 degrees off. We’re looking for an upgrade and paying a little more for hopefully something better.

    I’ve used electric my entire life. Never lived in a home with gas. So we’re used to it. If they made electric stoves the way they used to, I’d probably not be looking to change.

    Opaone -

    I’m leaning toward the induction. We’ll check the electric system.

    My kitchen is a country kitchen with all white appliances, maple cabinets, hardwood floor, wallpaper. Black is just an eyesore in the kitchen. All my small appliances are white. I’m not doing over the whole kitchen just replacing the stove. We’ve already replaced the dishwasher and refrigerator in white not that long ago.

    Joe T -

    Thanks. Very good to know that you’ve had such a great experience with the IKEA pans. I do buy some items from IKEA and you get what you pay for to some degree. I like their policies of trying to offer ‘non toxic’ products as much as possible. I hear good things about their kitchen remodels. I don’t hesitate to buy anything made of all wood. And when you need an inexpensive piece of furniture that you don’t care about having to put together and not having much longevity - I am a fan. I’ve also been happy with their inexpensive down comforters. I’ll have to try the pans.

    I did check my pans with a magnet this morning. All my Calphalon work. I was surprised that one of my All Clad skillets does not. Odd - the small one does work and the larger one does not. Otherwise, everything but one cheap pan, seems like it will work, so that’s not going to be an issue. OH - except I do have a heavy Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I guess it’s cast iron with enamel over it, right? I forgot to test with a magnet, but I assume it will work.

    Delray -

    I hear you - nothing lasts long any more. Very true. I’ll check the electric.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I was wondering - what is the difference between a slide in range and a free standing? I have a free standing. Is there an issue with heat, because a slide in doesn't have insulation? I am looking at that Cafe induction top in white and it is a slide in. The lowest price I've seen is $3761. A reviewer said the knobs are plastic and the whole thing is painted and the paint was chipping off very quickly. Another said the seal between the controls and the cooktop pushed in and can't come out after 3 months and provided a photo to show it. I hate this kind of thing. You can read many reviews of people who are satisified with their purchase, but there's always a surprise in the poor review posts. [g]


    A reviewer said this range only requires 40amp service. Is that what the average person has?

  • wdccruise
    3 years ago

    You have to follow the rules in section 2, "Prepare the Opening", of the installation instructions to make sure the surfaces that surround the range are protected.

    Check at the ratings on the stove circuit's fuses or circuit breakers. Buy the correct cord (3-wire or 4-wire) for the type of 240v outlet your kitchen has.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked wdccruise
  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Would I be correct to assume that if we originally put a free standing in that position, that we didn't prepare the surrounding surfaces for a slide in? We have wood cabinets on either side, wall behind and probably plywood underneath.

  • wdccruise
    3 years ago

    You have to check the installation instructions to be sure. For GE appliances, go to geappliances.com, find the product under consideration, and review the instructions. Other manufacturers also have those instructions online though you can typically find them on the seller's website (e.g., Home Depot) as well.

    prairiemoon2 z6b MA thanked wdccruise
  • dan1888
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    40 amp is standard. If you're in the price range of the GE look at a Bosch. The 800 or Benchmark have received some of the best reviews here. A slide-in should go fine where your freestanding range was. The backsplash in that area may need attention, if anything. Your cooking experience will be changed a lot. Installation Guide

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  • weedmeister
    3 years ago

    " If you go with an Induction range you will most certainly need to upgrade your electric circuit from what you probably have now. "

    Not necessarily. My old GE coil top had a 50 amp circuit.

    Basically, a slide-in has a 'rim' that sits on the counter top. (Well, actually, not always. There are some now that don't sit on the counter top.) The controls are usually on the front instead of the back. It still rests on legs on the floor. It may NOT go all the way to the wall, requiring a strip of counter top behind it (some do go all the way).

  • kevinande
    3 years ago

    Slide in ranges are designed to give you a seem less look. If you have a back splash for instances the lines will not be broken. in addition the controls are up front, where IMO it is much safer to operate the unit. depending on how wide it is there will tend to be some gap between the free standing and the counter top. Some slide in's (maybe all) allow the glass cook top to overhang the counter top again for a seem less look..


    Let me start by saying the coil system will more than likely to prove more reliable in the long term. That said get a warranty with your new induction unit and if you can a small portable cook top (hot plate) may be advised. While I absolutely love the technology, it is prone to failure mostly from overheated circuitry. Given that appliances are already produced as cheaply as possible this does not help. My working theory is that stand alone cook tops tend to last a bit longer than ranges because they don't have to deal with the additional heat of the oven, however there are plenty of cook tops that fail. The hot plate will help you still be able to prepare meals in the event your unit fails. The warranty company will generally repair/replace your unit, however it could be a long time before it is resolved. I have had a warranty claim on a Whirlpool unit that has been open since the 10th of February for one of my rental units. I ended up having to buy the tenants a new range last Saturday.


    Now that is out of the way, Induction is awesome technology and IMO makes cooking a little fun. The learning curve is minimal, just don't turn it up to maximum power when you first start out. You are almost guaranteed to burn things. The cooking surface of both coiled and induction units are pretty tough. You will have to have a pretty nasty drop on the surface or intentionally try to damage it, yet some people still manage to break them. As mentioned earlier you can buy silicon mats and place them between the pan and cooking surface. This will prevent scratches. You can also use towels, paper towels and newspaper (do not apply maximum power with any paper products). Please do not try this with coils, you will just burn down your home.


    Power consumption on induction is not much different than that of a conventional electric. The way to be certain is to obviously read the installation manual that comes with the model you choose. That said most will operate fine with a capacity to spare on a 40 AMP circuit. Please if you have a 30 AMP breaker don't just have the breaker changed to a 40. The wiring capacity must also match. It is safer to run it on a 30 AMP circuit and allow the breaker to do it's job if the required amperage is exceeded. 4 way vs 3 way plug. If your home is equipped with a 3 way you can use a 3 way on any modern appliance. The 4 ways are new code that eliminates the possibility of current traveling to the machine as it provides a different path to ground. The old style is safe , however there is the potential for a nasty shock or worse if current were to find it's way to the ground wire. This of course requires a connection inside the machine to be loose and yada yada yada. Not at lesson is electrical conductivity. 3 pong plug will work fine.

  • Lisa
    3 years ago

    " I know it would bug me to death to get a scratched top after a couple of years of use and then have to live with it another 10 years or so. "


    The good news is that most of the new appliances rarely last 10 years or more.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    Dan1888 -
    I will definitely look at the Bosch, thanks.

    As far as my backsplash goes - I checked today and I have tile all across the back of my current stove, behind the top control panel, that I believe comes down to the counter, but we don’t have counter behind the range, no.

    I just went down and looked at the electric panel. I know nothing about the electrical system [g]. To shut off the whole system, there are two switches labeled 100. So I’m thinking 200 amp? I don’t see a switch labeled for the range, but there are two side by side, with one R after the first one, with no number on them. All the rest have numbers, 10, 20, 30. All the other appliances are labeled, so guess I fell down on the job when the electrician was here working on it, that I didn’t notice he didn’t take the time to write ‘Range’.

    Kevin -
    We don’t have small kids in the house, but I thought that was always the reason not to have the controls in front. But in the front keeps you from being burned reaching over a pot, I guess. Funny, I don’t remember ever doing that.

    Thanks so much for the great explanation of the big picture with these induction ranges. And I didn’t stop to think about the technology of the induction surface. Overheated circuitry sounds like more of the problems we already have with the electronics in appliances being responsible for early deaths. [g] And, yes, the other side of that is, that we’re already having these issues with the other types of appliances, this is no different, I guess.

    As far as warranties go, we’ve always gone for the extended warranty, but, our experience seems to be that the week after it expires is when we need service, so I’m thinking we can save money for the eventual service visit, by just not paying for the extended warranty. Of course, the minute we do that, it will break down in the warranty period. :-)

    First I’ve heard about a 4way prong plug. We should be having other reasons to call an electrician before we have to start installing a new stove, so I will go over all this at that point. Thanks for the explanations.

    Lisa -
    The stove I am replacing - we bought in 2009 - so just about 10 years old. Horrible that they only last that long. I grew up with stoves that were 30 years old and still going strong. One of my pet peeves. It makes you crazy thinking of how many more appliance carcasses are filling up the landfills. Reminds me of that animated movie, Wall-E. [g]

  • dadoes
    3 years ago

    The two linked breakers, each labeled 100, to shut off the entire feed into the house probably is 100 amps for the full service feed. Two breakers for being 240 volts but they don't add together to make 200 amps.

    People complaining about the service life of appliances ... a legitimate thing, but that's everywhere, on everything. I work at a movie theater. We held-out for a while against digital projectors, made the switch in summer of 2012. We've had a magnitude (if not several magnitudes) more trouble with the digital equipment than with the old film projectors. A mechanical projector fails ... change a belt, oil a gear, tighten a screw ... the show goes on. A digital projector blows a board, it's dead until a replacement board is installed. One particular board is extremely troublesome. ALL the projectors have had it fail multiple times. I changed one this morning, last change of that board in that projector was exactly 9 months ago. For comparison to a range, the list price of that board is $10,000 to $12,000. For one board, of several boards, in one projector. All of ours have been under either the original warranty or covered by an extended parts warranty ... which is an additional expense that wasn't involved with the film projectors.

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  • wdccruise
    3 years ago

    You'll have to turn each breaker off and then on individually to figure out which services the range. I'd start with the "R" breaker; if it's that one you'll have to figure out its amperage before you know whether it's sufficient to support the new range.

    The LG LSE4616ST is a well-rated (by Consumer Reports) slide-in induction range with knobs; for sale by Home Depot and Appliances Connection. The Kenmore Elite 95073 freestanding range is also well-rated. Both require 40 amp service.

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  • cpartist
    3 years ago

    I know your heart is set on a white range but a stainless one will not look out of place with your other white appliances. Even the black glass cooktop will be fine. I promise.

    I second the motion to look at Bosch. 17 levels of heat and each hob has its own timer. I have the Bosch cooktop and I love it. Yes it's not knobs, but knobs nowadays are not mechanical knobs like the old days. Even knobs nowadays use electronics.

    The best part? When I'm done, if anything spilled over or if grease escaped onto the surface, I take out my Windex and paper towel, and clean up the mess. Nothing baked on. No needing the scrub coils or grates or scrape the glass.

    BTW: Consumer Reports is not the gold standard in appliance ratings anymore. Take a look at Yale Appliances for excellent articles on ratings.


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  • wdccruise
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    "Consumer Reports is not the gold standard in appliance ratings anymore. Take a look at Yale Appliances for excellent articles on ratings."

    • Yale Appliance is a store. It doesn't test appliances and certainly not in a controlled, reproducible fashion as CR does. I looked at its videos; they're just promotions. It sells only certain brands -- mostly fancy-pants -- and promotes those brands. You can't buy a GE, Frigidaire, LG range even those these are among the most popular. Finally, how many people need a $9K induction range?

    I second the motion to look at Bosch.

    • At $3K the cheapest Bosh induction range is $1K more than the LG.

    Yes it's not knobs

    • She wants knobs.
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  • 3katz4me
    3 years ago

    I got an Electrolux freestanding induction range a couple years ago. It had conflicting info re: 40 amp vs. 50 amp. I was able to upgrade from 40 amp to 50 AND upgrade the wiring pretty easily through the unfinished section of our basement so I just did it (should say hired an electrician to do it). I don't think I would have run into a problem unless I had a lot of burners, oven, warming drawer, etc. going at the same time but since I could upgrade I did. I'm very happy with the range so far - it was relatively inexpensive compared to the Bosch which was the other one I was considering. I preferred the hob layout on the E'lux and figured I'd be wasting less $ if there were reliability/short lifespan issues as are common these days. Overall I love induction.

    I had all the necessary pots/pans except my old "extra" revere ware didn't work so I bought in inexpensive set of Duxtop on Amazon just to have a few extra pans when needed. I actually like those pans better than my All Clad - nice handles vs. the All Clad handles that cut into your hand.

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