Stove advice: Porcelain or Stainless stovetop?
I am trying to decide what model of freestanding gas range to buy. I have it narrowed
down to one of two GE Profile models. The key difference between them is that one
has a black porcelain rangetop (est of the stove is stainless) and the other is totally
stainless (i.e. top, front, etc.).
It seems to me that the porcelain might be easier to wipe clean when food spills.
The stainless might look a little better, but if it is harder to clean it's not worth it
Does anyone know whether wiping the porcelain clean will truly be easier than the
Most commercial ranges have porcelain tops. Porcelain is much easier to clean and maintain because of the hard finish. SS discolors from heat, scratches much easier and is a pain to keep clean from grease spatters. Porcelan just wipes clean. The only real way to damage porcelan is to drop it or drop something on it hard
I just recently replaced a porcelain cooktop that came with the house (it was probably over 20 years old). It had a number of chips and scratches that showed the black steel underneath the porcelain. The cooktop I have now is stainless. I haven't had any problems keeping it looking good. I wipe it with a soapy sponge (sometimes even days later) and then if I feel the need, polish it with a microfiber cloth. Not a GE, but a Bertazzoni. It's basically a mirror finish, not a textured one.
I installed stainless in my last house before I sold it, and I was happy to move away from it. I cook a lot, and I found that the cooktop never looked great after I cleaned the spattered cooking oil and other food stuff from it when I was finished cooking. I even ended up buying a special cleaner that promised to polish it up, but I don't miss it. You will never have the problem with a porcelain top, but you will, of course, need to avoid slamming a heavy cast iron pan on the surface to avoid chipping it. BTW, I have never chipped a porcelain cooktop because no one slams their pots on the surface.
That said, if you are planning to sell your house soon, I recommend giving the people what they seem to want -- stainless. My taste is often not what is "in".
RGC, I so agree with you. I've used porcelain stoves all my life, and never chipped any one of them. I've used stainless only at friends' houses and in professional photographers' kitchens, and they've been a bear to clean. In fact, I just wipe them down and leave all the spots, since they pre-existed my usage anyway.
BTW: my stainless garage can, thermos, and sink are pains to clean, too, but my dad says it depends on the gauge of the steel, which doesn't make sense to me, but what do I know, outside of my experience?
I don't understand how the gauge of the steel makes a difference, but the finish might. The gauge is a measure of the thickness, but with staining you are really considering the surface only. In theory, it shouldn't matter what the thickness is. Following your dad's logic though, I wonder if different alloys have different finishes? We always seem to be talking about things like 18/10 steel and nickel alloys. That may have something to do with it.
I have had stainless steel sinks now for nearly 25 years, and some brushed finishes seem to hide water marks more than others. The difference, however, is that the sink gets water marks, and that doesn't bother nearly as much as a stove top with streaks and residual stains. That just looks like dirt and grime to me.
I own a cheap aluminum pot -- a seafood steamer purchased in an Asian market when I needed a pot for blue claw crabs in a cooking "emergency". It seems to leave little "marks" (not really scratches) if I drag it over my smooth-top stove. I suspect that cheap aluminum will do that, and you can might only see it on certain colors. It probably wouldn't be visible on a stainless cooktop.
My suggestion is to avoid using cheap aluminum cookware regardless. This is much easier than trying get your stainless cooktop to look good again after cooking on it. Professional aluminum doesn't seem to have as rough or "soft" a finish, but then again, I only own one other aluminum pot, and it is a Lincoln Wearever, so I am not an aluminum expert. It doesn't seem to leave marks. BTW, I have never had scratches on porcelain or glass cooktops with stainless steel, enameled or regular cast iron.