Coil electric range
Does anyone know if there's a manufacturer who makes a 36" electric range with 6 or 5 coil elements?
I'm shying away from the induction tops because I have a lot of cast iron cookware and keep hearing conflicting opinions about them.
That seems to make sense. There's really no reason that cast iron should be a problem on induction. If that's the only reason you're avoiding induction, it would make sense to consider it again, with that no Viking caveat.
For the sake of the original question, though, just in case: I highly doubt anyone makes a 36" coil electric range or cooktop anymore. Probably did 20-30 years ago or so, and you could find an old one that works. But I also doubt those are particularly aesthetically pleasing, in other words, not likely worth the trouble. But maybe someone does make a 36" ceramic smooth top electric with 5 or 6 burners. Can't say I've seen one, but if you're determined to avoid induction for some other reason, that is more likely what you would find. The coil elements are reserved for only the cheapest models, which a 36" would never be.
I use cast iron on mine all the time and haven't had a problem. It's a glass top, so you can't bang your pans around the way you might on a gas cooktop with heavy metal grates, but that's true on pretty much any glass-top electric cooktop these days.
If that's the only thing keeping you from going induction, I'd go induction. The advantages (high power, fast response time, energy efficiency) far outweigh the possibility of scratching. Especially if you have lots of cast iron, cast iron is probably the best type of cookware to use on induction.
Buckethead, to add to that, we, too, have been using a glass top induction cooktop for over a decade with a lot of cast iron cookware with not one single scratch.
But, if squirrelly_wrath is seriously concerned about the theoretical possibility of scratches, there is always parchment paper. Parchment paper is invisible to the magnetic fields that induction cooktops generate, so placing parchment paper between the cooktop and the pan will not affect performance in any way. Also, parchment paper is designed to be used inside ovens that generally get much hotter than the bottom of a pot on top of an induction cooktop, so the danger of fire is low.
squirrelly_wrath: "I'm shying away from the induction tops because I have a lot of cast iron cookware and keep hearing conflicting opinions about them."
With all due respect, that is like saying that you will avoid all overseas travel because you have heard conflicting reports of highway bandits in Cambodia.
All cast iron will work on all but one brand of induction cooktops. There are isolated reports that ONE brand of induction cooktop -- Viking , on which most cast iron reportedly works well -- has issues with ONE brand of cast iron, Le Creuset. So, if you want to shy away from the subject of those "conflicting opinions," simply avoid Viking; do not avoid other brands of induction cooktops. You have not heard "conflicting opinions" about any other brand of induction cooktop.
We have owned two brands of induction cooktop (Jenn-Air, pre-Whirlpool, and now LG), and have never found any cast iron pot or pan that failed to work superbly on either. In fact, our cast iron pots and skillets work much better than they ever did on cooking surfaces that transfer energy as heat, because the magnetic field travels through the thickness of the pot almost instantaneously, and one does not need to wait for heat to be conducted -- slowly, because cast iron is a so-so conductor of heat -- from the outside of the pot to the inside of the pot. At least at the bottom of the pot, near the cooktop surface, the inside of the pot starts heating up at the same time as the outside of the pot, which is much more satisfactory than the long wait for heat conduction to work its way through the metal.