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Jan 19, 2011 07:57 AM

New Flat Top Electric Stove

I'm going to buy a new stove to replace an old electric coil stove. I have opted for a flat top electric, don't have gas (damn) and the cost of the induction stoves is too high. I have done some reading and have a few questions. From what I've read cleaning flat tops can be problematic. Food spills and then gets cooked on hard. Have you had this and what was your solution? I have also read that controlling heat can be an issue, especially low heat. And lastly, the time it takes to get up to temp. It seems this was a bigger problem in older models, but not so much any more. Anyone experience this?


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  1. I have a flat top electric stove and honestly, I really dislike it.

    I have cracked the top twice. My own fault as our spices are above the stovetop and twice, I openned the door and containers have fallen out onto the top, breaking it. Once, it was a very light weight plastic container and I could not believe it broke the top. (The second time, it was a full jar of honey and I was not surprise it broke the top.)

    I definately have a problem with controlling the low heat. For example, the other night I made shrimp in a curry sauce. I wanted to keep it covered on low while I tended to other dishes. Turning the burner down to Lo simply did not work, I could not get the temp low enough to stop the sauce from bubbling. I couldn't shift the pan because I was using the other burners.

    I don't find cleaning to be much of a problem. If I need to tackle a particularly stubborn, cooked on spills, I use a bit of Bon Ami or Barkeeper's Friend and a non-scratch scrubby pad. My top is black and to get it super shiny, I do need to use the recommended cleaner. I am too lazy to do this.

    My top is about 4 years old, a Jenn Air, and it does take a long time to boil water for pasta. If it matters, my cookware is All-Clad stainless.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cleobeach

      This cracking issue is bothering me. I read on e-how that it's not recommended to do canning on a flat top as it might be too much weight and heat and cause cracking. What about a big pot of stock?


      1. re: JuniorBalloon

        I do a lot of heavy duty cooking (big pots, big quantities, long cooking times) and I have never had a problem with large stock pot cooking. My breakage came from flying objects....grrrrr......

        I don't can so I can't offer an option on that potential breakage issue.

        I hate to be totally negative on the cooktop as I know it can be annoying when people dump on someone else's choices. At the time, I thought it was the best choice for us. We did a half-way kitchen spruce up and didn't want to run in a gas line.

        My non-cooking husband thought the flat glass tops were the greatest thing since sliced bread and insisted upon getting one. I wish I would have stood my ground and got one of those electric tops where the burners are just flat metal disks (as opposed to coils)

        It cost for new glass for the first break was $400 or so. I am not replacing the most current break. I will live with it until we remodel the entire kitchen.

    2. We have used an Amana flat-top for ten years. We have never damaged the top (cereal boxes over the stove). It does take a little longer for the burners to heat up when compared to conventional electric stoves but not by much.

      Your cookware does need to have a flat bottom so some of the old aluminum saucepans and sauté pans needed to be replaced. We also can't use the huge blue enameled canning pot but because the bottom isn't perfectly flat, it was made that way, and not necessarily because of the weight. We don't can huge quantities of tomatoes in quart jars anymore anyway. We have used a full 12 quart stockpot without any problems however.

      If there was only one thing I would change with stove it would be to have 2 large burners in the front nstead of one in from and one in back. A engineer must have designed this stove and not a cook because nothing taller than a sauté pan fits on the large, rear burner because of the panel with the control buttons at the back of the stove protrudes a little over the cooking surface.

      Although I too would prefer a gas or induction stove the flat-top is much better than a coil-electric simply for cleanup. BKF and a 3M Scotchbrite pad and some of the ceramic top cleaner for the lighter spills makes it easy to keep clean.

      1. We also have a Jenn Air about 5 years old. I hate it with a passion.

        We haven't had a problem with dried food, but once, someone left something on a burner that wasn't completely cool and the bright blue text from the plastic melted onto the cooktop. We used a special razor blade recommended by JA to scrape it off. It wasn't difficult and I imagine the same could be used for food.

        Having said that, the downdraft is a piece of crap. The stove takes forever to heat up and cool down. Boiling water is impossible in under 15 minutes. Also, controlling the heat is near impossible--it's beyond difficult to keep liquids at a constant simmer, or even a constant boil.

        I dream of the day it goes to the big cooktop in the sky...or the day I move.

        2 Replies
        1. re: E_M

          I take comfort in the fact I am not alone :)

          I didn't even mention our downdraft as I thought it was just a fluke that ours barely works.

          Our old Jenn Air was awesome. It was in the house when we bought it so it was at least 15 years old. Granted, it sounded like a jet engine but boy was it powerful.

          Fast foward to the replacement - I ran the installer out twice as I was convinced there was something wrong with the downdraft. The old one worked so well.

          no, no, no he says, it is just fine and showed me all the stupid little tests involving a piece of card stock. Sure enough, it passed the "tests' but is truly a piece of crap.

          1. re: cleobeach

            Is this a vent in that draws the smoke outside? We have a hood. My mother has a vent in the center of her burners that is supposed to draw smoke. If you cook without it on the smoke alarms go off.

            This is all good info.


        2. So far the best recommendation is to not buy a JennAir flat-top electric stovetop.

          1 Reply
          1. re: John E.

            HATED, HATED, HATED, The Jenn Aire glass cooktop. Not that I would have liked any glass cooktop, coming from a gas range. I launched that sucker when we tore out the kitchen. Just fired up the new Dacor pro range (dual fuel). What a blessing to be cooking on gas again.

          2. Remodeled my kitchen a year ago and said goodbye to my 42" Frigidaire electric range for a modern Whirlpool flat-top. I really was afraid of the flat-top, too, as I had seen others that were all scratched and gross looking. Was told that as long as I took the time to keep it clean, and used the right tools, it would be fine. It's been a year, and I do like it. It heats up and boils water much faster than my old electric coils. I haven't had a problem w/ low heat. I do find cleaning to be more work than the old coil stove (although, when you think about it, most of the gunk of boil-overs,etc., on a coil stove ends up underneath the coils where you don't see it unless you lift the top, and how many of us do that more than once a year?) A bottle of flat-top cleaner and a pad came with it. I usually just spray and wipe w/ Glass Plus, but if something gets stuck on, I use the recommended cleaner and pad, or also a flat plastic scraper-thing that I got from Pampered Chef. The trick is to not use tools that will scratch the surface. So far, so good. Still shiny!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Quint41

              I use an old toothbrush with Cerama Bryte to clean my glass top and it works beautifully. I'm more annoyed with the fingerprints on the stainless steel!