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SURVEY: Glass-ceramic or coil stove?

I see these threads pop up now and again, but it's hard to get a good feel of where opinions really lie. I'm going to be in the market for a new stove soon, but I'm not sure what to go with.

NOTE: I think we will all agree (or most of us) that a gas stove is better. Unfortunately, my mom won't let me install a gas line in the house unless I buy it from her, so we're sticking with electric! I know that plenty of other people are in a similar predicament. Please limit your responses to ELECTRIC stove tops. :)

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  1. In order of what I like and I have used:

    Flat Top Electric
    Coil Electric

    1. <Unfortunately, my mom won't let me install a gas line in the house unless I buy it from her>

      This is really odd.

      As for electric, there are also induction cooktops if you want to consider them. So your choices are probably: electric coil, glass ceramic radiant, and induction. Each has their advantages.

      Without naming every single attributions, an electric coil stove is usually the cheapest option. It is easy to buy and easy to maintain. It can also work with any cookware and work with slightly non-flat cookware. It has a slow heat response and usually a lower heat output.

      A radiant cooktop is smooth flattop and very easy to clean. The cookware has to be flat (at least not bottom out) to sit nicely on the stove. It can work with any cookware, some better than others, but they all work. It can be very effective depending on the light absorption of your cookware.

      An induction cooktop is usually the more expensive of the three. It is also smooth flatop and very easy to clean. Not only the cookware need to be flat, it has to be ferromagntic (e.g. cast iron and carbon steel -- ok, but aluminum and copper -- not ok). It directly cause the cookware to heat up. The hottest element in your kitchen will be your cookware, and not the stove. It can heat up the cookware very quick with significant amount of heat.

      12 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        To clarify, I've been renting my mother's house from her since she got married and moved in with her husband. She is okay with us changing all kinds of things, but installing a gas stove isn't one of them.

        I haven't really even considered induction because I knew it had limitations, but I don't have any aluminum or copper cookware, and the tri-ply I'm getting is SS on the bottom. I'm not sure it will be in my price range, but I'll check them out.

        1. re: Kontxesi

          Your cookware bottoms have to be magnetic or they won't work on induction.

          1. re: Kontxesi

            <To clarify, I've been renting my mother's house from her >

            This makes so much more sense now. :)

            I was really confused for a minute.

            <the tri-ply I'm getting is SS on the bottom.>

            Many of them are ok, but some are not for induction. Just want you to know this.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              There's more available now but not something to be taken for granted at all. I was looking at Costco the other day for just a couple of skillets. None of them were induction capable. When starting out I was carrying a magnet all the time :) Now boxed items will show the induction icon as they do other types.

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I did not find my glass top easy to clean. Quite the contrary. It was a freaking nightmare. Coil and gas have been so much easier. I've never had to take a razor blade to my gas or coil stove tops, and the glass-ceramic is more delicate and more prone to scratches than the typical surface of a traditional stove top.

            1. re: rasputina

              < Coil and gas have been so much easier.>

              Good point. Thanks for the clarification.

              1. re: rasputina

                See if you can find Krud Kutter. I get mine at the hardware store. That stuff is amazing. It keeps my cook top look like new, well okay almost year. It is over 20 YO. and looks very well. I use it for all sorts of cleaning. It is safe, biodegradable etc. Love it, love it, love it.

                1. re: Candy

                  Hi, Candy:

                  +1. KK is good stuff.


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    I've had luck with Weiman's paste for glass top stove. That and a razor blade. I'd love to have a gas stove, but inherited what I inherited.

                2. re: rasputina

                  Agree about the cleaning, but for me it's the everyday drips and splashes which cause more issues than baked on crud. Even the simplest cooking task leaves my hated glass joke of a cooktop looking a real mess. A thrice daily wipe over with a soapy dishcloth, a wipe with a clean damp cloth, and a careful dry to eliminate water smears is way too much after just frying some bacon or boiling some potatoes.

                  Coil or solid plate anytime!

                  1. re: Robin Joy

                    I agree with Robin Joy. But...

                    Induction units are a little easier to clean, despite sharing the same glass top as radiant cooktops. The glass only gets hot directly under the pot, which allows me to wipe up a spill right away.

                    When frying, I place paper towels or newspaper around/under the pan, and then use them later to wipe any stray spatters.

                    I HATED my radiant hob for the crappy downward response and for it's cleaning hassles. Induction eliminated the former and has really minimized the latter.

                    I use a 2-step process to clean it. I use a soapy sponge or soft scrub, depending on what's needed. Then I follow that up with a spray from my DIY glass cleaner, wiping it dry with a microfiber towel.


                    1. re: DuffyH

                      That's what I do and if someone's going to be staying and using the cooktop, I'll hit it with Cerama-Brite.

                1. coil

                  I'd take coil over that stupid glass-ceramic top any day of the week. I've lived in homes with both. While I don't like coil and much prefer gas, I never want to see another glass-ceramic again.

                  1. I think you really NEED to read this current thread about ceramic. They really sound like a nightmare.


                    And,yes, as Kaleo says, include induction in your research. There's lots of info on CH about it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: c oliver

                      That's actually the thread that spurred my question. I was interested in getting an exact count of how many prefer one over the other.

                      1. re: Kontxesi

                        Boy, I don't know. It doesn't seem like ANYBODY likes them. If given the choice, wouldn't they all toss them?

                        1. re: Kontxesi

                          I am sure some people like radiant cooktops since they are selling them and someone are buying them. In fact, I remember someone recently wrote a very positive review of these radiant cooktops.

                          CHOWHOUND is kind of not a good representative of the population anyway.

                          Still, I am pretty sure more people prefer coil than radiant cooktop among the general population. It may has to do with price as well.

                      2. Multiple votes here:

                        Wife: coil
                        Daughter 1: coil
                        Daughter 2: coil
                        Me: coil

                        Both daughters have had flat glass ceramic tops and hate them. My wife has used their units and hates them. I hate them just on the general priciple that my wife does. We had coil stove tops for close to 40 years, yes sometimes they were a pian but they were better than the flat glass top. We now have gas and the girls are or have switched over to gas.

                        1. Just curious, not being snarky...she has an electric water heater?

                          1 Reply
                          1. I guess I am in the minority. I like my GE glass top ceramic stove. I like it because it is easy to clean and looks sleek. The trick to cleaning it is to not cook on it if there is a spill left from last time you cooked. I use ceram-bryte cleaner with a non-scratch scrubbie. But, of course, there's no comparison to gas cooking.

                            22 Replies
                            1. re: BobbieSue

                              How is it with cast iron cookware?

                              1. re: sandylc

                                Mine works great with cast iron. In fact, I prefer cast iron on the glass cooktop to any other material.

                              2. re: BobbieSue

                                I have used a glass top for a dozen years. Daily. Looks like new. Use soft scrub to regularly clean. Would not trade for anything. Mind you, I simmer more than sear, so do not need a zillion BTUs. With a bit of practice you can play it like a violin. James Beard was a fan of smoothtops, BTW. Oh, and my Staub cast iron works fine with it. But raw cast iron is a no-no.

                                1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                  Why about the 'raw' CI? Unless you shoving/pushing it around, I wouldn't think there's a problem.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    It is my understanding raw CI can scratch the glass.

                                    1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                      Just sitting there? I have induction which is technically 'glass' and CI is one of my faves.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        My understanding is that virtually all US glass cooktops are Schott Ceran. Yes?

                                        I agree with cat... if the pan isn't moving, it shouldn't scratch. Besides, it's the work of a moment with an emery board to smooth rough spots.

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          But the pan is going to move some on the surface. I, for one, could not pick the pan straight up without scooting it a little 100% of the time.

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            I hear what you're saying and agree that there's some movement but after three plus years I have no damage.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I'm just too hard on my kitchen.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                But I do what you do and it's fine. And even with scratches it doesn't affect the function.

                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                  I suppose you could always get a copper heat diffuser plate to place between pan and range. Would protect surface. I don't know what impact it would have on evenness of heating.

                                                  I had a ceramic top range. It left me disinterested in ever having one again. If I were stuck with one in the future, I think that's what I'd do.

                                                  1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                    Well, as I've said way too often, you couldn't offer me THE most expensive gas cooktop plus a thousand bucks to give up my induction. AFter several years there are no scratches.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Didn't qualify - interested in induction... The radiant ceramic tops no.

                                                          1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                            "Didn't qualify - interested in induction... The radiant ceramic tops no."

                                                            Just don't get the 'shorthand.'

                                              2. re: sandylc

                                                Hi, Sandy:

                                                I think both sides of this are right--for those who could have either gas or a glasstop, I think the question is how big a detraction the glass getting scuffed up (or cracked) over time or never shaking a pan is. This can be a burr under one person's saddle, and well worth it for another.

                                                My own personal experience having a glasstop at my beach house is that, after a few years' use, the glass is going to get scuffed up regardless of what you do.


                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  I have a ceramic cooktop in the house I rent.

                                                  I haven't noticed scratching from raw cast iron. Discoloration over the burners is a much bigger issue. In spite of being very good about cleaning and the application of various cleaning products there are large black areas that just won't go away. Unfortunately the landlady has noticed and says she will charge us for the stove when we eventually move out. I don't consider it to be anything over normal wear and tear for 8 years, but she seems to feel it would still look pristine if we had taken more care. It already had chips in the top and some discoloration when we moved in but I need to find the move-in pictures I took in order to prove it.

                                                  1. re: cstefan206

                                                    When you move, if she raises a stink, small claim court will sort it out quickly enough. I doubt she'd prevail.

                                                    I presume you've tried a razor blade to remove the black?

                                                    1. re: cstefan206

                                                      Hi, cstephan206: "she will charge us for the stove when we eventually move out."

                                                      I've been to court over this, and 95 times out of 100, the landlady loses. She's already fully depreciated that stove. And discoloration of a conventional glasstop IS normal wear and tear. Let me guess, it's white?

                                                      I actually handled a case where a landlord in a multi-unit apartment house tried to gouge the tenants to replace the worn-out coin-operated common washers and dryers. Judges really hate these kinds of thievery.


                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                        As I'm not planning on moving soon I'm not going to worry about it for now. But it is a point of contention every time she comes over to work on something. She has blamed the need for pretty much any repairs on our 'neglect and abuse' and commented she will 'have to charge us at move out' for things I consider normal wear and tear. Note that she hasn't charged us directly for any repairs, but there have been rent increases shortly after some of the more expensive work on the house.

                                                        The only damage I feel we're responsible for is the cat tearing up the carpet in one room.

                                                        The glasstop is gray with white and black flecks. The areas with discoloration are solid black. I agree this is normal wear and tear.

                                                        In any case given the rental market in Seattle I'm hoping to stay until I'm in a position to buy something. The landlady is a bit of a pain but far easier to deal with than most landlords I've had in this town.

                                    2. Best of both worlds:

                                      Our Electrolux rangetop has gas hobs and a glass top (kinda). Rather than have the hobs set in stainless, they are set in the same kind of glass as is typically used in glass-ceramic smooth tops. The great things about this are, since the glass doesn't get all that hot, you don't have to worry about sugar making a permenant attachment, the glass is easier to clean than SS and is less likely to scratch than SS. Although it's not as flat a surface obviously as a flat top electric, it is easier to clean than most gas rangetops.


                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mikie

                                        Hey mikie,

                                        You're the only other person I've known who's had gas on glass. I had one installed in an island in 1993. I'm not sure who made it, someone more associated with fridges than cooktops, IIRC.

                                        It was nice b/c I didn't want any shiny metal, and this took care of it. It was my first sealed burner unit, too. Fingerprints were a PITA.

                                        That is also when I learned that cats do things when we're not around that they know they're not supposed to do. Things like walk on the kitchen island. And leave little paw prints on black glass.

                                      2. I personally would do a coil stove.

                                        They tend to be cheaper, and I'm guessing you don't want to sink a ton into not your forever stove. And they don't crack. Actually rather indestructible as long as you don't have a tupperware container on them when turing one on.

                                        I grew up with coil electric, had it my college/grad school apartments. It's really hard to break. . .

                                        1. Me, I'd give serious consideration to a pair of portable induction units, 1800W minimum. If you stir fry a lot, one of them could be a wok unit. You can set them on the current stove and pretend it's new.

                                          If the oven isn't in good shape, add a Breville Smartoven. The whole setup won't cost any more than a cheap range.

                                          Otherwise, if you really make me choose:

                                          The radiant glass. Both coil and glass suck, but with the glass you can set things on the unused areas of the cooktop. Things like induction units.

                                          1. I've had both, never again a glass top, coil it is.

                                            1. I don't know if they can still be found easily, but what about a solid-element cooktop? They're even slower to heat up than a coil, but they're easy to clean, don't scratch, and don't require any special pans.

                                              1. First, before you do anything else, check the breaker for the 240v circuit that serves the stove. AFAIK, pretty much every electrical stove sold in North America these days will require a 40 amp circuit. Older stoves might have required only 30 amp service and, if your mom's house is more than 30 years old, it might have only a 30 amp circuit as some of the older houses in my neighborhood do. Easy way to tell what you have: look at the breaker for the range that is in the electrical panel --- it will have a number 30 or 40 on it -- generally on the switch lever. If your home has 30-amp service, replacing the breaker is easy. The hard part will come if it turns out that the cable run to the outlet is #10 AWG cable ("10 gauge romex"). If that is the case, you will need to upgrade the cable to 8-gauge in order to safely run a 40 amp circuit.

                                                Second, as kaleo and c oliver pointed out, induction is a good choice for getting an electrical stove with the responsiveness and adjustability of gas burners. Although induction ranges have ceramic/glass tops, they are easier to deal with than standard radiant electric ranges. Basically, induction makes a pan heat itself rather than putting a heat source under the glass to radiate heat (rather like putting the glass over a camp fire.) Consequently, with induction, the heat is mostly from above, radiating out of the pan so most of the cooktop remains cool. Spills are much easier to clean up immediately and far less likely to bake onto the surface.

                                                There is a lot to like about induction ranges, but there may be budget issues. Induction range prices start around $1500 (although holiday sales and promotions occasionally take them down around $1300). The least expensive induction ranges that I know of are the Kenmore Elite 9507 (made for Sears by Electrolux), the Frigidaire Gallery FGIF306 (Frigidaire is an Electrolux brand and the range is very similar to the Kenmore) and the Samsung NE595NOPBSR.

                                                Coil burner ranges are much less expensive, generally starting at around $400 for a basic free-standing range and going on up to around $1000 for a slide-in style of range ("slide-in" signifies that it has no-backsplash/vent/riser in the back and the controls are in front.) Coil burners are relatively efficient at delivering heat into pans, though not as efficient as induction. (Generally speaking, induction puts about 84% of its energy into heating a pan, coil burners about 70%, radiant smoothtops about 55%, and gas puts between 33% to 40% depending on a lot of variables.) In practical terms, the rapid heating makes coil burners a good choice for cooking applications where you want to boil water. A 2500/2660 watt coil burner can be significantly faster than a gas burner. The price of that speed is a greatly diminished adjustability. With gas and induction, you hit your boil and turn down the heat to get a nearly instant simmer. With coil burners (and radiant burners, too), there is a distinct lag time for the adjustment to take effect. Rather like cooking everything in cast iron pans. You need strategies for making heat adjustments. For example, with a pressure cooker, I'll pull the cooker half-off the burner for the time it takes the burner to drop the heat output down to where I can maintain the pressure. Alternately, I can move the cooker to another burner already pre-heated to a lower setting.

                                                What I like about coil burners is that they are simple and durable and well adapted to cooking large quantities in pots that are larger in diameter than the burner. A big deal if you do any canning. I put my 13" diameter canning kettles on an 8" diameter coil burner, and have no problems bringing 3 or 4 gallons of water to boil. Put an "oversize" pan on radiant burner and the cycling-temperature-control sensors get confused. If it the big pot boils at all, it takes a verrrrry longgg time to get there.(No such problems with induction, by the way, and induction will bring water boil faster than just about anything else.)

                                                Also, do you want a convection oven? (Not everybody does, but some do.) When I went stove shopping last year, the only coil-burner model that had convection was a Kenmore. (Model 94152, I think.)

                                                The painted enamel surfaces of coil burner stoves are pretty durable and any dings or chips can be painted over (Hardware stores carry little jars of porcelain appliance touch-up enamel; they look like jars of white-out, if your memory goes back to the day of typewriters.) I find the porceiain enamel easy to clean. In my experience, messes on the painted surface are somewhat easier to clean up than those on radiant smoothtop surfaces. The burner bowls are a different matter. That is where the messiest stuff seems to accumulate and bake on the hardest.

                                                The other downside to coil burners these days is that quality is not what it used to be. Some of the ranges reportedly have insulation problems. Sloppy workmanship has led to reports that running the oven may make some stovetops hot enough to melt plastic or burn skin. When I was stove shopping lat year, I read numbers of online complaints and reviews about this issue with the Kenmore coil-convection range (about $550, IIRC) and a $650 GE coil burner (can't recall the model number at the moment.) However, when I saw (and worked with) a model of each in friends' homes, neither had the over-heated surface problem. That is why I think there are quality control problems rather than simply poor quality design and materials.

                                                Another place you may find poor-quality construction is the mounting and supports for the burners. This was the case on both the Kenmore and the GE coil burners that I saw in friends' homes. The 8-inch diameter OEM burners on both ranges seemed cheaply made, and likely to warp and twist, making for uneven or unsteady support of pots and pans. My friends both resorted to replacing their OEM 8" burners with aftermarket burners for canning. The replacements were much more robust and steady and, reportedly, had more accurate temperature control than the OEM versions.

                                                According to Consumer Reports' testing and opinions, the smoothtop ranges to get are ones that cost rather about half-way between the price of coil burners ranges and the price of induction ranges (roughly $900 to $1200, although certainly can spend a lot more (e.g., $2800 for the GE Cafe freestanding-backsplashless ranges). For the extra money, you get more oven features, sometimes a bigger oven, and maybe variable size and/or bridgeable heating elements. You also can get ranges with double-ovens, which will be a boon for some. Samsung also has a couple of smootop ranges with a a removable oven panel. Insert the panel, and you got a paid of separately ontrollable, 3 cu. ft. ovens. Remove the divider and you've got one large oven. That would be convenient for some but, IIRC, the price of admissions is up around $1800.

                                                My personal preferences would be:
                                                1. induction
                                                2. coil
                                                3. radiant smoothtop
                                                4. solid coil burners

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: JWVideo

                                                  Thank you for such an in-depth reply!

                                                  The house definitely isn't that old, so that isn't an issue. (And if it was, my fiance is an electrician! He thinks it might be the only reason I keep him around.)

                                                  From reading this and by the opinions of others, it looks like I will be in the market for a coil stove. Induction sounds great, but is definitely way outside my price range.

                                                  I believe one of the two stoves I was looking at last month had a convection oven. I know they are supposed to be better for baked goods, but are there significant downsides?

                                                  1. re: Kontxesi

                                                    "convection oven . . . are there significant downsides?"

                                                    Not with the Kenmore convection-oven coil-burner. With some stoves with smaller ovens -- say 4.2 cu. ft. as on some Electrolux ranges --- the convection housing pokes out from the back of the oven enough to take an inch or so off the depth. That means you cannot push the racks all the way back and won't be able to fit a half sheet pan in long end first (18") or the same thing with some of the larger cookie sheets. My recollection is that the Kenmore range has a 5.4 cu. ft. oven and was was plenty deep -- like about 19" -- even with the convection fan housing, so we were able to fit a sheet pan in longwise (18") and still close the oven door.

                                                    Other than that, there really isn't any downside to having convection. It is just an option or feature. You don't have to use the convection feature it if you don't want to. Without the convection fan running, the oven works like any other major-brand electric oven. IIRC, Consumer Reports testing gave it a good rating for baking (without convection) and an excellent rating for self-cleaning and broiler functions. Running convection may help even out temperatures in the oven. (Keeping the oven interior clean is probably more important, though.)

                                                    "I know they are supposed to be better for baked goods, ..."

                                                    Well, sometimes, and the effectiveness of the convection varies between brands and models. My experience has been that using a convection fan helps with some things but can be a problem with others. I've found it most helpful when (a) roasting large pieces of meat or whole poultry for a long time, (b) for the second half of bread baking, and (c) for running multiple baking sheets of small things such as three trays of biscuits or three sheets of sugar cookies without having to rotate and swap trays during baking.. Not so great for custardy things, angel food cakes, delicate stuff, But, as I say, it is just a tool and you don't use it where it does not help you.

                                                    1. re: JWVideo

                                                      The units I'm looking at are all 5 cubic feet or larger, so that shouldn't be a problem.

                                                      You're really helping me narrow this down. Thanks!

                                                    2. re: Kontxesi

                                                      Your fiance is an electrician?

                                                      Hey if he can get you an appliance at contractor's cost, you might be able to upgrade to something better than coils...

                                                      1. re: JayL

                                                        Commercial electrician, unfortunately. He doesn't have those connections. How sweet would that be, though!

                                                        1. re: Kontxesi

                                                          Have him ask anyway...you never know. ;-)

                                                          1. re: JayL

                                                            I had the same thought. A friend of a friend of a friend.

                                                  2. My vote is for coil over glass-ceramic. I've got a glass-ceramic now, and I hate it. In the place before this I had a coil that was MUCH, MUCH better.

                                                    1. Better than gas is induction. It is a smooth surface. It has far too many features than to post them all here. They are terribly fast and you don't waste energy.

                                                      I recommend you Google up induction ranges. That is the trend that is going to be big. I have 2 friends with them. I bought a Fagor single burner unit to get used to cooking on it. Our next home is definitely going to have induction. I have a 5 burner gas (GE Monogram) cook top. I use the little Fagor burner rather than use gas,

                                                      1. I have had a glass top for more than 10 years and like it. However, one of the knobs shorted out and I'm about to buy a new cooktop.

                                                        With induction, I'd have to change pots and pans...I have good ones and don't want to. Don't have gas in my kitchen unfortunately.

                                                        Coils are sloppy to clean. It takes a razor blade sometimes to clean the glass top, but I keep up with it.

                                                        Things to consider: configuration of heating rings. My pots are 7" and I notice some of the newer cooktops have 6" rings. My skillets and larger stockpots are 9", so I want a 9" ring in the front row for sautéing. Also, one wants some high wattage rings for boiling water, etc.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Discerning1

                                                          Are you sure your cookware isn't induction capable. Some of mine weren't but some were.

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            My ScanPans are (Danish ceramic), but my Sur La Table all-clad knock-offs aren't. Neither is my pressure cooker.

                                                            1. re: Discerning1

                                                              My daughter who got the rejects referred to it as "Christmas in February" :)

                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                              I used to use some aluminum, but I also had a good bit of cast iron and stainless. When we went induction we only purchased a small stainless non-stick for morning eggs. Otherwise we haven't purchased a single pan or pot.

                                                          2. I have to say that if budget is not enough for induction, and a coil is as high price-wise as you can go for an electric option...the gas ranges in your price range will literally suck.

                                                            Given that information, I'd choose an electric coil any day.

                                                            I have electric induction with a glass top...easy to clean, uber responsive, good looking, and cooks like a dream.

                                                            1. I'm confused; are you looking for cooktops or oven/cooktop combo?

                                                              I am glad I got a convection oven. My father always roasted the most succulent chickens in my parents' convection oven so I was a believer.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Discerning1

                                                                She said "stove" so we've been assuming she meant a range rather than a stndalone cooktop or "cooktop-oven combo."

                                                                As for the succulent chicken, I know what you mean. I have to ask, did you father brine the chicken before roasting? I've found brining and putting the chicken vertical on a beer-can stand, produce great, succulent roast chicken in convection ovens with virtually no interventions during th roasting. The first time I tried this in a convection oven, the chicken came out perfectly browned, as for a Martha Stewart photo shoot. My friends renamed the recipe as "Martha Stewart Beer-Butt Chicken." That title, of course, has some double meanings -- :>) --- but the chicken looked great and was as succulent as can be made. Convection made it easy.

                                                                1. re: JWVideo

                                                                  I'm working for another year or two with a "not my dream" electric oven. My "poor man's convection substitute" when roasting a chicken is to vertical roast on a cast iron skillet. I crank up the heat to 550° and turn it down to 350° once it hits temp after 10-15 minutes. I could be imagining this, but I the "heat sink effect" of the skillet seems to really help get the bird up to temp all the sooner without drying it out.

                                                                  1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                                                    Hi, Joseph:

                                                                    I think you're right.

                                                                    My default roast chicken prep calls for preheating the oven like you do, but the skillet also gets preheated on med-high on the stovetop, and the bird is rather violently seared there, back down, for 4-5 minutes before the skillet and bird are moved together into the oven. A great version of this method can be found in Tom Keller's Bouchon (You can omit the brine and it turns out just fine).


                                                              2. After 56 years of cooking on a coil top, I was flummoxed when I had to replace my last one. I knew that ceramic was the latest and nobody was promoting coil top, but I had reservations about ceramic tops and didn't really want one. Gas was out of the question so against my better judgement, I went with a GE(old established brand?) and have lived to regret it.
                                                                The burners are poorly positioned, two double rings at the front to accommodate bigger pots, making it impossible to handle anything on the back burner because of crowding and excess heat thrown off by ceramic tops. The cleaning is another story. You had better not spill or have an overflow because you then have to remove everything and turn off the stove to cool down. Then you need a special,ceramic cream and a scraper to scrub off the gunk and they. Even recommend using RAZOR BLADES if you can imagine. Spills are never easy, but give me back my coil top with drip pan - much easier!
                                                                The oven element is in the TOP of the oven, but heat rises so even though there is a "convection" fan in the back, nothing brown except the top tray - so forget multiple racks to cook oodles of stuff. The one thing I love is the enamelled oven racks so they can be left in for the cleaning cycle and don't turn ugly.
                                                                I tried to complain to the store - "You have to deal with the manufacturer" and GE no longer even maintains a proper head office here since they have been bought by a Mexican firm. all they have is a "customer service" office in Moncton NB which doesn't deal with this kind of complaint. So good luck to you if you want a new stove - just don't buy GE - who the heck decided ceran was better than coil top? It certainly wasn't anybody who cooks!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Bagmar

                                                                  Hi Bagmar,

                                                                  I think the only heating element in the top of the oven chamber on GE ranges is the broiler element. The baking element is under the oven floor. At least, it is on my GE induction range. It was also under the floor on my old GE radiant glass range (without convection). I think they're pretty much all the same in that respect. I've baked 3 racks of cookies in convection mode and had them all come out evenly cooked. The key for me is making sure the oven is fully heated, which means using an oven thermometer. The pre-heat beeper goes off much too soon.

                                                                  And as much as I hated my radiant range, it's unfair to say that a spill requires everything to be removed and the unit turned off. Sticky caramel, candy and similar things should be removed ASAP. Ordinary spills, like soups, pasta boil overs, grease spatter and the like require no special action and no special cleaner. It can all be cleaned with cooking is done. Razor blades are great on glass, because they easily remove stuck-on gunk without damaging the glass. This has been done long before glass cooktops came along.

                                                                  As for the special ceramic cream, that's not needed either. Soft scrub works. So does most any common liquid cleaner, like 409 and it's siblings. Soapy water left to cover a spill will usually dissolve it enough to make it easily removed with a blue scrubby sponge.

                                                                  I wasn't a fan of my radiant range, but the things I hated about it are common to coils, too. I did find it pretty easy to keep clean. I've got to give it that.


                                                                2. I've cooked on both. Coil all the way. They really cook about the same, but the coil gives fewer headaches.

                                                                  1. I have had both a glass-top electric cook top and one with coils, and the coils were the better (or least terrible) of the two. The primary reason for this was that the coils will heat a large pot or pan that extends beyond the edge of the coils just fine. Water boiled promptly in my large pasta pot, for example. The glass-top was incapable, literally, of boiling water in the same pot. The coils were also faster and more responsive than the flat-top, regardless of the size of the cookware.

                                                                    Another problem I had with the glass-top was that sometimes pots would literally skate around the surface of the cook top. I have no idea why this happens, but it was a safety issue, and it also meant I couldn't leave things cooking unattended for any length of time.

                                                                    Some people like that you can just wipe off the top of the glass-top to clean it, and I'll give them that point. But cleaning is such a low priority to me relative to how well the stove functions when I want to cook something that I don't really care about that.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bitchincook

                                                                      <Another problem I had with the glass-top was that sometimes pots would literally skate around the surface of the cook top.>

                                                                      Cookware that is even slightly warped will always be more stable on a coil or gas ring than on a glass top. It's one of the places coils are superior to radiant ranges.

                                                                      It's too bad for electric range shoppers that coil cooktops are only available in low-end ranges.

                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                        Hi, Duffy: "It's too bad for electric range shoppers that coil cooktops are only available in low-end ranges."

                                                                        Absolutely. I am somewhat surprised no one has marketed performance-grade coil elements to supplant the crap that comes with current builder-grade coil appliances. I'll post a photo soon of the coils on my 1950s GE Airliner--they're practically unrecognizable in comparison with what's currently available.


                                                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                          Hi K,

                                                                          Yes, I well recall the fat coils on Mom's 1965 coil cooktop. It was pretty cool with it's fat coils, until one of the coils blew an aneurysm on her (just a tiny bit or metal on her arm) and all over the Formica countertop. Along with the new counter, Dad had a gas cooktop installed.

                                                                          I've heard rumors of other exploding coils, but they seem few and far between. And not in many years, so whatever the deal was, I'm inclined to believe it was a one-off lemon coil.

                                                                          But still, you'd think someone by now would have found a way to make a coil range look a lot sexier. Better shaped coils as in olden days would be a good start.


                                                                      2. re: bitchincook

                                                                        I've also used both, and the biggest bummer was that when one coil/burner spot went out, it was a total pain to try to salvage on the glass top. We ended up never bothering, and lived with 3 burners.

                                                                        On the coil stoves, you can pop out and replace the dead coil pretty easily.