Cooktops: Ratings of Sources
ConsumerReports.org rates nearly 40 gas and electric cooktops, including several induction models. Each cooktop has been tested on its speed at boiling water, its ability to melt and hold chocolate without scorching, and its ability to hold tomato sauce at a steady simmer. Most cooktops fare pretty well, and more than half test strongly enough to earn recommendations. The site also includes a useful buyer's guide and a consumer survey of brand reliability.
While there are fewer cooktop reviews here than at ConsumerReports.org -- under 30 at last look -- discussion is bit more detailed. Gas, electric and induction cooktops are covered, with top performers called out as Editor's Choice winners, and where merited, as a Best of the Year selections. Reviews are testing-based and balanced, and editors are not bashful about handing out a poor scores. Value, performance and available alternatives are all considered in naming top choices.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys about 5,600 consumers to learn their satisfaction with their brand of oven, range or cooktop. Among cooktops, Bosch, followed closely by KitchenAid, earn top five-circle ratings for customer satisfaction. Whirlpool, LG and Frigidaire also score above the segment average.
HomeDepot.com lists nearly 170 gas, electric and induction cooktops. Most receive only a handful of ratings, but others enjoy much more feedback -- 50 reviews or more, and in some cases over 100. One caveat is that while some of the reviews are unique to HomeDepot.com, others are drawn from manufacturer web sites and appear on numerous other sites as well. Regardless, cooktops receive an overall score as well as sub-scores in areas such as features and value. Reviewers can also say whether or not they would recommend the cooktop to a friend.
Lowes.com lists many more cooktops than HomeDepot.com -- more than 300 models in all. That means a few more makes (such as KitchenAid) and models are represented here. However, the two sites have one thing in common: review totals are inflated by feedback taken from manufacturer web sites. In addition to an overall rating, owners can leave sub-ratings in a number of categories, and say if they would recommend the cooktop.
This appliance retail site sells hundreds of cooktops, more than HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com combined. Some cooktop brands and models not found elsewhere are well represented, but only a few get very much feedback. Otherwise, cooktops with numerous reviews are the same models seen on other sites. While some reviews that are unique to AJMadison.com can be found, most are again drawn from manufacturer's sites.
At first glance, Amazon.com looks to have lots of cooktops to choose from. On second look, you see that the hundreds listed include portable appliances and hot plates. Still, there are a number of full-sized cooktops listed here, and a handful of those have attracted enough reviews to be revealing. Amazon.com has two advantages compared to other retailer sites: Reviews here are unique to the site, and they tend to be longer and more detailed than elsewhere.
BestBuy.com is another retailer-owned, user-review site that does not mix feedback from their own customers with those gleaned from elsewhere, such as manufacturer sites. That means that, while not especially plentiful (most cooktops draw just a handful of reviews), the feedback posted here is at least unique. The site also lists lots of cooktops, more than 250 at last look.
Sears.com carries lists hundreds of cooktops on its website, including more than 360 sold by the retailer itself. Some cooktops look to have received a lot of feedback but as is typical, that's been inflated by reviews taken from manufacturers web sites. However, Sears.com is the only site where you can get reviews of Kenmore and Kenmore Elite cooktops, and some of those have attracted enough reviews to help separate the top performers from the also-rans.
Yale Appliance Blog offers numerous article on cooktops, including this primer on buying an induction cooktop. These articles are from a retailer's viewpoint, so recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt, but do contain lots of helpful pointers regarding buying and using cooktops in general.