Scratch and Stain Resistant Electric Stovetops

wannaknow1September 29, 2012

We have a 30" GE electric stove (the house has no gas) from around 1976. It uses coils on the porcelain top. I would like to get a new range with a smooth surface top. From my reading, it doesn't matter what brand, they all scratch very easily and take a lot of care, with special products necessary. Many readers suggest you have to clean a spill right away, or it will become much more difficult and necessitate a razor if it dries. Also, it sounds like if you slide a hot pot off the burner onto the stove, it can scratch the surface.

My question: since manufacturers are able to make cell phones with strong and resistant anti-scratch materials, why can't they adapt that to electric stove tops? I realize that a cell phone may not endure if exposed to the same heat as a cooktop, but it seems it would be a starting point for a much-needed refinement.

The large companies must be aware that families are unhappy with their current products and would like something more practical for a working kitchen. Do you know of anyone who is working to incorporate better materials? Are there any brands that you are aware of that already have a better product? Since they update their designs, what would it take to convince them that there is a market for an improved design? I know that I am not alone, and it seems that their research should have told them so already. Even the more expensive brands don't appear to think this is an issue worthwhile for them to address.

Does anyone know of any brands they are happy with that are more scratch and/or stain resistant? Does anyone have any suggestions for bringing this to the attention of a manufacturer who will respond, even if it is a rep reading these posts? Thanks!

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Sophie Wheeler

You're over reading over reactors. Glass cooktops do NOT "stain", nor are they easily scratched. I know plenty of people who have had glass cooktops for 25 years or more and are perfectly happy with them. If you don't clean a bit as you go, then you make work for yourself no matter what type of cooking surface. And if you slide cast iron with burrs on it around on any surface, you'll either catch it on the coils or grates, or you'll scratch glass. So, wipe up spills as they happen, and don't use cast iron with burrs on it! Really, it's NOT as problematic and complicated as you are making it out. Really.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 3:12PM
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I had a KA gas range with the white glass underneath, and loved it! Cleaned it with a razor blade. Polished it with BKF.

Then I had a Jenn-Air electric with a glass top cartridge and a coil cartridge. Never had a problem with the glass top. The coils were a MAJOR pain, and I could only get replacement drip pans for one size. The other coil was an odd size somehow.....


    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Glass top Kenmore here. No issues with cleaning and I tend to make a mess when I cook.

I use a large stone pan in the oven. I do take care to not set it directly on the top as the stone would scratch it.

I have seen some glass tops that look bad. I do wonder why. I use a microfiber cloth with just water most of the time. Once it a while I use a cleaner for glass top ranges. Only once did it have to break out the razor.

I do have black so I don't know if that makes a difference or not.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Agree with all above. Had a glass-top Kenmore for several years and it was no problem at all.

I did use the razor blade to clean gunk when it ringed around my most-used burner. That's totally not a big deal at all, took like 30 seconds, and was WAY WAY WAY easier than trying to scrub at an areas with a scrubbie and ceramabryte.

The stovetop looked great and was no problem to maintain; loads easier than cleaning the old coil top.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I believe there are 2 different companies that make the cooktops. Corning and Schott/Ceran.
Has anyone noticed a difference between the 2. I just looked and my Wolf is Schott/Ceran.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 4:59PM
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I'm willing to bet a lot of the complaints are from people who have white tops. I had white and swore I would never again. It took a ton of effort to keep clean. However I now have black and cleaning is loads easier. I think manufacturers may have realized this too as many of the white ranges are now coming with black tops.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 5:10PM
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If you can afford it, induction is easier to clean because spills don't sear onto the hob. But it's exactly the same ceran top as radiant electric. Mine has faint scratches, and it doesn't bother me a bit.

I had coils before this. I think you will be pleased with how much easier it is to clean a smooth top, whether radiant or induction.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:24PM
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The *ONE* thing about glass cooktops (I have one, and LOVE it!) is that you cannot let sugar-y things boil over and get on your cooktop. My understanding is the sugar can pit your glass (not sure how true).

So, if you make candies, or jams, or simple syrups, make sure you don't let it over-boil.

Also, get a black top, rather than white. The white shows everything.

But, we have electric only as an option, and I like my glass top. (would maybe consider induction in the future, but would definitely buy this again if induction was out of the price-range).

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Also, these little scratches the black tops can get are only visible from about 2 feet away. A person has to walk right over to the stove and prepare to use it. No one standing on the other side of the island is going to notice. Not a casual guest. It's not as though the whole top looks all scratched up.

The scratches (mine has only three about 1" long) are in the middle of the burner circle where a cast iron pan made them. If a pan is sitting on that burner you can't see them at all. Mine is 4 years old, and it was scratched very early on.

Maybe it sounds worse than it is when I describe it? If you want I'll try to take a photo.

I think you aren't sitting a heavy 14" cast iron frying pan on your cell phone and moving it around! :)

BTW, I switched to stainless steel for my big frying pan and I love it. It's a Kitchen Aid with a very heavy bottom. Get a really good one and it will be fine.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Thanks everyone for the detailed and encouraging answers; you have given me many things to consider. I will be sure to look for a black top. I think Mrs.Joe may be right; I don't recall prior threads understanding that their problems may have stemmed from a white cooktop.

I admit I'm uncomfortable about using a razor: do you have to keep it at a certain angle (like a sharpening steel)? Did it cross your mind when you first did it that you could or would make things worse?

Biochem, and others, a photo would be welcome. You're right; I don't move heavy cast iron pans on my cell :-). I am thinking more about moving 6 quarts of boiling water, or a frying pan where you want to remove it until the element has reached a lower temperature before continuing cooking. I would also slide a cookie sheet or pan that has just come out of the oven. It still seems to me that if the improved technology is available, why not incorporate it and use it as a selling point?

I am looking forward to the responses to a2gemini's theory that it could be related to which company manufactured the cooktop.

Ginny20: I am not sure about induction because of having to replace pans. I know there still is not much choice or variety and while the price has come down some, it is still high.

Kirkhall, thanks for the advice about sugars. I don't make candies, jams or syrups, but I would use a little sugar in a tomato sauce. My experience is that no matter how low the element, the sauce always bubbles onto the cooktop. I will clean it as I stir the sauce; maybe every 10 - 15 minutes or so. While that may be enough time to dry onto the surface, I suppose that isn't enough time to really 'bake' into it or be so bad as to be a problem.

What do you use for cleaning the top? Do you use a certain brand or something you mix yourself? I suppose you should not use Soft Scrub (I use it occasionally on the enamel now, but I am not scrubbing so hard that I am 'sanding' the surface.)

Thanks again all.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:55AM
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I grew up with electric smoothtop ranges and have had them all of my adult life. They do NOT scratch or stain easily.
They are very durable. They look like new after years of daily use. My mother canned for years on hers and always had good results. She also used cast iron frying pans and had no problems with scratching. The manufacturers warn against allowing sugary type products to stay on the cooktop as this could lead to pitting, but I have never encountered that.

Most manufacturers include a straight edge razor for use in scraping up burned on food. The razor is very simple to use and I've never caused a scratch by using the razor. A sample of the cleaning product is also typically included, but truthfully, you don't need to use that routinely. Maybe once or twice a month for a thorough polishing. Most of the time a simple wipe with a damp dishcloth is all you need after the burners have cooled.
I would have no hesitation in purchasing a smoothtop range. The only thing I would recommend you look for is one with a power boost feature as it can take a long time to boil water without it! Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:32AM
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I have a white smoothtop and no problems with scratching or staining. We use cast iron frequently, slide cookie sheets across the top, and use soap and water to clean, BKF if something is burned on.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 7:44AM
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Cindy Noll

I've had a bisque colored smooth top for 5 years & there is not a scratch on it. I am a slop when cooking & I've never used a razor blade either. For tough spills I use cook top cleaner with a wet paper towel and let it soak a bit. I love my stove.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 7:46AM
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I have a Kitchenaid white Ceran top stovetop. I bought the stove used, and I've had it now for over 3 years. I can on it (pressure and WB), cook on it, and I'm a messy girl. Yesterday I made plum jam and it boiled over- sugary mess and all. No pitting there. I also mostly use cast iron and I do drag the pots- no scratches either.

No razor blades either. I use an environmentally friendly cleaner called Scour Off made by Shaklee. I have to buy it online, and usually buy multiple containers at once. I use it daily and a tub lasts for about 9 months. Much cheaper and better for the environment than BKF. No worries about my stovetop at all.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 11:16AM
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I just use a paste of baking soda and water if I really need to clean up (like when my peas boil over; or my hubby boils pasta water over).

The razor blade isn't scary at all. Just hold it at an angle (almost any angle). It is just really useful to scrape up most of the boil over, then you can (when cool) put some baking soda on it, with a wet washcloth over the top and leave for 1/2 hour or so (or when you remember) and go wipe it off.

btw--I've maybe done that 4 times in 9 years, and I am a SAHM who regularly cooks dinner at home. This is a well-used cooktop/range.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Using the razor blade scraper uses the same tool and technique as scraping paint off of glass. If you've ever accidentally had a drip of paint on a window, then you've already done this without any issues. Or if you've scraped an inspection sticker or parking permit sticker off of your car windshield. It really is NOT a big deal! If you clean spills as you go, and put a moist paper towel on the burner as it's warm and cooling down, then cleaning up after you eat is a breeze. You just wipe it off with that moist paper towel, and maybe give it a spritz of Windex or Fantastic if you want it to sparkle. Greasy spatters do need something that will cut the grease, but they aren't any worse than anything else you'll be cleaning up.

Take a refrigerator magnet and see if it will stick to some of your current pots. Induction is the standard in Europe for a reason! It's more energy efficient, doesn't put as much heat into the room, and you can even put down paper towels directly onto the cooking surface and place your pot on top if you've got something messy planned like frying up a big mess of Sunday chicken in your cast iron skillet. Just wrap up the paper towels with the splatter on them and toss them and you'll be done with the cleaning chore.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:41PM
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We had a Whirpool stove at our old house. It was white, with the light grey speckled top. I have never hated a stove so much in my life. It did seem to stain, or at least they left huge black marks that I couldn't clean with ANYTHING. I am sure that in retrospect, I maybe just didn't clean them fast enough, but I am a messy cook with small children, so it just wasn't practical for me.

Now I have induction, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Thank you all for your help. I have taken the advice that many have suggested about an induction stove and I am going to consider one. I am sure I will be back with lots more questions.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 9:55PM
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