Should You Repair or Replace Your Broken Cooktop?
CR’s interactive tool leverages product costs, depreciation rates, and survey data to help you make the right choice. Plus, expert advice on what to do next.
Cooktops are crucial for most meals. Manufacturers have told Consumer Reports that roughly 80 percent of cooking occurs on burners or heating elements as opposed to in the oven. So when your cooktop kicks the bucket, it’s natural to want a fast fix.
In this article, we’re talking exclusively about stand-alone cooktops. Unlike ranges, cooktops have fewer parts to break because there’s no attached oven. But they also tend to be cheaper than a range, which means it often makes more sense to skip the repair and opt for a replacement, even with a fairly new cooktop. Our interactive tool can help you figure out whether it’s worth paying a pro to repair your cooktop or whether you’re better off buying a new one. We’ll also share tips, from finding a vetted technician to shopping for a new model that will stand the test of time.
Factors to Consider
According to CR’s Tian Wang, who worked on the interactive tool above, the age of your cooktop, the cost of the repair, and the price you’d pay for a new model are the biggest considerations that affect the repair-or-replace decision.
DIY vs. Hiring a Pro
Based on our most recent survey data, 22 percent of people who experienced a problem with their cooktop either attempted to fix it themselves or had a friend or family member fix it. In fact, only a small number of cooktop repairs are feasible for most owners to handle themselves. Knob and grate replacements are easy and straightforward, as is cleaning out a clogged gas burner with an uneven flame. If a burner on your gas cooktop won’t light, replacing the igniter is also a fairly DIY-friendly job. But remember that to avoid the risk of shock, it’s essential to unplug your cooktop before attempting any repair.
For more complex problems—for instance, a broken glass top or a control-panel failure—hire a pro. You may be able to find a repair person by contacting the manufacturer or the retailer, or by trying an independent repair shop. In our 2021 member surveys on cooktops, 70 percent were fixed on the first attempt. However, your chances for success may vary depending on your specific problem. Here are the success rates for fixing a few common cooktop problems on the first try, as reported by our survey respondents:
Burner/element broke: 69 percent (18 percent were repaired on a subsequent try; 13 percent were never successfully repaired).
Knob broke: 77 percent (15 percent were repaired on a subsequent try; 8 percent were never successfully repaired).
Ignition broke: 72 percent (13 percent were repaired on a subsequent try; 15 percent were never successfully repaired).
Our surveys allow us to calculate the median repair costs for cooktops by type. Keep in mind that they reflect only the prices paid by people who went ahead with a repair. (Anyone who got sticker shock from a repair quote and decided to replace their cooktop instead isn’t included.)
Gas cooktops: $189
Electric cooktops: $265
If you know the exact problem with your cooktop—like a broken glass top or dead burner—you can search online for average repair costs in your area using sites like Angi or Home Advisor.
If you’re unsure of the problem, some newer cooktops with WiFi connectivity (about 19 percent of the cooktops covered in our survey have this) can actually self-diagnose when paired with a compatible smartphone app. The cooktop will typically use WiFi to send error codes to your phone. Opening the compatible app will tell you what the problem is and usually provide some basic troubleshooting steps to try before calling for service.
Otherwise, describe what you’re experiencing in a web search; include the brand and model number. This way, you’ll improve the quality of your results. You’ll also be more likely to connect with other cooktop owners who have experienced your exact problem, find a fix on video or social media, or get some sense of what the repair might cost. Problems often occur in clusters within a brand. For example, our most recent member surveys found that 17 percent of Jenn-Air and Maytag cooktops experienced a broken ignition, compared with a median of only 8 percent for all brands.
To find a technician, ask friends, neighbors, and local groups on social media for recommendations. You can also try services like Angi or Thumbtack, which can refer you to a local pro for a diagnosis. These pros are generally vetted and background-checked, and you can see ratings and reviews from other consumers in your area.
Once you decide on a repair service, expect a charge for a visit just to diagnose the problem. This will typically be deducted from the cost of your total bill if you use the service to complete your repair, but that’s not always the case. So always review the costs and terms before hiring.
Below is a big-picture look at the data that fuels our interactive tool. In general, electric smoothtop cooktops that cost more are worth repairing because the cost of a typical repair is a smaller proportion of the value of the range. In other words, a regular $265 repair on a low-end electric cooktop rarely makes financial sense; you’re better off putting the money toward a new $900 cooktop. But for, say, a more premium $1,500 cooktop, the $265 repair is often worth making for at least a decade.
Finding a Cooktop That Will Last
If you’ve decided to replace your cooktop, avoid simply hauling it to the curb to be taken to the landfill. Instead, try to recycle it. With Earth 911’s search tool, you can enter the type of appliance you own and ZIP code to find recycling centers near you.
Once you’re ready to shop, remember that it’s easiest to choose a new range of the same type. Going from an electric cooktop to gas, or vice versa, can require more work and money because that process usually involves installing a new gas or electric line in your kitchen.
Take measures to ensure an easier repair experience in the future. For instance, check user reviews with the Better Business Bureau and on retailer sites (not on the manufacturer’s own site, which will tend to be overly favorable) for any red flags, like a critical mass of people with the same unresolved repair issues. Read the warranty’s fine print to see how comprehensive the coverage is for future repairs. Once you’ve selected the right brand and model for your needs, seek out a retailer you trust. Our appliance store ratings are a great place to start. Below, we’ve highlighted three stellar cooktops from some of the most reliable brands in our surveys.
Top-Rated Cooktops From CR's Tests
For insight into how well a cooktop will hold up over time, use our comprehensive cooktop ratings. We factor reliability into the Overall Score for every cooktop, and we also provide a stand-alone rating for the predicted reliability for the brand of the cooktop. You can also reference our articles on the most and least reliable brands for gas and electric cooktops.