I love to cook with a gas range. Gas reacts immediately when you want to change the heat level and there are no set levels as in most electric cooktops. However, our new house does not have a gas connection. Originally we were determined to change the house from oil heat to gas, but after doing some research we figured that it may not be worth the cost and effort, even in the long run. (Writing about oil vs. gas comparison could be its own post, so I won't go into details here.) Since we decided that there will be no gas connection, I had to start looking at electric stoves and cooktops. The latest thing is the induction cooktop which has some interesting features. The cooktop itself does not heat up, but the heat is transferred to the vessel sitting on the cooktop. The catch is that the vessel has to be good quality stainless steel. I use a lot of non-stick pots when I cook, which are not ideal for induction. However, induction can boil a pot of water in 90 seconds (Welcome fast pasta!), i.e. much less than a microwave oven, and has almost an endless range of heat levels, and is very steady in the heat level.
Reacts immediately when you change the heat level
Child friendly because the cooktop does not heat up
Easy to clean because messes don't burn into the hot cooktop
Only works with good quality stainless steel pots
Because I don't want to give up my health conscious ways and love of non-stick pots, the solution is a Hybrid Cooktop. It has two induction elements and three regular electric elements. So far I have only found this Electrolux cooktop that would work, but it looks really good!