Stove/Range Buying Guide
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There are two main options when it comes to cooking in your kitchen: with a range (often called a stove), or with a wall oven and cooktop combination. Ranges are really two appliances in one — a cooktop and an oven. Finding the right cooking appliance for you involves considering how you cook and what voltage your home can support.
Types of Cooktops
Electric coil-top cooktops have traditional coil burners. Coil burners are durable and less expensive to replace, but the cooking surface is inefficient and doesn’t provide optimal temperature control.
Smooth-top (or ceran-top) cooktops have burners hidden beneath a glass ceramic surface. This makes them easier to clean and offers more cooking flexibility because the elements come in various sizes and power levels.
Induction cooktops are a subset of smooth cooktops. They use electromagnetic energy and are the most energy-efficient way to cook. They also provide control and performance similar to gas.
Gas cooktops look great and have fast, responsive heat control, but are not very energy-efficient.
Convection ovens are growing in popularity. A convection oven, whether as part of a range or as a wall-oven, has a fan that circulates hot air within the oven cavity so the air is evenly distributed. The result is evenly cooked food, often done in a faster cooking time than normal. Without convection, the majority of the heat hovers near the heating element on the bottom of the range, and is often the reason food is cooked unevenly.
Steam ovens are also an option to consider. Typically a built-in wall oven, a steam oven has a water tank to help generate steam to circulate within the oven cavity for moister cake and juicier food. Because steam only adds moisture, many ovens are actually combination-ovens, which give the option of using steam, convection or both for cooking.
All About Gas
How much power do you need? Manufacturers use BTUs, or British Thermal Units, to rate the amount of heat gas burners provide on their highest setting. If you do a lot of high-heat cooking or wok-style cooking, look for a range with one or more power burners (approximately 15,000 BTUs or more). For cooking soups or delicate sauces, a range with a simmer burner can provide a low, consistent heat.
Gas vs dual-fuel range: A gas range has both a gas cooktop and a gas oven, whereas a dual fuel range has a gas cooktop and an electric oven. Although the cost of a dual fuel range is generally higher than an all-gas range, it provides you with the best characteristics from both gas and electric ranges: the temperature control and high-heat capabilities of a gas cooktop, combined with the consistent heat of an electric oven
Home & Lifestyle Considerations
Your kitchen design will determine which style of range is best for you.
Freestanding ranges have finished sides and a backsplash where the controls are located. Because of the finished sides, you can place it anywhere you want.
Slide-in ranges are designed to fit between cabinets. There is no backsplash, and the controls are on the front of the range.
Upgrade Your Cooking
For an avid cook, a double-oven or a warming drawer option may be the right fit; however, if your meals are quick and simple, a speed oven — which is smaller than a regular oven and features a combination of microwave and convection technology, may be more convenient. Or if you decide you want a convection oven, you can get one that automatically converts your recipes for you, so you don’t have to do the math yourself!