Wow -- there are a lot of choices when it comes
to how you'll bake and simmer your dinner. You can have your cooktop
and oven in the form of one appliance (a range) or separated at
different locations in your kitchen. And each situation involves
a myriad of choices including options of sizes, styles, fuel sources,
energy consumption, heating methods and features. If the sheer
number of choices available hasn't already made you think you
need some professional help, keep in mind that the consequences
of incorrectly choosing or installing these appliances can be
expensive and dangerous. This is one appliance area that you should
definitely seek the advice and assistance of true experts. Make
sure you find a store that specializes in appliances to help you
shop for your new oven, stove, or range.
The first decision you need to make is what form
you want these appliances to take. Do you want them together in
one central location? Do you want the oven and stove separated?
How will these appliances fit in with the architecture of your
kitchen? There are three distinct options for this most basic
Ovens: Technically, an oven is a large cavity
with a door that is used for baking and broiling food. Your oven
can be part of a range, or can be separated and built into a wall
or cabinet space.
Stoves: Stoves have four or more burners on which
pots are placed to cook food in. Stoves can be part of your range
or can be built into your kitchen separately on a countertop or
even in a kitchen island.
Ranges: Ranges are a single appliance unit that
combines both an oven and a stove. These are the most traditional
forms of ovens/stoves.
Read about the type of appliance you are thinking
about purchasing for more information about the many varieties
available, their pros and cons and helpful tips to choosing the
correct model for you and your family. Expect to be overwhelmed;
there are a variety of options in styles, sizes, features and
fuel sources. Feel free to contact the experts at XYZ for more
assistance as you shop for your new oven, stove, or range.
Ovens can be part of a range or stand alone as
a separate appliance. Though this section mostly addresses ovens
as separate appliances, many of the same features and choices
are available in ovens that are part of a range as well.
There exist three main choices when it comes to
ovens: the size, cleaning method and heating method. Read about
the choices available and their pros and cons.
size: Ovens come in three main sizes: single, double and combination.
Consider the following questions. How many people like to cook
at the same time in your home? How often do you entertain large
numbers of guests? And do you or your family members have any
physical limitations that make opening the oven or taking pans
in and out of the oven difficult?
Single ovens are the most traditional model of
ovens. They have one door which almost always hinges at the bottom
of the oven opening from the top down. Single ovens are great
for those that have limited space in their kitchens. However,
only one temperature is available at a time, meaning longer cooking
times if multiple items must be baked at different temperatures.
Double ovens have two separate cavities. Each
cavity can be heated to any temperature independent of the other,
allowing cooks to bake food at different temperatures simultaneously.
They take up more space than a single oven, but are great for
Combination ovens are a single or double oven
combined with a microwave installed on top of the oven. This provides
a very sleek kitchen design with all these appliances in one central
location. These units are usually quite large and usually require
a custom space in the kitchen cabinetry.
Nobody likes to clean their appliances and it's
even worse to spend time thinking about cleaning them in the future!
But you owe it to yourself to consider your future cleaning when
picking out a new oven. You can choose between standard cleaning,
self cleaning and continuous cleaning ovens.
Standard Cleaning ovens must be cleaned by hand
with soap and water. Some models have removable doors to make
cleaning hard to reach spaces easier. This cleaning method is
usually the most inexpensive option of the three methods available.
Self Cleaning ovens use an extremely high heat
cycle to turn soil inside your oven into a fine powder that can
be easily wiped away with a damp cloth. Self Cleaning ovens are
very fast and easy to clean and require very little of your own
effort. They have special safety precautions that lock the door
when the high heat cleaning cycle is in use. This added convenience
usually adds to the price as well, especially since special porcelain
enamels and door seals are required for safety purposes.
Continuous Cleaning ovens also get rid of oven
soil without your elbow grease, but these models do not require
the extreme heat cycle. Instead, the walls are treated with a
special catalyst that oxidizes the soil continuously. Because
the extreme high heat cycle isn't needed, these units consume
less energy which reduces the cost of their operation. However,
most people find that these models do not clean the ovens quite
as well as Self Cleaning models and still require some scrubbing
Ovens can be further classified by their heating
method into one of two types: conventional ovens or convection
ovens. Below is a description of each type of heating method and
their relative pros and cons. It's important to ask yourself how
vital cooking quality and price are in your decision, as well
as what power sources you have available.
Conventional ovens are, well, the conventional
type! These ovens have two heating elements; one for baking and
roasting and another for broiling foods. Most people use their
oven primarily to bake items, during which heat comes from the
bottom of the oven. Some more modern conventional ovens will have
heating systems which use both upper and lower heating elements
during baking, which can amount to a more even heating of the
food. Conventional ovens are usually the less expensive option
of heating methods available, but some cooks notice they do not
always heat food evenly.
Convection ovens all have an extra critical component
that separates them from conventional ovens: a fan. The fan helps
to disperse the hot air faster and more evenly throughout the
cooking space. This helps food to cook more evenly throughout
and also uses about 50% less energy than conventional ovens. Because
the hot air will circulate faster, convection ovens reduce cooking
times by an average of 30%.
As if there were not enough choices already, there
exist two types of convection ovens. Fan assisted convection ovens
disperse heat from the bottom and the fan is located at the rear.
Fan forced convection ovens have the fan surrounded by the heating
element. This allows the food to be placed anywhere in the entire
oven. Keep in mind that fan assisted units come in both electric
and gas compatible models, while fan forced is only found in electric
units. Fan forced units are usually louder and can make food dry
out faster if it is not covered properly.
Stove tops get a lot of attention and inspire
a lot of debate between cooking professionals and average kitchen
owners alike. Stove tops can be part of range or stand alone as
their own independent appliance. There are a variety of fuel choices,
each with their own unique pros and cons. And don't forget to
consider all the new technology that has added features to more
traditional models and also created entirely new heating methods.
Read about the stove tops listed below to learn more about them.
Standard Gas Burners The standard gas burners are the most traditional
and common choice for professional cooks. Because the burner and
pot/pan is heated directly by an open flame, it is very easy to
control the temperature very precisely and most importantly, immediately.
Professional chefs require the ability to raise or lower the temperature
of the burner immediately upon adjusting the knob. If you're a
cooking enthusiast, you probably already know the great benefits
of cooking on a standard gas burner stove-top and would love to
get your hands on one.
Though standard gas burners have many highly sought
after features, there are also some drawbacks in certain circumstances
to having this kind of stovetop. Since this type of stove top
uses gas as its fuel source, a properly installed gas line and
hookup in your kitchen is required. If that does not already exist,
getting one installed can be pricey. Also, the flame is visible
in these models and therefore could be dangerous, especially if
small children have access to that area. Energy efficiency varies
and depends on the local costs of electricity verses gas in your
area. Also, check into standard gas burners that have pilot-less
ignitions to conserve energy.
Sealed Gas Burners Sealed gas burners are a relatively newer arrival
to the stove top scene. They offer the same fine control over
temperature as standard gas burners, which are preferred by professional
chefs the world over. Sealed gas burners, as the name implies,
enclose the burners in a cook top. This increases safety as there
are no open flames. The sealed burners are also much easier to
clean. These units very often come with energy saving electronic
ignition systems, eliminating the need for an energy consuming
always-on pilot light.
Like all gas appliances, sealed gas burner stove
tops require professional installation of a gas line and hookup
in your kitchen. These units should also be professionally installed,
as incorrect installation of gas appliances can decrease the life
of your appliance, damage the appliance and be very dangerous
to your home and family.
Electric Coil Elements Stove tops with electric coil elements
are fueled by electricity rather than gas. There are several advantages
to using this kind of stove top. They are usually less expensive
than gas models. They are also safer because there are no visible
flames. They do not require a gas hookup, which can be expensive
to install if one does not already exist. They are also very easy
to maintain and inexpensive to repair.
Though stove tops with electric coil elements
can be less expensive than gas models at their initial purchase,
they can cost you more over time in most areas of the country.
Check into the relative cost of electricity and gas in your local
area. Also, heating and cooling these burners takes longer, meaning
you have less immediate control over the temperature you are cooking
with. In general, electric coil elements are less responsive than
gas, making most professional chefs prefer to have the increased
control allowed by gas burners.
Ceramic Glass Burners Stove tops with ceramic glass burners have
increased in popularity lately. They offer a smooth surface that
is very easy to clean and is very visually appealing. When the
stove top is not in use, the top can be used as extra counter
space. No crumbs or spills can get into the burners which not
only makes this unit easy to clean, but also reduces the chance
of little kitchen flare ups.
Because ceramic glass burner stove tops are fueled
with electricity, they are not as precise and responsive as gas
stove tops. It is sometimes difficult to tell if the burners are
still hot after turning them off, which could be a safety issue,
especially if small children have access to that area. Because
of the upgraded flat smooth cooking surface, ceramic glass burners
can be more expensive than standard electric coil burners.
Magnetic Induction Magnetic induction stove tops are relatively
new on the market and many people have never heard of them. They
are very similar in appearance to stovetops with ceramic glass
burners. They both offer smooth surfaces that are easy to clean
and are very attractive. However, that is where the similarities
end between these two types of stove tops.
Magnetic induction stove tops only work with steel
and cast iron pans (or any pan that you can get a magnet to stick
to). Because they only cause the pan and its contents to heat
up, the rest of the surface unit remains completely cool at all
times. Because of this, these stove top units are very safe. They
are also extremely responsive and precise, making them very similar
to cooking with gas stove top units but without the need for a
gas line and hookup in your kitchen.
Like most new technologies, magnetic induction
stoves come with a premium price and are usually more expensive
than other types of stove tops. Also, make sure to consider whether
or not the pots and pans you currently own will work with this
type of appliance. If you're looking for the accuracy and performance
of a gas stove top, but more safety and no need for a separate
gas line and hookup, look into magnetic induction stove tops.
Solid Disks These stove tops are very similar to electric coil
stove tops. Instead of open coils, they have solid cast iron disks
in which the burner elements are contained. This makes them very
easy to clean and also unique and attractive. The extra ease of
cleaning and unique look come at a price though; the solid cast
iron disks are very slow to heat up and cool down, which can lengthen
cooking time and decreases the control you have over temperature.
Ranges Many people choose to have their oven and
stove come together in one convenient appliance; the range. Though
choosing a range eliminates the need to choose two places in your
kitchen for a separate stove top and oven, there are a myriad
of other choices available to you when choosing which range is
right for you.
The two main choices you will have to make involve
your fuel choice and how it will be installed in your kitchen.
Read about the different fuel choices available in ranges and
their relative pros and cons.
When buying a range, it is important to consider
what fuel source you wish to you. There are three main choices
in ranges available: electric ranges, gas ranges and dual fuel
gas and electric ranges.
Electric ranges are by far the most popular choice
today. In most homes, electricity is more available for kitchen
appliances than gas is. The coils in the stove top are reliable
and very easy and inexpensive to replace should they fail. Almost
all cookware can be used in these ranges and they are often safer
since there is no open flame. Some gas stove tops may not be able
to heat consistently at very low temperatures, though electric
stove tops usually do this with ease.
Ranges with open electric coils on the stove top
can be vulnerable to spills. Smooth closed tops are available
and usually come with a bigger price tag. The responsiveness and
precision of stove top heating is not as fine as with gas units.
Though most professional cooks prefer gas over electric stove
tops, they also usually prefer electric over gas ovens.
Gas ranges are not as popular as electric ranges.
However, most professional cooks greatly prefer using a gas stove
top as opposed to electric due to its better responsiveness and
precision. But, they also usually prefer to use electric ovens
as opposed to gas (as would be included in these ranges).
Gas ranges have visible flames in the cook tops
(unless using a sealed burner) which can be a safety concern,
especially if children have access to the area. They are usually
more expensive than electric ranges and require a natural gas
or liquid propane gas hookup in your kitchen in order to install.
Dual fuel gas and electric ranges solve the problem
of compromising one appliance for the other. Since most professional
chefs prefer to cook with gas stove tops but electric ovens, before
dual fuel ranges you would have to sacrifice one appliance for
the other. But dual fuel ranges allow you to have the best of
both words: a gas stove top and an electric oven.
Dual fuel ranges save you space if you require
an electric oven but gas stove and don't want to put them in separate
areas of your kitchen. These ranges are usually professional models
and can be more expensive than other types of range. They also
require that there is a gas line and hookup in your kitchen to
supply fuel for the stove top