The cooktop is the heart and soul of any kitchen, so it stands to reason that you have to think long and hard about what kind you want to buy. The sheer number of choices available can make choosing one a little overwhelming, so here’s a quick guide to the different stove types that will point you in the right direction.
Just as their name implies, electric stoves rely on electricity instead of solid fuel such as wood and coal to heat and cook food. Since you don’t have to keep loading them with fuel again and again, electric cooktops have become quite popular in recent decades. Some modern models also come with built-in extractor hoods, making them even easier and more comfortable to use.
Electric stoves can be categorized into two distinct classifications: smooth-top and coiled. If you want a smart, stylish cooktop, a smooth-top stove is your best bet. They’re also easier to keep clean compared to stoves with coil elements. Just remember not to drag pots across the top. You may also have to invest in flat-bottomed cookware.
Coil-element stoves, on the other hand, are more fiddly when it comes to cleaning, but they don’t really require any special care like smooth-top electric stoves. Another good thing that coil-element stoves have going for them is their price point since they are considerably cheaper.
You can think of induction cooktops as smooth-top electric stoves with a little more technological oomph. They heat food by way of electrical induction in a process similar to how microwaves work. There’s virtually no danger of accidentally burning your fingers on the cooktop itself. All of the heat is directly transferred to the cookware, making it an extremely safe, fast, and efficient cooking appliance.
The downside to all those benefits lies largely in this stove type’s price point. Induction cooktops are more expensive than normal electric stoves. You will also need magnetic cookware for an induction cooktop. They do give you a lot of leeway when you’re designing, though, as you can set them almost completely flush with your countertop. They’re perfect for kitchens sporting clean, contemporary designs.
Gas stoves use the traditional method of cooking food. That is, they use fuel instead of electricity. If you’re on a tight budget and want to stick to something more familiar, a gas stove remains a good alternative to the more modern electric-powered cooktops.
One popular gas cooktop is the gas range. These are the ones with the big knobs that stick out from the front of the main range unit and usually come with a built-in oven. Since they jut out, clothing and other materials can get snagged on these knobs. The extra depth required by the knobs also mean that you may have to make a few minute adjustments to your kitchen layout.
When you install a range top (or a freestanding range, for that matter), you’ll likely end up with a little bit of extra space between the range itself and the counters on either side. Dust and food particles that accumulate in this space can be pretty hard to clean, so think long and hard about whether you’re set on getting one or not.
Another thing to keep in mind when buying a gas appliance is that there are models that have sealed burners instead of conventional ones. The main difference between these two burner types is that the surface of sealed burners can get very hot. Make sure to keep your stove far away from any combustible materials. Keep an eye on your upper cabinets, too; extreme heat from a stove can damage the bottoms of any cabinets set above them.
The three types listed above are the most common stove categories that you’ll come across. Hopefully this short guide will help you get started on finding the perfect stove for your kitchen.