"We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly." If Anna Thomas' quote is anything to go by, then we should pride ourselves in getting our meals prepared right. A good kitchen stove is a means for doing so and this buying guide would give you the essentials you need to purchase one for your home.
Gas stoves are powered using flammable gas. They are lit-up using a match or an electronic ignition. Gas stoves heat up quickly and are cheaper to run. However, heat distribution on a gas stove is more humid and not even. Your gas stove is also likely to blow out in the presence of strong wind. Cleaning a gas burner is also harder.
An electric stove uses electricity as a power source. Earlier electric stoves were based on resistive heating coils. Subsequent technologies are based on glass ceramics and induction. Heat distribution in an an electric stove is drier and more even. They are easier to clean and will have more features than a gas stove. However modern electric burners are more susceptible to damage when you drop a heavy object or drop cold water on a hot burner.
Dual fuel stoves combine the best of both worlds in one appliance. They are capable of using both flammable gas and electricity.
Freestanding Stoves have a backguard with some controls for the burner or oven placed on them. They feature a wider range of selection than slide-in stoves.
Slide-in stoves don't have a backguard and so feature all the control at the front of the stove. They are about 2 inches wider at the top in order to overlap the kitchen workspace countertop and create a built-in stove look.
Range stoves are the largest domestic cookers. While a traditional stove would measure about 30 inches, a range stoves measures between 36 to 60 inches. Range stoves also have about 6 to 10 burners compared to 4 burners for traditional stoves.
Built-in stoves are installed into your kitchen cabinets to create a seamless and stylish look. They are however less mobile than free standing stoves.
A hot plate is a portable self-contained cooking appliance which is powered by electricity or gas. They are easier to carry around than the other stoves. Hot plates usually have 1-2 cooking surfaces although some have three or more.
Convection ovens are equipped with a fan which circulates hot air to keep temperatures even in the oven. As a result food will cook faster and more even. The fan in a convection oven can also be turned off. This useful because some baked foods like bread cook best in a humid environment. The fans tend to drys out the air in the oven. On the other hand steam ovens feature a water reservoir, which the oven uses to turn water into steam. Compared with a convection oven, steam ovens are more humid. Food cooked with steam also retains more nutrients than boiled food. However, steam ovens don't brown food like convection ovens. Also available on the market are Convection steam ovens which combine the advantages of both convection and steam. This results in a multitasking oven which has heat and brown food, maintain moisture in your cooking, while retaining vital food nutrients.
Kitchen stoves with double ovens come in different configuration. They are either two same-sized ovens, a bigger top oven with a small bottom oven, or a bigger bottom oven with a small top oven. Choose a configuration based on how you cook. Both ovens can be used at the same time for cooking different meals.
Automatic timer stoves feature an automatic turn-off switch, a motion sensor, and a timer. The timer triggers an automatic countdown when the motion sensor detects that a person has left the cooking area. If the person doesn't return when the timer reaches zero, the stove turns off. Depending on the model, the stove stays off until the person manually turns the stove back on or the sensor detects that the person has returned to the cooking area.
The least labour-intensive self-cleaning ovens are Pyrolysis based. The Pyrolysis technology heats up and reduces food particles and spills to ashes. The ashes can be easily collected and put away when the oven cools. Other less advanced oven self-cleaning technologies are stay-clean liners, self-cleaning catalytic liners and easy-clean enamel.
- Stove: A cooking appliance made up of a burner and an oven - Oven: A cooking appliance with an enclosed space used for baking, roasting and grilling - Burner: A kitchen appliance that emits a flame or generates a hot surface for cooking food.
Gas and electric stoves cost around the same price range. Electric stoves have a wider range, having the cheapest and the most expensive options. Gas stoves are generally cheaper to run than electric stoves. Freestanding stoves are also cheaper than slide-in options. Hot plates are the cheapest while advanced featured stoves with steam, Pyrolysis, and convection will have higher prices.