When it comes to buying a new stove for your kitchen, there are many different brands and varieties to choose from. But, the first thing you must decide is what type...electric or gas?
Your choice is predetermined by how your home was built and what the builder thought was best and easiest to install. Can you convert from one to the other? The answer in most cases is yes, depending on the availability of services and on how much you are willing to invest. Let's look at some information that will help you choose what will be best for you.
Many professional chefs prefer a commercial grade gas stove. With gas, you have much better and more precise control over the heat, and you don't have to wait for the burner to get hot.
Here are some of the options that you will get to choose from.
Flattop stoves are just the cooking burners that are set into the counter top . The ovens are away from the drop-in burners and will be built into the wall or cabinets. Standard sizes are 30 inch or 36 inch in width. You will have the option to choose 4 or more burners, some that will have burners with range from 5,000 to 16,000 BTU's which is great for cooking on. If you want to simmer or just keep food warm, you can utilize the smaller burner. Yet, if you want to stir fry a large wok of vegetables you can use the largest burner, which provides a more intense heat. Most gas ranges have the sealed burners which will make wiping up spills incredibly easy. Gas ranges will come with electric ignition or with pilot lights.
A freestanding range slides into the cabinets and has the oven included in it. You can choose a 30 inch, a 36 inch or even up to 40 inches in width. With the freestanding range, you can get up to 5 burners. Once again, you will have the option of burners with varying BTU's that will help you when you cook and also help save you some money.
The ovens can be different sizes and will come either as a manual cleaning or self-cleaning oven. The self-cleaning oven is great if you bake a lot; however, if you only use the oven at Thanksgiving then the manual cleaning oven would suffice and save you money. You can choose from a standard oven or a convection oven. The convection oven will circulate the heat, giving you quicker baking times and a more uniform cooking temperature throughout the entire oven. You have the option of getting a warming drawer or storage drawer and some models don't have either. If you purchase the one with the warming drawer, it can also be used for storage when it is not in use. The storage drawer is great if you have limited cabinets to store skillets and baking pans.
Slide-ins will look like the flattops but will have the oven with them. They give the appearance of a flattop stove and will free-up more counter space. They have a lip around the edge that sets on the counter top. If you're replacing a freestanding stove and you decide to go with the slide in style, be aware that you will need to rebuild the counter top to accommodate the range.
Burners can be cast iron, cast iron porcelain-coated, and on the more expensive models you can get your gas heat through ceramic glass.
Stoves will come in white, black, and stainless steel, or a combination of the three.
As with the gas models, you get a choice of freestanding, drop in, and slide in. However, with the electric range you have different choices for the burners. You can purchase the standard coil or the smooth top.
Electric stoves with coil burners, for the most part, have drip pans that can be taken out and cleaned. Over time, the drip pans can possibly get dull from all the cleaning and scrubbing, but these pans can easily and inexpensively be replaced.
Smooth top ranges use a radiant heat below a ceramic top, and spills have no place to go so clean up is a snap. The smooth top stoves tend to be more expensive than the coil type. Some of the smooth tops will offer a dual ribbon, or two rings, which will allow you to use the burner for smaller pans as well as larger ones. Before you buy a new stove, determine what will work the best for you.
Before You Go Shopping
When you are in the market for a stove, ask these questions:
Is it ready to take with you today or will you need to order it?
How long it will take to have it delivered. If they deliver, will they hook it up?
Know the exact measurements of the opening for your stove. Measure the distance from the floor to the top of the counter. Also measure from side-to-side and front-to-back. Write these measurements down and take them with you when you go shopping.
Will they take your old one and dispose of it?
What is their policy on returning the product if you are not happy with it?
Other Helpful Information
Check Consumer Reports and online sites that can help you to determine if there are any problems that you should be aware of. Check the prices online and at several different stores. You might be amazed at the difference in prices for the same stove. Do your research! Find the stove you want and check for the best price.
Remember your new stove will be a part of your home and will be used almost every day for many years. Buy it for its features as well as how it will look in your home, but also remember you will be cooking up memories that will be talked about for a very long time to come.