Confused by burners, grates, knobs, and all those kitchen stove parts in between? Fear not: We break it down for you in this essential guide to kitchen stove parts.
From the no-frills versions to the commercial-grade models, all kitchen stoves have essentially the same parts. Here's how to get to know your main cooking appliance, inside and out.
Burners: The most basic stoves have four burners. Burner size differs depending on the model. Bigger burners can distribute heat to larger pots more quickly. Most cooktops feature a mix of high and low heat output. Some cooktops may have an accessory that allows you to combine burners next to each other for a larger cooking surface.
Burner Covers: Burners appear differently based on both the fuel source and stove type. Gas burners come in sealed or open setups. Open burners will reach maximum heat quickly, but sealed burners keep pans closer to the flame and are easier to clean. Electric burners are sealed under a ceramic-glass cooktop surface. It's a burner capped with a metal disk, like the cap on a mushroom. The disk prevents spills from dribbling into the tiny holes from which the gas and flame emerge and provides a more even distribution of heat than the old-fashioned, direct-flame burner did. The heat is spread across the bottom of the pan, not just concentrated in the middle, where it may result in scorching.
Accessories: Some cooktops come with interchangeable accessories for the original four burners, such as grills, griddles, and woks.
Additional burners/cooking space: Many stoves utilize the space between the original four burners for a variety of uses. Some have an additional burner, or a long burner to accommodate a grate or griddle.
Controls: Kitchen stoves typically have a control panel that allows you to turn various functions off an on, as well as adjust temperature for ovens and warming drawers. These are typically push-button to enable precision in settings.
Door/Drawer: Each oven or warming drawer space in your kitchen stove will have a door or drawer mechanism to open and close it. These should fit securely and evenly.
Drip Pan: Drip pans are used in conjunction with sealed burners to catch any dribbles or overflows.
Grates: A cooktop's grates distribute and dissipate heat evenly below the pan. In the case of a gas oven, these are made of cast iron. For electric or smooth surface gas cooking surfaces, these are ceramic-glass. Cast iron grates may be continuous, which allows pots and pans to be easily shifted from burner to burner, but these also dissipate heat more slowly. A smooth surface also allows you to shift pans as needed.
Knobs: Knobs to control the burners—and sometimes the oven—are typically located on the face of the appliance, or on its top.
Oven: Most ovens on kitchen stoves are standard size. For those kitchen stoves that include more than one oven or an additional warming drawer, ovens may be smaller. Oversize kitchen stoves often include a variety of oven sizes.
Btus: The heat output of a kitchen stove is measured in British thermal units (Btus) or watts (1 watt equals 4 Btus). The average cooktop produces a maximum of 6,000-10,000 Btus. Gas stoves have an output from 500-15,000 Btus.
Range vs. Cooktop: Kitchen stoves, also called ranges, generally combine both burners and ovens in one appliance. Cooktops break out the burners, or cooking surface, into its own appliance; wall ovens generally complement this setup. A range may help save space while cooktops/wall ovens offer multiple cooking/baking stations.
If you're in the market for a new range, cooktop or stove, read our buying guides to help you make an informed purchasing decision.
-For maximum design flexibility in your kitchen, try this dynamic duo---- A cook top plus 1 or more wall ovens. Hi. I'm Lacey Howard. -When shopping for a cooktop, your first big choice is gas or electric heat. Gas burners give you greater control, and gas is an economical heat source. Electric burners are less responsive than gas but they're easier to clean. Although many cooks are passionate about gas, the performance gap between gas and electric is shrinking. Whatever your heat source, consider BTU's or British Thermal Unit. Your cooktop should include a choice of burners with different BTU's. For example, 1,000 to 10,000 BTU's is ideal for general cooking. More than 10,000 BTU's is great for boiling, sauting and searing meat, and less than 1,000 BTU's is appropriate for simmering or slow heating sauces. If you want high speed heat, consider including a specialty burner on your cooktop. An induction burner conducts heat magnetically and could bring a pot of water to boil in less than 2 minutes. The standard cooktop is 30 inches wide and has 4 burners, but an array of witthen burner configurations is available. Look for 5, 6 and even 8 burners. Smooth-top cooktops are easy to clean and give your cooking space a streamlined appearance. They can also function as extra countertop space when necessary. Outfit your cooktop with useful features including a downdraft vent that sucks smoke and stain down and out. Downdraft vents pop out when needed and retract when you're done cooking. Continuous grates allow you to easily slide heavy pans from burner to burner. A cooktop drops into a cutout on your countertop as does pop-up ventilation. So plan what storage unit works underneath and around it. Measure and plan carefully, and remember to include adequate ventilation and insulation. -Whether you choose a cooktop or a range, here's a smart but simple tip. Choose a unit with controls in the front. That way, you don't have to reach over a hot burner to adjust the heat.