Before you start shopping for ranges, ask yourself the following questions:
Would I like to experiment with new cooking techniques?
To save time and energy, consider induction. If you're hesitant to make the leap, seek out ranges with both electric and induction elements.
Is one oven large enough, or do I need two?
For larger meals with dishes requiring different cook times at different temperatures, two ovens make meal prep easier.
What type of look do I desire -- do I want something showy?
If you crave extra width and stainless steel's industrial appeal, seek out a model that matches your vision. Just make sure its function is as good as its looks.
Should I buy a gas or electric stove?
It's one of the most important decisions -- and it might not be a simple either-or consideration. Consider the benefits and drawbacks:
Gas ranges award you more precise, immediate temperature control; the heat level is visible; and you get a variety of temperature levels. Gas ranges typically cost more to install if you lack an existing gas hookup, and they're the least energy-efficient option.
Electric Cooktops come in two forms: those with coil burners and those with smooth-top surfaces. Tops with coil burners are durable and the least expensive, but also the least attractive. Smooth cooktops -- in which burners hide beneath a ceramic surface -- are easier to clean and offer more flexibility because the elements come in various sizes and power levels. Both types of electric cooktops accommodate very low heat; however, they also retain heat longer than gas burners when you switch from high to low heat, making temperature regulation a challenge.
Induction Cooking, the most energy-efficient method, uses an electromagnet below the ceramic surface to generate heat. It creates a magnetic field, which can transfer, or induce, energy to a cooking vessel containing iron, where heat is then generated to cook the food. Increasing or reducing the magnetic field's strength controls heat levels. A huge perk of induction cooking: its safety; the only thing an induction range can heat is the cookware, which means it can't burn your hand. To cook with induction, buyers must make sure they have the right cookware.
Dual-Fuel Ranges, also known as hybrid ranges, combine a gas cooktop with an electric oven, providing immediate temperature response for cooking and even heating for baking. However, you'll typically pay more for a dual-fuel model than you would for an all-gas or all-electric range.