Oh, the accessories available today. If you’ve ever thought, “It sure would be nice to have. . .” you can probably get it. Gotta have it items include burners that pop out to accommodate slide in steamers, deep-fryers, griddles, and grills.
With all these choices, you can customize a cooktop based on the way you want to cook. You can even combine burner types, like 2 gas burners and 2 electric ones, if that’s what you need in your kitchen. And while you’re imagining cooking on your new cooktop, don’t forget to consider how easy, or hard, each cooktop will be to clean.
If you have space, the advantage of wall ovens that are separate from cooktops is that they allow you to create a separate cook station. Thinking of double ovens? You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love theirs. And if you’re tight on space, even stoves have double oven options. If it doesn’t have a convection option – pass on it and find one that does. Convection allows you to cook faster at lower temperatures; a must for some recipes and it’s more energy efficient.
Need to start dinner at 5:30 and you don’t get home until 6:00? Look for ovens with programmable timers that allow you to turn on your oven even when you’re away. Also, self-cleaning ovens are often worth the added cost. Not only do they save time and effort, the added insulation make them more efficient. And don’t forget to check the fan – if the oven is installed before you realize that you can’t hear yourself think over the noise, you’re out of luck.
A range combines your cooktop and oven in one unit. Like cooktops, they are available in gas or electric or a combination of both. You can even choose a range that has both a large oven and a mini oven underneath. Ranges are also available with all the options that you have with a cooktop – like griddles and grills.
Today, most people who choose a range do so because they don’t use their oven very often. In this case, it isn’t worth giving up storage space for a separate oven.
Cooking Fuel – pick your flavor
A favorite with chefs everywhere, gas cooktops give you so much control even a Type-A personality has to love them. They come on fast and cook evenly.
Less responsive than gas, electric cooktops heat up quickly but cool down slowly which wastes energy and money. The one advantage of electric cooktops is that they are less expensive.
INDUCTION, HALOGEN AND GLASS CERAMIC
While the heat source is electric, halogen, induction and glass ceramic cooktops work by heating the cookware instead of the cooktop allowing them to heat up and cool down about as fast as gas without wasting energy like electric coil. If you’re looking for a “green” alternative, you can’t get better than halogen or induction. The down side is that it is more expensive initially, and certain cookware isn’t recommended for use with a hallogen cooktop.
If you’re torn between flavors, some manufacturers offer cooktops with two fuel types.