Remodelling a kitchen means lots of decisions, but few are as important to your cooking as what type of oven you want. Here's a primer on the three options to help you choose the one that suits you best.
For years the basic choice was always between gas or electric, and if you didn't have a gas on the property, the choice was effectively made for you. Induction cooktops, which have been popular in Europe for years, are now gaining a foothold and have become an attractive third option.
Gas Cooktops Give You Instant Heat
Gas cooktops are a no-nonsense cooking solution. The biggest advantage they have is instant heat. There's no waiting for a heating element - just fire it up and your pan will be hot in seconds. The same goes for raising or lowering the temperature while you cook -- it will happen instantly, which means more precise control.
You can use gas on every type of pan including cast iron, stainless steel, and woks. It's worth noting that gas cooktops are more prone to accidental combustion and fire.
Electric Ranges Are the Cheapest Solution
Electric cooktops are commonplace in rental properties and apartments, due to their low initial and maintenance costs.
Their main downside is a slow change in heat. You have to wait for them to heat up when you turn them on, and changes in temperature will happen slower, giving you less control than a gas cooktop. Overall, they have lower heat levels as well.
Electric stoves with coiled heating elements are nice because it's easy to swap out the coils inexpensively. Ceramic radiant cooktops are a bit pricier to repair, but are very easy to clean since it's just one flat surface.
Induction Cooktops Are Super Easy And Efficient
Induction cooktops are one of the most popular kitchen appliance trends of the past few years (along with French door refrigerators). Induction cooktops use electromagnetism to cook your food.
Below each cooking zone, there's a coil of metal. When the power is turned on, an alternating current flows through the coil and produces an invisible magnetic field. If there is no pan on the cooking zone, no heat is produced, which makes it safe to touch.
Once a pan that contains iron (cast iron, black metal, or stainless steel with magnetic grade base) is placed on the zone, the magnetic field produced by the coil penetrates the iron inside it and induces electrical currents inside the pan, turning it into a heater.
Induction cooktops are very efficient as there is no wasted heat energy, and the pans heat up quickly. Cleaning an induction cooktop surface is easy, as it's just a flat surface, and because there is no heat generated by the surface, food doesn't "bake on" and can be wiped off.
The main downside is cost: you'll pay more for induction.
Other Things to Think About Before You Buy
Ask friends and family who have a similar cooking style for advice on what type of cooktop to use. Find a friend with a cooktop technology you've never used before, like induction, and prepare a meal with it.
Are your pans compatible with an induction cooktop? If not, do you have the budget to buy new pots and pans?