Though a simple appliance in practice, there are a wide array of options when selecting a new stove top. No matter how often you cook or how many you’re cooking for, finding the range that fits your needs really just boils down to a few simple decisions.
The first question you’ll want to ask yourself is whether you’re looking for a range/oven combo, or if you would rather go with a free standing unit with a separate oven. A free standing range gives you options when it comes to selecting your oven, opening you up to things like double or 1 ½ oven models. A combo unit on the other hand, is dramatically more compact and makes a lot of sense for homeowners that rarely cook for big crowds.
When it comes to selecting your fuel source, proponents of gas cooking praise it for its responsive controls and immediate heat (gas stoves also won’t stop working in the event of a power outage!) Electric stove tops can take longer to heat up, but can also be a lot easier to clean in addition to obviously not requiring a natural gas hook up. If you decide to go with a combo range and oven unit, electric ovens are typically favored for providing more even and consistent heat while baking, with gas being the preferred fuel source in stove tops, so if you want the best of both worlds, consider a dual fuel unit.
While “combo vs standalone” and “gas vs electric” are the big decisions when it comes to purchasing a new stove top, there are also a range of “bells and whistles” you can look for as well. A “power burner” can rapidly bring water to a boil, cranking out an average of 15,000 BTUs on a gas stove and 3,200 watts on an electric range. On the flip side, a simmer burner is great for preparing gentle sauces, melting chocolate and keeping finished dishes warm without overcooking them. Lastly, digital or touch activated controls are not only more precise, but are also much easier to clean than knobs and dials.
Whether you’re a professional chef, or a kitchen amateur, there’s a range that’s just right for you. Weighing your options and doing a little research is all it takes to find a unit that suits your needs and your budget!