Has your current stove has given up the ghost after years of faithful service? Perhaps it simply doesn’t meet your needs any more. Before replacing it, it is worthwhile to make sure you’re asking the right questions! The time when there were only two choices – gas or electricity – is over: with the arrival of new technologies, there is a much greater selection than there was just a few years ago. Here are some basic tips to ensure that you buy the model that suits you best.
Firstly, identify your requirements correctly. Many manufacturers offer oven and cooktop combinations to meet more specific needs. For instance, if you cook a lot, you may be interested in ranges that include two smaller ovens, for instance allowing you to cook an entrée and a dessert at the same time at different temperatures. You may also be interested in a dual-fuel range, which provides you with the advantages of a gas cooktop and the precise temperature control of an electric oven.
Finally, stick to your budget. Start with a figure in mind and remember that any retailers often have items on sale. Why not subscribe to the newsletters of large retailers a few weeks before your purchase, giving you access to coupons and giving you notice of upcoming sales events, both in store and on line?
Gas or electricity?
Gas cooktops are still the preferred option of most people who love cooking. Heat is immediate, you can check the intensity of the heat visually and you can even cook during a power outage!
Ceramic cooktops remain very popular, for their looks and their ease of cleaning, but less expensive cooktops with coils continue to have their place. They are also more durable and easier to repair.
Fan-assisted ovens: worth it?
Ranges with fan-assisted ovens have been available for several years and have won the approval of many aspiring cooks. The principle is simple: traditional ovens use a single heating element and use heat waves to cook food, which can lead to uneven cooking with “hot spots” appearing. Fan-assisted or “convection” ovens use fans to circulate the hot air within the oven so that it is spread more uniformly. Food cooks more quickly using this method. Keen cooks are sure to appreciate the benefits of fan-assisted ovens.
The fascinating world of induction cooking
Cooktops now also feature induction cooking. Traditionally, stovetops would apply either a flame or heat from an electric element to the base of your pot or pan. The heat would be transferred fairly unevenly depending on the quality of your cookware and the method of heating used, with heat from gas being more evenly spread than electricity in general.
With induction cooking, the cooking vessel becomes its own heat source. How? With the addition of an electromagnetic element just below the surface of the cooktop, which creates a magnetic field. When you place your pot or pan (which must contain iron) above the element, it triggers a series of magnetic reactions with the iron, resulting in the generation of heat. As such, with an induction cooktop, energy is applied directly to the cooking vessel, heating its contents! Genius!
Other interesting options to consider
Manufacturers compete in terms of innovation when it comes to adding options to their appliances. These can include warming drawers (which allow food to be kept warm while other parts of the meal are being prepared). If you have young children, you may be tempted to buy a ceramic hob that contains heating elements that remain illuminated until they are safe to touch. And have you heard about ovens that clean themselves using steam for a safe solution to the problem of keeping your oven clean?
Consider the environment when buying
Clearly you need to read the Energuide labels when buying an electric range to assess its electricity consumption. Ranges using coils for heat are the most energy intensive. Self-cleaning ovens, which are better insulated, are more efficient and therefore require less energy – yet they are more polluting due to the toxic emissions that are triggered by the cleaning process.
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