The stove is the most common and simplest kitchen appliance. Though there are a lot of various cookers nowadays, the stove is and will probably always be a staple – your pots and pans would be useless without them.
Stoves are really simple to use and there are many different types of them. If you are looking to buy a stove, here are some general types of stoves to choose from:
1. Wood-burning stoves
Wood-burning stoves use wood as the primary fuel for creating fire and heat. It’s an old-fashioned stove type used for cooking, but it is still considered by some homeowners today, especially for rural areas wherein the wood is widely available. Wood-burning stoves are generally made from all-metal construction such as cast iron or steel. With new technology, this type of stove is made clean-burning and energy-efficient, with the EPA giving off certification based on emissions testing.
2. Gas stoves
Gas stoves are burners that operate on natural gas or propane. This stove has grates over a set of exposed burners that allow pots and pans to be safely placed above the flame. It is common among many homeowners because almost all cookware can be used on this type of stove – whether it’s flat-bottomed or round-bottomed, metallic or ceramic. Gas stoves also offer precise visual control over the heat being applied to the pan.
Most modern types of gas stoves are equipped with a safety system from a gas leak. Some are also fitted with an electric ignition system to simplify the cooking process. Gas stoves provide instant heat, which might make your AC work harder in the kitchen, but you can benefit from cooking in this type of stove during colder days. Gas cooktops are generally less costly to operate than electric cooktops. And also, it allows you to cook even when the lights are out during a power outage.
3. Electric stoves
Electric stoves are designed to replicate the look and feel of traditional heating stoves with the use of electricity. Because these stoves can be simply plugged in a standard electrical outlet, it can be portable, as compared to wood and gas stoves that need installation.
Electric stoves are of different types such as:
1. Electric coil cooktop
As the name suggests, an electric coil cooktop features a spiral shape on the cooking surface. This coil usually lights up when ready, signaling that its heating elements are ready. It’s a traditional version of an electric cooktop that is tough and affordable. Coil cooktops are best for heavy cast iron pans or other heavy cookware, since it may damage less resilient cooktops. Usually, it offers drip pans or drip bowls underneath the burner to protect the electrical wiring in case of spills.
You can clean the cooktop surface and drip pans as vigorously as you want since these are tough, but after some time you might need to replace them should they become too dirty or damaged to function. However, electric coil cooktops need more effort to clean (that’s why we mentioned you can clean it vigorously), and some spills and stains on the coils can be difficult to access.
2. Electric smooth top cooktop
Unlike the coil cooktop, electric smooth top cooktops feature smooth surfaces without cracks or crevices where spilled food can hide. Because of this, it’s easy to clean, making it perfect for those who like a quick and easy cleanup after cooking. The top is usually made of ceramic glass that looks sleek and modern.
However, when it comes to smooth top stoves, you have to be extra careful not to harm the surface with very heavy or rough cookware, since it can leave scratches or cracks. Also, anything that burns unto the cooktop may be very hard to remove.
3. Induction cooktop
Induction cooktops are the most popular electric stove type nowadays because of its advanced technology. Yes, it runs on electricity, but unlike standard electric cooktops, these use electromagnetism to heat food. The electromagnets are installed under the smooth cooking surface and generate resistance when the stove is plugged on to an electric source. Because of this resistance, the cooking surface of the induction cooker itself doesn’t heat up – instead, it transfers the heat energy in the molecules in the pan, then heats up the food that is inside. For this to work, you will need ferrous or magnetic cookware, as the use of non-magnetic pans will not generate any heat transfer.
The greatest advantage of an induction cooktop is its safety. There is no open flame, no heated surface, and no hot coil to cool down, so if you forget to turn it off, your house will be safe from fire risks. Also, any spilled food will not be burned, making the cleaning process much easier. Also, the technology helps the burners reach high temperatures in less time than other cooktops; meaning, less cooking time. For the drawbacks, it’s still pricier than most stove types and it needs flat-bottomed magnetic cookware.
4. Downdraft cooktop
Most cooktops, whether gas or electric, use an overhead hood to draw in heat and smoke during cooking. In the case of downdraft cooktops, the ventilation system is installed directly on the surface of cooktop using a small vent between the burners. The exhaust fan is either installed in the cooktop itself, in the center of the surface, behind the burners or on the side.
A downdraft cooktop a great choice for small kitchens that don’t have the room for an overhead hood, or for people who simply don’t like the look of the range hood and the trouble of installing it. However, their ventilation systems are generally not as efficient as traditional overhead hoods.
5. Pellet stoves
Pellet stove is a kind of heating stove that burns pellets of recycled sawdust, wood shavings or other biomass material. When compacted tightly, pellets burn cleaner than firewood. You only need to put the fuel pellets into a hopper, then the pellets will be fed into a burn chamber to produce heat. Most people use it as a heating appliance, but its main purpose is also to cook food.
Though the pellets itself are inexpensive, the stove usually cost more than other types of stoves. Also, burning the pellets leaves a mess behind, so be ready for cleaning if you’re going to consider this type of stove.
6. Modular cooktops
Modular cooktops are stoves that combine gas and electric cooking. It usually comes in a form of an all-in-one appliance with an oven underneath, and a combination of a gas and electric burners on the stove surface. The advantage of this cooker is that you can assemble the perfect cooking area. You can boil pasta or noodles on the electric burner, braise meat in a pot, and stir-fry veggies in a round-bottomed wok on the gas burner at the same time.