Get Cookin'

Wednesday Feb 01st, 2017


Get Cookin’ with the Best Stove for Your Home

If you’re in the process of designing your dream kitchen or just looking to update your current one, then you’ve probably been thinking alot about what kind of stove to invest in. When it comes to choosing the right stove for you, there are 3 main factors to consider: What you’re used to, what hook up is currently in your kitchen and what type/how much cooking you like to do. To aid you in your research, I’ve broken down the 3 most common types of stoves, electric, gas, and induction, and their benefits and drawbacks.

Electric – for those who would rather order in.

When you picture an electric stove with its coil top burners and windowless oven, one word probably comes to mind — old. The technology and design are just that, ancient. Did you know the first Canadian patent for the electric stove was filed in 1892? Neither did I, but that explains the look and appeal of the classic stove. Most commonly found in older homes and apartments, there are 2 kinds of electric stove tops. The older and becoming less common coil top, and the more modern glass top. While the appeal for electric stoves does still exist, for anyone who considers themselves a chef or foodie, an electric stove is not their first choice.

Pros: The biggest pro when it comes to electric stoves is that there is no flame, making them much safer when compared to a gas stove. They’re also easier to install and can be placed anywhere as there is no need for a gas line (which can be expensive to install) or a hood. Glass top styles are more energy efficient than the coil option, but have a higher cost up-front. While you may see a lower utility bill, this price difference really depends on how much you spend on the purchase price and how often you cook at home.

Cons: Typically, natural gas is more economical than electricity, especially in Ontario, with the cost of hydro being very expensive and continuing to rise. Electrical stoves also take longer (a lot longer), to heat up and cool down, which makes it difficult to control the heat of the burner and even more difficult to control the outcome of your dinner. When it comes to cleaning, coil tops are more difficult than glass, but that does not mean glass tops are the better choice. Although sleek and stylish, there are some concerns when it comes to glass stove tops. Be careful when cleaning and cooking, as these stove tops may scratch and are difficult and costly to replace. Do not use cast iron, ceramic and stoneware with rough edges as it could damage and scratch the surface.

When it comes to cost, initially an electric stove is cheaper and easier to install. If you already have a gas line installed, consider the price difference of a gas stove, as gas would be cheaper over time.

The gas stove predates the electric stove by some time, being invented in the early 1800s, however, it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it became common in North American homes. Traditionally gas stoves are the chefs’ first choice when it comes to cooking. This could be due to Alexis Soyer, an early “celebrity chef” who in 1841 converted his kitchen to use gas, as it was cheaper and could be turned off when the stove was not being used. Whether it was the price or its celebrity endorsement, gas stoves have been praised for their ability to evenly cook food and heat up quickly, making them a favourite among cooking enthusiasts with no competition until recently.

Pros: The biggest allure of a gas stove is its ability to heat quickly and evenly, an essential if you do a lot of cooking. The second you turn on your stove, you can visually see the flame. There’s no standing around waiting for it to heat up or wonder if it’s working. Because of this open flame, the heat is easy to control, you’re able to get the element very hot and then turn it off right after. The versatility of the open flame allows chefs to flambé, a technique that is impossible with a coil top or glass top stove. With its versatility and performance, the gas stove is always the first choice for professional and at-home chefs. Another advantage of gas is the cost of operating. If your home is already hooked up to natural gas, there are no installation or set up costs. Your energy and operating costs will also be lower. Another benefit of gas over electric is that you’ll still be able to cook should your power go out.

Cons: If you do not have a gas line already installed in your home you will need one which can be quite expensive depending on your home and area. This makes the most immediate drawback to using a gas stove its purchase price. Safety is another big drawback for gas stoves. If you’re inexperienced in the kitchen or with using an open flame, or if you have small children, gas may not be the right choice for you as the gas itself can also be an issue. careful that the pilot light is lit at all times and that the burner ignites immediately. If not, the stove will still release gas into the air. Always be sure the flame ignites, as there will still be gas leaking into the air which is very dangerous. Gas stoves require a hood which is another additional cost and may require venting changes to your home upon installation.While a gas stove is cheaper to operate if you already have all the components, installing one from scratch will always require additional parts and costs. If you plan on doing a fair amount of impressive cooking, then the investment is worth it in the long run.

Induction – for the aspiring chef who doesn’t like fire.

Gaining popularity recently is the induction stove top. Similar to an electric glass stove top, the induction stove top uses electromagnetic induction instead of radiant heat used in traditional coil stove tops. People are moving towards this as it has the safety and health benefits of an electric stove, but still gives many of the same great cooking benefits chefs and foodies alike value in gas stoves.

Pros: Much like a gas stove, induction stove tops heat up fast and have the same temperature adjusting and accuracy abilities as gas stoves. Home cooks will also love the fact that there is no heat loss as induction transfers heat directly through its electromagnetic field. This means your pans will absorb all the energy directly and stay hot. There is no transfer of heat or open flames, making induction stove tops much safer, especially if you have young children or cats who like to jump up on countertops. Because there is no open flame or gas, there’s no need to worry about the safety issues associated with gas stoves.

Cons: While one of the selling features of these stoves is its electromagnetic technology, they require special magnetic cookware, so new pots and pans may be required. Tip: take a magnet with you while shopping to see if it sticks to the cookware. If the magnet sticks, it will work with your new stove. If you have any cookware made from aluminum, copper, glass and pyrex or ceramic, they will not work with this type of stove. For the professional or aspiring chef, take note, because there is no open flame, you will not be able to achieve char or grill marks on your meats or be able to flambé. If this is essential to your menu, then this is not the stove top for you.

Induction stoves typically start at a higher price point and also run on electricity which can be expensive depending on your province. If the benefits of being able to cook almost as well as a gas stove without the health and safety concerns outweigh the cost, then consider putting an induction stove in your new kitchen.

Whether you’re an aspiring chef or are just looking to reheat your meals, whatever stove you choose, make sure you consider your options.

Happy cooking!

Post a comment