Tips for Choosing the Best Oven for Your Home
With the dozens of styles and types of ranges, cook tops and stoves available, it can be tough to decide what type of cooking appliances to choose. Manufacturers keep upping the ante with high-tech, glossy appliances that keep you connected to your range, even when you’re hundreds of miles away. If you can’t even decide between gas and electric, though, thinking about the bells and whistles just becomes superfluous.

To help you find your ideal cooking appliance, here are a few simple steps to consider:

1. Even if you have an ardent favorite power source for cooking, think about all of your options. You may love to cook with a gas stove, but if you live in an area where expensive propane is your only gas source, a gas range may be a poor choice in the long run. Consider your costs for each fuel source, and then consider the performance advantages of each. In general, gas cooks food more quickly and with a heat that is more moist than electric. Electric ovens, on the other hand, tend to cook more evenly. If you can’t make a final decision, there’s always dual-fuel ranges that give you both options.

2. Layout and spacing often play an important role in your choice as well. The kitchen flow may work more efficiently if you have an oven and a separate cook top, or it may work better if you have a double oven or one of the other many combinations of stacked ovens and warming drawers. Most ovens start at a standard width of 30 inches, but commercial-style ranges can be as wide as 36 inches, so play your layout accordingly.

3. Most people often also have strong opinions about the type of burner to choose. If you are uncertain, though, coil burners are usually the toughest to clean and the most difficult to regulate. Smooth cook tops aren’t much more expensive than the a coil cook top, and they are much easier to clean. The downside is that you need to be careful about what type of pan you use on a smooth cook top, and there is always a burn hazard. Induction cook tops stay cool-to-the-touch at all times, so burning’s not an issue. They’re also energy efficient; they heat and clean quickly;and they are nice looking. On the downside, induction cook tops can be expensive.

4. Less traditional cooking options include steam, convection and speed cooking. The advantage of steam is that it’s great for warming up leftovers without drying them out, and it won’t drain all of the vitamins, minerals and moisture out of food as it cooks. Convection adds the advantage of speed, and it can be combined with steam options to cook food quickly yet moistly. Speed cooking is two to eight times faster than conventional cooking using a combination of radiant heat and microwave technology. Speed cooking is energy efficient; one brand reports that its ovens use 25 percent less energy than a traditional oven.

Once you have made basic decisions about your range, you can move on to considering all of the little and not-so-little extras that will make you love your range even more.
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