Which Stove Should You Buy?
Experts give us their two cents on the pros and cons of the different types of stoves available in the market today
In the beginning, we only had wood, tinder, two stones—and voila! You have fire, therefore you can cook. Fast forward to the present, we're sure you'll agree when we say that shopping for a new stove can leave one confused and unsure as to which one is worth the investment.
Without a doubt, stoves make the kitchen. A workhorse and a focal point, the right stove can help determine how quickly you'll eat, how well you'll be eating (there are dishes that need to be cooked in a certain way), and how easy cleanup will be. Given your requirements and lifestyle, is your stove going to be a showstopper or will it leave your kitchen looking dull?
To help you make the right purchase, we asked interior designer Tala Singson and cook-turned-photographer Hans Fausto (he cooked on all types of stoves while earning his culinary degree!) for a list of pros and cons so you can make an informed choice. Be guided by their tips below:
Gas Stove with Burners
In photo: La Germania AM95C 61AX Range, price available upon request
The best thing about a gas stove with burners is its sources of energy—propane and natural gas are relatively inexpensive. "You can save money in the long run when you use a gas stove or range, plus you also get instant heating which you can adjust visually. You immediately know if the stove is turned on or if it is on the right heat setting you want it to be," says Tala. To which Hans adds, "It's the easiest type of burner to control temperature as the temperature control is pretty straightforward—low heat means low flame, and high heat means high flame. Gas is actually cheaper compared to using electric and induction, so it would save you money."
When choosing a stove, it's best to note how you'll be able to clean and maintain it. "A gas stove with burners is hard to clean because it has a lot of nooks and crannies. It’s also hard to maintain especially if a lot of soot and burnt food debris had already built up. Other than that, it could pose as a hazard if the gas valve has been left open and unlit or a gas leak may occur. And though it may save you money by using propane, it’s more expensive to set up versus an electric stove which you can just plug in. Don't forget that its flame stability may be compromised (or completely diminished) if you have a window open and the wind is blowing," shares Tala. Hans also notes the importance of keeping the stove clean and avoiding dirt buildup. "Using gas requires you to be very clean with your equipment. In time, residue will build up and you will have problems with your burners clogging up if not maintained properly. Another con is that gas is limited, unlike electric or induction, you will always have to change your tank when it is depleted. Then, there is always a need to rely on third parties to get the gas, have the fuel line and stove maintained, to name a few. But worse than that, being exposed to an open flame definitely increases your risk to danger," he explains.
In photo: ELBA N96 EX 939 S - Vitroceramic Range, price available upon request
This is the type of stove that has an electrical heating element underneath the ceramic glass surface.
For those who are always on the go, they might find this type of stove a steal! "With a smooth top/ ceramic [stove], there’s easy cleanup—no crevices where food or liquid can spill and build bacteria. The sleek look can update the look of your kitchen instantly. Its flat surface can double your countertop space. Pots and pans are also more stable on the flat surface," says Tala. Looking for a stove that can be the star in your kitchen? This might be it! "Smooth tops are basically high-end electric stoves and ranges—because they are combined with ceramic and other similar materials. They conduct and disperse heat better compared to an electric coil. Smooth tops are also the easiest to clean. Being made of a smooth material, just some detergent and a sponge can easily clean off any grease or residue. They are aesthetically pleasing. Being at the high price range, they often come with added features like timers," adds Hans.
"You have to use specialty ceramic cleaning products when you do clean up the surface. Scratches can also occur when a pan or an object is accidentally dropped on it—replacing the whole surface is quite expensive. A recently turned off ceramic stove will still feel hot, but with no indication that it can still burn hands—it can be unsafe for children," shares Tala. You also need to take note of the cookware you'll use with this type of stove. "Using uneven shaped cookware like woks might be incredibly challenging as smooth tops are flat. Also, by being flat and shiny, scratches can easily degrade the smooth top. And on top of that, they are on the high end of the pricing bracket," says Hans.
In photo: La Germania Built-in-Hob PF302IS, price available upon request
These picks feature magnetic coils that generate heat under the ceramic glass surface.
According to Tala, this type of stove has an instant heating and heat adjustment feature—an important tool for cooks who are particular with different heat seatings to cook their food. "There is no wasted heat because the heat turns off when the pot is taken off the surface, and only turns on when a prescribed pot is placed on top. The surface remains relatively cooler compared to smooth top and ceramic smooth tops, so there are less burning hazards. And when one is done cooking, the flat surface also makes cleanup effortless," she adds. Hans shares that induction tops do not generate heat. "Instead, because of the use of magnetism, heat is generated on the cookware itself. This makes heat control easier as it heats and cools faster. Since it doesn’t create an open flame, [it is also] safer to use. No need to worry about gas or any other peripherals as it stands on its own. It’s more energy-efficient and safer than electric stoves," he explains.
"Do remember that there is a specific material for pots and pans to use on an induction cooktop. It can make a lot of noise with the induction vibration—irregularly shaped bottom of pans can produce this or lightweight lids and loose pan handles. It also consumes a lot of electricity—especially if you're cooking batches of food. And the worst part is, you also can't cook if you have electricity failure at home," says Tala. Meanwhile, Hans shares that there's only a specific type of cookware that is available for this kind of stove top. "Essentially, if a magnet does not stick to your cookware, then it cannot be used on an induction stove. And on that note, cooking methods are limited by the type of equipment you use on the induction stove," he shares.
High Pressure Burner
In photo: Bayou Classic High Pressure Propane Burner, price available upon request
Do you love going on adventures and camping? Tala shares that high pressure stoves are used when camping. "You can see high pressure burners in portable camping stoves. The delivery of propane to the burner is faster and in greater amounts than in regular indoor gas burners. If there is wind, rain and cold temperature outdoors, the only way to cook is with this type of burner," the designer says. "High pressure burners are just another type of gas burner. It brings the burners used in industrial kitchens to your home. It basically just uses more gas and heats up faster—making it perfect for producing huge portions of meals," Hans adds.
In photo: ELBA
Are you familiar with combination stoves? "A combination stove is usually half electric and half gas stove. Most of the time, in a unit with four burners, two are electric, and two are gas. You get the advantages of both—the precision and flexibility of gas burners, as well as the instant heating and the ease in cleanup with the electric stove surface. You can also still cook if you have electricity failure at home," Tala shares.
Hans notes the convenience of having a combination stove. "They are usually comprised of three to five burners, more or less, and have a combination of gas burners, electric, and induction—giving you a wide assortment of choices in case you run out of gas or electricity goes out in the house. They are usually placed on the stoves that come with ovens as the space needed for it is huge, considering that you have both a plug and a gas outlet. Stove tops like La Germania, ELBA, LG, and other brands come up with stove tops that are a combination," he says.
Electric Stove or Range
In photo: Electrolux EKE66403X, price available upon request
An electric stove or range has an electric heating element that generates heat to help the user cook and bake.
"What electric stoves or ranges have going for them is that they are the most affordable of the lot and their size is usually a good fit for small places like studio units. They are also safe to use since there is no open flame. Better still, no need to worry about buying gas or finding a place to place a gas tank. Plug and play," exclaims Hans.
While Hans notes the benefits of having an electric stove, he notes that it has its own share of cons. "It takes a long time for the coils on an electric stove to heat up and for them to cool down—making the temperature control very poor. Heat distribution is very poor resulting in an uneven cooking. Coils in particular are very difficult to clean especially if food or any other thing you are cooking drops onto the coils. And as other people might think, electric stoves and ranges actually consume more energy than gas," he shares.
Got a stove on top of your list? Use this article as guide when you visit an appliance store!
PHOTOS: La Cornue (Main) | All product photos courtesy of the brands
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