How to Choose the Right Cooktop for Your Kitchen
Cabinetry and countertops help create beautiful kitchens, but the appliances matter in the kitchen's ability to perform its most basic task--cooking. When designing your dream kitchen, the type of cooktop you choose should first be based on the style of cook you are along with consideration to the members of your household.
In the past, there were two cooktop choices, electric and gas. A chef's choice was always gas, but a safety-minded family was more likely to choose an electric range. Today we have a third option, induction. Before you learn more about induction ranges, let's take a look at the pros and cons of electric and gas cooktops.
Before induction cooktops came along in recent decades, electric ranges were considered the safer of the two cooktop heating options. Unlike gas ranges, electric cooktops have no open flames and no danger of gas leaks. Despite their safety features, electric ranges are not popular among chefs because they are slower to heat than gas ranges, and the temperature control is not as precise.
Certain cooking methods like flambeing and charring are all but impossible with electric stovetops. But if you're a mom of four who mostly cooks family-friendly meals that don't require fancy cooking methods, an electric oven is suitable.
The pros of gas ranges answer the cons of electric ones. As we've mentioned, chefs love them for their precision in temperature control and the many ways one can cook on a gas cooktop. Some would also argue that gas cooktops are more affordable, but other experts point out that though gas is less costly than electric, gas cooktops also waste a good bit of energy. Gas cooktops aren't too kid-friendly, either, due to the open flames and danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Unless you're a chef who keeps the family out of the kitchen when the stove is on, gas cooktops aren't the best option for families with young children.
Induction ranges and range ovens have been popular in Europe for a while and now they're finding their way into more and more homes in the United States. Why? Mostly because of the safety features. Induction ovens can "sense” when a pot or pan is atop the range and when it isn't, which means the range instantly cuts off when a pan is removed and the range is cool to the touch. Induction ranges heat quickly, and they are more temperature-precise than electric cooktops, which make them a good compromise for home chefs with young kids.
The downside of induction cooktops is the cost. Not only are they more expensive than either gas or electric cooktops to purchase, cooking on induction ranges require pans that contain iron, such as cast iron, black steel, or stainless steel with a magnetic base, so the magnetic field that ignites the coils can be activated. That's right. The safety feature everyone loves is also more costly to the families that would benefit from them. However, it's a higher price that's worth the cost in the name of family safety.
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