What’s the best kind of cooktop for you?
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and right behind it are all the other festive events of the season, not to mention those wintry days when we crave hot, soul-warming food. And that means you need a stove to cook it on.
If you haven’t updated your range in a while, you might want to start researching your next purchase. Remember that the average life expectancy of a gas range is 15 years and 13 years for an electric stove. Once you start shopping, you’ll discover a wide, and sometimes bewildering, array of new features.
The first and most important decision is what kind of cooking surface you want. When it comes to cooktops, there are three basic types.
Forget the impossible-to-clean black coil burners of the past; most modern electric cooktops are sleek, smooth ceramic glass with the heating elements built right in. They can come in a wide range of sizes, configurations and price points, work with every type of cookware and plug right into the wall. When it comes to convenience, electric is a winner.
Professional cooks prefer gas because of its easy-to-control properties. Its open flames give you enough heat for a proper sear and can be turned down in an instant to the gentlest simmer. However, a gas cooktop does require a gas line, and concerns have been raised about indoor pollutants and the contribution of fossil fuels to climate change. Plus Victoria has announced that gas appliances in new construction will not be allowed by 2025, five years before that will become the case right across the province.
A little like magic, induction uses a magnetic current to create heat through the cooking pan. It gets hotter faster than traditional electric, and cools down immediately when it’s turned off, making it at once more user-friendly for demanding cooks and safer for klutzy ones. Like a traditional electric stove, induction stoves just plug into the wall, but they do require induction-friendly cookware (magnetic materials like stainless steel or cast iron). Plus, while induction is coming down in cost, it’s still quite pricey.
There are many, many other things to consider, including price, so take your time, do your research and talk to your local appliance experts before making a decision.