Best type of stove

With so many types of burners and cooktop surfaces to choose from, it can be hard to decide which kitchen stove is best-suited for your home, not to mention your household’s needs. Ultimately, you’ll have to balance your aesthetic preferences, cooking habits and budget as you sort through your options. That’s why we’ve assembled this quick guide to the most popular kitchen stove models and best type of stove Models. 

Best type of stove

1. Wood-burning stoves

Wood-burning stoves use wood as the primary fuel for creating fire and heat. It’s an old-fashioned stove type used for cooking, but it is still considered by some homeowners today, especially for rural areas wherein the wood is widely available. Wood-burning stoves are generally made from all-metal construction such as cast iron or steel. With new technology, this type of stove is made clean-burning and energy-efficient, with the EPA giving off certification based on emissions testing.

2. Gas stoves

Gas stoves are burners that operate on natural gas or propane. Some people use gas stoves for indoor an grilling experience. it is quite easy just like any other outside regular top grills under $300.  This stove has grates over a set of exposed burners that allow pots and pans to be safely placed above the flame. It is common among many homeowners because almost all cookware can be used on this type of stove – whether it’s flat-bottomed or round-bottomed, metallic or ceramic. Gas stoves also offer precise visual control over the heat being applied to the pan.  

Most modern types of gas stoves are equipped with a safety system from a gas leak. Some are also fitted with an electric ignition system to simplify the cooking process. Gas stoves provide instant heat, which might make your AC work harder in the kitchen, but you can benefit from cooking in this type of stove during colder days. Gas cooktops are generally less costly to operate than electric cooktops. And also, it allows you to cook even when the lights are out during a power outage.

3. Electric stoves

Electric stoves are designed to replicate the look and feel of traditional heating stoves with the use of electricity. Because these stoves can be simply plugged in a standard electrical outlet, it can be portable, as compared to wood and gas stoves that need installation.

Electric stoves are of different types such as:

1. Electric coil cooktop

Electric coil cooktop

As the name suggests, an electric coil cooktop features a spiral shape on the cooking surface. This coil usually lights up when ready, signaling that its heating elements are ready. It’s a traditional version of an electric cooktop that is tough and affordable. Coil cooktops are best for heavy cast iron pans or other heavy cookware, since it may damage less resilient cooktops. Usually, it offers drip pans or drip bowls underneath the burner to protect the electrical wiring in case of spills.

You can clean the cooktop surface and drip pans as vigorously as you want since these are tough, but after some time you might need to replace them should they become too dirty or damaged to function. However, electric coil cooktops need more effort to clean (that’s why we mentioned you can clean it vigorously), and some spills and stains on the coils can be difficult to access.

2. Electric smooth top cooktop

Electric smooth top cooktop

Unlike the coil cooktop, electric smooth top cooktops feature smooth surfaces without cracks or crevices where spilled food can hide. Because of this, it’s easy to clean, making it perfect for those who like a quick and easy cleanup after cooking. The top is usually made of ceramic glass that looks sleek and modern.

However, when it comes to smooth top stoves, you have to be extra careful not to harm the surface with very heavy or rough cookware, since it can leave scratches or cracks. Also, anything that burns unto the cooktop may be very hard to remove.

3. Induction cooktop

Induction cooktop

Induction cooktops are the most popular electric stove type nowadays because of its advanced technology. Yes, it runs on electricity, but unlike standard electric cooktops, these use electromagnetism to heat food. The electromagnets are installed under the smooth cooking surface and generate resistance when the stove is plugged on to an electric source. Because of this resistance, the cooking surface of the induction cooker itself doesn’t heat up – instead, it transfers the heat energy in the molecules in the pan, then heats up the food that is inside. For this to work, you will need ferrous or magnetic cookware, as the use of non-magnetic pans will not generate any heat transfer.

The greatest advantage of an induction cooktop is its safety. There is no open flame, no heated surface, and no hot coil to cool down, so if you forget to turn it off, your house will be safe from fire risks. Also, any spilled food will not be burned, making the cleaning process much easier. Also, the technology helps the burners reach high temperatures in less time than other cooktops; meaning, less cooking time. For the drawbacks, it’s still pricier than most stove types and it needs flat-bottomed magnetic cookware.

4. Downdraft cooktop

Most cooktops, whether gas or electric, use an overhead hood to draw in heat and smoke during cooking. In the case of downdraft cooktops, the ventilation system is installed directly on the surface of cooktop using a small vent between the burners. The exhaust fan is either installed in the cooktop itself, in the center of the surface, behind the burners or on the side.

A downdraft cooktop a great choice for small kitchens that don’t have the room for an overhead hood, or for people who simply don’t like the look of the range hood and the trouble of installing it. However, their ventilation systems are generally not as efficient as traditional overhead hoods.

5. Pellet stoves

Pellet stoves

Pellet stove is a kind of heating stove that burns pellets of recycled sawdust, wood shavings or other biomass material. When compacted tightly, pellets burn cleaner than firewood. You only need to put the fuel pellets into a hopper, then the pellets will be fed into a burn chamber to produce heat. Most people use it as a heating appliance, but its main purpose is also to cook food. 

Though the pellets itself are inexpensive, the stove usually cost more than other types of stoves. Also, burning the pellets leaves a mess behind, so be ready for cleaning if you’re going to consider this type of stove.

6. Modular cooktops

Modular cooktops are stoves that combine gas and electric cooking. It usually comes in a form of an all-in-one appliance with an oven underneath, and a combination of a gas and electric burners on the stove surface. The advantage of this cooker is that you can assemble the perfect cooking area. You can boil pasta or noodles on the electric burner, braise meat in a pot, and stir-fry veggies in a round-bottomed wok on the gas burner at the same time.

No doubt having the right stove if your a cook is important.  And with your pots and pans and some great ingredients you can serve up some amazing dishes.

Power options for stoves and ovens

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The Kenmore 41313 range has a smooth electric cooktop and an electric oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Electric

The heat output from electric cooktops is measured in watts. Output varies from stove to stove and burner to burner, but the output generally falls somewhere between 1,200 watts for low heat on a small burner and 3,800 BTUs for high heat on a large burner, though we’ve seen outliers at both ends of the spectrum. There are different types of electric cooktops from which you can select:

Smoothtop (glass-ceramic cooktop)

These cooktops are made of smooth glass-ceramic with heating units under the surface. A built-in sensor lets you know when a burner is still hot. This is important with smooth electric cooking surfaces, because the burner doesn’t always turn red if the heat is low.

Keep in mind that this type of cooktop is prone to scratches, and not all cookware is safe to use on the surface (the appliance’s manual will give you those specifics).

Electric coil

These burners convert the electricity that runs into the coil into heat. These cooktops contain thermostat sensors that notify you when a burner is on, but not necessarily whether it is still hot. Electric coil stoves are notorious for uneven cooking because of uneven distribution of the coil.

In short, it is hard to keep the coil perfectly level, which can make all of the food in the pan slide to one side. In addition, electric coil stoves are slow to heat and slow to cool. But ranges with this type of cooktop are cheaper than comparable models.

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The Kenmore 95073 range has an induction cooktop and an electric oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Induction cooktops

Induction burners use the heat created from electromagnetic energy to cook your food. An element just below the surface of an induction cooktop creates a magnetic field. When you put a piece of cookware containing iron on top of that magnetic element, it causes a vibration of sorts that converts to heat through a series of magnetic interactions with iron (you can read more about the science behind induction here).

These cooktops are safer than gas or electric burners because they don’t use flames or direct heat — induction burners won’t start to heat if you put something on them that doesn’t contain magnetic material. Induction cooktops are also more efficient and heat things quicker than other types of burners (the ones we’ve tested have boiled a large pot of water in an average of 6 minutes).

There are a few downsides to induction cooktops. You have to make sure you have cookware that will work with the cooking surface, and ranges with induction burners tend to cost more money than comparable electric or gas ranges.

Electric ovens: This type of oven uses a heating element that is either visible on the top or bottom of the oven, or hidden. Our baking tests show that they often cook more evenly than their gas counterparts.

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The SMEG C30GGRU is a gas range, so it has a gas cooktop and oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Gas

Gas cooktops

Both home and professional cooks have valued gas stovetops because of the how uniform the heat output is. An open flame surrounds the bottom of your cookware, which evenly distributes the heat around it. This heat output is measured in BTUs (British thermal units). Like electric models, the power range varies from model to model, but the output generally falls somewhere between 5,000 BTUs for low heat on a small burner and 18,000 BTUs for high heat on a large burner. We’ve seen burners on high-end ranges get as low as 800 BTUs and as high as 20,000 BTUs. If you’re a speedy cook, be aware that our cooking tests show gas cooktops tend to take longer to boil large pots of water than electric or induction cooktops.

Gas ovens

When it comes to gas ovens, we’ve seen in our cook tests that they have a harder time producing even baking results than electric ovens.

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The Dacor ER30DSCH has a gas cooktop and an electric oven.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Dual-fuel

Some ranges use two types of power: gas for the cooktop, and electric in the oven. These dual-fuel ranges are a good compromise for folks who want the direct heat of a gas burner but the even cooking of an electric oven. However, these hybrids cost more than traditional one-power-source ranges.

Design styles

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The Kenmore 97723 is an example of a freestanding range.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Freestanding

Freestanding ranges are designed to fit anywhere in a kitchen. Oven controls are often located on a back panel that raises up above the cooktop. These are less expensive than slide-in models.

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The Samsung NE58K9850WG is a slide-in range, so it doesn’t have a back panel and sits flush with surrounding countertops.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Slide-in

These ranges don’t have a back panel and are meant to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops. Slide-in ranges are often more expensive than freestanding models because of the mechanics that go into putting all the controls up front.

Drop-in

Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in models — they sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are located at the front of the unit. But this type of range looks like you dropped it between two cabinets because of a strip of cabinetry you place beneath the appliance.

Bonus features

The search for an oven or range can resemble a visit to a car dealership — there are always opportunities to upgrade. Assess your needs and decide if these bonus features are worth throwing down more money for an appliance.

Wireless connectivity

Companies have become more proactive in including wireless capabilities such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC) in their ovens and stoves so you can control your appliance from your smartphone. For example, you could begin to preheat your Wi-Fi-enabled oven on your way home from the grocery store, so it’s ready for your frozen pizza by the time you get home.

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The GE PHB920SJSS induction range has built-in Wi-Fi and works with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant. You can give voice commands to this Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker to control the range.Chris Monroe/CNET

Manufacturers have also started to connect appliances with smart-home products to add some automation and voice control in the kitchen. For example, GE’s Wi-Fi-connected ranges work with Alex and Google Assistant, so you can give voice commands to control your appliance. And Jenn-Air wall ovens work with Nest Learning Thermostats ($269 at Amazon) so you can automatically lower your home’s temperature when the ovens get hot. 

Convection fans

Convection fans are built into the back of oven walls. They circulate the heat in the oven so hot air is more evenly dispersed, which means your food will bake more evenly. You’d want convection fans if you’re baking food like cookies on more than one oven rack at the same time. Midprice ovens will have at least one convection fan. Some ovens have what’s called “true” or “European” convection, which means there’s a heating element that surrounds the fan that warms the air as the fan blows. Read more about the science of convection here.

Special cooking modes

Your basic oven can bake and broil. But as the price for ovens increases, you’ll see that there are more cooking options. For example, ovens with convection fans will have modes for convection baking and convection roasting, which will enable the fans and heating elements. Some ovens also come with cook settings for specific foods, such as pizza or turkey, or food preparation methods, like dehydration or bread proofing.

Bottom drawers (baking/warming/broiling)

Some ranges come with a bottom drawer that can serve one of many purposes depending on the model. Some range ovens offer a baking drawer, which enables a person to use the main oven to roast or broil, and the baking drawer for smaller dishes, so you can cook more than one thing at the same time using different temperatures. A warming drawer will keep food warm, but it won’t cook the food. Some ovens have a broiler drawer, which functions like a traditional broiler and must be watched just as closely to ensure that food does not burn.

Temperature probes

Temperature probes plug into the wall of your oven, and you use them to monitor the internal temperature of meat as it cooks. The temperature displays on the control panel of your oven, so you don’t have to open the door to see if your dish is done.

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The KitchenAid KFDD500ESS range has two oven cavities, so you can bake two dishes on different temperatures at the same time.Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Double ovens in conventional space

The ovens on some ranges have dual baking chambers, which give you the flexibility of double wall ovens without the need for more space. These ovens allow the convenience of simultaneous cooking at different temperatures. Some ovens come with a divider that allows you to split your single oven into two unique temperature zones that will remain separate as long as the divider is in place.

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