Metal stove top

The difference between a glass and a metal stove top is more than just cosmetic. Although the appearance of the stove and its ability to blend into the kitchen decor is one consideration, the differences also include initial and operating costs, as well as ease of care and available special features. Today, we review the best metal stove top covers and metal stove top burner covers.

Metal stove top

Initial Cost

The purchase price of a stove with a metal cooktop is generally less expensive than one with a glass top. Prices can vary widely, depending on brand, features, quality and length of warranty, but when all other things are equal, a glass top will generally cost at least $50 to $100 more than a metal top stove, as of 2013. This may be reversed, however, if the metal stove has special burners, such as solid, enclosed disk elements instead of standard coil styles.

Energy Efficiency

In general, stoves with glass cooktops are more energy-efficient than those with metal tops and coils. Depending on the energy rating and the frequency of use, the difference may be enough to make up for the difference in initial cost. The efficiency of both types of stoves is also affected by the special features. For example, a glass-top stove that automatically adjusts the size of the burner to the size of the pan will have additional energy savings.A300 mobile placeholder

Ease of Cleaning

The smooth surface of a glass stove top makes it exceptionally easy to clean, as long as it is cleaned right away. Food spills left to sit on the glass can be difficult to remove, however, as well those containing sugar. Metal top stoves require cleaning not only on the metal surface but also around the heating elements and their reflective pans. While this cleaning is more labor-intensive, spills that are not cleaned up right away or sugary foods don’t become difficult to remove, as is the case with glass.

Special Features

The options on metal-top stoves are somewhat limited to the type and size of coil element, although some offer options such as rapid heating and adjustable burner size. Glass cook tops take advantage of modern technology and have options such as touch-control, automatic pan size and heat sensors, adjustable burners and rapid heating and cooling. Some also offer burner-type options, such as electromagnetic induction cooking, which heats and cools rapidly but only works with certain types of cookware.

metal stove top burner covers

cleaning of dirty gas stove burners in kitchen roomPHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK/VITALIY HRABAR

If you’re the kitchen cleaner in your house, I’m sure at some point you’ve wondered how to clean burner grates on a gas stove. You know the drill. The dishes are done, the kids are in bed and the dozen or so bickering family members have left you in peace. All that’s left is to clean the countertops and…Oh, how did the stove get so disgusting?!

Unlike most surfaces, which can be cleaned using grapefruit juice or microfiber cloths, a stove’s burner grates are uniquely grating to clean. Grease and oils stick to the metal surface and, depending on your style of grate, it can be frustrating to clean all the little nooks and crannies. Luckily there are three tried-and-true methods that work all the time, every time.

1. Ammonia

Perhaps the most popular method is using ammonia. The fumes are excellent at picking away at a grating’s surface over the span of a few hours. Ammonia is highly volatile, meaning at room temperature its liquid form easily escapes into the air. You can use this to your advantage.

You can put your grates in a large resealable plastic bag, but this method is easier with a trash bag. Put all the grates in the bag and add 2 cups of ammonia. Seal the grates and ammonia together in the bag and make sure it’s tight. Ammonia’s volatility means the fumes can easily leak through small holes and stink up the house.

It’s important that the grates aren’t immersed in the ammonia. The gaseous fumes do the cleaning, which is why using a big bag is important.

Leave the bag alone for about 10 to 12 hours. When the fume-soak is complete, simply rinse the grates with water. Most of the gross grime will wash away easily. Get out your scrub pad for the last few stubborn spots, and you’re done.

2. Degreasers

One common kitchen assumption is that degreasers should work immediately. I know many friends and family members who protest that degreasers are ineffective. To clean burner grates on a gas stove effectively, you have to let the chemicals soak for a while. Just like browning beef before making a slow-cooked stew—a necessary step to complete the task.

Powder degreasers work better on burner grates if you wet the surface first. The degreaser will slowly decompose buildup on the grating. Let the degreaser sit for a minimum of 15 minutes, but feel free to let it sit for 30 if the buildup is heavy.

I don’t have a preference for any particular brand, but I have found that lemon oil degreasers tend to work better than other base types.

3. Baking Soda

Unlike vinegar, which should be used for lighter grease buildups, baking soda is able to do some real work on thick coats.

The process is simple. Clean off whatever you can with soap and warm water, gently scrubbing each grate one at a time. Then wet some baking soda with water and mix until it forms a thick paste.

Apply this paste directly to the burners. Make sure you get all the tiny and hidden recesses in the grating. Let the baking soda break down the grease on the surface for about 30 minutes. Afterward, scrub under warm water. As with other methods, you shouldn’t need much scrubbing unless the building is super thick. In that case, you might need to rinse and repeat the process. I’ve never had burner grates survive a second round.

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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