How to Choose the Perfect Electric Stove or Cooktop
Electric stoves provide a safer, easier alternative to gas stoves. If gas is not a viable option in your home because you are concerned about safety, don't have access to a gas line, or simply don't want to worry about running out of gas while cooking, an electric stove may be the right option for you.
Types of Electric Stoves
There are two main types of electric stoves: Open Top and Ceramic Top. Open top models are usually significantly cheaper, as their construction is much cheaper. The heating element is usually exposed, and is usually either a metal coil or a hotplate. Because the contact between the element and the pot is direct, this model heats up relatively quickly, and is pretty energy efficient. On the other hand, this option is also much harder to clean, especially if liquids spill on the cooking surface and burns. The hotplate or coil can easily get very dirty or oily, and requires some effort to wash.
The other option is a ceramic top model. These models cover the heating elements with a smooth ceramic surface, making cleaning much easier. The flat surface is also convertible to countertop space when the surface is not being used for cooking. Also, the smooth aesthetic of these models appeal to many homeowners who are concerned about the looks of their kitchen.
Unfortunately, the addition of the ceramic cover decreases the efficiency of these models, and they usually heat up slower than open top models. Another drawback that should be considered is that ceramic cooktops cost significantly more than similar open top models.
Whether you choose to buy an open top or a ceramic top model, there are some things you must consider to pick the right one for your needs.
The first thing you need to think about is the size of your area. For more serious cooks, there are models that fit up to 6 burners per unit, but you can also buy 1 burner models if you are short on space. If you find that you usually use just one pot when you cook, then buying a small one burner model would save you both space and money. If you're buying a multiple burner option, also consider the orientation of the burners and the shape of your space. Some models arrange the burners in a square, while some put them in a linear fashion. Depending on whether your space is wide or deep, you need to pick the correct model to ensure that your stove would have proper support and ventilation.
Another thing that you may want to look for is the controls. The most common type of controls for electric stoves are dials, similar to what usually comes with gas stoves. But some models, especially ceramic top ones, come with touch controls. These models are much easier to clean because you are working with just one smooth surface. Also, most touch models have features to child lock the controls, enabling you to enhance the safety of your kitchen.