Those who are interested in installing a new stove in their kitchen may have already decided to go with electric over a gas range, but are still unsure what kind of electric range to select. Electric range stoves come in two kinds, smooth top induction stoves and basic electric stoves that are usually coil topped.
About Smooth Top Induction Stoves
A smooth top range induction range is a stove that doesn't have conventional range burners, and instead has a perfectly flat and smooth surface. The burners are built directly underneath and the cooking surface heats up rapidly.
About Electric Stoves
Basic electric ranges are usually designed with coil tops, which require the coils to heat up before they can be used to cook food. Unlike smooth top ranges, basic electric stoves often have separate burners protected by drip cages.
Benefits of Smooth Top Induction Stoves
Many people prefer the smooth top range to traditional electric burners because they are easier to clean. Food or sauce that has dripped onto the flat surface of a smooth top range is easier to clean than if it falls beneath drip pans and burns into the surface of a basic range. Another advantage of the smooth top range is that it provides almost instant heat, which works much faster than electric burners. The energy is directed into the cooking vessel this way, which means less heat is wasted. Less wasted heat means cooler kitchens compared to a basic electric or gas stove.
Disadvantages of Smooth Top Stoves
Although smooth top stoves stoves are easier to clean up for spills, any drips must be immediately wiped up to avoid damaging the surface. A smooth top range also can only be cleaned with special cleaning agents that don't scratch the surface. Special cookware also is required for a smooth top stove as they can also damage the surface. All of these requirements, plus the price of the stove itself, makes the smooth top stove a more expensive investment. The smooth top stove also is not ideal for homes that are prone to electricity outages, as not having electricity means you won't be able to cook. In such cases, a backup generator may be needed.
Benefits of Electric Stoves
An advantage of basic electric stoves with coil tops is that they are less expensive. Some cooks also may prefer the fact that coil tops don't require special cleaning solutions or cookware.
Disadvantages of Electric Stoves
For basic electric cookers, energy is first converted into heat before it is directed into a cooking vessel, which means a lot of heat is wasted and goes into heating up the kitchen instead. Electric stoves with coil tops, drip pans or drip cages also are much harder to clean, and stains that aren't immediately tended to may be permanently burned into the range.
- Photo Credit Close-up image of an electric range heating element image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com
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