Buying guide: Ovens, cooktops and freestanding cookers (upright ranges)

We explain how to buy a new oven for your kitchen

Image Credit: agit on stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=457757)

Image Credit: agit on stock.xchng (http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=457757)

Gas

The first decision you will most likely make regarding your stovetop is whether to go for gas or electric. Gas burners are used in professional kitchens and have a strong following with home users as well, mainly because you have immediate control over the level of heat. Also, safety cut out switches have eliminated the fear of leaving the gas on by mistake. Note: just because you have a gas stovetop it doesn’t mean you need to have a gas oven. It is common these days to mix the two and combine a gas stovetop with an electric oven.

Electric

Metal hotplates are the most cost effective cooktop choice. Ceramic hotplates have a glass-ceramic surface with the heating elements under the glass surface. Because the entire surface of the cooktop is a sheet of glass these cooktops are easier to keep clean. The hotplate is red only when it is on, but most ceramic cooktops include a heat light when the hotplate is off so you don't burn yourself.

Induction

Gas burners, metal and ceramic hotplates all get hot and pass that heat to the pots and pans sitting on top of them. Induction instead uses electromagnetism to generate the heat directly in the base of the pot or pan through the glass-ceramic surface they are sitting on. There is no actual hotplate that gets hot, and when you take the pot off an induction stove the surface of the cooktop is cool to touch.

However induction stovetops are not cheap, especially as you may need to buy new cookware — you need to use 'ferrous' based cookware, such as cast iron or stainless steel with an induction base. The markings on an induction cooktop are basically there to indicate where the sensors are under the surface.

Things to consider

• The spacing of the burners or hotplates on the cooktop makes a difference if you want to use a number of large pots or pans at the same time. This is particularly important if you are getting a stove with a wok burner — make sure there is enough room around the hotplate to fit other cookware.

• Cooktops are also available with a range of specialist burners including fish burners, teppanyaki plates, BBQ grills, and deep fryers. It is also possible to buy cooktops with both gas burners and electric hotplates.

– For easy cleaning take note of the screws and edges — the fewer the better. Gas cooktops should come with solid cast-iron trivets.

Tags cooking applianceskitchenscook topsovenskitchen appliances

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GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide

21 Comments

Anonymous

1

Thanks!

Thanks for a great article; really appreciated it!

OttoAu

2

You need to mention that if you buy a dual fuel freestanding, make sure its 10AMP plug otherwise if its 15AMP you will need to have your house rewired, adding $100's to the cost.....

David

3

Excellent article..right information..

child-friendly kitchen needed

4

Thanks for this article. I have just started looking for what I want in a kitchen, and this article seems to have covered lots of info I hadn't even been aware to look for.
I also appreciate the honesty when identifying features that are not necessarily a need, such as a self-cleaning oven, when cost is such a big fator in so many consumers minds.

Paul

5

Question, rather than comment, re flame failure cut-outs (ffd):
Is it true that, should there be an electricity black-out, the gas cooker ffd, allegedly electronically steered, will prevent lighting a burner by whatever other means available?

EMurf

6

One thing you have to look our for when replacing an existing cooker in a corner, is whether the door opens left to right or right to left. I just bought a Zanussi freestanding cooker which is absolutely useless to me, as the thickness of the oven door and the ridiculously thick external handle means you have to have at least 135 degrees available to you if you ever want to take out the grill pan or shelves. Mad.

cab maker

7

Looking for depth size as well overall?

Jo

8

Very useful. Thanks heaps.

vanessa schofield

9

thanks for the article it helped me a lot

Evelyn Platus

10

I'm looking for a dual fuel 600m cooker with an internal oven measurement of 500mm wide. Any chances??

Lydgatelass

11

Thank you, very informative article......much better than Choice info absolutely hopeless!!

hel

12

Great article and very informative! Now I'm much clear what I want! Thanks heaps!!

Kaz

13

Thanks so much for such a great article. Just what I needed to help me narrow my choices.

Ner

14

Have spent the day oven shopping - using all the above information to help us. But now to make the huge decision!!
Has anyone got any feedback for me regarding Falcon ovens - in particular FXP 90.
Thanks

Retsub

15

reply to OttoAu

If you buy a duel fuel oven it has to be 15amp as the power drawn from an oven element is more than 10 amp (standard power cercuit).
An oven that uses a 10 amp curcuit would be a gas oven using the power curcuit for flame failure, electronic ignition, clock and timer curcuit.

In Response to paul

Yes it is true that flame failure uses the electricity to power the flame failure curcuit therefore if the power does go out that curcuit automatically defaults to close the gas flow. hence no power no gas.

GoodGuysStaff

16

Don't praise this site here, they just stole the article from us.

http://goodadvice.thegoodguys.com.au/KitchenCooking/CooktopsRangehoodsOvens/BuyersGuide/index.htm

Ross Catanzariti

17

@ GoodGuysStaff: Um, you might want to check where that article came from in the first place :-)

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