No matter your skill level in cooking, you will need to buy a stove top or a cooking range at one point – but what kind? Here are a few things to consider to find the perfect cooking range for you.
What’s the difference between a stove top, an oven, and a cooking range?
Sometimes, people use these three terms interchangeably, which can easily confuse first-time shoppers. Here’s the difference:
- Gas: ₱8.500 – ₱36,000
- Electric: ₱5,000 – ₱18,000
- Induction: ₱23,000 – ₱54,000
A stove top this is the flat surface with the burners. Another term people use for it is cooktop.
Stove tops are your best bet if you have a limited amount of space. If your house is currently being designed and built from scratch, you can ask the architect to have a dedicated space for a built-in hob. This will be a cleaner and sleeker look overall.
A stove top with two burners can be adequate for simple home cooking – they are even inexpensive. For those who want to whip up a full-course meal with ease, some models have four or even five burners.
- Gas: ₱33,000 – ₱72,000
- Electric: ₱20,000 – ₱77,400
- Gas: ₱10.000
- Electric: ₱12,000
An oven is the appliance used for baking and broiling. Of course, this is different from the microwave oven and the toaster oven.
There are two options of layout to choose from. You should allocate a space for a wall oven if you’re designing your home from scratch. If your house is already built (or you are renting), a table oven will be a better choice – the model offerings for this type is limited though.
Getting a separate oven is a necessity if you are in to baking; if you’re not, then you can skip this purchase.
- Gas: ₱11.000 – ₱93,000
- Electric: ₱21.000 – ₱41,000
- Induction: ₱54,000 – ₱125,000
The cooking range is the combined unit of a stove top with an oven under it. Confusingly, people also use the term stove to refer to this item.
This is a good purchase if you want to bake but do not have the space for a dedicated oven. Manufacturers often mix-and-match fuel types – a range can either have a gas stove top and an electric oven.
Entry level models mostly have a 4-burner layout. There are also some “professional-look” models with 6 burners and a double oven.
A range can either be powered by gas or by electricity; each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Gas or electric?
- Limitations – if you are renting or living in a condo, property managers often don’t allow gas-type burners for safety reasons; check with your landlord, or just opt for an electric range.
- Safety – you won’t need to worry about gas leak issues with an electric burner.
- Costs – gas ranges have a higher upfront cost but lower operational costs; this is the inverse of the electric ranges, as they are often cheaper upfront, but can get expensive to operate (especially for areas with a high electricity price).
- Performance – chefs and home cooks alike prefer gas burners because the flame serves as a visual cue for them while they cook. Bakers prefer an electric oven because of its evenness.
If electric: convection or induction?
An electric stove top can use two types of heating elements: electric heating coils (convection) and magnetic coils (induction) – again, each one with its pros and cons.
This type converts electricity that flows through its coils or hotplate to heat. Since there is a “middleman” (i.e. the coils) that needs to be heated up for it to heat up the pans, hence why it is slow to heat slow to cool. This can be annoying especially to home cooks who want to have precision control over the temperature.
One thing it has going for it is they are generally cheaper than induction cookers, and they don’t require specialty cookware to operate.
Beneath an induction cooker’s ceramic-glass top is an electromagnetic elements that heats up cookware using vibrations. You will need specialty cookware to use this type, as only materials with iron interact with the electromagnetic field it generates.
Since the electromagnetic elements directly heat up the cookware, it will be more efficient, and will heat quicker. This could be the ideal choice for home cooks who want a responsive temperature selector but can not have access to gas-type burners.
The prime drawback of this type is its upfront cost – an 30cm electric-convection hob will cost you around ₱7,000; a 30cm induction cooker from the same brand will set you back ₱23,000. Not to mention the specialty cookware you have to purchase for you to use this type.
Other features to consider
- Convection fans. In our high school physics class, we were taught that heat rises to the top. This can cause problems for conventional ovens with multiple racks, as the food at the top rack will come out perfectly cooked while those at the bottom will be under-cooked.
A convection fan will solve this by circulating the hot air evenly throughout the oven.
- Microwave and grill functions. Some oven models come with microwave and grill functions which is handy if you do not have space for a counter top microwave or an outdoor grill.
- Range hood. This is the canopy that sits at the top of your cooking range that keeps the smoke out of your kitchen and then vents it out of your house. While this is not totally necessary, it is a nice to have piece of appliance.
Before buying a cooking range or an oven, you should determine your needs and want first; are you an enthusiastic home cook? Then you should go for a range. If you are a “I eat for survival, not for pleasure” kind of person, a stove top may be enough to suit your needs. Those who like baking can get away with buying a range, but can also choose to buy a dedicated oven for their creations. Be honest with your needs!