The stove is one of the hardest working appliances in your kitchen. When it’s time to get food on the table, there’s no doubt it does a lot of heavy lifting. That’s why there are plenty of options for all types of cooks and kitchens. From gas vs. electric to slide-in vs. freestanding, this guide will break down the different types of stoves and stove parts as well as what to consider when shopping.
What’s the difference between a stove and a range?
Many people use the terms stove and range interchangeably. Range is most often used by appliance retailers, so it is helpful when browsing. Stove is also more broad since it can refer to home heating appliances, while range is specific to a cooking appliance with both an oven and stovetop. Keep in mind that the two components of a range can also be bought as standalone appliances: the oven as a wall oven and the stovetop as a cooktop.
Is a stove the same thing as a stovetop or cooktop?
No. A stovetop or cooktop is the open, flat surface you sear and sauté on top of. A stove is the entire cooking appliance, including the oven and the stovetop/cooktop. While some people may use the term stove to refer to the stovetop, it is not generally used by appliance makers and retailers. Stovetop and cooktop are both appropriate terms for the top of a stove, but keep in mind that cooktop is also the word used for the standalone appliance that is integrated into countertops.
How should I compare stoves?
To zero in on your ideal stove, start with a few decisions: choose a fuel source (gas vs. electric vs. dual fuel) and a style (freestanding vs. slide-in). Then, figure out if you need a standard or special size. Lastly, consider what features are must haves versus nice to haves based on your budget. To learn more about stove features, explore Maytag brand’s range features and options. Or start your comparison by learning more about the most common types of stoves below.
What are the most common types of stoves?
When it comes to fuel types, choose between gas, electric and dual fuel. All types can be found in both freestanding or slide-in models, so prioritize your fuel preference before anything else.
Gas stoves require a dedicated gas line. If you want to cook with gas but don’t have the right hookup, installing one is a fairly easy job for a professional. Gas stoves are known for the open flame on the stovetop, which is popular with many home cooks. Some benefits of gas heat include:
An open flame on the stovetop can be adjusted instantly, so it’s easy to move between heat levels. There’s no need to wait for an electric coil to cool down when you notice your food is cooking too fast.
The flame can be used to heat food directly if desired, like charring and roasting peppers. It can also reach up the side of sculpted pans like woks for stir-frying.
Gas ovens tend to preheat faster than electric ovens.
Many types of gas stoves offer features like powerful, high-BTU burners and durable cast-iron grates. Browse Maytag® gas ranges for more info on the type of cooking options a gas stove delivers.
Most electric stoves require only a 240-volt outlet, which means most kitchens are already set up for one. Electric stoves cook food using heated metal coils or heating elements often housed in a flat glass surface. Some benefits of electric heat include:
Metal coils effectively transfer heat to cookware since it goes directly into the bottom of the pot and not around it. This helps when boiling and simmering.
Glass cooktops offer stability for pots and pans while making it easy to clean the smooth flat surface.
Electric heat in the oven is generally known for being dry and consistent, helping deliver nicely browned and exceptional cooking results.
Electric stoves are a good option if you’re looking for flexibility on the stovetop. Even cast iron can be used - properly - on a glass electric stovetop. Many types of electric stoves have multi-ring elements that accommodate different sizes of cookware, like the full line of Maytag® electric ranges.
Dual fuel stoves
Dual fuel stoves combine a gas stovetop with an electric oven, bringing the best of both worlds to your kitchen. They are considered a premium option so may come with a higher price tag. Some benefits of dual fuel stoves include:
Highly responsive, easy-to-adjust gas heat on the stovetop offers powerful control and a hands-on cooking experience.
Dry and consistent heat helping achieve exceptional cooking results in the oven.
Freestanding stoves are the most common type of stove style. They feature a backguard where the oven controls live as well as finished sides, so they can be installed standing alone or between cabinets. Freestanding stoves can be found in both gas and electric models at a variety of price points. For instance, Maytag® freestanding range prices begin at $800.
Slide-in stoves place all of the controls in the front, creating smooth lines and a built-in, premium look. They’re a good option if you have a decorative backsplash you want to fully display or if you’re installing your stove in an island. Find slide-in stoves in both gas and electric models at a slightly higher price point than freestanding stoves. For instance, Maytag® slide-in range prices begin at $1,999.
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