If you want to buy a stove, you will be confronted with an immeasurable selection of devices. Depending on which hob you prefer and which special functions are important to you, you can filter the range and find the perfect stove-oven combination for you.
Freestanding or built-in stove?
The first important decision to make is when deciding whether to buy a freestanding model or a built-in oven. Free-standing devices have the advantage that they do not have to be adapted to existing dimensions. However, if your old stove is firmly integrated into the other kitchen elements, you need a built-in stove. Of course, when buying it should be noted that the successor has the same dimensions. If you are planning a whole new kitchen with a built-in stove, the required installation depth also plays a role so that the stove fits completely under the worktop.
Also worth considering: Although a cooker usually consists of a hob and an oven, there are also variants in which both are installed separately. In this case, the hob is operated independently of the oven and the latter is also installed separately. This offers the possibility of installing the stove at a higher level. The advantage: You no longer have to bend down when using the oven.
Oven and hob can also be installed separately. Image: © Fotosmurf03/iStock/Thinkstock 2017
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Buying a cooker: The cooktop decides
Gas, induction or electricity – when looking for the right hob, another fundamental question must be clarified: What kind of hob should it be? The electric hob – formerly made of cast iron, nowadays mostly a ceramic hob – generates heat radiation through heating resistors, is widespread, but has a relatively high energy consumption.
A modern alternative to this is the induction hob. Here, induced current in the bottom of the dishes generates the necessary heat. Although the technology is more expensive and new pots and pans may have to be purchased, the stove is immediately up to operating temperature and burning yourself is almost impossible.
An alternative are gas-powered hobs, where the heat can be adjusted quickly and as needed. However, cleaning is not as easy as with ceramic hobs. By the way: In contrast to classic models, there is no unwanted escape of gas with modern devices; a special safety lock makes this possible. You will find the advantages and disadvantages of these three variants in more detail in this guide .
A ceramic hob can be found in many kitchens. However, it is not particularly energy efficient. Image: © Pexels 2017
Keep an eye on energy efficiency
Of course, the number of cooking zones is also important here. Most models now have switchable areas in which even large roasters or fish pots can be heated. Digital displays and timers with a switch-off function are also tried and tested standards in almost all price categories.
Residual heat indicators and child safety devices also ensure safety. The energy efficiency of the device also plays a role if you want to buy a stove. The energy label of the EU states, among other things, how much electricity the cooker consumes with conventional settings.
Buying an oven: with additional functions?
If you want to buy a classic stove with an integrated oven, you can look forward to more and more automatic functions and electronic programs, especially with the oven, which should be helpful when preparing and cleaning the devices.
In addition to classic types of heating such as convection, the pizza and intensive levels have now proven themselves, with which the food is heated in such a way that the food gets an extra crispy base. Some systems are even so advanced that different dishes can be prepared in one oven at the same time.
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Perfect cooking thanks to intelligent heating systems
So that dry or even burnt meat is a thing of the past, some models switch off the heating automatically as soon as the dish has reached a certain core temperature. Thanks to the integrated steamer , some ovens can also prepare the food with a combination of steam and hot air. Depending on the type of dish, the steam ratio is automatically regulated and tender, juicy results are easily achieved.
Another advantage: the food from the day before can be prepared freshly again. To make things even easier for the user, some systems also have a pre-programmed function that is like a kind of automated cookbook. All you have to do is specify the type and weight of the dish and the oven will heat the food for the right amount of time, at the right temperature and the right way of cooking. The systems even show what level of the oven the food needs to be placed on.
Modern ovens can help you cook with many additional functions. Image: © monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Thinkstock 2017
Cleaning their kitchen is a constant thorn in the side of many amateur cooks – nobody likes to mess around with cleaning on a full stomach. If you want to buy an oven, you should therefore look out for modern devices with a self-cleaning function.
There are now ovens on the market that rely on hydrolysis, catalysis or pyrolysis. Hydrolysis is a kind of steam bath designed to loosen dirt in the oven. Furnaces with catalysis have special coatings with metal oxides on the interior. These act as a catalyst and convert fat particles into water and carbon dioxide. What stands out is the so-called pyrolysis, in which food leftovers are heated in the oven to over 500 degrees, crumble to ash and only have to be wiped away. However, this costs a lot of energy.
- You have the choice between free-standing and built-in stoves
- It is possible to install the hob and oven separately
- Gas, induction or electric hobs each have advantages and disadvantages
- When buying, you should also consider energy efficiency
- Some ovens offer intelligent heating systems
- New ovens have automatic cleaning functions