You need a new oven or cooktop. So much choice! Walking into a retail store can make your head spin. So many brands & models. So much information from the sales people. Pyrolitic or Catalytic? Electric, gas, induction or ceramic? Australian? Italian? German? It can feel overwhelming. How should you spend your hard earned money? This is a brief summary and some suggestions that may help you with your selection.
Information you need before heading to the store
If you’re replacing an appliance, the size of your previous appliance may limit your options particularly if you have granite bench tops. Measure the cut out size and the height, width and depth of the appliance you’re replacing. To keep installation costs to a minimum being able to reuse the existing cable/circuit is preferable. To find out the circuit size, have a look in your switchboard. The circuit should be labelled something like “hob” or “oven” and 20amp, 32amp or similar.
If thinking of swapping from gas to electric, a larger or new cable/circuit is usually required. If you are changing from electric to gas, you will need gas run to the appliance by a gas plumber and an electrician to carry out the electrical connection.
Were you happy with your last appliance? If not what didn’t you like? Did it have all the features you wanted? Will you use all of the features some new appliances offer? Make a list and narrow your options before you go to the store. This will help you and the sales person target only the appliances that fit your criteria. A good quality appliance will last at least 10 years. If cared for and well maintained, 20 years is not unexpected so a bit of extra preparation time now will pay off later.
In most cases your budget may determine what options you are choosing from. An idea may be to choose a superseded/sale model with more of the functions on your wish list. Beware however of choosing an appliance just because it is on sale if it means compromising on the options you wanted. Working out the price difference over a 10 year life can come down to only a few dollars extra per week.
Once at the store, some questions to ask
- Where is the oven made?
- Where is the customer service centre & how easy are they to deal with?
- Is there a local service agent?
- Does the service agent have a good reputation?
- What is the warranty?
- How long has the brand been selling in WA?
What does it all mean?
Pyrolytic – High temperatures (around 500°C) incinerate any food residues on the oven walls into a fine ash. The oven door locks while the pyrolytic cleaning cycle (which lasts for around 1.5-2 hours) is in progress, for safety reasons. Once the cleaning cycle has completed, the ash can be safely wiped away using only a damp cloth. Racks should be removed prior to the pyrolytic function being used.
Catalytic liners -A catalytic liner is a strip of metal that is fixed to the wall of the oven. When the oven reaches 200°C, any grease residues that have collected on the surface of the catalytic liner are converted into ash. Catalytic liners have a limited lifespan. You will need to flip them over or replace them once they’ve stopping being effective.
Steam clean ovens – These ovens allow you to pour a little water into the bottom of the oven, which is then converted into steam when you select the cleaning setting. The steam softens any food particles that are stuck to the oven walls, making it easy to wipe them away with a cloth once the cleaning cycle has finished. This needs to be used regularly to be effective.
- Fan forced – this feature uses a fan to circulate hot air around the oven cavity for faster and more even cooking.
- Programmable timer – an electronic timer can be set to automatically switch the oven off once a specified time period has elapsed.
- Defrost – this setting provides an efficient means of defrosting your food.
- Fan-assisted grilling – this mode uses the top grill element in conjunction with the fan to efficiently roast meat, as well as browning the top of dishes.
- Roast probe – A roast probe is a metal skewer that is attached to the oven and inserted into meat to determine if it is cooked through. Used in conjunction with a programmable timer.
- High Bake – uses a combination of all the elements and lessens recovery time if cooking requires the door to be opened and closed frequently.
- Rotisserie – is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit – a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being roasted. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous self-basting.
- Pizza setting– the oven is designed to reach higher temperature than a standard oven.
- Rapid preheat – as the same suggests, heats the oven rapidly (usually 8-15 minutes depending on brand).
Induction – The cooktop uses powerful, high-frequency electromagnets to move the molecules inside the cooking vessel causing the pot or frying pan itself to heat which inturn heats the food. An induction hob is faster and more energy-efficient than a traditional electric cooking surface. It allows instant control of temperature and because the surface of the cook top is heated only by contact with a pot, once turned off, the cooktop cools very quickly. Very low simmers can be achieved. Easy to clean as it is a flat glass surface.
Ceramic – very similar in look to an induction cooktop but has electric elements under the tempered ceramic glass. The flat cooktop surface is faster to heat than traditional radiant coils found on lower priced electric stove tops.
Gas – Gas burners provide near instant heat. Wok burners have a trivet that supports the round base of the wok & or some burners allow for a grill plate to be placed on top forbarbecuing. Many gas cooktops are now fitted with a flame failure device whereby the gas will automatically cut out if the flame goes out; others will reignite automatically. This feature is strongly suggested.
Electric -usually found on low-cost appliances. Radiant coil cooktops utilise a coil element to heat cookware directly. Solid hotplate cooktops are slower to heat up and cool down than other cooktops.
Hopefully this information has been of some use in helping you make a choice. If you need further help or help with installation, please call our office on (08) 9367 1198.