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We all want to be that house when the sleigh bells start jingling and everyone’s lighting the menorah or singing about Christmas trees. You know the house we’re talking about—it has the best parties, the best holiday food, and killer holiday décor. Sure, all of those things are important components of holiday cheer (and they all play into that best holiday home title, too). But have you ever stopped to think about the energy (and financial) costs of being that home?
Historically, being an entertainment hub and holiday décor superstar home necessitated an exorbitant utility bill. Luckily, that is no longer the case! However, being the star of the neighborhood’s holiday festivities and avoiding a concurrent energy spike requires mindfulness. If you’re looking for help to become a more energy-efficient home this holiday season, you’re in the right place. We’ve got the tips and tricks you need to make it happen.
There are plenty of ways to achieve power consumption (and cost) savings in your home. We will cover those opportunities in posts to come, so stay tuned! But ’tis the season for holiday baking and entertaining, so where better to start than at the heart of the home: the kitchen. More specifically, the best energy-efficient ranges, stoves, and cooktops for you.
Why Energy Efficiency Matters (Even Beyond the Holidays)
Monitoring energy, mindfully conserving energy, and being energy-efficient in the kitchen matters because, well, energy consumption matters!
We don’t mean that as a cop-out answer—you probably already know that energy efficiency is a big deal. If you’re new to this, let us explain briefly. By embracing energy efficiency, you will use less power to complete the same tasks required for top-notch holiday entertaining, and everyday tasks, too! Being conscious of your power consumption helps on multiple levels. The less power you use, the less energy your electric company needs to generate at power plants. That, in turn, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. And that improves the quality of the air that you and your family breath. By monitoring your kitchen’s power consumption, you’re also cutting costs. Who doesn’t love extra money for family gifts?
Why start in the kitchen?
Monitoring energy use in the kitchen is an effective place to start monitoring energy efficiency. Stop and consider for a moment the sheer amount of time you spend in your well-lit kitchen preparing meals, baking, and washing dishes. Sure, you’re expending your own personal energy making delicious meals for yourself and your loved ones. But your kitchen appliances are expending energy, too. And the use of these energy-intensive appliances add up.
Stoves, Ranges, and Cooktops—Oh My!
Before we dive into the reason you’re here—to identify the best energy-efficient ranges for your holiday entertaining—we need to tackle a couple important questions.
What’s the difference? Stoves, Ranges, and Cooktops Explained
A common question among homeowners is: what’s the difference between a range, stove, and cooktop? Let’s make sure we’re on the same page.
People often use the words “range” and “stove” interchangeably. They are one-piece units that include a cooktop and an oven. Alternatively, cooktops are separate from ovens and installed directly into a countertop. Kitchens with cooktops will have separate ovens, often built into the wall.
Which type of stove is the most energy efficient?
Well, as with many things in life, the short answer to this question is: it depends.
When it comes to stoves and cooktops, we’re typically dealing with three types of technology: induction, electric, and gas.
Induction stovetops and cooktops are widely considered to be the most energy-efficient cooking appliance out there. An induction stove isn’t all that complicated—and the science behind it is actually pretty cool. An induction cooktop harnesses the power of magnetic energy. It’ll heat things up in a flash. Induction heating also makes it very easy to make precise, micro-temperature adjustments.
In other words, induction cooktops will heat your pots, pans, and what-have-you’s through direct contact. That way, you’re effectively keeping heat where it belongs without losing it to the air around your cooktop. In fact, according to Green Building Advisor, induction cooktops feature about an 84 percent efficiency compared to electric cooktops, which land in the mid-70s, and gas burners, which land in last place at 50-55 percent efficiency.
So, technically, an induction cooktop is the most energy efficient, then electric, and then gas. That being said, we always have to mention the caveat that sometimes, it is less what you use and more how you use it. The best energy-efficient range is the one used the most mindfully. Someone who purchases an induction stove will not necessarily save more energy than a person using an electric stove if they’re not being energy conscious.
Energy saving strategies in the kitchen
Check out a few of our pro tips to conserve energy—and save money—when using your stove and range, no matter what technology you’re using!
- Keep your metal burners and pans clean. Shiny, clean surfaces reflect heat where it’s supposed to go (toward the pot or the pan). A messy crust will simply absorb the heat, making the stove work longer to heat the pan. Clean pots, pans, and burners, and you won’t be diverting all the heat toward caked-on messes.
- Turn off your electric burners just before you’re finished cooking. No, we don’t mean leave your raw chicken on a powered-off burner. If you have 2-3 minutes of cooking time left, feel free to shut the burner off. Your food will keep cooking, you’ll avoid over-cooking and drying out your food, and you’ll save a little bit of energy!
- Make sure you’re matching your pots and burners. Ensuring you are using the correct burner for the current pan in use will result in sending that valuable heat into the kitchen (without surface area to absorb it). As an example, if you’re cooking a small saucepan, choose one of the smaller burners/coils available.
- For dishes that get better over time, use a slow cooker. Slow cookers are extremely efficient. They can provide hours of heat to create a luscious meal with minimal energy. We love slow cookers so much, we’ll be writing a post just on them soon, so keep your eyes out for it.
- How long have you had your current pans and pots? If they are irreparably caked, scalded, and scratched, consider replacing them. They’re not doing you any favors.
- Did we mention keep everything clean? We’ll say it one more time: keep everything clean. It’s going to help your kitchen appliances—ranges, stoves, and cooktops included—function much more efficiently. Your food will turn out better too!
The Best Energy-Efficient Ranges, Stoves, and Cooktops
Now you have all the background. So without further delay, friends, we present to you the much-sought-after selection of the best energy-efficient ranges, stoves and cooktops!
As a quick note, we’re providing you with more than just induction options. We’re including ranges, stoves, and cooktops that are lauded for their energy efficiency—which means they’ll give you that extra energy consciousness within their own unique categories, this holiday season and beyond.
- Most Efficient Cooktop: Diva DDP Induction Cooktop Series
- As we discussed in this post, induction is technically the most energy efficient technology for cooktop meal preparation. We are big fans of the “runner up,” as well: Duxtop 8100MC 1800W. But the Diva DDP series ultimately gets our vote, because it provides options to handle a larger volume of cooking expected in a home’s kitchen.
- Best Compact Cooktop: The Fagor Countertop Induction Cooktop
- This induction is great for students, or someone in search of an affordable, efficient, portable burner.
- Best Electric Cooktop: Summit SINC424220 Induction Cooktop
- This cooktop is a bit smaller. However, it performs well, and we love that it provides many of the same features as larger counterparts.
- Best Gas Range: Samsung 30” Convection Gas Range
- We love that this range’s gas cooktop features 5 specialized burners so you can match flame size to the pan in use. The fact that its oven uses efficient convection technology is an added plus!
- Best Electric Range: Whirlpool 6.4 cu Ft. Electric Range
- Whirlpool is a brand that has become synonymous with reliability over the years. This range provides the efficiency of electric cooking technology with the size required to handle stress-free entertaining.
- Best High-End Electric Range: The GE Double Oven Smart Electric Range
- This range boasts impressive versatility and an ability to handle multiple dishes at once without spiking your utility bill. Perfect for big holiday gatherings!
As we mentioned before, you don’t need the holiday season to get your kitchen into energy-efficiency mode. But it doesn’t hurt to have a catalyst to kick you into gear. The way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs, so start by identifying the best energy-efficient range, stove, or cooktop for your kitchen and then work from there.