Whenever you are playing the role of a consumer, it’s a good idea to be as informed as possible. That can’t be more true than when it comes to buying a stove. Surprisingly, a stove is one of the most difficult products to shop for. Whether you’re trying to determine what kind of stove to get or what brand name to trust or what store to buy it from, buying a stove can be a complicated process! But it’s an important investment for your home and it’s not one you should take on lightly. So to help guide you in your search for the perfect stove for your home and your budget, here are some tips.

Stoves have been around since well before the 1700’s. In fact, as early as 207 BC, clay stoves were being used in Asia. But it wasn’t until the18th century, that Europeans started using stoves to cook. These stoves essentially enclosed a wood-burning fire. But while burning wood is the classic way to create a flame, it isn’t very efficient and not to mention, it makes for an uncomfortable, smoky environment. So over time, metal stoves that guided the smoke better were introduced. A notable metal stove was the Franklin Stove, invented by none other than Benjamin Franklin. However, it was designed to provide warmth during the winter months, not cook food! Still, it was an important stepping stone to modern day stoves. In fact, by the19th century, economical gas stoves were already in operation and by the 20th century, so were electric stoves.

So, this begs the question. What kind of stove are you in the market for? You have the choice of a stove powered by gas, electricity, or both. And fortunately, you really can’t lose with any of these options. Both gas and electric stoves are savvy purchases, but if you don’t have a preference, it may be a good idea to shell out the extra dough to buy a stove that allows you to switch over from gas to electric and vice versa, on a whim. (These are called “dual-fuel” stoves, and they sport burners that are gas and an oven that is electric.) Essentially, gas stoves are popular with chefs, who want to have the utmost control over the cooking process. So if you are a meticulous cook, you might benefit from a gas stove. However, some homes don’t even have a gas supply to begin with, which means investing in a gas stove is not financially viable.

Now that you’ve determined what kind of stove you want, you are equipped to browse the market. Before shopping around on foot, though, why not read some magazines and online websites that can give you consumer reports on different brands of stoves? Think about what you’re looking for in a stove – do you have children in the house that you want to be protected from its heat? Are you trying to conserve energy in your home so your electric bill doesn’t get too high? Are you a chef in the making or do you just want to be able to make dinner for your family? There are other questions you should ask too. What’s the color and style of your kitchen? You probably don’t want your stove to stick out like a sore thumb, but if you want a stove that isn’t just plain white, be prepared to pay a little extra.

Now it’s time for logistics! Measure the area you’re to install the stove in – maybe you’re replacing a stove you already have, but whatever the case, don’t forget to determine the height (not just the width)! And here’s another detail that you shouldn’t overlook when shopping for a stove: will it be challenging to clean? Can you easily dish wash the stove’s grates and scrub the inside of the oven? This factor should make a big difference in what stove you ultimately buy, as you want a stove that you can maintain without too much trouble. Your stove should be durable, but also easy to take apart and easy to scrub in those nooks and crannies. Also, look into what other features a potential stove has. There are a variety of high-tech stoves with all sorts of nifty extras and if you have the bucks to afford one, it may be well worth it. But don’t be too easily tempted by them, as they may mask a basic, low-quality construction.

Once you’ve picked out a stove that suits your needs and budget, there is still more to keep in mind. First off, when will your oder come through? Who is going to install it – what will that cost? As well, is there a warranty? For such an expensive, necessary appliance like a stove, you want to make sure that f you’re not satisfied with it, you can get a replacement with no added expense and minimal hassle.

Overall, it’s vital that you have a strong idea about how a stove works and what kind of stove you want. This way, you won’t give the manufacturer or the salesperson control. You are simply on a hunt for something you’ve already determined you want – you’re not going to be persuaded by tricky advertisements or nice packaging. It might be a bit intimidating and frustrating to shop for a stove, but you’ll be glad you put each brand of stove on the hot seat in the long run.

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