Every home has a kitchen and every kitchen reflects its owner personality through its uniqueness and styles. Thus, it is important for the kitchen built up to have ideal kitchen appliances that match the needs and lifestyle of its owner. Below are the things to consider before buying your kitchen appliances.
1) Buying a cooking hob:
Tip 1a. Should I go for electrical hob or a gas hob?
If you like the style of 'char-kuay-tew' cooking or what most people refer to as an Asian cooking method, then gas hob or stoves are a norm in most purchases. Although gas stoves provide fast high heat and are believed to be more easily controlled than electric stoves, gas stoves pose a greater risk due to potential gas leaks.
More and more modern kitchens opt for electric hobs, which come in three variations: vitroceramic, solid hot plate and induction. These are preferred over gas ranges for their safety, functionality and ease of maintenance. In normal usage, electrical hobs provide a constant controllable cooking temperature thus producing lesser oil fume.
Tip 1b. What type and size of hob suit me?
Ask yourself whether you are looking for a built-in or a freestanding cooker? Regardless which type you choose, check your worktop size for the cooking area to ensure your kitchen has enough space to accommodate your cooking burner without obstructing the kitchen workflow.
Range style cookers are freestanding and can have both gas and electric burners, while most induction & vitroceramic hobs are built-in and fitted to the kitchen countertop or island worktop.
Tip 1c. How about Induction hob?
The improved safety features and its cooking characteristic that provides the kitchen with a clean aesthetic appearance make induction hob more and more popular for the modern kitchens. One area where induction hobs are better than gas hobs is the additional advance features. These include the memory settings for different cooking process, warming zone, cooking timer, sliders touch control and also up to 18 power levels.
Induction hobs use magnetic current to generate heat at the bottom of the pan upon contact with the hob surface. Ordinary cooking pots and pans make of ceramic, glass, aluminium and non-magnetisable utensil are not compatible with induction hobs - you need to replace them with magnetise ones instead.
Tip 1d. Is three cooking zones to many for me?
Most of the electric or gas hobs come in the form of two burners and up to as much as six burners. Single burner will normally come in the form of modular (domino) hob which is more common in the size of 300mm x 550mm. Majority of household opt for two to four cooking zones, but you should evaluate your cooking needs and consider if it's too many or too little.
Tip 1e. Easy cleaning?
Simple squarish and flat surface hobs are much easier to take care compare to awkward shape hobs. Most electrical hobs require only a simple wipe off the smooth surface compare to gas hobs that may need the lifting and disassembling of certain components for a thorough clean.
Tip 1f. Safety matter?
Safety features of a cooking hob should be a main concern, especially in a household with young children. If you are looking at gas hob as your option then you should look for the one with flame failure safety device where the gas supply will be automatically cut off upon detection that the flame has gone out on its own.
Some electrical hobs come with a safety timer that automatically switch off heating when not in use for a period of time. Others are equipped with safety lock to prevent children from turning themt on or play around with the existing cooking settings.
2) Buying a cooker hood:
Tip 2a. Type of cooker hood design?
Basically, there are 3 types of cooker hood design in the market. The most popular type of hoods in demand is the wall mounted or "Chimney Hood". This hood comes in variety of shapes and designs to suit almost all kitchens that have cooktops installed on base kitchen units adjacent to the wall.
For island concept or peninsular concept cooktops, ceiling mounted or "Island Hood" is the best choice. This hood is suspended from the ceiling above the island unit and is therefore designed to look good and provides an eye catching appearance from all angles. Do keep in mind that you need to pay extra for the installation of an island hood.
If you have a kitchen wall unit just exactly above the cooking hob then you may want to consider the built-in integrated cooker hood that is concealed inside the kitchen cabinet. This "Canopy Hood" fits just nicely under overhead kitchen unit and is not noticeable unless you view from below. Some hoods of this type feature a pull-open panel that activates the extractor fan and turns on its lights.
Another uncommon type of cooker hood is "Downdraft Hood" that is installed in base kitchen unit which extracts smoke and vapour rising directly from the cooking hob. This type of hood needs proper planning in running the ducting which will be routed through base kitchen units and flooring.
Tip 2b. Direct duct out or re-cycle system?
Some cooker hoods allow a dual ventilation installation. You can opt for a ventless or duct-free system if you are not doing heavy cooking in the kitchen. Most dry kitchens will go for duct-free re-cycling system where smoke is channeled through the charcoal filter and released the purified air back into the kitchen. Recirculation system is less popular but not necessarily less effective.
Direct ducting out system allows all smoke and odours to be removed from inside the kitchen through ducts. In normal case, a strong suction power cooker hood is more suitable for direct ducting out ventilation. Do consider having shorter and fewer bends ducting installation as longer and extra bends ducting reduce extraction efficiency.
Tip 2c. Suction power and noise level?
The majority of households look for very strong suction power cooker hood. You should ask this, is 1,200m3/h extraction power enough for my kitchen?? Then you should ask, how large is my kitchen?? The extraction power needed for a kitchen can be calculated by multiplying the room height by its width and length (in meters), then multiply that sum with 8 (the minimum amount of times the air should be changed per hour; 10 to 12 times is the optimum) to get the minimum extraction rate. So, if you have a large kitchen and enjoy cooking with oil, then a cooker hood with a strong suction power rate is highly recommended. Usually, gas hobs cooking requires more powerful cooker hoods with strong suction power as compared to electric hobs cooking.
Generally, a more powerful hood is much noisier, but with today's technology you can get very powerful yet silent cooker hoods. Higher levels of noise during the high speed mode are tolerable for short periods of time, but during the low speed mode the noise level should never be above 55dB (which is slightly softer than normal human conversation). Before buying a cooker hoods, try out the hoods to ascertain their noise levels against the extractions speeds.
Tip 2d. Easy maintenance hood?
Some household will ask for a maintenance-free cooker hood, but so far none exists in the market. The grease filters used in recirculation hoods, that help to remove moisture and oil particles, need to be washed and rinsed thoroughly before re-use. Initially, installing a duct-free system costs less compared to direct duct out system as ducting is not needed. However, maintaining the duct-free system requires changing its grease and charcoal filters. Also the grease filter is not easy to wash and clean-up unless your do have a dishwasher at home to wash out the dirt for you without spoiling the mesh filter in long run. In long term, direct duct out system is more economical and easy to maintain compared to duct-free systems.