Choosing cooking appliances is a lot more complex and confusing today than it was 30 years ago. Along with the standard range with four top burners and an oven or two, we now have down-vented ranges with pop-out grills, fancy cooktops, microwave ovens, convection ovens, and a host of other smaller cooking appliances from high-tech toaster ovens and coffeemakers to slow-cook crockpots, bread ovens, rice cookers, and indoor electric grills.
While fuel choice and cooktop design are important considerations, the key to efficient cooking is understanding your cooking habits. Cooking patterns have changed considerably over the past few decades, with many Americans dining out more, cooking less, and using a microwave oven instead of a stove for preparing and heating many dishes. If you don’t cook much, more efficient cooking appliances won’t save much energy! On the other hand, these appliances tend to have long lives, so it is worth using efficiency as one guide when you purchase a new cooktop, stove, or oven.