Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Temperatures of Stove Electric Ranges (e.g. "Medium" equals what approx. temp.?) ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Temperatures of Stove Electric Ranges (e.g. "Medium" equals what approx. temp.?)
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: karups-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 04 Jul 2004 07:49 PDT
Expires: 03 Aug 2004 07:49 PDT
Question ID: 369523
1) My kitchen range has settings of Warm, Low, Medium, Medium High, and
High.  Roughly what temperatures do these correspond to? (It's a
regular home electric range; nothing commercial.)  The "High" setting
is also weird since it is fairly far to the right from the Medium High

To ask a fairly technical question, does the temperature vary linearly
with the angle that the knob is turned?  i.e.  If I turn the knob x
degrees, is the temperature going to increase by the same amount
regardless of where the knob happens to start?  (If you don't find an
answer to this, but happen to find any links explaining how the range
works for either electric or gas, then that would be nice to know.)

2) Also, the knobs have separating lines between the settings.
e.g.  | Low | Medium | Medium High |

When a recipe says to put the burner on Medium High, should I be
turning the knob so that the arrow points to the middle of the words
"Medium High" or should it be turned to the separator to the right of
the words?
Subject: Re: Temperatures of Stove Electric Ranges (e.g. "Medium" equals what approx. temp.?)
Answered By: aht-ga on 04 Jul 2004 11:39 PDT

First, here is a link to a site that explains how an electric range works: - How Things Work: Range / Stove / Oven

From the explanation there, you will see that the control knob is
known as an 'infinite switch', also known to electricians and
hobbyists as a rheostat or potentiometer. By turning the switch, you
are increasing or decreasing the amount of electrical current flowing
through the burner element. The burner element is basically a heating
wire that heats up as current passes through it, encased in a
protective material that transmits the heat without passing any of the
electricity to the outside. It is this protective material that you
can see turning "red hot" as the temperature increases.

Because the elements are simple the equivalent of big electrical
resistors, and because there are a lot of variables that affect the
efficiency of these elements at converting electricity into heat,
there is no sure-fire way to relate the rotary position of the control
knob to the surface temperature of the element without actually
calibrating your specific knob and element combination using
sophisticated measurement tools like a laser thermometer:

Also, the actual "cooking temperature" will depend on the cooking pot
or pan you are using, and the efficiency of that pot or pan at
conducting heat from the burner to the food you are actually cooking
(rather than radiating it out into the kitchen). So, if the actual
cooking temperature is of vital importance to you, then it is best to
use a thermometer to check the food temperature, rather than the
burner temperature.

As for the positions of the suggested settings on the dial, the
infinite switch itself should be linear; however, after you take into
account all of the variables involved in converting electricity into
the actual heating of your food, the actual heat transmitted into the
food may not be linear due to the environmental conditions surrounding
it. So, "Medium-High" is anywhere within that portion of the dial
markings... only your personal experience using that range, and that
particular burner element, can tell you where in that range you get
the best results. If you ever end up changing out the burner element
(for example, if the current one fails), then you'll find that you'll
need to re-learn the positions of the dial again until you get "a
feel" for the characteristics of the new element.

Best regards,

Google Answers Researcher
There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy