Tiny House Stoves, Cooktops & Ranges
There are many options for cooking in a tiny house. If you are not opposed to using propane in your house (and are already using it for an on-demand, tankless water heater) I highly recommend cooking with propane gas. Propane is far more efficient than electricity for any heating element and in most cases leads a better cooking experience.
Propane can be used in smaller RV-style ranges, marine ranges (higher quality stainless steel), permanently installed stovetops and portable cooktops. If you prefer to use electricity, one efficient solution would be to use a portable induction cooktop, which can be stored in a cabinet or under a counter when not in use.
Options for all of these are shown below, with some pros and cons of each style.
If you're looking for a full range (oven included), the most affordable option is usually a smaller 20" or 24" range made by companies like Avanti, Danby, etc. These models typically start around $500.
Atwood (the RV product manufacturer) also makes small ranges that I'd lump into this category.
Pros: The benefits of this kind of range is that you usually get 4 burners and a reasonably sized oven, just like the normal stove you are used to in a traditional house. The narrower 20' models (more common in Europe) do have slightly smaller burners (a little tight for a 12" skillets!)
Cons: The downside to these ranges is that they usually have mediocre reviews and are designed to compete on low price and small size, but do not necessarily provide the best possible cooking experience or durability.
A marine-style range is one designed for sailboats (or yachts) and therefore built for a much more extreme salt-water environment with constant movement. These ranges (and stovetops) are most always built out of solid stainless steel, so they are very durable and of higher quality. Look for brands such as Force 10 and Dickinson (yes, the same company that also makes stainless propane fireplaces). Origo also makes similar stoves that burn alcohol instead of propane.
These models are smaller in size and typically come in 2-burner or 3-buners configurations (sometimes 4).
Pros: The upside to a marine range is it's stainless finish and solid build quality -- designed to withstand corrosion and constant movement. I've got to say they are pretty sexy!
Cons: The downside to these models is that they are quite expensive. Most start at $1,200 (if you're lucky) and go up from there. You're probably gonna pay more like $1,500. The other con is that they are typically smaller in size, particularly the oven (think half an oven). The small size (in my case, and many others I'm sure) can be a plus, depending on your kitchen design.
My experience: I have a Seaward 2-burner range in my house (and I love it!), but they've discontinued their line of ranges, so unfortunately it's no longer available.
I propane stovetop is a great choice if you don't think you need an oven (or you use a separate convection oven or microwave). These will be far less expensive than a full range. There are many options from higher-end stainless steel models down to simpler RV-style 2-burner models. Pay attention to the materials used and how easy each might be to clean.
Pros: These units are usually permanently installed on top of the counter. They are great because they don't take up an under-counter space, so you might free up more storage space in the kitchen. They are cheaper and usually start at $100, going up from there.
Cons: The downside is they don't include an oven, of course, and they usually only include 2 burners. If you are a serious cook, you'd probably want to go with the full range option above.
Portable propane cooktops are a great option for people who cook less often and want to free up some counter space when their stove is not in use. These models still give you the gas cooking experience, but in a small, portable package that can be stored in a cabinet or under the counter when not in use.
Pros: A portable propane cooktop like this is one of the cheapest options, with highly-rated models only costing $25.
Cons: However, they are usually not designed for constant use, so someone who cooks on a daily basis might want something more substantial.
Induction burners are the only option on this list that do not use propane. I include them here because they use a very interesting technology that many believe is the safest and most efficient way to cook with electricity.
Pros: If you are a light cooker you may choose this option. As with the portable propane cooktops above, these would allow you to stow your stove when not in use to free up limited counter space in a tiny house kitchen. They are also very efficient in their use of electricity (no wasted heat coming out in all directions) and they are quick to supply heat.
If you are opposed to the use of propane in your house, this may be the best option.
Cons: The biggest downside is that they are only compatible with induction-ready cookware (must include iron -- many aluminum, copper or glass pots or pans won't work). These cooktops heat using induction (direct electromagnetic transfer) which means they remain cool to the touch, even when in use.
Prices start around $50, with highest-rated models around $60 each.