Those magical days when stoves were simple and all you had to do was choose a colour are long gone. The newest stove, ranges, and ovens come in a variety of options for every type of chef or casual cook.
Do you want gas or electric? Smooth top or electric coils? How many ovens do you need, or more specifically, what type of oven do you need for the types of dishes you’re going to cook? If you’re in the market for a new range you’ll have a lot of questions, but thankfully the answers are available right here.
What’s the difference between a stove, cooktop, range, and oven?
If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between stove, cooktop, range, and oven are, you’re not alone. All of these terms have been used to describe the appliance in your kitchen that cooks your food, but there are important differences between them.
Stand alone range
A stand-alone range is an all-in-one cooking unit that will slide into a designated spot in your kitchen. It includes an oven for baking, stovetop for cooking, and comes in a wide variety of styles.
Electric wall oven
An electric wall oven does not have a cook-top or stove, but can be mounted within your kitchen cupboards or other designated spot. Wall ovens are great for avid bakers because you can have a double oven or even a wall oven/microwave combo.
A dual-fuel range looks like a standard gas range, but it uses a fan system to rotate heat in both directions and has a third element to cook food even faster.
A cooktop is simply that – a cooktop or stove that sits on top of your counter and cooks your food. Cooktops are available in electric, induction, or gas varieties.
Questions you should ask when shopping for a new range or oven
There are a lot of different types of ranges and ovens available, so before you get started, ask yourself these questions.
What type of range or oven will fit in my kitchen?
The type of kitchen you have will influence what type of range, oven, or cooktop you buy. If you already have a designated spot for your range and are simply upgrading or replacing a unit that’s given up on you, you might want to stick to another range. Maybe you’re in the middle of building a new house or renovating and are looking for something completely new because you’re replacing or installing your counters and cupboards. In that case the sky is the limit, and you can choose a wall oven and cooktop combo or just a great new range.
Do you have gas hookups?
Gas ranges are among the most popular ranges available right now, but they’re not for everyone simply because not everyone has gas hooked up to their kitchen. If you’re in the process of building a new house or are renovating your existing house, you can ask your contractor to install a gas line in your kitchen to hook up a gas range.
You might even have a gas range and want to switch to electric. In that case, you’ll have to contact a contractor and ask if you can have the gas switched off.
What type of cook are you and what are you thoughts on cleaning?
Do you like to make huge family dinners or are you more of a heat up and serve type of chef? If you create big meals or enjoy baking several dishes on one day, you might want to consider a larger range with dual ovens or wall oven.
Ranges are pretty much plug and play, but did you know you can choose self-cleaning as an option too? With a self-cleaning range or oven, all you have to do is turn on the cleaning cycle and a short time later you wipe out the left over dust. You’re left with a sparkling clean range.
Smooth top ranges and cooktops are also simple to take care of. There’s no fussing with removing burners. If you spill, just use a soft cloth and wipe clean.
When you’re ready to choose a new range, cooktop, or oven
A ‘range’ of options
Based on your kitchen and your cooking preferences, you’ve decided on a range, but you aren’t quite sure what type of range you’d like. This is the fun part, because there are so many great choices available, and they all have options for all types of cooks and any type of kitchen.
Let’s focus on the design of ranges first.
Freestanding vs slide-in ranges
A freestanding range is the type of range you’ll see most frequently. It has a backguard that sits up against your wall or tile, and that’s usually where the burner and oven controls are. If you’re into the seamless look and have a nice backsplash you don’t want to cover, a slide-in range may be the option for you. Slide-in ranges have a seamless appearance, and all controls are on the front of the range.
If you’ve picked your type of range, now you’ll have to whittle down your choices a bit more. Both freestanding and slide-in ranges can be found with smooth tops or gas, and freestanding ranges can have electric coil burners.
Smooth top ranges
These types of ranges are a great choice because they’re easy to wipe clean, provide an even heating surface, and built-in sensors will let you know if the burner is still too hot to touch. Some models have a TrueTemp system built in, so everything you cook will have even heat distribution and the hot light indicator will come up when the stovetop is too hot to touch.
Electric coil burners
The simple choice for ranges, these types have familiar controls and work by running electricity into the coils.
Freestanding and slide-in gas ranges are fast becoming one of the most popular choices for ranges, and they generally have 4 or 5 sealed burners with various BTU (British thermal units) to bring liquids to a boil quickly. Depending on the make and model you choose, there are a lot of innovative features on gas ranges.
Cook it right on your counter with a Cooktop
Cooktops are a great choice if you want to free up space in your kitchen and forgo the traditional range, and they’re perfect for small homes, dorms, and tiny kitchens. Cooktops come in two types—induction cooktops and gas cooktops.
This type of cooktop will cook everything perfectly because your pot or pan becomes the heat source. An element sits just below the surface that creates a magnetic field. When you put your pot on top of the magnetic element, vibrations are converted to heat. This results in a cooktop that will only heat the surface that’s in contact with the pot or pan – everything else around it remains cool. Food cooks very quickly this way, and induction cooktops are also the most cost efficient way to cook.
Gas cooktops work in the same way gas ranges do, and they’re great for everything from boiling liquids to searing foods because you have precise control over the heat source.
Serious ovens for serious cooks
To bake one sheet of cookies or to bake 3 sheets, that is the question
If you’ve ever made a huge Thanksgiving dinner for a large group of people, you’ve probably wished you had more than one oven. Dual ovens are becoming more and more commonplace for serious cooks and bakers, mostly because you can juggle several sheets of cookies or use your oven to create an entire meal all at once.
Ranges and wall ovens come in a few main oven types including electric and convection. Electric ovens have the coils you often see if standard ovens, and they heat food from above and below.
Convection ovens are available in two types – convection and true convection. A convection oven has two heating elements, including a bake element on the bottom of the oven and a broil element on the top, and it uses a fan on the back wall to move air from the bottom up and around the interior of the oven so the food cooks quickly and evenly.
The true convection oven also adds a third element, so food is cooked even more uniformly than simple fan convection. The heating element is near the fan on the back wall, so food is heated from the side as well as top and bottom. This means that if you have a few racks of cookies baking at the same time, they’ll all be cooked evenly because heat is hitting them from all angles.
If you choose an electric wall oven, the unit will stand on it’s own and you’ll find models with single ovens or double ovens for more cooking, roasting, or baking space. Ranges can be found with double ovens as well, and they also come with a variety of racks and even warming drawers to keep everything toasty until you’re ready to eat.
The choice is yours
As you can see, once you decide what type of kitchen you have and break down the options between ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens, your choice will become easy to make.
If you need help getting set up after you’ve made your selection, you can order an installation from Best Buy’s licensed professional installers.
Enjoy your new range, cooktop, or wall oven!
For more resources on ranges, ovens & cooktops, check out Best Buy Canada’s major appliance help hub.