There are few appliances as relied upon as the trusty kitchen stove, especially if you really love to cook. When you’re choosing a range, cooktop, or oven you’ll want to look for one that meets your everyday cooking & baking needs, conforms to the hookup requirements of your home, and has the capacity you need for whatever you’d like to cook. You can use this guide to walk you through the process of selecting kitchen ranges, cooktops, and ovens that are versatile enough to meet your cooking needs.
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Key considerations when choosing an oven or range
1. Placement of your range
When preparing to buy an oven, you should consider where the electrical (or gas) hookup will be. If you’re buying a preexisting home like a condo you may not have much choice in the matter. If you’re building a house from scratch, you’ll be able to choose your ideal location during the blueprint phase and make sure the hookup is where you’d like it to be.
2. Measure the space for your range
Taking measurements is the best way to ensure your range or oven will fit where you’d like to place it. If you don’t get the measurements exactly right, you could end up with an oven that’s either way too big or way too small for the space. You should also measure the doorway leading into your kitchen as you’ll want to ensure you can move your new oven or range into your kitchen.
Types of ranges
There are a few main types or styles of stoves or ranges you can choose. Each of these options has its own pros and cons, and much of your decision may come down to your personal sense of style and taste.
1. Free-standing range
This type of range has fully finished sides and a backsplash where the controls are located. The best part of a free-standing range is that it has a very traditional style and is suitable for every type of kitchen.
2. Slide-in range
Slide-in ranges are available in both gas and electric models. You can also find dual-fuel slide-in ranges. They have unfinished sides, making them the ideal choice to install between cabinets. The controls are usually positioned on the front of the stove so you’ll need a backsplash behind the range for a seamless look.
3. Gas ranges
If your kitchen is equipped with a gas hookup, there is a wide variety of gas-based options available. You can choose a basic unit for a stove that offers straightforward heating and cooking of your food or choose an advanced model with features to help you cook quickly and efficiently. Freestanding gas ranges have the following features.
- High-heat and simmer burners – From sauces to desserts, variable-powered burners let you cook multiple dishes at once
- Precise heating – Easily control the heat by adjusting the flame to a precise level
- Sealed burners and upswept cooktops – Make clean-up as easy as wiping down with a soft cloth
- Interlocking grates – Slide heavy and awkward pots and pans between your burners without having to lift
- Pilotless ignition – Gives you hassle-free start-ups, and some models offer automatic reignition so you can continue cooking if your flame goes out
5. Electric ranges
Some kitchens offer the built-in convenience of an electric range hookup. With an electrical hookup, you can choose from smooth top ranges, induction ranges, or coil top ranges.
Coil cooktop ranges
Coil cooktops offer straightforward heating by using a coil element to convert electricity into heat. The heat is then transferred directly to your pot or pan for cooking.
- Consistent, high-quality heat – Consistent heating makes for even cooking, and coil cooktops are known for their consistency
- Economical and rugged – Coils are easy to find, cheap to purchase, and very simple to replace yourself. In the event that one of your coils burns out, you’ll be able to install a replacement and your cooktop will be as good as new
- Fast heating – Because the heat comes directly from the coil, coil cooktops heat up very quickly. Some models can heat up faster than smooth top cooktops
Smooth top cooktops
Smooth cooktops have a sleek style and are very user-friendly. They feature an innovative design that uses a coil sitting under a “smooth” sheet of ceramic glass. As the coil begins to heat, ultra-hot infrared radiation is produced. This radiation flows through the glass and ultimately makes contact with the pots or pans on your cooktop, turning to heat as it does so. This generated heat then begins to cook your food.
- Easy to clean – Because of the smooth glass design, smooth top cooktops are easy to clean. With no burners or rings to mess with or remove, it’s mostly just a matter of wiping them down thoroughly until the debris has been removed
- Dual element smooth top – Some models of the smooth top range have the benefit of featuring two elements in a single spot so you are free to choose the burner size that best fits the pot or pan you are using
- Bridge elements – Bridge elements are small elements placed between two elements on a smooth top range. When you turn the bridge element on you can use both round elements and the bridge to cook your food. They are ideal for oddly shaped cookware
- Safety indicator light – A safety indicator light helps prevent incidents and accidents. You can avoid nasty burns as it warms you that the surface is still hot well after you’ve turned the stove off
An induction cooktop is a smooth top cooktop but it generates energy from a magnetic field that sits just below the glass. The magnetic field will transfer its energy to the cookware you’re using, so you can only use certain types of cookware. You’ll need to look for induction-friendly cookware like stainless steel or cast iron to cook on this type of stove.
- Heats up quickly – Induction cooktops can boil water 50% faster than a coil or smooth top cooktop
- Precise heating – Precise temperature control lets you cook everything from steaks to sauces
- Keeps your cooktop cool – Because induction cooktops only heat the pan and not the surface of your stove, the surface of the stove stays cool as you cook
6. Dual fuel range
A dual fuel range gives you the best of both gas and electric options. With a dual fuel range, you get an all-in-one appliance with a gas cooktop and electric oven. To use a dual fuel range you’ll need gas connections and an electric plug-in your kitchen.
- Multiple gas burners – With multiple gas burners you can cook family-sized dishes all at once
- Precise heat control – A gas cooktop gives you precise heat control for even cooking
- Electric oven – Roomy electric ovens offer convection heating and ample space to bake trays of cookies or roasts
Types of ovens
Both freestanding and slide-in ranges have ovens you can use for baking, roasting, or broiling. The size of the oven your range and the features it has will depend on the size of the range you choose, or you can opt for a wall oven that’s a completely separate appliance.
1. Free-standing and slide-in range ovens
With a free-standing or slide-in range, your oven is part of the appliance. You can find ranges with a single oven or double ovens. Some types also feature a warming drawer beneath the oven to keep food warm while you’re waiting to eat.
2. Wall ovens and cooktops
Instead of a range that fits in a dedicated spot in your kitchen, you may opt for a wall oven and cooktop combination.
Built-in wall ovens are specifically designed to sit within your wall where they won’t be in the way when they’re not in use. They are similar to slide-in ovens, but wall ovens require their own built-in cabinet to hold them. They sit flush with your wall and don’t take up extra floor space, and they can sit far away from your separate cooktop so you don’t need to make space in your kitchen for a full-size range.
Cooktops are stand-alone cooking appliances that sit on top of your counter. You can choose an electric smooth top cooktop, electric induction cooktop, or gas cooktop. Cooktops have controls on the surface of the cooktop and share the same features as smooth top, induction, or gas ranges.
Features on ranges and ovens
If your objective is to provide your family with simple, healthy meals on a daily basis, then either a basic gas range or an electric oven may be all you need. If you’d like to branch out to slightly more complex meals, you’ll probably like a range or oven with a few useful extras built in.
1. Multiple burners
When you choose a range you’ll want to make sure you have enough burners to cook all of the food you’d like to. Some ranges and cooktops have 4 or 5 burners, while others have 6 to 8 burners.
2. Large capacity oven
Large capacity ovens are popular today for large families and home cooks who like to make multiple dishes at one time. The largest capacity ovens have 6 or more cubic feet of internal cooking space. Some types offer up to three separate racks you can use for baking, roasting, and broiling.
3. Convection oven
Convection ovens cook food faster and more evenly than most other ovens. They do so by circulating the heated air inside the oven via a series of strategically placed fans, though some convection ovens may have just a single fan to drive the air. By moving the air evenly throughout the oven, convection ovens reduce, if not eliminate, hot spots within the oven that might otherwise cook food unevenly. You can choose between true convection and fan convection.
True convection uses a third heating element that’s located behind the fan and the element blows heated air over your food. Fan convection is an oven with a fan inside that blows hot air, but it does not have an additional element behind the fan.
4. Air fry function
A range with a built-in air fry feature will have a special tray you can place in the oven to hold french fries, chicken strips, or anything else you’d like to cook. The oven will circulate hot air around the air fry tray so the food will cook up like it’s deep-fried. The benefit of an air fry feature on your range or oven is that you can cook food that’s crispy and delicious, but you don’t have to add excess oil. With the air fryer built-in, you don’t need to purchase a separate air fryer for your kitchen either.
5. Dual ovens
When you choose a range with dual ovens you’ll have two ovens with two separate doors. One of the ovens will be slightly smaller than the other, but you’ll be able to use both at one time.
6. Smart features
Some types of ranges and ovens have smart features. You can connect these appliances to your Wi-Fi network, pair them with a compatible brand app, and use different functions including voice assistance, remote start and stop, and access set recipes you can use to cook your food perfectly.
7. Warming Drawers and Zones
A warming drawer or warming zone will keep everything you cook hot and ready to go. They help with meal planning because you never have to worry about prepared dishes cooling down. You can choose a warming drawer as a feature on your range or add one as a complement to your wall oven.
7. Self-cleaning ovens
Cleaning your own oven is never fun, but many of the latest self-cleaning ranges use the power of steam for quick and easy clean-ups. They can clean themselves using water, and you’ll never have to deal with harsh chemicals or weird cleaning odours.
8. Delayed bake
Some ranges have a delayed bake feature built-in to the range. With delayed bake, you can set a timer to start baking at a set time.
9. Child lock
Safety is important when you have children in your home, and a child lock on your range or oven will prevent little fingers from touching a hot surface or opening an oven door.
Which of these ranges is best for your kitchen?
As you can see, there is a very wide selection of ovens and ranges you can choose from. To make it easier to narrow down all of the choices in this buying guide, you may want to decide on a gas or electric range first. Once you know which one you’ll choose, you can work your way through the different types and features. Before you know it you’ll have a brand new range in your kitchen, and you’ll enjoy cooking more than ever.
Take the next step
Take the next step toward finding the best range or oven for you by shopping at Best Buy.