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How to Choose a Kitchen Range, Stove & Oven

In need of a new stove for your kitchen? Read on for everything you need to know and consider before purchasing. 

Welcome Homes
/ Jan 11, 2022 / 5 min read

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, at its very center is the range. When it's time to upgrade your at-home cooking experience and purchase a new oven range, there are a few things you'll want to consider. A new kitchen appliance is an investment, and if you use the range regularly you'll want to make sure a new one fits your style and needs. Here are the details to consider when choosing a new oven range. 

Stove vs. Oven vs. Range 

Though the terms "stove," "oven," and "range" are used interchangeably, they're all quite different. 

  • Stove: A stove functions by providing direct heat, usually via gas or electricity. A kitchen stove is often referred to as a "cooktop." It can be part of a range or separate and mounted within a counter.
  • Oven: An enclosed space/chamber used to heat or cook food. While it can be part of a range, it can also be mounted in a wall. An oven uses gas or electricity for heat and has temperature control features and timers. 
  • Range: A range is a stove and oven combined into a single appliance. It can be fueled by either gas or electricity.

Oven range styles 

When it comes to oven ranges, there are three standard style options: freestanding, slide-in, and drop-in. 

  • Freestanding: A freestanding range is the style most people know best. Since it doesn't require any cabinetry and can stand on its own or between cabinets/counters, it tends to be the most economical choice. The controls for a freestanding range are typically found on the back panel, and there is a storage or warming drawer at its bottom. 
  • Slide-in: As its name suggests, a slide-in range slides between cabinets and sits flush with surrounding countertops. This type of range gives a kitchen a more custom, built-in look. The controls tend to be on the front of the range and there is no back panel, so a backsplash can be better showcased. 
  • Drop-in: A drop-in range fits into customized cabinetry and sits atop a base or matching cabinet. It has no storage or warming drawer and the control panel is found at its front. A drop-in range won't interfere with the look of a backsplash, is often incorporated into an island, and is traditionally the most expensive option.

READ: All the Technology You Need for the Smartest Home on the Block

Burners

When purchasing a new range, it's also important to consider what type of burner you want for your stove/cooktop. There are three main types of burners: gas, electric, and induction. 

  • Gas: Gas burners employ an instant, hot flame that can be adjusted easily. These types of burners cook food quickly since the heat they generate is instant, but they don’t always cook evenly. Gas burners cool down faster than their electric counterparts do, so the stovetop doesn’t stay hot to the touch. As the name suggests, a dedicated gas hookup is required.
  • Electric: Electric burners convert electricity to heat via coils that are either exposed (electric coil) or below the cooktop (smoothtop). While electric stovetops are often the most affordable, they are notoriously slow to heat and slow to cook.
  • Induction: Induction cooktops use electromagnetic coils beneath a ceramic surface to transfer energy in the form of heat directly into cookware that contains iron. They heat up fast, use less energy, and are generally safer than gas or electric burners because there’s no flame or direct heat. Induction stoves also use electricity.

Power Options 

There are two options when it comes to powering your stove: gas and electric. If you’re replacing a stove, you’ll likely need to choose one with the same power source as the one you’re getting rid of, as converting from one to the other can be extremely expensive. New home builders may be able to choose between the two depending on what’s available in their area. 

As previously mentioned, gas ranges require a dedicated gas hookup and heat and cook via flame, while electric ranges run on electricity, which is easily accessible as long as the power is on. If your home loses power, you also lose the use of your stove. 

Some ranges employ a dual-fuel approach, combining a gas cooktop with an electric oven. This hybrid approach is appealing if you're looking for direct heat burners but more even heat in the oven. However, these are generally the most expensive option since they require multiple power sources.

READ: Gas Heat vs. Electric: Pros, Cons, Comparisons + Costs

Additional considerations 

Size: Standard ranges are 30” wide, 25-27” deep (excluding handles and knobs), and 36” tall (excluding control panels) and are designed to fit standard cabinet cutouts. Additional size options are also available. 

Capacity: The internal size of the oven is referred to as its “capacity” and is measured in cubic feet. When an oven is part of a range, it is typically five cubic feet; a separate oven is typically three cubic feet. 

Convection fans: Built into the back of oven walls, convection fans circulate heat for more evenly baked food.

Cooking Range Buying Guide | Welcome Homes

Drawers: Some ranges feature bottom drawers that keep food warm or broil, or a baking drawer that cooks smaller dishes while the main oven is used for something larger. 

Additional burners: Most standard cooktops include four burners, but additional burners are helpful when you need more space. 

Specialty burners: Burners that simmer or that generate high heat are meant to provide greater function and flexibility. Grill and griddle burners expand the possibilities of what can be cooked on your stovetop. 

Cleaning: Some ovens offer self-cleaning features that operate using either high temperature or steam. With the high temperature method, the oven locks and gets extremely hot (as high as 900-1,000°F) to burn off residue over several hours. Steam-clean self-cleaning involves adding water to the bottom of the oven that transforms into steam to remove residue. 

Color + finish: Traditional ranges are white, black, or stainless steel, but newer models and designs embrace color and customization. For finishes, the shine of high gloss and glass looks fresh and clean, but smudges easily. Matte and slate options give a modern look that hides fingerprints, but they aren’t as bright. 

Warranty: A new stove will come with a standard limited, five-year manufacturer warranty that covers defects and malfunctions. Be sure to check the details of your home warranty too, as it may offer additional coverage. 

Energy usage: Using your range on a daily basis will consume a lot of energy, so it's important to consider energy-efficient options. Traditionally, gas stoves are more efficient—it takes three times as much energy to deliver electricity to a stove as is needed to deliver gas.

Ready to see your dream oven in your dream kitchen? Get started today.

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