Ranges and ovens are investments worth thinking over they cost at least $500, you use them nearly every day and you’re going to hang onto them for at least a decade. You need to take your time when it’s time to add a range or oven to your home, and we’re here to help you sift through the options.
Ranges and ovens are investments that cost at least $500. As you will use them nearly every day for hopefully at least a decade it’s very important that you get the right one according to your needs. Don’t worry, here we are with a great buying guide that will help you sift through the options.
First, we need to learn the differences between oven, stove/cooktop and range/stove:
- Oven: appliance in which you roast or bake; this could be part of a range or purchased separately; typical capacity is between 4 and 6 cubic feet
- Stovetop/cooktop: the burners on which you cook; this could also be built into a counter or purchased separately.
- Range/stove: It’s an appliance that has both a stovetop and an oven; standard width goes from 28-30 inches wide.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before you make any purchase decision for an oven or range:
- What type of home cook are you? Do you usually cook? What type of food do you cook? Do you love baking, or do you stick to the cooktop? Be realistic about the features you really need and will use the most to keep yourself from wasting money on features you will never use.
- What type of appliance does your kitchen accommodate? Unless you’re ready for a big remodeling to accompany your new appliance purchase you should stick to your current setup, you need to keep in mind the space you have available and the type of appliance you were using before.
- What type of power hookup will you be using? Check to see if you have a gas line or an electric outlet.
- What’s your budget? There are ranges which cost as much as a year’s salary. With that said, set a budget so that when you start seeing those shiny stainless-steel appliances your reality of what you can afford doesn’t hit you.
Here is what you can expect in different price categories:
- $500 $1,000: It performs basic cooking functions. Most color options are white, black and bisque, though you can find a few stainless-steel-covered models in this price range.
- $1,000- $3,000: You have more options when it comes to cooking modes, style and finish, such as stainless steel.
- $3,000-$6,000: Here is where you can start to get fancy with options like dual-fuel power, slide-in design and convection fans.
- $6,000-$10,000: Appliances in this price range emulate professional-grade appliances you’d see in commercial kitchens and the models might be wider than the standard 28-30 inches so that it could accommodate six or more burners. For ranges, you’ll see a full stainless-steel finish.
- More than $10,000: Ranges and ovens in this price category come in multiple finishes and of course you can choose from a wide variety of options and colors, along with unique, built-in features such as a water connection to automatically release steam during baking.
What to look for when you pick an oven or range?
Power options for stoves and ovens
Electric: The heat output from electric stovetops is measured in watts. Output varies from stove to stove and burner to burner, but the output generally goes from 1,200 watts for low heat on a small burner to 3,800 BTUs for high heat on a large burner. There are different types of electric cooktops from which you can select:
Smoothtop (glass-ceramic cooktop): These cooktops are made of smooth glass-ceramic with heating units under the surface. A built-in sensor will let you know when a burner is still hot. Before you consider buying one of these, please keep in mind that this specific type of cooktop is prone to scratches, and not all cookware is safe to use on the surface.
Electric coil oven
Electric coil: These burners convert the electricity that runs into the coil into heat. These cooktops contain sensors that notify you when a burner is on, but not necessarily whether it is still hot. To sum up, it is hard to keep the coil perfectly level. In addition, electric coil ranges are slower to heat and to cool than other models. But ranges with this type of cooktop are cheaper than comparable models.
Induction cooktops: Induction burners use the heat created from electromagnetic energy to cook your food. A component just below the surface of an induction cooktop creates a magnetic field. When you place a piece of cookware containing iron on top of that magnetic element, it will cause a vibration of sorts that converts to heat through a series of magnetic interactions with iron. You have to keep in mind that induction burners won’t start to heat unless you put something on them that contains magnetic material.
Electric ovens: This type of oven uses a heating element that is either visible on the top or bottom of the oven, or hidden.
Gas cooktops: Both home and professional cooks have valued gas stovetops because of the how uniform the heat output is. An open flame surrounds the bottom of your cookware, which evenly distributes the heat around it. Like electric models, the power range varies from one model to another, but the output generally falls somewhere between 5,000 BTUs for low heat on small burners and 18,000 BTUs for high heat on larger burners.
Gas ovens: These types of ovens will have a harder time producing baking results than electric ovens.
Dual fuel: Some ranges use two types of power: gas for the cooktop, and electric in the oven. These dual fuel ranges are a good compromise for folks who want the direct heat of a gas burner but the even cooking of an electric oven. However, these hybrids cost more than traditional one-power-source ranges.
Picture taken from: Home Depot’s community website
Freestanding: Ranges are designed to fit anywhere in a kitchen. Oven controls are often located on a back panel that raises up above the cooktop. These are less expensive than slide-in models.
Slide-in: These ranges don’t have a back panel and are designed to fit in flush with the surrounding countertops.
Drop-in: Drop in ranges are designed to sit flush with the surrounding countertops and all the controls are located at the front of the unit.
Companies are becoming now more proactive in including wireless capabilities such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC) in ovens and stoves so you can control your appliance from your smartphone or tablet. Some manufacturers have also started to connect appliances with smart-home devices to add some automation and voice control in the kitchen.
Convection fans circulate the heat in the oven so hot air is more evenly dispersed, which means your food will bake more evenly. Mid-priced ovens will have at least one convection fan integrated.
Special cooking modes
Your basic oven can bake and broil. But as the price for ovens increases, you’ll see that there are more cooking options. Some ovens also come with cook settings for specific foods, such as pizza and rice, or food preparation methods, like dehydration or bread proofing.
Bottom drawers (baking/warming/broiling)
Some range ovens offer a baking drawer, which enables a person to use the main oven to roast or broil, and the baking drawer for smaller dishes, so you can cook more than one thing at the same time using different temperatures. A warming drawer will keep food warm, but it won’t cook the food. Some ovens have a broiler drawer, which functions like a regular broiler.
Temperature probes plug into the wall of your oven, and you use them to monitor the internal temperature of meat as it cooks. The temperature displays on the control panel of your oven, so you don’t have to open the door to see if your dish is done.
Double ovens in conventional space
The ovens on some ranges have dual baking chambers, which give you the flexibility of double wall ovens without the need for more space.
Buying a range or stove is a personal experience. You need to pick the stove or oven that works best for your needs. There will be lot of extras that you can select to add some convenience or consistency to your cooking according to your budget. However, now that you know more about stoves and ranges, we are sure you will know what the best option is going to be for your needs.