Ranges: the Cornerstone of a Great Kitchen

Ranges, also known as stoves, were once an easy choice between gas and electric and a handful of colors.  Now we have so many options it can be a difficult choice to know which is right for you.  Let's list the main differences to help you make your decision.


Energy Sources

If you are remodeling, you may want to stay with the same energy source for your stove/oven/cooktop; whatever yours may be. It's possible to change it, but it will come with a cost, of course.  If you are building a new home, do your homework and find what works best for you.  These are the options for energy sources for your cooking appliances:

Gas -- Uses the the type of gas supplied to your home to supply the stove, oven or cook top in order to cook your food.

Electric -- Uses only electricity to cook your food.  Be sure to look at Induction ranges.  The heat transfers directly to the cooking vessel in record time.  Water boils in 90 seconds!

Dual Fuel -- Combines both electricity (oven) and gas (cook top) to attain the 'best of both worlds' to cook your food.  These stoves come in a variety of quality levels, styles and finishes and are a popular choice.

Keep in mind that adding convection cooking to your oven may be a great idea for someone who bakes a lot.  It uses a fan to circulate the hot air all around the food for more even cooking.  Convection ovens have become much more common and affordable, so keep it in mind while budgeting and shopping. 


Types of Ranges, Ovens and Cooktops

There are many variables that will determine which cooking appliances are best for you: space, how many people will cook together, how many people you cook for and budget.  Below are the types to choose from:

Free-standing Range -- This is a combination cook top and oven and is meant to stand alone in the kitchen. 

Drop-in Range -- This is also a combination cook top and oven, but drops into an open spot in the cabinetry that has been specifically designed to accommodate it.  This is a very common design and the one that most of us are used to seeing and using. 

Cooktop -- This is usually used in conjunction with a wall oven (or built-in oven).  The cooktop is built into the counter top.  This set-up allows for a good use of space, both for the appliances and for the cooks. It allows the oven to be opened and closed without disturbing the person using the cooktop surface.

Wall Oven -- This is also known as a built-in oven and is literally installed amongst wall cabinets and can be placed in just about any part of the kitchen allowing for customization of height.  This is used with you have a cook top stove.  Many busy cooks have enjoyed the luxury of installing two wall ovens to allow for a variety of baking and roasting to occur at the same time. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning for new cooking appliances:

  1. Gas appliances require a professionally installed gas line.
  2.  Electric appliances require a 220V outlet
  3.  Not all appliances are created equal.  Evaluate your needs and be sure they align with the style, volume and energy output possible by the appliances you choose. 
  4. Stoves & cooktops vary in size (all types) from about 20" (think big city apartment) - 60" (think extravagant!) which usually includes a double oven (if a stove) and most likely a griddle and grill, along with the burners.
  5. Check the energy output of the burners.  Gas output is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Unit) and the higher the number, the hotter. 
  6.  There are great deals to be had out there, so shop around and compare apples to apples. 

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