Whether you're replacing, upgrading, or remodeling, this guide will help you get cooking with everything you need to know before purchasing a range.
The Complete Kitchen Range Buying Guide
Kitchen Ranges 101
What is a Kitchen Range?
A range is a large cooking appliance that offers both stovetop burners and an oven in one appliance. There is one main difference between a range, a cooktop, and an oven. A range combines both a cooktop and an oven into one appliance, whereas cooktops and ovens can be bought separately and installed in different areas of the kitchen.
How Much Does a New Kitchen Range Cost?
The cost of your range can vary based on the size and features you want. Depending on what you're looking for, a new non-commercial range can cost anywhere from $900 to $3,000. If you're shopping for large commercial appliances, be prepared for your range to cost upwards of $10,000.
From small, quick meals to feeding the masses, your range size will determine how you multitask while preparing your meals. Make sure you have plenty of elbow room with the right size range. When shopping for different sizes, keep in mind your kitchen design and how much space you'll need for the size you want. A significant size upgrade could require some renovation and rewiring.
A 30-inch range is the standard household size, typically accommodating four burners and room in the center for a griddle or spoon rest, depending on the brand and model.
A 36-inch range is also standard for residential kitchens, but allows more working room with five burners.
48-inch ranges can certainly be used residentially but are more common in small commercial kitchens. However, six burners and double ovens offer plenty of working space if you have a large family or if you frequently entertain guests in your home.
Heat and Fuel Type
It's important to know about your fuel and heating options before investing in a new range. The type of fuel that powers your range will affect utility costs, installation costs, and how your range functions. Read on to learn more about how different heat and fuel types affect cooking and energy costs.
Gas ranges run on natural gas, propane, or other flammable gas to fuel and heat both the oven and stove top. There are many advantages to using a gas range including better heat control, increased energy efficiency, and faster cooking time.
Electric ranges use electricity to heat the burners and the oven. This energy source uses radiant heat to cook food, which can increase stovetop cooking time and energy usage but offers consistent oven temperatures.
As the name suggests, a dual-fuel range uses two types of fuel to power the appliance. Usually, the stovetop is fueled by gas, and the oven is powered by electricity. Dual-fuel ranges are ideal when you want the consistent temperatures of electric ovens and the heat-control advantages of a gas stove.
Convection ovens differ from other ovens for one reason — they use a fan to evenly distribute heat throughout the oven. This helps food cook more evenly and up to 25% faster.
Your range style is usually the next thing to consider after deciding what size you want. The type of range you purchase affects how and where it will be installed. There are multiple range body types that can accommodate your kitchen design whether you're replacing your old range or remodeling your kitchen.
A freestanding range offers the most flexible installation since it functions as its own unit, and it comes with finished sides and a backsplash. Since freestanding ranges are the most common types of ranges, most home kitchens already have space for a standard-size range so installation doesn't usually require any renovations.
A slide-in range includes both a stove and an oven in a single unit, but it has a cooktop that sits flush with the surrounding countertop. Slide-in ranges also have no back panel that obstructs your existing backsplash. Instead, the knobs and switches are located on the front of the oven.
Drop-in ranges have stovetops and oven doors that typically sit flush with the surrounding countertops and cabinets. Installing this type of range requires a custom-made space to ensure a seamless look.
When it comes to cooktops, you have plenty of choices. Different burners generate different types of heat and offer varying cooking experiences, so it's important to know what works best for you and your kitchen. Read on to learn more about cooktop types and styles.
Electric coil burners are heating elements made of a circular metal coil. Coil burners rest in a drip pan, which is easy to remove and clean after the burner is cool.
Electric Smooth Top
An electric smooth top range consists of heating elements placed underneath a glass or ceramic surface. Smoothtop ranges can take a while to cool after being turned off, so look for features like warning lights that indicate whether your smoothtop range is still hot.
An induction range looks like a smoothtop range, but the heat issues from electromagnetic induction as opposed to radiant heat. Induction heats the coils more quickly than radiant electric or gas heat. However, they require specific magnetic cookware to conduct the heat.
A gas range is an open burner heated by gas fuel. Gas ranges are often preferred for their ability to heat quickly and cook food evenly as well as their very precise temperature control. Since gas wastes less heat than any other type of range heat source, this type of fuel is also cost effective.
Looks aren't everything, but why not have a range that's both functional and beautiful? It feels great to own an appliance that is a major upgrade in both form and function, so learn what your options are when it comes to finding a range that works with your kitchen's aesthetic.
Stainless steel is the culinary standard for large kitchen appliances. It's available in different metallic shades and has a professional and clean look. Stainless steel's biggest advantage is its durable and stain-resistant qualities.
Enamel ranges are made of enamel-coated steel or cast iron, giving the appliance a vintage look. This finish offers a gloss that would work well in a retro-style kitchen.
Range and Accessories Features
Handy accessories and modern features can amplify your cooking experience and help you refine your search or the perfect range. If you're someone who loves all the bells and whistles that come with large appliances, or if you're just looking for a range that gets the job done, extra features are worth considering. Here are some especially helpful features to look for while shopping.
Many larger ranges come with a griddle built into the center of the stovetop. This is useful to sear meat, grill burgers, or make pancakes.
A warming drawer is a special compartment built into a range that allows you to keep prepared dishes warm or to help dough rise. Look for a warming drawer with stackable racks or compartments so you can easily keep various dishes warm at once.
A self-cleaning oven keeps your oven clean and smoke-free and safe. Removing grease build up regularly is important to reduce the risk of fire. Plus, when there's no grease around heating elements, your oven can do its job better. A self-cleaning oven has the ability to heat itself to incinerating temperatures that will turn any debris into ash.
When considering range controls, look for key features such as control lock out and a hot surface light. Control lock out allows you to temporarily lock your range controls to prevent burners and other features from being accidentally or unnecessarily turned on. If you have a smoothtop range, a hot surface light turns on to indicate hot surface temperatures until the heating elements cool.
Installing Your Range
Once you've purchased your range, it's important to know what you need to safely install your new appliance. Depending on wiring, placement, and power source, installing your new range might take more grunt work than you think. Make sure it's in your budget to have a professional help you safely install your range so you can enjoy using it with peace of mind.
New ranges often don't come with hookups. Be sure to consult your owner's manual or a professional to determine the hookups you need to purchase before installing your range. It's best to hire a professional so safely install range as he or she will make sure all wiring and fuel lines are undamaged and attached correctly. This is especially important if your new range uses a different energy source than your old one. You'll want to make sure gas, electric, and dual-fuel ranges are correctly connected to their power source to prevent life-threating accidents or damage to your range.
Before installing your range, make sure you've measured your appliance and have the appropriate amount of space in your kitchen. If you don't already have a place to put a range, or if you'd like to create a new space for it, make sure you work with a professional to carve out countertop and cabinet space as well as rewire electrical hookups or redirect fuel lines.