What types of stoves are available?
From gas to electric, ranges now come in a wide range of options. Some cooktop ranges are inserted into a countertop and have a matching wall oven that is installed separately. There are free-standing models--range and oven combos--that have panels on both sides and can stand alone in the kitchen. There also are slide-in models, which have no side panels or backsplash and fit between two cabinets. Then there are drop-ins, which are fueled by electricity only, and are installed between cabinets on a pedestal with no bottom drawer below oven. Here's an overview of the types of ranges and combos you'll find on the market:
This style offers more flexibility in terms of placement because the cooktop and wall oven aren't connected. However, it requires more installment/carpentry expertise in many cases than a freestanding range.
Price: $250 to $1,500 for cooktops; $400 to $2,000 for wall ovens
The range and oven are all-in-one. These typically cost less than cooktop and wall oven combos. They are easier to install in most cases, but the oven and range height are fixed.
Price: $700 to $1,599
They fire up quickly and you always know when they're on. They are powered by natural gas, which has to be available in your community, or liquid propane, which you have to buy and have delivered. They are slightly more expensive to buy than electric ranges but are slightly less expensive to operate. They can come with unique burners for very fast high-temperature heat (searing, boiling) and for gentle low-temperature heat (simmering). Look for sealed burners for easier cleanup. Another plus: You can cook during power outages.
Price: $250 to more than $21,000
Cooking power: British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr), the standard heat-output measurement, ranges from 5,000 to 12,500.
Width: 20 to 40 inches
Gas cooktop for quick response with good temperature control, including an electric oven for more even heating.
Price: $850 to more than $6,000
Width: 30 to 40 inches
With electric ranges you have less control over heat output--for example, water can take longer to boil. However, you can get better overall performance from the oven. Models are slightly less expensive than gas ranges but also cost a bit more to operate from month to month.
Price: $220 to $4,000
Width: 20 to 36 inches
Coil types:Electric ranges come with a wide range of burner types, including:
- Open-coil burner: The coils sit on top of the range within a recessed element--this is the most standard type of burner.
- Smooth-top: The surface looks sleek, since heating elements are covered with a glass surface. It uses radiant heat and can be easier to clean, but it can take longer to heat up and uses more electricity.
- Halogen: This new technology uses sealed glass tubes filled with halogen gas, providing instant light and heat--or induction elements--and uses a magnetic field to offer more precise control of range. You can only use iron or steel pots and pans, however, no aluminum.
Convection is an oven option that uses fans to circulate heat more evenly throughout the oven, which cooks food faster while using less energy and heat. One plus is that there is no need to place cooking trays on certain levels of the oven since heat is distributed evenly. You can switch between conventional baking and roasting and/or convection baking and roasting. In addition to convection, another speedier cooking option is trivection, which uses thermal heating, convection, and microwave heating power.
Price: $1,000 to more than $6,000
Width: 30 to 60 inches
With the home chef and kitchen upgrade trends, some people want the professional look and power of a commercial range. Most commercial-style ranges have at least four and sometimes up to eight burners. They generate high heat output (typically 15,000 Btu/hr.), which requires more cooking finesse. One downside of these ranges: They sometimes have a high-repair history.
Price: $4,000 to more than $21,000
Width: 30 to 60 inches