A Discerning Buyer's Guide to Finding the Perfect Kitchen Range

·8 min read
Photo credit: Thomas Loof
Photo credit: Thomas Loof

The kitchen is the workhorse of the home, and the range is the workhorse of the kitchen, making it an all-important purchase to thoroughly consider before purchasing or upgrading. There are dozens of questions to ask, from environmental concerns to aesthetics to special culinary amenities, making your range needs likely different than those of a friend’s or neighbors'.

While buying a new range may feel like a daunting task, we’ve created a comprehensive buying guide to help you determine the best kitchen range for your household’s needs. From deciding between gas, electric, and induction to discerning the design elements that are important to you, we’re sure you’ll discover the perfect kitchen workhorse that will last you for years to come.

What to Consider

Photo credit: Joshua McHugh
Photo credit: Joshua McHugh

First of all, though "stove" and "range" are often used interchangeably, it’s important to determine whether you’re looking for merely a stovetop or an all-in-one appliance that has a stove and oven. From there, Patrick Carrigan, product marketing manager at Sub-Zero Group. says your purchase will require different considerations depending on if you need a replacement range or this will be part of a remodel. If it's a replacement, this should help narrow your selection considerably.

"If a consumer is looking to replace or upgrade their existing range, they will need to work within the confines of their existing kitchen space; this includes determining the existing range width and the type of utility service available: gas or electric," says Carrigan. "Depending on the desired width and utility hook-up available, their options will be narrowed accordingly." Carrigan says that most of the time, consumers are replacing a 30" gas or electric range. Professional-style ranges are offered in widths of 30”, 36”, 48” which allows those remodeling to have many more possibilities to consider.

Types of Ranges

Whether or not your purchase is a replacement or part of a remodel will also help guide you in purchasing a slide-in or freestanding range. The latter is the most popular type of range and the easiest to install. Slide-in ranges are often more stylish, as they have a built-in look and the oven controls are typically on the front of the range and allow for better showcasing of your backsplash.

Fuel Types

"A buyer's experience with gas or electric ranges comes into play when considering the range purchase," says Carrigan. "Many buyers have experienced gas cooking, are most comfortable with gas, and even passionate about gas being their preference." However, there are reasons to consider other options if you're open to it.

Gas

A range powered with natural gas is popular because it best allows for control over the flame size and even heat distribution. Many professional kitchens employ gas ranges with open burners to maximize these abilities.

While cons to owning gas ranges are the possibility of gas leaks and unstable flames, most brands now offer innovative features to reduce the risk of accidents. Signature Kitchen Suite’s 36-inch All Gas Pro Range is a great pick for avid home cooks, as it possesses some of the most advanced burners on the market, allowing for easy steak-searing and even chocolate-tempering. Its three front burner grates are even convertible for wok cooking, so homeowners can stir-fry with restaurant-quality results.

Electric

Electric ranges aren’t as common in professional kitchens, but they remain a popular choice for households as they are easier to clean, pose fewer safety risks, and are a cinch to install. However, they won’t operate during a power outage and typically heat up and cool down more slowly than their gas counterparts.

Electric ovens offer drier, more consistent heat, meaning they are excellent choices for those who bake frequently. They are also excellent for roasting and broiling. We especially love Bertazzoni’s Professional Series Electric Range, as it offers dual convection fans for even heat distribution across seven shelves and boasts the largest oven volume in its class. The four burners on the stove offer precision-controlled power and have residual heat indicators to show when a zone is still too hot to touch.

Dual-Fuel

Can’t decide between the two? A duel-fuel range may be a great option for your household. While, on average, duel-fuel ranges are more expensive, you get the culinary benefits of a gas cooktop and the even heat distribution of an electric oven.

While Wolf is famous for its professional-style gas ranges, the brand also makes duel-fuel options with a variety of amenities. The 36" Dual Fuel Range offers the option of four or six burners and the addition of an infrared griddle or charbroiler, along with the best of both gas and electric worlds. Plus, Wolf ranges feature touch displays and Gourmet Mode with nearly 50 presets to ensure restaurant-quality meals at home.

Induction

Induction ranges are the most technologically advanced option, but they’ve taken a while to catch on. Thanks to the power of electromagnetism, induction cooktops can boil water in half the time of a traditional electric or gas version, are the most energy-efficient, and are the safest to use, as they only heat your food and the vessel holding it, and have no open flame. What’s not to love?

One of the main reasons most households don’t sport induction ranges is that they require specific cookware that can generate a magnetic field. However, most cast-iron and stainless steel pans should work well on an induction cooktop, which are the two most popular types of cookware. They’re also typically more expensive than their gas and electric counterparts while looking like your average electric range. Miele's sleek, 30" HR 1622-2 model offers induction cooking at its finest with tech-savvy touch displays, moisture control features, and a wireless precision probe to achieve perfect dishes every time.

Cooktop Configuration and Oven Capacity

Photo credit: Annie Schlechter
Photo credit: Annie Schlechter

Even if you're confined to replacing a range of a certain size, you will still have some say over the cooktop configuration and often oven capacity when selecting the perfect model. Carrigan says most 30" ranges feature four burners on a cooktop, but anything larger can accommodate six burners, plus, other amenities like griddles and other types of cooktops.

When it comes to oven capacity, larger models will also allow for more capacity and even double ovens. Those with space for a 48" range can consider expanded capacity and independent controls, says Carrigan, while those with space for a 60" range can enjoy dual ovens for easier and more efficient entertaining.

Special Amenities

Here’s where the fun really begins. Now, double ovens aren’t the only luxe amenity to consider when shopping for a range. This year’s Kitchen and Bath Show alerted us to all the amazing innovations happening in appliance design, especially when it comes to kitchen ranges. Signature Kitchen Suite’s new Dual Fuel Pro Ranges also feature sous-vide capabilities to score fine dining-caliber food at home, while LG’s InstaView Slide-In Range offers unique technology that lights up after two knocks on the oven door, allowing for users to check on the progress of a dish without letting heat escape. This LG model also offers air frying, sous vide, and special convection technology. Bertazzoni features an award-winning steam convection oven to help best preserve the nutrients of the food and cook without oil. All of these features are designed to help make consumers' lives healthier and cooking more exciting.

Wi-Fi connectivity has also become a popular amenity, along with other tech-savvy features. Many ranges allow the ability to be controlled from your phone, meaning you can preheat the oven while you finish getting ready upstairs. Additionally, touch displays have made for sleeker, more aesthetically pleasing ranges that offer the benefit of checking on a dish in the oven without causing heat to escape.

As the kitchen is finally getting the design consideration it deserves, colorful and panel-ready appliance options are becoming hot commodities. A recent 2021 trends report by Bertazzoni shows color range sales are growing, on average, by 20 percent each year. Bertazzoni is famous for its vibrant range of colors, and L'Atelier Paris is known for its dreamy pastels and classic hues to help pair with your other colorful, paneled appliances. Black kitchens and appliances are also increasingly popular for those who prefer a neutral but want something besides stainless steel or an all-white kitchen. Decorative knobs are also becoming a popular choice for jazzing up a more traditional range.

Common Range Buying Mistakes

Photo credit: ERICA GEORGE DINES
Photo credit: ERICA GEORGE DINES

"Utility requirements and cabinet designs are the top mistake consumers make when purchasing a range," says Carrigan. "The type of utility service available narrows down the consumer’s options."

Carrigan also says that consumers don't often consider ventilation requirements, which is especially important for those investing in a professional-style range. He encourages careful consideration of ventilation for healthier home as it will help capture and clear the air.

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