Range Buying Guide

  • Getting Started

  • Today, ranges are multitasking, innovative appliances that can cook many dishes at once, saving your energy and time. The stylish range is not only a workhorse of the kitchen but also an important design element. Electric smooth top ranges are still quite popular, but now you have more options to choose from than the past. And while an oven and a cooktop still used by many, those who’re thinking what to buy may consider a range that will definitely cost less and has many additional benefits. The right range adds convenience to the kitchen, making cooking process much more enjoyable.

  • What to Consider

  • Before shopping for a range, consider your baking and cooking needs, floor space, budget and decorating preferences. Finishes are no more than a matter of taste; anodized or stainless-steel finishes add an industrial touch while black finishes are perfect for a contemporary styled kitchen. Of course, the white and bisque range is a traditional all-time classic.

    Slide-in or Freestanding?

    All rangers are divided into freestanding and slide-in.A first type is a  great option for those who want a flexible installation. Quite often they are equipped with backsplash controls and always have finished sides. Slide-in rangers aren’t that flexible but provide a built-in look. They can slide over countertops to avoid crumbs falling into gaps, thanks to a specific design. These models don’t have a backsplash allowing owners to get a custom option.

    Where Will it Stand?

    Before thinking about the style and size of your future range, consider where you want it to stand. Can it fit between counterplots? Rangers come in more or less the same sizes, starting from 24 inches and up to 30 inches for usual models and 36 inches for professional and designer rangers.

    Measure the Space

    For those who want something else than a usual freestanding range, it is important to carefully measure the width, height and depth of the chosen spot to make sure it fits without problems.

    Check the Hookups

    Having a gas line in the kitchen is necessary for those who’re thinking of buying a dual-fuel or a gas range. Gas stoves can work on either liquid propane or natural gas. If you prefer electric ranges, check the circuit: it should have enough capacity for it.

    How Many Ovens do You Need?

    Standard rangers have one spacious oven. Still, some users may need a double oven set up. It gives greater flexibility as you can prepare more meals simultaneously, without cooking smells in one oven influencing what’s being cooked on the other one.

    Cost Range

    You can expect to pay around $350 for the cheapest electric range with manual oven while the most expensive dual-fuel range with convection heating costs more than $4,000.

  • Types

  • When it comes to fuel, there are four types to choose from: electric, gas, dual-fuel (a combination of a gas cooktop and an electric oven) or induction. Every type has its advantages and suits for different needs.

    Electric Ranges

    This type of ranges is the most popular pick. All electric models have at least one high-power burner, most also have expandable dual or even triple elements, allowing you to switch from high-power element to a lower-power element within it. Some models are also equipped with warming elements in the center to keep side dishes warm. It takes few minutes to settle at the lower setting due to a residual heat.

    There is a popular misconception that electric ranges perform worse than gas  ranges. Though true in the past, modern electric ranges boil liquids as quickly as the gas competitors do. Some models also can reach really low temperatures for precise simmering.

    However, unlike other types of ranges, electric ones can’t quickly switch from high heat to low heat. Still, the big advantage of them is ceramic cooktop which makes it easier to clean and maintain.

    A properly maintained glass cooktop will remain its appearance for longer than any other surface. Even though it might be an expensive option, it is a scratch resistance and extremely durable surface. Besides, electric ranges with glass cooktop are still cheaper than coil cooktops.

    Electric Induction Ranges

    Ranges with an induction cooktop use magnetic coil below the glass surface to generate heat directly to the pan, delivering precise control and simmering. Special cookware that has ferrous iron content is required for induction to work. Induction burner is like a high-frequency magnet, transferring energy directly to the cooking vessel.

    This method of cooking is the safest one that can’t be replicated by other types of ranges. Induction cooking can only react with ferrous iron, it is not hot to touch. However, if you touch a heated pan, it will hurt, so keep that in mind.

    Besides, induction is the quickest heating type of ranges today with some reaching highest temperatures within 90 seconds. Induction also allows immediate heat reduction similar to well-performing gas ranges. However, induction models are easy to clean. Food never burns onto cooking surfaces, making cleanup a snap.

    Gas Ranges

    We know that many people prefer cooking with gas. The flame makes it easier to create a feel for the heat and quickly moves from a high setting to lower ones.

    The capacity of gas ranges is measured using British thermal units (Btu) per hour. Typical ranges have four surface burners that come in three sizes: medium-power burners (9,000 Btu), small burners (5,000 Btu) and large ones (12,000 Btu or even more). Some models also have a fifth burner in the middle.

    The response time of gas ranges is really quick when compared to electric models. The pan will experience changes almost immediately if you turn the knob from high to low on a gas range. Besides, when your power is out, you can strike a match to light a gas range.

    Dual-fuel Ranges

    A dual-fuel range is a combination of the best features of both gas and electric ranges. A gas range provides better burner control due to an open flame while electric range creates even heat required for perfect dishes. Standard dual-fuel models not only have a gas hookup, but also a 240-volt outlet.

  • Additional Features

  • Ranges have been improving, constantly obtaining new features and efficiencies that make cooking a simple and pleasant process. The best features to look for include:

        •  Electronic control for the precise temperature adjustment, that is available in touch-activated or digital screen controls. The control panel is simple to use, and the flat surface is perfect for cleaning. This feature is available on electronic ranges.

        •  The grates vary in design and material and are determined by the price of a range. The cheapest ranges have steel grates that cover the burners. More expensive models have beefier porcelain-coated grates that cover the whole cooktop allowing you to slide pots on and off the burners. The most expensive models go with cast-iron durable grates.

        •  Warming drawers keep foods warm and can heat plates or bowls. It also can be used like a regular storage drawer that keeps food moist and warm.

        •  Self-cleaning is possible with an insulated cycle process that raises the temperature, baking away food deposits. After it’s done, simply wipe out the range with a sponge.

        •  Smoothtop is a seamless ceramic impact-resistant and easy-to-clean cooking element that is directed towards the pan, so it heats up pretty quickly. Use cookware with flat bottoms to achieve the best results.

  • Use and Features

  • Quite often we use ranges every single day and even more than once a day. This has an effect on how long the range works, and if you want to extend its lifespan, it is advised that you include some maintenance and cleaning tricks in your routine.

    Start Early

    Maintenance of the range will be more effective if you start as soon as you bring it home. However, if it’s been neglected until recently, starting now will improve the life expectancy of the range.

    Consistency is the Key

    Plan cleaning and maintenance based on how often you use the range, but once or twice a month is a rule of thumb.

    Safe Cleaning

    Always follow some basic safety rules like using cleaning solutions according to manufacturer’s advice and cleaning it when it’s cool.

    If you clean the range regularly, you’ll find the maintenance of it easier and faster. Check components like elements and light bulbs, since they can be easily replaced without professional help. Don’t forget to unplug the range and refer to the manual before attempting repairs, even this seems minor to you.

    If you see that the food spilled onto the bottom of the range or a pot is boiled over, you will prevent many problems by rapidly cleaning up the spill. Regular cleaning reduces many damages and keeps the range running for couple more years.

    Ranges, just like everything else, are getting more convenient features and effects. Some already enable users to control the range via the smartphone app, others have the program to store your favorite settings and technologies constantly continue to advance.