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Range, Oven and Cooktop Buying Guide

The right cooking appliance can be the focal point of your kitchen. Between ranges, ovens and cooktops, you can discover options, features and installations to maximize your style and customize your cooking experience.

Range, Cook Top and Oven Buying Guide

Before You Shop

Determine your fuel source. You will either need electric or gas connections, and some ranges offer both, known as dual fuel.

Once you've verified the source of fuel, measure your kitchen and the space you need to fill. Look for installation instructions on the range, cooktop or wall oven you are interested in for exact cutout specifications to ensure a perfect fit.

Good to Know

Most built-in cooking appliances offer a Fit Guarantee. Be sure to check each manufacturer's policies before you purchase.

Choose Your Style

Built in oven and cooktop

Cooktop: Either freestanding or built into a counterspace or island, this flat surface has heat elements for sautéing, boiling, simmering or frying.

Oven: Used for broiling, baking, roasting or dehydrating, this enclosed appliance is can be installed in a wall or combined with a cooktop.

Range: This combination of a cooktop and oven is the most common built in cooking appliance, is usually sized between 20 inches and 48 inches, and has a few options for style and placement:

  • Freestanding have finished sides and either a rear or front control console. These units can go between cabinets or stand alone and have an attached backsplash panel, which usually contains the control features, and traditionally have warming or storage drawers at the bottom.
  • Slide-In stoves have a more custom look. They come with finished or unfinished sides. Finished side versions may be used in any application, while unfinished models require, and need to sit flush with, cabinetry on both sides for proper installation. Slide-Ins do not have attached backsplash and have controls on the front or on the cooktop, and usually have warming/storage drawers.
  • Drop-In ranges look similar to slide-ins, with controls on the front, but rest on a cabinet base and may require cabinet modification for a tight fit and do not have warming drawers.


In addition to being able to customize how your range integrates into your kitchen, there a number of style options for finishes and knobs. Grates are available in multiple materials, like ceramic, for easy cleaning, and cast iron.


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Electric induction cooktop

When selecting a cooktop, it is important to consider how many burners you will need and how much heat you want. Both built-in cooktops and cooktop ranges have many options, so you can get an 8 burner induction cooktop, a 6 burner gas cooktop or a 2 burner electric cooktop... and anything in between. Gas heat is measured in BTU (British Thermal Units) and electric in Watts. The higher the measurement the hotter the stove will get, but most gas stove cooktops offer between 5,000 BTUs for small burners and 15,000 for larger burners. Electric burners range from 1,000 – 2,500 watts, but some higher priced models can offer up to 3,500 watts.

Most built-in cooktops come in 30 inches or 36 inches, and there are a few options when it comes to selecting a cooktop:


  • A gas cooktop is the traditional option in most homes. Gas allows for more precise and immediate control of temperature and heats quickly.
  • An electric cooktop provides the heat through electricity. These cooktops are available as coil element or smooth surface, and while a coil option is traditionally less expensive, smooth tops, being made of glass or ceramic are easier to clean and a have a more sleek and stylish look.
  • Electric Induction cooktops heat through electromagnetic energy. This new technology is very responsive and heats quickly, but only works with certain cookware, like stainless steel or cast iron. One of the biggest benefits of an induction cooktop is that the surface does not get hot, making it ideal for households with small children and for easy cleanup.
  • Dual Fuel uses both gas and electricity as fuel, combining the fast heat and easy control of a gas cooktop with even electrical heat for the oven.


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Good to Know

A lot of new cookware will have a symbol on the bottom, indicating if it is safe for induction cooking. Check manufacturer info to ensure your cookware is compatible with an electric induction cooktop.

Cooktop Features

Cooktop features

Open vs. Closed Burners: There are various burner options with cooktops. A gas cooktop can have either open burners, which offer direct heat, or closed burners, which have a cap over the burner, providing indirect heat. Closed burners make it easier to clean up spills.

Power Burner and Simmer Burner: These burners offer more control with specific settings designed to make it easier to maintain a higher or lower heat for specific jobs.

Multiple Element/Dual Element Burner: These burners have multiple heat elements in a single burner, making them adaptable to different sized cookware.

Bridge Element: The bridge element connects to separate burner, creating a large surface cooking area for long or extra-large cookware, like a griddle.

Hot Surface Indicator: Lets you know if the cooking surface hot even after burners are off.

Sealed Downdraft: Ventilates cooking area by capturing and filtering smoke and odor.


Built in oven

You can find an oven as part of a range or you can install a wall oven. When buying a wall over, there are a few options: you can install a single wall oven, a double wall oven, or a wall oven microwave combo. Ovens can be heated by gas or electricity and have coating options, like ceramic or enamel, making them easier to clean.

Ovens also vary in capacity. This size is measured in cubic feet and usually varies from 3 cubic feet to over 5 cubic feet. If you need more space, a double wall oven may be right for you.


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Oven Features

Steam cook feature on oven

Look for performance features that fit your needs:

Steam Cook: Allows you to steam the food in your oven, which is ideal for baking and reheating, and eliminates the need for oils in some recipes.
Convection ovens: Cook food faster and more evenly with circulated hot air. Some ovens offer dual convection for even more efficient cooking.
Dehydration settings: Preserve fruits/veggies by slowly drying the food over low heat.
Sabbath mode: A setting designed for users whose religious practices restrict the use of some appliance features on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.
Auto Off: Automatically turns the oven off when timer sounds to avoid overcooking
Self/Steam Cleaning: Does the hard work for you by burning or steaming away stills and debris.


Profesisonal range

In addition to ranges, built-in cooking surfaces and wall ovens, there are a few other ways to customize your cooking experience.

Warming Drawers can be installed as a stand-alone feature. These separate appliances are ideal for kitchens with wall ovens or drop-in ranges or can simply function as an additional warming space.

Range Hoods offer a stylish way to remove smoke, odor and grease. Range Hoods can be installed over any cooking surface, including over islands. You will not need a range hood if you have downdraft ventilation.

Professional Ranges and cooktops can be installed for those who desire larger or higher-grade appliances and can often be customized.


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5 Tips for Increasing Your Range's Lifespan

improve range life burners.

1. Don't let a small spill become a bigger mess. Wipe off spills right away. Clean sugary ones while they're still warm, or they’ll adhere to the range cooktop and cause pitting or permanent marks on porcelain and enamel finishes. Clean with hot sudsy water and rinse.

2. Clean or replace oven vent filters. Oven vents reduce lingering odors and suck away smoke. Keep yours running at peak performance by cleaning it regularly using a degreaser and soapy water, and replacing the charcoal filters periodically.

3. Heat your oven, not your kitchen. Over time, the gasket around your oven door that keeps heat inside can become torn or deformed, allowing heat to escape. Regular inspection of this door gasket will ensure it's in good condition.

4. A tiny clog in your gas burner is a big deal. Keep your gas burners cooking efficiently by periodically cleaning ports according to your manufacturer's instructions.

5. Go easy on your glass cooktop. To avoid scratches, don't slide cookware. Don't store jars or cans above. They're too easy to drop and can crack the glass. Hot pan lids left on the cooktop can trap air and crack the glass cooktop as it cools.

5 Tips to Improve Your Range's Energy Efficiency

improve range efficiency oven.

1. Use the right cookware. Flat bottoms, straight sides and tight-fitting lids allow food to heat up more quickly and cook more efficiently.

2. Match the pan to the burner. When using an electric cooktop, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can waste more than 40% of the heat produced.

3. Start food on higher heat. Then switch to a lower setting to finish cooking. Use retained heat for cooking when possible.

4. Keep it clean. Burner pans blackened from heavy use absorb a lot of heat, reducing burner efficiency. When clean, more heat can reflect up to the cookware.

5. Use residual heat when self-cleaning. Use the self-cleaning feature after cooking a meal, and it will use less energy to heat up.