If you are in the market for a new oven or range, you’ll want to do your research ahead of time to determine what type is best for your cooking needs. It’s also important to note the terminology you’ll hear when shopping for ranges. "Stove" refers to the cooktop with burners used to boil and fry, among other methods. The "oven" is used for baking, roasting and broiling. A unit that has both a stovetop and an oven is a "range."
Whether you are buying a standalone cooktop or a range that includes both the stove and oven, there are several types you can choose from. Depending on your budget and overall cooking needs, you can determine which type makes the most sense for your kitchen.
A gas stove offers the advantage of even cooking. An open flame heats up the bottom of your cookware and evenly distributes the heat. In addition, natural gas is often a low-cost option for consumers, and is not affected by power outages. Keep in mind that this type of stove requires a natural gas hookup.
Offering a sleek, smooth appearance, these cooktops are popular with consumers. They are also easy to wipe clean. The glass top, however, can scratch easily and is not compatible with all types of cookware.
This type of stovetop coverts electricity into heat that runs through the coils. The major complaint of electric coils is the uneven cooking. However, some consumers feel more comfortable with electric stoves because there is no open flame – reducing the risk of a kitchen fire – and no risk of a gas leak.
Just like the stovetop, the oven can be purchased separately or as a single range that includes a cooktop. We explain the different types to help you decide which oven to buy.
Many cooks prefer the energy-efficient cooking style of a gas oven. With potentially lower running costs, some say the food cooked in gas ovens is moister compared to the drying effect electric ovens can have. The main criticism of gas ovens is that that they do not maintain a consistent temperature and the food does not cook evenly. They are powered by the same gas used in gas stoves.
Using a central heating element, heat waves bounce off the metal walls to cook the food in an electric oven. Easy to use, electric ovens typically have a more even temperature and are easy to clean. They are also considered safer since natural gas is not used with an electric oven.
In addition to the above considerations, you’ll also want to look for standard and optional features that may come with your range, oven or stovetop. These include adjustable racks, door locks and broiling options, as well as an oven window and light. Some ranges and ovens also offer baking, warming and broiling drawers and self-cleaning cycles. Be sure to consider all of your options and narrow down the most important features so you can get the most out of your budget. Learn more about how to use oven settings with our related article.