Kitchen Ranges Shopping Guide
Cooking has become an art. Cavemen and cowboys cooked over an open flame and our great grandmothers prepared meals using a stove that burned coal or wood. Today, gas and electric ranges are used in the home for everyday cooking as well by culinary experts in kitchens worldwide.
Gas and electric ranges have their distinct qualities. Professional chefs and amateurs alike prefer gas ranges because they heat instantly and the flame can be controlled. Electric ranges are most commonly used in household setting and heat quickly and efficiently. There are many types and brands available with excellent features to fit any need.
There are three main types of ranges:
Types of ranges vary in order to accommodate all kitchen spaces, including:
• Stand alone: Freestanding range
• Built-in: Cooktops with built-in cabinets underneath
• Slide-in: Fills the space between cabinets for a custom-built appearance
• Island-style: Freestanding; used as the decorative centerpiece of the kitchen
The three main types of ranges are:
Smooth Top Ranges
The most popular on the market today, smooth tops include four surface heating elements (small, medium, and/or large) placed below the cook surface and are easy to clean with a special cleaner. Known for value and proficiency, smooth tops include a ceramic or glass cooktop surface for heating.
Still considered a smooth top, the electromagnetic fields used to heat the elements heat quickly but allow for a cooler surface area. Testing has shown that induction ranges heat food and liquids faster than gas models or electric smooth tops.
Coil Top Ranges
Coil top ranges heat food quickly and are the least expensive. Heat has direct contact with the cookware through magnetic coils in the induction elements. Coils are sturdy and can be easily replaced.
Gas ranges have 4 or 5 burners with a visible flame underneath. Most burners are equal in size and can hold pots and pans of any size. The flame is instantly controlled when changing from high to low. Natural gas is not available in all areas.
When purchasing a range, features vary from simple to high-tech. Having extra features does not necessarily enhance the performance of the range. Here are some of the most popular features:
• Convection ovens: Circulate air with fans to reduce cooking time
• Double ovens: Two ovens allowing cooking at different temperatures
• Hot surface light: Indicates when an element is hot
• Raised edge cooktop: Keeps spills from spreading
• Self-cleaning cycle: Oven is cleaned using high heat
• Varied oven rack positions: Adjusts for larger food items and distance from the broiler
• Time/Delay start: A timer is set for the oven to turn on/off
• Warming drawer: Keeps food and/or plates warm
MOST RECOGNIZED BRANDS
Some familiar brands of ranges are recognized from TV advertising and years of building a reputation of durability and quality with a price range to fit every budget:
Budget-priced brands ($400 - $1000)
Mid-level brands ($500 - $1500)
• GE (GE Profile, GE Cafe)
• Kenmore Elite
High-end ($1500 and above)
• GE Monogram
• Kenmore Pro
When shopping for an electric or gas kitchen range, keep this information in mind to help purchase the best range for the best price.