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How to Determine Which Oven and Range you Need

The options for ovens and ranges are nearly endless. From slide-in models to freestanding ranges, today’s manufacturers offer selections that help you find the perfect fit for your kitchen and your cooking needs. 

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens®

Understand the features that set different models apart.

Range configurations

Freestanding range models stand on their own, directly on the floor and are self-contained. While most models measure 30 inches wide and feature standard four-burner cooktops, you can also find space-saving ranges that measure 24 inches wide. And, of course, you can go bigger with the 34-inch range and five-burner cooktops. It’s all about what you’ll use the most.

Slide-in ranges are identical to freestanding units but without the side panels. They're designed to fit 30-inch openings between cabinets. Accessory side panels are available if one side will be exposed.

Drop-in ranges resemble slide-in units but lack a bottom drawer (the broiler unit is inside the oven). They're designed to rest on a built-up wood base and are permanently fastened to the base cabinets. Drop-in ranges work especially well for installation in islands and peninsulas.

Hi-low ranges combine a conventional oven and cooktop below with a built-in microwave at eye level.


First decide if you want a
freestanding range or a slide-in. 

  • Gas burners heat up and cool off more quickly than electric elements, and it's easy to see the flame and adjust it to the cooking task.
  • Electric-coil elements avoid the open flame and fumes of gas burners.


Choose between gas or electric.

  • Sealed-gas burners simplify cleanup by extending the cooktop surface around the burner element so spills stay on the surface. Most sealed-gas burners incorporate an energy-saving electronic-ignition system.


Consider energy-saving options when
selecting your range.

  • Ceramic-glass cooktops feature a solid, smooth surface that's both attractive and easy to clean. Underneath, electric coils or halogen elements (or a combination of the two) provide the heat; halogen burners heat faster than electric units but are more expensive to operate.
  • Magnetic-induction cooktops are as smooth and easy to clean as ceramic-glass units but stay cool to the touch. An electromagnetic field generates heat so the pan -- not the surface -- cooks the food.
  • Solid-disk cooktops cook with electricity but are easier to clean than traditional electric-coil units. The solid cast-iron cooktop surface incorporates the burner elements, which are slower to heat and cool than electric coils.


Solid cooktops provide a smooth
surface that's easy to clean.

  • Conventional ovens, which can operate on electricity or gas, incorporate two heating elements -- one for baking and roasting and another for broiling.
  • To compensate for uneven heating patterns, some ovens cycle the top element on during baking for more even browning.
  • The self-cleaning feature probably is the most-requested option for both wall ovens and ranges.
  • Combination ovens are available that pair conventional oven cooking with microwave cooking or convection cooking.


Look for favorite features -- like

Ventilation options

Ventilation systems are designed to remove heat, steam, grease, and odors released from a range or cooktop.

Updraft systems consist of a hood that pulls air up through a filter and along ductwork to the outside.

Downdraft systems can fit flush on a cooktop or rise about 6 inches above it at the back. They draw air down through ductwork under the floor to the outside

Ductless range hoods filter out soot and some odors but leave most pollutants to recirculate back into the room air. Never use a ductless hood with a gas range.

A range hood should extend over all burners and contain cooking vapors until the blower can carry them outside. Install the hood no higher than 30 inches above the cooking surface.

The range-hood blower should be rated to move at least 150 cubic feet of air per minute. Hoods for professional ranges or those longer than 48 inches may need more than one blower.

Professional models

"Professional," also called "commercial-style," ranges combine the appearance and features of restaurant ranges in models designed for home use.

These models feature larger ovens and at least six burners; they also may include grills, griddles, and wok rings.

Professional ranges are built to a higher standard -- they're designed to last 30 years or more and are priced accordingly.

Besides cost, the sheer size and industrial appearance of some models can be factors to work around.


Professional ranges: designed to last.

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