One of the hardest working appliances in your kitchen is the range. A range is really two appliances in one, a set of burners for cooking with an oven underneath. Decide whether you are looking for a gas, electric or dual fuel range and if you need a free standing, slide-in or drop-in range. Abt is here to help you break down what you need in a range to help make your decision.
When working with hot equipment like a range, safety is extremely important, especially around infants and children. Some ranges have programs available on the oven, so you can start and stop the cooking process in your absence. Many cooktops include hot-surface indicator lights to remind you the cooktops are still hot. Some cooktops even offer safety knobs that require a simple gesture to turn them on or off.
A gas range must have access to a gas hookup and are available in open and sealed burners. Open burners have large openings in the cooktop for the burners with a removable cooktop drip pan. Sealed-surface burners are set below the surface of the countertop and are attached directly to the cooktop. A gas range typically has a 15,000-BTU power burner and a 5,000 BTU simmer burner. Sizes range from 20" to 40".
Electric and Induction
Electric ranges are available with a coil, smooth-top or induction element. Coil elements provide even heat distribution when cooking, the more rings a coil has, the more even the distribution. Smooth-top elements are located under the cooking surface, which allows for easy cleanup on the uninterrupted surface. Induction elements use the power of electromagnetic waves to turn the bottom of the pot or pan into the active heating surface. An electric range's power burner has at least 3,200 watts of power and 1,200 to 1,500 watts for the simmer burner. Those who bake often will enjoy the even and consistent heat of an electric oven. Sizes range from 20" to 36".
A dual-fuel range combines the advantages of both electric and gas ranges. A gas cooktop provides the precise burner control that's only available with an open flame, while the electric convection oven creates
the consistent, even heating required for baking the perfect dish every time. Most dual-fuel ranges require a 240-volt outlet in addition to a gas hookup.
Free standing ranges have finished sides and a backsplash. They can go between cabinets, at the end of a cabinet run or stand alone. Electric ranges have controls on the backsplash while gas ranges have controls in the front.
Slide-in ranges have a seamless built-in look with no backsplash and controls on the front. The sides are not finished or enclosed, so they require a cabinet on both sides.
Drop-in ranges look similar to slide-ins but may require cabinet modification for a tight fit. You can tell slide-ins by the strip of cabinetry under their ovens. Their controls are are located on the front.
Convection cooking uses a fan in the back of the oven to circulate air over, under and around foods, to cook approximately 30% faster than conventional baking. Convection ovens allow you to choose between conventional baking and roasting or convection baking and roasting. A turkey roasted in a convection oven will brown all over, rather than just on top.
For the most accurate temperature adjustment, go with a digital or touch-activated screen control. This control is simple to use, and its flat surface is great for fast and easy cleaning. This style is available on electric cooktops.
The grates on a gas cooktop vary in material and design, and are determined mostly by the price you pay for a range. The least expensive ranges have thin steel grates that cover only the burners. Upscale models generally have beefier grates made of porcelain-coated cast iron. These grates are also sometimes continuous, covering the whole cooktop. This allows you to easily slide pots on and off the burners. The most expensive, pro-style ranges typically have even heavier cast-iron grates that are almost always of the continuous design.
Warming drawers can keep hot foods warm or heat serving bowls and plates. It can also be used as a storage drawer. Keeps food warm and moist without cooking it any further.
Ranges that feature double ovens have two separate ovens to let you cook or warm at different temperatures. Typically, double ovens are built-in and feature two conventional ovens, although they may also be available in various combinations including conventional, convection, and microwave ovens.
An induction-cooker element utilizes electromagnetism generated by electricity in the element under the unit's ceramic surface. Placing a magnetic material like a cast-iron skillet above the element "induces" energy, or heat, into the skillet. Induction cooktops require special pots and pans to function.
Insulated and designed with a cycle that raises the oven temperature to bake away food deposits. After the cycle is done, wipe out the oven with a damp cloth.
A type of heating element found on electric cooktops that delivers heat through a piece of metal wound in a spiral and set in a recessed area.
Cooking elements are covered with impact-resistant, smooth and seamless easy-to-clean ceramic glass. The element is directed upward toward the pan so it heats up very quickly. For best results, use cookware with a flat bottom that closely matches the size of pan to the size of the element.