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Kitchen Range Buying Guide

When shopping for a new kitchen range, use this comprehensive guide from the appliance experts at Abt for all the information you need.

Getting Started

One of the hardest working appliances in your kitchen is the range. A kitchen range is essentially two appliances in one: a set of burners with an oven underneath. The first big decision you'll need to make is whether you are looking for a gas, electric or dual fuel range. Next, decide whether you need a freestanding or slide-in range based on your kitchen. Drop-in ranges are another option for custom-designed kitchens. Abt is here to help you break down exactly what you need in a range to help you make your decision.

Electric vs. Gas Range: Which One Should I Choose?

When deciding between a gas and electric range, there are some external considerations to take into account. To start, let's look at what connections you will need to have in order to supply your stove with the appropriate amount of power. Both electric and gas ranges need to be connected to a source of electricity. Gas ranges only require a standard 110v outlet to function while electric ranges require more voltage than the standard 110v can supply.

Electric Range Connections:

As stated above, electric ranges require more power than your standard outlets can provide. Electric ranges need a 220v power supply in order to function. You can quickly tell whether an outlet can handle an electrical range because it looks different than the outlets for your usual electronics. To make it simple, we have provided an image guide below for reference.
Electric Range Connections

Gas Range Connections:

Gas ranges require, well, gas. You will need to have a gas line hook-up for this type of range. Alongside the gas connection, the range will also need electricity in order to power the internal components and create a spark for the gas to ignite. Gas ranges require a standard 110v to operate properly. You can quickly identify a 110v outlet by sight, as you would typically plug most appliances into these outlets.
Gas Range Connections

Fuel Types

Gas Ranges

Gas

A gas range must have access to a gas hookup. They typically have a 15,000-BTU power burner and a 5,000 BTU simmer burner. You can choose a range with sealed burners or one with open burners. Sealed burners come with a cap that rests on top of the flame for greater control. Open burners leave the flame open with nothing inhibiting the flow of oxygen. Since nothing blocks the flow of oxygen on open burners, they can get hotter than sealed burners. Sizes range from 20" to 60".
Electric Ranges

Electric

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 continuous surface.
The power burner on an electric range has at least 3,200 watts of power while the simmer burner has 1,200 to 1,500 watts. Electric ranges require a 208/220-volt or 208/240-volt electrical connection. Those who bake often will enjoy the even and consistent heat of an electric oven. Sizes range from 20" to 36".

Induction

An induction-cooker utilizes electromagnetism generated by electricity in the heating element that rests under the unit's surface. Induction elements use electromagnetic waves to create heat at the bottom of the pot or pan. Induction burners require the use of magnetic cookware in order to generate this reaction. Without this specific magnetic cookware, you will not be able to create any heat.
Dual Fuel Ranges

Dual Fuel

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. At the same time, the electric convection oven creates the consistent, even heating required for baking the perfect dish every time. Most dual-fuel ranges need a 240-volt electrical outlet in addition to a gas hookup.

Range Styles

Freestanding Ranges

Freestanding ranges have finished sides and a high back. They can go between cabinets, at the end of a cabinet run, or stand alone. The controls for electric ranges are usually located on the high back. To contrast, the controls for gas ranges are found in the front. Additionally, electric ranges typically include a storage drawer while some gas ranges have a broiler drawer instead. It's important to note that self cleaning ranges, regardless of fuel type, will feature a storage drawer. Drawer broilers are only available on gas ranges that do not offer a self-cleaning function.

Double Oven Ranges

Double oven ranges come with two onboard ovens that offer self-contained compartments capable of being set at different temperatures. These types of ranges come in handy when you need to prepare multiple dishes simultaneously.

Slide-In Ranges

Originally, slide-in ranges offered a seamless, built-in look with unfinished sides and no backsplash. Today, most slide-ins include finished sides. Nonetheless, slide-in ranges require a cabinet on both sides. Their oven and burner controls are located either along the top of the range's front panel or in front of the burners on the range's top panel. Slide-in ranges also offer a bottom storage or warming drawer.

Drop-In Ranges

Drop-in ranges look similar to slide-ins but may require cabinet modification for a tight fit. You can identify drop-ins by the strip of cabinetry under their ovens with controls located on the front. Unlike a slide-in range, however, they do not offer a bottom storage drawer.

Range Features

Convection

Convection cooking uses a fan in the back of the oven to circulate air over, under and around foods. This method cooks food approximately 25% faster than conventional baking and uses 25% less heat. 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.
There are two types of convection ovens: Standard convection and European convection.
  • Standard Fan-Assisted - These convection ovens use the fan along with two heating elements.
  • European - This convection oven style has a third heating element behind the fan, heating it more evenly.
It's also important to note that the fan can be turned on and off. In general, convection ovens cook food faster and more evenly, which is perfect for pies, cookies and pastries. Convection ovens are also great for dehydrating and roasting.

Electronic Controls

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. Available with electric cooktops, many controls also offer LED illuminated knobs to indicate the cooktop is on.

Safety Features

When working with hot equipment, safety features are crucial. Some ranges are programmable and allow you to avoid mistakes by automating your oven's start and stop times. Many cooktops include hot-surface indicator lights to remind you when the cooktops are still hot. Some range cooktops even offer safety knobs for extra control when turning your stove on or off.

Grates

The grates on a gas cooktop vary in material and design. The material is determined mostly by the price you pay for a range. The grates on an entry-level range are thin, lightweight, and will usually cover only the burners. However, most grates today are made heavy cast iron or cast iron with a porcelain coating. The beefier the range, the heavier its grates tend to be. In most cases, these grates are continuous, covering the whole cooktop. This allows you to slide pots on and off the burners easily. Pro-style ranges typically have even heavier cast-iron grates that use the continuous design.

Warming Drawer

Warming drawers can keep hot foods warm and moist without continuing to cook. You can also use warming drawers to store pans, heat towels, serving bowls, and plates. Warming drawers can even be used to slow cook foods.

Self-Cleaning

When activated by steam and low heat, the walls of the oven release dirt. All you have to do is wipe it away. This method isn’t as thorough as the traditional style of self-cleaning that used extraordinarily high temperatures, sometimes for hours on end, to turn food particles into ash. However, the modern method which combines steam and low heat is usually done within an hour, doesn’t produce fumes, and is less invasive. These improvements have encouraged most manufacturers to adopt the newer method.

Note: Continuous cleaning was a common feature on older models. Although it is still relevant for older ovens, continuous cleaning is no longer available on today’s newer ranges.

Coil

A coil is a type of heating element found on electric cooktops that delivers heat through a piece of metal wound in a spiral and set under the surface.

Smoothtop

These cooking elements are covered with impact-resistant, easy-to-clean ceramic glass. For best results, use cookware with a flat bottom that closely matches the size of the pan to the size of the element.

Finishes

Stainless steel is still a highly desired appliance look, but today’s ranges come in many colors and finishes to complement any kitchen style.

WiFi Connections

Many modern ranges offer wireless capabilities with remote control operations, like Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC), straight from your smartphone. This handy feature allows you to preheat the oven, set timers or adjust the temperature even when you step away from the kitchen.
Kitchen ranges can be complex and offer a variety of features. Once you determine your cooking style and needs, you'll be able to narrow down your decision. Contact Abt with any questions about your perfect range!

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  • They were right on time, in and out while taking great care of my appliance. I will be buying a refrigerator in the future as well!
    May 5, 2020 - Reese M.
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