Choosing the right kitchen range for your home is an important decision that requires careful consideration of your needs, budget, and available features. This comprehensive buying guide provides expert advice to help you select the perfect stove for cooking and baking. We examine the pros and cons of different range types like gas, electric, induction, and dual fuel. Learn what size and configuration of burners, ovens, and other elements will work best in your kitchen. Read our tips for useful extras like convection baking, warming drawers, and WiFi connectivity. Let’s explore what makes certain brands and models stand out from the competition when it comes to performance, quality, and value. With this kitchen range buying guide, you’ll feel confident you made the right choice!
Factors To Consider When Buying a Kitchen Range
Kitchen ranges, also known as stoves, come in different types, sizes, configurations, and with a variety of features. Here are the key factors to consider when choosing the right one for your needs:
The fuel type determines how the range cooktop and oven heat up:
- Electric – Uses heating elements powered by electricity. Less expensive upfront but may have higher operating costs. Electric ovens heat more evenly than gas.
- Gas – Uses natural gas or propane for fuel. Heats up and cools down quickly, provides more precise temperature control. Requires gas lines/propane tank.
- Induction – Uses magnetic energy to induce heat in compatible cookware. Precise, energy-efficient, and quick heating. Requires compatible pots/pans.
- Dual Fuel – Combines gas cooktop with electric oven for the best of both. More expensive but most versatile.
The arrangement and number of cooking elements on the cooktop is key for your cooking needs:
- Burners – Most common elements. Available in varying sizes and BTU levels. More burners provide flexibility.
- Griddle – For cooking pancakes, grilled cheeses, etc. Choose large griddle area if used often.
- Grill – Adds outdoor grilling functionality indoors. Look for a high BTU infrared grill.
- Induction Zones – For speed, efficiency and precision on induction ranges. Get zones with bridge function.
Consider how much oven space you need based on meal sizes and quantities:
- Single Oven – Ranges from 4.5-6 cubic feet. Good for small households and limited baking.
- Double Oven – Provides two separate ovens for more cooking flexibility. Popular choice.
- Compact Oven – Smaller ovens of under 4 cubic feet. For tight spaces or occasional use.
Larger ovens allow you to cook more food at once but take up more space. Measure your cutouts to ensure proper fit.
Advanced cooking modes can expand what you can make. Look for:
- Convection Cooking – Uses a fan to circulate hot air for fast, even baking. A must for serious bakers.
- Broiling – Direct high heat from above. Choose ranges with both high and low broil settings.
- Proofing Mode – Maintains a warm environment for rising dough. Great for dedicated bakers.
- Dehydrating Mode – Uses low, steady heat to dehydrate fruits, veggies, and meats.
- Air Fry Mode – Uses hot air for crispy “fried” foods with less oil. Helpful for healthier cooking.
Consider the look and feel you want for your kitchen:
- Finish – Stainless steel is classic and matches most. For color, explore black stainless, white, matte, or glass finishes.
- Configuration – Ranges come in slide-in or freestanding versions to suit your cabinetry.
- Handle Style – Choose metal or industrial-style handles to match other appliances and decor.
- Size – Standard 30” width fits most cutouts. Larger pro-style models span 36-48” wide.
- Display Panel – Look for an easy-to-read and use control panel and display icons.
Kitchen ranges span from $500 budget models to $15,000 professional-style versions. Set a budget and look for best value at that price point.
Pros and Cons of Different Range Types
There are four main fuel types available in today’s kitchen ranges, each with their own advantages and drawbacks depending on your needs.
- Typically more affordable purchase price
- Provide even heat distribution in oven
- Easy to install; no gas lines required
- Safer for homes with small children
- Longer preheating times
- Harder to control precise temperatures
- Coil elements harder to clean than smooth glass/ceramic
- Provide very precise temperature control
- Cooktop heats up and cools down quickly
- Can use during power outages if gas available
- Open burners easier to maneuver large pots on
- More expensive purchase price
- Gas lines usually need to be installed
- Uneven cooking temperatures in oven
- Open flame safety concerns with children
- Very energy efficient; only heats the pan
- Allows instant temperature control
- Smooth glass surface easy to clean and safe
- Precision cooking and fast boil times
- Most expensive range type
- Requires compatible cookware
- Some induction noise during cooking
- Less heat radiating from surface
Dual Fuel Ranges
- Gas cooktop combines with even electric oven
- Provides best of both fuel types
- More affordable than full induction range
- Allows using various cookware types
- Installation requires both gas and electric
- Pricier than gas or electric only
- Two different fuel sources to maintain
Gas vs. Electric – Which is Better?
The choice between gas and electric ranges often comes down to personal cooking preferences in terms of heat responsiveness and temperature control.
- Cooktop heats up and cools down very quickly
- Lets you precisely control stove temperatures
- Burners provide very high heat for searing and wok cooking
- Still functions during power outages if gas on
- Smooth glass cooktops easier to clean and safe
- No open flames or gas lines needed
- Provides more even heat distribution in oven
- Better for baking with very accurate temps
Gas ranges are ideal if you want instant heat adjustment and to cook at very high temperatures. Electric models excel if you bake frequently or have safety concerns.
Dual fuel ranges offer the best of both by combining a gas cooktop with an electric oven. Induction brings quick, energy-efficient cooking but requires compatible cookware. Evaluate your cooking style and kitchen needs before deciding.
What Size Range Should You Buy?
When selecting your new kitchen range, an important consideration is what size will best fit your space, needs, and budget. Here are some common range size options:
Standard 30-Inch Range
This is the most common range size with ovens around 5 cubic feet. Fits in standard 30-inch openings. Best for average families and kitchens. Most affordable option.
Compact 24-Inch Range
Good choice for small kitchens, apartments or secondary ovens. Ovens under 4 cubic feet. Limited cooking capacity. May have fewer burner options.
Large Capacity 30-36-Inch Range
Larger ovens over 6 cubic feet. Allow cooking bigger meals simultaneously. Require more kitchen space. Prices jump above standard size.
Professional-Style 48-Inch+ Range
Extra-wide pro-style with multiple large ovens, more burners and griddles. For avid cooks with spacious kitchens. Most expensive type.
When choosing a size, make sure to measure your existing range cutout or cabinet opening. Also consider how much oven capacity and cooktop space you realistically need for your everyday cooking and baking needs. Bigger isn’t always better if it doesn’t fit your kitchen well.
Range Burner Types and Sizes
The cooktop burner arrangement and sizes have a major impact on your stove’s cooking performance and versatility. Here are some key things to consider:
Ranges have burners that range from 5,000 BTU power up to 18,000+ BTU turbo power. Higher BTUs mean faster boiling and heat-up times.
- Smaller burners (5k-9k BTU) are good for simmering sauces or melting chocolate and butter.
- Medium burners (10k-12k BTU) work well for average pan sizes and uses.
- Larger burners (13k-18k+ BTU) are ideal for rapid boiling, searing, and wok cooking.
Look for a range with burners in different sizes to allow using diverse pans and cooking methods. Having one very high BTU turbo burner is useful.
The most common types are:
- Sealed Burners – Top encapsulates the flame for easy cleaning. Extra spill protection.
- Open Burners – No cap over the flame. Allow easy fit of large pans. Require more cleaning.
- Continuous Grates – Long grate connects all burners. Allows easily sliding pots around.
- Individual Grates – Separate grates over each burner. Let you remove only what’s needed.
Look for configurations that suit your usual cookware and cooking habits. Some popular options:
- 4 or 5 burners in a row
- Corner triangular burner
- Center oval fish burner
- Front-to-back burner arrangement
- Griddle or grill addition
Test different burner placements with your current pots and pans to ensure a good fit.
Oven Functions to Look For
Modern kitchen ranges come with a variety of advanced cooking modes that can make meal preparation much easier. Here are some of the most useful oven functions to consider:
Convection Cooking – A fan circulates hot air around food for fast, even browning and crisping. Convection ovens cook foods 25% faster on average. Great for baking.
Broiling Modes – Having both high and low broil settings allows optimal top-browning based on the food you’re cooking. Look for a high heat infrared broiler for restaurant-quality results.
Convection Broiling – Combines convection cooking with broiling by using the convection fan while broiling. Gives extra-crispy and browned tops.
Air Fry Mode – Uses hot air circulation to produce crispy “fried” food with little to no oil needed. Great for chicken wings, french fries, etc.
Dehydrating Mode – Maintains a very low, steady temperature ideal for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and meats for maximum flavor.
Proofing Mode – Provides the warm environment needed for yeast doughs to rise properly before baking. Especially useful for bread bakers.
Warming Drawer – Having a dedicated warming drawer below the oven allows you to keep cooked food warm and ready to serve. Look for adjustable temperature settings.
Remote Start – Allows turning on and preheating your oven remotely from an app on your smartphone when connected to WiFi. Very convenient feature.
Design and Configuration Options
Beyond just fuel type and cooking functions, there are several design and configuration factors that contribute to your overall kitchen range experience:
Stainless steel is popular for its sleek look and fingerprint resistance. Manufacturers now offer cool finish options like:
- Black Stainless Steel – For a more modern, edgy look
- White – Classic, clean appearance
- Glass – Sleek surface; easy to see inside
- Matte – More muted and subtle aesthetic
Look for an intuitive and responsive touchscreen or control panel. Many allow customizing the appearance and display. Convenient smart features like voice control are now available too.
Freestanding ranges are most common with finished sides and backsplash. Slide-in models have unfinished sides and install between cabinets.
From professional-style metal handles to minimalist integrated handles, this design detail really impacts look.
Gas range fuel doors come in stainless or colored finishes. Models with front controls often hide the fuel door discreetly below.
Legs raise the range oven up for easier access. Open leg designs create a lighter visual look. Closed legs offer more solidity.
Top Range Brands
With so many kitchen range brands on the market, it can be hard to decipher which are best in terms of reliability, performance, and features. Here is a look at some of the top manufacturers:
GE – A very popular and affordable major appliance brand. Owned by Haier. Reliable products backed by great service.
Samsung – Known for cutting-edge smart home appliances with innovative technology features. Stylish designs.
LG – Offers high-end ranges with professional-inspired looks and performance. Focus on connectivity.
Whirlpool – Trusted American legacy brand. Provides a good balance of value and quality. Wide range lineup.
Kenmore – Exclusive to Sears, these ranges offer proven performance for the price. Made by major manufacturers.
Frigidaire – Well-rated brand providing quality cooking options at mid-range prices backed by good warranties.
Bosch – Leading European brand focused on elegant, quiet appliances with precise German engineering. Higher end.
Miele – Luxury European brand with premium build and innovations. Considered one of the finest made ranges.
Viking – Specializes in ultra-high end professional style ranges with commercial-grade quality. Bold styling.
Wolf – Iconic luxury pro-style brand known for exceptional performance, innovations, and prestige. Used in top restaurants. Very expensive.
Buying a Range on a Budget
While high-end pro-style ranges can cost up to $15,000, you can still get a fully functional, quality kitchen range on a budget of $700 or less. Here are some tips for saving:
Consider mid-range brands like Frigidaire, GE, or LG that balance features and affordability.
Choose electric over gas to avoid the added gas line installation costs. Electric also often have lower purchase prices.
Look for basic cooking modes like bake and broil rather than expensive convection fans and warming drawers.
Go for coil electric cooktops instead of smoother but costlier glass/ceramic cooktops.
Opt for a freestanding range over a slide-in to reduce installation labor costs.
Shop outlet stores for significant discounts on last year’s models. Scratches or dents mean savings.
Look for open-box deals from home improvement stores for heavily discounted ranges in great condition.
Consider used/refurbished options from reputable appliance dealers to get quality ranges for hundreds less.
Focus your budget on key features like oven capacity, burners, and reliability. With some strategic compromises, you can find an affordable range with everything you need!
FAQ About Buying Kitchen Ranges
What is the best brand for kitchen ranges?
Some top kitchen range brands based on overall reputation, performance, and owner satisfaction are Miele, Wolf, Viking, Bosch, JennAir, Thermador, and GE Monogram. High-end models from these manufacturers provide professional-grade results, longevity, and features. However, excellent range options exist at lower price points from trusted brands like Samsung, LG, Frigidaire, and Whirlpool as well.
How much does a good kitchen range cost?
You can find a good kitchen range between $700 and $2,500 depending on the fuel type, size, features, and brand. High-end pro-style ranges run from $4,000 to $15,000+ for commercial-level quality and performance.
How do I choose what size range I need?
Consider how much cooking capacity you require based on family size, entertaining needs, and meal prep habits. Standard 30-inch wide ranges with 5-6 cubic feet ovens suit most households well. Tiny kitchens can fit 24-inch compact models, while home chefs may want spacious 36-48-inch pro-style ranges. Just ensure the range you choose properly fits your existing cabinet cutouts.
Is it worth buying a professional range?
For avid home cooks seeking restaurant-level results, pro-style ranges are worth the significant investment. They provide commercial power, performance, quality, and features that deliver precision cooking and flawless outcomes every time. However, you need a spacious kitchen designed to handle powerful pro equipment. For most home cooking, a high-end residential range provides sufficient performance and durability at a more affordable cost.
Should I get gas or electric?
Gas ranges are preferred by cooks wanting instant temperature adjustability and very high heat output for activities like frying and boiling. Electric smoothtop models allow easier cleaning and more precise oven temperatures. Dual fuel ranges combine the best aspects of gas cooktops and electric ovens. There is no universally “superior” option—select based on your cooking needs and preferences.
What are the different burner types?
Common range cooktop burners include sealed burners, open burners, continuous grates, and induction elements. Sealed burners contain spills easier while open burners accommodate large cookware better. Continuous grates connect all burners. Induction uses magnetic energy for precision cooking. Look for a range with burners in different