Buying a Kitchen Range
Your range is both a benchmark and the focal point of your kitchen. The type you buy—gas, electric, or induction—is largely determined by the layout of your home: Gas ranges require either natural gas or propane service, whereas electric or induction ranges will work as long as your kitchen has a 240-volt electric line.
However, there are numerous other options to consider. In this article, we'll go over the information you'll need to know when purchasing a range, as well as the major brands you're likely to come across while shopping. Once you've decided which features are most important to you, take a look at our variety of ranges.
Types of Ranges
Electric Smoothtop Ranges
Radiant electric smoothtop ranges, which have electric heating elements hidden beneath a layer of flat glass, are a popular choice. All of the models we tested had at least one high-power burner. Most have dual or triple expandable elements that allow you to switch from a large, high-power element to a small, lower-power element within it. To keep side dishes warm, some ranges have a warming element in the center.
The disadvantage of radiant electric models is that they retain a lot of residual heat, which means that after lowering the temperature, the burners will take a few minutes to settle at the lower setting.
Electric Induction Ranges
These appliances use magnetic coils beneath the ceramic glass surface to send electromagnetic pulses to transfer energy directly to your cookware. They operate on the same standard electric line as a regular electric range. Because the elements don't get hot, they boil faster and simmer more steadily, and any changes you make to a burner take effect immediately.
A gas range provides sensory feedback that electric models simply cannot match, thanks to the flame it emits with each burner. Most gas ranges have four to five different-sized burners, with at least one high-power and one simmer burner.
Response time is especially quick when compared to a radiant smoothtop. When you turn the knob on a gas cooktop from high to medium, the pot—and the food inside it—changes almost instantly. When your power goes out, you can light most gas burners with a match. However, even high-power gas burners take the longest to bring water to a boil.
In our ratings, pro-style ranges are either gas or dual-fuel, which means they combine gas burners with an electric oven. They are typically well-constructed, with heavy-gauge stainless steel, well-insulated ovens, and continuous cast-iron cooking grates.
However, many regular ranges now include features that were previously only available on pro-style models, such as high-power burners, dedicated simmer burners, and convection, at a fraction of the cost. In fact, in our ratings, the best gas and electric ranges outperform the best pro-style models.
Slide-in or freestanding?
The most popular and easiest to install are freestanding ranges. The controls are located at the far end of the range on a panel. Slide-in ranges are installed between cabinets and appliances on either side to create a custom, built-in appearance. The controls are located in the front of the range, allowing your backsplash to be displayed. However, because the sides may not be finished, a slide-in range may not work well as a replacement for a freestanding unit.
Most gas, electric, and induction ranges have a width of 30 inches. A pro-style range, on the other hand, can be as large as 48 inches if you customize it with extra burners, ovens, integrated grills, griddles, or wok burners.
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