Modern ranges help you do more than just cook. They keep meals warm until you are ready to eat, self-clean and add a touch of style to your kitchen. No matter how your kitchen is set up, you can find a range that suits your needs.
Choosing the Right Range
You will want to look at a number of factors as you begin your search for a new range. By considering a few simple space and design issues, as well as what cooking options you'd like to have at your disposal, you'll be able to hone in on the ideal range in no time. With multiple installation options and power sources to choose from, finding the right range is simply a matter of selecting a model that fits your cooking and spatial requirements.
If you have a gas hookup in your kitchen, you will want to explore the full spectrum of options gas ranges provide. Basic models do an excellent job of heating food while more advanced models feature special simmer and high-heat burners that make it easy to prepare an entrée and a sauce or gravy simultaneously. If you cook frequently, look for a model that incorporates helpful cleaning features. Units with pilotless ignition make startup hassle-free, and some feature burners that reignite automatically if they go out to eliminate interruptions. Breakfast connoisseurs will want a range that has a dedicated space for a griddle to whip up fluffy pancakes and sizzling bacon.
Cooktop burners heat up quickly and provide precise control
Sealed burners and upswept cooktops make cleanup simple
Interlocking grates allow you to easily slide cookware across the surface
Electric units provide high-quality, consistent oven heat. Coil cooktops are very economical and often feature removable heating elements with drip bowls for fast and easy cleanup. Models with radiant elements have smooth, glass ceramic cooktops that are easy to care for and provide solid performance. High-end radiant ranges may feature bridge elements or a centre oval burner that can accommodate oblong or oversized pots and pans. Expandable elements provide efficient heating by letting you select the burner size that most closely matches the cookware you're using. If you're concerned about safety or have children in the house, look for a range that features safety indicator lights that let you know when the surface is hot, even after the unit has been turned off.
Come in coil or radiant heating configurations
Deliver consistent, high-quality baking
Safety indicator lights let you know when burners are on and/or hot
Glass ceramic cooktops are stylish and wipe down quickly
If you have a gas hookup and would like to combine the heating power and control of a gas cooktop with the cooking consistency of an electric oven, consider a dual-fuel range. These units require a little larger up-front investment, but they enable you to take advantage of the most helpful gas features (simmer and high-output burners, interlocking grates, pilotless ignition) and combine them with the qualities that make electric ovens stand out (even, high-quality heating and more effective self-cleaning capabilities.)
Dual-fuel models combine a gas cooktop with an electric oven
Gas cooktop provides excellent heating power and temperature control
Electric oven heats food evenly and provides thorough self cleaning
Combines qualities of gas cooktop and electric oven
Larger initial investment
Determine where you're going to install your range; models vary in width and capacity and usually feature four heating elements. High-capacity units are better for busy cooks, as they possess plenty of room to accommodate different types and sizes of cookware. Freestanding ranges can be placed at the end of your counter or somewhere in the middle and often feature a backsplash that houses the controls. Slide-in models have up-front controls and nestle into your countertop for a smooth, unbroken surface.
Most ranges measure 30" wide with a capacity somewhere around 3.5 - 5.5 cu. ft.
Freestanding ranges provide flexible installation with multiple placement options
Slide-in units feature up-front controls and fit smoothly into a kitchen countertop
Regardless of installation and power source, there are several common features you'll want to look for. Ovens with self-cleaning capabilities take care of the dirty work for you. Adjustable racks accommodate a wide range of cookware for more versatile cooking options. Electronic controls make it easy to set times, precise temperatures and cooking modes for accurate and delicious meals. If you enjoy cooking roasts, poultry or other foods where a crisp, brown finish is important, seek out a range that uses convection heating. These units circulate air evenly throughout the oven, reducing the occurrence of "hot spots" and ensuring more thorough heating.
For the avid cook or host, a double oven is invaluable; this feature allows you to bake, roast or broil two separate dishes simultaneously.
Some ranges feature innovative heating systems for thorough, even baking, such as European convection, which adds a third heating element at the back of the oven.
Ovens with this feature closely monitor cooking temperatures to keep them consistent, ensuring evenly cooked food.
Units that feature a warming element in the centre of the cooktop or a warming drawer enable you to keep just-made foods hot and fresh until you are ready to eat.
Cook fish and thick steaks properly with a variable-broil feature, available in both gas and electric models.
Look for units that feature heating element and hot surface indicator lights that alert you when burners are on and tell you when the surface is still hot after power has been switched off. Electronic touchpad controls with a child lock feature prevent accidental use for further enhanced safety.
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