Navigate Up
Sign In

Buying a range, cooktop or wall oven

How you use the kitchen

  • What kind of food does your family eat and how is it prepared?
  • Do you need two ovens or one oven and a microwave?
  • Does more than one person use the range or oven at the same time?
  • Do you entertain often?

The answers to these questions will help you decide what combination of appliance is best for you.

Ranges - things to consider

Available space

Be sure you know exactly how much space you have available in your kitchen for both the width and depth of the appliance. Be sure to consider the placement of the exhaust venting system. 

If you’re buying a new home, make sure the builder has a gas line available for the range. You also may want to upgrade from the model that the builder regularly installs to get some of the special features you would enjoy.

Oven interior size

Models with the same outside measurements may have varying amounts of space inside. Check the oven cavity size to make sure you are getting the size that really meets your needs. An oven with six or seven positions for the oven racks allows you to bake more than one dish at a time.

Controls

Try out the controls on each model you’re considering. Are they easy to reach and use? Are they easy to keep clean? Are they easily understood? Controls should be arranged logically so it is simple to tell which control operates which burner. Front or side-mounted burner knobs eliminate the need to reach over burners to change temperature settings; push-to-turn knobs prevent accidental lighting of burners.

Electronic controls are popular today because they’re easier to clean and set than dial controls. Most will add a little extra to the cost of the equipment. For example, automatic pilotless ignition saves up to 30 per cent on fuel consumption; infrared oven broilers cook food faster, use less energy and reduce food shrinkage; high-performance burners (up to 14,000 BTU) provide faster cooking and higher temperature range for improved heat control, better sautéing and stir-frying.

Cleaning

Determine how easy it will be to clean each model and whether you want to spend a little more money to get an oven that cleans itself or has sealed burners on the cooktop, which makes cleanup much easier. Features like lift-up, removable and sealed-top burners simplify the cleaning of grates, and lift-off doors make oven cleaning easy. Self-cleaning ovens are better insulated and save energy. Options include standard cleaning, continuous cleaning and self-cleaning models.

  • Self-cleaning ovens have a high-heat cycle, with temperatures as high as 1,000°F (538°C) . The heat turns oven soil into a grey, powdery ash that can be wiped up with a damp sponge. When the cleaning cycle is in use, the oven is locked. Self-cleaning ovens have a special porcelain enamel on the inside and a special door seal to stand up to the high temperature. This extra insulation saves energy.
  • Continuous cleaning ovens have walls that have been treated with a catalyst that oxidizes oven soil while the oven operates at normal temperatures. This system does not clean as completely as a self-cleaning oven, but eliminating the high-heat cycle reduces its purchase price.
  • Standard cleaning ovens must be cleaned by hand, using soap and water or a commercial oven-cleaning product. Some models have a removable oven bottom or a removable door to make cleaning easier.

Broilers

All ovens feature broilers. You should take its location into consideration. In standard natural gas ovens, the broiler is in a drawer below the oven. In self-cleaning ovens, it’s at the top of the oven, where it’s easier to reach, also freeing up storage space beneath.

Cooktops – things to consider

Cleaning

On cooktops without sealed burners, look for deep wells to contain spills and a top that opens up for cleaning, with two support rods to hold it in place. This frees up both hands for cleaning. Look for other features that make cleanup easier, including: 

  • removable control knobs
  • porcelain drip pans under the burners
  • a glass or porcelain backguard (rather than a painted one)
  • a raised edge around the cooktop to keep spills under control
    corners and edges without seams

Grates

Another feature you might consider is heavy-duty burner grates that can support heavy pots. A porcelain coating on both the top and the bottom makes them scratch- and rust-resistant.

Wall ovens – things to consider

Oven interior size

Models with the same outside measurements may have varying amounts of space inside. Check the oven cavity size to make sure you are getting the size that really meets your needs. An oven with six or seven positions for the oven racks allows you to bake more than one dish at a time.

Cleaning method

This is the most important factor in choosing an oven. Options include standard cleaning, continuous cleaning and self-cleaning models. See “Cleaning” for ranges.

Controls

Electronic touch controls and digital display allows more accurate temperature and timer settings. Many electronic controls provide a control “lockout” feature to prevent unintended operation by other members of the household. The lockout feature is also helpful when cleaning the control panel.

Doors and racks

Try out the door to see if it opens and closes smoothly without slamming. Ensure the oven racks provide enough support for heavy roasts and turkeys.

Element options

  • Large multi-loop bake element is located in the bottom of the oven, releasing heat more evenly for better baking results.
  • Hidden bake element is below the oven floor. Spills and spatters or residue from the self-cleaning cycle are easier to wipe up.
  • High–low broil offers the ability to choose high or low broiling. High broiling works for most items. Use low broiling for thicker meats or chicken and fish to ensure that it is completely cooked without searing the outside of the food.

Related links