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Range Buying Guide

by Grand Appliance

Grand Range Buying Guide

Last Updated 11/30/2021

They say your range is the hearth of most homes and a centerpiece in any kitchen. With so many models, features, and styles to choose from, it can be hard to know which range is the right one for you. Grand’s teams of experts put together this helpful Buying Guide breaking down all your options, and providing some basic guidelines for what to keep in mind when looking for a new range.

In This Article

Ratings

They’re on the internet, so they must be true! But seriously, reviews should always be considered. It’s important to maintain the right perspective, however. A customer that has had a bad experience is far more likely to write a review than a person that has had a good experience. On the negative side, a bad review is a bad review - there’s no sugar-coating it. On the positive side, however, it indicates that items with great reviews exceeded customer expectations to the point that the customer felt compelled to leave a favorable review of the product. 

Shop Top Rated Electric Ranges

Shop Top Rated Gas Ranges

See Our #TopRated Expert Picks

Size

We always recommend that you measure first, but most homes have a “standard” range setup, which is 30” wide. Sizes can vary - particularly if it’s an older unit - but generally, ranges are available in 20in, 24in, 30in, 36in, 48in, and 60in. 

Anything smaller than 30in is considered compact and although we have several options to choose from, there are not as many options as in the standard 30in range size.

Read our Planning Guide for Compact Kitchens for more information.

Anything larger is generally considered professional, though there are many 30in and even some 24in professional-grade ranges. Professional options - particularly those 36in or larger - have configurable cooking surfaces, typically require advanced ventilation, and are considerably more expensive than standard ranges. As a result, we focus mostly on standard ranges in this guide but have a separate buying guide specifically for 30-60in restaurant-inspired professional ranges from leading brands like Wolf, Thermador, JennAir, Miele, Monogram, and more.

Check out our Professional Range Buying Guide.

Type

Ranges are either powered by Gas or Electric. 

Which is better: Gas or Electric?

Well, it’s complicated.

We’ll go through each type in detail below, but in the most general of terms, gas provides more precise, responsive control on the cooking surface when compared to standard radiant electric cooktops. That said, induction cooking, a subset of electric cooking, provides perhaps the best control and responsiveness, albeit at a higher price point in most cases. 

Switching to the oven, electric is preferable because it can provide far more consistent heating and temperature maintenance and allow for true European convection cooking.

The choice is often made for you, however. Unless you’re building or remodeling, most customers choose to stick with whatever they currently have rather than pulling new plumbing or electrical lines to switch fuels. 

Why is Gas and Induction the Most Responsive?

Gas burners use an open flame to heat the bottom of your pan. The flame can be instantly increased or decreased to provide fast, precise response to your cooking needs. 

Induction is pretty interesting. Induction burners are powered by magnets that excite the elements of your pan to generate heat directly in the pan itself. Because it’s exciting the pan itself, the heating is incredibly even across the pan and can be controlled with gas-like (or even better) precision. 

Standard electric, on the other hand, heats a burner element beneath a pan in order to transfer heat to the pan. This takes the longest to heat up and cool down, which produces longer cook times and delayed results when adjusting the temperature while cooking.

Further, the standard electric cooktop style is the least safe because the top stays hot for several minutes after cooking has been completed.

OK. So kind of range should I get?

Unless you’re building or remodeling, it really comes down to your budget and your existing fuel type. If you have gas and are simply replacing your range, you’re very likely to choose gas regardless of how you feel about the other two options. If you have electric, you’ll likely consider induction if it's in your budget, but we can recommend some great standard electric options if not. 

There are two things to note with induction as well. First, you can only use special, induction-ready cookware. To see if your cookware is compatible, simply stick a magnet to it. If it sticks, it’s compatible. 

Second, induction may require more substantial electricity than your current standard electric range. If you’re replacing an older unit with an induction range it’s a good idea to have an electrician ensure you’ll be able to draw sufficiently to power the top.

If you are remodeling or building, induction is definitely worth considering as is dual fuel, which combines the best of both worlds with gas burners and an electric oven.

Shop Gas Ranges

Shop Dual Fuel

Shop Standard Electric Ranges

Shop Induction Ranges

Installation Styles

Standard ranges can be free-standing or built-in to varying degrees, however free-standing is by far the most popular because it’s the easiest to accommodate now and replace later. 

Freestanding

What has always been considered free-standing is changing somewhat. For years, a free-standing range was a standard range style featuring a raised backguard with a clock and oven controls. Gas ranges generally had control knobs for the cooking surface in the front while electric ranges had control knobs on the backguard for safer operation. 

In recent years, however, more and more brands began making a new class of range called free-standing front control. It marries the best parts of slide-in ranges, which we’ll introduce below, with the easier swapability of freestanding solutions. In a freestanding front control range, the raised backguard is removed and all the controls are housed in the front of the range.

While there are functional advantages like not having to reach over hot burners to adjust the oven temperature, freestanding front control ranges have grown tremendously in popularity because they look great. With the upfront controls, free-standing front controls often resemble the more luxurious restaurant-grade ranges from premium brands like Wolf and Thermador. Additionally, without the backguard, you’re free to do more with your tile backsplash without interruption from a comparatively uglier range control panel.

Built-In (-ish) Solutions: Slide-In and Drop-In

Slide-ins and drop-ins are different than free-standing models because they are designed to be built-in to your cabinets and or countertops in varying degrees. In fact, they often have unfinished sides as they’re not intended to ever be used outside of an enclosed cabinet setting.

A slide-in is often confused with the freestanding front control options described above, but, in addition to the unfinished sides, a slide-in is different from its freestanding cousins because it is designed to fit in a u-shaped hole in your countertop and lower cavity below. The slide-in usually has a lip around the cooking surface so that when it slides into the u-shaped hole the lip sits on top of your cabinet. This provides a built-in look and also prevents food from getting stuck in the crevices between the cooking surface and the adjacent countertop.

True slide-in options are dwindling as more and more brands look to a freestanding front control design instead.

Drop-in ranges are still technically around but are by far the least common option. These are virtually never specced into new builds or remodels and are strictly for replacement only at this point. 

As the name suggests, a drop in range drops into a cut-out in your countertop and the cabinet below. It resembles a slide-in range with the bottom drawer cut off. When installed, it rests on a platform you’d build above the lower cabinet and also features a lip around the cooktop like a slide-in to complete the built-in look. 

Shop Slide-in Ranges

Shop Freestanding Ranges

Shop Drop-In Ranges

 

Oven Configuration

The vast majority of ranges include a single oven beneath the cooking surface, but some feature a second fully functioning over or warming oven. 

The obvious benefit of a double oven is more overall capacity. Double ovens usually feature a full or close-to full-size oven paired with a shorter oven. In most cases, the shorter oven is on top and is very useful for quick, easy oven tasks because the smaller cavity allows for fast preheating and the raised position is easy to access without bending or stooping. It’s size and shape lend it particularly to pizza, casserole, and other wide but short dishes.

The other place you’ll find a second oven is in the lower drawer. Most often when the oven is down in the drawer is a warming oven, but there are examples of models in which the drawer is a fully functioning oven. 

If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, take a look at Samsung’s Flex Duo ranges. The oven in these ranges is a full-size oven that can operate as a single oven or - along with a removable partition - be split into two fully functioning ovens!

Benefits of Double Oven Ranges

Shop Single Oven Ranges

Shop Double Oven Ranges

Other Features Worth Considering

Our favorite section when it comes to cooking since these features are heavily influenced and driven by real chefs and professionals looking for the functionality needed for everyday cooking. These features are proven to elevate how you cook at home so we’ve listed out the quick benefits along with more in-depth coverage.

Convection

In a convection oven, heat receives an additional “boost” from the inclusion of a fan that helps distribute heat evenly throughout the entire chamber. This is one of the most impactful upgrades a shopper can get from a traditional range.

  • Reduces Cooking times

  • Provides even cooking temperatures

  • Promotes better browning

  • Allows multi-rack cooking without compromising heat distribution

Read our full Convection Cooking Guide

Shop Convection Ranges

5th Burners

Traditionally, 30-inch ranges include four burners, but for even more purchasing power, five-burner ranges provide an additional heating element all while offering the same footprint as four-burner models. While the addition of a fifth burner does come with its benefits, there are also some considerations buyers should know before making a purchase.

Pros and Cons of a 5th Burner

Steam Cooking

Steam cooking is one of the healthiest methods of preparing your food by enhancing flavor and sealing in nutrients. Because this way of cooking is so important, many ranges and ovens now come equipped with a steam feature making this healthy way of eating very convenient.

5 Benefits of Steam Cooking

Steam and Self Cleaning

There’s the joy of cooking, and then there’s the frustration of cleaning up stubborn, caked-on messes that’s part of the process. Self-cleaning and Steam-cleaning are popular cleaning methods that have revolutionized mealtime cleanup, but each has its own pros and cons. 

Should I choose Steam or Self Cleaning?

Price

As with anything, the price of your range can vary greatly with electric ranges typically starting at $500 with gas a bit more. Ranges vary in size, style and price, with high-end professional ranges upwards over $20,000, but you can reasonably narrow down a quality 30” freestanding range to average around $800 - $3000. It's important to first narrow down what style and size works for your kitchen, then decide on what features matter most to your family.