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A Buying Guide for the Best Kitchen Ranges [Bonus: Gas vs. Electric Ranges]

by Pam Silvia

If you’re in the market for a new kitchen range, look no further than Big Sandy’s Appliances catalog! From helping you choose between gas vs. electric ranges, induction vs. electric ranges, price points, and brands, leave it to Big Sandy to unearth something truly special for every novice and seasoned home chef alike.

Explore the culinary possibilities and read our guide to check out what considerations you should take while you shop our generous selection of kitchen ranges.

Let’s get cookin’!

Installation Type

One of the primary factors that goes into buying a new kitchen range is whether you want to go for a free-standing or slide-in model. When it comes to selecting one over the other, the difference lies in how each type of range fits within your cabinetry and counter spaces.

Here’s a quick rundown of both popular installation types:

Freestanding

The most widely sold option, freestanding ranges are also considered the easier model to install. Visually speaking, freestanding ranges are distinguishable by their finished sides, and their controls are typically located on a back panel behind the cooking surface.

Slide-in

By contrast, slide-in ranges have unfinished sides and are usually without a top console at the back—both of which come in handy if you prefer a “built-in” appearance that is in line with the modern kitchen design trend of having flush inset appliances.

True to their name, these models can be easily inserted between surrounding cabinets. And because the controls are displayed on the front, you can showcase a snazzy kitchen backsplash if your heart so desires.

Pictured: Samsung 29.94" Fingerprint Resistant Stainless-Steel Front Control Slide-In Gas Range (NX60T8511SS)

Sizes, Capacity, and Configuration

Determining the appropriate dimensions for your kitchen range goes beyond just what your existing cabinetry and counter spaces allow. Pro tip: you can modify your cabinets to fit a larger appliance, with some brands offering “fit guarantee” rebates to reimburse you for the costs.

But, in addition, you must factor in your household’s meal habits.

Do you normally have to adjust recipe portions to serve a large family? Do you only reserve oven-roasted entrées for holidays and special occasions? Are there days of the week you don’t even turn on the stove? Are you more of an at-home Iron Chef or a humble amateur?

These and other semantically related questions are ones you should mull over as you explore your options, especially since they might sway you in either direction in terms of making a splurge or scoring a more cost-effective win.

When it comes to sizes, the standard width of a residential range is 30 inches, with some high-end models starting at 36 inches. Meanwhile, custom-configured pro-style ranges start at 30 inches and are available in widths up to 48 inches. Pro tip: if you’re pondering the purchase of a pro-style range, many mid-end ranges now have a convection oven, at least one high-power burner, and a dedicated simmer burner as top-tier cooking features.

Along the same lines, remember to invoke your culinary habits to determine whether you should go all in on a kitchen range with a large interior capacity. For reference, the oven compartment on a typical range is 5 cubic feet.

Single- or Double-Oven?

If you need to accommodate more than two baking sheets of cookies or two foil pans of potluck fare at any given time, you may choose to invest in a range with a double oven.

It should be noted that most double-oven ranges typically have a smaller oven resting on top of a larger oven. A minor drawback of this configuration is that the lower oven’s door is now closer to the floor, so if you’re cooking a large roast below, it can be more difficult to remove from the appliance. 

That said, double-oven ranges are a great option if you want to prepare two different foods at different temperatures—at the same time. So, if your ravenous kiddo is craving some reheated chicken nuggets before dinner, you can pop them in without a second thought while your green-bean casserole is baking underneath.

Pictured: LG 29.88” Stainless Steel Slide-In Gas Double Oven Range (LTG4715ST)

Fuel and Power Options

Now, onto the technical portion of this guide. Your choice in cooking power ideally rests on personal parameters and preferences, including budget, long-run energy costs, energy-efficiency, and culinary expertise; however, remember that, sometimes, what you have determines what you buy.

With these considerations in mind, check out how gas, electric, induction, and dual-fuel ranges stack up, along with some of the unique benefits they each offer:

Gas

Favored by professional chefs, gas ranges grant you more control over your cooktop, enabling instant changes in heat since a flame doesn’t need time to warm up or cool down—unlike electric-coil cooktops.

Speaking of their electric counterparts, gas ranges are also more durable, and in the long run, more cost-effective. As you scroll through our catalog, you might find that gas models are generally priced higher. While these ranges are typically more expensive than electric models upon initial purchase, they are more cost-effective in the long run, as gas costs are lower than those of electricity.

So, if you’re looking to get a lot of use from this appliance by way of daily homecooked meals, a gas range is considered the more prudent purchase.

Electric

Unless your kitchen is already equipped with wiring for a gas stove, it will be less expensive to install an electric range with a 240-volt power outlet. In addition, compared to gas ranges, there are more electric fuel options available for any-size budget, with electric-coil models being the most affordable ranges overall.

Despite their vastly contrasting appearances, electric-coil and smooth-top ranges run on the same source of power and use the same type of coil burner; these cooktops are distinct in that the electrical wire embedded in the flattened metal spiral for a smooth-top range sits underneath a glass- and ceramic-top surface.

If you admire the luxe appearance of a smooth-top electric range, you’ll be excited to learn that this cooking surface cools down quickly, making easy work out of post-dinner cleanup. And because there are no flames involved, electric ranges are safer to operate around young children.

Induction

A subtype of electric fuel option that has gained popularity in recent years is induction cooking. Marked by their ability to transfer heat electromagnetically into conductive cookware with virtually no trace on the cooking element itself, an induction range cooker is even safer to operate, with the smooth-top surface cooling down instantly once it’s powered off.

On the pricier end of the spectrum, induction ranges are worth the extra cost if you appreciate efficiency, both in terms of quicker meal preparation and energy cost savings. If you’re a seasoned home chef, you’ll appreciate a heatless kitchen and a more economic use of electricity, with zero heat wasted!

Pictured: Frigidaire® 29.88" Stainless-Steel Free Standing Induction Range (FFIF3054TS)

Dual-Fuel

If you’ve got a gas line hookup, congratulations: a dual-fuel range offers the best of both worlds. Combining the control and speed of a gas cooktop with the reliability and the precision of an electric oven, a dual-fuel range provides enhanced heat distribution, fast preheating, and an easily controlled heat source.

So, if you’re a culinary genius who wants to reap the benefits of a gas stove without missing out on the advantages of an electric oven, dual-fuel ranges have got you covered. When it comes to your budget, most dual-fuel models are sold at mid- to high-range prices, starting at around $2,000—with pro-style range prices skyrocketing beyond that.

Bonus Features

Finally, we arrive to the fun stuff.

Here are just some of the most popular range features industry experts have been raving about.

True Convection

Lucky for us, what was once considered an exclusive bake setting is slowly becoming a staple in mid-end kitchen ranges.

Cooking and baking everything faster with interior fans circulating hot air all around your food (as opposed to relying on rising heat), a convection oven will surely come in handy during the holidays—and beyond. After all, putting your trust in a convection oven means an evenly scorched Thanksgiving turkey, deliciously charred roasted veggies, and crisply fried pie crusts.

Broil Settings

Also gaining traction in kitchens, oven broil settings allow you to sear a juicy steak without a grill. When you use this setting, the oven turns on its top burner to create infrared radiation above the food, emulating BBQ coals, with the burner acting like an upside-down grill.

Air Fry 

An exclusive trait of Frigidaire Gallery gas ranges, the Air Fry setting can be enabled with just the touch of a button to churn out healthier versions of your favorite treats, including chicken wings, breaded shrimp, french fries, and apple fritters, just in time for fall.

A real space saver in the kitchen, this range removes the need for an extra countertop appliance and sells for a mid-range price!

Pictured: Frigidaire Gallery® 29.88" Stainless-Steel Free Standing Gas Range with Air Fry (FGGH3047VF)

Expandable Elements

A cool feature that exudes sophistication in electric smooth-top ranges is called an expandable element. With this cooktop feature, you can ensure even heat distribution for foods cooked in larger cookware, as the cooking zone itself expands to take up more surface area.

Warming Drawer

Do you find yourself agonizing over cold dinners? It’s not uncommon for family members to descend upon the table long after you announced that dinner was ready. With a warming drawer, you can save yourself the grief and feel assured your culinary works of genius can be eaten the way they are meant to be enjoyed.

Pictured: GE® Profile™ Series 30" Stainless Steel Dual Fuel Free Standing Convection Range (P2B940SEJSS)

Smart Capabilities

Home cooking has never been as streamlined as with smart cooking appliances. If you’re willing to spend the extra bucks, you’ll find there’s much to gain from WiFi-powered cooking.

By syncing your smartphone with smart range, you can save time by preheating and monitoring your oven from anywhere—even while you’re stuck in traffic on the way home from work. If you’re minding multiple responsibilities at a time, you can also monitor power-level settings and check or change timers.

Let Us Help You

With all this knowledge under your belt, be sure to check out Big Sandy’s catalog of cooking appliances! We’ve got a flavor for every taste bud with price points ranging from affordable to mid-end to luxury. Our experts are driven to feed your hunger with quality offerings from top brands. 

Explore the culinary possibilities today—call or visit the Big Sandy location nearest you.