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How to Choose the Perfect Stove

Find the right range for your kitchen.

cooktop, range, stove, wall oven, oven, ovens, kitchen, appliance, appliances

Whether you’re remodeling the kitchen or just looking to upgrade, check out this guide so you can turn up the heat.

Range vs. Cooktop
First, decide whether you want a traditional all-in-one range (aka, a stove) or a counter cooktop and a separate wall oven. Costs for either option can easily go to into the thousands, though there’s a greater selection of affordable ranges.

Usually, the most practical option is an oven-and-cooktop combo, especially if you’re simply replacing an old stove. Slide-in ranges are designed to slip into a space in between cabinets, while others, like this AGA, require major space.

A built-in cooktop and a professionally installed wall oven can give the room a modern look and make the best use of space. But, be careful, the update may require a major renovation if your kitchen is already set up for a traditional range.

Electric vs. Gas
You may not have a choice with this one: If you don’t have access to a gas line, an electric range is your only option; if you don’t have a 220-volt outlet, you’ll want to stick with gas. How to decide? Consider the type of cooking you do most.

Baking, low-maintenance cooking: Pros say electric ranges are best for baking because they allow for a more even oven temperature. The drawback: Electric coils stay hot after being turned off, so watch out!

Searing, boiling, frying: True foodies often prefer gas cooktops because they allow for more control of the heat. The flames add to the poetry of cooking, and, more important, the burner quickly cools once it’s turned off.

The Right Range, the Right Price
After deciding on a type of range, research online which brands and features fit your budget (Cooking.com has more than 300 models, including Viking, DeLonghi, and Jenn-Air). Once you’ve found a few different options, take a trip to a local store to see the range and check its aesthetics; then consider whether you’d prefer to purchase it on the spot or to search for a better deal online. If you decide to purchase over the Internet, make sure the site’s customer service representatives are available to discuss delivery, installation, and warranty information in detail.

Nestperts Skip Heinrich, Merchant-Cooking The Home Depot; Audrey Reed-Granger, spokesperson for Whirlpool

-- Miles Stiverson

See More: Buying Appliances , Buying Guides