How To Buy a Stove

Whether you call it a stove or a range, you’re going to want to keep these considerations in mind when shopping for a new … oh I give up.

black-electric-range

Though freestanding ranges are the most commonly used, slide-in ranges are growing in popularity. Featuring unfinished sides and controls on the front, this style lends a more built-in look, great for islands, and featuring decorative backsplashes.

Pro-Style Ranges

Professional ranges mimic the performance and appearance of a true commercial range. Pro-style ranges use the most durable components and achieve high temperatures for rapid boiling as well as extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering.

Larger models (36”, 48” or 60” wide) can include built-in griddles and grills. Their ovens offer convection and high-temperature broiling. Convection ovens use airflow for even heat distribution and consistent baking, even with multiple racks. When cooking meats, convection fans sear the skin to retain moisture.

wolf-range

Gas vs. Electric Ranges

Professional and aspiring chefs usually prefer gas due to a common misconception of all-around superior performance; In most cases electric ranges boil liquid just as quickly and frequently. Electric burners reach extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering. But the heat-retention qualities of electric coils and ceramic surfaces cannot range from high to low heat instantaneously as gas cooktops can. But glass surfaces of electric ranges are the easiest to clean and maintain.

When it comes to ovens, electric responds quicker to temperature changes, providing less heat variance overall for more consistent baking results. However, gas ovens provide more “moist heat,” which is better for meats and vegetables. For cooks who want the best of both worlds, the dual-fuel range has the flexibility and control of gas burners on the cooktop with the accuracy and precision of an electric oven.

Induction range burners use magnets to directly heat cookware and leaving the surface cool to the touch, combining an unmatched degree of safety with high power and the responsiveness of gas.

Hot Stove Features

  • Warming Drawer – functions as a keep-warm area.
  • Second Oven – additional cavity functions as a separate oven. Perfect for cooking short items such as pizzas, pies, casseroles, etc.

slide-in-double-oven-range

  • Split Oven Racks – can be partially removed as needed for cooking multiple dishes simultaneously.
    split-rack

    Split racks accommodate simultaneous baking of tall dishes.

    Featured image via Café

How To Clean Stove Drip Pans

Cleaning your stove top is like making the bed: even if you do it today, you’re still going to have to do it tomorrow, too.

If you have an electric coil stove you have drip pans, which – by name – catch drips. Even if you clean your range top often, it’s a mess the next time you cook. Make cleaning drip pans easier with these methods.

How To Clean Stove Drip Pans Fast

The fastest, easiest – and perhaps even most effective way to clean the surface – is with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or a generic version of this melamine foam sponge.

It looks like an ordinary sponge, but because it’s melamine, it actually has little microscrubbers that can remove discoloration and baked on mess with minimal elbow grease.

That being said, it is abrasive in nature so it can scratch or dull surfaces if you’re not careful. Let’s save this cleaning method for Why didn’t you tell me you’re mother was visiting? times.

How To Spot Clean Stove Drip Pans

For day to day drips and stains, make sure the burner’s completely cooled and pull it up and out from the stove top. Wet the drip pan and sprinkle on a liberal amount of Bar Keeper’s Friend. Use a rag to work the cleaner into a paste and polish off the mess. Rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing the pans.

How To Deep Clean Stove Drip Pans

Pick a time when you don’t need to use your sink or stove for several hours, like right before bed or work. Again, wait until the stove is cool and remove the burners. Put each burner pan in separate gallon plastic bags. Add 1/4 cup of ammonia to each and fill the remainder with hot tap water. Close the bags and let them sit overnight (or for several hours).

Then, drain the bags and scrub off the loosened mess. Rinse well before applying any other cleaners, as ammonia can create toxic fumes when mixed. Rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing.

Bonus: Clean drip pans for your electric stove don’t just serve cosmetic purposes; keeping the surface reflective ensures the most efficient use of heat, meaning you’ll use less energy when you keep your burners and drip pans clean.

How do you keep your stove drip pans clean? Tell us in the comments!

Don’t Put Foil In the Oven

Maybe your grandma used to use tinfoil to line her oven floor to aid cleanup.

But times have changed; tinfoil is no longer made of tin. The stuff you use to shield your ham is actually aluminum foil, which has a lower heat tolerance.

The high temperatures of your oven floor can actually cause the foil to melt right onto that oven surface.

And you can’t clean it off.

aluminum foil in ovenWe’ve had Warners’ Stellian  customers spend hundreds of dollars replacing the oven floor on relatively new ranges because of this well-intentioned mistake.

Instead, aluminum foil-makers suggest you line the oven rack you’re using with aluminum foil rather than lining the oven itself.

Simplify Cooking with Appliances that Multitask

Buy based on how you cook most days.

When buying appliances, people often focus on two days of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What matters at that moment to you is finding a range whose oven accommodates a massive turkey.

Or, thinking about overflow casseroles and Christmas cookies, you opt for double ovens.

But what about the other 363 days of the year? If you’re not a serious baker, that second oven sits cold. And warming up that range with the huge oven capacity for a couple of baked potatoes wastes time and energy.

Appliances that Multitask

Instead, a trend we’re seeing is assembling a team of appliances that can work alone during normal operations but also can multitask for occasional holidays and parties.

So instead of a giant range, combine a double oven range and convection microwave.

The smaller upper oven of the range can be used for one-dish meals. Come Christmas, you can bake a dessert up top while a roasts monopolizes the lower oven. The convection microwave can bake a casserole.
A convection microwave also works overtime when paired with a single oven, perfect for those who won’t make enough use of a double oven.

Better yet, make that second oven a speed oven for the ultimate versatility.


This GE Advantium cooks up to 4 times faster than your grandmother’s oven – covering all 4 bases: warming/proofing, true convection, sensor microwave (that can rotate a 9×13 casserole on its turntable!) and of course, speed cooking.

How To Choose a Range Style

Now that you’ve figured out where to buy a stove, use these quick tips on how to buy a stove.

The fastest way to narrow your options – beside knowing your existing fuel type, is to identify your style.

Freestanding Ranges

The freestanding range is the most commonly used range style in homes, probably because it’s the most affordable and easiest to install. Featuring finished sides and a flat back, this range sits flush against a back wall.

>>Shop freestanding electric ranges

>>Shop freestanding gas ranges

Built-in Ranges

With the growing trend of decorative backsplashes, the slide-in range has become one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Featuring unfinished sides and back, this style is designed to be built in between two cabinets.

The body of the range is typically 30 inches wide. The top of the range is slightly wider to prevent crumbs from getting in the crevices between the countertop and range. The oven and burner controls are located on the front of the range, just above the oven door.

Though similar to a slide-in range, the drop-in range has waned in popularity in recent years.

While a slide-in range touches the floor, a drop in range sits on top of a cabinet baseboard. Though a drop-in range looks more built in than a freestanding range or even a slide-in range, it’s also more difficult to replace because of its height and the limited selection of drop-in style ranges.

>>See built-in gas ranges

>>See built-in electric ranges

Professional (pro-style) Ranges

While it is the most expensive range style available in the industry today, the professional range is gaining steam in gourmet kitchens. Pro-style ranges take the performance and styling of a true commercial range and make it safe to use for a home cook.

The oven and burner controls are always located on the front, just above the door.  Professional ranges feature burners capable of reaching high temperature for rapid boiling as well as extremely low temperatures for delicate and precise simmering. Larger models (36”, 48” or 60” wide) offer flexibility in the cooking surface, allowing for the addition of built-in griddles, grills and other specialty surfaces. Large ovens generally boast convection capabilities and intensely high-temperature broiling.

Professional ranges generally come in a stainless steel finish. However, some manufacturers such as Viking and Dacor offer distinctive colors (i.e. beyond white and black).

>> Read more advice on buying a range in our Range Buying Guide.

>>See all our Appliance Buying Guides