A range combines an oven and a cooktop together in just one appliance. Usually, the oven and the cooktop both use the identical energy source, gas or electric. But dual-fuel ranges offer the extra advantage of gas burners and an electric convection oven. If you are looking for very precise stove-top control and extremely consistent
baking the dual-fuel option can give you more control.
Freestanding ranges sit in-between cabinets. They typically have a bottom storage drawer and controls placed on the back of the unit. This can offer the added benefit of a more customized layout for your kitchen, especially if you're looking for the wall-mounted oven feature.
Slide-in ranges close gaps between the range and the counter top and have their controls in the front of the range, also offering the option of a more customized kitchen layout.
Drop-in ranges hang on the counter top and look very similar like built-in ranges. Installation for these types requires a little bit of additional paneling and cabinet support underneath them.
Cooktops can be fueled either by gas or electricity, and offer different varieties of options for burners and surfaces.
Electric Cooktops with Glass Ceramic Surfaces
Glass ceramic cooktops offer a very smooth
look, many times have a touchpad instead of knobs. Circular
shapes on the surface show where to place your pots and pans. These do
not have coils, but instead use radiant, halogen or induction heating
elements. Radiant or ribbon devices heat similarly to standard black
electric coils; halogen works like ultra hot lightbulbs; and induction
creates heat via magnetic fields.
Electric Cooktops with Coil Burners
These cooktops feature
electric black coils covered with insulation. They create heat via
electrical resistance. The heat moves to the pot or pan through
conduction and radiation.
Btu's measure the heating power of gas cooktops and ovens. The higher the Btu capacity, the hotter the cooktop or oven can get.
For most everyday cooking, about 9,000 Btu should do fine. However, if you plan to do a lot of stir-frying, sautéing, or other high-heat cooking, you may want more in the range of 12,000 Btu or even more. Some designed for home use can hit 15,000. Commercial devices can go as high as 20,000. That's a lot of cooking power.
Also think about what kind of precision you need for low-heat cooking. You may want burners that can go down as low as 5,000 Btu, oscillating on and off, allowing you to simmer without scorching.