A range is the anchor of the kitchen, especially during the baking and roasting frenzy of the holidays. “This is the busiest time of the year for using your range, as well as replacing and upgrading it,” says Melanie Cook, a manager at General Electric Appliances.
If you’re in the market for one, educate yourself. The passion for industrial-style, stainless-steel ranges continues. Popular options include induction technology that heats faster by the power of a magnetic field, convection baking and double ovens, which offer flexibility to cook a ham and a pie at the same time. According to Sharon Franke of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, “If you haven’t bought a range in 20 years, you’re in for a bit of a surprise.”
More burners. Cooktops often add a fifth burner to the traditional four.
Versatility. Some electric burners can adjust from 6 up to 12 inches to accommodate different-size pans.
Griddles. More models have a griddle insert (sometimes reversible to a grill).
Double ovens. Two ovens in a free-standing range are a popular configuration.
Burners. For cast iron, soak and scrub with a non-abrasive pad and dry immediately to prevent rusting.
Clean interior often. Most ovens have self-cleaning features, but don’t wait too long. Very dirty ovens will generate smoke and smells during cleaning.
Home Depot’s Joey Corona, who buys major cooking appliances for the big box retailer, recommends these three ranges from the store at three price levels.
Smooth-top glass ceramic surface for easy upkeep. Self-cleaning oven. Storage drawer for pots and pans. 3,000-watt power burner heats up quickly. Model MER7662WW white. $699.
Five burners. Non-stick griddle. Sealed burners contain spills and are easier to clean. Extra-large oven window allows for better view of food while cooking. Model JGB605SETSS stainless steel. $1,049.
Five burners. Specific burners for boiling, simmering and warming. Non-stick griddle. Convection technology circulates air for more-even baking. Touch-pad controls. Black gloss oven interior. Model CGS990SETSS stainless steel. $3,399.
1. Take stock of power sources in your kitchen and determine whether you will be shopping for a gas or electric range. Gas ranges can operate on natural gas or liquid propane.
2. Consider your cooking style. Some manufacturers offer dual-fuel models for those who want high performance from their range. Typically the combination is a gas cooktop, which chefs prefer because it’s easier to control heat, and an electric oven (or ovens) that includes a convection option, a feature often preferred by serious bakers.
3. If you are replacing a range, measure your counter opening. A 30-inch is the standard size, but ovens come as narrow as 20 inches and can go up to 48 inches wide.
Average life span, in years, of a slide-in, single-oven range.
Percentage of cooking done on a range’s cooktop among Americans.
Percentage of the range market that is electric (40 percent is gas).
SOURCES: Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers; General Electric; Home Depot
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