Consumer Guide on Shopping for a New Oven
Before You Start Shopping:
First things first, let’s be clear on the differences in ovens, cooktops and ranges.
Oven: When consumers shop for ovens, they are shopping for the actual interior device. An oven only includes the part that you load your food into – the stove is separate and can be bought independently.
Cooktop: Cooktops are what you think of when you think of a stove. They aren’t always attached to an oven.
Range: A range refers to the whole deal – an oven and cooktop appliance in one. Most kitchens have a range, but some homeowners prefer to keep the oven and cook top separate.
Now that we’ve got that straight, there are a few things to consider when you’re shopping for an oven, cooktop, or range.
- What kind of oven, cooktop or range do you already have? Whether gas or electric, replacing your old appliance with a new one that uses the same fuel will save you a bundle of money.
- What kind of space do you have? You can shop for built-in ovens or stand alone ovens, but it depends on your existing cabinets.
- Do you have kids in your home? If these ovens are accidentally left on or malfunction, you’ll have a gas leak in your home which is very dangerous.
- Are you a party planner or a quiet type? If you love to host dinners and events at your home (and do some of the cooking yourself) you’ll want to save yourself some trouble and invest in an oven with features that can handle big meals. Not big on cooking or company? Opt for a smaller, simpler oven and save space (and probably some cash).
Shopping for Cooking Appliance Types:
Gas: Gas ovens use burners and air circulation to cook food. They tend to be smaller than electric ovens as well. One important thing to keep in mind with gas ovens is the possibility of a gas leak. This is an extremely dangerous situation so it’s a good idea to install a gas detector if you’re afraid of leaving your oven on. Gas cooktops allow for more versatility in cooking. With a gas cooktop, you have instant heat and can change temperature levels instantly.
Electric: These ovens typically cook food faster and more evenly, using less energy. However, because they use electricity, convection ovens are more prone to an interrupted power supply or a burned out element. Electric cooktops (or induction cooktops) don’t have the versatility of the gas cooktops, but are extremely easy to clean due to their flat surface.
Shopping for Cooking Appliance Styles:
Shopping for Ovens:
- Built In Ovens: Built in ovens, or wall ovens, are placed directly into your cabinetry. They provide a sleek look, but keep in mind, built in ovens don’t come with cooktops. If you’re shopping for a built in oven, you’ll have to shop for a free standing cooktop separately.
- Why shop for a built in oven: If you’re concerned about space or want a really seamless look in your kitchen, consider a built in oven. Built in ovens won’t take up space and add a really classic look to your kitchen. If you already have a built in oven then replacing it is simple. Remodeling your kitchen? It could be a good time to install a built in oven.
- Price range: $600 -$3000
- Freestanding Ovens: These more traditional ovens fit securely between cabinets, coming to height of the existing cabinets. They tend to be larger than wall ovens and cost less to install since you don’t have to reconfigure your cabinetry.
- Why shop for a freestanding oven: If you already have a freestanding oven, then you’ll probably want to replace it with another freestanding oven. Other perks to freestanding ovens? They are larger and cost less. If you don’t care about a super sleek look and are planning on cooking big meals, shop for a freestanding oven.
- Price range: $500 – $1800
- Double Ovens: Double ovens are a great option for the avid baker or chef. They either come as two units on top of one another or just have two separate sections in one single oven. The benefit to double ovens is that heat can be controlled independently. A downside is that both oven compartments tend to be smaller than traditional ovens.
- Why shop for a double oven? If you find you’re always doing a million things at once in the kitchen, shop for a double oven. They save you a lot of trouble if you like cooking for your family during the holidays or entertaining guests throughout the year. Keep in mind these ovens pack twice the cooking power – and twice the price.
- Price range: $1500 – $3000
Shopping for Cooktops:
- Stand alone cooktops: Cooktops can be built right into your countertops (this is generally done with electric cooktops, but gas cooktops can be stand alone as well). The advantage of a built in cook top is a sleek, seamless look for your kitchen.
- Why shop for a stand alone cooktop: Stand alone cooktops add a sleek sophistication to your kitchen. By not attaching your cooktop to your oven, you free up your kitchen space.
- Price range: $200 – $1800
- Dependent Cooktops: These are cooktops that are connected to an existing oven. The benefit? All your appliances are together which makes for easy, simple cooking.
- Why shop for a dependent cooktop: If you want your cooking done easy and simple, stick with what you know, which is probably this traditional cooktop. The price tag is cheaper and chances are you won’t have to deal with high installation costs. When you consider the cost for dependent cooktops, consider you’re also paying for the attached oven.
- Price range: $400 – $2000
Top Rated Cooktops: Kenmore 30″ Electric Cooktop with Radiant Elements, Whirlpool 36″ Gas-on-Stainless Cooktop
Shopping for Ranges:
- Built In Range: Just as it sounds, ranges can be built directly into your countertops and cabinets.
- Why shop for a built in range: With a built in range you get all your cooking appliances in one place and have a seamless look with your cabinets.
- Price range: $700 – $3000
- Freestanding Range: A freestanding range fits securely into countertops and cabinets but isn’t built in.
- Why shop for a freestanding range: Shopping on a budget? Shop for a freestanding range. Depending on your existing appliances, a freestanding range is probably the most economical choice.
- Price Range: $400 – $2000
Cooking Appliance Maintenance Tips:
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for a new cooking appliance, be sure to be prepared once you actually buy your new oven, cooktop or range.
- Peel off plastic on the oven door. If you use your oven with the plastic on it will melt into a big mess.
- Set the clock. Some ovens won’t work without the clock properly set.
- Be aware that a new oven’s temperature might be calibrated differently than your old oven. Cook accordingly.
- Even with your new oven, food can cook unevenly. This is usually due to uneven pans (not your oven). Check pans before using them in your new oven.
- Invest in porcelain drip pans instead of chrome pans. They hold up longer.