Best Stove Ranges and Cooker Tops
Are you looking for the perfect stoves ranges and cookertops for your kitchen? Do you find it confusing to tell the difference between all the different types and models on the market? You’re not alone. If you though a stove, an oven and a cookertop (or cooktop) were all the same thing, you’re mistaken, oddly enough.
Here at WhichCooker, we want to make sure you have access to the best ranges and cooktop choices on the market. That goes for online picks as well as on the high street. But what are the major differences between cooktops? What should you be looking for in the perfect range or oven? What’s likely to fit your own cooking profile the best?
There are plenty of questions to ask. But don’t worry! In this full guide to ranges and cooktop styles, we’ll look at some of the best picks on the market right now. We’ll also serve up a buying guide of sorts to help you on your way. Who knew that buying cooking appliances could ever get so complex?
The Best Stove Ranges and Cooker Tops 2020
What To Look For When Buying a Stove Range and Cooktop
Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the best ranges and cooktops on the market, let’s consider what you should be looking for when shopping around.
Of course, everyone has a preference when it comes to power. Do you prefer to cook with gas or electric? You will find electric ranges, gas-only ranges and those which offer a pro-style cooktop. These systems offer you the best of both worlds, but are likely to be much more expensive outright. Which do you prefer – the precision of gas or the speed and safety of an electric range?
As mentioned at the head of our guide, there are four main types of range top. Electric induction cooktop systems are high-performance, but can be expensive. Smoothtops look great and are more affordable. A gas range cooktop is more precise, and pro-style cooktop will blend gas and electric together. An electric cooktop should be easy for you to manage and will likely get food up to temperature very quickly. However, they might not be the best to cook with long-term.
Oven capacity, too, is important. How much do you need? Five cubic ft of space tends to be enough for most families who cook regularly. However, you could split this into two ovens. A double oven and range will allow you to cook multiple meals at multiple temperatures. Will this appeal to you? Or are you happy with electric ranges that offer less space, and more control?
Ease of Use
You can buy some range systems that connect to wi-fi. It’s true! Why not cook your dinner via app? Alternatively, some people prefer a simple oven and range in 30 inches and with all the usual knobs and dials. There are plenty of electric range options out there, too, which have simple ‘glide’ controls. Whether this appeals to you or not is down to taste!
How many burners will you need? How quickly will you want your food to heat up and fry on the hobs? Do you need a simple control panel, or something a little more complex?
Of course, there are plenty of electric ranges with all-singing, all-dancing features. Some, as mentioned, connect to wi-fi. Others will self-clean and will magnetise to certain pots and pans. For a few thousand dollars, you could have access to some fantastic gadgets and gizmos. It’s all a matter of taste and convenience, of course!
Of course, the look of your range matters a lot. Why choose an oven that looks clunky or unappealing? Is there nothing in the GE profile that takes your fancy? Don’t just buy a range in 30 inches because it looks good, though. Look for a neutral system which is easy to clean, manage, and which slides nicely into your interior design.
The Difference Between Ovens, Stoves and Ranges
Ok – so first of all, it’s worth considering the difference between the main cooking appliances in your kitchen. Surely an oven and a stove do the same thing? What about a cooktop or a range? Let’s cut through some of the confusion, shall we?
What is an Oven?
The answer to this somewhat philosophical question is this – it’s a chamber you cook food in. They can be used to prepare and cook food in a variety of ways. You can cook, bake, grill and more besides. You can buy wall ovens, double ovens, true convection oven systems and more. The market is your oyster. But is an oven necessarily going to do enough for you?
What is a Stove?
A stove is a little bit different to an oven in how food is cooked. Traditionally, a stove would be a standalone system. Unlike an oven, which has more advanced heating elements, a stove could traditionally work through burning wood or other fuel. You’re more likely to find a stove that is freestanding. You can purchase stovetops, however, where you can prepare and heat more food outside of the main chamber.
What is a Range?
Where the deer and the antelope play? Not quite. A range is a combination of the two – it’s an oven-cum-stove. That means you benefit from a full cooking and heating chamber, as well as a cooktop. Many people buy ranges when they want to cook a wide variety of food and meals. The top of a range can be called a cooktop or cookertop.
All of the above can work through gas or electricity. Some, in fact, use both.
What Are The Four Basic Types of Cooktops?
As if things weren’t already confusing, there are four main types of cooktops you’ll buy on the market today. While you may find that there are a few other variations here and there, the following generally seem to be the most common.
Smoothtops tend to be very popular with modern kitchen owners. You will likely find them as part of leading range lines and paired with more advanced oven systems. They work through an electric coil, under – funnily enough – a smooth top. They are very environmentally friendly, however, some people prefer more traditional systems for the control aspects. You can often heat and warm up plates through a smoothtop, too.
Electric induction cooktops tend to be even more eco-friendly and energy efficient. These systems work a little differently to other electrical cook tops as they work through magnets. This means that they will provide heat when you lay down a magnetic pan on a hob, for example.
However, some people can find this a little awkward. Why? Because you can only use pots and pans which are magnetic. Cast iron pans, generally, aren’t going to work. While you’ll save money on energy, you might have to splash out on a whole new set of cookware.
A gas cooktop is a classic choice. Most traditional ranges will have these systems built-in. As the name suggests, these run on natural gas, though you can also use propane. Plenty of people prefer using gas for cooking because you can fine-tune the process. It’s easier, supposedly, to overcook food using sleeker systems. However, not all gas cooktops are bulky or unattractive. Far from it – there are plenty out there which look just as slick and as modern as your electrical models.
Pro-style ranges and cooktops will, on the whole, appeal to anyone looking for dual fuel options. On the face of things, going dual fuel may seem more efficient and even cost-effective. However, you may not necessarily find that this is the case – particularly when you see how much you generally have to pay upfront for these systems! They are very aesthetically pleasing, but if you really want to keep things simple, it’s worth sticking with gas or electric – one or the other!
Without further ado, it’s time to start looking at the best stove ranges and cookertops available right now. Here’s our pick of ten of the best – why not use this list as a good launching pad for your own shopping experience?
We hope you’ve found our guide informative! Now you know what a range is, and what separates stoves and ovens, it’s time to go shopping. Want a double oven and electric range? Maybe an electric range doesn’t appeal at all. What about a gas model in 30 inches? Check out GE profile and Whirlpool options, too. Dare to buy a range that does everything you want!