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Range Or Cooktop?

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Range Or Cooktop?
Photo credit: NancyHugoCKD.com / Flickr

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Whether you’re remodeling the whole kitchen or just considering new appliances, some homeowners find themselves in a dilemma when it comes to deciding between a cooktop wall oven combo and a range.

Remodelista notes that options for configurations, cooking functions and size of both ranges and cooktops tend to be vast. This allows for nice variety and adaptability; however, it can also make choosing more difficult. Janet Hall of Remodelista recommends that you consider the following:

Benefits of Cooktops

  • Offers flexibility in cooktop sizes and configurations; there can be different oven widths and stovetop sizes for your needs;
  • Oven cooking can be set up ergonomically at arm and eye level;
  • Adaptability in kitchen configurations offers separate cooking and baking zones;
  • Better for multiple cooks in the kitchen;
  • Has dual full-size oven capability if needed for avid cooks.

Benefits of Ranges

  • All of the cooking functions will be centralized in one location;
  • Is an efficient space-saver for smaller kitchens;
  • Makes an impactful aesthetic statement in kitchens that are in need of a design focal point;
  • Tends to be more affordable;
  • Easy to install.

Kitchen Space

Do you have a small kitchen with limited cabinet and wall space? A range can be a good option, as they come in standard widths of 30 to 36 inches or even smaller, according to HGTV Remodels Cooktops take up counter space, but they do leave cabinet space available for storage. Ranges take up less space than cooktops or a separate wall oven. Ultimately, you should be striving for good “flow” in the kitchen, including ample space for working, dining, entertaining and storage. However, if space allows, the functionality of a cooktop is hard to beat.

Cooking Habits

CNET recommends that you take your cooking habits into consideration as well. How often do you use your cooking appliances? Do you have a genuine need for a big oven, or will you just use it once or twice a year for holiday cooking? Are you an avid baker fond of making complex multi-course meals?

If you cook and entertain a lot, a double oven setup might be in order. Ranges are usually limited to just one oven, so a wall oven is the way to go if two full-sized ovens are needed. You could also supplement your setup with an additional single wall oven.

Proximity, comfort and convenience are also important considerations. If you like to linger in front of the stovetop while cooking, you might want to avoid radiating oven heat. A wall oven within arm’s reach is a good idea for those with bad backs or knee issues. Be mindful of wall oven placement in relation to the height of the person who will be using it the most.

Cooktops offer more flexibility in size, placement, burner style, induction burners and other options. If you’re a solo cook, there’s less to worry about in terms of access. If there are two cooks (or more), consider a cooktop plus an oven to help create separate baking and cooking areas.

Design and Cost

If you really don’t have strong cooking preferences, a choice between a cooktop and range may come down to aesthetics. Do you like the sleek look of a built-in? A cooktop and/or wall oven may be the answer. Do you love the visual impact of a professional-looking kitchen? Then a range might be best for you. Even some of the pros who love an over-under setup of a range sometimes opt for a sleek, integrated cooktop setup instead with a wall-oven mounted beneath it.

Generally, ranges are the more affordable of the two, according the Consumer Reports. There’s one for every budget and they are easy to install; however, top-tier ranges cost more than cooktop-oven combos. If replacing an existing unit, it will be more affordable to stick with the same type of appliance for seamless installation. However, if remodeling or starting from scratch, the sky’s the limit.


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