Picking a fuel type is one of the first choices you’ll have to make when shopping for a new kitchen range. Some cooks find that gas heat is easier to regulate and responds more quickly to temperature adjustments. If you’ve settled on gas as your cooking method, you’ll have more than 300 different models of ranges to consider. Examining several criteria can help you select your new gas range.
Select a size. While many gas ranges are 30 inches wide, some professional-style designs measure 36 inches wide. Smaller options are 24 inches wide. Determine what size will fit in the space where you plan to place your new appliance.
Choose a style. Slide-in ranges don’t have finished sides because they are designed to be installed between cabinets. Freestanding ranges are finished on all sides, so they can fit into cabinet cutouts, be placed at the end of a counter, or stand alone elsewhere in the kitchen.
Pick burner options. The amount of heat a gas flame emits is measures in British thermal units (BTUs). Some cooktops have only one BTU option, while others offer up to five different heating capabilities. “Consumer Reports” advises shoppers to pick a range with at least one 15,000-BTU burner. Some gas ranges have four burners, while others have five. Gas ranges with sealed cooktops prevent crumbs and liquids from falling below the burner, making cleanup easier.
Check baking capabilities. Note the number of oven racks and rack positions included with various models. Some high-end gas ranges offer a double oven or an oven plus a baking drawer. Compare the number of oven cubic feet in the models you’re considering and whether they offer convection cooking. You should also note whether an oven has self-cleaning capabilities. A hidden bake element in the oven makes cleanup easier.
Review customer comments. J.D. Power and Associates conducts an annual study in which it asks appliance owners to rate their ranges in seven categories, including features, reliability and ease of use. Check the ratings to see which brands scored highest in the latest survey. Also, visit appliance retailers’ websites to see what customers have to say about specific models.
Get independent analysis. Subscribe to the “Consumer Reports” magazine or website to access its reviews of various models. The publication’s experts buy the products they test and try to re-create the experience consumers will have when using the product.
Set a budget. Prices for gas ranges started below $350 in January 2011, with some models exceeding $2,300. Those with stainless-steel finishes and special features will cost the most. Consider whether it’s worth spending more for these models.
Sources used in this article:
Kitchen Ranges: Kitchen Range Guide
JDPower.Com: 2010 Home Appliance Study-Range/Cooktop/Oven