How to Buy a New Stove, Oven or Range

If your residential range/oven/stove has outlived its lifespan or you are upgrading your kitchen, there are numerous possibilities for replacing your basic cooking appliance. From no-frills models for under $300 to professional-looking showpieces with an $8,000+ price point, finding the right range to suit your needs and preferences will not be difficult.

Gas or Electric?

There are pros and cons to both gas and electric appliances, but the main determinant of which one to buy is whether or not you have easy access to natural gas service or propane. If gas is available at your home, you can choose either type of appliance. If not, limit your shopping to electric models only.

Many people prefer the quicker heating and responsiveness of a gas cooktop, but the even-heating characteristic of an electric oven makes it a top-pick for those who like to bake. Some buyers find their ideal product to be a dual-fuel range - gas cook top, electric oven - which starts at about $700.

Generally, the purchase prices for both gas and electric stoves/ovens are comparable. However, the cost of using a gas range in most of North America is slightly lower than the cost of an electric one. On the other hand, installation of a gas appliance may require a professional, if a homeowner is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with working with gas. Another possibility is to buy a separate wall oven and a cooktop, which is generally more expensive than an equivalent-quality, combination unit.

How to choose the right size and style?

The standard range has four burners (cooking elements) and is 30 inches wide, 26-28 inches deep, and 47-48 inches in height (with backsplash). For smaller or larger spaces, 20-60-inch-wide models are available. While the freestanding type is most popular, slide-in and drop-in ranges are available for specific cabinet and countertop configurations. New ovens are sufficiently insulated so that no minimum clearance is required.

Which features are worth considering?

  • Brand: Consumers rate some brands as more reliable than others.
  • Smooth top electric cooktop: Ceramic-glass surfaces are a top pick of consumers. They are easier to clean and more aesthetically pleasing than the original coil heating elements.
  • Sealed burner gas cooktop: For a small extra cost, sealed burners will pay off with easier cleaning.
  • Self-cleaning oven: Both gas and electric models offer this feature for a premium. The self-cleaning feature saves time and effort and eliminates the need for using harsh oven cleansers. Additionally, the high heat required to self-clean forces manufacturers to better insulate the oven, making it more energy efficient.
  • Electronics and other extras: Both higher-end gas and electric models offer useful features that include digital displays, downdraft ventilation, a warming drawer, a larger oven window, and high-power and simmer burners/elements. Gas ranges with electronic, pilot-less ignition are more efficient and less expensive to operate than models with a pilot light.
  • Warranty: Most ranges come with a one-year warranty. Extended warranties/service contracts are available at additional cost.

What to do with your old range?

When buying a new range, inquire about options for the old one. Many retailers will deliver your old appliance to a special facility where usable parts are removed and the rest of the unit is broken down into materials that are recycled.

If your old stove has stopped working, many problems can be fixed by the handy homeowner. We provide an introduction to the most important stove parts, including tips on how to figure out what has gone wrong, and how to replace broken components.