How to Buy Major Appliances
You can control the flame with precision on gas models; electric versions heat food and boil water faster. For both, prices start at $500 and can cost as much as $10,000. Dual-fuel ranges ($1,400 to $10,000 or more) pair gas cooktops with electric ovens.
- Convection capabilities. A fan in the back of the unit circulates heated air to cook more evenly and about 25 percent faster. Convection ranges cost about $200 to $300 more than standard ones.
- An easy-to-clean cooktop. Electric units have coil tops (look for those with porcelain rather than ceramic or enameled-metal drip pans) or smooth surfaces that wipe down in a flash. The grates on gas models need to be removed before you start scouring. Some have continuous grates, which are sturdy and allow pots to be slid from burner to burner without lifting; the downside is that they're heavy. Look for seamless edges and corners.
- Warming drawers. Typically located beneath the oven cavity, these keep food warm before it hits the table and serve as extra storage space when not in use.
- Steam technology. Use this feature, manually or automatically, to infuse anything from roasts to baked goods with moisture.
- Commercial-style units. If you're an avid cook, check out these professional-looking ranges. They boast up to eight burners and can span 60 inches, so they're ideal for preparing multiple dishes at the same time. Some have grills, griddles, and built-in woks. Note that you will pay top dollar for them.