DECIDE WHAT OVEN COMPARTMENTS YOU NEED
When considering the oven compartments you need, take into account how many people you cook for, and how often. Is a single oven enough? Or do you need two ovens running at different temperatures, or a broiler and oven running simultaneously?
Ideal for small kitchens, single ovens tend to have a broiler built within them, which means you can’t use the oven and broiler functions at the same time. Some gas models have lift-up lids that double as a backsplash.
Dual ovens are conﬁgured with either a smaller oven above a larger-capacity oven or two medium ovens stacked vertically. The large oven may be multifunctional (offering a range of heating modes), while the smaller top oven will typically be an economy model featuring a broiler function.
PROFESSIONAL STYLE RANGE
A range is typically freestanding and is larger than a standard stove—sometimes up to 5ft (150 cm) wide. Originally quite traditional in design, ranges are now available in more contemporary designs. Most models feature twin ovens side by side, although there are some that have a separate broiler compartment.
FREESTANDING OR BUILT-IN
A stove can either be freestanding or built into your kitchen cabinets. What you choose will largely depend on the look of your kitchen—built-in stoves are a better match for a sleek, contemporary design, while freestanding ranges give a more relaxed look.
Invariably used in freestanding kitchens, freestanding stoves can also be used with built-in cabinets if you leave space. Choose from standard stoves, which are 24in (60 cm) wide, to professional-style ranges. They are available with gas or electric fuel and in a range of styles, from contemporary to retro.
In a built-in kitchen, a built-in oven is good for maintaining the overall look, and if yours is a small space where layout choices are limited, it will often make sense to choose a combined model where the cooktop is positioned directly over the oven. Single- and double-oven options are available.
If you have space, you may ﬁnd it more convenient to locate your oven and cooktop separately. Having the oven built into a run of high cabinets at eye level is a particularly good option since you can open the oven or check on its contents without having to bend down.
CHOOSE THE FUEL TYPE
Ranges are available in single- or dual-fuel combinations. Electric- and fan-assisted ovens can be combined with a gas cooktop, or you could choose induction burners with a convection oven, or a gas cooktop with a gas oven.
Easy-to-clean ceramic cooktops have a glass surface with heating elements beneath. The heat is quickly conducted but isn’t as easy to control as gas. Use cast-iron or ferrous pans with this cooktop.
A magnetic ﬁeld created between a coil beneath the surface of an electric induction cooktop and a pan heats the pan very quickly and cools almost immediately when turned off. Use cast-iron or ferrous saucepans.
Electric plates provide excellent heat distribution by conducting all heat evenly into the base of a pan, making this a cost-effective option. Any ﬂat-based pans—especially cast-iron—are suitable.
Gas cooktops typically have four burners of varying sizes, although there are also larger versions (if you choose a range with a gas cooktop, it could easily have six or even eight burners). Gas is still a popular choice since it is easy to control and provides a visible heat source.
You can also buy combination cooktops—two gas burners and two electric is a basic example. Or you can go for something more adventurous by mixing an electric cooktop with a gas wok burner. The advantage of this type of cooktop is that it gives you a choice of cooking styles and fuel sources.
OVEN AND BROILER
Conventional electric ovens are controlled by a thermostat in the middle of the oven, making it slightly hotter at the top and cooler at the bottom. They can take a while to reach the required cooking temperature, so should be preheated. Fan-assisted convection ovens circulate heat quickly, creating a more even temperature.
Gas ovens are heated by a ﬂame at the bottom of the cavity. The hot air circulates as it rises to create different heat zones, with the highest temperature at the top and the lowest at the bottom. Gas ovens are especially good for baking cakes since they give off moisture during cooking.
CHOOSE A HOOD
Oven hoods are vital for getting rid of steam and cooking smells. Available in a range of designs, they come as extraction hoods, which extract the air from the room, or recirculation hoods, which merely ﬁlter it. Many models can be installed as either.
STANDARD RECIRCULATION HOOD
This style of hood is hung on the show directly on the wall above your stove and, ideally, should be roughly the same width as the stove. Since recirculation hoods don’t vent to the exterior, they can be installed almost anywhere in the kitchen. However, they are not as efficient as extraction models.
Chimney hoods are available in various shapes and sizes and are typically made from stainless steel. Island unit versions are also available and are designed so that they can be viewed from all angles.
This hood is designed to be suspended from the ceiling, making it an ideal choice if the stove is located within a kitchen island, for example. The recirculation models come in a wide range of styles, from basic hoods to lamp look-alikes and diamante-style globes.
A fully integrated oven hood is hidden behind a panel or door that typically matches your kitchen cabinet doors. The door must be pulled open for the extractor to work. These oven hoods are an ideal choice for a smaller kitchen.
Unlike other hoods, downdraft extractors are installed within the worktop behind your stove and are hidden away below the work surface when not in use. Downdraft extractors can be used with gas or electric stoves and positioned either against a wall or on a cooking island.