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Jun 28, 2007 02:35 PM

Affordable range? Gas? Electric? Please help!

I need a range for my new home. It's a starter home that we plan on selling in about five years so we don't want to spend too much money on the appliances.

We have a budget of about $1200 for a range. Ideally, I'd like a gas stove and an electric oven, but our budget (and kitchen layout) doesn't really allow for a gas cooktop + electric wall oven solution. Are there any affordable (but reliable) dual fuels? I haven't really been able to find any.

If you had to pick, would you go with a gas range or an electric range? Obviously, gas is better for the stove and electric is better for the oven. I use the stove and oven equally, so I'm not sure what to do.

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  1. Consumer Reports Best Buys on dual fuel ranges are Kenmore ($1550) and GE Profile ($1700) but those are full retail prices which you might be able to beat by shopping around.

    One thing that you could consider is a wall oven mounted under-counter. I have a gas cooktop with a cabinet underneath and a single electric oven in another section of my kitchen but it's mounted low, under the counter. That puts it at the same height as the oven on a range. See if that can work with your kitchen layout.
    The cost of my two appliances was less than a dual fuel range.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      Mounting it under the counter would most definitely work! But I imagined that getting separate components would have been substantially more expensive. I'm going to have to look into this some more. May I ask which brands/models you got?

      1. re: spiffy_dude

        GE Profile Convection Oven but a non-convection is much cheaper.
        My gas cooktop is an old KitchenAid. Gas cooktops are really durable. Virtually nothing goes wrong with most of them. There are some models however with bad repair records, something I have neither time nor patience for.
        Check Consumer Reports. The subscription is inexpensive compared to the amount of money you're getting ready to lay out for appliances. They do a good job on ratings for repair frequency, etc. plus which models are best value for the money. Important since you're looking at resale, not dream kitchen.

        1. re: spiffy_dude

          This is my normal spiel that I give every time this question is brought up about the GE Profile since we got ours 3 years ago. For the stand alone range (if you decide to go that route and not buy separate components), there is a lip where the controls are that go over the back burners. The only cookware you can use in the back are small pots or flat pans because the lip gets in the way. I like having my larger pots on the back stove, for simmering, boiling pasta, etc. and I can't. If you check it out, keep that in mind because once you notice it, it's pretty obvious. We have the electric, smoothtop. Great concept but if you ever boil over, or you pour out of a pot and put it back on the stove w/ a little residue on the bottom, it bakes on the stove and is hard to clean. The other thing you can't do with it is lay a large roasting pan or griddle across two burners. We went with the non-convection oven because we were in the same situation as you (moving in a few years). In hindsight, I wish we had paid more and gotten the convection oven. My first choice would have been gas but that would have required running gas lines down to our house and cost-prohibitive for the short time we'd be here.

          1. re: chowser

            Thanks for the info on the GE Profile. That lip does indeed sound annoying.

            Does convection really make THAT much of a difference? I mean, I hear a lot of great things about it, but it costs significantly more. Our current oven is a cheap model (provided by the apartment) and it doesn't have convection. We get along fine, but this is probably a case of ignorance is bliss.

            1. re: spiffy_dude

              It depends on what you cook but I do a lot of roasts and chicken type things. I thought it was unnecessary, too, but I've found myself short on time at the end of the day. Plus, baking cakes can sometimes take an hour on a regular oven and you have to plan ahead for it. I never thought about it until I stayed with a friend who has a double convection oven and she cooked 4 chickens at once in a fraction of the time. And, there's no need to switch cookie sheets at the halfway point. I bake a lot, though, and if I didn't, would not spend the extra money.

              Oh, one thing we're seriously considering is getting a countertop advantium which is also a microwave and is similar to the convection oven. You can get a built in but the advantage of the countertop is that we can bring it with us when we move. I think it's about $300 so less than upgrading to a convection oven, plus if you're moving, it's not sunk in the house.


            2. re: chowser

              I have the GE Profile ceramic cooktop with a bridge unit, so I have no difficulty putting a large roasting pan or griddle across two burners. It all depends on what you buy. Note -- I had always cooked with gas, and kept burning things with the coil electric cooktop that was here when I moved into my house, but the ceramic has been just terrific. Sometimes I am actually happy that I don't have burners to clean, and I have no real problem cleaning the smooth top, which looks better to me now than the gas unit I thought I would have preferred. The trick is to get the burners before you bake on more junk.

              1. re: RGC1982

                I wish I had gotten that bridge option. When we ordered ours, it wasn't available from the site we used. I do like my GE Profile, just a few things in hindsight that I would have done differently like getting a slide in so the controls on back didn't overhang on the back burners, getting the bridge, and getting a convection. I also worry about scratching the top w/ heavy duty pans.

        2. Are you having trouble finding affordable or reliable-reviewed dual fuel units?

          I have a Kenmore Professional duel fuel range (gas stove, electric+convection oven) but it's a double-oven unit that's 36 inches wide (I think that's the width, maybe it's 40). I think it would be hard to have an unreliable gas stove, unless you had burners that were always too high or too low and didn't adjust. My oven has been working well for about 1.5 years, still calibrated to the right temperature for baking. I haven't figured out if the convection cooking is off because of the oven or me (most likely me) - I'm just not used to it and haven't had the time to tinker with recipes to adapt them.

          Sears always has sales going on, either a drop in price, no interest financing, or 10-20% off certain appliances. With the July 4th holiday coming up, I'd see if there's a sale coming up. I like Kenmore (which is often an LG, Frigidaire, or other brand style with the Kenmore name - like Costco does) and think they're a good compromise between cheap appliances and ridiculously expensive ones like Wolf and Viking.

          4 Replies
          1. re: leanneabe

            I probably should have mentioned this before, but I'm restricted to shopping at a specific store (they have a deal with the builder of my house). Fortunately, they have a very good selection and better than average prices. Unfortunately, they do not carry Kenmore.

            1. re: spiffy_dude

              Be sure to shop around for pricing at least in that case. These sweetheart deals can eat you alive.

              Kenmore is actually only a nameplate at this point, you can usually find similiar if not the same model sold under other brand names.

              1. re: Scrapironchef

                This is very true. My dual-oven Kenmore range is the exact same as a Frigidaire model. And a had looked at a french-door refrigerator that was actually an LG model.

                1. re: leanneabe

                  I guess what the re-badged Kenmore has over the "originals" is the Sears warranty. It's by no means perfect, but it's much better than the horror stories I hear about Frigidaire's customer service.

          2. I'm not like the world's most expert baker or anything, nor have I spent a lot of time working with expensive ranges / ovens, but I have liked my gas ovens better than any electric oven I've ever worked with - things just seem to come out better.

            I don't know if you like vintage stoves at all, but I really love my O'Keefe and Merritt (had an apartment sized one at my last place, which had a tiny kitchen, and now have a huge one w/ a grill in the middle at my new place. You can't get a museum condition one for that money, but you can get a nice O'Keefe & Merritt or Wedgewood in good working condition for about $5-900 depending on condition, and the resale value should be pretty good if you sell it later.

            15 Replies
            1. re: will47

              Sounds like spiffy dude is buying a NEW house and has an allowance from the builder to buy a range AT A SPECIFIC STORE. Used won't cut it...

              I have some experience with the "deals" that stores typically work out with builders...

              If they say your "allowance" is $1200 what they will generally do is show you ranges that have a "book price" of that, but those ranges generally sell for about 30% discount. Not a bad range, buy probably not enough to get a dual fuel range which have street price of about $1000...

              What I would suggest is doing some serious LEG WORK. First head to a Best Buy and Home Depot. These places have very standard prices that everybody gets treated the same. They generally have a discount from MSRP of about 10-15%, sometimes a bit more. The key is to list out the FEATURES that each range has, as there are often "mass merchant only" models. After you've been to these places you should have a pretty good sense for what your "allowance" will buy at the mass merchants. Next I'd head to an independant appliance seller, but NOT the place that has the deal with your builder. These places have somewhat fluid prices, both becuase they have a bit of the "car salesman" mindset that every customer is worth a little more than they say AND because these places mroe frequently get "marketing incentives" from the appliance makers that they can use to offer better prices. When you leave there you should have an excellent sense of the "best deal" that you can get for the TOTAL allowance that your builder has worked out. Next head to the dealer that your builder has worked out the allowance with. It should quickly dawn on them that you've done some homework. If they stand hard on the "book price" don't waste your time or theirs. Go to the builder. If the builder understands that you know the 'allowance' will go much further at another merchant they will probably either dig in their heals and say "Dealer X is the ONLY place that meets my schedule" or something equally silly. (silly because anybody with a pickup can get an appliance delivered to a house under construction in no time...) OR they will say "Fine here is $900-- go get the range you want".

              Finally, most builders HATE putting a wall oven in a base cabinet if they are stock builder -- extra work for the electricians, cabinet crew, and inspectors. Even custom builders will object if they've already got your cabinets ordered, scheduled et cetera. Where are you on the timeline?

              1. re: renov8r

                Renov8r gives GREAT advice. America is not a bargaining culture and you have to fight that. The only thing they can say is "No." So get over it. Once you decide that it's a game, it becomes fun. Just keep in mind that they have a bottom line and have to make a profit so don't be a jerk. Be pleasant and both of you can win.
                Don't trust taking notes for comparison. Print out the specs on the models that appeal to you from the internet, take the file with you, and jot down notes in the margins. You'll know the MSRP and what each store offers and you can play them against each other. Sometimes you can get last years' model or a scratch-and-dent. I've gotten amazing deals on special orders that were returns that were offered to me at dealer cost.
                Just remember that at a certain point, a stove is a stove is a stove. Special orders that delay your builder and the completion of your home will make you no friends and you probably won't be any happier with the finished kitchen than if you had found something reasonable that was easily obtainable.
                Renov8r is right about the builder's bottom line. Working with him is to your advantage. Do your homework and you'll probably get pretty close to exactly what you want.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  Right on, I've already started a feature/price comparison spreadsheet database for all the appliances I'm considering. I should definitely ask if they have any old models that they're trying to get rid of. And special orders probably won't be an issue, since if it's "special" it probably means it's out of our budge!

                2. re: renov8r

                  Wow, thanks for all the info renov8r! We don't quite have an allowance, but it's close. They're "including" the appliances: five cheapo Frigidaires that can be upgraded through the dealer. Whenever I asked them anything beyond their standard promo sheet, I was told to get in touch with the dealer. I am indeed worried that since I'm "locked in" with them, I have next to no leverage to negotiate the upgrade prices. Any advice?

                  The house is set to close at the end of this year and we haven't yet chosen our cabinetry. I'm still not sure if separate components is the way to go. I'd love to get a Bosch dual-fuel range, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is money down the drain once I sell the house.

                  1. re: spiffy_dude

                    If it starts getting to be a hassle and complicated, having an all-gas range/oven isn't the worst thing to have. I'd prefer that over an all-electric model. If this is really just a starter home and you don't plan on taking the appliances when you sell, save your time and energy for when you're shopping for your dream kitchen.

                    1. re: leanneabe

                      Thanks for the recommendation. Yes, if it becomes too much of a hassle, I'm leaning towards settling on a gas range.

                    2. re: spiffy_dude

                      I think you are on the right track. It can be a real bummer to be buying a new house in a builder-type development. They try to offer some choices but no builder can have access to everything. If you know you are getting a raw deal then just ask for the cash point blank. With the way no home sales are going in tank the builder would be a fool not to try and make you happy.

                      If you are fairly certain that you'll be putting the home up for sale in the next 5 years or so I would not put too much into upgrades that cost a lot. The #1 thing that will make your house sell, vs others that may be available new if the development does not sell out, witll be the things that cannot be added: in a word LOCATION -- get the best (quietest, most scenic/most mature landscaping , best backyard config) that you can!
                      When it comes to the "food centric" stuff you can count on getting your money back for things like a tastefully decorated dining room, and a custom pantry ( storage, lighting are great DIY projects). Appliances? In 5 years even top of the line will still be 5 years old, but if you plan on getting a stove that doesn't look beat-up will help. Try to get a stove that has burner grates that have a heavy weight non-shiny finish - they are A LOT less likely to show wear... I would caution that you ought not get any bottom of the line stuff. If they offer (or you can upgrade to) a fridge with filtered ice & water get that. Get DW with a SS interior if you can, they look good practically forever. Get the most feature laden microwave the builder has. The trend is definitely toward units with convection and other speed cook features. You can't go wrong with stainless finishes. Second choice for color would be black, a distant third. pure white. These are for RESALE value, and timelessnes/resistance to showing wear are what I'm going on...

                      Good Luck!

                      1. re: renov8r

                        I should mention that I live up in Canada, and it's currently a seller's market. We did our best to find a good location that fit our budget. I must admit that I'm not 100% happy about it, but I just keep reminding myself that it's a starter home. It's a small place (tiny backyard and we don't even get a pantry), but we don't have kids so it's more than enough space for us.

                        About the fridge with filtered ice and water, may I ask why you recommend this? A number of people have suggested the opposite because they say the mechanical parts have a tendency to break down.

                        Most likely, we're going to go with black appliances. It's cheaper than stainless steel, and I imagine that it's more scratch resistant (or at least it's easier to get the scratches out). Normally, this wouldn't be such an issue, but we have a very energetic dog.

                        Good call on the non-shiny grates. I'll definitely have to keep that in mind.

                        Thanks so much renov8r!

                        1. re: spiffy_dude

                          Ice & water is one of those things that 10-15 years ago were troubleprone, that is no longer the case with most "normal" (freezer on top) or side by side fridges -- now if you get a fridge w/o those features it just screams "bottom of the line". With the filter you are saving momney on bottle watered and have less reason to open the door and waste energy -- energy efficency is a BIG plus. For the French door style this would be a newer feature, and the data is not yet there for reliability(plus as I posted in another thread in some French door models these designed practically fight gravity).

                          In general it's a good idea to avoid the top-of-the line and bottom. I do somewhat agree with folks that say "hey $1000 is only $200/year over 5 years" but when deciding where to save some dough and go for an upgrade my #1 suggestion is always consider what will show age the least, and I think that you are on the right track. If you can get appliance with more features/better wear characteristics and still stay within your budget all the better.

                          I thought that even the shows we get from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (like Buy Me) seem to suggest that the market for homes in Canada is pretty bad too, but it probabl varies by location...

                          1. re: renov8r

                            To be honest, I haven't come across many top-freezer fridges with ice and water. I usually only see them on side-by-sides. For our drinking water, we are currently using one of those filters that attach directly to the faucet. I guess I'll have to look into this as well. Any recommendations for the brands?

                            I'm pretty surprised that you're hearing that our real estate market is bad. Well, I guess it depends on what you consider as bad. The boom in western Canada has resulted in a ridiculously low vacancy rate. They just can't keep up with the demand, so the prices are well up there. Good for sellers but obviously very bad for buyers. Generally speaking, the real estate market in Canada has been on fire and some analysts are only now suggesting that it's starting to slow down.

                          2. re: spiffy_dude

                            Ice and water in the door is great if you drink a lot of water, we don't drink sodas in our house so it's a big thing for us. I put an additional cartridge filter in the supply line and pretty much never worry about the rather expensive filter in the fridge.

                            If you do look for one, choose the double paddle version, one for ice, one for water, instead of single with a switch. The only component I've ever seen fail is the switch. Frigidaire has been good to me.

                            At the very least get an icemaker.

                            1. re: Scrapironchef

                              I have this mental image in my head of my dog standing on his hind legs and hitting the paddles to get his own ice and water...

                              Thanks for the tip on the switch. I still kind of wonder if it's really necessary for us since we already have a faucet filter. Ice would be nice though...

                        2. re: spiffy_dude

                          Let me try to put the "money down the drain" idea to rest for you, spiffy dude. Let's assume you spend the terrific sum of $1000 to upgrade to a stove you will really, really enjoy for the next five years and you do indeed cook at home a lot. That's only $200 a year or $16.67 a month - about what a chain restaurant meal costs. You've got a nice quality stove that will wear well and look good when you sell in five years. You've gotten five years of real pleasure from it for very little monthly cost.
                          The annuals you plant in the garden, the fresh flowers on your table, everything else you buy that fades could be called "money down the drain." If something gives you pleasure, figure out if it's a reasonable expenditure in terms of your lifestyle and then go for it. Obviously, you can't do this with swimming pools and every possible upgrade, but figure out what's really important to you and go for it.

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            I've got to agree with MakingSense, 5 years would be a long time to live with a less than ideal stove. 1 or 2 years maybe. If you really like it, take it with you when you move, but it will probably bring a premium on the sale and you can upgrade again. It will probably be in better shape in 5 years than a lesser model.

                            1. re: Scrapironchef

                              I hear what you folks are saying, but what worries me is that we've already gone past our budget for the house. We have to draw the line somewhere. The money saved on appliances could go to other essential items, or we can even put it towards the down payment. But I agree that five years is a long time to put up with cheap appliances (especially when it comes to the dishwasher).

                    3. After suffering with an electric range,and oven for the years I was renting I was so glad to get a gas range, and gas convection oven when we built our house. Im my opinion gas is the better way to go with the cooktop, and oven.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: swsidejim

                        Me too. I love my gas range and oven and would never go back to electric. Now we just need to upgrade to convection. :0)

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          Hey spiffy dude, thanks for the timely thread. I'm also in a position at the moment to buy new appliances for the kitchen (we are renovating, also in a starter home - but with real-estate these days, it is looking like it will be the forever-home). I think that Mr. Cheesehead and I have decided to go for "spiffy" but "mid-range" stove - Bosch all gas (less expensive than the dual-fuel that you are considering) and Bosch dishwasher (that's for Mr. Cheesehead who is the dish-master in the house). Here's our reasoning: when we finally sell our house, we may take the appliances with us. It is not mandatory that you leave your appliances. That is something that you can negotiate with the buyer down the road. I enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I want my time there to be enjoyable.
                          Congratulations your new home - welcome to the legions of the house-poor!

                      2. Look at Jenn-Air 30" dual fuel range with 2 ovens. Very unique: good 5-burner gas cooktop, small upper electric oven great for broiling, pies, cookies, etc; lower convection oven good regular size oven. Probably about $1500, but it's got a lot of good features that you can't easily get for that price. Range just slides into 30" gap - no build-in required, but the gas and electric have to be placed pretty exactly in the wall. The only possible downside: can't cook a huge, growth-hormone beast of a turkey... :-)