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range vs. cooktop

We are in the beginning stages of planning a kitchen remodel in the house we just bought. It was a foreclosure - and they took everything. We bought a used dishwasher and the cheapest gas range we could find and are currently working out of a temporary kitchen that is, to put it mildly, scary.

I've done some research, but I'd like opinions I can trust. :) So, if you could start from scratch, would you do a gas cooktop and wall oven (or double wall ovens) or a mid-range (top of the line at say home depot or lowes) range. And why?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. If space were no issue, I'd probably do a Thermador induction cooktop and two wall ovens.

    4 Replies
      1. re: tzurriz

        To each his/her own :) Then a gas cooktop and two wall ovens. I don't have the space so I have a range (induction cooktop and convection oven) and a LARGE Samsung MW/convection.

        1. re: tzurriz

          "I know for sure I want gas."

          Same as most people where I live as well.

          That is why we got "what the H3LL are you thinking" looks when we asked for Induction in our new home. The original plans called for GE Profile slide-ins and Natural Gas hookup. Our realtor, the selling realtor, and the builder could not believe we didn't want the gas, and that we wanted "electric" instead. We had to explain the whole induction thing to all of them.

          More specific to your question, we redesigned the entire kitchen because of the OTR microwave. We hate those things. Since our builder couldn't grasp a drawer-type microwave (they didn't know what that was either...this would have been an easy and MUCH cheaper way to go for us) we ended up ditching the range, installing a 36" Profile induction cooktop, Profile wall oven/microwave combo, and Profile 600cfm hood.

          While we like our setup with the wall oven, I wish we had double ovens and found another microwave solution. We don't want a microwave on the counter, nor above the range. We would have liked the drawer solution, or even hidden it in the pantry if it had been large enough.

          Given a choice, and an unlimited budget (HA!) I would do double wall ovens with a warming drawer. Being able to ditch the oven and upgrade to a 36" cooktop was a wonderful idea for us. The extra burner is great.

          1. re: JayL

            I would choose each component separately, cooktop and ovens. My current range is kaput after a little less than five years because the oven is bad. I would put in two single ovens maybe side by side if I had the room. You could pick two different ovens but even if you picked the same, if one goes out you still would have the other. You could put in a 36 or 48 inch cooktop or 24 going the other way and 30 inch ovens. Some people mix gas and induction hobs.

      2. Depends on how much baking you are going to do and for how many. We have a big old Vulcan with two ovens which only get used around holidays. The everyday baking is done in a Breville Smart Oven which can handle a lot without heating up the kitchen...even bread.

        If space and money were no object I'd get a gas countertop 4 burner with a grill and a separate combi oven (but that's $$$). Practically I think a single convection oven would be enough for me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sal_acid

          Fair enough. Okay, we are a young family of 5. (kids are 6, 4, and 1 year old). I bake bread twice a week, and often make oven dinners (roasts, oven fried chicken, casseroles, etc).

          1. re: tzurriz

            OK. I'd say two ovens, perhaps one small and one large, both convection option. Four burners minimum +/- grill.

        2. We have a six-burner gas cooktop and double electric wall ovens. For our needs they are great, especially during the holidays or other entertaining when we appreciate all the capacity. We put them in more than 20 years ago so a lot of the current options (e.g., convection) were not available then.

          1. We did a major kitchen remodel about 2 years ago, went with a Wolf gas rangetop 4 burner with a griddle and grill, and a Wolf electric double convection wall oven, couldn't be happier. Many professional cooks recommended an electric oven, yes expensive but as the old saying goes - long after the price is forgotten the quality is remembered.

            1. I just did a major (as in gut and start over) kitchen remodel. My kitchen space is small (10' x10' wall to wall) so I got a mid-range gas range with one oven. Once a year I think I would appreciate 2 ovens but I just got through the holiday entertaining, including a dinner for 15, and I was happy with the performance of my kitchen and the range. The thing that makes the biggest difference for me is having a continuous grate on the top so I can slide pots from burner to burner as I need to. I also have 2 high power burners which I like, one low power burner which is great for simmering and keeping something warm. In total my range has five burners. If I had the space I would have gotten a bigger range with 6 burners but counter space took priority.
              Good luck!

              1. Hi, tzurriz:

                Starting from scratch with how much money? Ideally, I'd go with the cooktop + oven, but that would be more expensive for the equivalent quality.

                Frankly, being able to put the oven at eye level would be the biggest factor militating toward separates for me. But lots of people love the ability to have a cooktop "disappear" into an island surface and be able to cook facing *into* the room.


                1 Reply
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  In my prior reply I didn't even mention having the oven at a higher level than a typical range oven. Our current setup is the first wall mounted oven that I've ever had. It is nice not having to bend over so much...especially with heavier items.

                2. My SIL and I were talking kitchen reno's tonight over dinner prep. She's talking to contractors, I'm dreaming for 10 years out.

                  My "dream" would be a professional 6 burner cooktop and a double wall oven. Right now I have a decent consumer grade range with convection. I'm considering getting a Big Green Egg to act as my outdoor second oven. My SIL uses hers all the time for roasts, etc, and it costs less than a full second oven.

                  The reason I would go for the cooktop and separate wall ovens is where the load bearing walls are in our home. I want the "stove" convenient for prep, but if the oven is a bit further away, I don't mind (and it will keep me cooler when cooking, dang our kitchen gets HOT!)

                  1. I would only put in a separate wall oven if I had to have an electric oven and gas cooktop, because it would be more expensive. Since I don't have a preference for the oven, I would get a good gas range, because I want the gas on top.

                    1. Since you are a baker, I think the most important thing is the oven. I'd choose the oven that worked best for me, and that would probably be a wall oven installed high or under the counter. Then I think a continuous grate gas cooktop. You can control the features of the items separately if you choose separate units. If you choose a range, then you might get a good oven, but not the cooktop you want or vice versa.

                      You could also buy a different brand for each if you wanted to. I'd think that an electric oven would be best, but you want a gas cooktop. Choose each separately, if budget allows.

                      If space and/or budget are a major factor, then you would have to get a range. In that case choose carefully, and get the best you can afford.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        I've almost always had wall ovens. I have had a wall oven installed under counter. At this point, I prefer the oven to be installed in a wall and second, I prefer it under counter. Under stove is too low, IMO. One thing I encountered with the counter installed oven, is oven blowback in my face whenever I opened the hot oven. I think higher is better, but under stove is least preferable for me. and surely the blowback would be bad in that case too.

                      2. Given the choice, I'd place a cooktop in an island and install a set of ovens on a wall. I'd choose a microwave/convection oven pair.

                        I've never liked placing my cooktop or range against a wall; it makes me feel a little claustrophobic. Then I never use the rear hobs. I feel less "closed in" when using a cooktop or a slide in range. I don't mind using the rear hobs so much. On an island, I've got no problem with cooking on all the hobs.

                        For gas I would choose brushed stainless for the top; it's far easier to keep clean than a polished or glass top.

                        1. I'd easily do a sep GAS cooktop, and an electric wall oven. Double, maybe. I've had a double for 5 years now, and I've never used the bottom. I think if I did it over, I might consider one of those convection microwave deals instead of the second part of a double oven. Why a wall oven? I'm done bending over. I go to the gym for exercise. And I have drawers instead of cabinets for the same reason. Plus, I can look at anything I want in the oven as it cooks because it's at eye level. For your cooktop, if you use large pans, or pots, you want grates that are level across so you can slide any pot across the entire thing - forgot what that's called - continuous grates, maybe? The cooktop is just a bunch of tubes that carry gas, so spending a fortune is pretty much your call. I'm happy with mine, it's SS KA 5 burner with a big burner in the middle - I went with the upgrade to the scratch resistant coating. If I could do that one over, I might pay attention to what models looked easier for CLEANING.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gordeaux

                            I'm super pleased with our HUGE MW,convection. Like you I've seldom needed a second oven and, when I do, I have it.

                          2. We remodeled about 2 years ago, all new cabinets, so we could have whatever we wanted. We put in a 6 hob gas range top (more hourse power than a cooktop, we were told). We also liked the wall oven because of the height. We started out looking for a double wall oven, but after talking to a couple of kitchen designers, we went with a single convection and convection microwave combination, refered to as a "speedoven". I had a lot of concern, but it has worked out very well and we are quite happy with this combination. This gives us a 36" cooking surface and a full size 30" oven with a smaller microwave/oven that baked pies on Thanksgiving. Our 36" rangetop sits below a 42" Vent-a-hood on an outside wall for easy and efficient venting, very important. Our set up is in the pic below.

                            1. We did a kitchen remodel last year and stayed with a gas cooktop and double wall ovens. We're very, very happy with that decision.

                              1. As far as I'm concerned, that choice is purely a matter of taste. having lived for many years with a cooktop and separate double ovens, I find I prefer the all-in-one range. If you like the modular, fitted style of kitchen, then a cooktop and oven(s) are your best bet.

                                Two ovens are nice, but when you want to do something bigger, you need the full size range oven. So, think about how you use your oven. If you bake a lot of cookies, for example, the double ovens are ideal and really shorten the task. If you want to bake baguettes, a really big turkey or things like that, they just won't fit in the smaller wall ovens.

                                I'm going for the unfitted look in my current home, bit by bit converting from a fully fitted kitchen. Unfortunately, the switch to a range will be one of the last things I am able to do. Who knows? At that point I may also get a single wall oven for the times when I need more space, like over the holidays with big, multi-course meals to prepare.

                                I have to say that when we were in our last place, we made a temporary purchase of a small, very inexpensive range and were very happy with it. I guess i'm just a range kind of girl. Don't just go for what's in style, think about how you use your stove/ovens and go for what be most convenient for you.

                                As for gas or electric, if I had any simple option, I'd go for gas. Unfortunately, I'm out in the country, and we have no gas available (without buying a propane tank and having it piped into the house which is expensive), only electric. HTH

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: ruthieren

                                  " . . a really big turkey or things like that, they just won't fit in the smaller wall ovens. . . "

                                  What size turkey do you cook that wont' fit in a 30" wall oven? We cooked a 25 lb. turkey in ours. Just curous how big a turkey doesn't fit in an oven.

                                  1. re: mikie

                                    Exactly what I was wondering, mikie. Aren't most wall ovens 30" wide, just like most ranges? Unless there's some magic in a range oven that lets us use more of the 30" I don't see a difference.

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      30" is quite large and you can cook a very huge turkey, or 6 casseroles at a time.
                                      There may be instances where there is a need for a HUGE cavernous oven, but that's not practical for most. Just heating the darn thing can become an issue. Most of the time, you just don't need that many cubic feet of heat.
                                      As I write, I am roasting golden beets... in my toaster oven* because I don't want to heat up my 30" oven for 6 beets!
                                      *leftover from our remodel last year- just too wonderful to donate.

                                      1. re: monavano


                                        That's my point exactly, and mike's, too. Mostly, wall ovens and ranges are 30", so there should be no difference in capacity.

                                        But rutleren wrote: "Two ovens are nice, but when you want to do something bigger, you need the full size range oven."

                                          1. re: c oliver


                                            So if you want to roast Big Bird, the wall oven is the way to go. Not that I advocate wholesale slaughter of Sesame Street characters, I'm just saying...

                                            Honestly, I ADORE Big Bird. His comic turn on The West Wing is a classic.

                                  2. re: ruthieren

                                    It seems to me that our GE 2X wall-ovens, which are over 20 years old, are only about 25" wide. Nonetheless, we've been able to roast turkeys as large of 25 lb in it. The only issue has been that some cookie sheets and large roasters are too wide. In particular:

                                    1. We had to saw off the handles of our large roaster (i.e., the one we use for turkeys larger than 15 lb), as the handles stuck out at right angles from the pan sides, resulting in the pan being too wide. If we had a roaster with hinged handles that hung by the side when not in use, it would not have been a problem.

                                    2. I had some cookie sheets that had integral edges/handles on each end that resulted in the total length of the sheets being about 1/4 inch too large for the oven. Less fancy cookie sheets, with simply a rolled edge all around are fine.

                                    1. re: masha

                                      Those are the wall ovens we replaced- 24" double GE.
                                      I had no idea how small they were until we got our 30". There really wasn't anything I couldn't do- even full baking sheets fit.
                                      That said, I love my 30"-ers ;-)

                                  3. My advice would be to skip Lowes and Home Depot. Like WalMart, their stuff is really poor quality. Try a furniture store instead. My gas oven was in the $700 range, has nice sturdy grates so I can use my pressure canner, and has two big burners in front so I can do stirfry or bring that big canner to boil in a reasonable amount of time. If I could remember what kind it is, I would recommend it, all I know is that it is NOT a Frigidaire. (Have had way too much trouble with newish Frigidaire appliances.)

                                    20 Replies
                                    1. re: sparrowgrass

                                      Actually, Lowes and Home Depot carry "higher end" appliances, but I'd go to an appliance store to get the expertise you need. Plus, if you're buying a kitchen's worth of appliances, you could get discounts from the store and/or from the manufacturer.

                                      1. re: monavano

                                        I agree about the range of appliances that they sell. However, depending on the person you're dealing with, some of them are HIGHLY experienced. Plus when they have their big sales you can easily save 25% off. This is the voice of experience :)

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          I've been pleased with all of my buys from Lowes. In fact, for our kitchen remodel, we replaced our second fridge too, and that we got from Lowes.
                                          Great price, open box+sale+ free next day delivery (Sunday, no less)+free take away of old fridge.
                                          Needless to say, that made me very happy!

                                          1. re: monavano

                                            Hi, monovano:

                                            I have a love/hate relationship with Lowes. I've had good luck with two appliance purchases--matching prices, good service, knowledgeable reps.

                                            But I HATE going there with even a basic list of hardware and general items. They *never* seem to have all of the few mundane things on my list, so I always end up driving to two stores to get all my items.


                                            1. re: monavano

                                              I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating -

                                              Lowes and Home Depot both offer a 10% discount to veterans on everything; sales, special orders, clearance, every purchase. We saved over $500 on our tile alone.

                                                1. re: monavano

                                                  No, you need not be active duty, but you will need an ID card, so if not active, then Reserves, Guard or retired. Dependent ID cards are ok, too.

                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                      Actually Bob 'just' served a regular tour and was honorably discharged. He shows his DD214 and gets the 10%.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        That's really good news. I'll remember that, thanks.

                                                        BTW - There's no "just" about it. Vets are vets, and we're proud of serving. But I know what you mean. :)

                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                          Yeah, that's what I meant by 'just.'

                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                          C Oliver, I'm glad you confirmed that all you need is to show your DD form 214 because in most cases Veterans do not have ID cards.

                                                          1. re: malibumike

                                                            Bob just carries a photocopy in his wallet.

                                                        3. re: DuffyH

                                                          Good to know! I'll make dh dig out his papers. He served 8 years in the guard.

                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                    Home depot carries appliances that they make the highest margin on.Thats why you will see all the LG appliances there.Its low quality stuff made by poorly paid workers in Korea then shipped to the USA on a ship,then distributed around the country.LG has the highest margin of any brand appliances sold.Big hype,high prices,low quality,frequent breakdowns.

                                                    Its not what lies outside that runs the thing,its the mechanical components under the hood that do.

                                                    1. re: shikken

                                                      Here's an article that disputes what you say. I have Samsung fridge, induction/convection range and MW/convection oven and they're all super.


                                                      1. re: shikken

                                                        I know that LG gets a lot of floor space at places like Best Buy, Sears, Lowes etc.
                                                        I didn't get any LG, but that had nothing to do with where it comes from.

                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                        My experience is that same item to same item, HD and Lowes are not going to be the least expensive place to purchase the item. When I did my master bath remodel and wanted a Jacuzi tub, I was able to purchase it for less and with free delivery from a plumbing showroom than I could from the Lowes thats maybe a mile or two from my house. Similar experience with the upstairs bath with just a regular Kohler tub. I only looked there briefly with the appliances, they didn't have the varitey to look at in the store and on what they had that we had even a little interested in, they were not price competitive. The same for a coworker who just redid their kitchen, Lowes didn't have the best prices and I don't know what brands they were looking at. They might have some items that they have good prices on but not what I've shopped for.

                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                          What I found years ago is H.D. & Lowes can be cheaper on "builder" quality that they purchase in very large quantity. Same can be true with a few basic models & colors in better quality products. Move into the higher end products / fixtures that they don't stock and have to order and they are as much or more than smaller supply houses. Also have to watch out because many similar looking items by a given manufacture, particularly plumbing fixtures, have been cheapened up on the inside to meet price points of the big box stores.

                                                    2. We have a cooktop and double wall ovens. For the most part I've been happy with this configuration. However, the ovens are a little hard to access because they're stacked, one is too high and the other is too low. The backs are hard to wipe out. I'm 5'6" and my arms aren't long enough. Also, heavy items like a full Le Creuset dutch oven or a turkey are awkward to remove from the top oven. I saw an oven on TV the other day where the top oven door hinged upward, so you could actually step right up to the oven interior, looked like it could solve a lot of my access issues. It was in a high end kitchen design store, so perhaps not in my budget, but if mine dies you can be sure I'll check them out.

                                                      I really appreciate having two ovens, but as others have said, it depends on how you cook. I like the large storage under the cooktop, it's great for tall stuff like my KA mixer, 20 qt. stockpot, etc. I like to bake, two ovens are helpful, and a real blessing if you're doing dinners that require two temperatures or lots of dishes. Some day I'd like to have a separate 2 burner sized Jenn Aire grill, I had one once and absolutely loved it.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: blaireso

                                                        I have to approach my ovens from the side most of the time.
                                                        There's always (+) and (-).

                                                        1. re: blaireso

                                                          When I did a paired micro and wall oven, I had the oven placed so the bottom was about knee height, then mounted the micro above. This worked really well, allowing easy access to both ovens.

                                                          My designer suggested it, and said it works for any height person, but does require a custom cabinet, unless you're the right height. He said if people want double ovens, they're almost always better off ergonomically to place them in different locations to optimize their placement.

                                                          It does require purchasing two ovens, as opposed to a dual oven stack, but since most of us want a micro too, he suggests a micro + oven stack, + another oven. Unless you're buying hi-line appliances, the cost increase can be ~$300-500, not outrageous over the life of the appliances.

                                                        2. We went with a Dacor all gas convection range with an infrared broiler & high output burners on top. The all gas range is covered with a commercial hood that vents outside. We use this range for heavy surface cooking & heavy oven coking because the hood draws the smell out of the house which makes the food taste much better.

                                                          I also put in an electric under counter oven (no exhaust hood) which we use for light cooking and heating appetizers & side dishes. Very convenient for entertaining. A wall oven would serve the same purpose but the under counter was a better fit for us.

                                                          Unless you can vent the wall oven(s) outside, your house will take on the smell of whats inside cooking. This is where a range with an outside vented hood excels.

                                                          Dollar for dollar, the outside vented high CFM hood was the best $$ spent in the whole project. Would never do another kitchen w/out one.

                                                          1. If you can afford to lose the 33“ of countertop space that the wall oven cabinet uses up, get whichever you like.

                                                            If you are short on counter space, go with the range. Either way,try to include a small convection oven like the Breville Smart Oven in your plan. You'll be glad in the summertime when you don't heat up your whole kitchen every time you bake a pan of brownies for the kids.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: kitchengardengal

                                                              We wanted to maximize counter space but still have 2 ovens.

                                                              The work horse is a standard range configuration with a heavy duty exterior vented hood.

                                                              The second oven actually fits into a base cabinet under the counter that was designed to hold an oven and give that built in look. Above that in the upper wall cabinets we installed the microwave. Very convenient arrangement with no counter space loss like you have with wall ovens or large appliances sitting on the counter.