This guide gives you the scoop on range, cooktop and wall oven designs, the latest in cooking technology, burners, heating elements, installation and more. Whether you are buying your first wall oven with a built-in cooktop or you haven't bought a new range in 15 years, we can help you cook up the perfect solution.
Learn the lingo
Range, stove, oven, cooktop, stovetop – shopping for a major cooking appliance can be confusing because a lot of terms are used interchangeably. To make things easier, our buying guide uses three main terms:
A flat cooking surface with burners, used for boiling, simmering and frying. It's either built into a counter or island as a separate appliance, or it's the top cooking surface of a range.
An enclosed space used for baking or roasting. It's either a wall oven (built into the wall without a cooktop), or it's the enclosed cooking area of a range.
The combination of a cooktop and oven in one appliance.
Choose your style
A great way to start shopping for a new major cooking appliance is by choosing the look or style you want in your kitchen. Most homes will have either a kitchen with a freestanding range or a kitchen with a built-in wall oven and separate cooktop.
Kitchen with a freestanding range
A freestanding range, great for both large and small kitchens, combines a cooktop and oven into one versatile appliance. Whether you're baking, roasting, boiling or frying, a range lets you do it all. Learn more about freestanding and other types of ranges in the next section.
Kitchen with a built-in wall oven and separate cooktop
If you love cooking, like to entertain or have a large kitchen, a wall oven with a separate cooktop provides a modern look that's also practical for busy kitchens. The wall oven is usually installed at chest level, so it's easier to reach heavy dishes and move them from oven to counter. And, your ideal cooktop, whether it's four burners or six, can be installed on a kitchen island or countertop. If you don't cook often or have a small kitchen, compact wall ovens are available that can be paired with smaller cooktops.
A built-in wall oven with separate cooktop is also a great idea if you want different fuel types for each appliance, for example a gas cooktop with an electric oven, or vice versa.
Ranges share a lot of technology and features with built-in cooktops and wall ovens, so after you read about range designs, check out the Cooktops and Ovens sections for more information.
Freestanding ranges are finished on the front and sides and can be placed almost anywhere in the kitchen. Burner and oven controls are usually located on a backsplash panel in the back. Depending on the model, the space below the oven could be a storage drawer, warming drawer, broiler or second oven.
Slide-in ranges provide a built-in look and are designed to fit into a space in kitchen cabinetry. They are usually unfinished on the sides, but some have side panels. They do not have a backsplash panel, so burner and oven controls are mounted on the front of the range. Like freestanding models, the space below the oven could be a storage drawer, warming drawer, broiler or second oven.
Drop-ins are similar to slide-in models, but they're installed on top of a cabinet base and do not have a bottom drawer. Like slide-ins, controls are on the front, and there is no backsplash.
Ranges with a double oven
With a freestanding or slide-in range, you can opt for a double oven instead of a storage drawer. Imagine how many more cookies you can bake at one time with more capacity. And since a double oven lets you cook different dishes at two different temperatures at the same time, big dinners will come together perfectly. Some single-oven models include a divider that separates the oven into two compartments for the same purpose.
Dual-fuel ranges combine a gas cooktop with an electric oven, so you get the precise heat of gas burners plus the consistent heat of an electric oven.
Most ranges, whether they are freestanding, slide-in, drop-in, double oven or dual-fuel models, are 30" wide. If you need something other than 30", many other sizes are available, from compact 20" models to deluxe 48" models.
For cooktops, the technology choices are the same whether you're looking at a range cooktop or a built-in cooktop.
Many chefs prefer gas cooktops because the temperature control is precise and virtually immediate. They're ideal for high-temperature cooking, such as stir-frying or searing, because high heats can be reached quickly and cooking stops almost immediately when the burner is switched off.
Electric cooktops with exposed-coil burners usually cost less than other cooktops. Burners heat up quickly, although not quite as instantly as a gas burner. They provide constant, even heat and can maintain steady and very low heat, ideal for simmering. The exposed coils are vulnerable to spills, but an easy-access drip pan can make cleaning easier; simply remove the pan, wash and replace.
Burner coils of smooth cooktops are hidden beneath a flat glass-ceramic surface, delivering a streamlined look that's easy to clean. Like electric coil cooktops, they provide constant, even heat and can maintain very low heat for simmering. They are generally more expensive than electric coil cooktops. If you enjoy canning, be aware that some manufacturers advise against canning on a smooth cooktop.
This cooktop is cool in more ways than one. Electric induction heats your cookware, not the cooking surface, so the cooktop stays cool and incredibly safe. Induction technology boils water fast, and it's responsive like gas, so you can precisely adjust and control the heat. Plus, it's more energy-efficient than gas or electric.
Induction cooking works with only cast-iron or steel cookware. If you're not sure what type of cookware you have, you can do a test by holding a magnet to the bottom of your pots and pans. If the magnet sticks, your cookware will work with an induction cooktop.
All burners are not created equal. Whether you're looking at a range cooktop or built-in cooktop, check the heat output for each burner. The greater the heat output, the faster food will generally cook.
Heat output for gas burners is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. Gas cooktops typically offer one or two medium-power burners (about 9,000 BTU), a small burner (about 5,000 BTU), and one or two large ones (about 12,500 BTU). Some manufacturers offer high-heat burners with outputs of 20,000 BTU or higher.
Heat output for electric burners is measured in watts. A typical electric cooktop offers four burners, each with a variable power range between about 1,000 and 2,500 watts. Deluxe models usually offer more burners in an assortment of sizes and powers, up to 3,500 watts.
Here are some range cooktop or built-in cooktop features you may want to add to your checklist:
Some smooth cooktops have a bridge element, an extra heating element between two main ones. This lets you create an extra-large heating surface for a griddle, perfect for making pancakes.
Accommodates large and small cookware. Turn on the inner element for smaller pans and the outer element for large. Some models let you fire up both elements at once for more intense heat.
Delivers low, gradual heat for simmering soups, sauces and other foods.
Lets you know if a surface is still hot, even after the burner is turned off.
Saves energy and reduces the risk of fire with gas cooktops because a pilot flame isn't needed to light the burners.
Sealed gas burners
Some gas ranges and cooktops have a protective cap on each burner and a metal drip pan sealed around the base. This produces an indirect flame and is not as efficient as open gas burners, but it's much easier to clean.
Cooktops with a downdraft ventilation system capture smoke and odors at the cooking surface. A range hood is not required.
Wall oven designs
Most wall ovens are 24", 27" or 30" wide, but other sizes are available if you have a unique need. Be sure to check the Measuring and Installation section for details about how to measure your available space. Wall oven designs fall into a few basic configurations:
Choose a single oven if you have limited space. You can also pair two single ovens together and place them side by side.
Stacked double ovens provide twice the capacity for getting bigger meals done faster. Cook different dishes at two different temperatures at the same time. And, since a smaller oven heats up faster and requires less fuel to run, models with one large and one small compartment help you save energy. You can choose the right-size oven for every dish.
Wall oven and microwave combo
Stacks a microwave on top of a wall oven for one seamless built-in appliance.
Cooking technology options for ovens are the same, whether you're shopping for a range or wall oven:
In gas ovens, heat is produced by a gas flame at the bottom of the oven. Some models feature electronic ignition instead of a pilot flame, which saves energy and reduces fire risk. Gas ovens don't maintain a consistent temperature as well as electric. But, they're great for people on the go because they heat up quickly and cool down quickly. Although it's not usually a huge difference, utility bills for gas ovens are lower than electric.
In traditional or conventional electric ovens, heating elements on the top or bottom of the oven cook food by producing heat waves that bounce off oven walls. Good for baking, conventional electric ovens typically cook more evenly than gas ovens.
Convection (available in both gas and electric ovens)
Convection ovens circulate hot air inside the oven so that all surfaces of the food are exposed to constant, even heat. This cooks the food faster and more evenly than traditional gas or electric ovens. Breads rise slightly higher, cookies don't spread quite as much, and roasts stay juicy.
There are two types of convection, so be sure to clarify which one is included in the model you're considering. Fan convection simply circulates air with one or more fans in the oven wall. True convection cooks faster than fan convection, using an additional heat source plus the fan(s) to evenly distribute heat.
Are you an avid baker, or do you regularly cook multiple dishes at once? Oven capacity for ranges and wall ovens vary from roughly 3 cubic feet to as much as 5.8 cubic feet, or even greater for double ovens. If you typically cook for just one to two people, 3 cubic feet is probably fine. If you cook for a large family, consider a range or wall oven with a single-oven or double-oven capacity of 5 cubic feet or more.
Self-cleaning — This extended high-temperature mode burns off baked-on spills and other messes in your range oven or wall oven.
Steam clean — Some models offer a steam clean option for light spills, which does the job at roughly 250 degrees rather than the high heat required by a self-cleaning mode.
Ceramic or enamel coating — This coating on the oven's interior makes it even easier to wipe away spills without using harsh cleaners or chemicals.
Hidden bake element — Instead of an exposed heating element on the top or bottom of the oven, hidden bake technology hides the element below the oven floor. This creates a seamless and easy-to-clean interior.
Control knobs and panels
Today's major cooking appliances offer a variety of ways to control your oven and burners. Depending on the appliance, you can choose from stylish control knobs, dials or innovative control panels.
Control knobs — Traditional burner control knobs are available in metal, plastic, black or other colors. You can even choose weighted or non-weighted knobs.
Electronic control panels — Control oven temperatures more precisely with push-button or touch-panel controls and digital displays.
Smart controls — Select ranges and ovens let you pre-program cooking start and end times. Some even let you program more than one temperature, so dinner can cook while you're at work and be ready to serve by the time you get home.
One more consideration for gas cooktops is the grate material and design. Possible grate materials include metal, cast iron, or ceramic-coated material for easy cleaning. Continuous grates, which cover the entire cooktop surface rather than individual burners, let you easily move heavy pots and pans between burners without lifting.
Ranges, wall ovens and cooktops come in a variety of finishes, so you can choose the one that looks best with your decor. Whether you're looking for stainless, black, white or another color, just click the links to find the finish you want.
Stand-Alone Warming Drawers
Some ranges and wall ovens feature warming drawers instead of a storage space or second oven, but you can also purchase one as a separate appliance.
With low heat and temperature sensors, warming drawers keep your food piping hot until it's time to serve. Humidity controls let you retain that just-out-of-the-oven texture in everything from crispy fried chicken to warm, moist desserts.
Most warming drawers are 30" wide, but narrower models are available for more compact installations. Custom color-panel kits are available for select models.
A range hood provides ventilation to carry away smoke, steam and odors while you're cooking. If your kitchen layout doesn't allow for an over-the-range microwave (which generally includes a range hood), a wide assortment of range hoods are available to purchase separately.
Vented hood installations exhaust to the outside of the home. Non-vented installations recirculate air back into the kitchen, typically passing through a charcoal filter that absorbs smoke and odors. Most range hoods are convertible (with a separately purchased conversion kit) for either vented or non-vented installations.
Measuring and Installation section
Be sure to measure your space accurately before choosing a new range, cooktop or wall oven. Your new appliance should fit flush with your cabinets, and the cooking surface should be level with your countertops.
For help measuring the space for a freestanding range, use our Appliance Measuring Guide.
For built-in appliances like wall ovens, cooktops, slide-in ranges, drop-in ranges, warming drawers and range hoods, the measurements are typically very complex. We recommend purchasing our pre-measure service to ensure measurements are accurate. Call 1-800-GEEKSQUAD to order a pre-measure service.
Electric ranges require a power cord which must be purchased separately. Before you place your order, check to see whether your outlet requires three or four prongs. And, make sure your electrical outlet can handle the wattage of your new appliance.
Gas ranges and cooktops require a gas hookup, either to a natural gas source or to a liquid propane (LP) supply tank. There are different requirements for gas lines depending on where you live, so purchase the generic gas line required for hookup, and the technician will bring the one you need when your appliance is installed.
Delivery and installation
Details vary depending on the appliance, and whether it's gas or electric.
Shop Online or In Store
Find a wide variety of ranges, cooktops and wall ovens on BestBuy.com. Your local Best Buy store also has a great selection of major cooking appliances, and Pacific Kitchen & Home premium products are now inside select Best Buy stores, so you can shop from an impressive selection of quality brands. Plus, our friendly Blue Shirts are there to answer questions and help with choosing the perfect appliances for your dream kitchen.