You love your oven. Tell me about your oven.
May 17, 2015 4:48 PM   Subscribe

I want to replace my range/oven. Tell me what I should get.

What I have now is the most basic Kenmore gas model. The cooktop is... adequate. I don't think I need more than 4 burners, do I? A little more power on the burners would be nice though. My oven sucks. It takes a million years to heat up, and it's uneven. I want FAST, even heating, and more space in there than I currently have.

I want a broiler that works and is not in a drawer. My current one is in a drawer and I'm scared of reaching in there.

I may have the opportunity to get a wall oven or a double oven instead of a regular range. Should I do that? I've often thought it would be more comfortable to have the oven be at eye-ish level. But is it worth the expense?

I want a gas cooktop for sure, but should I be looking at an electric oven? What's the difference?

Please be specific on makes/models, ok? And if you know the range of cost these things are in, please include it. I'm a bit overwhelmed and don't really understand the difference between the $500 models and the fancy ones. Thanks!
posted by fingersandtoes to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You definitely want an electric fan oven. Heats up really fast, no weird hotspots (and yes keep a gas hob).

We have a Neff, not sure if you get those in the US but they are all lovely, the increasing prices are for increasing fanciness of knobs and dials and things like that. The underlying oven is the same throughout the whole range. Ours is a single oven, meaning the grill is in the main oven. The only advantage to a double oven (ie separate grill) is that you can cook things at different temperatures - we don't cook meals that complicated.

One thing that is useful if you have an under-counter oven is telescopic shelves - they sound pointless but they enable you to pull heavy casseroles fully out of the oven to stir them or add things, without risking pulling everything onto the floor. Hard to describe, but really useful in practice.
posted by tinkletown at 5:11 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, electric oven and gas cooktop is the cook's favorite setup. If you stick with a range, you can get a dual fuel setup to get that combination. I had a Dacor dual fuel range and loved it.
posted by cecic at 5:18 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's the Kenmore I ended up getting, and here are the reasons:

The big, big, big seller for me on this range is the configuration of the burners/grates... first, the whole grate assembly on top is a flat surface from edge to edge, meaning you can move pots and pans around up there willy-nilly and not worry about them sliding off the side of a burner grate. Look at the pic if that doesn't make sense. I LOVE being able to move stuff around there without thinking about it tipping. The grates are dishwasher safe, and I like the black surface underneath.

Also, that middle, long burner is pretty awesome if you're cooking bacon on a griddle or something similar... I will say, though, that you can't really use it if you want to have skillets or pots on the burners on the sides. I wish they had put the long burner on one side of the stove and the four round burners together to allow using them at the same time, but oh well. It has a 'turbo' burner, too, which is just bigger but good for boiling water, and a small burner for simmering, also useful.

The oven is convection, but to be honest I haven't experimented with that too much. I like that the oven goes as low as 170 degrees, though, for some low and slow protein cooking. I don't use an oven much.
posted by Huck500 at 5:27 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

There are two gimmicky things that I've encountered that I love. The first is the Electrolux glider racks, which I think are the same as idea as the Neff telescopic shelves mentioned above. I don't bake, but I do a ton of roasting, and it's so nice not to have to remove my dish from the oven all the time.

The second is a door that swings open horizontally, like a refrigerator. This was from a crazily expensive Gaggenau at an apartment I visited, and is now the object of all my kitchen fantasies.
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:57 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

We went from a wall oven and gas cooktop to a range when we upgraded our kitchen four years ago and we've been pretty pleased. We have a Frigidaire Gallery five-burner model with "continuous grates," so you can slide a pot from one burner to another, rather than having to pick it up. The center grate can swap out for a griddle, which is very handy. The oven has one glide-out rack and another where one half can fold up to accommodate tall items. Can't remember the cost but I'm pretty sure it was less than $1k, probably in the $800 range.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:28 PM on May 17, 2015

I wont give you any model advice since I'm in Aus, but I have bought a few ovens recently, and this is my opinion. I'm going to guess that an induction cooktop is out of your price range. But if there is an affordable one, everyone I've spoken to says they're great. You do need inductive cookware however, any aluminium pots and pans are no good, steel ones are needed. Amazingly easy to keep clean, very safe, very fast to heat, less greenhouse gas emissions.

Otherwise, yes a gas cooktop and electric oven is the good way to go. You really only need four burners, unless you know you want to spend the money and love cooking (which I'm suspecting you don't from your question), a 60cm range is fine, a 90cm is a waste of money.

Difference between a unit/range and two separate pieces? Well you'd have to remodel your kitchen to fit in two separate pieces - that's the only real difference. Would probably cost a little bit less to get it as a single range, at least in Australia, but very little price difference. A separate griller (sorry, broiler) is more likely to come in a range unit. But check if you really want this, they're increasingly uncommon, mostly it's just a top element in the oven, it works fine..

One particular thing about electric ovens - they should all be fan forced these days, but do try to get one that can cook without the fan. Some cheaper ones can only cook with the fan on and this is terrible.

At least in Australia, many electric ovens require a dedicated high amp circuit, so there may be the cost of an electrician as well.
posted by wilful at 6:53 PM on May 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just a little tip on some brands mentioned here. Neff is a brand name owned by BSH Home Appliances, what used to be a joint venture of Bosch and Siemens from Germany. (Bosch recently bought out Siemens' share of the company in late 2014).

In the USA, BSH sells various appliances under the Bosch, Thermador, and Gaggenau brands. There's a similar level of engineering in all of them, but the fit and finish and price will be different as you go up the ladder.

Long story short, look at the Bosch line for a convection oven if you go that route.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:19 PM on May 17, 2015

If you want a real stove - the kind that makes cooking and baking feel like a worthwhile thing to be doing instead of watching TV or facebooking - you need a 50s or 60s stove. Nothing can compare.

I've never posted a link so I don't know if it will work but if it doesn't, go to Pinterest and check out vintage stoves.

I'd trade almost anything in my house for one of these stoves again.

posted by aryma at 11:16 PM on May 17, 2015

I have an gas oven that I'm very happy with.

I like the continuous grates for sliding pots around but the middle burner is almost useless.

The in-oven broil for extreme high temperature top browning while watching through the window is great. You can brown up the cheese on top of something in no time.

High output burners are very useful as are the simmer burners. I'm guessing all stove tops have this these days. Great for boiling water and frying.

I never use the warming drawer but it makes fine storage.

Ours is a nice residential unit, basically the Kenmore linked above. I kind of wanted a fancier one but I have a friend who had to replace a part on a commercial oven in their home and it cost hundreds of dollars. I looked it up the part would have cost $25 on the model we have.
posted by bdc34 at 7:04 AM on May 18, 2015

I just got the same oven as Huck500, for pretty much the same reasons. Wanted to slide pots around, needed a simmer burner and I love the turbo burner.

I'd looked around at a lot of ranges, and would have been willing to spend 1200-1500 since my husband is a chef and we cook a lot. Also looked at some double ovens. In the end we decided we didn't need those kind of extras. This oven has been great so far. Heats up sooooo quickly, cooks evenly and reliably.

I did feel overwhelmed too, and looked at dozens of online options and every local store trying to get a sense of the difference between makes and models. In the end, I happened to pick this one because it was a floor model on sale and $150 off. No regrets so far!
posted by saffry at 7:04 AM on May 18, 2015

I just bought a house that came with a Kenmore gas range similar to what Huck500 linked to (maybe it's the same? But I have a convection switch to the left of the clock panel thingy) and I like it a whole lot. The convection switch basically just circulates the hot air in the oven for more uniform temp. It's a bit more of a PITA to clean than the flat-top electric range I had before but worth it because cooking with gas rocks.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:18 AM on May 18, 2015

I had a Frigidaire gas oven and range that was pretty decent. I would not have cared for the oven had it not had the fan, though. With the fan it cooked pretty evenly.

The cooktop was the continuous grate style, but it had a center burner that could be used with a cast iron griddle that dropped in in place of the center grate. It was really neat, although we almost never used it because we aren't really pancake people. (Shock and horror!)

I think it was around $500 at Best Buy of all places, but we got it cheaper upon negotiation with the manager since we were also buying several other appliances. I believe it was right around $2000 for a refrigerator, front load washer/dryer, and the range. Got the reward zone points, too, so I was very pleased with the overall spend, especially since they were having the usual spend $1000+ and get 0% interest for 18 months deals.
posted by wierdo at 9:05 AM on May 18, 2015

I've been cooking on an electric cooktop for 20 years now, and from what I've seen of gas cooktops, I wouldn't want to go back. They don't seem to get nearly as hot as my electric, and it takes for ever to boil water on them. You can learn to deal with the non-instantaneous heat level change easily enough. Granted, there may be professional grade cooktops (with higher pressure gas?) that put out more heat, but from my experience run-of-the-mill gas cooktops don't match electric for heat output.
posted by mollweide at 5:55 PM on May 18, 2015

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