How To Choose A Range For Your New Kitchen Makeover: 5 Key Questions To Consider

Are you planning to update your kitchen with new major appliances? If so, a new range might be in order. A range is a necessity for cooking your meals, but how do you choose the right one? When visiting your local kitchen showroom for ideas, select a range that suits your lifestyle, kitchen dimensions and budget. Options include an all-in-one range with an oven, or separate cook top and wall oven, as well as gas, electric or dual-fuel model. Breaking it down, ask yourself a few key questions, such as the following:

1. What Fuel Should Your New Range Utilize?

If you're on a budget, you might want to opt for an electric powered all-in-one range, which is most likely the most affordable option. However, if your home already has a gas line, you'll probably want to go with a gas powered model, otherwise you'll have to spend time, effort and money running a new gas line through your kitchen. For homes with an existing gas line, a dual-powered range might be the way to go. Consider this a more costly option, however. With a dual-powered range, you'll have the benefit of fast cooking that gas fuel provides. You will also have the advantage of even heat distribution that an electric powered range is known for.

2. Would You Prefer a Freestanding Model or a Range That Slides in Alongside the Cabinets?

The difference is obvious. A range that is freestanding will be "movable", meaning you'll be able to place it in any spot you wish, as all sides of the unit will be finished. The models that slide between the cabinets will have unfinished sides. This limits you in terms of placement. The best way to choose your style is to have a good look around the kitchen and determine the exact spot in which your new range will be placed.

3. Do You Have a Large Family or Several People to Cook For?

If the answer is yes, you'll want to be certain your new range includes one or more high-powered burner elements. This offers the benefit of high heat cooking that will cook your food faster. This is especially helpful for frying or boiling. Also, your range should have several elements or burners rather than a few, and it should include one low-powered element for simmering foods on a low heat.

4. What Features Will You Need?

While it's nice to have many features, you may find some of them will be hardly used. A range with several features and options may be more expensive than a basic model, so consider your cooking needs. Do you want a stove top that will be easy to clean? For preventing messy spills, you might prefer a model that has a raised edge.

In addition, look for a self cleaning feature rather than a unit with manual cleaning, as it will be easier to clean. Self cleaning ovens often feature cycles that are run with a built-in timer, so you can see how much time is left for the process. A cook top that has smooth cooking elements will also be easier to clean than coil burners.

Another feature you may prefer is an oven that includes adjustable position shelves. This comes in handy for positioning cooking pans of various sizes. A warming draw below the oven is another useful feature for cooks who need to keep their foods warm before being served.

Don't forget the importance of a ventilation hood and downdraft capabilities with exhaust. The downdraft function will draw your cooking fumes, steam and smoke downward before it has a chance to stain your walls and ceiling. It may also help disperse unpleasant cooking odors from the air.

5. What Brand Should You Choose?

There are several reliable manufacturers that produce quality ranges and ovens, and you'll find these on display at many kitchen showrooms. Choose a name brand you have trusted in the past. Before you purchase your range, be sure the manufacturer offers replacement parts for that model and is known for good customer service.