What you need to know about purchasing a kitchen range.

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With burners on the top and an oven below, the range is the most common cooking appliance.

New bargain-priced basic ranges are 30-inch white or almond freestanding or drop-in models, which include either electric coil or standard 9,000-Btu gas burners with an oven.

Better-quality ranges are marketed with ceramic-top electric burners, self-cleaning ovens, dual-fuel options, and convection ovens.

Top-of-the-line residential models have professional styling with stainless-steel or anodized finishes, widths from 30 to 60 inches, downdraft or restaurant-style hood venting, high-performance Btu burners, and continuous grates, along with built-in grill or griddle and double-convection oven options.

Do your homework. Browse Web sites and magazines that compare current models and features. Consumer Reports is an excellent source for unbiased information and recommendations. Visit: www.consumerreports.org/

Types of Ranges

  • Freestanding ranges rest on the floor as self-contained units and are normally 30 inches wide. Models that are 24 and 36 inches wide are also available. Wider models usually have a fifth burner and an extra-wide oven.
  • High-low ranges include built-in microwave ovens near eye level as well as conventional ovens and burners.
  • Slide-in ranges are freestanding ranges without side panels. Slide-in ranges fit into 30-inch openings between base cabinets. For exposed sides, cabinet side panels can be installed.
  • Drop-in ranges are similar to slide-in ranges, but they must be permanently fastened to base cabinets. They usually rest on built-up wood bases. Broilers are located in the oven.
  • Some drop-in and slide-in units are well-suited for island or peninsula installation, because controls are on the top or at the front. No raised control back panel interrupts the counter.

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