A freestanding range in a kitchen

Different types of stoves and ranges: how to choose between them

If you’re in the market for a new kitchen range like these Whirlpool® models, you’ve probably discovered that there are more kinds of stoves than you thought. From different types of fuel and number of burners to various sizes and features, our guide will walk you through the different types of ranges to help you find the one that works best for your kitchen and cooking style.

A kitchen with a slide-in range A kitchen with a slide-in range

What’s the difference between ranges, stoves and cooktops?

While “stove” and “range” are often used interchangeably, there are differences between the two. Stoves can refer to heating devices or to cooking appliances that include a stovetop and oven cavity. Range is used only to describe the combination of a cooktop and oven cavity and is the term most commonly used by appliance makers. 

A kitchen range is what you’d find in most kitchens—a combination of an oven cavity and a cooktop that is used specifically for cooking. Cooktops or stovetops are separate appliances and are not connected to an oven cavity. You’ll often find cooktops installed in countertops or above a separate wall oven.

Close ups of a gas burner, an electric radiant element and half of a cast-iron pan with butter on an induction element Close ups of a gas burner, an electric radiant element and half of a cast-iron pan with butter on an induction element

What are the different types of ranges by fuel type?

Ranges are powered by electricity, natural gas or propane. Dual-fuel ranges use both electricity and gas. When deciding between an electric or gas range, you’ll need to consider which type you want and are able to use depending on utility availability. For gas stoves, a gas line and hookup are required.

Gas stoves and ranges

Gas ranges are fueled by natural gas or propane and require a gas line installation if you don’t already have one installed.

Types of gas stove burners

Gas cooktops on household ranges generally have between 2 and 6 burners. Gas burner heat output is measured in BTUs—the higher the number, the more heat is generated. With gas burners, you’ll get responsive control over heat levels at both low and high temperatures.

Gas stovetops, depending on the design and number of burners, will have a variety of lower and higher heat burners to handle most cooking tasks. While professional and commercial-style ranges can feature burners with between 15,000 to 25,000 BTUs, a typical gas range includes burners from around 5,000 to 15,000 BTUs.

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Electric stoves and ranges

Electric ranges are fueled by electricity and do not require a gas line connection.

Types of electric elements

Electric stovetop heating elements come in a variety of styles and sizes to match different sizes of cookware. Like gas ranges, electric stoves generally have between 2 and 6 elements.

The different styles of electric elements include round metal coils, solid metal disks (also known as hotplate burners) and smoothtop ceramic glass radiant elements.    

Electric element heat output is measured in watts—the higher the wattage, the more heat is generated. Element capabilities include dual or triple elements, which is like having two or three elements in one, as well as low-wattage elements for warming zones. Select Whirlpool® Electric Ranges feature FlexHeat Dual and Triple Radiant Elements that offer the flexibility of matching the size of the element to the size of your cookware. Learn more about what to consider when replacing your gas stove with electric.

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Dual-fuel ranges

Dual-fuel ranges offer the versatility of both gas and electric fuel with the cooktop and oven powered by two different fuel sources. Dual-fuel ranges are great options for those who want the responsiveness of a gas cooktop combined with the consistency of an electric oven.

Induction stovetops

Induction technology uses electromagnetic energy that interacts with compatible magnetic cookware, creating heat directly within the pot or pan with less heat transfer to the surrounding cooktop. Induction cooktops are powered by electricity and provide similar features to electric cooktops, with added benefits of fast cooking, exceptional responsiveness and easy cooktop cleanup. Read more to compare induction vs electric cooktops in more detail.

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A person opening a slide-in range A person opening a slide-in range

What are the different types of stoves by installation?

Unless you’re remodeling, your kitchen size and layout will likely dictate the type of range that can be installed. Stove sizes are generally measured by width and range from a 24" width, like this Whirlpool® Small Space Range, to a professional-style 48" width. The most common standard sizes for ranges (and cooktops) are 30" and 36" widths.

Freestanding ranges

With finished sides and a rear console, a freestanding range combines an oven cavity and a cooktop and provides flexible installation options. Since a freestanding range can stand alone or be installed between cabinets, countertops and other appliances, it’s a common type of stove in kitchens.

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Slide-in ranges

Slide-in ranges are designed to sit flush with cabinetry for a custom built-in look, like in a kitchen island. Instead of a backguard with rear controls like freestanding ranges, slide-in stoves have front controls and no backguard, making them good options if you have a decorative backsplash.

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The console of a smart slide-in range The console of a smart slide-in range

Which features are available on different kinds of stoves?

Whether you choose a gas or electric, freestanding or slide-in range, you can look for a variety of features and configurations that work best for your cooking style. If you’d rather separate your cooktop from your oven, a combination of a standalone cooktop and wall oven provides another option.

Smart ranges

Some smart appliances, including Whirlpool® Smart Ovens and Ranges, allow you to control your products remotely, usually via an app, letting you multitask without needing to be next to the appliance.1

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Convection ranges

Convection ovens include a fan that circulates hot air throughout the oven for all-around heating when you’re cooking on multiple racks at once. Some convection ovens also include a third heating element to enable fast cooking and functions such as air frying, an alternative to deep frying.

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Double oven ranges

If you need extra capacity, often cook multiple dishes at once, or want to cook dishes at two different temperatures or settings at the same time, double oven ranges may be a good option for you. Explore our entire selection of freestanding double ovens today.

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A modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances A modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances

How do I decide which is the best type of stove for my kitchen?

When finding the best kind of range for your home, you’ll want to take multiple things into consideration, including: fuel type, range vs. cooktop and wall oven, installation location, location of controls, size of the appliance and your family, your cooking style and cleanability.

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Type of fuel

Gas ranges require a gas line and hookup, which can be expensive to install if your kitchen doesn’t have an existing line. Consider the different benefits of cooking with gas vs. electric, having a dual-fuel range or an induction cooktop. Browse Whirlpool® Gas Ranges or Whirlpool® Electric Ranges once you’ve determined which fuel source you’ll be using.

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Range vs. cooktop and wall oven

Decide whether a range or a cooktop and wall oven would work best for your kitchen layout and cooking style.

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Location in kitchen

Think about your kitchen layout, including islands, cabinets and other appliances and how that will affect whether you choose a freestanding or slide-in range or a cooktop and wall oven.

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Location of controls on the appliance

Some controls are on the front of the appliance while some are on the back. Think about your kitchen layout and cooking needs as you consider which style works best for you. If you’re installing a range in a kitchen island or have a decorative backsplash that you don’t want to cover up, you’ll want a slide-in range with front controls. Freestanding ranges with rear controls work well if your range will be installed against a wall.

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Appliance size and number of people in your family

A larger capacity range or a double oven range may be good options if you’re cooking for a large family or cook multiple dishes often. Consider how many burners you’re likely to use when looking at types of ranges.

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What type of cooking do you do?

Some people prefer the responsiveness of gas for cooktop temperature control, while others like to have the consistency of electric ovens for baking. Think about the kind of cooking and baking you normally do and weigh the pros and cons of each range option as it relates to your cooking style.

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The ceramic glass cooktops of some electric stoves make for quick cleanup, while some gas stoves have dishwasher-safe burner grates. Consider these and other factors, like self-cleaning cycles and steam cleaning options, that help you to clean your range.

Shop for the best type of stove for your kitchen

Ready to narrow down your options? Use our Appliance Finder to help you find the right range for you, or browse all Whirlpool® Ranges.

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1. Appliance must be set to remote enable. WiFi & App Required. Features subject to change. Details and privacy info at whirlpool.com/connect.