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