Additional Range Features: Double Ovens
Most ranges have one oven cavity, but there are some that will provide a double-oven feature, allowing you to bake two different things at once. If you're a serious cook who frequently uses two ovens at the same time, a double-oven range can be a great option for your kitchen.
Oven Arrangements: Ranges with two ovens come in two varieties: side-by-side double ovens, or ovens stacked on top of each other. The former will typically result in an extra-wide range with six or eight burners, like the one pictured above. These types of ranges are offered by many high-end manufacturers. A stacked double-oven range (pictured below) is slimmer than side-by-side double ovens, fitting into typical 30-inch range openings. These ranges will typically be more affordable than their side-by-side counterparts, as they are offered by manufacturers with more mid-range price points.
Heat Sources: Double-oven ranges usually have one heat source, either electric or gas. Visit the opening slide of our range slide show to see a double-oven range with dual-fuel capabilities.
Additional Range Features: Grill Top
Most ranges have a broiler in the oven that is meant to mimic an indoor grill, at least in the sense that you cook with direct heat. But if you want your range to truly function like an indoor grill, consider buying one with grilling grates on the rangetop (some manufacturers call this feature a char-broiler or a char-grill). Made from porcelain or cast iron, these grates are placed over a gas or infrared burner.
Something to consider: If you're using a range with a grilling feature, make sure you have proper ventilation above your range. Indoor grilling is sure to produce a great deal of smoke and grease.
A Range With It All
Of course, each of these options isn't mutually exclusive. You can find ranges that have all these options, like the one pictured above from KitchenAid. It's a double-oven range with dual-fuel capabilities (the industry's only dual-fuel double oven range) and has the industry's largest double oven capacity available. With the help of a convection fan it bakes evenly on all oven racks, and also roasts up to 30 percent faster than with a conventional oven.
While most ranges won't be loaded with so many options, it's good to know what features are available, and which ones will suit your needs. Peruse the rest of our range slide show to learn more.
Types of Heat: Electric Ranges
An electric range offers the convenience of easy installation-it can just be plugged in and ready to use, unlike a gas range. While you can still buy electric ranges with exposed coil burners, many modern electric ranges use radiant heat or halogen heat as a heat source, placing a smooth cooktop surface over the heating elements.
This glass ceramic surface provides a sleek appearance, and is also easy to clean because there are very few crevices for food and dirt to fall into.
Oven Properties: Electric ovens provide a dry heat, as opposed to gas ovens, which can sometimes produce a more humid type of heat. Depending on what you like to bake, you may prefer the dryer heat produced by electric ovens.
Types of Heat: Gas Ranges
The rangetop is where gas ranges truly shine. Gas flames react immediately to changes in temperature settings, giving you fairly precise control over the temperature when you're searing meat or simmering sauces. Most gas rangetops will have between four and six burners, and some models have one burner with more Btus to get hotter than the others (for searing) and a different burner with a low power level and low heat, optimal for simmering.
Something to Consider: Gas burners will either be sealed or unsealed. A sealed burner (see photo to the left) means that the area where the gas is ignited is covered. A rangetop with sealed burners is usually easier to clean, because food and dirt cannot fall into the ignition area.
How important is it for home chefs to have cooktops with the amount of Btus you’d find in a restaurant kitchen?
Courtesy of Jenn-Air
Having a gas cooktop that can deliver plenty of Btu's is never a bad thing.
Chef Matthews: High heat is definitely important, but consistent and controllable heat is almost more important to me.
Chef Selland: On this little four-burner range we have (at home) each burner has 15,000 Btus. I’d like more, but I do think that’s a good number for most people; it’s enough power to cook things and sear things and get things hot really fast.
Chef Subido: At home I don’t think you need as many Btus as pro chefs need. I know companies brag about how many Btus their appliances have, but the things that are cooked at home don’t need to be cooked at the same speed as at restaurants. There isn’t a la carte ordering going on [at home].
Verdict: Having a cooktop that brings more heat and has more Btus than the average cooktop isn’t a bad thing. Most cooktops and ranges now feature a high-heat burner with 11,000 to 16,000 Btus.
Types of Heat: Dual-Fuel Ranges
Dual-fuel ranges use gas for the rangetop and electricity for the oven.
Why you'd want this: As we previously discussed, the benefits of having a gas rangetop are numerous, but to summarize: gas burners offer a great deal of control over the temperature. But if you frequently bake, you might prefer the radiant heat electric ovens produce. This type of heat can keep a more consistent temperature in the oven, and also provides a dry atmosphere, as opposed to gas ovens, which produces a more humid heat.
Range Style: Slide-In Range
A slide-in range is a cross between a drop-in and freestanding range. Like a freestanding range, it has a bottom drawer for storage (or possibly for a broiler compartment). Like a drop-in range, the sides are not paneled and it's designed to sit in between cabinetry.
Slide-in ranges will not have a control panel that extends upwards from the back of the range, instead it will have a control panel on the front above the oven door (for an example, see the photo above). This helps excentuate the slide-in's streamlined look. This style range can be especially useful in a kitchen island setting where you wouldn't a range panel that rises higher than the countertop.
Slide-ins close the gaps between the range and the countertop. Slide-in ranges usually have the same price as drop-in ranges with similar features, but are more expensive than freestanding ranges with comparable features.
Sharp Insight Pro Microwave Drawer
The new generation of microwave drawers from Sharp come in the same sizes-24 and 30 inches wide-but have a larger interior capacity of 1.2 cubic feet, tall enough to hold a 20-ounce cup of coffee and wide enough for a 9x13-inch dish. Other new features include a beverage center for liquids and more automatic settings for different foods. The drawer can also keep food warm for up to 30 minutes. Sharp Electronics