Ranges, Ovens and Cooktops

General Appliance & Kitchens serves the Berkeley/Oakland area with a wide selection of gas and electric ranges, ovens, and cooktops. When shopping for a new range, you’ll first need to decide between an electric, gas or dual-fuel range. If you’re replacing an older range, then it’s easiest to use the existing power or gas supply, but if you are building or initiating a floor-to-ceiling renovation, you probably have a choice.

We offer quality gas and electric ranges, ovens, and cooktops from GE/General Electric, Whirlpool, Amana, Bertazzoni, Blue Star, Bosch, DCS, Dacor, Fisher & Paykel, Frigidaire, Gaggenau, Kitchenaid, Maytag, Miele, Samsung, Sharp, Wolf, and Thermador.

Electric ranges are less expensive and more popular nationwide, especially because consumers prefer the smooth cooktops found on most modern electric ranges. Some budget electric ranges still offer coil elements, which are cheaper to repair but harder to clean. Experts also praise electric ovens for cooking more evenly than their gas counterparts.

Gas ranges, on the other hand, cost a bit less to operate, and many cooks find the cooktop temperature settings easier to control since you can see the flame.

Dual-fuel ranges offer the best of both worlds, but they are much more expensive to buy and install. Few homes have both 240-volt and gas connections for a range, so professional installation may be necessary.

Modern ranges include a host of popular new features, including warming drawers that keep food warm until serving. Some warming drawers are actually mini ovens and can reach temperatures of up to 450 degrees, which is useful for cooking small items. In addition, more ranges now have a convection-capable oven. Convection ovens use a fan to circulate hot air throughout the oven, which helps food cook faster and promotes even browning. Double ovens (with or without convection options) can be found more often at mid-range prices. Double ovens allow you to cook different foods at varying temperatures, but the main oven on these ranges is usually smaller than on a single-oven range.

Induction cooktops are the hottest item in cooking technology. These use electromagnetic technology to heat only the pan, leaving the burner plate cooler than a gas or electric radiant burner. Induction cooktops have become quite popular over the last few years and have fueled demand for freestanding ranges with induction burners.

When shopping for a new range, here are a few things you may want to consider:

Look for easy clean features such as sealed burners, a self-cleaning oven and removable burner pans and caps. A self-cleaning feature is virtually standard now in electric ovens, but quite a few gas ovens still lack this feature. Other easy-to-clean features include upswept burners and back guards, as well as smooth controls and knobs. Consumers also like smoothtop electric ranges for their easy clean-up, although special cleaners are often recommended to prevent scratches — especially on dark surfaces.

Oven capacities vary. For a family of four, at least a 4-cubic-foot oven should be considered, although singles and couples can get away a smaller oven of just 2 – 3 cubic feet.

Oven windows with black mesh usually work best, while a white screen or grid can obscure visibility. A large, well-lit oven window can help to prevent accidental overcooking and will reduce the need to open the oven to check on things, lowering the oven temperature in the process.

Dual-fuel ranges can be appealing, though they are more expensive than regular electric and gas ranges. They can also be more expensive to install, because they require both a gas line and 240-volt wiring. Electric ranges have very good overall performance, but gas ranges are generally preferred for stovetop cooking.

Check that the oven door opens and shuts smoothly. You should also count the number of oven racks, and make sure they can hold heavy items. Check the bar spacing on oven racks – wide gaps between bars can make it difficult when baking small dishes.

Electronic control panels offer extra features, but can be less reliable than manual knobs. Pre-programmed settings can simplify cooking, but failures of computerized control panels are relatively common. Knobs rarely break, and they’re inexpensive to replace.

Choose based on your own cooking style and preferences. Few people really need a range with six extra-large burners and a grill, for example, so if price is important, don’t buy more capabilities than you’ll use. Price can also be affected by the color or style you choose. For example, if you prefer stainless steel, that option can easily cost an additional $200 or so.

Wall Ovens and Cooktops

As their name suggests, wall ovens (also known as built-in ovens) are designed to be built into a wall. While you may appreciate the space savings, you will also need to buy a separate cooktop, which can be installed on a countertop. Most prefer ranges, which combine the oven and cooktop into one unit, providing a more economical choice than buying both a cooktop and a wall oven.

While most of today’s wall ovens are electric, it is possible to find a gas model. However, electric ovens typically heat more evenly than gas ovens. Single ovens are the most common, but some manufacturers also offer single-double and double ovens, which can considerably expand your cooking options. Single-double ovens have the capacity of a single oven, but that space is divided between two smaller ovens. Double models include at least one full-size oven. These ovens allow you to cook food at different temperatures, but they’re not inexpensive.

All things considered, a good budget wall oven can cost less than $1,000, but you’ll sacrifice some popular features like a convection oven. Convection ovens use high-speed fans to circulate hot air, which allows for faster cooking time and better browning. Don’t forget to budget in the cost of a cooktop when you buy a wall oven.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind how you’ll be using your wall oven. If you rarely make roasts or bake very much and you aren’t concerned about cooking times, convection probably isn’t necessary.