Electric ovens and hob

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There’s a lot to recommend with freestanding cookers. They are simple to install and cost significantly less than built-in ovens with separate hobs. Designs can be just as stylish, and they have the capacity for entertaining large groups of family and friends. Just slot in and you’re ready to go!

Getting started

A freestanding cooker simply needs to fit in a space between your cabinets and work surface where there is an appropriate fuel supply. The type of cooker you get will be largely dictated by the fuel supply in your kitchen. Choice is between gas or electric, with a small number of dual-fuel cookers available with a gas hob and an electric oven. Electric cookers require installation by a qualified electrician, as they need to be wired into a 30amp socket (a conventional electric socket is only 13amps) and gas should be installed by a gas-safe certified installer.

Standard dimensions are H90 x W60 x D60cm, but you can also find cooker widths of 55cm and 50cm. A cooker with an eye-level grill is about 150cm tall, so make sure you have enough space before you start looking at different models.

Consider whether you need a double rather than a single oven – a second oven is ideal for warming food and plates. Single ovens have a grill that cannot be used at the same time as the oven, so they are not as versatile as a double oven. Some have a storage drawer at the bottom, which is useful for keeping roasting and baking trays, but you will lose cooking space. Choose a colour that fits in with your kitchen décor – black, white, cream or stainless steel.

The options

Ovens

Single oven cookers

These ovens are at the budget end of the range. Although they are roomy inside, they usually also have the grill within the same cavity, so you’ll have less cooking space than is first apparent.

Single oven cookers with separate grill

This is a better option if you’re cooking for a family. You’ll have the benefit of the roomy oven plus the extra cooking option with the separate grill.

Double Ovens

If you’re a busy cook, this is the best option, but they are in the top price bracket. You’ll find the top oven has a grill as well as housing a conventional oven – some gas ovens will even have an electric grill in the top cavity.

Fuel

Electric ovens

Conventional (static) These are less widely available now and generally found in basic models. Electric elements are in the sides or top and bottom of the oven. These have zoned heating: the top of the oven is usually hotter than the bottom. Some top and bottom elements work independently, which is ideal for base crisping or browning the surface of some foods.

Fan-operated Most electric cookers now have a fan to circulate heat more evenly, so the temperature is the same throughout the oven. In ‘fan-assisted’ types, the air is heated by electric elements in the oven sides, while in convection ovens the element is wrapped around the fan. The advantages are:

✓ Cooking is quicker.

✓ Colour is even, but usually paler and less glossy than food cooked in a conventional oven.

✓ Pre-heating is usually unnecessary.

✓ Repositioning shelves is unnecessary, as is swapping trays halfway through cooking.

✓ Good for batch baking (cooking on more than one shelf) because of the even heat distribution.

✓ Cooking times and temperatures are always less than traditional ovens but by variable amounts depending on the make of cooker – follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

✓ The food surface may be drier and less crisp.

✓ Foods with strong flavours can be cooked in the same oven without flavours transferring.

Changing from a static to a fan oven takes some adjustment. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times and temperatures, or if you are trying an old favourite recipe, reduce the heat by about 10°C/50°F and/or the time by 10-15min. You can always return the dish for further cooking. Leave space around dishes and at the sides to allow air currents to circulate. Check whether the manufacturer recommends grilling with the oven door open or closed.

Multifunction This type of oven is a combination of a fan and a conventional oven. So it gives you the maximum versatility. Each option can be used separately or together depending on the type of food you are cooking and the grill can be used with the fan, giving a similar effect to a rotisserie. A multi-function oven is ideal for batch baking and traditional cooking.

Gas ovens

Conventional (British) Gas Ovens The temperature in the middle of the oven relates to the selected gas mark. The top shelf is slightly hotter, the lower shelf slightly cooler and the base cooler still. ‘Zoned heat’ is ideal for cooking complete meals where dishes require different temperatures. Gas is a much moister form of heat than electric, which is particularly noticeable in baking. The result is food with a glossy appearance on the outside and a moist texture inside.
Electric Induction

The latest freestanding induction cookers have electric induction hobs. Sleek and stylish, you’ll pay top whack for these, but they do offer ample oven cooking capacity of around 114 litres and an induction hob designed for pans of different shapes and sizes.

Hobs

So, now that you’ve thought about the type of oven you want, you need to think about the hob. There are various fuel options.

Gas

Gas cookers are a popular choice with visible, easy to control, fast and responsive heat control. Good if you like cooking with a wok, but they can be fiddly to keep clean. Most gas hobs have mains rather than button ignition, and Flame Supervision Devices (FSDs) on each hob ring which will shut off the gas if the burner fails to ignite or gets blown out.

Gas-on-glass hobs

If you enjoy cooking with gas but want your cooker to remain in tip-top condition, a glass hob is a good option. Gas burners are mounted on top of ceramic glass, making the surface easy to clean.

Electric Induction

If you are opting for a freestanding induction cooker, chances are it will have an electric induction hob. Not all pans will work on induction hobs – they need to be iron-based, such as stainless steel, or have a steel sandwich base. The good news is that induction hobs are easy to control, heat really quickly and you’ll be able to deal with any spillages with the wipe of a cloth. Top budget models only.

Electric ceramic hobs

The heating systems are hidden underneath the tough ceramic glass surface. Patterned zones on the glass surface indicate the size and position of the heat source. All have a safety device to prevent the ceramic glass from overheating. Their easy-to-clean surface makes them a popular choice.

Electric plate and electric coil hobs

Less popular now, but if you’re looking for a budget buy an electric cooker with a 4-element hob is a good choice, although they can be expensive to run, slow to heat up and not as easy to wipe clean as a ceramic hob.

Things to consider

• If you batch bake and cook traditional foods, opt for a multi-function oven.

• If you only cook traditional foods, choose a static type; otherwise a fan oven is better for batch baking, quick cooking (reheating ready meals) and defrosting.

• Opting for a separate grill and main oven will give you greater versatility and convenience.

• Check for cool-touch oven doors – especially useful if you have young children. Even on a high temperature, the oven door will only remain warm.

• Eye-level grills are the most convenient to use but don’t look as streamlined, and there are only a limited number of models to choose from. Otherwise, check that a grill below the hob is comfortable for you to use.

• To save money and energy, choose a half-grill facility for small batches of grilling.

• Check the oven is a comfortable height for loading, bearing in mind that the main oven in a double oven is virtually on the floor.

• Choose side-opening or drop-down doors to suit your needs.

• Controls should be clearly marked and easy-to-use. Some are illuminated for easier use.

• On gas appliances, look for safety and flame-failure devices.

• Check for BSI approval or equivalent Continental standards.

• Storage drawer and plate-warming racks are useful. The grill can double for plate warming.

• Reversible door hanging will fit in with your kitchen layout.

• Minute minders may be useful.

• An oven light and clear door-viewing panel are helpful.

• Automatic timers will switch the oven on when you are out.

• Childproof controls.

Energy efficiency

Electric ovens are graded from A-G with A being the most efficient.

Maintenance

Most ovens are finished in hardwearing enamel, which is resistant to grease and burnt-on food particles, making them easy to clean. Normal linings are less expensive and may be cleaned with an oven cleaner.

Some models have catalytic stay-clean liners that make the oven self-cleaning at high temperatures. They should never be cleaned manually and may need replacing during the lifetime of the cooker. You may need to ‘service’ the liners by putting the oven on its highest heat setting for approximately one hour.

Top-range ovens use a high temperature Pyrolitic cleaning system that cleans every part of the oven’s interior. During the cleaning cycle, the internal temperature rises to around 260°C/500°F. Soiling is converted into ash, which collects on the floor of the oven, and can then easily be swept out. You’ll need to do this every few weeks and the process takes two to three hours to complete.

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The best range cookers are the SUVs of the cooking world. They’re a sizeable hob and a semi-pro oven, in one peer-group-pleasing package. In short, they are a best oven and a best hob in one unit.

If you’re looking for a new one but haven’t a clue where to begin, you can stop right here because we’ve done our homework, and our cakework, to find the best range cookers you can buy.

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What is the best range cooker?

After much deliberation – washed down with an icy Hook Island Red – we’ve settled on these eight excellent models. They all perform with gusto but the frontrunner has to be the exquisite looking Rangemaster Elise 110, hotly followed by the small yet amply equipped and highly regarded John Lewis JLFSMC613.

How to buy a range cooker

The term ‘range cooker’ refers to the combination of a hob (or ‘stovetop’ if you’re American) and an oven in a single kitchen appliance. They are, to all intents and purposes, the classic style of cooker and have been in existence since the 1850s.

Range cookers come in a variety of widths, from 60cm (often referred to as a mini range or, if you’re sniffy about these things, ‘a cooker’) up to a kitchen devouring 2.2 metres.

The smallest range cookers might have just two ovens (one on top of the other), a grill and a four-burner gas hob or similar sized electric induction hob while the largest will have up to four ovens, a grill, two warming or storage drawers and as many as seven gas burners or induction zones.

Fitting a range cooker is relatively easy since all you need is a space between the kitchen cabinets and either a gas or electricity supply or, in the case of dual fuel cookers, both.

However, when it comes to the electrics, it’s absolutely essential that the cooker is given its own separate ring main and that it’s capable of withstanding the cooker’s electrical load; as much as 13.5 kilowatts if you’re going for all electric. Boy did I find that out the hard way.

Range cookers are available in three main configurations: all gas, all electric and dual fuel. Duel fuel is usually the preferred choice since it offers the best of both worlds: an electric oven and an efficient gas hob.

Besides, a range cooker simply looks more traditional with gas hobs fitted. Many home chefs love their gas ovens but the general consensus is that electric fan ovens are more efficient at cooking food evenly and the dryer heat they emit produces better visual results. That’s why you won’t quite as many gas ovens here.

When it comes to choosing an all-electric range cooker you have two main hob choices: ceramic and induction. I advise against ceramic hobs since the system is so much slower and more energy intensive than either gas or induction.

If you wish to embrace the very latest trend in cooking technology, go for an induction hob. This high-tech magnetic system is ultra fast to heat and is as instantly controllable as gas.

Induction hobs are a doddle to clean and safe as houses since the cooker top remains lukewarm to the touch even after removing a hot pan. The drawback is that you may need to change a lot of your pots and pans to ones made from magnetic ferrous metals.

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The best range cookers, in order

1. Rangemaster Elise 110

Best range cooker

Specifications

Type: Dual fuel Width: 110cm Ovens: 2 (both fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: 6 gas burners Storage drawer: Yes

Reasons to buy

+Stunning looker+Cracking set of cooking options+Fantastic door-mounted roaster+Six burners

Reasons to avoid

-Pricy for the size

Available in seven gorgeous hues, the stunning 110cm Elise is superbly built and attired in a swathe of gorgeous enamel with brushed chrome trim and the best looking control knobs since the boiler room of the Titanic.

It’s exceptionally well equipped, too, and comes with two 73-litre ovens, a separate grill with easy-glide rack and a storage drawer. Both ovens are fan-assisted but the left one also provides up to seven different cooking functions and an incredibly useful roast rack attached to the swing-out door. This rack makes checking a roast a lot easier than having to slide out the entire roasting tray and dropping it all over your feet.

The right hand oven is equipped with three racks – more than enough acreage for 36 cup cakes or a squadron of mini Yorkshires. Catalytic linings in both ovens make cleaning pretty effortless, too.

Let’s take a trip to the top shall we? Blimey, six gas burners, two of them wok friendly – quick, grab the noodles.

The Elise has been thoughtfully designed to include only the cavities and functions you are most likely to use. Even the storage drawer’s a handy addition – a perfect space for all your roasting and bakery tins.

Rangemaster is one of the hotter brands in the kingdom of cooking and this writer has no hesitation in urging you to slap this stunning model straight at the top of your shopping list. An all-electric version with induction hob is also available, priced just shy of £2.5K.

2. Smeg CG92PX9 90cm Dual Fuel Range Cooker

Best range cooker for fans of stainless steel

Type: Dual fuel Width: 89.8cm Ovens: 2 (one fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: 5 gas burners Storage drawer: Yes +Pro looks+Self-cleaning+Precise controls -Requires professional installation

The Smeg CG92PX9 90cm Dual Fuel Range Cooker really looks like it means business. This sizeable appliance features lots of stainless steel, which while adding a touch of the ‘culinary pro’ to your kitchen can also be cleaned easily. However, it’s the beefy specification that makes this particular Smeg one to aim for.

The appliance comes with a great selection of options for cooking any kind of meal and it’s also substantial enough to cater for even the largest of families. Up on top, the hob features 5 gas burners, one of which is large enough for wok duties and suchlike. And, because the Smeg boasts ample dimensions the hob area can house all of your pots and pans, including those whoppers that are plain old useless on lesser models. They’ll feel suitably stable too.

Below that you get two ovens, with the main one being substantial enough to take on a Christmas dinner or two. This is supplemented by a second smaller oven, which comes in very handy if you’re eating on your own. Or are just planning on cutting down. It’s small, but in a useful way, plus there’s a grill inside here as well as in the larger side. The range has also been designed and engineered to assist you every step of the way, including the way the oven fan stops when you open the door and telling you the correct temperature has been reached with an amiable beep.
Smeg has also thought carefully about overall useability, with the doors for example, not getting hot thanks to their double-glazed design. Similarly, the collection of controls along the front of the unit proves wonderfully ergonomic. They have a positive, precise functionality about them that suggests quality and practicality.

Meanwhile, down at the bottom there’s some storage that makes the perfect home for those annoying accessories like baking trays that somehow don’t seem to fit snugly anywhere else. Add on pyrolytic self-cleaning and an A/A energy efficiency rating and you have a fine machine. You will need a professional to install it however.

3. John Lewis JLFSMC613

Best affordable range cooker

Type: Dual fuel Width: 60cm Ovens: 2 (one fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: 4 gas burners Storage drawer: No +Excellent main oven+Intuitive controls+Glass hob cover -Only four burners-Power rating is quite high

This John Lewis-branded mini rangecooker is a Which? Best Buy winner and deservedly so. It’s the same width as all white appliances (washing machines, dishwashers etc), so all you need is a 60cm gap between the cabinets, a gas connection for the hob and a 5.3Kw electricity ring main for the ovens and grill.

And speaking of ovens, this understated looking but versatile model comes with two. Reaching below, there’s a swing-out door leading to a 79-litre fan-assisted electric oven big enough for two medium chickens and some trimmings. Above that there’s a smaller conventional 34-litre oven that also serves as a grill.

Both ovens have very accurate temperature readings – better, indeed, than many competitors – and that’s a major plus if you do a lot of baking. They are also fast to heat up – certainly quicker than Smeg’s equivalent model.

Up top there are four very responsive gas burners and good quality cast iron pan holders. The fold-down glass lid is a nice touch, too, since it gives the whole package a clean look and also serves as extra worktop space when the hob isn’t being used.

If you’re looking to replace your existing 60cm dual-fuel cooker and require a model that trumps it in most disciplines then get your skates on and head down to your nearest John Lewis branch.

4. Belling Farmhouse 100G Gas Range Cooker

Best for multiple burners

Type: Dual fuel Width: 100cm Ovens: 2 Grill: Yes Hob: 7 gas burners **Storage drawer** Yes +Hugely versatile+Fast and efficient+Wok friendly -The grill could be better

Don’t even think about entertaining the Belling Farmhouse 100G Gas Range Cooker if you live in a tiny home. This appliance is pretty big, with width that stretches to 100cm. The space is used to good effect though as the beefy Belling goes gas all the way by offering up 7 burners in the hob area, one of which is a very capable 4kW wok burner. These offer plenty of versatility and are great for anyone with pots and pans of all shapes and sizes.

Meanwhile, the twin oven arrangement is also gas powered, with the larger one offering up 64 litres of cooking space. The other has 49 litres, and the combination seems very nicely balanced to us. Belling has built in an electric grill too, which while it does the job is perhaps the least impressive feature here.

If you’re not keen on the black finish, although we think it looks the best, there’s a cream model or even silver as an alternative. Whatever colour you choose the range cooker still comes with an acceptable A energy rating. Plus we like the way Belling has designed the thermostat to make fine-tuning settings a doddle. That also helps save on your fuel bills.
The layout of the dials along the front and the red LED display flourish looks kinda cool we think. Meanwhile, another plus point is the plentiful and flexible nature of the oven shelving. Getting the best from the range cooker does require patience mind, but it’s great at heating up swiftly.

We’re also keen on the enamel used on the interior surfaces, which appears to be great at fending off food residues, spillages and general gunk that accumulates when you’ve been cooking for a while. The Belling Farmhouse 100G packs in some decent storage too, so you get to pack away bulky trays and the like when they’re not needed.

5. Stoves Sterling 1000Ei

Best modernist range cooker

Type: All electric Width: 100cm Ovens: 2 (one fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: 5-zone induction **Storage/warming drawer** Yes +Clean design+Two decent ovens+Induction hob -No bridge facility on hob

If you’re after an induction hob but don’t fancy the thought of having a built-in oven and hob combo (the route many choose to go), consider this silvery modernist brute from British cooker creator Stoves.

The Sterling measures 100cm across. On the oven side of things it has a large capacity grill, two 62-litre ovens (one fanned and with a defrost function) and a low-power, warming-cum-storage drawer.

The hob is one large swathe of shiny, easy-to-clean ceramic glass housing five induction zones. Features include a touch slide control panel, power boost, a pause function and timer but, sadly, no bridge function for joining two zones together for large casseroles and fish kettles. Bad times.

Induction hobs look a little out of place on most range cookers but this model gets away with it by dint of its minimalist design. Well worth a gander.

Traditionalists will be pleased to note that it also comes in black.

6. RANGEMASTER PROFESSIONAL DELUXE 90 INDUCTION

Best for style and safety features

Type: All electric Width: 90cm Ovens: 2 (both fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: 5-zone induction (gas available instead) Storage/warming drawer: No +Two quick-heating fan ovens+Five-zone induction hob+Excellent safety features+Available in three sizes -Pricy

If you’re sold on the Rangemaster brand but prefer a model with a more contemporary aesthetic than the classic Elise reviewed above, then give the highly praised Professional Deluxe a gander. This natty nosh knocker-upper is available in three sizes: 110cm, 100cm and 90cm, all with a gas hob on top. Alternatively, you could forsake gas and go for an induction hob instead, but only with the 90 and 110cm models.

For the sake of variety, we’re highlighting the 90cm induction hob model here, which is a perfect size for an average posh kitchen. The Professional Deluxe’s i5 induction hob has five zones that can be linked up to some degree, allowing for a variety of different pot sizes and shapes. SpillGuard technology, meanwhile, keeps spills confined for easy cleaning. However, it’s the oven department that impresses most.

Like the marginally more expensive Elise, this one also features a Handyrack that attaches to the inside of the main 73-litre cavity door. This simple but clever innovation allows you to baste the roast without burning your arm off. The taller, slimmer 67-litre oven to its right is a perfect place for the roasties and other veg, or perhaps the lemon meringue pie. Both ovens are fan assisted and, according to the blurb, are exceedingly quick to reach cooking temperature. They’re also equipped with catalytic linings for easier cleaning. The grill, meanwhile, comes with telescopic runners and a stop mechanism that prevents pulling the hot grill pan out too far and dropping it on your feet.

If you’re a clumsy cook looking for a classy rangecooker with a raft of excellent of safety features, you’ve come to the right place my friend.

7. Belling Cookcentre Deluxe 90DFT

Best 90cm range cooker

Type: Dual fuel Width: 90cm Ovens: 3 (one fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: 5 gas burners Storage drawer: No +Brilliant full-length oven+Five burners -Understandably cluttered-Cheap knobs

This dual-fuel Belling comes with an interesting oven combination that makes full use of the unit’s 90cm width and 93cm height.

Let’s take a little tour: top left we have a small conventional oven-cum-grill; bottom left is a 62-litre multifunction oven with a defrost feature; and on the right is the model’s piece de resistance, a large, full-length 91-litre fan-assisted oven with 25 shelf positions.

That’s enough real estate for two large chickens and a tray of roasted veg while the left oven sorts out the lemon meringue pie.

The hob, meanwhile, is comprised of five burners including one designed specifically for wokking, though the jury’s out on the quality of the shiny plastic control knobs.

Granted, this model is a bit cluttered in appearance but they’ve configured it to near perfection and at a great price. If you can’t stand cooking with gas, there’s also an induction option.

8. Smeg TR103IBL Victoria

Blackest. Ever. Range cooker

Type: Electric Width: 100cm Ovens: 2 Grill: 1 Hob: 5 zone induction Storage drawer: No +Very very black+Large, adaptable spaces+Does come in non-black options -Fan is loud-A bit of a dust magnet

If you’re looking for a traditional looking range cooker with the latest cooking smarts, look no further than the all-electric Smeg TR103IBL. The over-sized retro knobs may look more Aga than Buck Rodgers, but they actually control a high-tech induction hob, which is easy to clean and offers a turbo mode for boiling water in the amount of time it takes you to say, ‘boil some water’.

Going down below you’ll find three large cavities; a grill, main oven, and side oven. The grill features a highly useful grillpan on castors, while the side one has a rack for warming plates, making use of that extra height.

9. STEEL CUCINE GENESI 100

Best for those who really want to splash their cash

Type: Electric Width: 100cm Ovens: 3 (one fanned) Grill: Yes Hob: four options Storage/warming drawer: Yes +Elegant Italian design+Three ovens+Range of hob options -Extraordinarily expensive

Got five grand knocking about? How about slotting this stately Italian beauty between your Jack Trench cabinets? Bologna-based Steel Cucine started out producing range cookers for restaurants so it stands to reason the company’s artisans know a thing or two about the subject.

This 100cm model is available in a variety of colours and four hob configurations: three gas and one induction. The G10FFF-4M gas hob is arguably the most useful since it comes with three normal burners, a wok burner and a ‘mega’ wok burner. But one shouldn’t sniff at the frytop option either, which includes a griddle plate along with two standard burners and a wok burner.

Right, that’s the hob out the way, let’s take a peek at the oven section. This one has three at 70, 39 and 34 litres apiece. However, only the 70-litre cavity is fanned while the other two have heating elements that can be configured in a number of ways. They both serve as grills, too.

The whole shebang comes with a range of shelves and telescopic rails, even a pizza stone and a wok support. Now all you have to do is chat to a bank manager… if you can find one.

Commonly Confused Words Cook & Cooker

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  • Cook & Cooker

    Cooker – stove/oven; is something that cooks food

    • I bought a new cooker.
    • Do you want a gas cooker or an electric cooker?
    • We do not have a lot of money for a new cooker.
    • My cooker is very old.
    • The girls do not have a cooker in their new flat.

    Cook – is a person that prepares food

    • My sister is a good cook.
    • I am not a good cook, but my brother is a very good cook.
    • I like to cook.
    • Did you cook dinner?
    • I do not know what to cook for dinner.

    Note: a person can not be a cooker; a person is a cook

    Cook & Cooker Quiz

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    Confusing Words Staring With P – Q – R

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    Confusing Words Staring With U – V – W – X – Y – Z

  • Oven, Stove, Range—What’s The Difference, Anyway?

    You know that big box in your kitchen? Yeah, the one you use to cook food. What do you call that thing?

    Much of it probably has to do with upbringing and tradition, but there are other factors at play. As home cooking has evolved, the terms we use to describe our cooking appliances have also changed, and the appliances themselves have diversified.

    But when you boil it down, there are real, definable differences between these three terms. So let’s clear up this confusion once and for all.

    Oven

    Credit: Reviewed.com

    Any enclosed space where you cook food can be called an oven. Typically, though, they look like this.

    Let’s get the simplest definition out of the way first: An oven is simply a box that’s used to heat or cook food. Or, to put a finer point on it, it’s the enclosed chamber where the heating happens.

    An oven can be anything from a hole in the ground with a fire built over it (really, earth ovens are a thing), to a countertop toaster oven, to an industrial oven that can cook 100,000 hamburgers an hour.

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    What is not an oven? Anything that’s outside the cooking chamber—you know, like gas, electric, or induction burners. There’s a different term for that!

    Of course, that doesn’t stop some people from referring to the whole shebang as an oven. On the whole, “oven” is probably the most commonly used term to describe a kitchen cooking appliance, which is why it’s the one we use to describe the category.

    Stove

    Credit: Flickr user “jkleeman”

    A classic wood-burning stove with stovetop

    Here’s where it gets more confusing.

    A “stove” is technically any enclosed space that uses fuel to provide heat. Sounds a lot like an oven, right?

    Well, yes and no. There are many kinds of stoves that provide heat but don’t cook food (or only do so incidentally). Coal stoves, wood-burning stoves, and pellet stoves are all examples of this variety. In fact, you could look at ovens as a subset of stoves; all ovens are stoves, but not all stoves are ovens.

    ADVERTISEMENT All ovens are stoves, but not all stoves are ovens.

    But there’s another wrinkle: Stoves often include what’s called a stovetop. Wood-burning cookstoves use the radiant heat from the internal wood fire to heat a griddle. More modern stoves have gas or electric burners.

    Stovetops can be separated from the stove and exist on their own. In this configuration, they’re properly called “cooktops.” Cooktops come in all kinds of varieties including portable (confusingly referred to as “camp stoves”), commercial, and residential. These surfaces can use gas or electric, the latter of which also includes magnetic induction. In the U.K., the cooktop or stovetop is called a “hob.”

    At least one prominent dictionary includes the cooktop itself in the definition of “stove,” but there’s another term for that…

    Range

    Credit: GE Appliances

    A range combines both an oven and a cooktop into a single, unified appliance.

    Remember those stoves with stovetops? Well, when that stovetop has its own fuel and is connected to an oven, you’ve got yourself a “range”. It’s an all-in-one cooking solution, and it’s by far the most commonly sold variety of cooking appliance in the U.S.

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    Chances are, this is what’s in your kitchen.

    But while ovens are most often purchased as part of a range, there are exceptions. Wall ovens are a common feature in high-end kitchens, where they’re typically paired with separate, countertop-mounted cooktops. This configuration allows for greater flexibility in kitchen layout, though it typically requires more space.

    So what should I call it?

    If you have a cooking chamber without attached external burners, you should call it an oven. If you have a cooking surface with no oven, you should call it a cooktop (or hob). And if you have both in one device, you should call it a range—though you could certainly be forgiven for calling it a stove.

    The good news is that while “range” is the most accurate term to describe the majority of cooking appliances found in American homes, at the end of the day people will probably know what you’re talking about, regardless of the term you use.

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