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Cooktops & wall ovens

Cooktop & wall oven buying guide

Last updated: December 2013

Getting started

Flexibility is the biggest reason to trade the usual range for a cooktop and wall oven. But this combo is usually pricier than a top-performing electric or gas range. Keep these tips in mind when you're shopping for a new cooktop or wall oven.

Consider your fuel

Electric elements tend to heat faster and maintain low heat better than gas burners. But a gas flame makes it easier to see the heat level. Either is capable of delivering a fine performance. Induction cooktops use an electromagnetic field that speeds cooktop heating while leaving the surface cooler, since most of the heat goes to the pot or pan. But you'll need magnetic cookware for the technology to work.

Consider your cooking

Look for at least one high-powered element or burner and a large oven. You'll find more cooktops with the ultrahigh heat once exclusive to professional style stoves. High-heat burners can be useful for searing, stir-frying, or heating large quantities. Wall ovens that excelled at broiling produced well-seared, evenly cooked burgers in our tests.

Balance convenience and durability

Electric smoothtops are relatively easy to clean but require a special cleaner and can be damaged by dropped pots and sugary liquids. Coil tops are tougher, but they require more cleaning time.

Keep high-tech in perspective

Wall ovens with special baking modes might not outperform conventional models. And while some induction cooktops now cost as little as $1,200, you'll still find smoothtops radiant electric models for hundreds less.

Types

Electric wall ovens tend to be more popular than gas. Among cooktops you can choose gas or electric, which includes radiant smoothtops, induction smoothtops, and coil tops. Some cooks prefer to see a visual confirmation of a flame and choose gas.

Cooktops


These can be radiant electric smoothtop, electric induction smoothtop, electric coil, or gas. Electric cooktops are typically 30 inches wide; gas models, 36 inches.

Pros:

Cooktops allow more design freedom than a range.

Cons:

You'll usually pay more for a separate cooktop and wall oven.

Wall ovens


Most are electric and offer single or double ovens. Width is typically 24, 27, or 30 inches.

Pros:

Mounted at waist or eye level, a wall oven eliminates bending. Or you can nest it under a countertop to save space.

Cons:

A separate wall oven and cooktop are expensive compared with a range.

Features


Keep high-tech in perspective. Wall oven models with special baking modes don't necessarily outperform more basic models. Here are the cooktop and oven features to consider.

Smoothtops vs. coils


All but the least expensive electric models are smoothtops. Smoothtops are sleeker and offer more features. Most have expandable dual or triple elements that let you switch from a large, high-power element to a small, low-power element contained within it. Some include a low-wattage element for warming plates or keeping just-cooked food at the optimal temperature. And some have an elongated "bridge" element that spans two burners to accommodate rectangular or odd-shaped cookware. Smoothtops make it easy to clean up spills, but they require a special cleaner. And dropped pots and sugary liquids can damage them. Coils are less damage-prone and easier to replace, but they require more cleaning time.

Control lockout


This lets you disable the oven controls. We recommend it for households with children.

Cook time/delay

This feature lets you select times for the oven to start and stop cooking. But you shouldn't leave an oven on unattended. And most foods shouldn't be left in a cold oven for long.

Grates

On gas cooktops heavy porcelain-coated cast-iron grates should stand up to abuse. Continuous grates let you slide cookware between burners.

Hot-surface warning lights


Many smoothtops have at least one. Ideally each element should have a separate warning light. It's a key safety feature since the surface can remain hot long after an element has been turned off.

Induction


Some higher-priced electric cooktops use magnetic coils below the ceramic-glass surface to generate heat in the pan rather than the cooking surface. They require magnetic cookware, but when price is no object, induction cooktops take the cake for fast heating, quick response, and cooler surfaces.

Oven window


These come with or without a decorative grid. A window without a grid gives a clearer view, but it won't hide any pots and pans stored in the oven.

Self-cleaning cycle

A high-heat cycle burns off spills and spatters in wall ovens. An automatic safety lock on self-cleaning models prevents the oven door from being opened until the oven has cooled. Some models have a countdown display that shows the time left in the cycle. The self-cleaning cycle eliminates the drudgery of cleaning the oven by hand.

Speed-cooking option

Many higher-priced wall ovens have a convection fan that circulates the hot air, which can reduce cooking time with some foods.

Variable broil

Most electric ovens have it. It offers adjustable settings for foods that need slower or faster cooking.

Brands

Bosch arrow  |  Electrolux arrow  |  Frigidaire arrow  |  GE arrow  |  Jenn-Air arrow  |  Kenmore arrow  |  KitchenAid arrow  |  Maytag arrow  |  Miele arrow  |  Thermador arrow  |  Viking arrow  |  Whirlpool arrow  |  Wolf arrow

Some of the manufacturers of cooktops and wall ovens are familiar but this category also includes some makers of pro-style cooking appliances. You can compare cooktops and wall ovens by brand.

Bosch

This high-end brand offers a full selection of German-engineered kitchen appliances. Bosch gas, electric, and induction cooktops are priced from $800 to $3,300. Bosch is sold at Lowes, Sears, Best Buy, and independent appliance retailers.

Electrolux

This midpriced-to-high-end brand offers electric wall ovens priced from $1,500. Electrolux ovens promise premium features and a design-led look and feel. The high-end Electrolux Icon line includes gas, electric, and induction cooktops. Electrolux is sold through independent appliance retailers.

Frigidaire

This midlevel, mass-market brand sells appliances priced between $500 and $1,500. The Frigidaire line includes gas and electric cooktops and wall ovens with energy-saving features. The appliances are sold through, Sears, home centers, and independent appliance retailers.

GE

This midlevel, mass-market brand sells a variety of appliances. The line includes gas and electric cooktops priced between $500 and $1,500 and wall ovens priced from $1,000. The appliances are sold through Sears, home centers, and independent appliance retailers.
 

GE Profile. This midlevel, mass-market line includes gas, electric, and induction cooktops priced from $700 to $2,000 and wall ovens priced from $1,000.

GE Monogram. This higher-end line offers pro-style gas, electric, and induction cooktops that cost $1,400 and electric wall ovens priced from $1,500. Monogram appliances are usually sold through independent appliance retailers.

Jenn-Air

The cooking line from this high-end brand includes gas and electric cooktops priced from $820 and electric wall ovens starting at $1,500. Jenn-Air was the first to introduce self-ventilated cooktops. The appliances are sold through Sears, home centers, and independent appliance retailers.

Kenmore

This midlevel, mass-market brand includes gas, electric, and induction cooktops priced from $580 and electric wall ovens that cost $1,000 and up. The appliances are sold through Sears stores.

Kenmore Elite. This line offers more features than the Kenmore line and includes gas, electric, and induction cooktops priced from $1,000 and wall ovens that cost $2,000.

KitchenAid

This high-end brand sells electric wall ovens priced from $1,500 and gas, electric, and induction cooktops that cost $800 to $2,100. KitchenAid appliances are sold through Sears, home centers, and independent appliance retailers.

Maytag

This midlevel, mass-market brand makes gas and electric cooktops priced between $570 and $720 and electric wall ovens that cost $1,000 and up. Maytag appliances are sold through Sears, home centers, and independent appliance retailers.

Miele

This high-end maker sells electric wall ovens priced from $1,500 and gas and electric cooktops that cost $1,450. The appliances are sold through independent appliance retailers.

Thermador

This high-end brand sells electric wall ovens priced from $1,500 and pro-style gas, electric, and induction cooktops that cost $1,725. The appliances are sold through independent appliance retailers.

Viking

This high-end brand sells electric wall ovens priced from $1,500 and gas, electric, and induction cooktops that cost $2,200. Viking is considered the original pro-style brand. The company adds premium features to its ovens and cooktops and offers the Professional and the Designer series, both sold through independent appliance retailers.

Whirlpool

This midlevel, mass-market brand sells gas and electric cooktops priced between $630 and $1,000 and wall ovens that cost $1,000 to $1,500. The appliances are sold through Sears, home centers, and independent appliance retailers.

Wolf

This high-end brand sells gas, electric, and induction cooktops that cost as much as $5,200 and electric wall ovens priced from $2,000. Wolf targets consumers who want a pro-appliance look and high performance. These appliances are sold through independent appliance retailers.

   

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