When Vaishali Miller and her husband, Brian, decided to renovate their Huntersville kitchen last year, a replacement for their basic electric range topped their list of upgrades.
“I always wanted a gas range,” said Vaishali Miller, who sautés fresh peppers, onions, and zucchini from the family’s garden almost daily. The builder-grade electric coils on the old range didn’t give those foods even heat distribution.
But as they researched their options, the Millers quickly learned there’s much more to consider than just gas or electric.
Many of the ranges on the market today are loaded with enough tempting features to make a cook salivate before even pulling out a recipe.
Some incorporate new technology, such as induction cooking. Others can boil water in 90 seconds or less. A few can even be controlled by smart phone apps.
Those innovations are attractive to consumers as long as they pass an important test.
“Saving people time is the biggest selling point for manufacturers,” said Daniel Hucks, assistant store manager and appliance specialist at the Lowe’s store on South Boulevard. “It’s, ‘how can we make it more convenient for people?’ ”
The Millers purchased the GE Café Series Free Standing Duel-Fuel Range with Baking Drawer for the two features that were important to them: an electric oven with an internal thermometer that alerts when meat has reached its correct temperature, and a large burner down the middle of the gas range for a griddle.
“On weekends, I don’t have to pull a special pan out for pancakes and bacon,” said Vaishali Miller.
If you’re in the market for a new range, Hucks recommends determining the source of fuel you prefer, then choosing the features that most appeal to you.
Here are a few we would like to take home:
Samsung’s 5.9-cubic-foot Freestanding Full Induction with True Convection Oven and Cooktop offers all of the benefits that come with induction cooking – energy efficiency, speed and responsiveness – plus a few more. It detects small vibrations that indicate when a liquid has reached full boil and reduces the heat. The convection system in the oven is designed to more evenly distribute warm air. And no more harsh chemicals when it’s time to clean the oven – just provide a cup of water and this model’s SteamQuick Technology cleans in just 20 minutes. The suggested retail price is $1,699. Available at Sears and Home Depot. www.samsung.com.
The Frigidaire Gallery 30-inch Freestanding Electric Double Oven Range boasts two identical ovens, each large enough to cook a 28-pound turkey. Double ovens are a trend with manufacturers today, allowing a cook to prepare a spicy casserole and a chocolate cake at the same time without worrying about temperature variations or transfer of flavors. This model also features one-touch button options for modern family staples such as pizza or chicken nuggets. It is made of smudge-proof stainless steel, to reduce the need for cleaning. The suggested retail price is $1,699. Available at most major appliance retailers. www.frigidaire.com.
The Electrolux 30-inch Induction Freestanding Range with Induction Cooktop and IQ Touch Controls can boil water in 90 seconds. With induction cooking, the heating elements respond to setting changes quickly, so you can switch from a simmer to a boil almost immediately. The cooktop heats only the pan and adjusts to whatever size you use. Electrolux, which has its North American headquarters in Charlotte, estimates that the technology is 70 percent more efficient than gas models and 20 percent more efficient than electric. A convection element in the oven is designed for more even baking and a cooking time 30 percent faster than conventional ovens. It also preheats 25 percent quicker than conventional designs, according to Electrolux, and incorporates a ball-bearing system that allows oven racks to move smoothly. The suggested retail price is $2,199. Available at Home Depot, Plaza Appliance Mart, D&L Parts Company. www.electroluxappliances.com.
Want to turn on your oven while gardening in the backyard? Or change its temperature while folding laundry? The GE Profile Series 30-inch Built-In Double Convection Wall Oven allows you to tap your smartphone to control your oven without being pulled away from other tasks. From preheating to alerting you when dinner is ready, the mobile app utilizes Wi-Fi technology to add convenience to cooking. Suggested retail price is $3,199. Available at Sears, Best Buy, Lowe’s, and Home Depot. www.geappliances.com.
The Whirlpool 6.7-total-cubic-foot Double Oven Electric Range with Induction Cooktop is also an option when you want speed, control and energy efficiency. Serious bakers might be drawn to its two separate oven spaces and the convection system for even distribution of heat. The three racks can be moved between the upper and lower ovens. Suggested retail price is $2,249. Available at most major appliance retailers. www.whirlpool.com.
Thermador’s 36-inch Professional Series Pro Harmony Standard-Depth All-Gas Range features four star-shaped burners, two that simmer delicate sauces at temperatures as low as 100 degrees. An electric griddle in the middle can be used for leisurely Sunday morning breakfasts. Available at Plaza Appliance Mart, among others, for $6,899. www.thermador.com.
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