Which small range is best?
Ranges, stoves and ovens are terms used interchangeably to describe the heating appliances that are the workhorses of every kitchen. However, there are some important differences to note. The oven is the large enclosed area for baking and broiling, the cooktop is the flat surface where the pots and pans go and the range/stove is the standalone appliance that includes the oven and the cooktop.
Small ranges may be stripped-down versions of full-sized ranges or full-featured ranges with smaller dimensions. If you are looking for a small stainless steel range with a convection oven and bright interior lighting, take a good look at the Haier 24 Inch Stainless Steel Electric Range.
What to know before you buy a small range
What’s the difference between a gas and electric small range?
Electric ranges are the most common range and the type most people think of first. Electricity heats the cooktop burners, and the radiant heat is transferred to your pots and pans. Electric range advocates cite cleanliness, safety and simplicity as their top three reasons for cooking and baking with electricity. Electric ranges may run on 220 volts or 110 volts. 220V ranges need special wiring. 110V ranges can plug into a standard household electrical outlet.
For gas ranges, the cooktop burners apply an open flame directly to the underside of your pots and pans. The oven is heated by an open flame on the bottom that sits under a metal tray. The broiler uses open flame from the roof of the oven. Only about half of the homes in the U.S. have gas piped into the home. The other sources for gas are small, portable tanks that sit near the stove or large permanent tanks situated outside the home. Fans of gas ranges say they are cheaper to operate and the temperatures can be controlled more exactly.
To learn even more about small ranges, take a look at the full small range buying guide from BestReviews.com.
What to look for in a quality small range
All gas ranges have open burners surrounded by heavy metal grates. These grates are designed to hold even the heaviest pots and pans above the cooktop. Basic electric ranges have open metal burners that are shaped like coils and turn red when they get really hot. Better electric ranges hide the coils beneath a sheet of glass or ceramic material. With no exposed burners, there is no need for drip pans and with a sealed surface, cleanup is a breeze. If you choose a small range with open burners, make sure they are removable and have removable drip pans underneath them, too.
All-electric ovens use some form of dry radiant heat in the oven heating element on the bottom of the oven and the broiler element on the top. Gas ranges use gas to bake and broil. If you like being able to see what’s going on inside your oven, choose a small range with a glass door so you can check without opening the door and losing heat. Look for ovens with cool touch controls that are easy to use. Another good feature to have is an oven that cleans itself using a special cycle. Clocks and timers are must-haves for most cooks.
Both electric ranges and gas ranges can have convection oven capabilities built right in. They do this by having more heating elements than conventional ovens. A fan forces the air in the oven to circulate so the heat is distributed evenly. Anything you can do in a regular oven, you can do in a convection oven. Fans of convection ovens say the big advantages are that you cook 25% faster and use 25% less electricity.
How much you can expect to spend on a small range
Small ranges with few features can be found at as little as $500. Full-featured top-of-the-line small ranges cost between $1,000-$2,000.
Small range FAQ
Do I need a professional to install my small range?
A. Even a small range is big and bulky, so enlist a friend to help. Unless you are a skilled DIYer with experience in electricity or gas, get a pro to install it for you.
How do I clean my small range?
A. Use warm water and mild detergent on the outside and special oven cleaning products on the inside, always following directions carefully.
What’s the best small range to buy?
Top small ranges
Haier 24 Inch Stainless Steel Electric Range
What you need to know: A sleek stainless steel electric range that has three cooking modes: bake, convection bake and broil.
What you’ll love: The black ceramic glass cooktop is easy to clean. The bake element is hidden for easy cleanup of spills inside the 2.9 cubic foot oven. This small range has an integrated broiler. Put water in the bottom pan and this little oven cleans itself with steam.
What you should consider: Some people had trouble with the steam cleaning feature.
Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot
Top small ranges for the money
Summit Appliance RE203W 20 Inch Electric Coil Range
What you need to know: An affordable full-featured 220V electric range that fits in even smaller places than standard “small” ranges.
What you’ll love: This range has four coil burners with chrome drip pans, a 2.3 cubic foot oven and a broiler. Each coil element is equipped with a sensor that shuts off if the temperature gets too high and comes back on automatically after a short delay. The sliding oven racks have a built-in braking mechanism for safety.
What you should consider: There is no built-in storage drawer and the power cord is an extra cost item.
Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair
Worth checking out
Wayfair Classic Retro 24 Inch Gas Range
What you need to know: A retro gas range with four burners, a broiler and a convection oven.
What you’ll love: This gas range comes in the colors of 1950s kitchens, including mint green, ocean turquoise and robin’s egg blue. The cast iron grates conduct heat evenly and the high-quality sealed burners clean up easily. The 2.9 cubic foot capacity oven has two adjustable racks and four shelf positions.
What you should consider: This small range is not self-cleaning.
Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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