- #1 – Take Your Pots to the Appliance Store
- #2 – How Low Is Low Heat? How High Is High? Burners Matter on a New Stove
- #3 – Check the Depth of the Oven
- #4 – Try All the Buttons and Dials on the Range
- #5 – Are There Sounds That the Oven or Range Makes?
- #6 – Ask How Long the Oven Takes to Preheat
- #7 – Think about Cleaning Your Stove Top
- #8 – Consider Storage Space in the Range
- #9 – Will You Have to Clean Underneath Your Oven?
- #10 – Read Online Reviews When Buying Kitchen Appliances!
- Bonus Tip: Talk to a Tech (This is the Most Important One!)
- Shopping for an Induction Range
- A Wish for Kitchen Stewards
- Need More Baby Steps?
Your kitchen is not only the heart of your home, but the most expensive part of a house!
Whether you’re tackling a whole kitchen remodel or just buying a new range, avoiding mistakes feels so important – because the mistakes are too costly.
We’ve been incredibly disappointed in the Thermador range we bought two years ago. As with all failure, we’ve learned a lot, including the discovery that part of the risk/expense of messing up when you decide what stove is best for you is constant aggravation. We modern humans use our kitchen appliances more than any other item in our home, save phones and computers!
Today you get to learn from my mistakes! Here are my top ten tips for shopping for a stove for your kitchen and being thrilled with your final decision.
Can’t see the video? Watch Shopping for a New Range here on YouTube.
#1 – Take Your Pots to the Appliance Store
Every stovetop is different as far as size and orientation of burners, and you really can’t tell if it’s a fit for you without testing it out!
My recommendation? Take your largest and smallest pot to the appliance store with you! You don’t want to end up with burners that won’t fit your largest stockpot, for instance.
My surprising issue was the opposite problem, that the burners were ALL too gargantuan.
I’ve always used a very small pot to melt butter or coconut oil, since I don’t use the microwave much if at all, and I can’t do that any more with my lovely (cough) Thermador range. Even the smallest burner is too big for my little saucepan.
Even using an average 2-quart saucepan, a staple for more normal families, is difficult, because the flames go so wide around the pot.
Trust me on this one – question everything and actually test what cooking will feel like. Better to risk odd looks in the appliance store than a lifetime of cooking frustration!
#2 – How Low Is Low Heat? How High Is High? Burners Matter on a New Stove
Ask to turn on the range and see how hot it can get and how low the heat goes. A good appliance store should allow and welcome this! Try boiling a pot of water of different sizes and see how it goes. (Alternatively, you could visit a friend or neighbor who owns the stove you’re considering and run it through its paces.)
If you cook a lot of rice and quinoa, you need a pretty low heat setting. If you want to be able to heat water or soups to a rapid boil quickly, look for appliances that have that claim.
#3 – Check the Depth of the Oven
Sure, you might be toting a lot of stuff to the appliance store, but isn’t it worth it to know your favorite baking sheet will fit in that oven?
Take your cookie sheets with you and make sure they fit the way you want them to! Our oven is supposed to be “standard depth,” but we can no longer fit two cookie sheets in it side by side. Ugh!
Learn from me, and check the depth of the oven for yourself! Trusting numbers and labels could get you burned.
#4 – Try All the Buttons and Dials on the Range
You should be able to actually turn on the dials, knobs, buttons, and more; if a store won’t let you do that, find another store that will!
I might have discovered that the Thermador has “fake knobs” if I’d tested them out…
If you find anything tricky, sticky, or annoying in the store, it will only get worse at home.
#5 – Are There Sounds That the Oven or Range Makes?
My Thermador has a fan that blows loudly from the time I turn it on until about 25 minutes after we turn it off. It drives me insane!
I never considered that we should have asked about sounds the range makes. So I’m hoping now YOU know to do so!
The timer beep on our oven also only beeps once and it’s so quiet we miss it half the time. That’s just asking for a disaster!
#6 – Ask How Long the Oven Takes to Preheat
Most ovens average about 10 minutes to preheat …. mine takes 25. This would have been great to know that before the first time we tried to bake gluten-free flatbread before dinner.
I can’t predict what other annoying features other stoves or ovens might have, but if you are persistent with questions about the sounds, the timing of everything, and the sizes, you’ll be on your way to discovering “gotchas” before spending the big bucks.
#7 – Think about Cleaning Your Stove Top
Check for crevices, nooks, and crannies that might drive you crazy when you go to clean the cooktop. Is it going to be more of a pain than it’s worth?
Some range tops have many pieces that pull apart for cleaning. That’s helpful (you can get to the messes) and a pain (because of the sheer number of pieces).
Our range has extremely heavy grates that are double length. I didn’t think this would bother me, but it turns out that I avoid doing a quick wipe-down because I have to pick up two sections instead of one. We often have our cast iron pan living on the back burner, so it interferes with cleaning the front.
Know your own weaknesses and lazy spots…
#8 – Consider Storage Space in the Range
Are there drawers or other storage in the range? How does that compare to what you currently have?
If you would end up with less space for storage in your new appliance purchase, do you have room somewhere else in your kitchen for those items?
#9 – Will You Have to Clean Underneath Your Oven?
Some of the fancier ranges are now elevated on feet, which means you can see and need to clean under the oven.
Have you seen under a range? It’s scary! Are you prepared to have to clean that regularly?
#10 – Read Online Reviews When Buying Kitchen Appliances!
My husband and I are usually the King and Queen of reading reviews about every small purchase we make. But somehow when we were in-store shopping, we didn’t think to stop and check reviews.
There was something about having a person (a salesperson, ouch) telling us all about the range and how much people love it that detached something logical in our brains. Huge regret!
It’s ironic that I DID do some research at home before making the multi-thousand dollar decision, but it was all about what “convection ovens” meant. That research ended up poorly as well, since “true convection” is the only convection that actually bakes faster, and we didn’t cough up the extra upcharge for that.
If we had spent mere minutes checking out online appliance reviews, we would have found that most people agree with my lackluster review of the Thermador range!
Bonus Tip: Talk to a Tech (This is the Most Important One!)
Once we had a few repair techs out to our house to attempt to fix the parts we hated (impossible, sadly), we learned the most important lesson of all.
Guess who knows those appliances the best? The people who see them when they break!
Ask the appliance store if you can talk to one of their repair men or women. Grill them with as many questions as you can, OR ask simply: Which range do you visit the least for repairs?
You want an appliance that they don’t see very often, and appliance repair techs will certainly be able to speak to longevity and your best buy.
We know that modern appliances are built with planned obsolescence and generally are meant to be thrown out after 7 years. If you can find one that will stick around longer than that, you’re winning the game!
Shopping for an Induction Range
While gas and electric ranges used to be the only options, now there are also induction ranges, which are completely different. Tip number one – taking your pots and pans to the store – is going to be even more important.
Induction ranges have exact cooking spaces, and strangely most offer fewer options than with a gas or electric stove. Make sure an induction range fits with how you cook, be that with large skillets, a griddle, or multiple pans.
You’ll also need to make sure your pots and pans are rated for induction cooking, as not every one is, or that you’re willing to spend the money to change out your cookware.
Double-check tip number five as well. Induction has some added noise, so make sure you turn it on and play with it to see if the noise is obnoxious or grating to you.
If EMFs are a concern for you, take some time to do research on induction stoves. There’s controversy currently about whether they pose a risk, but for those sensitive to frequencies, use caution.
A Wish for Kitchen Stewards
My wish for you as a good kitchen steward is that you can avoid the planned obsolescence, spend your money wisely, and love the appliance you purchase! You’ll be spending a lot of time with that range if you cook from scratch, like we do, so use these tips to find the best range for your family.
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
Sign up to get weekly challenges and teaching on key topics like meal planning, homemade foods that save the budget (and don’t take too much time), what to cut out of your pantry, and more.