A range is self contained unit with both a number of burners on the top of the unit. Under the burners is an oven for baking. The width of a range is generally between 20 inches to as wide as 87 inches for largest and most fancy ranges. On the smaller ranges there are normally 4 burners. As the size goes up may ranges start offering options such as grills, griddles and an ever increasing number of burners.
The oven is often heated by either an electric radiant or a gas burner. The smaller ranges will often only have one oven. Although on the larger ranges you can often find 2 full size ovens. And in the rare models maybe 3 ovens.
A cooktop is pretty much a range without the oven. Cooktops are installed right into the countertops of a kitchen. Often a wall oven will be installed else ware in the kitchen. Cooktops also come if may different widths and burner configurations like ranges.
The burners mostly consist of 3 types:
- Electric radiant coils. An electric current is ran through a coil of metal which heats up the coil and what ever cookware might be on the coil.
- Gas burners use a gas, either natural gas or LP also known as propane. The burners “burn” the gas in the burner which provides the heat for cooking. Important safety notice – You should NOT try to use a gas in the burner that is not rated for in a burner. Use ONLY natural gas in natural gas burners. And only propane LP in propane burners. The gases are different from each other and fires or even explosions could happen.
- Induction burners. Induction burners are a some what new technology that in the last few years has really grown in the market. The burners a bit different and special compared to the first two types. The burners run an electric current through a coil but this coil is different than the first burner. The burner coil itself does not heat up instead it causes a strong magnetic field right above the burner. This field causes any magnetic pans on the burner to heat up. The pro’s are that it can heat just as fast as gas. And since the burner does not get hot only the pan does the kitchen can stay cooler. The con’s of induction is that it only works on compatible cookware.