You did it. You’re finally taking the plunge. You’ve brushed up on the 5 Things to Consider When Purchasing Major Appliances and you’ve decided to go for that cooktop and wall oven setup. It fits that customizable criteria you envision for your dream kitchen.
With impeccable timing, you’ve arrived at this blog post where gap intelligence is proud to announce Cooktops & Wall Ovens as one of our newest categories launching on April 1, 2018! This rounds out as the seventh product in gap intelligence’s Home Appliance hub.
So you’ve made the decision, you’ve got your budget, and you’re ready to hit the stores looking for that perfect cooktop and wall oven. Well, now what? Well now come the specifications! Or as we like to refer to them, specs. While we’re at it, we’ll refer to Cooktops & Wall Ovens as CTWO. We love acronyms here at gap. As the upcoming data owner for CTWO, specs play an essential role in building a category. They are the nitty gritty details of each product that can be used for comparisons. If one wanted to conduct a cost-analysis of gas cooktops among national retailers, the fuel type specification is an important detail in our database. Similarly, if someone wanted to figure out the price difference between gas and electric wall ovens, again, having the fuel type spec is crucial. After researching hundreds and hundreds of CTWOs, I’ll highlight the most important specs to know before purchasing Cooktops & Wall Ovens.
A defining spec to consider for either a cooktop or wall oven is fuel type. Every home is different and you can focus your CTWO choices on whether you have an existing gas line hookup or electric appliance outlet.
If you were to go the electric route, a cooktop spec to further consider is induction heating. This type of cooktop differs from regular electric cooktops in that, its heating is produced by electromagnetic fields that directly heat the cooking vessel. Thus, this would require a specific kind of pot or pan that would receive that electromagnetic energy. Check out Induction 101: Better Cooking Through Science to learn more about induction cooking.
Like fellow gapper Danielle mentioned in her blog post, “measure twice, buy once”. Counter space can be a hot commodity in your kitchen. Cooktops will typically come in 27”, 30”, and 36” widths. Most full size cooktops will contain at least four heating elements. Larger ones will fit more. For wall ovens, a 27” or 30” width is the norm. As you envision your new kitchen, keep these numbers in mind. These are the industry standard, but other dimensions do exist to fit your needs.
For cooktops, there are two form factors: drop-in vs. slide-in.
Drop-in – The term "cooktop" will typically refer to this form. Notice how the cooktop lies flat on the countertop.
Slide-in – Also known as range tops, note how the controls are placed on the side of the cooktop; rather than on top next to the heat elements. It’s similar to the top part of a range.
For wall ovens, there are three form factors. Single, double, and combo.
Single Wall Oven – The picture below shows a standard single wall oven. However other single wall ovens can also contain an attached bottom drawer for storage. Just another spec to think about!
Double Wall Oven – For the super bakers of the world, there are double wall ovens that can give you all the oven space you need.
Combo Wall Oven – Remember how precious that counter space is? Combo wall ovens can come in handy by combining a single wall oven and a speed oven. This speed oven contains capabilities similar to a traditional microwave oven.
Like most kitchen appliances, the most popular colors CTWOs come in are:
- Stainless Steel
Depending on the finish of the color (i.e. black stainless or matte black stainless), certain colors will come at a premium. Check in with your budget to help narrow down what colors to look at.
With CTWOs, there are many features that help diversify the vast amount of choices to choose from. For cooktops, I would highlight burner type and downdraft ventilation as worthy specs to think about right off the bat. Among burner types the most common are:
Smooth Top – Often associated with electric models, this features a sleek flat surface. The absence of any nooks or crannies can make cleanup a breeze. Induction cooktops utilize this type of surface.
Also associated with electric models, this is a budget-friendly option. The tough coils have a durability edge over the glass or ceramic used with smoothtops.This is a perfect choice if you’re a cast iron cooker.
Associated with gas models, this option provides an open and direct flame to heat cooking vessels. This translates to better efficiency and quicker boil times. However, it can be more challenging to clean.
Also associated with gas models, this option will carry a higher price tag than an open burner. Notice the drip pan in the center of the burner. This allows for easier cleaning and prevention of food falling directly in the flame.
This is a built-in spec on some cooktops where a ventilation system pulls away fumes from the surface. This feature can take the place of a hood system that would traditionally go above the cooktop. If you envision your cooktop on a kitchen island, this would be a great feature! It’s worthy to note too, that separate downdraft ventilation systems can be purchased and added to a cooktop.
For wall ovens, capacity and cleaning type are worthy specs to think about. Since wall ovens are more compact than traditional ranges, the capacity will generally start out smaller than a single wall oven. As such, thinking about your cooking needs would be a good question to ask. Are you the holiday dinner host every year? Double wall ovens are your savior.
In general, a clean oven is a safe oven. Regular cleanup is important to avoid grease fires. There are two options:
- Self – This feature works by superheating the inside and effectively turning any debris to ash. While this is the more convenient option, it can produce smoke and smelly odors. It also runs the risk of internal damage, such as a blown fuse, because of how hot it can get.
- Manual – Good ol’ elbow grease and chemical cleaners. Definitely labor intensive, but if you prefer it to the downsides of self-clean ovens, a little work never hurt anybody!
With so many brands and products to choose from, knowing what to look for can be a daunting task. However, if you equip yourself with the baseline knowledge of fuel type, dimension, form factor, color, and certain features, you can significantly save time! By now your dream kitchen heart is set, you know your budget, and you know your CTWO specs. So what’s left to do? Know when to go! Head over to senior HA analyst Christine Edwards’ blog post to find out the best time to buy.