Choosing appliances for a new kitchen space or remodel can be overwhelming because there are just so many choices. As you scroll through endless Pinterest boards and websites, you may fall in love with a special range or with a look that includes a double wall oven. But which type of cooking appliances are right for your home?
First things first—step away from the computer. Now with a little breathing room, you can effectively brainstorm to consider your space, budget, and lifestyle—and the choices will become much more manageable.
The first thing to consider when deciding between a wall oven/cooktop combo or stand alone range, is the size of your kitchen layout. A range is typically 30 inches wide, while a wall oven and cooktop will take up at least 57 inches of space. In addition to the space required for the appliances, there needs to be landing space on both sides of a cooking surface. NKBA guidelines recommend a minimum of 12 inches on one side of a cooking surface and 15 inches on the other side. If you add a wall oven to your plan, there needs to be an additional 15 inches of landing space. There needs to be open countertop to safely place those hot pans that you are taking out of the oven. If space is not an issue, a wall oven and cooktop can be incorporated into your kitchen design. The added benefit of having the space for a wall oven is the storage that you gain from the wall oven cabinet and the cooktop cabinet. If your space is lacking, a stand alone range will meet your needs for nearly half the space that the wall oven/cooktop combo would require.
There is a substantial difference in price depending on the type of cooking appliance that you choose. A stand alone range is the most economical choice—you’ll only need to buy one appliance, and they start at about $300. Of course, there are other high-tech or fancy models that are priced in the thousands if your budget allows it and you simply prefer to have a range. If you do choose the wall oven/cooktop combo, you must factor in the price of two appliances that will start at a combined minimum of about $1300. That cost can easily skyrocket as you add different features, such as a convection oven, a double oven, or a premium stainless steel finish. Additionally, you will need to consider the cost of a tall oven cabinet and a cooktop cabinet, which will be determined by the door style, wood species, and construction of the cabinets.
The cost of installation should also be factored in. An electric range just needs to be plugged in. A gas range will involve a little more know-how, especially if a gas line is not already in place. Often times, a microwave range hood is placed over a free standing range, so the cost of installing that microwave to the cabinet above should be considered. If you go with a wall oven and cooktop, make sure to budget for the installation of both. Your countertop fabricator will likely charge an added fee to template, cut, and install the cooktop. With so many variables involved, sometimes the price is the bottom line of all decisions.
Once you have determined that you have the space and budget for a range or wall oven/cooktop combo and you’re still not sure which to choose, consider your lifestyle. Do you entertain often? Does your family gather in your home for holiday meals that require a lot of dishes to be prepared at one time? If there is more than one cook in the kitchen, it is nice to have one person manning the cooktop area, while another person is working on the landing space beside the wall oven. Two people can work on meal preparation in their own space without worrying about tripping over one another.
Other lifestyle considerations include your height and health. If you are tall or have back or joint issues, it may be inconvenient or even painful to have to bend down to remove sometimes heavy pans from the oven of a stand alone range. A wall oven allows an easier transition from the oven to the countertop.
If you prefer to dine out or you just don’t cook for large gatherings often, a free-standing range may be a better choice for you. It is certainly beneficial to have more than two feet of counter space that you would lose to a wall oven cabinet. This extra space can also be used as a desk area, coffee station, wine fridge, etc. For some, these kitchen extras are more useful than a wall oven.
Once you have determined your space, budget, and lifestyle, you can rest assured that you have all of the information you need to decide on cooking appliances.