Cooktop and wall oven vs range- how to choose

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The cooktop/wall oven vs range debate seems to happen with each new client. Their dream kitchen has an industrial cooktop and double wall oven. Their real kitchen doesn’t have enough room to sling a cat.

The definitive answer is-

raspberries in a retro mug

It depends

It depends on

  • the size of your space
  • how we can layout that space
  • how and what you cook
  • how large the family is and if you entertain lots of folks
  • what your budget is

Let’s figure out what is right for you.

Why not to get a wall oven and cooktop set up?

Space

The first reason is insurmountable -space. If you don’t have the space for a cabinet that is at least thirty inches wide to devote to a double oven or oven and microwave in the same cabinet then kiss that off your list

Wall ovens come in 24″, 27″ and 30″wide, which means the cabinet is at least that wide, usually wider depending on it’s specifications. A 24″ wide oven has around 2.2 cubic feet capacity- think two basket balls in box and a boxed softball thrown in. My customers refer to it as an “easy bake oven” if they have one. Compare that to the average 30″ range oven of 5 cubic feet. Roast chicken vs turkey.

So for a wall oven cabinet and a cooktop that’s 60″ minimum of space. Sure you’ll get storage in both, but if worktop space is premium you’ve just lost almost three feet of countertop.

Budget

The other obstacle to your dream of wall ovens and cooktop paradise is price.

A better quality 30″ gas or electric range is under $1000. A slide in range- front controls, no back controls or display-, a dual fuel range-gas burners and electric oven, a double oven, or an electric with induction top would set you back around $1500 to $2000. A professional range or one that is larger than 30″ wide will be more. And then there are the Agas, La Cornue, and Bertazonni that run around $10,000.

But back to reality-

A good quality , but not fancy 30″ single wall oven will set you back about $1000, a double at least twice that. It will probably be electric as most now are because you get more reliable temperature control for baking and roasting. And you’ll probably want self cleaning and convection.

You also may want a wall oven and microwave in the same cabinet. You can find them as one unit, but I always think that if one goes bad now you have to replace both so twice the cost. I’d also look at getting a convection oven microwave so that it could microwave or bake and roast.

Now you need a cooktop because in reality most people do most of their cooking on the burners. Again looking at good quality mid range electric or gas cooktops 30″ wide the price range is going to be $500 to $1000.

Next you need to put them in something. I like to use a two drawer base cabinet for the cooktop so that pots and pans can be stored in it. The tall appliance cabinet is going to depend on what models of appliance you chose, but figure it will cost you more than a simple wall cabinet and a base that is single drawer and door below it with a shelf inside.

Why get a wall oven/cooktop setup?

Layout

You have the space, money, and inclination, why not get wall oven/cooktop set up?

How you cook and who you cook for

If you like to entertain, have large family gatherings, or just a large family, a wall oven/cooktop combo makes sense. You can have multiple things going in different areas with several people working in the kitchen. You have much more flexibility with a wall oven and cooktop layout.

As I said before the majority of cooking takes place on the burners. You can get a 36″ or larger cooktop with grills and griddles, downdraft vents and wok rings. If most of your cooking is done on the stove top, you may want to invest in a better cooktop and get a basic wall oven.

Some kitchen layouts use a cooktop and a wall oven in a cabinet below it. I’d don’t see the logic in that. Paying for cooktop, oven, and cabinet vs a range. If you have. one let me know why you did it and if you’d do it again.

Physical issues

The other reason for the cooktop/ wall oven set up is if you have physical restrictions or are planning for aging in place.

A wall oven is much easier on the back. It’s usually set about chest height though can be set lower for wheelchair users. And if you bake it’s a much easier work set up. There are models that open with french doors so you can get right up to the front without the doors in the way.

It’s all about what’s right for you

So with all we looked at what’s your best option? Remember it all depends on your situation and needs.

I had a coworker with a tiny kitchen who used an oven only a couple of times a year for small things like a tray of cookies or lasagna. The thought of using up sooo much space on a range he wouldn’t use irked him. He wasn’t planning on moving for a long time, so I suggested he get a small cooktop- just two burners- and a convection oven microwave for over the range. Then he would have a microwave, a 2 cubic foot oven, and a vent hood all in the same space. He always maxed out on cooking two things on the range at the same time so he didn’t need a big cooktop, and he got more storage in his postage stamp kitchen.

Yes, if you plan to sell within a few years you want to keep that in mind, but it has to work for you now.

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