Oven, stovetop, range are the same thing, right? Not quite. The terms are often used interchangeably, but actually aren't synonyms. They all perform central cooking functions, but in their own distinct ways.
Let's learn the lingo:
What is an oven?
"Oven" refers to the enclosed space where the baking, roasting and broiling happens. There are wall ovens, with the options of single, double or microwave-combo styles. Alternatively, ovens can be combined with a cooktop in one appliance.
When shopping for a new oven, you'll want to decide on a style and must-have features. Most modern ovens have options like convection cooking and self-cleaning modes - although even these ovens can benefit from a good old-fashioned manual cleaning every once in a while.
Ovens also vary by size and capacity, usually between four and six cubic feet, according to CNET. Fuel can be gas or electric.
What is a stovetop?
Stovetops are also referred to as cooktops. Whatever you call it, the term refers to the flat cooking surface with either electric or gas burners made for sautéing, boiling, simmering and frying.
There are pro and cons to both fuel types, as glass electric stovetops are easier to clean but gas burners generally cook food faster. Other features to consider are open or closed gas burners. Lowes noted that the former distributes direct heat while closed burners have caps covering them, making it easier to clean spills. Cooktop burners can also have various settings for more control when cooking and multiple heat elements for different pot sizes.
Stovetops can be built into a counter or island as a separate appliance or combined with an oven to serve as the top cooking surface.
What is a range?
When an oven and cooktop are combined in one appliance, it's called a range. Lowe's notes that these are the most common built-in cooking appliance, namely because the combination allows you to bake, roast, broil, sauté, boil, simmer and fry with an all-in-one unit. Consumer Reports also suggests ranges for homeowners looking for matching appliances with similar levels of performance.
There are a few different range styles to choose from depending on your kitchen layout and style preferences:
Freestanding: With finished sides, these ranges can live between cabinets or stand alone.
Slide-in: Typically sit flush between cabinets, even with the countertop level.
Drop-in: Similar to slide-ins, but generally rest on a cabinet base.
Along with the oven and stovetop features mentioned above, other range style options include finishes, knobs and grate materials.