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Buying guide for Best stainless steel ranges

Shopping for a new range is a big deal. You'll use it on most days for years to come, so it's worth finding one that you love. Stainless steel ranges tend to be more durable and easier to maintain than models with other exteriors, so they're an excellent choice when looking for a range that will last. 

You might already know you want a stainless steel range, but there's still plenty to decide. Some of the most important decisions you'll need to make are about the type of cooktop and oven you want. You'll also need to settle on a finish and consider features such as wireless connectivity and self-cleaning. 

This guide gives you all the information you need to know about stainless steel ranges to make an informed purchase. What's more, we've listed our top five stainless steel ranges for you to consider, too. It won't be long before you've found the perfect range for your kitchen. 

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Standard ranges measure 30 inches wide, but you can find larger options that measure up to 48 inches wide.

Key considerations

Benefits of stainless steel

If you haven't yet decided you definitely want a stainless steel range, you might want to hear more about the benefits of stainless steel

Durable: First, stainless steel is durable and long lasting. It won't scratch easily or rust, which immediately puts it ahead of other common range materials. 

Easy to clean: Stainless steel is also easy to clean. You can clean up most messes with just a damp cloth or mild detergent. For any stubborn dirt, you can find lots of excellent stainless steel cleaning products on the market. 

Hygienic: Stainless steel is not only easy to clean, it's also a hygienic choice because it's nonporous and therefore won't harbor bacteria deep in its surface. 

Attractive: Of course, you shouldn't overlook the fact that stainless steel ranges are attractive and therefore one is a great choice for an impressive-looking kitchen or if you want a range to match other stainless steel appliances you already have. 


The cooktop makes a big difference in how your range functions, so it's important to choose the right type for you. 

Smoothtop: Smoothtop electric ranges have electric burners under a smooth ceramic surface. They're relatively inexpensive, plus they look better and have fewer awkward nooks and crannies to clean than traditional electric cooktops, but they are prone to scratching. 

Electric coil: These cooktops have exposed electric heating elements. They've mostly fallen out of favor, with smoothtop electric cooktops taking their place, but you can still find inexpensive ranges with them. Electric coil cooktops might cost less, but they're tricky to keep clean and don't respond quickly to temperature adjustments. 

Gas: There's a reason why professional kitchens use gas burners — they respond instantly when you adjust the heat, giving you precise control. Avid cooks might long for the responsiveness of gas burners, but note that they're tricky to clean and they significantly heat up the kitchen, which is unpleasant in hot weather. They also feature control knobs on the front, which may not be the safest choice around small children.

Induction: Induction cooktops use electromagnetic technology to heat up pots and pans on the stove without ever getting hot themselves (though some heat can transfer from the hot pan to the cooktop). This makes them safer than other types of cooktops, plus they heat up more quickly and are more energy efficient. The downside is that not all pans work on induction cooktops, plus they can be pricey. 


Once you've decided on the type of cooktop you want, it’s time to choose the oven type. You'll find fewer oven options than cooktop options, and your choices may be limited by the type of hookup you have, unless you're willing to have a gas hookup installed or removed.

Standard electric: These ovens have heating elements in the top of the oven, bottom of the oven, or both, cooking food via radiant heating. They tend to be reliable and cook quite evenly.

Convection: Convection ovens are like standard electric ovens except they have a fan to circulate hot air for quicker and more even heating. 

Gas: As the name suggests, gas ovens run off gas rather than electricity. They tend to be more finicky and heat less evenly than electric ovens. 

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For your safety
Some ranges have a control lockout or child lock. When activated, neither the oven nor the cooktop can be turned on, which helps keep kids safe.


Dual fuel

A dual fuel range is one that has an electric oven and a gas cooktop. This allows you to have responsive gas burners without having to commit to a gas oven. Of course, you'll need the correct hookups, so you'll need a professional to do the work for you unless you're replacing an existing dual fuel range. 


Stainless steel ranges can have either a shiny finish or a brushed finish. Brushed stainless steel is less likely to show smudges and fingerprints, though it can still be an issue unless you opt for a fingerprint-resistant or smudge-proof finish.


Cleaning the oven is way up there on everyone’s list of most-hated household chores. If you choose a range with a self-cleaning function, the appliance does the hard work for you. The self-cleaning cycle is essentially an extra-hot oven cycle that burns away all the built-up and baked-on food residue. 

Wireless connectivity

High-end ranges sometimes offer wireless connectivity, so you can control them either via WiFi or Bluetooth using a corresponding app. Some models are even compatible with smart home systems.

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Hot surface warning lights stay on until the stove has cooled, reminding you not to touch the cooktop or put anything down on it that could burn or melt.

Stainless steel range prices


These stainless steel ranges cost between $400 and $900. In this price range, you'll find models with electric coil and smoothtop cooktops, as well as some gas ranges


These stainless steel ranges are priced around $900 to $1,500. They include induction cooktops and dual fuel ranges in addition to high-end smoothtop and gas ranges. You'll find some great features at this price point, such as flexible cooktop elements and oven sensors. 


High-end stainless steel ranges generally cost between $1,500 and $3,000, though some 48-inch ranges can cost as much as $10,000. Expect the most impressive features, such as wireless connectivity and built-in temperature probes. 

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Did you know?
Stainless steel doesn't harbor bacteria the way plastic can, so it's easier to sanitize, which is why professional kitchens often have stainless steel appliances.


  • Decide if you need one or two ovens. A second oven is useful when cooking for a large family or if you often cook more than one dish at once and each requires a different oven temperature.

  • Decide if you want a steam cook feature. This allows you to inject steam into the oven and is a handy feature for keen bakers because it can give you professional results when baking bread and certain sweet treats.

  • Choose a stainless steel range with an adjustable rack system. This allows you to remove racks and change their position to accommodate dishes of different sizes. 

  • Hire a professional to install your new range. That way, you'll be sure that it's done correctly and safely. This is even more important with a gas or dual fuel range, because a gas leak is extremely dangerous and can be fatal.

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You can find ranges with warming drawers that can be used to warm plates, proof dough, and keep food warm until serving. When switched off, the drawer can also be used for storage.


Q. What are expandable elements, and do I need them? 

A. Expandable elements are found on smoothtop electric cooktops. With expandable elements, the size of the heating elements can be increased, or you can activate a "bridge" between adjacent elements to create a larger element that's capable of accommodating extra-large pans. This is especially useful when cooking on a griddle or in an elongated pan. Adjusting the size of an element to match the pan you're using is not only more eco-friendly, it can also improve efficiency and cooking speed. 

Q. Do all stainless steel ranges have a broil function?

A. It's extremely rare to find a range without a broil function, and this includes stainless steel models, of course. Broilers are useful for toasting and browning foods, but what you might not know is that they're a bit like upside-down grills, so anything you can cook on a grill, you can probably cook using your broiler. 

Q. What is a downdraft vent?

A. A downdraft vent is a ventilation system that's built into the cooktop, usually just behind the heating elements. If your range has a downdraft vent, you won't need a hood for ventilation. 

Q. What are the benefits of electronic temperature controls?

A. Electronic temperature controls allow you to set a precise oven temperature rather than using a dial, which only allows you to set an approximate temperature if the heat level you want is between the markings on the dial. This is particularly useful when following recipes from regions that use centigrade rather than Fahrenheit. For example, 180°C is 356°F. With standard temperature controls, you'd probably round it down to 350°F, but it can make a difference to the results, particularly if it's a finicky recipe. With electronic temperature controls, you can set your oven to precisely 356°F. 

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