Understanding The Components
You cook with them every day, and they are an essential feature to any kitchen. So what are the key components of a range? We've done the research to bring you the need-to-know facts about the structure and functionality of your kitchen range.
The control console hosts the variety of burner and oven controls in a series of knobs or, in more modern models, an LED display. Most control consoles are easily accessible, and are located either on the front of the range just above the oven door, or upon a panel on the back.
Some ovens include burner grates. A burner grate is positioned over the burner itself, to suspend pots just above the heating element of the burner. This feature is common with gas ranges, serving to preserve the bottom of your cookware from the open flame. Two popular burner grate types are:
- Separate Grates - Separate burner grates extend over an individual burner. They are common with most traditional ranges, requiring the lifting and replacing of cookware to relocate from burner to burner.
- Continuous Grates - These grates are considered a standard in commercial-style ranges. Continuous grates allow the ability to slide pots from one burner to another atop a raised structure that spans over both burners. This is an attractive feature that allows easy cookware maneuvering between burners.
Every range is equipped with a set of burners. Most standard ranges have four burners, but larger ranges can have up to six burners! Burners vary with the range type as well. Electric ranges feature coil burners, while gas ranges feature open burners. Range burners can also be labeled as "sealed" burners or "traditional" burners.
- Sealed Burners - A sealed burner means cleanup will be much easier since spills and food cannot become trapped in the burner bowl. Sealed burners were originally a feature of gas ranges and high quality electric ranges and are now making their way to more traditional range styles.
- Open Burners - An open burner makes cleanup a little more difficult since it contains a burner bowl to catch spills and food. These burners are still very common with most traditional electric ranges.
The oven is the bread and butter of the range structure. It is an essential component that provides a closed-in baking area within the range. Electric ovens provide a source for even heat distribution, making for easy baking and excellent recipe turnout. Oven convection styles include:
- True Convection - True convection (also known as European Convection) is the oven convection method in which a separate heating element is included. This means that the oven does not need to use fans to circulate heat and airflow.
- Traditional Convection - Traditional convection is the oven convection method in which a separate heating element is not present. The oven fan simply circulates heated air.
Drawer Storage Area
Most ovens feature the convenience of under-the-oven storage drawers. This extra storage area allows you to store frequently used pots and pans closer to your cooking area. Now that you're aware of this feature, it is important to know the difference between a warming drawer, a broiler drawer and a storage drawer.
- Warming Drawer - The storage area beneath the oven is specifically designed to be able to keep cooked food warm. Preserve a freshly cooked turkey or keep a casserole heated with the heat offered by a warming drawer storage area. When your range features a warming or storage drawer, the broiler is located in the top of the oven section.
- Storage Drawer - This drawer area is meant for storage only. It can hold pots and pans near the cooking area, keeping them ready for use. A storage drawer does not serve as a warming drawer. Some dual-oven ranges have a warming drawer beneath one oven, and a storage drawer beneath the other.
- Broiler Drawer - Some ovens include a broiler element in the storage drawer area. This means that instead of being in the top oven section, the broiler is located in the separate storage area beneath the oven.