What’s the difference between a range, a rangetop and a cooktop?

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Dear Drury Design,

I think I’m behind the times when it comes to ranges and the names used for different kinds. What is the difference between a range and a rangetop? What is the difference between a rangetop and a cooktop? I’m confused. Also, from a kitchen designer’s perspective, what should I know about the pros and cons of having my oven away from my burners?


Annie from Chicago

This week’s answer is provided by Senior Designer Alicia Saso, CKBD. Alicia has been with us for more than 14 years.


Hi Annie,  

Thank you for reaching out to us with these great questions. There are so many appliance options available to homeowners today that sometimes it is hard to figure out what is best for you and how you work in your space.

 Let’s start off with a range. Most people love the look of a commercial/professional range. It is definitely a statement piece in your kitchen. A range provides both a stove (one or two) and a cooking surface above. A range is offered in all-gas, induction or dual fuel. Larger ranges, like the 48” and 60” models, will have two ovens. Anything smaller – like a 36” or 30” – will have one oven. For the cooking surface, there are many options. You can have gas burners (grates) mixed with a grill or griddle, or it can be a full induction top (smooth, ceramic glass). Some ranges even have Wi-Fi features and temperature probes. The benefit of incorporating a range in a kitchen is that all of your cooking and baking is taking place within one unit.

A rangetop, which still gives a more commercial/professional cooking aesthetic, is essentially a range with no oven(s) below it. A rangetop is only a cooking surface – gas or induction – that has the knobs on the face rather than the top of the unit. So, if you really love those signature Wolf knobs out in front, you will see those across the face of the unit and then you will have a cabinet below that. This is a great option if you don’t like the bulky look of a professional range. This option also provides convenient pot/pan storage directly below the unit in a cabinet. However, your kitchen will need to have another area for a single or double oven.

Similar to a rangetop is a cooktop. A cooktop – gas, electric or induction – is set on top of or flush with the countertop and the controls are on the top of the unit.

An induction cooktop can add a very sleek, clean look to a kitchen because of the smooth, ceramic glass top and flush installation. It also offers easy clean-up compared to a gas cooktop which will have grates that sit a little higher than the counter. Like the rangetop, the cooking is now split up so in addition to having a cooktop there will also have to be a convenient location for your oven(s). 

With a cooktop, you can still install a single oven directly below it so all of your cooking is in the same location. This sleek approach gives you full range-style functionality in one area without the look of a full range.

If you feel the best appliance for your space is a rangetop or cooktop, the other thing to consider is your oven(s). The benefit of having your cooking separated is that your ovens can be installed at a height that is much more comfortable – eliminating all the bending down and bending over that comes with a full range. Another benefit of having your cooking separated is that two cooks can work in the kitchen at the same time and not be on top of each other.

To select the best-suited appliances for your space, I recommend not only discussing the options with your designer but also visiting an appliance showroom so you can learn about the features of each appliance, see the different models available and then evaluate which is best for your cooking style and lifestyle. 

There are so many great appliances on the market and I hope, with this information, I got you thinking about what works best for you!


Alicia Saso, CKBD

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