range or cooktop & single oven underneath?

fausonkApril 18, 2007

Is there an advantage or disadvantage to having a range versus a cooktop with a single wall oven directly underneath? We have a very small kitchen so we can't sacrifice counter space to have the wall oven at a typical height. Is it weird to put a separate oven under a cooktop instead of just having a range? Are their benefits to mixing and matching (like it'd be easier to get a great cooktop and a great oven) that we might be sacrificing if we had a single range? I'm just so stumped over what do since we're trying to get something good in the $2500 range.

Thanks for your help!


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Well, there's a depth consideration. A wall oven needs a 30" deep cab, not a standard 24" like a range does. Also, the depth of the cooktop will force you to mount the wall oven lower than a range oven would be.

If you can do this, I would strongly suggest you take a look at the Maytag Gemini range to get a feel for whether you can deal with a lower-than-normal oven. Some people don't mind it, but others (including me) look at it and think, "Instant backache!"

I checked into doing this for a kitchen remodel, but it was not practical because I couldn't do a cooking area bumpout just for the top and oven.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2007 at 10:27PM
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Thank you, Jkom51! That was exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Our galley kitchen is only 8 feet wide, so we don't have room for a bump out to accommodate a wall oven mounted underneath. I didn't realize the difference- when you see double wall ovens in a cabinet, they seem deeper, but in the showrooms, they often mount a single oven underneath a cooktop and it seems like it's the same/usual depth. Knowing it has to have 30" makes the decision for me! Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:31AM
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I have a GE wall oven that is in a 24" deep cabinet and others I've looked at also fit in a 24" cabinet so I don't think you necessarily have to worry about bumping out the cabinets. However, they do sit lower when under a cooktop. This would bother me because I have a bad back, but many people have no problem with it and it is more space efficient. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 9:32AM
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Okay, so it will fit in a 24" cabinet? Back to square one. I don't think that it being a little lower would bother me all that much- my back is just fine. Why do you say it is more space efficient? With a small kitchen, efficiency is a big deal to us. Could you elaborate?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:22AM
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What wall oven needs a 30" deep cabinet???? Sorry, jkom, but that's incorrect. Most any wall ovens fit into a 24" deep (front to back) wall oven. I have a wall oven in my 24" cabinets. (The counters are deeper, but that is neither here nor there).

In my estimation only ... aside from raising the wall oven for easier access, the reasons to get a separate cooktop and oven would be (1) to physically separate out the cooktop location from the oven location so that you can thereby separate out the cooktop operations from the oven operations or (2) you like the cooktop of one brand and the oven of another and this leaves you with the freedom of not having to choose and (3) you can cherry pick the sizes of each - say get a larger cooktop but pick a smaller oven without having to have the larger oven associated with that size cooktop. (3) would be relevant if you are a bigger baker than a cooktop operator or v.v.

If you are going to put the oven under the cooktop anyhow, there are some powerful reasons to stick with a range: frequently, cooktops underwhelm a high-expectation cook unless you go to a rangetop which I don't think you're considering anyhow since you're thinking of an oven under the cooktop. Ranges are more typically quite high BTU, even BTU whatever. For any size stove, you'll have a greater cooking area on a range than on a cooktop since the cooktop controls move off the cooking plane to the front or back of the range. The ovens: if you have a hankering for a gas oven - I think this is about the only real way to get one. I think. I *think* but I am not sure that the ovens in ranges are deeper or wider or something. Certainly, if you need a 36" wide oven, you'll have far more options for such ovens in a range than in the wall-oven variety. On the other hand, if you want a smaller oven, I'm not sure how easily you can find a 27" or 24" range oven.

I have separate cooktop and undercounter oven and I really like the arrangement. Mine are completely separate too - across from each other in my galley kitchen and thus on different segments of counter altogether. I also had decided that I didn't want to spare the countertop space so mounted my oven undercounter. Really like the arrangement.

But no, you don't need 30" deep cabinets for wall ovens!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 12:57PM
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Oops, sorry, fausonk - the others are right and I'm wrong...my bad! I was thinking of something else and got my notes mixed up. Hope you are able to do what you want in your kitchen remodel!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 2:58PM
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In our last three kitchens we went with a gas cooktop, and an electric wall oven under it. Worked out great.

One of them needed the back sheet-metal of the oven modified a bit. I was not worried about any warranty issues. The other two worked out fine "as-is". Current configuration is a Viking over a Dacor.

You do want to consider the top to bottom depth of the cooktop you select, some can be over 4 inches which will force you to mount the oven rather low.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 3:21PM
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There are several cooktop oven combinations that would work out quite well. FCI and Bosch make single ovens that are perfect for building in undercounter. The ovens are relatively short so with a low profile cooktop you can get these ovens off the bottom of the cabinet and up a little higher. You can get a Caldera 5 burner 30 or 36" cooktop w/ good power. The pair should cost $2200 to $2500. You can if you want substitute a Bosch oven cause FCI builds the ovens for Bosch. FCI also builds cooktops that will work.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 5:01PM
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Does not an oven, cabinet, and cooktop cost more than a range? It just seems like a large amount of work to get to the same point, unless you have a very specific reason for doing it, and you have not indicated one.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 6:04PM
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Another thing to consider when choosing is some styles of cooktops can practically disappear into a countertop. Like a smooth top. This might be a look you want.

In other words you can choose one style for the cooktop and a different style for the oven.

Also the counter top edge is unbroken which gives the kitchen a more linear look. This might help a small kitchen look larger.

You can have a gas cooktop and an electric oven. A dual fuel range accomplishes the same thing though.

Consider cost too, a cooktop and seperate oven is more expensive for the same features found in a range.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 9:51PM
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There is no need for a cabinet, just the proper size opening, and some filler for the bottom, and possibly the top. A roughed in internal frame is all that is needed to support the oven.

Will agree that it may cost a bit more, but if one likes the look.....

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Every one I've seen, my reaction has been, "oh, my aching back".

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 1:39PM
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One big advantage having the cooktop separate from the oven is if you ever to have to replace either the cooktop or the oven, you will replace just that. With a range, you will have to get a whole new range. But, if a range costs a lot less than the cooktop/oven comboo, then you may just consder goin with n ven.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 5:40PM
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I didn't want to give up having my pots, pans and utensils directly under the cooktop, nor did I want to be standing in front of the oven to cook, so I opted for a cooktop with separate single oven in a different location. I thought having the oven under-counter would be a much bigger problem than it's turned out to be. In fact, it's not a problem at all, and I like the fact that I have counter space on top of the oven.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 6:13PM
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Fori is not pleased

I like the idea of having them in separate locations entirely. But instead of putting an oven under a cooktop, I'd probably go with a range. There are cooktop advantages though, either looks or lack of gaps to catch crud. It wouldn't be enough of a benefit for me.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 6:49PM
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The absence of crud catching spaces was enough of a reason for me. It turned out that a downdraft was the overall best vent for me so to accomodate it I have the oven mounted undercounter next to the cooktop. As mentioned above, the continuous, unbroken counter line is a cleaner look in a small kitchen without a range to stop the eye.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:45PM
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I have a cooktop and oven mounted underneath and I love it. I decided I wanted something less "eye catching" than a range. My cooktop practically disappears into the counter.

I've had no problems with the oven being "too low." I bake several times a week, and usually several different things at a time, and I've have no complaints about my back. I'm pretty tall, 5'7". The difference between the height of an oven in a range and a wall oven under the counter is only a few inches, hardly worth worrying about.

Enjoy your new kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:16PM
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Before we did the remodel of our kitchen we had a cooktop with a wall oven beneath it. The look is very nice - much cleaner looking than a range. I would never do it again. Ranges generally have a vent at the top behind the burners. Wall ovens vent out the front. Every time I was standing at the cooktop and baking at the same time, I cooked along with the food.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 11:08PM
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I am in the process of making the same decision. My KD put the wall oven in a base cabinet with the cook top to the right of the oven, not immediately on top. She said it is always nice to have counter top above the oven and also to have the ability to have utilize the cooktop without standing directly in front of the oven. This is probably the idea I will go with.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 10:06AM
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We are in the finishing stages of our kitchen remodel and went with the cooktop option with the wall oven directly below it. While I cannot tell you how I like it working as a function unit yet (it will be finished in a few weeks), I can tell you why I decided to go with this arrangement.

1) I really like the clean, uninterrupted look this arrangement gives you. Our granite will be a solid piece on one side of the kitchen with a hole for the cooktop to drop into. There are no seams or cuts that a typical range would give.

2) You can get the gas cooktop and electric oven that you want. I wanted a 36" gas cooktop and only a 30" electric wall oven because I cook more than I bake. Yes, it is more expensive to purchase two seperate units, but combination ranges are also more expensive.

3) You don't have to purchase another cabinet to house the oven. Trim out the oven to give it that built in look (again, clean and uninterrupted) and have them build a base for the oven to sit on.

1) KD's have a difficult time with this arrangement. Many told me it couldn't be done. It can be done it just requires more planning because it is more "custom."
2) The oven is lower than a standard range. The handle of the oven will nearly touch the ground on some models I've seen.
3) It is a more difficult install.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 1:18AM
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We have a cooktop (gas) with a wall oven (electric) mounted below in our tiny (70 sq ft) kitchen. We also wanted to save as much space as possible. I checked prices for doing the the separate units over a range and it was actually less expensive in most cases than an equivalent (dual-fuel) range. We ended up going with two different manufacturers for the two, which is certainly one of the advantages of this arrangement.
The look is very clean and 'integrated' which is perfect for our modern style kitchen.
It is true that you have to do your homework (extensively!) if you want to do this. You can download the installation manuals for almost all of these appliances from their respective websites. Most will have a section on undercounter oven installation with cooktop above. Pay close attention to the specs regarding vertical clearances, minimum clearance from floor, placement of supply lines, etc. It's not difficult, but much better to know this information when discussing with your cabinet maker. You can actually skip having a cabinet made for your oven and just have a base made for the oven to sit on with a few trim pieces for above and below the oven, which can be another saving!

In our case, the oven is less than one inch lower than the oven in the equivalent range, so the difference is negligible! We did not use a cabinet as the cabinet either side is enough to support the countertop. The oven does vent in front which has not been a problem for us, but YMMV.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 2:10PM
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Sorry, I did not read all of the posts but if you are going to mount the wall oven under the cook top, why not just do a range. Can't you get more for your money that way?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 5:25PM
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breezy - most of the pros & cons are in the above posts.

Another reason for separates is that there are no induction ranges yet. (I also want the best-of-breed choice and a "smooth" countertop. Elimination of junk down the sides of a range is a bonus.)

Scotbeth makes a point that I hadn't thought of before - the venting is to the front. And the same with an induction unit. Have any induction owners had venting issues with, say, making stock or chili since these are low heat, but long duration projects - while the oven is in use?

The vertical space issue just became big with me. The Fisher& Paykel single oven is relatively "low" (26+ inches) but the Fagor inductions apparently now want a 6 1/4" total vertical space instead of the previous 5 5/8". Since the cabinets are already ordered I'm in a probable bind. (Lots of e-mail and phone usage tomorrow.) Note that some ovens aren't approved for a modular cooktop above it (e.g., GE Monogram ZET1).

p.s. for those looking for an induction unit. If you search you can find the 30" unit for $2K with a 4 year warranty and an option to buy their 10 piece cookware set for an additional $20. I've only seen two reviews of the cookware - both favorable.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 10:57AM
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What's your call on induction vs. mixed cooktop (induction/electric Thermador)? We plan to put a oven undercounter elsewhere but I (like you) want induction for my cooktop. We live in Denver (5k ft) and gas does not work great. We already have All-Clad pots so that's not an issue except for a couple of big lobster pots which are not induction compatible.
Can you a post a link for the 30" induction cooktop you mention in your last post? I have not seen anything under $2700 from Diva, Electrolux, Thermador, Viking? Any reviews/comments on the various induction makes/models? All advice greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 2:30PM
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Since your wall oven, which is 30", is installed directly below your wider 36" cooktop, do both appliances look like a "matching pair", or does it look odd that they are not the same width ?
Any chance of posting/sending some pics ?


    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 12:45AM
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Why did your KD put the wall oven in a base cabinet with the cook top to the right of the oven, and not immediately below the cook top ?

Also, are your cooktop and oven the same width ?

Any chance of posting or sending some pics ?


    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 12:50AM
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Look around, there are 30" induction units to be had for under $2700. I live in Canada, where appliances are typically pricier than the US and our Sears lists a 30" Electrolux Icon induction cooktop for $1999(which means you can probably get it for less). Kitchenaid, Kenmore, GE, Bosch just to name a few offer for less than $2700. I could not tell you which works better than the others, but I'll be getting a GE cooktop because the price is right, I like that it does not have a SS rim and that the large element is one of the largest available...I'd hate to have a large pot or pan inadequately sized on the cooktop.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 11:19PM
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An appliance dealer (who does sell everything from Diva to Viking so he wasn't pushing any particular line)told me yesterday that Electrolux and GE Monogram are the only 2 induction cooktops that allow for a wall oven mounted directly under the cooktop. The oven must be the same brand either Monogram/Monogram or Electrolux/Electrolux. Other brands don't have specs that permit this arrangement.

Induction cooktops over drawers have limitations on what can go in the top drawer or whether any drawer is permissible at all. There are other posts on this subject. The choice for me came down to mounting an oven to the left of the cooktop and losing a top drawer in both locations or mounting an oven under the cooktop and gaining a drawer. I'm going with the Monogram/Monogram and my utensil drawer will go in the top left hand drawer and all my pots and pans in deep drawers underneath. Also, my countertops will be 38" high so the oven will not sit too low. Another consideration is that the Monogram oven ZET 1 SMSS has full glide racks and this will help with getting that Thanksgiving turkey out without ruining my back. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 8:36AM
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I will chime in to agree with flseadog. I have the monogram induction cooktop over the monogram oven and the full glide racks make the lower oven placement a non-issue for me. I haven't done turkey yet, but I use the gliding rack feature daily and I LOVE it! I might find that the turkey is a little heavy to lift that extra 5 inches, but I couldn't be happier with my choice the other 364 days of the year!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 11:54AM
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I have been looking at this as well. Here is what I have learned:

- If a gas oven is important to you, get an all-gas range
- If you would rather have an electric oven, you can get either a dual-fuel range or a cooktop over an oven
- benefits of a cooktop+oven:
a)can have a 36" cooktop and a 30" oven
b)looks neat (I personally do like this look better)
- Disadvantages of a cooktop+oven:
a)oven is electric (this is a minus if you like gas, there are a couple of gas wall ovens out there but they are very expensive)
b)overall it may be more expensive considering carpentry, granite cutout etc. But this is something that you can confirm based on your selection
c)if you go with the 36" cooktop and 30" oven, you are loosing 6" of cabinet space because there will be 3" on each side of the oven which are unusable

Also, as someone already mentioned above, for a cooktop over an oven, it is important to review the specs of the appliances you have in mind to make sure they can support this kind of installation. Most salespeople recommended going with the same brand for both the cooktop and the oven (plus you can often "see and touch" them installed that way in a showroom) but it is possible to use different brands too, just requires more homework.

I haven't decided on this issue myself yet. I do like the look but have always had a gas range so there is a "habit factor" too.

I hope it helps

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 10:54PM
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