Oven vs. Range vs. Stove: What's the Difference

oven vs. range vs. stove
oven vs. range vs. stove

We talk to hundreds of clients and potential clients about kitchen design each year, and we find that, more than any other terms, the words "oven," "range," "cooktop," and "stove" get thrown around interchangeably. For the most part, they're synonymous, but there are subtle differences that are important to understand, especially if you're renovating your home and communicating with a contractor, designer, or architect.

The Oven.

Specifically, the term "oven" refers to the box in your kitchen that heats up to cook food. It's where you bake your desserts, roast veggies, or cook casseroles. Ovens can be designed with or without cooktops, and as double or single units. Double ovens are either installed side-by side, usually under a single large cooktop, or stacked vertically in a cabinet on their own.

The Cooktop.

The cooktop is the appliance with burners you'd use to boil water or pan-fry eggs. Cooktops (also known as range tops or stove tops) can also be made freestanding or as part of an oven design. Typically, homeowners who choose double stacked ovens will install a separate cooktop on the counter.

The Range.

A range is technically an oven that's combined with a cooktop or stovetop, and are what most homeowners have in their kitchens. Ranges are space-efficient and make it easy to do all of your cooking in one spot, thus eliminating the need to figure multiple different work triangles in your kitchen and simplifying the design.

The Stove.

Finally, there's the stove. A stove is a broader term that once primarily referred to heating devices powered by wood or coal (i.e. a wood burning or coal stove). However, the term is also used for heating devices used to cook food.

The good news: Most kitchen designers, appliance manufacturers, and contractors will also understand the terms used interchangeably, and will be able to help you best identify the configuration that works for your design!