What’s the Difference Between a Range, Stove and Cooktop?

A common question among homeowners is, “What’s the difference between a range, stove, and cooktop?“.

induction range cooktop stove

What is a Range?

First, we need to determine what each appliance is and then we can compare them to find the differences.

The word range and stove are used interchangeably. A range is a one-piece unit that includes a cooktop area with zones that cook using gas, electricity, or induction. Below the cooking area is the oven.

The majority of ranges for use in the home are 30″-36″ in width. Commercial range sizes can go up in size from there.

What is a Stove?

A stove is also known as a range but the term has fallen out of favor recently. Most retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s will now only refer to these types of appliances as ranges.

Stoves are still used to describe older wood-burning stoves that are made of cast-iron and used to heat small rooms.

cooktop and oven

What is a Cooktop?

This is where it can get confusing as some people refer to a stove as a cooktop. A cooktop is normally defined as an appliance that is flat and is built into a countertop. A cooktop can be powered by gas, electricity, or induction-generated heat. The cooktop sizes are also available in 30″ and 36″ sizes.

A popular combination is a cooktop installed on a countertop with an oven installed underneath. Thus creating the same combo as a range.

A lot of people prefer this a la carte option as you have a wider variety of appliances to choose from and can choose a different power source for each one.

A cooktop requires a cutout in the countertop where the cooktop can be “dropped” into the hole. A range requires a break in the length of a countertop, so you’ll have two separate pieces of countertop on each side.

The Best Ranges

Our favorite gas range is this model from Frigidaire. It’s highly rated, priced well, and features 5 burners. Our favorite electric range is this unit from Kenmore.


The Best Cooktops

This Frigidaire cooktop features 5 burners and with Frigidaire you know you are getting legendary quality in a reasonably priced appliance. For an electric cooktop we head back to Frigidaire, which is one of the best-priced cooktops available with a quality brand.


Deciding on what type of appliance you need is often determined by the type of cooking you do as well as the space available in your kitchen. When designing your kitchen you should also keep in mind exhaust options.

Range hoods can be attached to the wall, hang freely from the ceiling (for an island), or be downdraft style (where they rise up vertically from the countertop and exhaust fumes into the duct below the counter).


We’ve had the pleasure of attending media events with Bosch and Miele in the last month and have learned a ton about appliances and kitchens in general. These two German companies manufacture top-of-the-line kitchen appliances including dishwashers, ovens, ranges, refrigerators, and cooktops.

They provided us with a great education on everything about kitchens and we look forward to learning as much as we can about the most popular room in the home.

Bosch Cooktop

Best Appliance for a Small Space

The best appliance for a small space is the range. When countertop space is limited for a large cooktop and there is no room for a wall oven, a range allows you to have both without sacrificing precious space in your kitchen.

Best Appliance for a Large Home

When space is not an issue, then you will have the most opportunities to find the appliance you love by shopping for a separate oven and cooktop. You can also separate them and put the oven in one part of the kitchen and the cooktop in another.

Downdraft ventilation
Bosch Range

You Might Also Like