These are the most common and affordable ranges. They come with either coil elements that heat cookware directly or a smooth-top surface that has radiant heating units beneath a glass or ceramic surface. Many users say that they prefer smooth-tops because they are more attractive and easier to clean than electric coils. Once found only on high-end models, smooth-tops now dominate the range market; only lower-end models have electric coil elements (and we don't recommend any ranges of this type). The ovens on electric ranges tend to perform very well in maintaining a consistent, even heat. Gas Ranges
As their name implies, these ranges are powered by natural gas. They have heavy cast-iron or ceramic grates that cover the gas burners. Many higher-end models feature continuous cooking grates, which cover the entire cooktop's surface, allowing cooks to slide pots and pans from one grate to another. Less expensive models typically have individual grates over each burner. Many cooks prefer gas stovetops to electric because they feel they have a greater degree of incremental control over cooking, but gas ovens don't heat as evenly as electric ovens.Dual-Fuel Ranges
These ranges combine the uniform, even heat of a gas-powered cooktop with the reliability and consistent temperatures of an electric oven. The burners on these professional-grade ranges are often more powerful than those found on gas ranges. However, dual-fuel ranges are more expensive than gas or electric ranges, costing anywhere from about $1,500 to $4,000 or more for a high-end model. Still, many cooks say it's worth the money to get the best of both cooking worlds.Induction Ranges
Induction ranges include an electric oven and an induction stovetop, which heats food by creating a magnetic field between an element just below the surface of the cooktop and the cookware itself. Experts say induction burners are very responsive, heating and cooling food quite rapidly. They get great reviews from people who like to speed up their meal preparation. However, you have to be sure to buy cookware (which we cover in a separate report) that is compatible with the induction stovetop.