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What is the more suitable to buy, so that its maintenance is easier and less costly, a built-in oven and stove or a standalone oven?

A built-in like this one:

enter image description here

or a standalone oven like this one:

enter image description here

And which one of these two is more practical to use, and to maintain with time?

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Are you looking at gas or electric? – Jason Feb 18 '13 at 14:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm not aware of any practical difference between the two in terms of maintenance, except that servicing a built-in stove and oven might be harder because the underside and rear are not easily accessibly.

Otherwise, the only reason I've ever needed to move my free-sanding oven was to clean under/around it. If the built-in stovetop is properly installed and sealed to the counter, cleaning under it should never be an issue.

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One issue I have encountered twice is retrofitting. It seems that built in appliances (stoves and refrigerators mostly) don't have a uniform size standard. If an appliance fails you may find yourself looking at replacing cabinets to get new appliances to fit. One of the consequences of energy efficient appliances is it seems they don't seem to last as long, and they are more expensive to fix. So if your stove only lasts 10-12 years a new built-in stove may require a kitchen remodel to install it.

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We once had a built-in cooktop that died. It looked nice, but when it needed replacing, we found out that we would be forced to redo major parts of our kitchen, at a cost of many thousands of dollars. So we lived with a cooktop that had only one burner working (out of 4) for years. – user558 Feb 19 '13 at 14:22
@woodchips, You couldn't replace the bad burners? – Jeremy Stein Feb 19 '13 at 15:31
@JeremyStein - sadly, no. It was an old GE unit, and really it was the controls for those burners that were the problem. They were difficult to obtain. We did it once at a cost of hundreds of dollars, and they died again quickly. And of course, those controls were built into the fan unit that was also built into the upper cabinets. Replacing the cooktop meant finding one that would fit into that old hole in the counter, or replacing the counter. It also meant redoing the cabinets above to tear out the vent/controls above. In the end, it would have been a complete kitchen redo. Sold the house. – user558 Feb 19 '13 at 15:46

My Experience: I've not replaced my wall oven, but it seems narrower than other ovens I've used, and to replace it WILL require new cabinets.

I did replace my cooktop (I went from electric to gas) and I did have a problem with the size. The cooktops do have standard sizes, BUT the cut-out required is NOT standard. I had to enlarge the cut-out to accommodate my new cooktop. I also need to shorten one of the drawers underneath, as it will hit the gas connection if inserted.

Repairs: When did work on my electric cooktop I found that it was handy to pull it out to fool with it.

If you have a range (oven + cooktop in one unit), one can presumably disconnect it, and drag the whole thing out into the middle of the kitchen when needed for servicing. It's a bit of a pain, but not horrible to do, especially if you're all electric.

If you are planning to put the oven under the cooktop (as shown in your first photo), then I'm unclear that you get much benefit (service-wise) from the built-ins. You can't easily service either component because the other one is kind of in the way, so you'll end up having to go in sideways to unbolt them and pull out. And pulling out a range is relatively straightforward - it's free-standing anyway, while pulling out a wall oven is going to be a pain.

Cost: One thing I did notice is that ranges seem to be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than buying the components separately. A cheap range can be had for $400, which is what you'll spend on just the cooktop if you go independent parts. I rather assume that parts cost will trend with cost of the appliance, so I'd assume that cost for repairing built-ins is higher.

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