You might want to consider a refurbished range instead of a new one if your budget is tight. We've got tips for helping you get the one you're looking for.
Sometimes it's better to buy a high-quality refurbished range than a cheap new one that either burns food on the outside but stays raw in the middle - or breaks within the first few years of use (and if you think appliance quality has been decreasing over the last few years, you are correct). Unlike its used counterpart, a refurbished one will have been taken apart and inspected with any noticeably worn parts will have been replaced. It will also be considerably cheaper than its new version and the difference may just come down to a few scratch marks here or there (and by the time you get it to its new home, you won't even see them anymore). Here are some things to consider when searching for a refurbished range:
It's important you know what size of range you need to replace. They are available in compact (24") to professional (60") versions. If this is a replacement, you will want to get the same size unless it is freestanding with a variety of options. However, a common design is to have fixed counters on either side of a range limiting your width options. Note, make sure you measure your path from curb to intended destination. doorways, hallways, stairs, landings, etc.
If you are replacing a stove, it is easiest to replace the same fuel with the same fuel (gas for gas, electric for electric). However, either fuel source can be switched but will involve additional work from a certified gas installer or electrician if a 240V plug isn't already installed. If you are switching to natural gas, make sure it's available on your street and note that extending a line is charged per foot and is fairly expensive.
There are two styles of ranges - freestanding and slide-in. (A freestanding range's controls are on a back raised dashboard while a slide-in's controls are on the front.) Which one you choose may depend on your backsplash design. Sometimes, depending on how the backsplash was built, replacement of a freestanding stove with a slide-in will look strange if the backsplash was designed around the freestanding's upright control panel. On the other hand, if you're changing from slide-in to freestanding, make sure there isn't a bullnose or design that prevents a freestanding stove from being flush against the back wall or would look awkward with the new design.
The easiest way to find a vendor of refurbished ranges is to look on Craiglist or Kijiji. Refurbishers will use the sites to post a newly refurbished model, however, it is best to visit the store to see the much larger selection they will have than what is posted online. If, however, you have very specific limitations, it is best to call ahead to make sure they carry stoves with your requirements (measurement or fuel-type, for example).
once you're at a vendor's place, you'll be able to more easily select potential candidates. Look at the following:
Warranties from vendors of refurbished appliances vary from 3 months to one year. Clarify the warranty period and what it covers.
Ask about the delivery charge, installation, and removal of your old range. If you are changing fuel sources, you will need to organize the electrical or gas hook-up ahead of time. Most refurbishers will deliver it and plug in a new stove. They may not deal with doing the same for a gas one. They will let you know what they will and won't do so that you can be prepared for their arrival.
For tips on how to buy a new or used stove, check out our other articles on our Cooking Appliances page.