What basic range features can I expect?
Features depend on whether you go with gas or electric; here's a general breakdown:
Both:High-power burners or elements: Good for quick boiling and other cooking tasks that require more heat such as quick boiling or searing. Most ranges have one or two high-power burners, and commercial-style ranges may have more.
Medium burners or elements: Good for all basic tasks.
Low or "simmer" burner or element: Good for slow cooking and simmering.
Gas:Wok burner can be an option.
Grates: The pricier the range, the more heavy-duty the grates. Materials range from thin steel to porcelain-coated cast iron to brass as well as a weightier cast iron. Also, continuous grates allow you to slide a pot from one burner to another.
Electric:Bridge element: This is an extra element that bridges one burner to another so that you can use griddles or other large pans with maximum efficiency.
Different-size elements: Accommodates round pans in many sizes.
Warning light: A light that lets you know when a burner is still hot, even though it has been turned off.