Ranges like to break at the most inconvenient times – usually before a big family celebration or a holiday – when you are about to do a ton of baking or throw a big roast in the oven. Sometimes it can be hard to justify the cost of a new one in the event that yours is no longer repairable (or too expensive to do so). Before you take out a second mortgage to buy a new range, you might want to consider buying a used one. There is a risk of course, because if it breaks when you get it home, you likely won’t be able to get your money back. But sometimes the right used range comes along and it’s worth taking that risk. Here are some tips to help you find one that suits your needs – for considerably less money than a new one.

  1. Measurements: 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. Make sure you measure your path from curb to intended destination. doorways, hallways, stairs, landings, etc. It’s critical to making sure the range can make it without getting wedged into a sticky situation.
  2. Fuel-type: If you are replacing a range, 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 within your house is charged per foot and is expensive.
  3. Style: 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.
  4. Transportation: Consider how you’re going to get the range from the seller’s place to yours. Sometimes sellers will be able to provide transportation (if close by and they have a truck), but most of the time you are responsible for it. There are local transport companies that advertise on Kijiji and Craigslist.
  5. Online research: The easiest way to find a used range is to look on Craiglist or Kijiji.  Choose one with a photo so you can see where it’s stored and what shape it’s in (avoid it if there is rust on the body). If the model and serial numbers aren’t listed ask the seller for them. Once you have them go to an online repair forum to check how old it is and to see if that model has any consistent problems. You can also locate the owner’s manual through the manufacturer website to see what features the range has.
  6.  Condition: If you’ve found a potential range and booked an appointment to see it, open doors, test dials and buttons, inspect interior racks and the interior to make sure it’s clean and there’s no odour. If it’s unplugged, plug it in to make sure there is power and there are no codes showing on a range with electronic panels. Check the plug or gas venting to make sure it’s in good condition.

For tips on how to buy a new or refurbished range, check out our other articles on our Cooking Appliances page.

Check out our Resources page for sources to help you start your research.