Buying a new range for my kitchen - which one?

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by french fries, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    Hello all,

    Time to buy a new range for my kitchen. However I have no idea where to start. Before going to the appliance store, I thought I'd ask all the experts here. Which brands? What should I be looking for? Convection or not? ...

    About the only thing I know for sure is that I want gas burners on the stovetop.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    OK slowly getting a closer idea of what I'm looking for. We need a 30" slide-in range. I've heard that Kitchen Aid is considered a good brand for home range, so I was looking at their website and found this:

    http://www.kitchenaid.com/flash.cmd?/#/product/KGSS907SSS/

    I like the idea of the warming drawer, as I'm assuming I could use it to keep things hot/warm while preparing for example a pan sauce. As for the oven, does convection mean I'll save on my energy costs? What does it mean as far as cooking is concerned? Can it be turned off if I want to use the oven as a conventional oven?

    It says the burner BTUs are:

    6,000

    6,000

    12,500

    15,000

    Is that good?

    Is that a good choice? Any alternatives I should be looking at?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Those burner ratings are pretty normal. The 15000 BTU burner is a step up as most are in the 12,000-14,000 range. Not a big step up as you see.

    I like the dual fuel aspect.

    Convection ovens tend to cook more evenly more quickly and at a slightly reduced temperature. Basically it's a fan that moves the air around. It's a good thing. It can usually be swtiched off but you should check into the details about that.

    It may be a stupid question as I've not shopped for convection ovens, but how do you clean the fan system? That's something I don't know.
     
  4. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks phatch. Probably a dumb question: what is the "dual fuel" aspect? The fact that the oven is electric but the stovetop is gas?
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes. But it adds a lot to the price of the equipment.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    It depends on the individual range, but there are some advantages to an electric as opposed to a gas oven.  Three things you want are convection, self cleaning, and a really hot broiler. 

    A few years ago they were either expensive or very rare in gas.  Times have changed -- especially with so many broilers now IR.  But you certainly don't want a range that doesn't offer all three, not if you can help it.

    BDL  
     
  7. kcz

    kcz

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    Usually the fan is not exposed.  It's either covered by some sort of plate with holes in it, or behind the back wall of the oven, and the fan pushes air through the vent holes into the oven cavity.  You just run the self-cleaning cycle and don't clean the fan separately.
     
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks a lot for the feedback everyone!
     
    How do I know, before buying, how hot the broiler will go? All I could find on Kitchen Aid's website about that range is:

    Enhanced broil element with full and center settings provides broad, even coverage

    Not too sure what that means really.

    Also, what are the advantages of a gas oven vs an electric one? From what I heard gas ovens take longer to pre-heat and don't keep a temp as constant as electric ones?

    Thanks!
     
  9. french fries

    french fries

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    I found out that the broiler is 1,200W - is that good? Thanks!

    Oh and... I found out that what I'm looking at is a GAS range, not a dual fuel one. I assumed convection meant electric oven, but apparently not. The dual fuel ranges are more expensive. Still unsure about gas vs electric for the oven part?
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2010
  10. cook-e

    cook-e

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    Hi FF - I just put a new 36" Thermador gas range in, and I'm in love.  The broiler is unbelievable - a huge ceramic-type plate that heats up like the sun.  It's like none other I've had.  Fantastic - I equipped the top with 6 continuous burners, which totally KICK. Star-shaped, just like Blue Star - really, really nicel. Two have an extra low feature that cycles on and off, so if you want to put something on to simmer real slow-- you can walk away.  This range is a dream.  The ventilator is piped through the roof, with the motor sitting in the attic.  Even with that, the blower on full tilt is LOUD.  Can't even imagine what it would be like if that blower was directly over head.   But, oh God does that thing pull heat and smoke away from the stove top.  I couldn't be happier!!

    Good luck with your new stove!  Cook-E
     
  11. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks! But I'm afraid Thermador is out of my price range! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lookaround.gif
     
  12. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Seems like there's a brick wall when it comes to gas ovens, there's garbage in the under $800 range, and then the next range starts at over $2,000.

    Just for fun, go down to Sears and kick a few tires, here's what to look for:

    Burners, MUST be cast alum or cast steel.  Anything made with sheet metal is garbage.

    Burner grates.  Should be heavy cast iron.  If they are porcelainized metal, the porcelain will chip, flake, and discolour very quickly.  Thin/skinny castings will break if dropped, so be aware

    Drip pan.  Again, if porcelainized it won't stand up to abuse of drips, stains, mini-fires, and other nasties.

    You will usually find the BTU ratings on a metal tag on the inside lip of the oven door, so you don't need a salesman hovering over you telling you that.

    You're doing well, studing mnfctr's websites, asking questions, and are hestitant about plunking your money down
     
  13. french fries

    french fries

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    Thanks a lot for the pointers foodpump. I'm at that point where I need to go to a couple of stores and kick some tires like you said.
     
  14. french fries

    french fries

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    Alright some time has passed by and this time I have been doing my homework. I also went to a Universal Appliance store twice, and the second time I spoke with the store manager for about an hour and a half, discussing all my options and weighting out the pros and cons, etc.

    First, I realized that the KitchenAid I was originally looking at is not for me. Apparently those types of $2,000 ranges are not much better than the $700 ranges you find everywhere (Whirlpool, Kenmore, etc...). I would be getting more features and more looks, but not really more quality. To be honest I kinda had made my decision before talking to the manager, just looking at the range. It looked cheap, flimsy, I didn't like the grates at all, and I realized I've never been a fan of electronics and touch knobs anyway.

    So maybe I need to raise my budget a bit. After an hour and half talking with the manager and hours and hours of online research, I now feel comfortable buying a pro-style look range in the $3,500 price range that has much less features (all gas range, no electronics) but seems much better built. I'd rather want a very solid, good range that does one thing well, than an "elite" cheap range that does everything but is still a cheap range.

    One of the things that was important to me was reliability, but frankly I've wasted enough time reading reviews online to realize that you can name just about any manufacturer and any range available today, and I can find you a horrible review or two (or many more) about that range. That makes it very difficult to gauge the reliability of ranges. So in a way I still feel like I'm shooting darts in the dark here, and that maybe I shouldn't pay too much attention to reliability claims, and more attention to my service contract.

    My current thoughts:

    1) American Range 30" Residential $3,500

    [​IMG]

    This is most likely the range I am going to end up with. The company has been around for a while and has a lot of experience manufacturing pro ranges. That range has the largest oven and oven window of all the ranges I've looked at. Dual fan convection. The fans are actually inside the oven's walls, not in a box screwed on top of the wall like on a Viking range. Infrared broiler seems powerful (promising 1,500F of heat). The grates on the stovetop look very solid, and you get one grate for 2 burners so if I slide a pot from front to back I don't have to worry about individual grates sliding around like on a Viking range. The burners are sealed on top of a one-piece stainless steel surface which is reported to be easy to clean. I like the different size burners (2x17,000 1x13,000 1x9,000 BTUs), which apparently do simmer pretty well (and I own a heat diffuser anyway).

    I like the simple look, all SS, or maybe a colored door if we decide to go that route.

    2) Viking 30" Pro Range $3,500

    While I considered that one for a while, and the store manager seemed to think that was the best choice for me, I have to say I'm pretty concerned with Viking's poor reliability reputation. The manager told me the Viking had better burners, and demonstrated those for me. While the burners do seem very good, all capable of very low simmer to full heat, I didn't really understand the arrangement: you get four full size 15,000 BTUs burners. Seems to me like the day I just want to heat a little sauce pan or a 8" skillet (which is almost daily), I would get a crazy cold spot right in the middle and flames coming up the sides of my pan? Doesn't make sense to me unless Viking was targeting customers who only use large pans all the time. I also did not like the individual burner grates at the top, as I could imagine one sliding from under my pot as I try to slide it from front to back burner.

    3) Viking 30" Residential Range $2,550

    This one I liked a lot. Exactly the same oven as the Viking Pro, but different burners of different size, and a continuous grate that covered two burners. Even tough this is not a Pro-style range I kinda liked the seamless design. But again with the horrible Viking reliability reputation, I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be buying one. Obviously the price is attractive here.

    4) Bluestar 30" Gas Range (no convection) $2,XXX

    This one has the incredible Blue Star burners and all cast iron top, and a simple gas oven without convection. The manager couldn't give me an exact price but said it's under $3,000. It looks good, and I'm sure the burners are great, but do I really need Professional burner in a residential kitchen? I'm not cooking with a Wok, and I rarely use my current 13,000 BTU sealed burners on max already. The exception is when boiling water, but honestly I don't think I've ever through that took too long. I usually have time and can wait, not an issue for me. What's tempting with those burners is the promise that the heat will have a better repartition, and no cold spots. But oh well. I thought the design was a little TOO Pro, meaning the finish wasn't really polished and the angles seemed very obtrusive. When I saw the range I had this vision of my toddler bumping his head on one of those sharp obtrusive metal angles and that immediately turned me off.

    5) Wolf 30" Gas Range $4,XXX

    This one is expensive, again only has larger burners, and apparently are going to be phased out for newer models pretty soon. The manager said Wolf makes incredible dual fuel ranges with true convection (meaning there's actually an electric heater around the fan which burns all smells and recirculate hot air), but didn't seem to think they were worth the price for gas-only ranges.

    There were many other contenders (Jenn Air, DCS, Thermador etc..) that I eliminated for various reasons.

    Thanks for all your help so far and if you have any thoughts or any models I may have overlooked, please feel free to share!
     
  15. french fries

    french fries

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    Ended up buying #1, American Range. Now all I can do is wait for them to deliver it! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    PS: Got the 6 year extended warranty, I don't usually buy those, but with all the range-horror stories I keep reading everywhere it sounded like a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  16. maggoo

    maggoo

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    Cook-E

    I am planning on buying Thermador appliances for my kitchen remodel: 48 inch rangetop, 30 inch wall ovens, a hood (free) and either the 48 inch frig or the 30 inch fresh food column and either the 24 inch freezer or 18 inch freezer column. Do you still love your appliances. Did you get the whole package? Any input you can give me would be so appreciated.

    Maggoo
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Thermidor,Caloric. Jenn air, Wolf. I have used them all. In my opinion they are all toys for the upscale and wealthy Palm Beach Island Folks..They all try to imitate the look and feel of restaurant equipment or restaurant grade, but they are a far cry from that. I like Garland which the home version is almost the same as commercial one. Except they have those electric igniters which are not good and just make noise. Once the igniter gets wet, either from cleaning or boil-over  you might as well start counting down time till it has to be replaced, and not cheap. Thats why restaurant stoves do not have them.

    All restaurant burners have same BTU output. I endorse  Convection ovens  as in long run they save time, therefore energy. You may even be able to get a used restaurant range and oven in great shape  for same $. and it will last you years.
     
  18. french fries

    french fries

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    Garland makes a home version?
     
  19. chefedb

    chefedb

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    The house on Jupiter Island  I frequently do parties in has one. From what housekeeper told me it is 9 years old.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  20. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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