The 48 inch professional is the marquee item in your kitchen. It used to be so easy to buy.
Viking owned most of the market, along with Thermador. Then Wolf launched their three stage burner and twin convection around 2001. Jenn-Air relaunched their brand with twin convection, 20,000 BTU burners and an easy to clean chromium griddle.
More recently, Thermador introduced their 48 inch pro with 22,000 BTU burners and a steam oven with a warming drawer below. Miele entered the fray by adding steam, a speed oven with a warming drawer below as well as a digital cooking menu. So it's confusing.
Almost all professional ranges have a few similarities like...
- Convection: Fan forced heat to maintain an even temperature.
- High Output Burners: BTU output ranges from very hot at 15,000 to an inferno-like 22,000 BTU.
- Simmer: Low temperature output for sauces and soups. Thermador is the lowest, but it is intermittent. Wolf maintains the temperature more evenly.
Now let's look at the unique specs of each range. We will use dual fuel 48". 30" and 36" ranges have similar features just smaller profiles.
Which one is the best? Are the new models any good? Let's look.
The Best 48" Pro Ranges
Miele - HR1956DFGD - $12,999
Miele is the largest family owned appliance company in the world. Their moto “Forever Better” was started by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann. The two had such high standard to their quality products, in which they believe their products should last forever. Miele produces 98.6% of their own parts in house. All of Miele products goes through vigorous testing before it leaves Miele's production plant. As a result, Miele has the lowest service calls in the industry.
The same philosophy is in their newly developed professional range.
The range only comes as dual fuel (220v oven). This is the best of both worlds because you can have consistent heat with the gas top, and evenness control with electric oven. The gas top comes with powerful 19k BTU burners for better searing and boiling. The fully functional M touch speed oven can be used as convection and microwaving. The bigger oven comes with European convection with burst of steam option. The burst of steam gives bread such as baguettes that extra crisp from the outside and moist inside. The main oven comes with easy glide racks. All racks built with Miele ovens can be cleaned right inside the over during self-cleaning. The bottom drawer is a fully functional warming drawer to keep food warm at 150- 200 degrees. The wireless meat probe can be used to keep track of food temperatures easily. Miele even went as far as to include a crumb catcher to prevent food dropping to the floor.
From a fashion stand point, the Miele clean, high-tech control has a clear TFT display. The display has high def quality to scroll through options. The knobs lights up as they turn. The control panel also lifts up for easier viewing.
Wolf is the only company offering twin convection in the main oven, which allows for more precise cooking. Wolf also simmers extremely well with each burner maintaining a constant simmer of 500 BTU. The top is available with more combinations like an infrared grill and french top as well as a griddle. Buy a Sub-Zero with a Wolf and receive a $1,000 rebate (and $250 for every additional Wolf product, up to $2,500 total).
Thermador - PRD48JDSGU - $13,999
Thermador has really changed this industry in terms of features with a steam oven and warming drawer standard on their 48" range. Steam is the most healthy way to cook, as it injects moisture so the nutrients are not baked out like traditional ovens (subscribe to our cooking newsletter if you want to be invited for a steam oven demo).
The Thermador Pro Grand also adds a warming drawer which can maintain food without dehydration for up to three hours. The top has a powerful 22,000 BTU burner and two burners with ultra low simmers of 200 BTUs. Thermador offers rebates of free dishwashers and hoods with purchase of a stove and refrigerator.
Viking - VDSC4856GSS
The original professional range has been improved with an 18,000 BTU burner and improved simmering on every burner. Viking is also available in every color of the rainbow. Viking was acquired by Middleby in 2013.
The retooled Jenn-Air is a very interesting range with two 20,000 BTU burners and state of the art controls. The JDRP548WP has a LCD screen for clock, timer and "doneness" control. The griddle is infused (love that word) with chrome, so it is much easier to clean. Jenn-Air has rebates and a free dishwasher with the purchase of the range. Jenn-Air does not offer a grill in their pro range line.
Which One Is Best?
That depends (doesn't it always).
Wolf and Jenn-Air have twin convection in the main oven for better heat distribution, especially for baking, but Wolf has the most cooking cycles like proofing and dehydrate. Thermador has the lowest simmer on two burners, but Wolf has the lowest consistent simmer on all the burners at 500 BTU. Wolf also has the best grill, because it is infra-red.
Thermador has a steam oven and a warming drawer whereas all the others have just an oven. I really the steam oven (if you use it) and the warming drawer is great for two working parents or cooks. Jenn-Air, however, should be considered for power and overall value.
So no clear winner. What do you think?
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