The 48 inch professional is the marquee item in your kitchen. It used to be so easy to buy, because they were all similar.
Viking owned most of the market, along with Thermador. Then Wolf launched their three stage burner and twin convection around 2001. Jenn-Air re-launched 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.
Then you can consider BlueStar with 25,000 BTU burners and customize it with 750 different colors and different trim packages.
So now it's confusing. Let’s look at the similarities first.
Almost all professional ranges have a few similarities, like...
- Convection: Fan forced heat to maintain an even temperature. Some brands have twin convection
- High Output Burners: BTU output ranges from very hot at 15,000 to an inferno-like 25,000 BTU.
- Simmer: Low temperature output for sauces and soups. Thermador is the lowest, but it is intermittent. Wolf maintains the temperature more evenly.
- Grill / Griddle: All except Jenn-Air have griddle and grill capability. Portable is good, but you will have better performance from a built in, thermostatically controlled griddle.
Now let's look at the unique specs of each range. Which one is the best? Are the new models any good? Let's look.
We will look at the 48" Dual Fuel with gas over electric convection except for BlueStar (more on that later). Dual fuel has the better convection system and usually more updated features like self-cleaning and higher output burners. 30" and 36" ranges have similar features, just smaller profiles.
The Best 48" Pro Ranges
Miele HR1956DFGD - $12,999
Miele is the largest family owned appliance company in the world. Their motto “Forever Better” was started by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann. The two had such high standards to their quality products, they believed their products should last forever. The same philosophy is in their newly developed (2014) professional range.
The gas top features powerful 19k BTU burners for better searing and boiling. The grill and griddle is a gas powered infrared for faster performance.
The fully functional M touch speed oven can be used as convection and microwaving. The bigger oven comes with European convection with a 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 cooking options. You can cook foods with a touch of a button.
Based in Wisconsin, Sub-Zero/Wolf is the second largest family owned appliance company after Miele. They offer gas and dual fuel electric twin convection options.
Their dual fuel has 20,000 BTU power burners with all simmering at about 500 BTU. The grill and griddle are infrared gas like Miele.
The oven is thematically controlled twin convection so each fan senses temperature and adjusts accordingly. This is technically better than the Jenn-Air and Miele twin powered convection systems.
The controls are basic with their light up iconic red knobs.
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 healthiest 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).
Thermador actually cooks by steam exclusively whereas the Miele uses steam as only part of the process. The main oven is single convection.
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.
Their griddle and grill are electric, not gas, so they are not as fast as Wolf and Miele.
Thermador offers rebates of free dishwashers and hoods with purchase of a stove and refrigerator.
Viking VDSC4856GSS - $13,429
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.
Jenn-Air - JDRP548WP - $9,999
The retooled Jenn-Air is a very interesting range with two 20,000 BTU burners and decent controls with a 7 inch LCD screen, clock, and timer and convection conversion.
The griddle is infused with chromium, so it is the easiest to clean with food sliding off. Their twin convection is like Miele’s.
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.
It is the least expensive range, but certainly worth consider in all gas and dual fuel options.
BlueStar RNB486GV2 - $9,599
BlueStar is another family owned company based in Pennsylvania. In the oven, it is the only gas European convection on the market meaning the air is blown from the rear of the cavity for more even heat.
As a FYI, gas is a moister heat, better for meats and roasts, while the dryer electric is better for baking breads and cookies.
BlueStar would be the hottest burner at 25,000 BTU in an open burner configuration. Difference between opened and sealed is clean-ability. Spills can seep through an open burner to the tray, but you can take them apart for easier cleaning at the sink.
You have a portable grill and griddle on the top. It performs pretty well, because of the heat generated by the burners.
Now the fun part: You can customize the range with 750 colors and a variety of trim packages as well.
Which One Is Best?
It depends on how you cook. Do you like higher output burners? For that you should consider BlueStar, Wolf and Jenn-Air. The twin convection of Wolf seems better along with BlueStar, Jenn-Air and Miele.
Thermador has the overall best burner, especially on the simmer. Technology belongs to Miele. Colors are best in Viking and BlueStar.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 25, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.