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Best Professional Range Grills (Reviews/Ratings)

Nicole Parmenter  |  January 16, 2017  |  3 Min. Read

Professional Ranges

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It is now winter (or could be when you read this). Do you brave cooking on your outdoor grill or should you consider a pro range with a grill in your kitchen renovation? We will look at the major brands, their strengths and weaknesses so you can assess whether it is worth buying an indoor grill or braving the cold.

First we need to discuss hoods and ventilation.

Ventilation

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The manufacturer Best had a stat saying 4 gallons of grease accumulate in a poorly ventilated kitchen yearly. You can multiply that figure many times with a grill, because you are adding more smoke and grease to the equation.

We have a ventilation buying guide with specific info. However, you want adequate CFM or motor speed of at least 900 CFM on a 36 inch or 1200 -1500 on a 48 inch depending on how you cook.

You will also want a deeper hood of 27 inches, so smoke can pool and then exhaust. Smoke should not bypass the hood as it might on a shallower hood.

Lastly, you need larger 10-inch duct and a proper duct run with fewer turns. Baffle filters allow the smoke to pass through more easily.

Brands

I chose Thermador, Wolf and Miele primarily because they are the most asked for brands when I am doing demos. Jenn-Air does not offer a grill, so they are obviously out.

We do not sell Viking. I have never used Viking, but it is a tube broiler similar to what you find on the inside of your oven. Infrared heat is more intense and better for many reasons.

So let's look at the best indoor grills.

Thermador

Thermador’s grill is electric, not gas. It is constructed with a stainless steel plate covered with ceramic briquettes. On top of the briquettes lie two 6-pass calrod elements folding toward the middle. This design is easy to clean and replace briquettes if needed.

Thermador 48" PRD486NLGU with Grill - $11,899

Thermador 48" PRD486NLGU with Grill

The final touch is the two half-size cast iron grates which lie on top. The cast aluminum grates are coated with a non-PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene a.k.a. “Teflon”) coating called Fusion. It is more suitable for grilling due to the fact we typically grill at high temperatures.

Fusion is a ceramic coating based on Sol-gel technology withstanding heat up to 850˚F and does not emit toxic chemicals like Teflon. The half-size cast aluminum grates definitely are easier to carry and maintain.

Thermador 48" PRD486NLGU with Grill

The two grates actually represent two fully adjustable cooking zones, giving the option to use the entire grill or just a portion. The briquettes are a nice touch for added flavor as well. They capture the marinades and natural juices from the food cooking, yielding that outdoor grill flavor.

The Test

My first thought was that this grill wouldn’t be able to provide heat quickly and consistently because of the mere 2,000 watts of electric power. I let the grill preheat for a good 15 minutes before using. To test the efficacy of the grill, I covered the entire surface with thinly sliced potatoes, an excellent medium to help identify hot and cold spots because of their light color.

See results in pictures below. While the Thermador took a little while to preheat, it proved to be very consistent in heat flow and coloring probably due to the fact that it’s thermostatically controlled. The only ‘cool’ spots were toward the front and slightly in the back.

Thermador 48" PRD486NLGU Grill top

Wolf

In contrast, we have Wolf’s infrared gas powered char broiler, a completely different animal offering an intense amount of heat in less time. Wolf’s construction is fairly simple. It consists of a ceramic char broiler surrounded by a stainless steel frame, a radiant plate to diffuse the heat, and a continuous grill top (one piece).

Wolf 48" DF486C with Grill - $12,599

Wolf 48" DF486C with Grill

The grill top is comprised of porcelain enamel coated cast iron. Porcelain enamel is popular among cast iron grills, grates and burner tops due to its thermal stability and thermal shock resistance.

It’s commonly used for high heat application from 500˚-900˚F. Porcelain enamel can withstand intermittent or prolonged heat without affecting the physical structure or appearance of the cast iron metal.

Wolf 48" DF486C with infrared charbroiler grill

According to the use and care manual, the Wolf grill should preheat for about 10 minutes, but I found that it took about 7 minutes for the grill to preheat.

Wolf’s grill offers 16,000 BTUs which is why it heats up so quickly, and the high setting makes cleaning easier as most of the grease will burn off. The main control has a high setting and not much else. To compensate for the ultra high heat, the rear 7” of Wolf’s grill remains cooler in order to finish grilling at lower temps, or to hold food to keep it warm.

The Test

I conducted the same grill test as with the Thermador - I covered the entire surface with sliced potatoes to determine where the heat was most concentrated. The results were not as I had anticipated; the heat was concentrated in the center more toward the front, leaving the right corner and the entire back portion of the grill with less heat. See pictures below.

Wolf 48" DF486C with radiant grill plate Wolf 48" DF486C without radiant grill plate
With radiant plate Without radiant plate

 

The left picture is the Wolf grill with the radiant plate, the right picture is without the radiant plate. At best, I could have kept some potatoes warm within the back 7”.

Miele

Miele’s infrared ceramic char broiler is almost identical to Wolf's. It is comprised of the exact same parts; the only difference is the location of the igniter. Like Wolf, Miele’s grill top is cast iron with a similar porcelain enamel coating, enabling it to withstand high temperatures for a prolonged period of time.

Miele HR1955 DF GR with Grill - $12,999

Miele HR1955 DF GR with Grill best indoor grill range

However, the true difference lies beyond the aesthetics. Miele offers 19,000 BTUs of gas power (for dual fuel) with an adjustable dial from High to Low. Miele’s grill top is also dishwasher safe which makes cleaning much easier.

Miele HR1955 DF GR with Grill best indoor grill range

The Test

You can imagine how fast the Miele grill took to preheat…5 minutes! For the final grill test, I covered the Miele grill top with the sliced potatoes. In the previous grill tests, I allowed each side of the potatoes to cook for about 4 minutes to develop color and grill marks.

As for the Miele grill, the heat was so intense in the center that after 2 minutes I was forced to turn the slices. The center was the most concentrated with heat, yet the periphery barely developed any color. See pictures below.

Miele HR1955 DF GR without radiant grill plate Miele HR1955DF GR with radiant grill plate
Without radiant plate With radiant plate

 

The left picture is the result of the grill without the radiant plate to evenly diffuse the heat; the right picture is the result of the grill with the radiant plate.

Honestly, I didn’t really see much of a difference by removing or adding the radiant plate. The heat tends to stay concentrated in the center no matter what.

Conclusion

Your cooking needs and style will ultimately determine the type of grill you purchase. If you have the extra time (for the preheat), then perhaps consider the Thermador electric grill.

In my opinion, the Thermador grill offers the even heat distribution especially for an electric grill. The ability to be able to adjust the heat is monumental; the lack of infrared gas prevents the intense hot spots.

This type of grill would be best for all-around multi-purpose grilling - vegetables, hot dogs, burgers, boneless chicken breasts, etc. Or perhaps for someone just grilling one or two items.

If you have young children in your household, consider the safety of the dual zones of the Thermador grill; you are able to use the rear part of the grill and keep the front off so it’s cool to the touch.

If you are looking for speed and an intense sear, then consider the Miele or Wolf, both are very effective at producing intense heat for a quick sear or grill markings. Because of the intensity, this grill does require a bit of skill when operating.

As we’ve seen above, Wolf offers better heat distribution of the two infrared grills. Because of the design and intense heat, leaner cuts of meat/protein are recommended for infrared grills. Excess fats or marinades tend to produce flare-ups and smoke because there is nothing to absorb the renderings.

However, the extreme heat usually causes any renderings to evaporate as soon as they hit the infrared panel. The infrared grills also excel at quick sears for items such as steaks, chops and tuna, where you want to create a nice outer crust with a contrasting rareness in the center.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about Pro Cooking? Download the Yale Professional Cooking Buying Guide with features, specs and detailed profiles of all the major brands like Wolf, Miele, Bluestar, Thermador, Viking, GE Monogram and more. Over 200,000 people have read a Yale Guide.

View our Pro Cooking Buying Guide

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WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Nicole Parmenter

Nicole Parmenter is our resident Chef at Yale Appliance + Lighting; she has multiple culinary degrees and is an appliance expert. Chef Nicole can teach you how to use your new appliances and give you tips, recipes and honest opinions on products.

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Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.

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