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A professional range, along with the built-in refrigerator, are the hallmarks of today's luxury kitchen. There are some great brands with very different products to consider. It can be confusing.
In this article, you will learn the various features and benefits of the various ranges. You will then be able to better decide the best range based on your own cooking style.
Unfortunately, there is not one best range or brand.
How to Buy a Pro Range
Pro Range Sizes
Pro Ranges are available in 24, 30, 36, 48 and 60-inch sizes with 30 and 36 being the most popular.
Here are the differences:
24 inches to 30 inches
24 inches is a smaller unit for apartments or pool houses. A 30-inch has the same burner configuration with a larger oven.
24 Inch Pro Range
30 Inch Pro Range
30 to 36 inches
You also have a larger oven in the 36 inches plus a griddle, grill or 6 burners instead of just 4 burners like the 30.
36 Inch Pro Range
36 to 48 inches
You add a second oven in a 48-inch oven. Steam, speed, and warming drawers can also be added to a 48-inch along with a French top and up to 8 burners.
48 Inch Pro Range
48 to 60 inches
The second oven is larger in a 60-inch pro range. You also have up to 10 different combinations instead of 8 in a 48 inch.
60 Inch Pro Range
Before you look at burner outputs, simmering capabilities, grills, and the option of a griddle, you should understand the difference between an open and sealed burner and why it matters.
Open Versus vs. Sealed Burners
Open vs. Sealed Burner
An open burner typically is hotter than a sealed burner because there is more surface for oxygen. BlueStar and Capital are both open with 25,000 BTU max output. Viking is the most with sealed burners at 23,000, but the typical sealed burner is 18-20,000 BTUs.
In terms of cleaning, sealed burners keep the spills on the top. However, you can dissemble an open burner and clean it in the sink.Narrow down Pro Range options with our free tool
Grill, Griddle and French Top Options
BlueStar is the most powerful with multiple 25,000 BTU burners. Viking has 23,000 in a sealed burner. Wolf (Dual fuel) and Jenn-Air have 20,000 BTUs while Miele has 19,000.
Thermador is 18,000, but their burners are all 18,000 BTUs. Most of the other manufacturers have less powerful burners on their ranges as well.
Thermador has the best simmer at 200 BTUs on two of their burners. Wolf has a 5000 BTU simmer on all their burners. It is a consistent simmer whereas Thermador achieves the low BTU by turning on and off.
Grill / Griddle
The infrared is the best grill because it sears quickly. The infrared also burns the drippings, so it is much easier to clean than a gas or electric grill.
Miele and Wolf employ an infrared. You need to think about a more powerful hood with an inside grill.
Griddles are similar to grills. Gas heats up faster. The electric Jenn-Air has a chromium finish and is the easiest to clean than any other. Electric has a consistent temperature by takes more time to heat.
French Tops look like griddles, but have one burner in the middle, so the outside temperature is lower. They are used to cook multiple items at multiple temperatures.
Wolf, BlueStar, and La Cornue all have French tops.
Oven Controls run the gamut from no controls like BlueStar, Thermador Harmony, and La Cornue to self-guided like the Miele M touch.
Miele M Touch
You program the Miele by inputting the food type and doneness, it calculates time and temperature.
Gas vs. Electric Convection Ovens
Gas is a moister heat and better for roasting whereas electric is dryer and more precise for better baking. Certain gas manufacturers have hotter infrared broilers like Thermador, Wolf and BlueStar being the best.
It’s a bit more complicated. The Wolf and Miele dual fuel have better features than their all gas models like better convection systems, controls, as well as steam and speed functionality in the Miele.
The best oven may be the La Cornue with its arched top. However, the Wolf dual fuel has twin convection with both fans on thermostats to control temperature.
La Cornue Twin Convection
Wolf Convection Oven
You can also find twin convection in Jenn-Air and Miele in both gas or dual fuel.
You would think self-cleaning would be a given, but restaurant ranges are non-self-cleaning as are many pro ranges. BlueStar, La Cornue, Thermador Harmony, and Wolf all-gas are not self-cleaning.
Special Oven Features
Miele and Thermador have changed the pro range in the last 5 years. In the Thermador Grande Steam 48 and 60-inch stoves, you have a steam oven option. Steam does not bake nutrients out of the food and adds texture as well as flavor. They were the first to add a warming drawer for keeping food warm up to three hours.
Miele Dual Fuel adds a steam assist for bread baking and caramelizing foods. On their 48 inch, you have a speed oven option.
Thermador 48 Inch Stove
Miele 48 Inch Stove
Speed is a convection oven with a microwave. You will save almost half the time without the rubbery microwave texture.
Stainless Steel vs. Custom Color Options
Most stoves are stainless only. BlueStar has 750 different colors and 8 trim styles. La Cornue can be totally customized as well.
You probably do not see a stove with every feature, but there are plenty of very good options. You have to determine how you will use this range:
Do you want real power, better simmer? Do you roast, bake or broil or is it a combination?
Short Synopsis of each range:
BlueStar is a powerhouse of a range with great output and infrared broiler. You can choose any color options as well.
Jenn-Air has good output, very good controls, twin convection, and a very usable griddle at a very good price.
Thermador has the best simmer and good output on every burner. Their 48 and 60-inch ranges could be the best featured.
Miele has a clean modern appearance with an infrared grill, griddle as well as self-cleaning in both electric and gas. Their 48 inch is among the best.
Wolf has the best grill, griddle and a very good broiler as well as convection setting. The simmer is probably the best on every burner.
La Cornue is totally customizable on the top and oven. This French range is almost like a high-end piece of furniture.
Lastly and most importantly, you need to know who services these (and it will not be the manufacturer) because you will need minor tweaking within 5 years.
Do not buy just features only to find out years later you cannot cook holiday dinner.
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