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Help choosing a range .. totally clueless

2
2bdbest Mar 9, 2010 12:37 PM

I will be renovating the chicken this summer. Totally stripped..
I have NEVER bought any appliances. I LOVE to cook. Right now we have 13 year old 4 burner 'Chef' range. (everytime I cook..cooktop or oven - the CO alarm goes ON)- This stove is ok but the burners have not much power and the oven is manual clean and has no window for me to see whats cooking etc. I know so far that the apartment has a gas valve connected to our current stove as well as a power cord connected to the power outlet.
I woul like a range with a griddle/grill. Im thinking gas range..(maybe dual??) I am not hung on brand names. I am just looking for a range with excellent performance.
Its a bit confusing with the sliding or free standing, sealed burners etc. i am in the proccess of researching and learning as much as i can. My husdband has even less clue about ranges than me.
If any of you please assist me/guide me or point me in the right direcctions that would be great.

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    white light RE: 2bdbest Mar 9, 2010 04:17 PM

    I'm just here to make a stripped chicken joke :)

    Actually, here's a more specific forum that might be helpful:

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/

    (you might want to provide some more info, esp. budget).

    1. Fuller RE: 2bdbest Mar 10, 2010 10:14 AM

      I'm not entirely sure you're going to get great help here. Lots of people have strong opinions but I'm willing to bet that very few have the same detailed knowledge that a sales person at a store will have. Start at Home Depot/Lowe's/Best Buy/etc. and start asking questions. If you can find a higher end store with more expensive brand names go there next, and ask questions. Figure out what will fit in your space, what fits your budget, and what features you want/need.

      THEN start searching for information online and ask very, very, very specific questions. In other words, there's so many thousands of options it's impossible for a board like this to give you helpful information. I could tell you to buy Brand XYZ Model # 12345 because it's AWESOME and puts out 3 million BTUs, but in reality the chances are that you aren't going to like it, it won't fit in your kitchen, or it has features that would be a waste of money for you.

      1. JayL RE: 2bdbest Mar 10, 2010 04:47 PM

        I do not know of a single residential gas range that puts out enough BTUs to be useful. Only the ultra high-end residential/commercial units will get you decent BTUs. A residential gas range that puts out 12,000-15,000 BTUs is incredibly inefficient.

        10 Replies
        1. re: JayL
          d
          DGresh RE: JayL Mar 11, 2010 01:38 AM

          Huh? I dare say plenty of us cook just fine on any number of "residential gas ranges". I find mine in fact "quite useful". I cook on it 6 or 7 nights a week. What on earth is that supposed to mean?

          As for the OP I would I also suggest *beginning* with an article from consumer reports where they compare features. That's often a useful starting place, so you can see what features strike your fancy and which don't. Your library probably has back issues. Consumer Reports tends to be less useful for particular models, since they change so often, but I do find their overviews a good starting place.

          1. re: DGresh
            JayL RE: DGresh Mar 11, 2010 07:57 PM

            It means that even a 15,000 btu range is pretty wimpy. That's not much power and takes forever to boil water.

            Of course you can cook just fine on one, but a range with 24,000-32,000 btu is MUCH more useful and efficient.

            It's only my opinion.

            1. re: JayL
              MikeB3542 RE: JayL Mar 12, 2010 07:11 AM

              "I have NEVER bought any appliances. I LOVE to cook." DO NOT utter these words in an appliance store. Ever.

              "I do not know of a single residential gas range that puts out enough BTUs to be useful..." OK, somehow the rest of us in the unwashed masses seem to manage with residential stoves just fine. There is nothing efficient about a high-output burner -- sure it puts out more heat, but it also burns a lot more gas. Waiting a few extra minutes for a pot to boil just gives me time for food prep and clean-up, so not a big deal. As they say, a watched pot never boils.

              As far as fuel goes, lots will depend on what sort of hook-ups you already have. Electric and dual-fuel will require a dedicated outlet (most like 220V). Gas and dual-fuel will require a gas line. (As you can see, dual-fuel will require both). With kitchen gutted, you need to assess what you have and get the right hook-ups put in where you want them right now.

              The other big issue you need to address immediately is the size of the range, as this will impact cabinetry. 30" wide stoves are pretty much standard, but ranges do come wider. You need to choose now. Troll Lowe's and Home Depot to get an idea of what you like (not to buy, yet) and see what size those units are. Bigger stoves not only take up more space, but they demand special cabinetry (overhead cabinets are proportioned for 30" and 36" ranges) and special range hoods. "Special" and "custom" mean more expensive.

              With size, location and hook-ups under control, you should have plenty of time to shop, do your research and get the best deal. Check out what friends, family and neighbors use -- see what you like.

              1. re: JayL
                wekick RE: JayL Jun 12, 2012 07:33 PM

                The BTUs has nothing to do with efficiency.

            2. re: JayL
              flourgirl RE: JayL Mar 12, 2010 10:46 AM

              JayL - what utter and complete nonsense.

              1. re: flourgirl
                JayL RE: flourgirl Mar 12, 2010 04:04 PM

                Evidently you've never used a 30,000+ btu range. A standard residential range will cook ok...they are just not very efficient.

                This isn't nonsense. Before passing judgment, I recommend you find a full power range and see the difference for yourself.

                I'd go electric over gas if I were looking for a "standard" residential range. Electric as in flattop or induction technology.

                Don't mean to ruffle your feathers. I've had one residential gas range (a really "good" one) and it in no way compares to the flattop range I have at the current time. If I ever choose to have a gas range in my home again, I'll save and buy a small commercial unit.

                1. re: JayL
                  flourgirl RE: JayL Mar 13, 2010 05:21 AM

                  It IS nonsense for the vast majority of people - first of all, it can get very expensive upgrading your kitchen to comply with local building code requirements for commercial ranges in a residential setting.

                  Many homeowner's policies also have strict policies about the installation of commercial ranges in residential settings. Your policy may require additional coverage or be expected to meet specific installation requirements, otherwise you may completely invalidate the policy with the installation of commercial equipment.

                  In a commercial kitchen, the sidewall, rear and oven door temperatures of the range are not a concern because they are installed in a completely stainless steel environment, such the surrounding cabinets and backsplash. Residential ranges are tested and certified (usually by American Gas Association (AGA) or International Approval Services (AIS) for safe installation against wood cabinets, sheetrock walls, resin or plastic countertops. The knobs, porcelain parts, glass windows etc. also get tested for similar heat levels.

                  It is also highly likely you will require a commercial range hood, possibly with fire suppression, and a ventilation system to ounteract the upgraded BTUs of the commercial gas range.

                  Also, I may be mistaken about this, but my understanding is that commercial ranges have continuously burning pilot lights. The continuously burning pilots on a commercial range use gas 24/7 and increases the general kitchen temperature. Once you start cooking, the air temperature quickly gets hotter.

                  Most commercial ranges are more than 24in deep, so they will not be flush with standard kitchen cabinets.

                  Even if your home insurance policy will accept a commercial range installation, and you have met all local code requirements, with most brands the manufacturer's warranty is rendered void upon residential installation.

                  And lastly, bottom-line, I doubt someone who is starting from scratch in choosing a range is really going to be in the market for a commercial range.

                  I stand by my original post.

              2. re: JayL
                alanbarnes RE: JayL Mar 12, 2010 04:44 PM

                I do not know of a single conventional automobile that has enough horsepower to be useful. Only the ultra high-end European supercars will get you decent horsepower. A car that only puts out 200-250hp is incredibly inefficient.

                Um, yeah.

                I have burners that range from 10k to 60k BTU. High heat is useful for many things and necessary for a few. But the notion that 99% of the stoves out there aren't "useful" is just silly.

                1. re: alanbarnes
                  JayL RE: alanbarnes Mar 13, 2010 05:23 AM

                  Not only do I like high btu gas ranges, but I drive a BMW M3 also...GREAT analogy about the high-end Euro supercars. I LOVE IT!

                  "Useful" might have been the wrong word to use. Sorry.

                  I still stick by the notion that a 12-15,000 btu range is incredibly inefficient.

                  1. re: JayL
                    alanbarnes RE: JayL Mar 13, 2010 09:46 AM

                    You can stick by your notions all you like, but cooking efficiency is just as quantifiable as miles per gallon. High performance cars and high output gas cooktops are inherently inefficient.

              3. flourgirl RE: 2bdbest Mar 12, 2010 11:03 AM

                Well, I can tell you a couple of things right off the bat to think about when choosing a range.

                Most free-standing ranges have a large, over-hanging panel in the back that can interfere with the use of the back burners. I HATED my last range because of this problem. (BTW, this is also an example of the kind of information you will NEVER get from a store salesman.) An example of a free-standing range that doesn't have this overhanging panel is the GE Cafe.

                I think the main difference between slide-ins and ranges is that free-standing ranges have finished sides - slide-ins don't. Slide-ins apparently can result in a more finished built-in look (all depending on the quality of your contractor.) So this is greatly a matter of personal preference and the layout of your kitchen - i.e. is the range going to be installed in the middle of a row of cabinetry or on an end?)

                Features like continuous grates on the top of the range are nice to have because it is easier to move pots and pans around. Personally, I prefer cast iron grates over enamelled ones for ease of cleaning.

                Watch out for ranges where the grates sit too high over the flame. For one thing, it's dangerous, and for another thing it just isn't very efficient.

                Pay attention to the layout of the burners. Some ranges have all the high-powered ones in the front and the simmer burners in the back, others mix up this lay-out (all depends on the size of the range you are looking at as well.) I don;t know that any one arrangement is "better" than another - it just really comes down to your personal preference and how you prefer to cook.

                Pay attention to the size of the oven cavity. This can vary a LOT and you want to be sure that you will be able to use your current cookware in the new oven.

                Pay attention to the BTUs of the high-output burners. Read up on this subject to acquaint yourself with this issue so that you will be better informed and know what you want, waht you need and what you are willing to pay for.

                Pay attention to the oven racks and how easily they move in and out of the oven. Some ranges have oven racks on roller bearings.

                Think about the different kinds of surfaces and materials ranges are manufactured with. For example my last range was enamel and I thought it was an absolutel nightmare to keep clean. My new range is stainless steel and I love it. (It's the only stainless steel appliance in my kitchen - but I would never go back to enamel again.)

                I would investigate the warranty of any appliances you are going to buy and compare them on the different models you get interested in. Research the customer service reputation of the manufacturers of any appliances you decide you are interested in. Sad to say, customer service has really been taking a tailspin at many companies and can be an issue of MAJOR frustration.

                I'm sure others can come up with tons of other suggestions, but at least it's a start.

                2 Replies
                1. re: flourgirl
                  b
                  Beckyleach RE: flourgirl Mar 13, 2010 08:13 AM

                  Excellent analysis, Flourgirl. I don't think I could have broken this down so objectively. All I can offer is what I love about my very first very own stove (after a lifetime of rental houses or "came with" appliances) which mostly bear out your summary: My new stove does NOT have an overhanging back panel, the continous cast iron grates not only are great for moving around pots, they're safer for dishing up foods, as I can set the bowl directly on the stove top, right next to the pot or pan I'm serving from...It has a true convection oven function to help equalize the uneven heating of gas ovens...the burners are "sealed" for easy cleaning...it's self cleaning...It has five burners (including two power burners of some high btu # that I cannot remember right off the top of my head ;-) , the bottom rack slides out partially, automatically, when you open the oven door (fewer arm burns!) AND one does not have to be a smug, rich boy to purchase it: it cost $800, delivered.

                  1. re: Beckyleach
                    s
                    shaunaleee RE: Beckyleach Jun 12, 2012 04:13 PM

                    beckyleach, oh-please-oh-please tell us the make and model you purchased! It has so much of what I'm looking for.

                2. alanbarnes RE: 2bdbest Mar 12, 2010 04:58 PM

                  For starters, take a look at this metaarticle: http://www.consumersearch.com/ranges-...

                  From there, look at the articles reviewed, dig around on gardenweb, and if you want, post back here with any questions.

                  Starting from the basics, though...

                  You've got a gas line, but diameter is important. Having to upgrade the gas supply for a range with lots of firepower can get expensive. Ditto with the plug; if it's a standard 110v wall outlet, it won't work for an electric or dual-fuel range; you'll need to run in a 220v circuit.

                  Prices run from under $500 to over $10,000. If you want high-powered gas burners, count on spending several thousand bucks, plus more for a high-capacity exhaust system. Induction seems to be getting more and more popular, and FWIW Consumer Reports rated induction cooktops considerably higher than any gas or conventional electric units.

                  Good luck.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: alanbarnes
                    flourgirl RE: alanbarnes Mar 13, 2010 05:47 AM

                    alan's suggestion to look into induction for the cooktop is a very good one. Just know that not all cookware will work on an induction cooktop so you want to be sure that the cookware you have WILL work or be prepared to buy new cookware.

                    1. re: flourgirl
                      Politeness RE: flourgirl Mar 13, 2010 08:43 AM

                      flourgirl: "Just know that not all cookware will work on an induction cooktop so you want to be sure that the cookware you have WILL work or be prepared to buy new cookware."

                      It is an argument I have seen a lot in discussions of induction cooktops and ranges. The advice is sound -- no question that it is sound -- but it is penny-wise/pound-foolish, sort of like "Just be aware that you have to have the right kind of olive oil to make Italian cooking come out right, so either be prepared to buy a new bottle of olive oil or give up on Italian cooking." Splurge: your old bottle of olive oil was not intended to last forever, so get a new bottle of olive oil.

                      Cookware and cooking energy sources work together. While more durable than a bottle of olive oil, pots and pans ultimately are consumables: they get banged around a lot and eventually replaced, usually more often than ranges and cooktops do. And by happy coincidence the majority of the pieces that do get passed on from generation to generation (like Griswold cast iron) are induction-compatible.

                      When we had a resistive coil electric range, a kettle that we used and loved was of a construction that could not be used on a gas flame, a limitation that was impertinent to us. (The upper part of the body was insulated with a highly heat-resistant, but not flame-proof, coating.) When we replaced the range as part of a kitchen renovation, among the many things we considered, whether the old kettle would work on the new range or cooktop was the least of our worries. (In fact, it turned out that the kettle's base also was not induction compatible, so the kettle went to a new owner when we installed an induction cooktop.)

                      1. re: Politeness
                        flourgirl RE: Politeness Mar 13, 2010 09:08 AM

                        Oh for god's sakes, it's NOT "penny-wise/pound foolish". I only pointed out to the OP that she just might need to buy new cookware if she was considering induction, something she may not have been aware of. And if she is attached to her current cookware for some reasons that you may not be aware of, or has already made a considerable investment in her cookware, she might not be willing to replace it if it isn't compatible with induction technology. I understand, for example that copper cookware and some lines of All-Clad are NOT induction compatible. As the OP herself stated, she is basically starting from scratch in terms of her personal knowledge. I was just trying to make her aware of an important issue to consider.

                        And really? Comparing cookware to olive oil is really not a useful analogy. I don't know about you, but I RARELY replace my cookware. (except for the non-stick pan.) I don't have that kind of money to throw around, and frankly, don't know that many people who do.

                    2. re: alanbarnes
                      JayL RE: alanbarnes Mar 13, 2010 08:05 AM

                      Actually you can get "commercial" ranges (24" 4-burner & 36" 6-burner) with 26-28,000 BTUs in the $1,200-$1,300 price range. That's not even shopping around to find the best prices/performance...rather, simply looking up the first units I can find for reference.

                      1. re: JayL
                        alanbarnes RE: JayL Mar 13, 2010 08:48 AM

                        But those ranges would likely violate local building codes if you were to install them in a residence. And for good reason - they're specifically designed for installation in a commercial kitchen and lack the safety features required of a residential range.

                    3. 2
                      2bdbest RE: 2bdbest Mar 16, 2010 01:14 PM

                      I just want to take the time to "THANK" all of you that have giving me the time to share your knowledge. I am still reading and researching.
                      Thank you gain.

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