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Selecting a new range

This is a cross-post from gardenweb. I thought the folks over here might have some thoughts:

Just bought a new home requiring a complete kitchen renovation. I'm trying to pick a gas range. Any thoughts on the choices below would be very much appreciated!

1. Dual fuel or all gas? My current range is dual fuel, and I understand it has some benefits, but it seems my options for ranges are greatly reduced if I go that route. For instance, I was interested in Capital, but I don't see a dual fuel option from them.

2. The importance of sealed/open burners? I hear a lot about the ease of cleaning on the sealed burners and equally enthusiastic reviews of the power and efficiency of the open burners. What say you?

3. Self-clean ovens? My current range has a self-cleaning oven, but I've honestly never used it, and believe me, the oven gets used. I just haven't ever encountered a mess in there that couldn't get cleaned up pretty quickly with a sponge and some water. Convince me I need a self-cleaning oven!

4. Griddle or Grill or extra burners? I'm considering a 36" range for the extra oven space. If I do that, I'd like to get a grill on top, but I've heard from many people that grilling indoors is a disaster. Grease everywhere. Smoke. Hard to clean. Is this true? Even if you have proper venting? Even if most of your grilling is limited to seafood and vegetables? If not a grill, is the griddle a good bet or should I just go with extra burners? If you have a griddle, how often and how do you use it?

5. I know this is a can of worms, but what brands do you prefer? I've been looking at Capital, American Range, Wolf and DCS (Fisher Paykel). I liked BlueStar, but my wife killed that option based on aesthetics. What about Electrolux and Kitchen-Aid? I've heard good things about those. Also, I read the Consumer Reports reviews of most of the ranges I've been looking at, and CR pretty much panned them all. What gives?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

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  1. My sister has a Wolf with the griddle and absolutely loves it.


    1. Thank you for starting this post! We are in a similar boat except that the kitchen in our new home is so nice, but has one of those stupid flat top ceramic electric stoves. The furnace is directly below the kitchen so we are going to have a pipe-fitter come in to install the gas line and range. We are looking at Jenn-Air and KitchenAid for ranges, and a 30' range. Will check back to see opinions!

      1. I wouldn't have a grill on a range without extremely good venting. If the vent is overhead, duct work should run from it to the outside. The range hoods with filters and which are not connected to the outside, are lousy,. I can see a grill making a horrible mess if the smoke can't be vented to the outside. I don't know anything about the Jenn Air type vents.

        I am starting to look at ranges too, as it is possible I might have to buy one in future. I can say this--if you can, get the 36". I find my 30" too small for my needs. If you like to cook you will want to be able to fit multiple pans on your burners without handle interference. However, I also want to state that I currently use an electric.

        On brands, if I do get to have a new cooktop or range, I want to look at Bosch. If their cooktops and ranges are as good as their dishwashers, they would be gold.

        I would also want a high heat burner of some sort.

        I've only ever had electric self cleaning ovens. Decades ago the gas self cleans were not so good, but apparently they have improved. I prefer an electric oven, actually. I also prefer self clean. If you buy a good oven, you will probably have to buy self clean. I use the self clean cycle several times a year, and I prefer it to using oven cleaner like Easy Off. If you never have bad messes in the oven, then you wouldn't need to run it very often.

        1. Kurth, if you really want a grill and are worried about too much smoke in your house, you might consider a range with a downdraft as well. I wonder if the added venting from that would greatly reduce the amount of smoke that a grill produces. If you are getting a 36' range (lucky), then a downdraft probably wouldn't take up too much room on the range itself; I think I've seen 30' ranges with a downdraft so it's quite possible that might work.

          1. I had a Jenn-Air with an indoor grill in my last house and never had a problem with smoke or grease. In fact, if there was some other nasty odor in the house, say from something gone bad in the refrigerator, all I had to do was run the Jenn-Air exhaust for a few minutes and it would get rid of it. That said, the Jenn-Air was underpowered, in terms of BTUs to the grill and gas burners, so I didn't consider getting another one after I moved. Though the oven was the best I've ever owned by far.

            We moved across the country and bought a house with no gas and a #%$&*! flat top electric cooktop. My husband really liked the house and promised we'd get gas and a new stove if I'd agree to buy the house. It took two years, but we finally did, and I got a Bluestar cooktop. I love it, and if my husband were foolish enough to say he didn't like its looks, I'd kick him out of the kitchen for keeps.

            1. We ought a BS 48 with 8 burners and are quite happy and satisfied. Had I given some additional thought to the matter, I would have inquired about the possibility of getting the 60 inch with 8 burners just to gain extra real estate between burners. But we are very satisfied. The half oven is terrific.
              We went BS because of its spartan appearance and lack of electronic doo dads such as clocks, timers, motorized disappearing controls, fancy trim etc. We wanted simple reliability and feel we have it. We bought it in 2007 and put it into service in 2008 and have had no trouble or reliability issues.

              1. We have a Wolf double wall electric convectiopn oven and a Wolf 48" gas rangetop with 4 burners a griddle and a grill, we love it. Anything more than 4 burners for a single family home is overkill.

                2 Replies
                1. re: malibumike

                  I love my six burners and use them all the time even when just cooking for 2 or 3. The thing with appliances is there is not one cooking style so not just one answer for everybody.

                  1. re: malibumike

                    I think it is about what you cook and how you cook that dictates the size of the range chosen as well as personal preference. We use a Lodge griddle when needed; when not, we have 2 extra burners. We cook in quantity on weekends and put up/freeze for later in the week when time is short. The extra burners are really put to use when family is in town and at holidays. Grilling is always outdoors, as is smoking. For us it works very well.

                  2. I love my gas American Range.

                    For the OP--I asked everywhere I could about getting the grill on top or all burners (I did not need a griddle). Lots of folks said "too messy". It's not. If I'm cooking Rib Eyes for 6 people--yeah it's too messy and I do that outside. I will re-grill/heat my 1 or 2 leftover Rib Eyes inside--love that--or grill other things--veggies, seafood. You should be fine as long as you have good ventilation.

                    Also regarding grills being too messy: I end up cleaing the grill even when not grilling--it's in the middle of the stove top--it gets spills splashes and spatters. Just as I would any part of the stove top.

                    Re: ventiliaton-The range is on an exterior wall, so I have a Best Hood that vents direct to outside. It can handle all the BTUS on the stove-101K. but I've never had all 6 burners and the grill going at full blast all at once. HMMM-I'll have to try that!

                    How to decide? Winnow the ranges down to what you like the looks of (you have to live with its large mass in your kitchen for a long time--may as well like what you see) then pick based on features you need/want and reputation.

                    Keep in mind--up keep on any such item wll be greater than for your old stuff. I used to give my "Magic Chef" 30 year old, 30" stove a quick wipe up after dinner. Now the American Range (fondly nick-named Julia) gets a qick sponge bath after dinner and a full on spa service in the am while I drink my coffee/tea and chat on the phone (befre rushing off to work). Just sayin'. I wouldn' change a thing--but it's more work. Plus the hood needs its own "spa service". Hard not to get stainless to streak--when you try to use all natural products--sigh--I guess that's for another thread. But these are things to be prepared for. I make three meals from scratch every day (unless dining out) so the equip[ment is a priority for me.
                    Good luck.

                    1. Hey everyone, just an update on our stove for anyone who may be interested... We ended up going with a GE Profile 30" gas range: http://geprofile.ca/Model.aspx?cate=c.... It has 5 burners and ships with a griddle and a gril that can be placed on the middle burner. The power on the burners range from 6k - 17k BTUs. We get her delivered on the 14th of August. Can't wait!!!

                      1. We have a Thermador 36” cooktop, 4 burners plus grill. If you go with a grill, you will need good venting. The Manufacturer recommends a minimum of 600 CFM. In addition, you may need to upgrade your duct work. The 600 CFM + hoods require 6” duct instead of the standard 4” to work properly. If we we’re to do it again, we would skip the grill and get 6 burners. We seldom use the grill, but often wish we had the additional burner space for large pans, like paella.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mike0989

                          Faced many of the same concerns when planning our gut and rebuild kitchen makeover. Agonized over whether we could make a 36" range fit after decades surviving with a 30" unit....thankfully made it happen. Then struggled with full access 6 burner continuous grid top versus grill or griddle options......went for the full burners....hooray. Searched, sampled,watched demos and test cooked on each stove/range were reconsidering before concluding what we really needed was a simple workhorse range with huge oven,very high powered burner for true wok stir frying and a super low simmer burner for sauces or poaching. We did not want a precious ss top that would show every splatter or smudge and did not want something with electronic controls, timers, etc. We chose an open burner design with cast iron receptors and insert grates that can berunthrough the dishwasher when they get really messy but don't really show day to day signs of use. Continuous grates allow for a large fish poacher to straddle 2burners or pulling a sauté pan off the heat quickly without risk of spilling hot oil.

                          1. re: ThanksVille

                            Do you mind sharing the details of what model you bought? We are in the process of trying to buy and the house we want will need a good bit of kitchen work. What you describe sounds very much like something that would work well for my cooking style. Many thanks!

                        2. Did you come to a decision? We are trying to decide between a wolf dual fuel range and the capital culinarian gas range with self clean. One negative about the wolf electric oven is that the broiler does not appear to get very hot- 550 F according to rep whereas the capital gas oven has the infrared broiler which puts out 16,000 BTU-not sure what temperature that gets to but my experience is hotter than the wolf. However capital seems to be the only high end gas range with self clean- any thoughts from folks out there with experience?