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"professional" range or commercial for new home?

Are we better off buying a commercial 6 burner range for our new home, (and saving some big bucks) or buying a "professional" range designed for home use? I would like comments by some folks who have used both types.

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  1. Many commercial ranges are not a standard residential counter depth. Also, they may radiate more heat out the back and sides as commercial kitchens are built to different fire codes. That being the case, depending on what you select, the cost of bringing the kitchen to residential fire code either may not be possible or be fairly expensive, and possibly not be insurable with a regular homeowner's insurance... Commercial ranges in residential homes are not impossible to do, but you really should talk to a contractor who is knowledgeable about your local building codes.

    1. Check with you're insureer. You may not be able to get fire insurance if you put in a commercial range.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mike0989

        I think the OP means a pro-style range, which is not a true commercial range, but is designed for residential use.

        1. re: GH1618

          I read this as "professional" being pro-style vs a true commercial, that would be less expensive than the pro-style. I know how expensive a Wolf or Viking pro-style can be, but wouldn't think the cost of a truely commercial range would be less. My wife works with Sr. Citizen centers and many of them have kittchens for meal programs and have to have commercial ranges, these things aren't cheap, but they are different and could pose some issues in a residential environment. If this is truely the comparison, then the suggestion to consult both a contractor for building codes and your insurer are valid suggestions. The biggest issues I would think would be heat and ventalation. There's a lot more "horse power" in a true commercial range.

          1. re: mikie

            Very valid. I know a Vintner that recently moved to a new location. The tasting room and with the attached barrel storage facility has a commercial range. No issue. His detahced residence next door has a Pro style range. He was told falt out by his insurer that they woul;d not cover him f he installed a commercial range in the residense. Even if he installed a fire suppresion system.

      2. Perhaps my terms may not have been correct. I will try to clarify. In my mind, "professional" means a range made for residential use, such as Viking, Wolf or Thermador. When I say commercial, I am talking about a range that a restaurant would buy. I believe I would have to spend around $10,000 to get a "professional" range, and have found quite a few restaurant supply ranges that start out at about $2,500 for the approx. same setup (6 burners, a grill and 2 ovens). I know that the commercial range would not come with all the "bells and whistles", but I don't care about that. What I do care about, obviously, is being able to get fire insurance! If fire insurance weren't an issue, would the ranges operate about the same? I'm looking for upsides and downsides to each.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jessiet

          Jessiet, Fire insurance aside, many (if not most) commercial ranges are not as well insulated as a residential range. And yes, you will have to take their constraints into consideration when you build. Your kitchen would be hotter with a commercial range than with a residential range. I have never cooked on a "bells and whistles" commercial range, save for the induction units at CIA's Greystone. Most commerical units are built to be workhorses not show horses.

          You ask if they operate about the same. The short answer is "yes, but ....." Commercial ranges have more fire power so they can cook faster, this may translate to bigger gas lines for your house. It will most certainly translate to a very heavy-duty exhaust fan. I have never used the (commercial) kitchen oven for baking; that's the pastry chef's job and their equipment is different from the standard range unit that you describe.

          FWIW, I toyed briefly with a commercial unit for this house and decided against it. The fire insurance negative never entered the picture, the ranges eliminated themselves.

          Edit: reviewing my post, I notice that I did not address the size issue. Since your title includes "new home" I made the assumption this is new construction where you have the flexibility to make whatever spatial decisions that you wish. If this is not the case, the size of the commercial range needs to be factored into your eventual decision.

          1. re: Jessiet

            A true commercial range, at least an inexpensive one, probably has standing pilots.

            1. re: Jessiet

              Functionally for cooking it is similar, but you will have to be more attentive when you cook and possibly alter the cooking time of your recipes for differences in heat output. Additionally, as GH1618 mentioned, commercial ranges usually use pilot lights (one per burner, one for the grill, one per oven), which combined with increased fuel consumption when in use for higher BTU output will probably result in a much higher use of fuel per month. If you are on a tank for propane, you will probably need to ask your propane vendor to size a larger tank (btu used per hour divided by 91,500 for rough gallons of propane per hour, plus however much gas 9 pilot lights take). You will probably not be as free to reach across active front burners to reach pots in the rear due to increased heat, and you probably will want to use a towel or other insulator for your hand if your pot handles are metal, due to the increased heat. As well, since the ovens usually have less insulation, there is increased chance of accidental burn by brushing up against it (which may be a problem if you have children; impaired or clumsy adults, elderly, etc.). When selecting a commercial range, if you expect to have a manufacturer warrantee you also need to contact the manufacturer to find out if they will honor the warrantee if installed in a residential setting, as many will not, even if it is installed to their commercial specs. If you expect reseller service, then you also need to contact the resellers / service shops to see if they have insurance that covers their service people to do on-site service in a residential setting, or if their business insurance covers residential service, as some commercial resellers / service shops do not carry this, and as such will not be able to service a commercial range in a residential setting.

              Construction wise, it is very different in terms of front/side clearance with installation of fire resistant fireproof backsplash or tiles on adjacent cabinets, size of gas connection, some 6 to 8 inch offset of front of range to "standard" cabinet depth cabinets and appliances. Depending on code, the requirement of high CFM hood, fire suppressant and return air supply. Some building inspectors are reluctant to sign off on occupancy certificates for homes with commercial ranges simply because it is outside their norms/comfort to do so without running it up the bureaucracy, which could result in a significant delay.

              If you want a commercial range for the commercial aspects of increased BTU or the like, then more power to you. If you are looking to save a few (thousands of) dollars, then installing a commercial range in a residential kitchen IMHO is a false economy due to increased construction costs, possibly increased insurance costs, increased monthly fuel costs and potential issues for service if you encounter a problem.

            2. As always, Chowhound has come through for me. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful information you took the time to share with me. It was invaluable, insightful and appreciated. We will definitely not be purchasing a commercial range for our new home.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jessiet

                Consider a commercial range from "American range" or Bluestar -- they each have very simple and therefore less expensive products than wolf , thermador, etc.

              2. Obviously you're asking about a 6 burner gas "professional style" (like Viking, or whatever) or a bona fide restaurant 6 burner gas range. If you can swing the home owner's insurance to cover the professional range, and/r you live in a very cold year round climate, either will work just fine.

                BUT....!!!

                If you want to cut back on how powerful a vent you have to install, reduce your cooling bills in the summer, and cook with an energy friendly method that cooks at least as well and is even more responsive than gas, have you looked into induction? Pick up a cheap portable one burner unit and give it a try before you write it off. I recommend a Max Burton 1800 watt, which will perform about equal to the slowest/lowest burner on a full induction six burner unit.

                Something to think about...