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Jan 14, 2014 07:33 PM

30 inch vs 36 inch range

I would like to install a new range in my kitchen. Currently I have an ancient 4 burner electric Thermador cooktop and a tiny 24 inch wall oven. I bake quite a bit and it is not unusual at all for me to have 3 or 4 pots and pans going on the stove at the same time. I originally thought that I would take out the cooktop and the cabinet below it and install a 36 inch freestanding gas/dual fuel range. I will have to run a propane line but I think the cost will be reasonable to do so. My budget is about $3000 so I have been looking at the Bertazonni, Verona, and Smeg. I went to look at them this past weekend and was surprised at how small the ovens seemed for the size of the range. The stainless steel also seemed pretty flimsy in comparison to the Thermadors and Vikings. Because of my disappointment in the build quality of these ranges, I started considering a 30 inch 5 burner gas range. I was really pleasantly surprised to find out that there are many 30 inch options with 5 cu ft or more oven space. My reservations with the 30 inch range are that obviously it will not cleanly fit the space. I will have to do some type of fill-in for the countertop and cabinet surrounding it. I also don't want a ton of bells and whistles on my range. I just want it to cook well, evenly, and last a long time. Every little electronic gizmo just seems like yet another thing that can go wrong. I really don't even care if it has a clock. I saw a 36 inch Thermador range that I liked but just can't afford the $7000 for the range plus the high powered hood that would be necessary. I don't want to spend a ton of money on a pro-style range just because of it's size. It just seems silly when the 30 inch ranges seem to have what I need. Should I scrap the idea of a new range until I'm ready to do a full remodel, get a 30 inch that will probably do what I need at a reasonable cost (but not look so hot), or save up to get the 36 inch range that may be overkill?

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  1. A few years ago I replaced the horrible 30-inch Roper electric range that came with my house with a 36-inch gas (from the street, not propane) range. After shopping around, I decided I could not justify the price of a name brand range, so I ended up with a mid-range Kenmore. That was odd for me, a person with a significant All-Clad collection, a well-loved Kitchenaid from the days of Hobart, a knife for every purpose (Alton Brown would hate me), etc. I am so glad that I made that decision. With a 36-inch range I can cook with two BIG woks at once, have several large pots and saute pans going, etc. There's no room for that on a 30-inch stove, even if you do have five burners. They are too close together. As for the stove, it performs very nicely. The biggest burner pumps out 18K BTUs and the simmer burner really does maintain a very low flame when it is turned all the way down. The oven (gas) preheats very quickly and performs very well for me.

    So... my advice for you is to consider doing something similar to what I did. Shop around for a 36-inch range that fits your budget. (Mine ran about $1700 after a bunch of discounts because it was on sale on a state tax holiday (sort of a Black Friday but for appliances).) You may be surprised at how close you will come to your ideal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      Thanks for the advice. I saw the Frigidaire and the Kenmore 36 inch ranges online. The ovens are under 4 cu ft. I would just hate to get a brand new range and still have a tiny oven. I'll go check them out in person to see what 3.7 cu ft really looks like. Can you do a large roast or Turkey in yours?

      1. re: butr4what

        I have no problem fitting a turkey or a roast in my oven.

        Having said that, when I bought my range, there were several different 36 inch Kenmore ranges to choose among. The one you are looking at may not be the same as mine. Also, in my experience the thing that matters when fitting a turkey into an oven is the height of the oven, not the cubic feet. An oven that is wide but relatively short might have more total volume than an oven that is taller. Along those lines, since my oven uses gas, there is a burner at the top that can interfere depending on what you are baking or roasting and the position of the rack. I suggest you take a measuring tape with you when you look at the stove. If the oven is at least 15 inches high inside, you are probably okay. Also, if you use commercial sheet pans when you bake, you might also measure to be sure they will fit well too.

        1. re: PinchOfSalt

          I just measured the inside of our "puny" 27 inch wide Kitchenaid double wall oven. We have 22 inches of width and 17 inches of usable height. IMHO, the only thing we'd have trouble cooking is an elephducken.

    2. Have you considered Verona? Available in single or double oven configuration.

      Oh, I see, you did.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GH1618

        That Verona gives 12k BTUs max.

        Very underpowered.

      2. The size of the oven is limited by the thickness of the insulation. Ranges with a self-cleaning feature for the oven should be better insulated, hence will have smaller ovens.

        1. Check out the GE Cafe line. We've been looking at 30 inch ranges for a while now and the GE has the largest oven by far. We're considering : American Range. Blue Star in one category and then GE in the other. While GE doesn't have all the btu strength of the other two nor the heft, it does win the oven size contest. We are replacing a 17 year old GE Profile range that never saw a repairman. Good luck in your decision.

          11 Replies
          1. re: jnk

            This was one of the big reasons I bought a GE Café 30" - the oven is very large and I really needed that. I haven't had an issue with the BTU output - it's fine for my needs. (Although I find the 5th burner to be all but useless...)

            1. re: flourgirl

              So flourgirl, I don't want to hijack the thread but can you tell me what you think of the range. One of our concerns was the sound of the fan that cools the electronics (when they're on the front panel of the range as opposed to the back of the range). Do you have the dual fuel? Really anything you can think of. Thanks. Jon

              1. re: jnk

                I have the all gas range. (I prefer a gas broiler and even though I bake a lot, the gas oven works fine for me.)

                The fan can get kind of loud, but it doesn't bother me.

                The bottom of the knob collars on mine melted from the heat of the oven. I did get free replacements from my dealer. They need to make those collars out of metal, maybe they fixed that on newer models?

                The clock is no longer working on the digital read out. It's visible but it's always wrong. This range is only a few years old, so I find that annoying.

                I don't use the warming drawer/second oven very much (as in, never.) I think it's because it's so close to the ground and also because I have a Breville Smart Toaster Oven that works very nicely for me. That bottom drawer is only used as storage.

                I love the continuous grates.

                Another big reason I bought this range was because I hate when the controls are located on the back of the range, it makes it very awkward to use those back burners and really limits their functionality. I will never buy another range with that arrangement and that one issue alone makes up for some of the drawbacks with this range.

                I really like the burner arrangement. The two big burners are in the front which makes sense to me as it's easier to use big pots on the front burner.

                The surface of the range is a little difficult to keep clean and scratches easily, I'm not anal about scratches on stainless steel but I know that would bother a lot of people.

                Like I posted previously, I find the center burner all but useless. It's BTU output is way too low and the gas nozzles get clogged all the time on that burner. Again, maybe newer models have made improvements in that area.

                That's all I can think of right now, but if you have any other questions. I'd be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. :)

                1. re: flourgirl

                  Thanks for your quick response. I agree that the middle burner is useless on 30 inch ranges and the other ranges we're looking at don't have one. Our clock was never wrong, but for the past 8 years the display has been getting dimmer and dimmer and we were told that the entire board would have to be replaced at a cost of about $500. I've read a lot about the knobs melting. Thanks for helping me make my decision and yes I agree I think I'm going to go all gas.

                  1. re: jnk

                    Well, finally pulled the trigger....ended up buying the all gas Blue Star convection with 2-22,000 btu burners and an 1850 degree broiler. Me thinks there's going to be a relearning curve. Thanks all for your info.

                  2. re: flourgirl

                    I also have the 30" GE Cafe range. I've used it for about a week and really like it. I especially like the lower right hand burner. It's a super burner as well as a simmer burning. The great thing for me is that is the burner I mostly use because of it's proximity to the sink.

                    I use the wok a lot and this heats up the wok super fast. The first time, I was shocked at how fast the wok started smoking and immediately turned down the heat. The simmer also works really well.

                    I've used the oven only once and had a cake fail. But, I think it was the recipe and not the oven. The make up cookies turned out fine. I did debate about buying the double oven model but was worried about the two mini ovens being big enough. I haven't used the warming oven yet.

                    The stove does seem to get dirty easily. Maybe it shows up more on the stainless. I'm not worrying about it though.

                    I also think that middle fifth burner is useless and stupid. But, I thought that when I bought the stove. But, the features on this 30 inch as well as the price is what sold me on the Cafe. The other stove that was in contention was the Monogram but the burners weren't as powerful and the price was almost twice as much as the Cafe. I really liked the way the continuous grates looked on the Monogram and really wanted the flippy wok grate. But, I couldn't justify the price and features.

                    Overall, I am very happy with my GE Cafe. We are at the end of week 1 so keep that in mind (I'm also thrilled to be back in my brand new kitchen).

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      Congratulations on your new kitchen and range! I'm glad you're happy with the range so far. And I agree, after doing a LOT of research, the GE Café turned out to be the best combination of the features I wanted and the price I was willing to pay. Overall, I'm happy with my choice and have no regrets.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        I'm really happy to hear that. I wasn't second guessing but it's always nice to hear validation from a trusted cook and baker.

                2. re: flourgirl

                  Hi flourgirl, Can you comment on the broiler on this thread?



                3. re: jnk

                  When considering the other stoves, don't forget hood strength and space. Those powerful stoves have a lot more thinking involved as to how the larger kitchen vent fits in with those upper cabinets.

                  I had a hard time grasping what those BTU numbers meant with cooking. I was coming from a really old crappy gas stove where it would take ages for water to boil. Seriously, boiling water was my nemesis. It would take a good 20 minutes to boil pasta water. Now, it's a snap.

                4. Maybe not a good comparison, but our 30" KA convetction wall oven is 5.0 cu ft, fairly good size. Just checked a 30" KA free standign duel fuel range and it has only 4.1 cu ft capacity. Wouldn't have thought it would have made much difference but I guess it does. We also have a 36" range top with 6 hobs, no way 6 pots will fit, but it does provide different size burners for different sized pots.