September 18, 2014

Pro-Style Ranges, Who, What and Why

We’ve all seen them, those big, shiny ranges that are often the centerpiece of a new kitchen or remodel.  The question is do you need one?

You might be interested in one for the style it adds to your home even if the added power that comes with the equipment is not something you’ll use.  Professional style ranges, like restaurant stoves,  generate more heat than a standard range – the ovens and the gas burners on top have a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) output than conventional kitchen ranges, but unlike restaurant stoves, they’re specially insulated.  And, unlike conventional kitchen stoves, you will need a hood for ventilation, just as in a restaurant kitchen.

An advantage of a professional-series range is that the top gas burners burn hotter, allowing you to boil, saute or steam faster, but “you can also actually simmer on a low flame without burning the bottom of your pot,” says James Kita, sales manager for Metro Builders Supply in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Most of the ranges have convection ovens, which use fans to spread heat throughout the oven cavity to provide an even temperature throughout.   You’ll probably use more gas for a pro-style stove than a conventional one, Kita says. But as far as energy-efficiency is concerned, unlike refrigerators, dishwashers or washing machines, “they don’t rate these ranges because it’s not a machine that’s running all the time.”

There are also additional points to consider:  they weigh more conventional ovens, so installation will likkely cost more;they might require additional insulation in the kitchen, and there is the additional expenditure for a hood.

Professional style ranges are available from multiple manufacturers such as Viking, Thermador and even Kenmore and GE.  These companies identify them generally as “Professional Series”.  Prices range from $2,000 to $12,000, depending on the brand and the size of the stove – they vary in width from 30 to 60 inches.