new gas range - mid-tier suggestions if we can't afford the dream

AussieBenJune 8, 2013

Hi all

We're in the planning stages of redoing our house, including complete kitchen overhaul. We're doing our research on various appliance, and will likely be throwing up a posting as we get closer to decision time - nothing like a reality check from experienced voices.

But the big ticket item is the range. Gas is a must for us. The dream is a Capital Culinarian 36" (or maybe Blue Star).

But if our budget doesn't stretch that far, what is the best second-tier option for gas ranges - maybe up to $2-3k?

We're pretty committed to gas, and to having six burners - not sure how much that limits our options. We cook more on the burners than in the oven (though do bake bread, braise...). Don't do a whole lot of wok cooking - occasional, but control and steady high heat is more important than being able to boil a huge pot of pasta water in 13 seconds.

Any suggestions of what to look at very welcome

Thanks

AB

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deeageaux

36",gas and 6 burners around $2k there is low end Premier ranges. This has a standard 30" oven and storage drawers taking up the extra space.

For around $3k it comes down to Bertazzoni vs NXR.

It seems Chinese NXR has waxed in popularity over the last year and Italian Berta has waned.

You can google for threads on NXR and Berta and find lots of info.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 11:24PM
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live_wire_oak

If budget rears it's head, (and it will) then your best bet to keep your eyes on the prize is to do a used Craigslist 30" range and 2 6" fillers on each side with a laminate counter placeholder until the budget recovers. Put your money into the difficult to do correctly later required ventilation and makeup air that your dream range will require, and just plan on putting it and the permanent counters in later. Or, do the Ikea butcher block on the range run, as that's easy to DIY cut down and you will still have the permanent counter surface already in place.

Or, take a look at the GE Cafe. I love mine. It's a 30", and I cook meals for 12 on it once a month or so with no issues. If I really need an extra burner, there's always a portable one. For holidays, I have a toaster oven that also gets a workout as well as the two ovens on the Cafe. Best of all, all of the extra cooking capacity lives in the pantry until it's needed rather than hogging space on a daily basis. And it cost me a heck of a lot less than all of the expensive changes to the home that going with a 36" probeast and it's required lungs would have had me do.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 9:42AM
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jwvideo

For six-burner 36" ranges at less than $3k, the only choice that I know of is the NXR mentioned by Deeageaux. It just barely fits in the sub-$3k price range currently costing $2999.99 from Costco and several web retailers and regional stores. (That, btw, is a delivered-to-curb price.) The 36" NXR has six full range 15k btu-hr sealed brass burners. (Most other sub$3k 36" wide stoves use aluminum burners, instead.)

As Deeageax says, there have been numbers of threads here about about NXR stoves, although most of them are about the the 30" models (which is what I own --- it costs about $1000 less.) Some friends of mine have had a 36" model for four years. Near as I can tell, the burners and oven perform the same as on my 30" model except for having two more burners and a bigger oven. Be aware that the convection fan housing projects out into the oven just enough to prevent you from using a full size -- 18 x 26 --- sheet pan if that is something you want to do.

AFAIK, all of the other stoves in the sub-$3k 36" wide category are only five burner stoves.

Bertazzoni -- also mentioned by Deeageaux, and Italian made, also costs $2999 (delivered price, IIRC), From postings here at GW, I gather that the oven has some limitations in size and how low the heat can go. (275F sticks n my mind but that might not be accurate.) IIRC, the burners are an 18k btu center burner, an 11k burner, a couple of 6k burners and a really small simmer burner. Berta also has a six burner unit but I think that was priced in the $5k to $6k range. My recollection is that it has aluminum burners.

Verona -- another Italian made stove that costs (I think) between $2500 and $3k depending on the colors you choose. It might have only five burners and will be kind of similar to the Berta. I don't recall seeing much, if any, postings about it here. I also vaguely recall a Verona DF model with twin ovens, but I think that is up in the same price range as your first choices if not a great deal more expensive.

Fisher and Paykel also has a 36" range in the $2500 price range, also a five burner stovetop. I had the impression it was an F&P/DCS response to VIking's less-expensive "Designer" series of appliances,

Frigidaire also has a couple of "pro-style" ranges in the $2k to $3k ranges. When I went stove shopping last fall, Lowe's (I think) had a 36" Frigidaire "Pro" on display and priced around $2200 (as best I can recall). It had five burners which I recall being 16k btu, 14k btu, 12kBtu, 9k and 6k. The oven was small (as with the Bertas) and manual cleaning. I don't believe it had a convection fan, It had a stainless steel top with deeply recessed burner wells. Should mean stuff won't burn on as much and that it will be easier to clean. Never seen a review or discussion of it, so no first hand info on how it cooks. If you've got a little bit more space, Frigidaire is still making 40-inch wide stoves with twin ovens, convection, and self-cleaning oven. The stove top controls are on the cooktop surface (which is why it is a five burner not six burner unit.) These enjoyed some popularity here at GW about a decade ago. A friend has one and it is still going strong. She says it is easy for her to clean. If the current models are the same as hers, the burners are a
a bit lightweight: 13k, a pair of 10k and a pair of 5k. I think Sears also had or has some of these under its Kenmore and Kenmore Elite brands.

IKEA also had a 36 inch "Euro-style" gas range that ran about $2500 and was called the "Praktful." It was a shallow counter depth model made for IKEA by (I think) Fratelli Onofri in Italy. It may have been discontinued. My recollection is that it likewise had a five burner stovetop. There were postings about it here and at Chowhound a couple of years ago.

Premiere Pro stoves have been discussed a number of times here and the majority opinion seemed to be they were not very good products. Costco had them in the on-line store for several months a couple of years ago but dropped them. My recollection is that the reviews at Coscto.com were strongly negative on build quality and function. (My memory from my stove shopping was that there was only only one positive review by a Costco customer.) I heard that Costco dropped them because they were getting too many returns. There was a thread here about a year ago that discussed "Premiere vs NXR" is you want to search further.

When I was stove shopping, I also looked at the Cafe stoves like the one live_wire_oak has. While they are in the sub-$3k price range, they are 5 burner 30" wide stoves and not available in a 36" width.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 16:41

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 4:35PM
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AussieBen

Thanks all - very useful tips. NXR may be a good fit, if I can convince my wife to forego self-cleaning and oven-timer (am I right that the NXR over does not have a timer?).

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:55PM
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weissman

I was going to suggest Bosch but it doesn't look like they make a 36" range.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 5:39PM
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alexrander

you might check out the Bluestar RCS 36"

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 5:49PM
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jwvideo

Alexr:
My impression was that Costco Canada had the least expensive price on a 36" RCS at $3200, but that requires taking delivery in Canada (and never mind the Canadian taxes which would likely take the price to around $3500 or higher), Mind, I'm not saying that the 36" RCS would not be a fine stove. It apparently is already on AB's list of first choices. I'm only saying that AB's question was about 36" stoves with 6 burners for a budget of $3k or less. If you know where to get a BS RCS 36" model for less than $3k, a lot of folks here would like to know where to do that.

AussieBen:
The NXR is about as basic as they make them. No clocks, no timers, no temp probes, no electronic conveniences of any kind.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 11:45

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 12:05AM
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