Advice on 30" Gas Range, 4k budget

toddrhodesDecember 21, 2013

Hello! This is my first post, I appreciate the information I have found so far and I apologize in advance as I am sure what I am about to ask has been covered many times before.

We are replacing a KitchenAid 30" gas range. It still works now so this is not a critical timing issue or anything. I am not a fan of the range we have, it heats unevenly in the oven, it doesn't hit the right temps, we've gone through 2 sets of oven grates and the newest set is already falling apart. So, moving on from Kitchen-Aid.

I like the Viking RVGR that I saw at a local store today because I can put a grille/griddle attachment over the middle burner. Unless I am convinced otherwise, I'd love to have something like that in whatever range we choose. I cook with a lot of heat and use cast iron quite often for searing steaks, pork tenderloin, and we've recently gotten into more asian stir-fry type dishes as well. I cook on our stove 5-6 times a week sometimes multiple times a day. I don't use the oven as much.

Our kitchen layout does not allow for a cooktop, sadly. We also have the dreaded OTR microwave that we are thinking of scrapping for a stainless range hood. Any suggestions on that front? Is it safe to assume any 30" hood will fit where the Microwave once was? So far the only appliance I've had my hands on is a Viking. I saw on here several owners do not like the customer service they have received and even some reports of QC issues. I do not want to spend $3700 on a range I can't depend on. I will spend more to get something that I can rely on, if need be.

Any thoughts on what I should be looking for brand-wise? I do not mind shopping online. A local place sells Dacor, Viking, DCS, and Wolf, but they do not stock Dacor and the salesman said they have also had service issues with Dacor. I'm in a bit of a rush to get out the door but would appreciate anyone pointing me in the right direction. Also, 30" is about all we can deal with unless we literally want to remodel the entire kitchen (which is being discussed, but that's a 5 year plan type of thing). Thank you so much!

Edit - so this is funny, I didn't realize I just hit "preview" before leaving for dinner. I kept looking at the forum to see if anyone had replied and nothing... because I hadn't submitted it. The good news is that I did a bunch of research while I was out and it would appear that for us, getting something like the 30" NXR would be a great buy. I'm guessing the "5th burner" middle section with a griddle or grille isn't very popular on here for 30" models?


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Another data point, we only have 110 available behind the range so dual-fuel is out. I do more roasting than baking so I'm fine with an all-gas unit.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 9:40PM
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Bluestar RNB

Perfect for stir fry or any high heat cooking.

You remove the top piece of the grate and a round bottom wok fits right in.

22k btu open burner provides powerful and even heat.

Normally these are $4300 plus options plus tax.

In link below is one with optional jet black enamel/paint on door and toekick ,usually a $300 option, for $3799 with free shipping. The same store has one in grey.

I know you said the oven is not a priority but it is a gas convection and the oven cavity is wide enough to accept full size commercial baking sheets.

This is the range in 36" size

You want a hood that is 24" deep to cover the rising grease of the front burners.

Less expensive XO and Kobe hoods.

Best performance 1)Modern-Aire and 2) Bluestar or Prizer Hoods.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

This post was edited by deeageaux on Sat, Dec 21, 13 at 23:25

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 11:20PM
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That's a pretty stellar price, thank you for the link. I am limited to just a recirc-style vent/hood. Does that limit my options for the range below it? I've all but ruled out Viking at this point, it would seem they are known more for their brand than actual performance...

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 11:24PM
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Semi-pro ranges may require reworking the venting to support more air and that can bring in other issues like MUA. Add these costs to the price of the range.

Consider your house / kitchen and cooking style. Appliances usually stay with a house; how does a 4K range fit in? Are you ready to replace some of your pots/pans because the old ones are not sized correctly to work with the new range?

Consider the features that you must have or are willing to give up. A big one is self cleaning; this adds tremendously to the price of the semi pro ranges.

Consider who will deliver, install and service the range. The price of NXR only includes curb delivery.

Do lots of research, figure out what works for you.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 11:45PM
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I am limited to just a recirc-style vent/hood

Read up on the vendor specifications for each of the ranges your looking at. Most do not go over 400 cfm for recirculating hoods. Semi-pro ranges like the NXR need 600+cfm or more for venting.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 12:02AM
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Understood. I may be a bit out of my depth then, and am limited by my ventilation capabilities. If that's the case, I'll be disappointed but I'm not going to risk it. Let's say a semi-pro isn't feasible and I can't do induction, what brands should I consider for a high-quality range? I had my eye on a GE Profile 30" with dual ovens but it has an awful lot going on and in my eyes, complexity (e.g. dual ovens, 5 burners, etc...) is inversely proportional to reliability. Perhaps that's a bad way to think about it. In other words, I'm going to need to replace what I have but may not be able to get the setup I really want until we can remodel and address things like ventilation the proper way. In any event, I appreciate the candor and honesty!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 12:09AM
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Rule of thumb; for every 10,000BTU requires 100CFM of venting.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 12:23AM
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Ours is a DF, which I know you are limited from electrically, but our 30" GE Monogram has been awesome. We do bake a lot, but DW is from TX and we do a lot of steaks, brazing, seafood, cast iron work on top. Gliding racks, reversible grates support a wok, high BTU burners, flat total surface let us slide large pots around easily. It is closed burner, but we have not had any performance issues high heat, low simmer, or cleanup. Many comments about that, but maybe they are too far down that rabbit hole.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 7:55AM
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Interested in this topic . . .

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 8:41AM
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I do have a question - likely an obvious one - about airflow needs. I'm not trying to say I do not need airflow for the entire potential output of the range top but it has occurred to me that even though I do use high heat, our cooking needs generally require high heat on one burner, and low to moderate heat on mostly 1, sometimes two other burners. In eight years, even when entertaining for very large groups (including Thanksgiving), I've never had every burner on at full-tilt so as to need 600 cfm. I am checking the specs on our current unit to be sure but what we have has worked fine for many years, I would just like a higher quality unit with high-heat cooking in mind when it comes to the burner design, grates, and range top material. Basically I'm just thinking out loud. I did some research last night on MUA and I'm really not sure what direction that took me in...

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Some localities require make up air if your hood operates at more than a certain air flow. Some require hoods in certain circumstances and they aren't envisioning recirculating hoods.

A lot of code people will not be impressed by an argument like "but I'll never turn all the burners on". Not only do they like to think in black and white, but they will also be concerned about other people who may end up living there with you or after you sell.

Personally, I think a non-recirculating hood is a good idea, but if you can't do it, you can't do it. If you get some recommendations for a good recirculating hood, its better than nothing as it will at least pull grease and smells out. What it won't do is pull out the build up of carbon monoxide and di-oxcide gases.

Pro style ranges have high burn rates on everything. The range I just purchased has a total capacity of almost 100k btus - if it were a furnace, it's enough to heat about 4000-6000 sq ft house. It is 3 times as big as our vented steam boiler. If you live in a fairly tight building, it can be an serious issue.

Check into changing the electrical arrangements. I suspect I live in a completely different "code" area but here, it would have been only about $300 to run a proper range/oven line from the box to the kitchen. The new GE induction slide-in range is kinda cool and doesn't make burning by products like gas does. And you'd be safe with a recirculating microhood.

We almost did that exact thing but we were pinching pennies to go pro style at all. Converting to electric would have meant additional ongoing utility costs as well as being a bit more in installed cost than the range we ended up buying. I'm sure I'll regret that decision every summer as induction ranges are much cooler to operate.

Also it's likely you will not be able to do a micro hood at all over a pro-style range. Micro hoods are not made to be placed over high heat burners and the installation instructions like will ban installation over a pro style range. And the range instructions will likely ban installation of anything low enough for you to reach inside the microwave - its floor will be at least 66" up from the floor i.e. Viking wants a minimum of 30" above countertop level of clearance to anything - including a hood. For me, the microwave floor ends up higher than eye level and I'd need a step stool to put in or take out anything.

Both the instructions for the microhood and the instructions for the range need to be followed. NXR is pretty much the same spec as is every pro style range I have ever read about.

I'm not a big fan of a fish burner in the center of a 30" for a griddle. Viking's griddle for the d3 looks really narrow. If I think about home fries, bacon or steak and that griddle, I just see cleaning issues - food falling off or grease spitting everywhere. I wonder if you can use the griddle and any other pan at the same time.

Take your time choosing. It is complicated. If you don't care for your existing kitchenaid, it is unlikely that you'll like anything below about $2k. You can look at bosch but most of the nice ones are dual fuel.

When you go places to visit models, take some of your popular cookware (or paper cutouts of your pans) with you to see what's up with the burner layouts. A tape measure can help a lot with oven sizes if you're a baker.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 11:49AM
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So much to think about :) I'm glad the only "rush" I'm in on this is my own anxiousness to move on from the Kitchen-Aid because if I had to make this decision quickly, I'd have likely made a big mistake. I think the net of it at this point is that I should limp along with what we have right now and consider a larger scale project to get what we really want. Our layout is... odd, it's an open concept with a pretty small kitchen adjacent to a dining room we don't use much, if at all. Our plan is to expand the kitchen and do a true workstation type island where I can have a cooktop and a large hood and then go to wall ovens and basically scrap how it is laid out right now. That is an enormous project though and I highly doubt we'll be able to do that in the next 3-5 years. I also have to think about putting a grand kitchen in an otherwise not-so-grand house. It's new, but it's not huge nor very upscale. So much to consider, but everything you guys have said makes sense and is very much appreciated!


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 12:01PM
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Pondering on the subject is good.

Also when talking about a range, take into account all the BTUs running. Two burners and the oven may be the same as running 4 burners and no oven at the same time. In general you can cut some corners; like I will not be running all 4 burners at the same time, then forget to add the oven when counting total BTU's.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Your last post, where you mention an island cooktop and hood, make me curious: why can't you vent a hood/OTR in the present location?

Is it, perhaps, the the case your stove is located on an interior wall of your home?

If the stove and hood are on an exterior wall, then most hoods and OTRs will give you the option of venting directly out the back instead of going up. That may not always be clear from the marketing hype, but it is something to look for if you have not previously considered it. (If you already have looked into this, then never mind.)

Beyond that, in my experience, most recirculating hoods and OTRs do very little of what a hood is supposed to to do.

Heat is often discussed. Recirculating hoods really do not vent excess heat build-up --- although that is more a matter of comfort than safety. Except for the electronics of the MW part of an OTR unit. For an OTR, the recirculating fan will help prolong the life of the MW electronics which might otherwise be toasted by excessive heat from gas burners.

When hung from cabinets, recirculating hoods and OTRs do protect the bottoms of low-hanging cabinets from stove heat, but you could accomplish that task much less expensively by simply affixing sheet metal to the bottom of the low hanging cabinet.

Recirculating units can remove "some" aerosolized grease particles (cooking effluent) from the air-stream, but most are not very effective at that task. For that reason, a recent DOE-funded study of rangehoods and kitchen air quality at the Berkeley-Lawrence-Livermore Lab wound up referring to recirculating hoods as "forehead greasers." (The study is interesting reading but I can't find a current link to it nor can I find last summer's thread discussing it and the NY Times article about the study. Maybe somebody else will have better luck with the search engines.)

My memory from other threads is that the only recirculating hoods that users think reasonably effective at removing grease are the Vent-a-hood "ARS" hoods. Those eat cabinet space and are pretty expensive, but do a search on them if interested.

Regarding a comment above about pollutants, carbon monoxide normally should not be a concern -- with sensitive instrumentation, some CO can be detected, but the levels from current models of gas stoves will be far below the threshold for concern. A bigger concern with using unvented gas stoves is significantly elevated levels of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, water vapor, and various volatile organic compounds that irritate eyes and lungs and coat you and your kitchen with grease.

Of course, you can mitigate some of that by opening a window and trowing in a window fan.

As for that unevenly heating current Kitchenaid oven, I'll offer a couple of suggestions to help you limp along with it until you get a better handle on what to do about a new range, venting, kitchen and etc. First, give thtat oven more time to preheat. Oven preheat signals usually only measure air temperature (conductive heat) but most of the even heat for baking and roasting actually comes from the oven walls and floor (radiant heat). The Modernist Cuisine people did work on this subject and have a long discussion about the importance of prehating and of having clean oven walls.

Second, put some thermal mass in the oven by putting a layer of unglazed quarry tiles or a piece of steel on the bottom rack in the oven. You can get unglazed tile from most any big-box hardware store. For a sheet steel piece, you can buy the Modernist-Cuisine-endorsed "Baking Steel" (google it to find online suppliers) or just have a metal-working shop cut you a piece of 1/8" steel to fit the lower rack.) Realize that this thermal mass will require longer preheating -- more like 30 if not 40 minutes --- but the oven heat will be a lot more even.

That will give you more time to think through your options and plans. Several posters above have suggested induction, and I think bmorepanic has made some good points about it, particularly if you live in an area with long, hot summers.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, Dec 22, 13 at 15:45

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 3:35PM
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black88mx6: Very good points. I don't want to cut corners when it comes to a range top and ventilation.

JW: Your assumption is correct, the range is on an interior wall that separates the master BR from the kitchen. Above the range are large cabinets flanking smaller cabinets. The OTR microwave sits under the smaller cabinets. To retrofit a vented hood, we will need to lose at least the microwave (no big loss, will relocate) and two cabinets which would be missed but we can deal. I am fortunate to know many HVAC and electrical workers so this is not a *huge* reno, but it would involve obvious work and expense. I have to decide if that work, expense, and the expense of a semi-pro range is justified based on our needs.

We do have a large island/bar at counter height to define one boundary of the open concept kitchen. I could possibly do a cooktop there and a free-hanging vent out of the ceiling and through the roof. I have a lot of thinking to do if I want to undergo that type of change and if DW will even consider it. FWIW, I do 90% of the cooking in the house, DW loves it :)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Ok, we have decided on a path and will be moving forward with removing the microhood, the two cabinets directly above it, and will be installing a proper hood venting to the outside through the roof. My uncle is willing to install everything for $125 as a family deal; he has been remodeling homes and installing roofs for over 10 years and has already worked in our house a few times. To make the job easier, I'll be removing the microhood and possibly the cabinets it is connected to but honestly I'm not certain what all is involved with that.

Still no idea on the range we'll go with. My heart wants a Wolf, my wallet wants an NXR. I do not know if American Range, Viking Pro, or Capital are better values than the Wolf. I also do not know if the blue porcelain issue has been fixed on the Wolfs. We are completely ditching the idea of the griddle/grill fifth burner and just want a machine that will last and perform to the level we are planning to spend.

Now, it's off to research hoods. I've looked at the brands mentioned above but frankly have no idea what sets them apart from something, er, less expensive?

Thanks again for your guidance, it pushed me in the right direction and is what I needed to avoid a major overhaul for what was really a slim gain that likely wouldn't have worked out well anyway considering the cost to achieve it!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 7:52PM
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Hi Todd, I'm just starting my research on ovens, ranges and cooktops. I've looked at a couple of YouTube videos done by a cooking school chef comparing Wolf and Viking burners with Capital (Culinarian) burners, and a similar one for Blue Star. The bottom line is that the placement, number and angles of the holes in the burners make both the Blue Star and Capital burners distribute heat much more evenly across the bottom of the pan than on Wolf and Viking burners.

These brands may not match your budget, but to be thorough in your research you might like to know about this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blue Star vs. Wolf Burner Comparison

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Just watched those videos, Ally. Seems that the Wolf range used in the comparison to the Bluestar was a 2010 model so the newer models are "better" supposedly. With that said, the BlueStar does seem to have something quite special going on. I'm a bit turned off by some of the customer service issues I've read about from BS but it could be that I'm reading the squeaky-wheels and not considering that there are likely a large number of very happy BS users with no issues whatsoever. The all-cast top of the BS is also very enticing :) A Culinarian, unfortunately, it beyond my budget.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 9:05PM
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If anything the new gas Wolf models are worse.

They used to be 16k btu with that tiny inner burner.

Now they are 15k btu without that tiny inner burner.

Cheapest price I see for 30: Culinarian is $4398 with free shipping.

Here is a link that might be useful: Culinarian

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 4:20AM
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The more I look into the American Range Performer, the more I like it... huge oven, 25k burner, love the style, seems very simple and has open burners for easier cleanup. Threads on here seem positive, and it can be had for 3k on ebay?

Someone talk me out of buying it today :)

Dee - thank you for that Culinarian link, I've only seen prices above 6k so the one you found is *much* nicer to see :)

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Posted by allykay
I've looked at a couple of YouTube videos done by a cooking school chef comparing Wolf and Viking burners with Capital (Culinarian) burners, and a similar one for Blue Star.

These are marketing videos done by Trevor Lawson of Eurostoves. He sells Capital Culinarian and used to sell Bluestar.

The bottom line is that the placement, number and angles of the holes in the burners make both the Blue Star and Capital burners distribute heat much more evenly across the bottom of the pan than on Wolf and Viking burners.

Heat distribution needs to be considered in the context of actual cooking. There are several factors that influence how effectively heat is transferred to your food. No one burner is the the most effective in heat transfer in all situations. Even CC and BS are very different in this way.

The CC burner in the video is 5 inches across and has inner rings. This would provide fairly even heat across the bottom of a 6 inch pan. If you use a 12 inch pan though it would create a hot spot in the middle of the pan. You would need something wider to provide the most even heat. In this case a ring burner, open, that has a little wider spread of the heat might be "more even". Some ranges, like BS have burners are different sizes to accommodate the difference in pan sizes.

None of this matters too much though if you buy pans that are made of adequate thicknesses of heat conductive metals like aluminum(good) or copper(better). Pans made of steel, cast iron or stainless steel are poor conductors of heat and require matching the pan to the size of the flame. Multiply cookware is an attempt to add some of the heat conductive properties of aluminum and copper to stainless. These are hard to evaluate because the amounts of heat conductive metals used are proprietary. The performance of the pan is blunted by the encasing stainless, but they do often go in the dishwasher. If you have a copper pan of adequate thickness, not only will your heat be even across the bottom but up the sides as well. Aluminum pans are much cheaper and are very even as well. If you cook with cast iron or steel, or even multiply cookware, you might want burners that have various sizes.

It will also matter what you are cooking. A pan of chicken broth will allow movement of the fluid and transfer of heat away from the bottom of the pan much more than a pot of thick mashed potatoes.

Posted by deeageaux
If anything the new gas Wolf models are worse.
They used to be 16k btu with that tiny inner burner.
Now they are 15k btu without that tiny inner burner.

The previous Wolf burner was also semi open. Functionally they are about the same. To me the sealed burner is a little easier to clean. The newer burner still has two burners(stacked) too, but the idea is that the heat on the simmer is spread out a little more avoiding the little circle of heat dissed on the Eurostove video.

For anyone looking at ranges, try to see the range in person, live if possible. If you can't do that comments on this forum by actual owners can also be helpful if they contain pros and cons.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Kitchen designer comes out next Tuesday to help us redesign. Nothing major, 80% of the kitchen will remain as is. We will be taking out the stove, microhood, and two small cabinets in the attached picture and putting in either a Culinarian or American Range Performer. We're a few months off from purchasing everything I think, depends on what the rest of the reno comes in at. We have a very large counter-height "bar" that takes up a ton of space, inhibits entry and exit, and generally wastes a lot of valuable cabinet and countertop space. So, that whole thing is getting taken out in favor a redesigned island setup.

In the island, my major "must haves" are a spot for a 220V Advantium (and yes I've read the threads about island installation) to give us another "oven" option and replace the microwave. I want to do part of the counter in butcher block with a waste disposal opening next to the butcher's block. Beyond that? As much cabinet space as we can manage, and at least two additional outlets. We will not be matching our existing cabinets or countertop, we will do something contrasting.

Now, I have a question about the picture I've attached. I'd like to get into something like this: for my range hood. I've looked at Kobe and XO as well but don't have any links handy. Basically, I see a bunch of things that are "under-cabinet mount" and some that are wall mount. Are these sometimes interchangeable? As in, some under-cabinet mount hoods can wall mount too? I am thinking since we are ditching both the microhood and cabinets above, we'll need a Wall Mount setup, correct? I also need to find something that can fit directly between the existing cabinets to the right and left of that space, we do not want to get rid of those. Lastly, we'll have to chop out the backsplash area behind the stove since it only comes up to the microwave; when we remove that and put in a 24" hood, the bottom of the hood will be somewhere in the neighborhood of the top of the microwave. Not sure what that's going to run... Lastly, we're a single floor with attic access so I can take the vent straight out of the roof and not lose any efficiency having to take a bend. I am thinking with either a Culinarian or a Performer, I am safe if I go with a 750 cfm hood?

Thanks again for all of the help and suggestions. I am by no means "set" on anything right now outside of the Advantium and down to two choices on the range. The culinarian will depend on if the above-linked deal for $4400 is still around at the time I go to buy.

Oh yea, one other thing - our gas line comes out of our tile floor behind the stove, it is not in a receptacle in the wall. Because of that, our existing stove will not slide all the way back. I'm thinking while we're at it, I may as well have that fixed as well. Should I also consider going to a 1" gas line if I don't already have one?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:21PM
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Pic of the bar in question

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:23PM
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And another, for good measure. Sorry for all the clutter, it's just holiday stuff plus we're cleaning out a ton of junk we don't need anymore. DW had the whole day off and cleaned the entire kitchen, top to bottom. It was filthy... poor dear, she's getting a nice meal tonight!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2013 at 6:24PM
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