The Best High-End Ranges for 2019: Reviews by Wirecutter

Brand reputation

We made sure that at least a few chefs, designers, and dealers vouched for the quality (and pedigree) of our picks. We’re leaning on the word of the experts because there’s not much objective data available about these ranges’ performance, reliability, or customer service. And we don’t have a facility where we can test these ranges ourselves. That said, our writer Sharon Franke has decades of first-hand experience testing ranges, including models from all of the brands that we recommend in this guide. She made sure to check out all of our current picks in person at showrooms around New York.

Even with our research and collective knowledge, we still don’t really know which brands last the longest, how many years they’ll actually last, or how much service they’ll need. However, we’re confident that most high-end ranges will last longer than cheaper ranges because they’re made out of higher-quality, heavier-duty materials. As for warranties, some brands offer just one year of coverage, like any lower-cost range, while others offer three or more years of full coverage. But we didn’t make this a big part of the selection process.

Power source

We focused on dual-fuel models. They combine the fast response and visual cues of a gas cooktop with the even, consistent heat of an electric oven. Most of the experts we spoke with consider this the ideal combination of power sources. We also found that many dual-fuel models have better (or at least flashier) specs than their gas-only counterparts, like stronger power burners or extra oven controls.

One downside to dual-fuel is that these ranges tend to cost thousands of dollars more than all-gas models. They have more parts and therefore may be more repair prone. You’ll also need hookups for both gas and 220-volt electric. And unless you’re a serious baker, you probably won’t notice the difference between a gas and an electric oven.

Our picks are all available in all-gas versions (both natural gas and propane) if that’s what you prefer. These are still great ranges and cost less than their dual-fuel models, but they’re all missing some features compared with the dual-fuel versions—you may or may not miss them.

You can find some high-end ranges with induction cooktops (and electric ovens). Induction is an excellent technology for several reasons and seems to be gaining favor with high-end buyers. These ranges, made by only a handful of brands, are expensive and come only in sizes up to 36 inches. Since they’re so uncommon, we know less about their performance and longevity than we do about the all-gas or dual-fuel models.

If you really want one, you can get a high-end range with a conventional, radiant-electric cooktop. But these aren’t very common, probably because most people would prefer not to cook this way. If all-electric is your only option, we’d recommend a model with an induction cooktop instead. It’s a much better cooking experience.

Aesthetics

Commercial-style ranges, sort of like what you’d see in a restaurant, are still popular. However, designs are now “moving towards a more refined, contemporary look,” according to Richard Anuszkiewicz, the kitchen and bath director for Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects. Our picks fall into these two most-popular styles.

Stainless steel has been the dominant finish for appliances over the past 20 years, and it’s still the most common finish for high-end ranges. But brighter colors are gaining popularity, along with some darker metallic finishes. Rustic European-style ranges are another somewhat common option.

Price

The models we recommend start around $4,500 for the 30-inch versions and $8,000 for the 36-inch versions, and the 48-inch versions can reach as high as $14,000.

Ranges below those thresholds don’t quite have the same build quality and styling, or at least not the same pedigree. (Though in the future we’ll take a closer look at brands like Bertazzoni or Thor, which are styled a lot like our picks but can cost significantly less.)

You could easily spend a lot more on a range, if you’re after a certain style and pedigree. The La Cornue Grand Palais 180, for example, can cost almost as much as a Tesla Model S.

Size

Range width is one of the first things you’ll decide on during a remodeling project, and most people want the biggest one that fits their space and budget. “The range dictates the layout of the kitchen,” said kitchen designer Elle H-Millard.

Most brands sell their ranges in 30-, 36-, and 48-inch configurations. Fewer brands make other sizes, but you can find some as small as 24 inches or as wide as 66 inches.

Narrower ranges have fewer cooktop burners and less oven capacity than wider models. The width of 36 inches seems to be a happy medium for most people, typically offering six burners and an oven that’s at least 5 cubic feet. Ranges 48 inches and larger usually have a second oven, and often a grill or griddle built into the cooktop.

Performance

To be clear, we did not test any of these ranges specifically for this guide. However, Sharon tested many ranges over her career at the Good Housekeeping Institute, including many models from the brands we recommend. We also referenced test results from Reviewed where we could, and we relied on word of mouth from experts around the industry. Where there were still gaps, we leaned on the spec sheets.

In a cooktop, versatility is the most important thing.

You’ll want at least two power burners with an output of 18,000 Btu or greater for high-temperature cooking and speedy boil times. Each burner should be able to hold moderate temperatures to keep foods like stews or tomato sauces at a steady simmer (about 190 °F). And it’s useful to have at least one burner capable of maintaining extremely low temps for tasks like melting butter or keeping a sauce like béarnaise warm—without scorching it.

Some high-end ranges have cooktops comprised entirely of identical, versatile burners. But most rely on specialized burners for the highest- and lowest-temperature tasks and tend to reach more extreme temperatures on either end. Either design can work fine—it’s a matter of personal preference.

Wider ranges usually come in versions with a grill or griddle in place of some of the burners. Again, it’s up to you if you want these. (Though if you’re a neat freak, you should know that both of these tend to be extremely difficult to keep pristine.)

In high-end ranges, you’ll always find ovens with a convection option. This means that you can turn on a fan that circulates heat around the cavity to promote a uniform temperature. Ranges will offer slightly different convection techniques, and some have loads of convection-mode sub-settings. But we didn’t worry about all those minor variations when we made our picks.

As for oven size, most will easily hold an enormous turkey, though many are too narrow to fit a full-size sheet pan. If you’re concerned about whether your favorite cookie sheet or roasting pan will fit, just bring it to the appliance showroom with you and see for yourself. This is especially important if you want a 48-inch range: They usually have two side-by-side ovens, in different sizes, and even the big one tends to be narrower and have less capacity than the single oven in a 36-inch or even 30-inch range. (As Steve Sheinkopf of Yale Appliance put it to us, the split-oven design sometimes means “you get half of nothing.”) As for the smaller, second oven in the 48-inch ranges, sometimes it’s actually a specialized appliance like a steam oven or a speed oven (aka convection microwave).

Finally, we’d highly recommend a range with a self-cleaning oven, particularly one that uses high-heat (aka pyrolytic) cleaning to turn residue into dust. While most dual-fuel ranges have a high-heat self-cleaning function, some gas ranges do not. There’s some concern that high-heat cleaning cycles can ruin the electronics in a variety of cheaper ranges, but we haven’t seen any compelling evidence that this happens in heavy-duty high-end ranges.


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