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Deciding what you need - range/stove


quiet1
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Thought I'd try starting a new topic as I don't think what I'm wondering is particularly specifically covered by an existing topic.

 

Anyway - how did/do you figure out what you need and want when upgrading your stove or range? I'm trying to figure it out right now and it's so easy to be tempted by the Shiny, and I know you can go and poke at things a little in showrooms but that's hardly the same as actually cooking for any length of time.

 

Did you just pick whatever would fit in the space you had? Did you work out how many ovens and burners/elements you wanted in some way? Then there's the ever popular gas/electric oven, gas/electric/induction, self-cleaning or not, etc.

 

Just curious how other people work through these questions. I need to figure out what I want so we can upgrade. (I'm sure I want more burner space than we currently have - 4 on a 30" that doesn't fit a big pan with anything else, basically. But I do have room for a 36" or possibly even a 48" - although 48" just sounds HUGE. I'd do 36" and a spare oven somewhere if I could figure out where I could stick a wall oven, but our kitchen just doesn't have the space.)

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I looked at size, power and simplicity. Seems like what breaks down on a range is all the electronic stuff. So I got one with minimal electronics and a lot of heat, a Blue Star.

 

I downsized to 36 from 48". There was too much unused space in that 48 incher. 36 is more than enough for me

Edited by gfweb (log)
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11 hours ago, quiet1 said:

Did you just pick whatever would fit in the space you had? Did you work out how many ovens and burners/elements you wanted in some way? Then there's the ever popular gas/electric oven, gas/electric/induction, self-cleaning or not, etc.

 

Q1: Yes. A 36" stovetop would have been nice, but it would have entailed redoing the island in which it's located, not to mention losing valuable drawer space.

Q2: I like having a center "griddle burner." Just one oven is fine; we also have a Breville Smart Oven.

Q3: When we moved in, we split the 220 line in order to have central a/c, so gas was our only option. It's also what both of us are used to.

 

The only research I had to do was deciding on a brand and model that fit our budget, then locating the best price.

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Shiny object!

 

Okay, only kidding. Space limitations don't seem to be an issue for you as they were for me, in an NYC apartment with a galley kitchen. But a 48" range is pretty damn big, unless you're always cooking for 6 or 8 people.  If I had the room, I would've liked a 36" range, but we're at 30" and that's plenty for me.

 

Gas or electric - this was not a choice for me. We don't have the electrical capacity for an electric or dual-fuel range, and our buildings are set up for natural gas.

 

I'm not as impressed by huge power (BTU) figures as the salespeople are. I'm not cooking at service in a busy restaurant; I'm cooking at home. Sure, I crank a burner or two up to boil a pot of water for pasta, or to sear a piece of meat, but most of the time, moderate heat is plenty. Your cookware is (imo) just as important.

 

Budget - this should probably be your first consideration. Then fit everything else into that. In our current renovation, once I found out how much my contractor/architect/permits would cost, everything else fit into place.

 

Oh, and as gfweb said, I went with minimal (almost none, except the ignition) electronics. Though our previous Bosch range's electronics never once gave me agita.

Edited by weinoo (log)

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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We remodeled our kitchen about 11 years ago, and put in a 36" dual-fuel range (GE Monogram) with 6 burners. We wanted something with minimal electronics. This particular stove also has 6 equivalent burners, which is nice because it means you can do anything anywhere (rather than, say, needing to cook pasta on one particular burner, or do something delicate on a different particular burner). We thought going to 8 burners would have been excessive, but we also knew that 4 burners left us feeling pinched for stove space at times. And we prefer the flexibility of having 6 burners that can be used as burners, or hold a grill pan or griddle as needed.

 

We considered a second oven, and then realized that we didn't really need it. That became especially true once we got the Breville XL toaster oven.

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4 hours ago, weinoo said:

Shiny object!

 

Okay, only kidding. Space limitations don't seem to be an issue for you as they were for me, in an NYC apartment with a galley kitchen. But a 48" range is pretty damn big, unless you're always cooking for 6 or 8 people.  If I had the room, I would've liked a 36" range, but we're at 30" and that's plenty for me.

 

Gas or electric - this was not a choice for me. We don't have the electrical capacity for an electric or dual-fuel range, and our buildings are set up for natural gas.

 

I'm not as impressed by huge power (BTU) figures as the salespeople are. I'm not cooking at service in a busy restaurant; I'm cooking at home. Sure, I crank a burner or two up to boil a pot of water for pasta, or to sear a piece of meat, but most of the time, moderate heat is plenty. Your cookware is (imo) just as important.

 

Budget - this should probably be your first consideration. Then fit everything else into that. In our current renovation, once I found out how much my contractor/architect/permits would cost, everything else fit into place.

 

Oh, and as gfweb said, I went with minimal (almost none, except the ignition) electronics. Though our previous Bosch range's electronics never once gave me agita.

 

 

'Our kitchen isn't huge but I could squeeze in a 48" if I was willing to give up the counter space. But it does sound huge. I usually cook more than one meal at a time to maximize time when I feel up to cooking, but 6 burners seems like plenty. I'd just really like two ovens and there isn't room to stick an extra wall oven in anywhere. (I don't want to go cooktop/range too and separate ovens because that's way more work and hassle to install and we can't redo the whole kitchen right now.)

 

Budget is enough it isn't a huge limiting factor unless we did decide to look at something built-in that would require more cabinet work. (I mean, not sky's the limit but we're treating this as an investment in sanity, so there are enough options within the budget range that I still have plenty of choices for standalone range.)

 

The point about electronics is interesting. I hadn't considered that. Although some models definitely have enough 'features' that I start wondering if it's meant to be for cooking or an extra home computer. ("It bakes bread AND does your taxes!" :D)

 

I am wondering how many BTUs I actually need. I should try to figure out what our current stove is to start with I suppose. (It came with the house and the identification info on the control panel got rubbed off at some point along the way, and getting at the plate that has model number etc. is annoying.)

 

How much difference does gas v electric oven make these days? I've never cooked with a good gas oven (current one is gas but the temp control is all wonky so I do not want to judge all gas ovens by it.) I do a variety of roasting and baking so it's not like there's one particular thing I want an oven to excel at. I don't think the electric is run to the kitchen ATM for a dual fuel model, but the box in the basement should be able to have it added and there's good access for running the cable, so it shouldn't be a major major expense to add.

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5 minutes ago, MelissaH said:

We remodeled our kitchen about 11 years ago, and put in a 36" dual-fuel range (GE Monogram) with 6 burners. We wanted something with minimal electronics. This particular stove also has 6 equivalent burners, which is nice because it means you can do anything anywhere (rather than, say, needing to cook pasta on one particular burner, or do something delicate on a different particular burner). We thought going to 8 burners would have been excessive, but we also knew that 4 burners left us feeling pinched for stove space at times. And we prefer the flexibility of having 6 burners that can be used as burners, or hold a grill pan or griddle as needed.

 

We considered a second oven, and then realized that we didn't really need it. That became especially true once we got the Breville XL toaster oven.

 

Yeah, the 4 burner pinch is where I am. I think I'd rather 6 proper burners, although in the face of an exceptional sale I might consider 4 and a griddle if the griddle could be used as a sort of simmer plate/French top as needed. But I am sick and tired of shifting pots around to try to get everything to fit and have enough power.

 

For kicks last night I was ogling one of the French brands that lets you do 6 gas burners plus option of your choice, so six plus two induction sounded fun. (I like gas but there are specific tasks I prefer induction for.) However it's a weeeeee tiny tiny bit outside of our budget. By a few thousand. :D

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I think bakers really prefer electric ovens, but I've never had a problem baking in a gas oven...with a good oven thermometer or two, you ought to be able to calibrate the temp that your oven claims it's at, to the actual temp.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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36" probably overkill but I got an American Range performer that size with 3 25K , 2 18k and one 12k open burners, a convection oven big enough for a full sheet pan with 6" to spare that takes 45 minutes to heat up, and a "1800 degree" ceramic broiler. 

 

It's pure joy to cook on. I've never been disappointed. Cooking on it is like driving my 4Runner in the snow. 

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12 hours ago, weinoo said:

I think bakers really prefer electric ovens, but I've never had a problem baking in a gas oven...with a good oven thermometer or two, you ought to be able to calibrate the temp that your oven claims it's at, to the actual temp.

 

'The problem with the current oven is it doesn't seem to be off by the same amount consistently. And there is only so much $ we want to put into fixing something we want to replace anyway. So right now I just don't do anything terribly finicky about exact temperature and keep an oven thermometer in it. But it is annoying. (We suspect the electronics are going. No idea how old it is but it looks well loved enough to reasonably be having problems now.)

 

I'm trying to think which fancy features I'd actually use versus which sound cool but would never get touched. Like some have a rotisserie which sounds fun, but would I ever use it? (Plus I'm not the only one in the house who cooks, so some other people do get a little bit of an opinion. But only a little.)

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6 hours ago, quiet1 said:

I'm trying to think which fancy features I'd actually use versus which sound cool but would never get touched. Like some have a rotisserie which sounds fun, but would I ever use it? (Plus I'm not the only one in the house who cooks, so some other people do get a little bit of an opinion. But only a little.)

 

I really liked the 2 different convection features that were on the Bosch; convection bake and convection roast, which evidently involved 2 different fans.

 

The new one we're getting has convection, and I think that's a feature which is almost a necessity.

 

FWIW, the Bosch also had self-clean, but I never used it once the whole time it was in my kitchen - I think I was always afraid I'd kill the cat. The new one - no self-clean.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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On 11/1/2017 at 10:15 PM, quiet1 said:

Anyway - how did/do you figure out what you need and want when upgrading your stove or range?...

Did you just pick whatever would fit in the space you had?

 

Yes, I stuck with models that fit the space, except for a bit of trim rearrangement to accommodate a very slightly larger wall oven in one kitchen.  I would have liked to consider induction for the cooktop but there wasn't enough juice.

I probably focussed as much on things I disliked and wanted to avoid as I did on features I wanted. 

I wanted plain cast iron grates, not porcelain-coated cast iron which can be a pain to clean.  I had a white stove with with light gray porcelain-coated grates, drip pans and burner covers.  It was awful to keep clean.

I wanted continuous grates that are truly even across the surface.  Some that say they are continuous still have gaps that can lead to tipping, especially with smaller pans.  

I wanted two adjacent burners with the same BTU to make it easier to maintain even heating over a 2-burner griddle pan. 

In the last gas stove I bought, I wanted a single large oven vs dual ovens and I wanted the broiler inside the oven instead of a broiler drawer under the oven. 

I wanted sturdy oven shelves in order to hold a heavy pizza steel without bowing. 

 

Extra features I like in my current electric ovens are the low temp bread proofing and dehydrating settings.  The lower settings are also nice for plate warming.  I think someone mentioned this, but I also like the convection roast setting that uses both the upper and lower heating elements at the same time.

 

On 11/3/2017 at 6:41 AM, weinoo said:

I'm not as impressed by huge power (BTU) figures as the salespeople are.

Generally, I agree with this.  I find the ability to maintain a slow, steady simmer to be at least as valuable as power at the higher end.  My current gas range has dual burners and the lower one does a very nice job of providing more control at a low simmer.  

That said, there are underpowered gas stoves out there.  Sounds like you are looking at higher end models so that should't be a problem for you but the builder-grade model that came with my previous home had one 9,000 BTU, two 7,000 and one 5,000 burners.  I thought it was defective because it took so long to boil water in comparison to the 1940s vintage stove that I'd been cooking on - that one would readily send flames half way up the sides of my pans if I wasn't careful.  I'm sure that was exceeding inefficient but it could sure boil a big pot of water in a flash!

 

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I realize my post was more a review of my ARPS than an answer to the question in OP. I think the best way to shop for stoves is feature set and size above all. Feature set will impact your enjoyment of using it. Size can be driven by design or by volume requirements but a 30" is big enough for most families. I only use 5 or 6 burners on my 36" a couple times a year. 

 

Dont get a 12" integrated griddle. 

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11 hours ago, Dave W said:

I realize my post was more a review of my ARPS than an answer to the question in OP. I think the best way to shop for stoves is feature set and size above all. Feature set will impact your enjoyment of using it. Size can be driven by design or by volume requirements but a 30" is big enough for most families. I only use 5 or 6 burners on my 36" a couple times a year. 

 

Dont get a 12" integrated griddle. 

 

I'm convinced if I had an integrated griddle I'd never use it because I'd be afraid of having to clean it. It'd just get used as a French-top-esque simmer plate thing occasionally. A few companies make griddles designed to replace the normal burner grate, though, over a pair of burners. I kind of like that idea - I've used the cast iron kind you set on top of the grates and it didn't feel as stable as I think one designed to sit properly on the stove should be. So that is in my list to inspect.

 

I'm trying to right now think what I could do for a second oven if I got a 36" with just the one large oven. Most of the time I only need one, but for holidays and special occasions a second oven for side dishes and the like is quite handy. I'm trying to decide if a countertop one of some type would be large enough to do the trick. (You can get two ovens in a limited number of ranges at 40", but the second oven is tiny most times, or an odd shape.)

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I have a stovetop griddle that's made of carbon steel and is 24" x 13" and it's not big enough for some big griddle projects (eg pancakes for company). It's heavy and plenty stable due to weight and my stoves continuous grate design. 

 

A nominal 12" integrated griddle does not add any appreciable functionality to a stovetop and it costs two burners of space. Two large skillets on two burners will get you almost as much cooking space as it would. Griddles are easy to clean with scraping and heat but cleaning isn't the issue, the issue is real estate.  

 

 

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When my DW and I had to replace our dying builders-grade stove I had 3 specific things the new stove had to have. 1) The burner controls had to be "full rotation" as opposed to 1/4 turn from off to full on. 2) It had to have one decent power burner; 15k or higher. 3) The oven had to have convection. The replacement would be a a standard slide-in 30" model to fit in the existing space.

 

We ended up with a 5-burner stove with the continuous grate and sealed burners. The stove we replaced had sealed burners also. I have come to actively hate sealed burners. Cleanup, which and I am already unfortunately lazy about, is much harder.

 

We like the stove. It does have downsides. The 5th burner in the center is useless. Even with the oven's convection feature we have to rotate baking pans mid-way through baking to get a fairly even finished item. It does, however, speed up the overall baking time.

 

Although I rarely use the broiler I like having it in the top of the oven instead of the "drawer beneath" style. There is as drawer there and I keep my cast iron pans in it. My DW doesn't care for the broiler.

 

I like the continuous grate.

 

My DW thought that having convection would be useless; she became the early adopter of using it.

 

RE: Griddles. I have a Lodge cast iron reversible grill/griddle that I have used less than once a years since we bought it years ago as part of a set. The grill side is a pain in the a$$ to clean if there is a wet marinade on the meat. I don't think I have ever used the griddle side. I cook bacon in the oven and I don't do pancakes. I could try it for potato pancakes by my CI pans serve me just fine.

 

@quiet1 This stove fits the way my DW and I cook. I am now retired so I do most of the cooking and that is fine with me.  The food we prepare is western-European-centric. We cook essentially from scratch and dinner for the 2 of us still typically uses 2-3 pans. I think deciding on a stove is similar to buying a knife. You need what fits your style and preferences. Best of luck.

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Porthos Potwatcher
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4 hours ago, Porthos said:

When my DW and I had to replace our dying builders-grade stove I had 3 specific things the new stove had to have. 1) The burner controls had to be "full rotation" as opposed to 1/4 turn from off to full on. 2) It had to have one decent power burner; 15k or higher. 3) The oven had to have convection. The replacement would be a a standard slide-in 30" model to fit in the existing space.

 

We ended up with a 5-burner stove with the continuous grate and sealed burners. The stove we replaced had sealed burners also. I have come to actively hate sealed burners. Cleanup, which and I am already unfortunately lazy about, is much harder.

 

We like the stove. It does have downsides. The 5th burner in the center is useless. Even with the oven's convection feature we have to rotate baking pans mid-way through baking to get a fairly even finished item. It does, however, speed up the overall baking time.

 

Although I rarely use the broiler I like having it in the top of the oven instead of the "drawer beneath" style. There is as drawer there and I keep my cast iron pans in it. My DW doesn't care for the broiler.

 

I like the continuous grate.

 

My DW thought that having convection would be useless; she became the early adopter of using it.

 

RE: Griddles. I have a Lodge cast iron reversible grill/griddle that I have used less than once a years since we bought it years ago as part of a set. The grill side is a pain in the a$$ to clean if there is a wet marinade on the meat. I don't think I have ever used the griddle side. I cook bacon in the oven and I don't do pancakes. I could try it for potato pancakes by my CI pans serve me just fine.

 

@quiet1 This stove fits the way my DW and I cook. I am now retired so I do most of the cooking and that is fine with me.  The food we prepare is western-European-centric. We cook essentially from scratch and dinner for the 2 of us still typically uses 2-3 pans. I think deciding on a stove is similar to buying a knife. You need what fits your style and preferences. Best of luck.

 

Asking here has given me a lot of points to consider for things where I have preferences but wouldn't have realized I had a preference so might have overlooked it and ended up with something that drives me nuts. :) It's a big purchase so I'm kind of stressed out by it because I want to make sure I don't do anything I'll REALLY regret, you know?

 

I need to go google sealed vs open burners because I don't feel like I understand the difference.

 

And yeah, I had one of those double-sided things. I used the grill side once. Meh. Not worth it. The griddle side is good for some things though. And it does actually work as a warming plate if you have some burners to stick it over - in the UK I had a 5 burner Smeg range and for bigger meals I'd sometimes be using 3 burners and have the griddle on 2 and heated to a nice warm temp so I could put stuff there to hold it. Since it's nice and solid and flat often I could get more dishes and pots on it securely than I could on just the grates of the burners, plus it spread out the heat.

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Sealed Burner. No gaps that expose the area beneath the main stove top:

 

59ff9996cf256_SealedBurner.jpg.e316e86a32872a92255ef199389761f6.jpg

 

Open Burner, gaps between the burners and the drip ring or grates.

 

59ff99dd7c16d_OpenBurner.jpg.6a190e474632dde5d51fbd46150a90cf.jpg:

 

 

 

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Porthos Potwatcher
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24 minutes ago, Porthos said:

Sealed Burner. No gaps that expose the area beneath the main stove top:

 

 

 

Open Burner, gaps between the burners and the drip ring or grates.

 

:

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the pictures, I didn't which I had and now I do!

 

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  • 4 months later...

I've been fighting with my oven for months now.  It's the electronic board (shocking lol).  It shuts the oven off at random times.  Doesn't matter if I'm using it or not.  I'll look over and it's dead.  I've been able to revive it by giving it a good whack with my hand.  Last night I went to preheat it for pizza making and I got the dreaded F1 message.  No amount of whacking would bring it back.  

 

So, after a little googling, I know I can replace the electronic board.  However, I've read many accounts that after people do that, they get an F3 failure which is some kind of sensor located in a spot that a layperson such as myself can't get to.  And, after replacing the board and getting a repair person out, they end up spending quite a bit of money.

 

So, now we decide.  Fix my existing one or purchase new.  

 

If I purchase new, I don't want ANY electronic stuff.  I know that BlueStar is a high end/no electronic brand that @gfwebbought I believe.  Any other brands that people have that might not be so high end, but don't have electric boards?

 

I have to have a gas range/oven.  And I can a lot.  

 

The top burners still work great, so I can live without my oven for a little bit--I mostly use my CSO and my Breville.  However, our hunter will be here in just over a month and I would like to have a working oven by then.

 

Can you guys tell I'm in a quandary lol?

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