They look impressive, but how well do they cook? Our rigorous lab tests zero in on the best of the bunch—and the ones to avoid.
By Paul Hope
If you’re considering a high-end kitchen remodel, you’ve probably already considered a pro-style range as the centerpiece. And yet the stakes are high when shopping for a pro-style range. That’s not only because of the steep prices—some cost upward of $7,000—but also because nobody wants to spend $50,000 or more on a dream kitchen only to discover that the shiny new pro-style range takes forever to boil a pot of water.
As a group, pro-style ranges notoriously look better than they cook. Many of the models in our ratings can’t bake evenly and struggle to simmer water. For the models currently in our pro-style range ratings, their Overall Scores go from a high of 79 all the way down to 33.
Suffice it to say that even among pro-style models, price doesn’t correlate with performance when it comes to ranges.
“We see conventional ranges under $1,000 near the very top of our performance ratings,” says Tara Casaregola, the CR engineer who leads testing of ranges, cooktops, and wall ovens. And just as often there are pro-style ranges at five times the cost that fall flat.
But while our tests routinely confirm that shelling out big bucks for a pro-style range won’t guarantee top performance, we understand that the look and feel have appeal. Some folks want a pro-style range anyway, so let us at least steer you in the right direction.
How We Test Ranges
Our testing procedures call for a mix of carefully calibrated tests and hands-on baking to get a feel for what a consumer would experience at home. We measure how fast the biggest burners heat water and how steadily they simmer. We record temperatures throughout the oven cavity and confirm results by baking cookies and cakes and analyzing the evenness of the color when they’re finished. (Here at CR, we bake an average of 200 cookies per month.)
The market for pro-style ranges has been dominated for years by brands like Viking, Wolf, Thermador, KitchenAid, and Miele. But recently we’ve seen a new subclass of pro-style range emerge. These brands, such as Kucht, compete to bring pro-style ranges to consumers at a more reasonable price, often with 30-inch models under $3,000.
If you’re wondering whether a pro-style range is right for you, start with our range buying guide. CR members can read on for three of the best pro-style ranges from our ratings, in both 36- and 30-inch widths. Plus, scroll down to the end for a glimpse of two pro-style models to avoid.
Best 36-Inch Pro-Style Range
CR’s take: The Kucht KRG3618U might not offer the name appeal of, say, Wolf or Viking. But it does offer top-tier performance in a pro package—for thousands of dollars less than comparable models from bigger players. In our tests, it provided fast heating and steady simmering, with a rating of Very Good and Excellent, respectively. The oven bakes evenly and has decent capacity within its class (most pro-style models have smaller ovens than their conventional counterparts). It has six burners, continuous cast-iron cooking grates, and convection.
Best 30-Inch Pro-Style Ranges
Two Pro-Style Ranges to Skip
These two ranges can be found near the bottom of our pro-style range ratings and aren’t worth the money, according to CR’s experts.
Miele HR 1124 G
CR’s take: Miele is a premium brand with beautiful products, most of which have a modern flair. But the Miele HR 1124 G is a dud when it comes to cooking. Despite an Excellent rating for broiling, it receives an abysmal rating of Poor for baking. It brings water quickly enough to a near boil, but receives a middling score for simmering. Such a mixed performance is a far cry from where it should be, considering the high price.
Fisher & Paykel OR30SCG4X1
CR’s take: This model from Fisher & Paykel is priced like many high-end pro-style models but doesn’t perform nearly as well. Two of its four gas burners are high-power, and they heat water quickly. But the lower-power burners have trouble melting chocolate without scorching it, and the oven struggles to bake evenly—which resulted in a Poor rating for both tests.
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