A range is widely accepted to be the centerpiece of a kitchen. It’s the tool that makes possible the alchemy of transforming base ingredients into sumptuous cuisine. Many starter homes and apartments are only equipped with small galley kitchens that can only accommodate compact 24-inch ranges or more standard 30-inch models. However, as consumers move up the social strata and they better their living arrangements, so too do they normally upgrade their ranges. If space allows, the most popular choice for middle and upper-middle class homes are 36-inch ranges. Let’s take a look at the top ten 36-inch ranges of 2020.
What are the two most common range installation options?
Freestanding Installation - Freestanding is the most common installation option as it’s the most versatile. The sides of the units are finished so they can be placed almost anywhere. If you were to decide to install the range within cabinetry, three’s normally no need for custom construction. Many have a backsplash that can function as venting, house oven controls, or is just a stylistic accent.
Slide-In Installation - Slide-in ranges are more integrated into surrounding cabinetry. On the top sides there’s normally a lip that prevents debris from falling between the unit and counters. These ranges normally out of a bank of apertures at the top rear of the units. Because of this, any material behind the range must be impervious to steam, water, and stains. Finally, slide-in ranges don’t have backsplashes so they can be installed in kitchen islands.
Appliances Connection has picked ten of the best 36-inch ranges based on functionality, longevity and style.
ILVE is an Italian brand that’s been producing high-end ranges for over six decades. In that time, they’ve been found in the most sophisticated kitchens across Europe and have become one of the most sought-after ranges in the US market. This 36-inch range from their Professional Plus Series is a prime example of that. Here are some features that make this unit stand out.
- The sleek stainless steel finish with gleaming chrome knobs and handles make this a striking presence in any kitchen.
- Five sealed brass burners lend a distinguished look while emitting even heat and allowing for easy cleaning.
- A “Dual Triple Ring Burner” can throw off a blistering 15,000 BTUs and still be set low enough for a gentle simmer.
- The “Flame Failure Safety Device” automatically shuts off the gas when the flame goes out to prevent any fire hazards.
- The oven’s True European convection adds a heating element to the circulation fan for quicker and more consistent baking, roasting, and more.
Established in 1987, Viking pioneered bringing professional grade products to the residential market. At the outset, they experienced some growing pains as is to be expected with any new venture. They dubiously earned a reputation for unreliability. Subsequently in 2013, they were acquired by the multinational conglomeration, the Middleby Corporation, who infused their technological and innovative prowess into Viking which emerged as one of the powerhouses in the market. This 36-inch range from their Professional 5 Series is one of the highest performance models in their lineup. Here’s are some of the features that make it so.
- Though this particular model is stainless steel, it is also available in six other vibrant colors so you can express your personal style.
- All 6 burners boast Viking’s VariSimmer setting letting you caress delicate foods like chocolate or a bechamel sauce with gentle, even heat.
- The porcelainized cooking surface is robust and is cleaned with ease.
- The oven door has GentleClose hinges that use pneumatic breaking that makes slamming shut virtually impossible.
- Rather than a radiant “salamander” broiler, this model has an infrared element that can throw off intense heat with no cold spots.
- The range is Star-K Certified meaning that certain modes can be engaged to ensure individuals can adhere to religious obligations.
Kucht is headquartered in New Jersey and is one of the youngest appliance brands. Thus, they don’t seem to take many risks when it comes to the styling of their ranges. Nor do they cram their units with technological extravagances that may go out of fashion in a few years. What they do offer are no-nonsense and robustly constructed ranges with long expected lifespans. This particular model may not have vast functionality, but what it does it does very well.
- Sturdy continuous cast iron grates can withstand sliding even the heaviest pots and pans around.
- Electronic automatic re-ignition ensures cooking flames never go out.
- The 5.2 cu ft oven capacity can fit a large holiday goose.
- The large oven viewing window allows you to monitor cooking progress with ease.
- The blue porcelain oven interior provides a great showcase for food when entertaining.
The Italian brand, Bertazzoni, is known for appliances that in equal measures evoke luxury and invoke sustainability. This stems from their home in the verdant hills of North Italy’s Emilia-Romagna where fine cooking and the area’s natural beauty are valued. They strive to make ranges, along with a complete line of kitchen appliances, that are deserving of the delectable local Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto di parma, balsamico di Modena, fine wines, and so much more. This range from Bertazzoni’s Master Series is tough to overshadow.
- Monobloc (machined from a single, solid piece of metal) aluminum burners may not have the same cache as brass, but their durability and heat conductivity is rarely surpassed.
- Metal control knobs have a high-quality feel with each turn as you precisely control the burners and oven.
- An analog oven temperature gauge has an aesthetic that exudes retro elegance.
- Dual convection fans result in fast, even cooking in the oven’s vast 5.9 cu ft cavity.
Founded in New Zealand as a company that cobbled together functional appliances from imported parts to circumvent import bans, Fisher & Paykel is a brand that has ingenuity baked into their DNA. In their subsequent 90 years of operation, they’ve forged themselves into a manufacturer of some of the highest quality appliances in the world. Whether your needs lie in cooking, refrigeration, laundry, and more, Fisher & Paykel has the appliances that will meet and exceed your expectations. This range from their Contemporary Series is just one of their top-tier offerings Here are some of the features that distinguish it.
- Cooktop grates are dishwasher safe so messes from a vigorous cooking session are no problem.
- Fisher & Paykel’s proprietary AeroTech convection system in the oven circulates heated air evenly allowing for the uniform cooking in any of the oven’s multiple shelves.
- The oven door’s window is quadruple glazed and is always cool to the touch despite the hottest internal temperatures.
- Sabbath mode allows certain cooking elements to be left on at a certain temperature for a set amount of time. It also disables lights, displays, and audio alerts so certain religious observations can be adhered to.
What are the pros and cons of gas vs electric cooktops?
For some time, gas was the preferred fuel on a cooktop. The user is able to more quickly and precisely control temperature. This made is ideal for preparing complex, restaurant-style meals in the comfort of home. The drawback is that not everyone has natural gas lines that are plumbed into their houses. The only other reasonably convenient option is a range with an electric cooktop.
Until recently, only traditional radiant burner cooktops were available on moderately priced electric ranges. These are almost universally reviled by those who love dishes that require nuanced temperature adjustment such as simmering or sautéing. The electric elements would slowly heat up and slowly cool down with an ominously angry red glow. Over time these elements would degrade from the high temperature exposure, resulting in cool spots. Thus, it was virtually impossible to cook with any sort of precision.
Though the technology has been available for over a century, induction has been prohibitively costly. It uses magnetic waves to stimulate conductive metals and have them directly act as a heat source. When this application is brought to cooktops and cookware, it brings a heating method that’s as powerful and precise as gas but as efficient and convenient as electric. This technology has recently been employed by more widespread and more cost-effective range models.
What is a self-cleaning oven?
There are a few types of self-cleaning ovens on the market these days. The most common uses a method called pyrolytic cleaning. Simply put, it raises the oven temperature to its highest settings and burns off excess food waste that’s stuck onto the oven interior. The resulting ash can be wiped away with a damp cloth. This precludes the need for the user to get on their hands and knees scrubbing away with harsh chemicals.
Conversely, many higher-end brands are moving away from the pyrolytic method. After sixty years of ovens with this feature being on the market, practical field observations have found that the extreme temperature fluctuations over time cause the oven walls to distend, shortening the lifespan of the entire range. One direction in which some brands are going is steam cleaning. Water is poured into a divot at the bottom of the oven and the interior is steamed at a significantly lower temperature than the pyrolytic method. It softens rather than carbonizes caked on food. Steaming is less thorough but will extend the life of a range.