A vital part of creating a custom kitchen is designing a work space that looks equally as good as it functions, which is why professional ranges have become such a staple in customized kitchens. With a pro-style range, users get the best of chef-quality cooking performance, plus a crafted look that makes a truly unique statement.
On top of that, many homeowners opt for a high-end range over a cooktop and wall oven combination to maximize kitchen storage. In doing so, there’s more room to get creative with the space (such as the addition of a specialty appliance like a built-in coffee maker).
In the following article, we’ll take a deeper look into the differences between professional ranges and standard ranges, but the major benefits of pro-style ranges include:
- Premium ranges offer superior control of heat with precision burners.
- Pro-style range ovens are often equipped with the latest cooking technologies.
- More size options and configurations are available for the shopper.
Size and Configuration Options
In this chart, it’s easy to see how many more customizable options professional ranges provide than conventional ranges. As a result, shoppers with the right budget can essentially hack the space in a kitchen to work around a preferred design vision. In contrast, the standard range limits buyers to work around the dimensions of the appliance, which can mean ultimately altering the desired look and functionality of a kitchen.
The most common professional range sizes are 30-inch, 36-inch, and 48-inch models, but select brands also offer 60-inch models for larger kitchens. While not as widely available, 24-inch models are also available, providing homeowners in urban areas the option of professional performance and a custom look that works with the limited kitchen space.
However, 30-inch and 48-inch professional ranges are by far the most popular sizes sold. Let’s go over the benefits of each one:
- 30-inch pro-style ranges fit the same space as a freestanding or slide-in range, allowing for a simple upgrade to standard kitchens.
- 48-inch pro-style ranges require more space, but when possible, most buyers choose one to add more bang to their buck.
- Despite the size difference, 30-inch and 36-inch ranges come with relatively comparable cooking space. On the other hand, the extra 12 inches on a 48-inch model provide a lot more cooking surface, while still being easier on space than 60-inch models.
Regardless of the size, most professional ranges offer extra customization, versatility, and greater cooking capacity. For instance, 48-inch ranges use two ovens, while features not listed in the graph above include options like a French top on select professional ranges from Wolf or induction elements and built-in sous vide on pro-style ranges from the Signature Kitchen Suite lineup.
Typically, most brands offer professional ranges in all gas — that is, gas on the cooktop and gas in the oven — and dual fuel options that combine the precision of gas cooking above and electric baking below. Having the power of gas on a cooktop provides rapid heat response and intuitive control, while most prefer electric-powered ovens for their consistent heat that deliver more even bakes.
While far less common, premium brands do manufacture all electric professional ranges, although they typically run between 30 and 36 inches and use induction rather than traditional radiant heat.
Burners, Grills, Griddles, Etc.
Unlike conventional counterparts, high-quality ranges come in a rich lineup of configurable options and cooking surfaces that expand the flexibility to a home cook’s repertoire. Take a look at what each facet has to offer.
Premium ranges start in four burners configurations, but if you’re feeling truly ambitious, you can also find options such as a 10 burner range on select 60-in configurations. As if more cooking zones isn’t enough, these burners found on most high-end brands like Wolf, Thermador, BlueStar, Jennair, Monogram, and Miele have been designed to provide equal heat from each port. In other words, while standard ranges might come with a dedicated high-power, medium-power, and low simmer burner, professional ranges let you do it all from a single heat source.
✓ This is a major asset when it comes to cooking versatility and user experience, since there’s no need to shift heavy pots or cookware around to conform to the appliance.
Flexibility is great, but combine it with equally great power and it’s a match made in culinary heaven. We’re talking heat output, or British Thermal Units (BTUs), the universal measurement for gas power used by professionals around the world. Here’s a general rundown:
- Most pro ranges have a minimum output of 15,000 BTUs.
- Some premium ranges can deliver between 20 – 25,000 BTUs of heat per burner.
- By contrast, select standard ranges might provide between 18 – 22,000 BTUs of heat, but only for a single burner.
Of course, with every scorch there needs to be a simmer. Here’s why high-end ranges handle low-heat output better than the regular freestanding range:
- Most pro-style ranges are capable of producing simmers starting at 500 BTUs and can go as low as 300 BTUs per burner.
- Typically, standard ranges only feature a single simmer burner, with less-than-comparable performance and heat consistency.
As a result, professional ranges can boil water faster, sear meats better, and gently heat foods to precise temperatures far more superior than ranges at lower price points. Two standout examples of this performance include Thermador’s patented Star Burner, which features over 50 ports that deliver 56% better heat coverage than a regular circle burner, and the dual stack burners from Wolf.
Although pro range grills (also known as char broilers) require some getting used to, once you’ve understood how to navigate the cooking method, enjoying seasoal flavor of the grill can be yours any time of the year. It’s a great option to have if it’s available, but not a necessity, especially since most reviews are met with mixed feelings due to the amount of smoke and heat it produces. However, with ducted ventilation featuring plenty of capture space and high-powered air filtration, this is less of an issue.
One of the perks of purchasing a professional range is all the add-ons you can combine with the already versatile cooking setup. Griddles are a popular range accessory, equally great for whipping up batches of pancakes or searing peppers and steak for fajitas. In order to get the most out of the experience on a 48 or 60-inch range, we recommend opting for a 24-inch griddle versus the standard 12-inch griddle. This will keep four burners open on 48-inch models and six on 60-inch ranges, creating a flexible cook station that isn’t crowded.
If you want to do it like the pros, a French top surface is a great addition to a pro-range. These 24-in x 24-in cooking surfaces are a single plane — not individual burners — and work in concentric levels of heat, hotter in the middle and cooler at the edges. That means, instead of adjusting the heat with a dial, you can simply move cookware to a different zone for instant heat adjustment. Working on one of these surfaces does take some learning, but once it’s mastered, it’s a pretty intuitive way to cook (not to mention, it looks impressive).
This technology is still relatively new to the market, though brands such as Wolf, BlueStar, and La Cornue manufacture mass market options.
If you’re a connoisseur of cuisine, you’re probably well aware of the growing presence of the sous vide in the modern kitchen. This cooking technique utilizes a water bath to gently apply exact temperatures to foods placed inside a vacuum-sealed bag. Essentially, preparing items using this method makes it virtually impossible to overcook foods, which is especially great for delicate proteins like fish, seafood, or veal and expensive steaks. Explore this pro-style range upgrade exclusively from Signature Kitchen Suites by LG.
Take a look at how it works!
While induction is quickly becoming the new standard for conventional kitchens, custom designed cooking spaces have yet to give the newer technology reign over gas power. Still, luxury range brands are including more and more options to their lineups, although they are not available in the same quantity or size options as their counterparts. Brands like Wolf, Miele, Dacor and Fisher & Paykel provide full-size pro induction ranges in 30-in and 36-in options, while others like Thermador and Signature Kitchen Suite include the cooking surface as an option on select dual-fuel ranges.
One of the best incentives of designing a kitchen with separate cooking zones is upgrading to a higher-end wall oven with more features than on a standard range. Fortunately, luxury ranges match many of those same oven innovations, allowing users to enjoy multiple high-end cooking functions on a single footprint.
For starters, if it’s a pro range, chances are it has a convection oven. However, it is worth noting that ranges between 24-in and 36-in sizes come with a single oven, and double ovens on 48-inch ranges often come with a full-size oven and half-size oven, while 60-inch ranges provide two full-size ovens. Depending on the brand and model, most typically feature a single convection oven paired with a conventional oven.
Additionally, manufacturers such as Miele and Thermador include alternative configuration options, including models with a warming oven and a speed oven that can be used as a traditional microwave, conventional oven, or a combination of both.
✓ This is a great way to reclaim valuable countertop space while maximizing the amount of cooking appliances in a single area.
One of our favorite examples of this smart, space-saving solution comes courtesy of the Thermador® Pro Grand® 48" Stainless Steel Pro Style Dual Fuel Range (PRD48WISGU).
We’d be remiss not to mention professional ranges offer the best experience when paired with powerful ventilation. In fact, in many areas, it’s not only recommended — it’s required. That said, remember to budget an over-the-range hood into your purchase in order to get the most out of the use of your premium range.
So, why is ventilation necessary? That’s because the heat created by gas is far greater than the output of radiant heat. In order to properly filter out contaminants such as smoke, grease, and heat, it’s important to use exhaust that vents out of the home. A standard recirculating hood will not be enough to filter air particles, and since they do not vent out of the home, they cannot remove smoke or heat from the kitchen.
The general rule of thumb is for every 10,000 BTUs a range produces, a range hood needs to be able to circulate 100 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM).
For an in-depth guide on how to make sure your kitchen has enough ventilation, make sure to read our article on How to Shop for a Range Hood.
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