Demystifying Your Appliances: How to Decode Home Appliance Jargon Part 2
Buying your next kitchen addition should be an exhilarating experience. You shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the decisions or confused by the home appliance jargon on labels and in sales pitches. It’s important for you to get exactly what you need so you can cook happily, cleanly, and quietly for years to come.
In Part 1 of this series, we talked about CFMs, BTUs, watts, and more. In this post, we’ll dig in and let you know how to be on the same page as the salesman (or saleswoman) while browsing your options.
Is It Time to Go Pro?
Salespeople often speak to clients about pro ranges. In the past, this meant a residential range built more like a professional range. To most homeowners, this meant higher powered BTU burners, upgrades to powerful oven broilers,and larger oven interiors. Many people expected thicker gauges and higher quality stainless steel too.
That’s not always the case.
Now that the category has been around for a few decades, major brands are using it to target every corner of the market possible. Because of this, the definition of what a professional range actually is will vary greatly.
Sometimes, a pro range can be as simple as a standard range wrapped in a stainless steel colored metal. Other times it can be the full professional grade range you’d expect to find in a restaurant kitchen.
Independent retail stores tend to carry multiple brands. Big box stores do not. With a wider selection, independent stores are your best resource for helping you understand the differences in a professional style range versus a standard range posing as a professional range. Our list of local independent retail stores will help you find one near you.
Does Size Really Matter?
Whether you’re replacing an existing range, remodeling, or building your dream home, you will want the exact measurements for the space you have available. Dial these in to find the width of the gas cooktop or range that best fits your situation.
On average, homes with a cooktop or range have a 30” wide “standard” width. Condominium and townhomes tend to have smaller areas and average a width of 24”. Many newer single family homes are going the opposite direction with 36” width stainless steel ranges. If you’re building your own home, you will have more flexibility and can go as big as 40”, 48”, or 60” widths.
Though the most common widths are 30”, the 24” and 36” widths are picking up steam. Know your space before you start shopping so you aren’t left scratching your head in confusion when you’re ready to buy.
Debating between a gas or electric range? You’ll want to look a little deeper than considering the cooktop area alone.
When choosing a range, you’ll have the option of a gas/gas range (gas cooktop and gas oven) or a dual fuel (gas top and electric oven). Many times, the salesperson you’re working with will try to convince you that the dual option is ideal. Most of the time, this assertion is based on old information. If you dig a little deeper, chances are the salesperson cannot give you a solid reason why one is better than the other.
Consider your entire experience while using your range.
Gas ovens are still a popular alternative. These ovens often retain moisture better. They can provide a different finish on cookies, breads, or meats that isn’t available in most convection ovens. For example, your favorite biscuit will have a slightly crispy crust and super soft inside with a gas oven. With a convection oven, it’ll be cooked more evenly throughout.
If you opt for a gas oven, consider only choosing one with convection. Gas ovens without convection typically have holes in the bottom of the oven. These can create hot spots that could overheat your baking in one or several spots.
If heat and power are what you’re after, look at brands such as the Italian Verona range. Their most popular range is a 36” dual fuel stainless steel model for less than $3,000. It also has a full eight mode European convection oven with consistent cooking results.
If you want a powerful oven, look at the American Range Performer model. The Performer doesn’t disappoint with two burners boasting 25,000 BTUs and deep seated smaller burners for delicate simmering. Clean up is easy with the removable burner heads and lightweight removable burner pans for deep cleaning.
Wrapping Up Your Purchase
Now you’re better prepared to approach kitchen appliances with confidence. There is a lot to consider when deciding on a new home appliance. Here are a few key points to keep in mind while reviewing your final purchase.
If you aren’t offered at least 15,000 BTUs or more, you probably are not getting a great product – especially if it was built in this decade.
Don’t wait to choose a quality vent hood until the end. Ask about the best hood for your cooking surface to make sure it meets your local code requirements early on. This way you’ll know if it has enough power to vent your cooktop.
Shop the big box stores for price but look to the local independent stores for experience. These are the people who will make your project go smoothly from start to finish. They’ll connect with your delivery and installation and manage service challenges with the brand you purchase. These are the people who are more educated on how to support your purchase decision. You’ll ultimately save money and save the headache of shopping blindly for your home appliances.