Recommendations for choosing a new range?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DaveF, Jul 11, 2004.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm buying a new house, and I have to select a kitchen range (stove/oven) in the next few months. I've been living in cheap apartments all my adult life, and my experience is 95% electric, 5% gas, and always basic models. So I know I can get by just fine with a $200 cheapie electric. But I go to the appliance stores and I am wowed by five-burner, smooth-top electrics and the four or five burner, sealed vent(?) gas ranges.

    The smooth-top electrics seem great and look so easy to clean. But a co-worker said he's found the opposite -- spilled food quickly bakes on and is fiercely difficult to clean off. A Sears saleslady told me spilled salt and sugar will cause the ceramic surface to pit.

    Gas ranges - I'm concerned about even heating and the ability have a low simmer heat. In my hazy memories, I've heard those are weaknesses of gas ranges. But gas will work during our inevitable power outages (from ice storms or a repeat of the NE power loss of last summer).

    What's your experience with the different ranges. (And I've got a $700 budget, if you've got specific suggestions .)
     
  2. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    Given a choice I'd always go with gas. Much better control of heat over electric. A friend of mine has a smooth top electric. He likes it, but after nearly 4 years is having the top replaced due to scratches. He bought an extended warrranty so no charge, would have cost on the order of $700 to replace. Also he comments that spills are tough to clean.
    For the fridge, I find that side/side with water/ice in the door is the overall best compromise. It is true that with a side/side the bigger the better to keep freezer size adequate.
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    It's exactly the opposite: electric ranges have these problems. I'm sure that 99+% of professional chefs will demand a gas range. I sure liked my gas stovetop I previously had over my current electric. But the oven may be a different story. If you get separates, you can get a gas stovetop and an electric self-cleaning oven which may be the best of both worlds. Although a unitary "drop in" range may be the cheapest solution. Gas appliances will require a proper ventilation duct, so it's always easier in the future to change you mind and go gas-to-electric rather than the other way around.

    Also don't forget a natural gas outlet on your patio to support a gas grill! I presume you are having the house built. This stuff is always much cheaper to have done during original construction.
     
  4. Bob Friend

    Bob Friend Stunt Coordinator

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    You can get a elcetric oven with a gas cooktop all in one. No need to get seperates if you want gas/electric.
     
  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I'm with the gas crew too, much easier to cook on, instant heat, and instant output changes. I've never had trouble burning stuff when simmering at all.
     
  6. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

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    Your co-worker is right. The apartment I live in during the week has one and I hate it. Whenever anything touches the surface, even water, it sticks and leaves a residue that only 'special' cleaners can get off. I find myself cleaning it every day.

    Gas is by far the best. It gives you the most control because you can see the flame and feel it.
     
  7. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    I once had one of those smooth top ranges. A real pain in the ass. Heat control was terrible! And it can be dangerous for your family if someone accidentally puts their hand on one of the elements even after it's been turned off. Because there's no visibly raised elements, you don't think there's any elements there in the first place.

    I may have an electric range for now, but I wouldn't mind having a gas cooktop one of these days. It all depends on where I move the next time I feel like changing residences. In terms of total heat control and usefulness during a power outage, gas is king.
     
  8. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    If you like to cook, like at the Maytag Gemini Ranges. It comes in either gas of electric, but it has 2 ovens in and 4 gas burners. It has a power boost power for quick boiling and a simmer burner which gets really low.
     
  9. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    I'll take a gas cooktop any old day - and electric/convection ovens (preferably double)...
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Wow! Thanks for the suggestions! I've not cooked with gas in so long that I've forgotten what it's like.

    As for the gas-line for the grill. That crossed my mind, but at the risk of regretting it, I'm not having that done. It's a walk-out basement and I'm uncertain where the grill will eventually go.

    My kitchen won't really accomodate separates (cooktop and oven), so I'm limited to the tradiational units.

    I asked my sister about the smoothtop oven - she said it was no problem cleaning it with the special cleaner. My experience is that regular stoves are a pain to keep clean with the bowls and various nooks and crannies.

    I may have them add a gas line and then I can choose gas or electric stove later.
     
  11. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Depending on the house it might not be too bad to pipe the gas line in later, once you know where the grill will be.
    Figure about 15 bucks a foot to do it though.
     
  12. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    I sold appliances for more than 7 years, and smoothtop electrics are by far the most popular choice. I don't cook, so i don't have any personal use experience. But i do have general observations.
    - Serious chefs cook exclusively on gas.
    - I own a Ceran smoothtop, and they are a breeze to keep
    clean with softscrub or the official cooktop cleaners.
    - Do not buy anything other than a SELF CLEANING OVEN.
    - Gas can make the house smell funny over time.
    Electric is much cleaner.
    - If you get gas stay with the sealed burner models
    - The best oven in your price range is any GE TruTemp
    oven.

    My vote if you are not a serious cook would be a smoothtop electric with a self cleaning oven. You really wouldn't need to spend more than $599 to get a really good one.

    Scott
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Scott -- thanks for the specific recommendations. I'm a casual cook, and electric works well for me. I may just stick with that for the time. I'll look at the GE TruTemp.

    Philip -- that's probably what I'll do.
     
  14. CalvinCarr

    CalvinCarr Supporting Actor

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    We have the Gemini in Stainless with the convection. We love it.
     
  15. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Your sister is right. It is easy to keep the smooth top cooktop in my house very clean with the special cleaner stuff. Much easier than spill pans. You have to be careful of overflow though.

    The problem with gas is that there's a natural gas crisis in north america, and gas prices are wildly fluctuating. Just ask anyone in the north who had to pay for gas heat last winter.

    The problem with electric is that it's much more efficient to use gas. For every joule of heat energy you get from a gas flame it takes three or four joules of energy at the power plant to cause your electric element to fire.

    Pick your poison. I like electric.
     
  16. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    Go for gas. Or best yet, gas top / electric oven. A quality gas range is no more difficult to keep clean than an electric. You have far better control over heat with gas. Uneven heating is a non-issue, especially if you have a decent set of cookware.

    There is a reason that every professional chef uses a gas range.
     

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