The Fresh Loaf

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Need a new oven. Go commercial or get another residential unit for my kitchen? Recommendations for either?

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Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

Need a new oven. Go commercial or get another residential unit for my kitchen? Recommendations for either?

We're looking for a new oven. I've considered buying a used commercial/restaurant unit. Would there be benefits to that over a residential unit? It seems like most ovens I've seen in stores are pretty cheaply made. I prefer gas (not even sure why) but maybe there's a reason to use electric I do have a decent steam setup in my gas oven now. I've always thought electric heat of any sort was a waste of energy/costs but with higher prices on gas, that's possibly debatable.


Anyways, my wife and I are looking for a good replacement for what we have. I want something that:

-Is insulated well enough to keep the heat INSIDE of the oven

-Is easy to adjust (some stove burner knobs don't have the best adjustment control)

-Reliable... with new gas ovens I miss pilot lights... the new glow ignitors seem to fail regularly.

-Timer shut-off but no other electronics. i.e. pretty simple with not much that can break.

-an older unit is ok. I'm not after state of the art electronics or modern cutting edge styling. I want a good functional piece that works great and will cook and make it enjoyable to do so.

I'm very interested in recommendations from other members here.

GlendaLynne's picture
GlendaLynne

Six months ago I bought a new Miele oven with "moisture plus" function (ie a steaming function) and am VERY VERY happy with it.  Can bake beautiful bread with fantatic oven spring. 

Insulated - quadruple glazing - door does not feel more than just warm when at 250 deg C.

Love my new oven.  Very highly recommended!

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Miele ovens-$3000-$6000! on amazon.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I have searched all over for ovens.  The Garden Web has a pretty extensive discussions on various ovens so you might google a brand you like and type in reviews and usually the GW site will list something for you peruse.

 The chief complaint that I ran across over and over again was that of the electronics failing within 5 years of purchase .  No different with expensive brands vs the cheaper brands.  All stoves I looked at are loaded with electronics now - even if they have knobs to turn.  Gas may be different.  I was looking at electric ovens.

I do think quality will be better with a commercial unit but I would imagine the price tag will be significantly higher too.  If money isn't an issue then I would probably opt for a commercial oven if I had the space for one. If you go commercial I would recommend that you make sure you have someone who can repair it locally when it needs to be repaired.  You might like to find out how long of a wait there is for a repair call  and the price involved.    I would think that on a commercial brand oven the repair would be costlier....but I have no experience in that arena at all.  I just know I would check it out...

I do own a commercial counter top oven.  A Cadco, which I purchased to use during the summer in my garage when it is too hot to bake inside our house.  I couldn't find a toaster oven large enough or constructed well enough to fit my needs.  Somehow I ran across the Cadco.  I love it!  Love it so much that when summer ended and my daughter went off to college - I purchased a rolling cart for it and rolled it right into her empty room and have been baking with it all winter.  (It gets rolled out into our living room when she is home on breaks.)  It is constructed very well.  An on and off knob so no complex electronics.  It even has a steaming function *-).  Much more pricey than a toaster oven but it is a work horse and luckily has needed no repairs.

Have fun with your search and take your time.  You will be living with and using the oven you choose for a long time.

Take Care,

Janet

grind's picture
grind

If you decide to go commercial gas, make sure and factor in the appropriate exhaust system; it is generally more expensive to safely vent a commercial oven than it is to vent a residential one.  Good luck.

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

That's a great thing to consider. I've never been a fan of the minimal fumes the gas oven gives off before it reaches temp and I don't care for the idea of "ventless" indoor gas burning appliances. I have a friend who has an indoor 'propane log' fireplace and he thinks it's great. Personally, I think it smells like running your car in the garage with the garage door shut. lol. But seriously, vented anything gas is better in my opinion.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Nick,

Your first requirement that the oven be well insulated would eliminate every truly commercial oven with which I am familiar.  Not only are they not insulated, they get very hot to the touch.  What you would likely want is a home version of a commercial oven as made by Wolf, Viking,  and whoever else.

Jeff

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

Sounds like the commercial HOME ovens ARE insulated pretty well then? I don't know too much about ovens in general so this is very eduacational for me. I would have had no idea that normal commercial ovens are NOT insulated well.

thanks to everyone who's replied by the way.

Also, I will add to my first post that an older unit is ok. I'm not after state of the art or modern cutting edge styling. I want a good functional piece that works great.

Marni's picture
Marni

Nick,

 

It sounds like you are looking for a slide -in style range, one that has a stove top and and oven below, not a wall oven alone.  If so, then I agree with you about getting a gas unit.  If you do a decent amount of cooking, gas is less expensive and much more precise.  But an electric oven often heats more evenly.  I remember recently reading about units that combine gas and electricity.  Don't remember which though... sorry.  Maybe someone here will have heard of them too.

I also know from research and experience that appliances now generally  only last for 8 years or so.  I happen to be on my second Bosch oven in under nine years.  ( Bosch had to replace the first one) I don't recommend it.

Good luck with your search,

Marni

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

If you find a commercial oven that works re code, venting, or whatever, bear in mind it will be much cheaper than the same equiavalent high end consumer brand.  Go on the restaurant supply sites and you will see $1500 stoves that would be triple the price compared to those $5-6k stoves in the consumer market - more basic but much cheaper.  make sure you have the proper gas feed to handle the btu of the stove (one inch, 3/4")  or same for electric re breaker.  And clearance from the wall.   I think there have been prior posts on this, try the search box in the upper left corner too.   My brother is in the restuarant business, will see what info I can find from him... Keep us posted... 

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

That's kind of what I think Nick. Industrial is usually simple and fairly bulletproof. No restaurant has time to fuss with consumer style oven glow ignitors failing etc. That equals loss of business if something like that happens.

I'm not sure how it'd look in a home kitchen but I'd bet an oven from an auction would fetch 10% of what I'd pay for a very good consumer oven.


I don't however like the idea that they're not insulated well. I'm a little hesitant about the idea after reading that.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Commercial ranges present more than a few challenges in the home environment.  Most of the burners are rated at about 30,000 BTUs.  This is a lot of heat and if you turn on two or three of these then you have a tremendous amount of heat.  A  fan driven vented hood is essential.  When the oven is on anything above 250 °F the entire unit becomes hot to the touch.  Hot enough to burn any young tender hands that might touch it.  Because of the intense heat that it radiates, substantial clearance is required on all sides and the floor below needs protection as the bottom also radiates intense heat.  Then there is the insurance issue.  I believe that the providers of home insurance are far less than keen on commercial ranges in a home.  These are challenges that most home kitchens are not designed to meet.  On the positive side, if you can accommodate a commercial range in the home, the burner capacity both in terms of BTUs and physical size is a delight.  Having an oven that can accommodate full size sheet pans is also a delight and the cost is significantly lower than models made for the home that copy the commercial design.  All in all I would say that in the large majority of situations a commercial range is not a good fit in the home.

Jeff

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I think you are exaggerating the heat quite a bit.  We have a Garland commercial stove in our kitchen for over twenty years and while it is true that building codes require more clearance from walls than residential units no matter how hot the oven temperature the exterior of the unit never gets more than warm.  We have an exhaust that has two fans in it and it is able to handle it with just one fan running.  I think the biggest advandtage is the size of the oven and the instant temperature change that gas cook tops give.  It is also built like a tank, I think you stand on the oven door without damaging it (I have never tried that)

Gerhard

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

You have my utmost assurance that my report of my experience with commercial ranges in absolutely accurate without a gram of exaggeration.  Very possibly some are better and/or worse than others.

Jeff

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Here is a picture of our stove, just took it 5 minutes ago with the phone.  Even when I bake pizza and have the oven cranked to maximum all sides are safe to touch and those tea towels are on there always.  We had it installed in 1991 and haven't had a problem with it, it just passed it's inspection from the gas company done every 10 years.  Next to it is a 45 cubic foot Hobart fridge and if we had to do it again we would probably go with a domestic fridge, this sucker is just plain noisy.

Gerhard

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Gerhard,

I have no doubt about your experience with a commercial stove.  I work with a very similar range from a different manufacturer. Believe me when I tell you that you cannot touch any part of the unit when the oven is on,  especially when baking pizza.

Jeff

davidg618's picture
davidg618

More than a decade ago I looked into replacing my residential stove, with a commercial unit. A home builder friend of mine, with decades of experience as a contractor, advised against it. His convincing arguement was, building codes (CT state) were different for commercial stoves vis-a-vis home stoves. Furthermore, he advised me my home insurance might be compromised installing a commercial stove, or my premiums would likely increase.

I used a Dual-Fuel (gas cook top, electric oven) Kenmore Elite for a dozen years, ($$) operated entirely with electronic controls:timer, mode selection, and oven temperature set. A foodie, I worked that stove hard, including steaming bread baking, and never experienced a failure. I recently upgraded to an Electrolux Icon dual fuel, 36" model ($$$). It has no timer, and knob settings only. My criteria for a new purchase were: a bigger oven, for full length baguettes, and three or four loaves per load; higher BTU burners--boil five gallons of wort for beer in the house, or pasteurize 6 gallons of honey and water for mead; minimum electronic controls--based on the horror stories I've read re new stove reviews.

So, far I'm loving the new stove. Here's my recently published review. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/32424/electrolux-icon-dual-36fuel-stove-review-high-quality-old-school

I'd look at residential stoves extensively, before committing to a commercial stove.

David G

 

pambakesbread's picture
pambakesbread

This is my latest problem I need an oven that will be reliable and have consistent temp inside the oven. I ripped out my Kitchen Aid when the sucker would not close because they use cheap hinges on the door and when you heat it up to high temp for bread baking the door WON'T CLOSE!! And it stays that way. Needless to say an oven with a door that won't close is worse than useless. So then I bought beautiful 30" Thermado Professional double wall ovens. Gerogeous! but guess what after a few high temp baking experiences (470 F) the door won't close!!! I paid a bundle for these and this problem started after about 2 years of normal use-- not even high heat. I know when the door has warped during baking because the oven light goes on. Well I am not in the position to pay for replacement of these ovens so I came upon ( don't laugh-- too much) a way of securing the oven door with a 2x2 wraped in kitchen towels so it does not scratch the ovens. It looks stupid but it works. Another problem is that it is an electronicly controled oven so when I put the bread in and spray the interior I have to be fast or the steam shuts down the oven...I do not get it but I am ready to build an old fashion bread oven in my back yard. I have looked at commercial but it is not practical for me - no room.  So for now I use my stick to close the door and it works pretty well. Oh one more thing I wrote to Thermador to ask for assisstance and they sent me an add for the newest version of their ovens....not the right response. I am not holding my breath for them to come to my aid but in the future this brand is off my buying list. Good luck, Pam

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

That's a bummer! I've heard Kitchenaid isn't what they used to be and that confirms it. Bummer also on the next try.

It almost sounds like going backward in technology is a good solution. I was just telling my wife that my grandma's old gas oven with a pilot light was probably about what I'm after. Simple and reliable. If it doesn't light, make sure the pilot light is lit. I guess that could also mean a kitchen full of gas fumes. I understand why they've changed ignition technology. My hot water heater has a thermocouple/smart switch/valve that closes the gas supply if the pilot isn't lit (heating the thermocouple). That's a much better setup than the glow ignitor in my opinion. But oh well! Technology changes I suppose.

plevee's picture
plevee

I have exactly the same problem, plus it takes an age to heat up. I use a curtain tension bar between the oven door and the island. It's a pain bcause I then have to walk round the island for anything the other side of the oven. And my friends laugh when they come for meals.  Patsy

Nick Sorenson's picture
Nick Sorenson

That looks great Gerhard. It doesn't look out of place at all, just looks like you mean business with your kitchen.

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

As promised above, heard back from my brother:

Off the top of my head you can pick up a commercial stove for about $800 or less (yes less than the home models), you would need what we refer to as light duty commercial (churches, luncheonettes, deli’s) vs heavy duty (hotels, hospitals, cafeterias).  Some neat options available on commercial stoves (they build them your spec.), but the options add $ up. Most people do not want these because they take up too much room. Yes you do need about “6 of space behind them, and the right way to do it is with a gas “quick disconnect” and have the stove on wheels so you and move it for cleaning.  These stoves typically have legs about 4” high.  Another thing is they get hotter and have a wider flame spread than home models so you will need to design the area for them with either tile or metal on the back wall behind them.  I do not think venting would be an issue but A/C use would increase because these stoves retain a lot of residual heat and take a long time to cool down (and heat up).  You also may not be able to get one in your home because your doors are not wide enough (need 42” wide or more).  Commercial code requires something 6”  clearance from combustibles(good idea). They are heavy. The home versions solve all these issues and I think that is why they are 3x the price.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

If you are still looking, there are a number of stoves with minimal electronics.  If you want high heat with an open burner, your choices include Capital Culinarian, Bluestar, American Range, and Five Star .  If you are willing to use a sealed burner, you can also drop down in price and look at NXR,   Costco, among, others carry NXR, and a few on Gardenweb have them and love them.  As listed above, true commercial ranges are much cheaper than one designed for homes, in part because they have less insulation. Also, they have different clearance requirements  - how far from combustible materials on the sides and the back.