The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Selecting a new range

  • Pin It
Random 83's picture
Random 83

Selecting a new range

We need to replace our 10 year old, 30 inch LP gas range.  In may ways it has been a disappointing choice but in particular we have never been able to get as good results with baking muffins and some cakes as we get with a gas range we have in the basement and use principally for cooking overload at holiday times.  It is 55 years old and is the first range we ever bought and is reliable.  We would appreciate suggestions for a good performing range in the hopes that we can avoid another disappointing purchase.

xaipete's picture
xaipete

All I can say is buy the warranty. Things aren't made today like they used to be. --Pamela

Random 83's picture
Random 83

Thanks for your reply.  I've got to find a way to do this right this time.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

There are so many different models out there, with differing bells and whistles, that I think your best bet is to visit your local library and check the latest recommendations and reviews published by "Consumers Reports," which is an independent, nonprofit organization that does testing on just about every product out there.  


Interestingly, Consumers Reports recommends that extended warranties not be purchased, citing a number of reasons.  


Good luck on your quest; I hope you find the perfect stove for your needs.

Random 83's picture
Random 83

Thaks for replying.  Meaning no disregard, we used Consumer Reports when we selected the range.  I have used the reports for years and will continue to do so.  But I have to be armed with more knowledge to get what we need and want.

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I am in the same boat. According to consumer reports more money doesn't mean better quality. http://tinyurl.com/d8nj4j . That is my best recomendation.

Random 83's picture
Random 83

Thanks for replying.  Consumer Reports is on target with that assessment at least.  Though I rely on the reports they sometimes miss the mark.  We used their recommendation for this gas range with sealed burners and automatic ignition. It sparks for long periods after ignition, sometimes for several minutes.  Two of the burners deposited black soot on the bottom of pans.  No amount of factory authorized service could cure either of these issues  The knobs became very loose after a few years and cost about $35.00 each to replace.  The oven is great for roasting and some baked products but has poor performance in other baking venues.  I can't figure that one out.


I did solve the sparking problem by introducing some thin metal shims under the cast iron seal on two burners.  This also cut down the soot deposit.  I don't really know why this worked but it did.


So much for taking advice blindly.

Marni's picture
Marni

What is the make of your 55 year old range?  Can you jut bring it into the kitchen?


Marni

Random 83's picture
Random 83

It is a Kenmore 40 inch range.  It is to large for the counter area in the kitchen.  It was a beauty, with a gas oven and a separate electric oven.  One of the burners was a "burner with a brain" so you could set the cook temperature; and another had a simmer setting that lit up only part of the burner.  The condition of the gas oven is excellent even after years of use because my wife cleans it religiously as she does all our appliances.  But it is old.  The clock doesn't work and the chrome is wearing thin.  But it cooks very well. 


We are well along in years so it sees much less service than in decades past.

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

I cringed when I read this:


It was a beauty, with a gas oven and a separate electric oven.  One of the burners was a "burner with a brain" so you could set the cook temperature; and another had a simmer setting that lit up only part of the burner.  The condition of the gas oven is excellent even after years of use because my wife cleans it religiously as she does all our appliances.  But it is old.  The clock doesn't work and the chrome is wearing thin.  But it cooks very well.


I replaced an old war horse that was the perfect stove for me but looking old and worn when I sold my house. I didn't want to sell it; I had moved it several times, but my husband and the realtor talked me out of it. I got a new fancy Thermador that looks beautiful but bakes nothing like my old Vulcan commercial range. It's quieter, and it has sealed burners--all pluses. But I've had the repairman out numerous times, and no satisfaction from the company. They just act like they don't know me.


If you stove cooks great, do whatever you can to keep it, especially if you're not looking forward to a challenge. I have friends who have bought all kinds of fancy new stoves, and none of them are happy with them.


I'd love to hear from someone who is. One friend has a Wolf that she thinks she likes, but it doesn't cook as evenly as the Vulcan did, and she's already had the repairman out to work on it.


Patricia

LindyD's picture
LindyD


I have friends who have bought all kinds of fancy new stoves, and none of them are happy with them. I'd love to hear from someone who is.



My Whirlpool natural gas free standing stove is a year old now and I'm very happy with it.  While it's not a fancy stove compared to some of the models out there, the oven heats very evenly and I love the pilotless ignition and sealed burners.  It is also insulated very well.  No service calls needed.

leucadian's picture
leucadian

We replaced a 20 y.o. Dacor electric oven last month with a new Kitchenaid dual fuel slide-in range, model KDSS907SSS03. The Dacor was a workhorse, but had some failures early in its life. I am very pleased with the new oven. Very even heating, even with multiple sheets of muffins and convection turned off. Kitchenaid claims that this oven minimizes hot spots, and I believe them based on my experience.


There's also a 100 degree proofing mode, The minimum temp is 175 (the Dacor would regulate down to 100, which I really liked) and the max is 500. The control panel is all touchscreen electronic, which is typical in home ranges now. It does seem to fog up a bit when I steam the oven, but has not caused any problems yet.


I would go against CU's advice, and get the warranty. We tend to stress these products more than an average homeowner, and the warranty was well appreciated with the Dacor. We bought an extended warranty with the KA. By the way, the range is great also (ours is dual fuel, so gas range) with a good variety of burners from simmer to inferno.


Stewart

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

I would definitly go with the dual fuel. I purchased a new range a couple of years ago and that was the one thing I insisted on having. As far as the warranty; I don't get them on anything... This has turned into a "throw away" world and it tends to be more expensive to repair something than to purchase new. Anything that goes wrong within the stated warranty period will be covered anyway. The few times in the past when I DID purchase the warranty, I never used it... I would take the money you will save by NOT buying the extended warranty and put it towards a range with more of the features you are looking for. Good luck!

Random 83's picture
Random 83

I agree and am having the existing wiring checked to see if it compatible. 

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

You will most likely need to have 220 for your electric... but believe me, it will be worth it to have it coverted if necessary. That's something you can pay for with the money you SAVE by not getting the extended warranty.... Good luck and keep me posted!

mattie405's picture
mattie405

I bought a Sears Elite Dual Fuel range 5 years ago and have been very happy with it. Right now I have to have the repair guy come check out the convection fan in it as it's not working but otherwise I would buy this model again in a heartbeat. It has 5 sealed burners, one a simmer and 2 high BTU ones on it, continous grates and a self clean oven. It has one large and one small oven in it, the large is convection and conventional, the small is only conventional. It has probably done more cooking than any of the other 5 stoves I have bought new since we got this house in 1989. I used it for the first year for the restaurant I worked at and do several large catering jobs every year too for upwards of 100 people each time, I also cook three meals a day for us and for our son and his family on the weekend. The ovens hold a steady temperature and are very well insulated, during the summer in an un-air conditioned house in the deep south you can barely feel the heat it throws out, very different from the other stoves that we could literally heat the house with. It is made by Fridgadare and the Sears label is put on it. As I said I have been very happy with it and tell hubby that if we ever sell and move it goes with me!  mattie

Random 83's picture
Random 83

Thanks for your input.  It is encouraging to find that a few buyers are satified with ther purchase.  We have two options now (this and a Kitchenaid) between which we can surely find a satisfactory choice.

ladychef41's picture
ladychef41

The dual fuel is the ONLY way to go! They are little gems that are workhorses too. I also have a Sharp Carousel Microwave/Convection combo that I ADORE!!!!! I've had it more than 20 years and I just don't know WHAT I'm going to do when it goes out.... It's got a HUGE cooking cavity and bakes the most perfect breads and pastries!!! I rarely use the "microwave" feature, but I use the convection option daily!!! It's like losing a very close friend when one of our beloved appliances reaches the end of its life!!!

Marni's picture
Marni

If someone recommends a range they bought 5 years ago, that carries some weight because the appliance has stood a small test of time.  A recommendation for a range that is only a few months to a year old has not.  There is plenty of time for things to go wrong.  The problem with following up with the older model is that it is unlikely to still be available.  It might not even be made by the same manufacturer.  Just like cars makers, the major appliance manufacturers are constantly tweaking their designs. 


As for an extended warranty, Appliance.net has an article about them.  (Full disclosure - I work for appliance.net - :-))


Hope this helps,


Marni


PS I'd vote for trying to reconfigure cabinets to get the 55 year old range back in the kitchen, but that's probably more work than you want to get into.

Crider's picture
Crider

Of course, if it was me, I'd opt for a used Wedgewood. They're a great investment, too.

mattie405's picture
mattie405

Marni,


     My stove model is still sold at Sears, they have changed the switches on the new models but the rest is the same. Being 5 years old with no major breakdowns wouldn't really impress me except for the fact that this stove has seen MAJOR use, more than a lot of the commercial ones I used during my restaurant years. I make lots of pizza at high heat and for the first 2 years also made all the food for my son and his family in addition to ours here at home and for the deli I was working at during those 2 years, if I had to give an estimate as to how much this stove has been used I would have to say that in 5 years it has probably been used the equivilent of at least 10 years in a normal household setting. I don't know what the repair on the convection feature will cost because the oven is still usable without that feature so I haven't had the repair guys in yet, it may even still be covered under the extended warranty for all I know......I guess I should give them a call soon, as the oven stills works fine on regualr setting it hasn't been a high priority. The grates on it have held up fine too with all of my sliding pots and griddles around on them too, no chips or damage. This stove also has a wok holder that locks onto a high BTU burner, it's a nice touch for easy stir frys. Recently I have gotten hooked on watching that Extreme Makeover show re-runs and I see that they also installed this stove in many of the houses they did........although my kitchen sure couldn't compete with any of those kitchens! mattie

Marni's picture
Marni

That's a great endorsement!


Marni