The steely efficiency of a professional working kitchen has surpassed mere trend status to become the pinnacle of modern kitchen style. When a look becomes a must-have in the real estate market, you know it's struck a chord in kitchens humble and grand alike.
But overenthusiasm can land you in a heap of hot water when it comes to a commercial range. The main draws of a so-called "professional-style" range are size and power — both highly prized by devoted home chefs. But a commercial range often proves to be overkill not only for your kitchen space and local building codes but especially for your food.
A true commercial range might seem like a less expensive, more powerful option to any cook who's been eyeing a professional-style range. Commercial ranges cost less than residential ranges, and they feature much stronger burner output (up to 25,000 or even 35,000 BTUs, compared to a standard home range's 9,000 to 12,000 BTUs and a pro-style unit's 12,000 to 15,000 BTUs). Their large capacity makes them great for cooks who frequently cook for a crowd, and they're designed to be sturdy and long-lasting.
However, installation and insurance for a commercial unit in your home can be a nightmare. Residential installation frequently voids the warranty on commercial units, and some insurance companies will refuse to insure your home with commercial equipment installed. You cannot install a commercial range next to residential wood cabinetry, and you'll need more robust gas lines and ventilation. Local building codes may prohibit the installation of a commercial unit outright; at best, you'll need to navigate the process carefully. (Read more about installation issues at Gardenweb.com.) And let's face it: Industrial appliances are often noisy, smoky creatures — not an ideal choice in your light and airy open floor plan.
If you crave more from your range than a residential unit can deliver but you're not ready to unleash the beast of a commercial range, a professional-style range hits sweet spot. You'll get more power than a residential range can deliver in a unit that's designed and rated for home use.
Spend some time browsing through industrial ranges to get an idea of what you're looking for that's not found in standard ranges. Do you want dual fuel capabilities? More cooktop space? Room to grill? Multiple ovens? If more than one person at your house enjoys cooking, consider smaller pro-style ranges that are not installed directly next to one another, giving both cooks their own work space while adding capacity and flexibility overall. Look for brands like GE Monogram, Miele or Thermador that make high-end units that are still aimed squarely at home chefs.
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