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Pro-style range tests produce some amateurish results

Consumer Reports News: November 13, 2012 04:08 PM

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If you're going to spend five grand for a beefy pro-style range, you'd expect that it can bake evenly and broil burgers well. But that wasn't the case with two new pro-styles from Jenn-Air and Thermador that Consumer Reports tested recently. They could simmer sauce and bring large pots of water to a boil fast enough, but once we opened the oven door the results were disappointing.

The 36-inch wide Jenn-Air JGRP436WP gas range, $5,200, was superb at simmering. Five of the six burners are high-powered but were so-so at fast heating. The large oven turned out evenly browned cakes and cookies, but the broiler didn't produce the well-browned exteriors we look for in our burger test. The lackluster results landed the Jenn-Air at the bottom of our tests of 36-inch pro-style ranges.

So far only one 30-inch pro-style range, a KitchenAid, has made our list of top picks and our latest tests did not change that. The Thermador PRG304GH, $4,500, gas range was excellent at simmering and its four high-power burners provide fast heat. But the oven didn't evenly bake cakes and cookies and couldn't evenly brown our large pan of burgers either.

While homeowners with custom kitchens like the look of a pro-style range, you can get better cooking results with a range that costs the same price or much less. For $4,000 the 30-inch KitchenAid KDRS407VSS produced superb simmering and fast cooktop heating along with evenly browned cakes and cookies as well as very good self-cleaning. For more details, see the full results of our kitchen range tests. And before you buy, be sure to look online for sales and manufacturer rebates.

Kimberly Janeway


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