A $2,000 pro-style range beats some bigger names in our tests

Consumer Reports News: July 10, 2013 02:08 PM

Wolf, Viking and Thermador are familiar names to fans of pro-style ranges, but what about the lesser known brands that cost less? Consumer Reports tested two NXR pro-styles that we bought online from Costco—the NXR DRGB3001 and the NXR DRGB3602. They're half the price of most pro-style ranges and our tests found some surprising results.

Among 30-inch pro-style ranges the $2,000 NXR DRGB3001 was better than the Viking VDSC530SS, the Thermador PRG304GH, and the Wolf GR304, which range in price from $4,500 to $5,500. But better may not be good enough for you if you love to cook. While this NXR was superb at simmering, it didn't provide fast cooktop heat, and baking and broiling were so-so, helping to keep it off our list of recommended ranges. Like most 30-inch pro-styles the NXR's oven is small, and there isn't a self-clean function. The 36-inch NXR DRGB3602, $3,000, also has a small oven and performed similarly, and didn't make our recommended list either. Overall, it scored nearly as well as the $6,000 Wolf GR366. The $7,500 Thermador PRG366JG and $7,200 Viking VGSC536-4G scored better than both, but still not good enough to be recommended.

Boxy pro-style ranges have become status symbols, with Wolf being the most prestigious, but the NXR isn't a social climber. Its look is simple, with a dull stainless finish, regular cast iron grates (rather than continuous) and knobs that are lightweight instead of heavy and chunky. And here's a quirky touch: Some of the oven temperature settings—350 degrees F, 400 degrees F, and so on—were in bold on the 30-inch range but others weren't. That's not a big deal, unless small details matter to you.

Take a look at our range Ratings. In addition to pro-styles, we test gas and electric ranges, including induction, and dual-fuel models that pair a gas cooktop with an electric oven. You'll find a $430 coil-top range, the Kenmore 90212, that we recommend as well as a $7,500 pro-style Thermador, and everything in between.

Kimberly Janeway

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