Buyers Guide: Commercial Ranges
What to Consider When Purchasing a Commercial Range
Most professional chefs will agree that the most versatile and used multi-functional piece of equipment in any restaurant kitchen is the commercial range. With the ability to fry, grill, broil, sauté, boil, braise, simmer, warm and even bake, a range is often a chef’s most valued cooking tool. Selecting the right commercial range for your kitchen requires some research and a budget that will help you determine how much cooking capability you will need for your particular situation.
While there are many types of specialty ranges and accessories available, the two main types of commercial ranges are “restaurant ranges” and “heavy duty ranges”. Restaurant ranges are the most common type found in today’s average commercial kitchen and are designed for ease of use and durability. Today, about 95% of the commercial ranges we sell are restaurant ranges because they are high quality, affordable and sufficient for the vast majority of commercial kitchen applications. These ranges have come a long way with improved design and capabilities in recent years and the quality gap between most restaurant and heavy duty ranges has narrowed considerably.
A restaurant range is designed to stand alone and is available in a variety of widths in 12 inch increments -- from 24 inch to 72 inch. Restaurant ranges typically offer 15,000-25,000 BTU output per burner which is considered more than adequate for most applications. A heavy duty range is designed specifically for heavy, high volume use such as in hotels, colleges, hospitals and in high volume chain restaurants. They may offer higher energy output burners (20,000-45,000 BTU per burner) than a restaurant range. But, depending on the brand and features, they can be considerably more expensive than the typical restaurant range. Another major difference is that heavy duty ranges are designed to be banked together in a continuous lineup with other ranges and restaurant equipment, rather than as a standalone piece of equipment.
Electric vs. Natural Gas Commercial Ranges
Your current kitchen setup matters not only in terms of available space but available power sources as well. Ranges, like most large cooking equipment, run on either electric or natural gas (or in some cases liquid propane). Your existing connections, heating requirements and budget will all be factors in your purchasing decision. Keep in mind that gas and electric ranges have multiple differences that you should consider before making a commitment.
Electric ranges are often less expensive and easier to install compared to those using gas power sources. While traditionalist chefs will almost always say they prefer gas ranges, electric ranges are becoming an increasingly popular choice in recent years due to advancements in induction technology. They don’t normally heat up as fast, which makes cooking times longer, a possible disadvantage in a large busy kitchen. Natural gas and propane usually both perform more efficiently than electric ranges, and they yield lower operational costs. Burners light instantly, which creates immediate heat and shorter cooking times. But gas models require pre-existing hookups and equipment, which can make installation more difficult and expensive.
Selecting the right type of range for your commercial kitchen is really up to your specific situation and needs. If you operate a small family restaurant with modest volumes, you probably will be better served purchasing a less costly but still good performing electric restaurant range. However, if you operate a high volume chain restaurant or a busy college cafeteria, you may be best served investing in a gas powered heavy duty range.
Interested in researching a Commercial Range? We would love to speak with you! Visit us at your nearest store and speak with a member of our team.
Not able to drop in at the moment? We can also email our team at your convenience.