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Choosing a Commercial Range

16714 Views 17 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dogloverdr
I am writing a piece on commercial ranges both for restaurant use, and for home use.

What subjects are important to have in this article?

Anything goes here, simply what is important to you on this subject?
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May I suggest looking at a few commercial range sites (Vulcan, Garland, Southbend, US range,  etc) to seejust exactly what a commercial range is all about?

Let's take a typical commercial range, a 4 eye (4 burner) with an oven underneath.

Each burner puts out  a minimum of 28,000 btu's, with some models as high as 35,000.  I know of no residential range that goes above 22,000 btus.

Then the oven has an additional 30,000 btu burner.

So, theoretically, a 4-eye range can consume 150,000 btus per hour.  This means a larger gas line--usually what's called a "one pound (lb) line" for commerical applications.  Most residential applications only have a "one inch" gas line, which is not sufficient to feed a commercial range.  In addition, if one were to hook up a commercial unit to residential gas line, you might affect gas delivery to many other homes in the immediate area.

Assuming you had a commerical unit in a home, you would need a lot of air to feed that much firepower, and of course, assuming that you ran all four burners, you would put out a LOT of heat into your kitchen, not to mention grease/oil mist from frying pans, or water vapor (steam).  Most residential kitchen ventilation is a pathetic farce that couldn't handle a drunkard's beer fart.

In addition, commercial units have lousy insulation compared to residential units, and most commercial factory spec's require at least 6" away from any walls.

But here's the kicker:

Check out the pricing on a plain-Jane 4-eye commercial range, and it will be under $2,800.  Most halfway decent residential units that don't have burners made from recycled beer cans start at well over $3,500 and go up, up, up, dramatically.

Does this help? 
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No, no. The gas line is what you supply---it's part of the infrastructure of you house, or business.

Look, the most important part of a range is the burners. Commercial ones are heavy cast iron, and a large surface area. The grates (what you rest your pot on) are also heavy cast iron. Solid. Bomb proof. Meant to be taken apart, doused with oven cleaner, scoured, and put back to heavy use again. The oven can accept a standard 18 x 26 inch sheet pan.

Now, trot down to Sears and kick some tires. There are only two categories of gas ovens, those under $2,000.00 and those over. The cheap ones have piddly mousefart burners of under 12,000 btus, made of stamped steel and have a flame spead of under 8"? The grates are porcelainized steel, which are weak, and the porcelain will crack and craze within weeks, same for the drip pan.

Now the ones over two grand will always have a stainless steel skin--big deal, its only cosmetic. The burners will be cast iron, but thinner and weaker than commercial quality. The grates should be cast iron, but again, thinner and weaker than commercial, and will crack or break if you drop them when you clean. Usually the residential ranges will have a convection oven, but this is a pretty lousy convection oven. For serious dollars you can get all kinds of upgrades, check out Wolf or Subzero brands. Rember this one piece of advice: any electronics or computers or ovens or stoves will usually fail within two years, and repairs are expensive. The best ovens and ranges have manual controls.

Now trott down to restaurant equipment store--you're writing a piece, right? Don't take some guy from some chat forum's word. Check out the restaurant supply stores, and take a peek for yourself. Verify the prices, and specs for dead space around walls and btu output.

Hope this helps
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