There comes a point in every new appliance search where you just stop and ask yourself what exactly you’re paying for. So are high-end gas ranges worth it?
This usually happens when you’re 3 days deep into catalogs, websites, and showroom visits, and you’re beginning to lose your grip on reality.
You’ll have seen hundreds of gas burners and more ovens than one person need in a million lifetimes and suddenly everything starts to look the same!
The fact of the matter is, every range cooker out there will fry your eggs, bake your bread, and boil your potatoes. So why do some cost thousands more than others and is there any point in paying more for big brands like La Cornue, Lacanche, and Aga?
Let’s take a closer look.
One of the major differences between cheaper ranges and high-end ranges is the overall construction. We’re talking materials and the quality of the build.
The construction isn’t as flashy as all the little extras and features, but it is the key to an overall better experience.
The first thing you want to look at is the materials used for the burner grates. These things get a lot of use and abuse, so they need to be solid and sturdy.
High-end ranges typically use high-density steel or iron for their burner grates. These are heavy, yes, but they also last for years. They won’t warp, bend, or rust the way cheaper-grade steel or iron does.
The next thing to consider is the kind of materials used for the body of the range. Most modern ranges are made from stainless steel regardless of the price point. The difference is found in the grade and thickness of the stainless steel.
Generally, high-end ranges are made from thicker, heavier, and better stainless steel. This is important because the body of the range will need to cope with intense heat as well as cooling cycles.
Thinner steel is prone to denting and warping over time due to the pressures of high heat and cooling cycles.
When you’re shopping for a new range, you’ll notice that manufacturers and sellers are keen to talk about how hot the oven and burners can get. Often this is listed in BTU or British thermal units.
The truth is, that figure is often pretty useless. Low to mid-range ranges can compete with high-end ranges in terms of BTU. The difference is in how well the range manages those temperatures.
What you’ll find is that lower-grade ranges struggle to maintain the top end of their temperature scale. This is because the ovens aren’t as well insulated, and the burners are poorly designed.
A high-end stove will have plenty of insulation around its ovens. They will have doors that form tight seals to prevent heat from escaping, and they will use top-quality materials throughout.
Many high-end ranges use AES fibers or ceramic insulation instead of fiberglass to insulate their ovens. These materials have lower thermal masses than fiberglass.
When it comes to the burners, high-end ranges usually have burners that are much more controlled than their cheaper counterparts. A good way to tell if a range is high-end is to check the simmer capabilities.
If the burner is able to simmer at low to medium temperatures, you know that it has been built with control in mind rather than simply blasting out heat.
Are 5 Burner Ranges Worth It?
In many cases, the 5th burner is oblong or oblique shaped which makes it ideal for use with a griddle. If you use or want to use griddles, then getting a range with a 5th burner is definitely worth it.
The 5th burner can also be great for larger cookware like stock pots so if you make big soups, stocks, or similar, then consider a 5-burner range.
Finally, if you tend to have lots of pots and pans on the go, then a 5-burner range can help you fit all your food on at once. It can make cooking multiple dishes much easier and quicker than smaller ranges.
Which is better: La Cornue or Lacanche?
These are both high-end French range makers. Both companies have been building and selling European-style ranges since the 19th century and both have incredible pedigree in the field.
It’s difficult to give a concise answer to this because they are both incredible makers offering top-of-the-line ranges.
What we will say is that Lacanche has a sleeker and more modern design, while La Cornue ranges are definitely a focal piece in the kitchen.
Both brands will set you back at least $10,000 for a basic range though La Cornue has been known to top out at over $50k for custom-designed ranges!
High-end ranges are an investment and that is what makes them worth the cost. They are built to last from high-end materials. Sure, a cheaper range might be able to hit the same temperatures, but there’s more to the discussion than simply heat.