I desperately want to swap out my electric range for a gas range. I want one that will serve my long-term needs and am totally bewildered by the variety of choices.
I'm looking to get a new gas range (I've run out a gas line to the location and everything), and have been poking around at Lowe's online and finding the range of offerings bewildering. I've filtered on my "absolute necessities" and I'm still faced, even within a single brand, with several different models with slightly different model numbers and widely different prices and surprisingly small featureset variations. I need to figure out (a) what's important, (b) how these things differ in ways that don't show up on a product-spec grid, and (c) which brands to trust.
I do a fair bit of mostly low-ambition cooking -- stir-fries in a flat-bottomed wok, stews and pasta sauces on the range, and cookies, brownies, biscuits, and bread in the oven. But someday I may grow my skills and I'd like a range that can meet the likely demands of a home cook. I'd like to keep it under $1500, but price is not the deciding factor here.
So, the things I figure are things I must have:
- Convection: I hear it really significantly improves baking quality.
- Five burners: Seems pretty standard on the mid-to-righ range, and most of them have nice variety in what the burners do.
- Self-clean: Preferably an effective one. I've heard the steam-clean doesn't cut it.
The things I would like but am dubious about paying a real upcharge for:
- Integrated griddle: Seems potentially useful.
- Keep warm setting: Dunno how useful these are vs. just using very low heat.
- Rollout racks: Nice, but that's why God invented oven mitts and push-pull sticks.
The things I'm not sure I understand the importance of at all:
- Different convection modes: dual fan? European elements? How much of a difference do these make?
- Automatic convection temperature adjustment: some seem to say this actually makes ovens work worse, lowering the temperature and not actually compensating with quicker cooking.
And mostly I'm just confused in general, because spec grids will only tell you so much. The "names" of, for instance, a Samsung NX58H5650WS and NX58H5600SS are exactly identical, and the model numbers are nearly identical, but the specs are different. Are these two items likely to have identical build quality? Are model numbers at all decipherable? And which brands are trustworthy, and what non-spec-sheet differences should I watch out for? Basically, I'm at sea but would like to get something durable and effective.