Our most searched for brand is a Vulcan Gas Range, followed by a Garland gas range. Imperial also makes a very popular 36″ commercial gas range. Before purchasing, also check out the selections from American Range, Sunfire and Wolf.
When looking at commercial gas ranges, we suggest you think about the types of food you'll be making. If breakfast food is your specialty, get one with plenty of griddle space for cooking eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes. If you'll be using a lot of cookware, consider a restaurant gas range with many burners. If you'll be building your name on grilled burgers and steaks, be sure to get a unit with a char broiler.
The commercial gas range reviews online don't have much to offer professional chefs. The majority of reviews are generally for residential, "commercial grade" ranges that can't perform to actual commercial standards. Experienced sales professionals, repair technicians, and fellow restaurant owners and chefs will usually be your best help.
Heavy Duty Ranges Vs. Restaurant Ranges
Heavy duty ranges are exactly that, more heavy duty than standard ranges. Restaurant ranges, while still commercial grade, are designed more for delivering quality at an affordable price than surviving quite as high a volume.
A heavy duty industrial gas range is designed for the highest volume kitchens, piled with huge stock pots. These are found wherever there are extremely large numbers of people to be served. Example locations are hospitals, prisons, or any facility with hundreds of people being fed at once. Heavy duty ranges can be batteried, meaning they're attached while sharing a common gas source. This allows more cooking surface, or burners per yard as restaurant ranges tend to have more insulation on each side. Heavy duty ranges allow the cooking surface of one unit to touch the cooking surface of the next, for one long continuous plane on which to put pots.
A restaurant range is generally purchased for lower volume, 200 seat or fewer food service establishments. Your typical fine dining restaurant, cafe, or food stand will purchase a restaurant range. A restaurant range tends to be built with less heat output per minute. The heat output is measured in BTUs. A BTU as the amount of heat that is required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. With ranges when they say 500 BTUs they mean 500 BTUs per hour.
Restaurant ranges tend to be less expensive than heavy duty ranges. Most restaurants will tend to have restaurant ranges.
Range Top Configuration Options
Open top gas burners are the most common components of a commercial gas range. The most popular equipment that employs those is the commercial 6 burner gas range, but ranges are sold with up to 9 burners. Open burners provide instant visible heat in the form of a gas flame, the intensity of which a chef can control by adjusting the burner knob and visually checking the size of the flame. These are used for heating cookware and accomplishing everything from boiling pasta to sautéing vegetables. Gas burning ranges with electronic ignition are the most energy efficient option.
All gas burners have grates above the burners to sit your cookware on, and most are made from cast iron. Cast iron is rugged and retains heat very well, so it's excellent for repeated use and it heats food quickly. Those grates are removable for cleaning, so examine the method and ease with which staff may remove the grate, and compare that to how often you will need to clean your range.
Burner flames are ignited in one of two ways. Electric igniters generate a spark at the press of a button to ignite the gas. This component does away with the need for a standing pilot flame, but can potentially need repair or replacement. Standing pilot lights waste gas when their burner is not in use because they require a small but constant supply of gas burning to stay lit, which can add up to a significant cost over the life of your equipment.
A gas range griddle is a broad, usually flat surface made of stainless steel, chrome, aluminum, or cast iron. Food is cooked directly on a griddle, without the need for using pans or pots. You can cook a lot on a griddle, from burgers to pancakes, steaks to eggs. Griddle tops with grooved surfaces are also available. These will give food those classic sear marks that are usually associated with a charbroiler. They're also good at draining away grease from fatty foods like burgers, which can improve the taste and quality of those items.
There are three common griddle surface materials: steel, cast iron, and chrome-plated steel.
The cooking surface will have natural non-stick properties by design. In the case of if cast iron you, will need to season the surface to make it non-stick. Seasoning is accomplished simply by coating the griddle plate with vegetable oil and firing the burners for 1 hour.
- Steel is the most economical option. It's also easy to clean and transfers heat quickly. The main drawback of steel is that food is more likely to stick to it than the other surface materials, so cooks must be diligent to avoid this.
- Chrome-plated steel is more durable than steel and transfers heat even more efficiently. Chrome is very smooth, so food is less likely to stick to it than to steel alone. The downside is that it is more expensive than the alternatives.
- Cast iron is the most rugged option. It retains heat the best, so it stays hot when you add cold foods, making for faster cooking times. There are a few extra maintenance steps involved in cooking with cast iron, though. It must stay properly seasoned to protect it from corrosion and to keep the non-stick properties.
- Aluminum will heat up and cool down faster, and is lighter weight and easy to clean. On the other hand, aluminum tends to warp more easily, making it unable to withstand the demands of high-volume grilling.
A charbroiler is a unit with grates placed over a series of burners. The heat is direct and intense, making it great for grilling meats, vegetables, and seafood. The grates are most commonly made of cast iron, but stainless steel grates can be found, which are a bit easier to clean. Charbroilers are used to sear in the flavor and give a degree of charring to foods, creating a characteristic grilled flavor. A distinct trademark of food cooked using this method is the "grill marks" left by the grate during the cooking process, which enhance the presentation of food.
This is a hot surface without distinct burner zones, similar to a griddle but not for direct cooking. Hot tops are designed to have a pot or pan placed directly on them, and the surface is generally heated in a gradient pattern, so chefs can place their cookware where they need it according to the intensity of the heat they require. For example, a pot can be boiled on the hottest part of the surface, then slid to a cooler point to simmer.
This is a high heat, overfired broiler option where a gas heat source cooks food from above. A salamander can be used to cook just about anything, including steak. They're also frequently used to put the finishing touches on dishes that need melted cheese or a crispy browned surface. Salamanders are generally mounted overhead the main range top on the back riser.
These are similar to a Salamander, but have a lower heat output, and are used to keep foods warm, or as the name suggests, to melt cheese and put a finishing touch on browned or caramelized dishes, as opposed to actually cooking food.
Also called conventional ovens, these are similar to most residential units. They heat the baking chamber using burners at the bottom, which can mean the chamber does not get heated evenly, which can create hot and cold spots that make results inconsistent. They're ideal for finishing food and baking potatoes, but you'll need to be careful with more delicate items like bread.
Convection oven ranges are also available. These are ranges with an oven that uses a fan to circulate heated air around food, which helps distribute heat evenly and solves the inconsistency issues you might get with a standard oven. This allows a convection oven to cook food more evenly, in less time, and at a lower temperature than a conventional oven. Some units include both a standard oven and a convection oven side-by-side, which gives you the flexibility to cook foods that require either. This type of oven is the most common base for a range.
Space Saver Oven
A third option is the space saver oven. These are simply a narrower version of the standard oven we talked about above. These are useful if you want to bake small quantities of items at a different temperature than your main oven; just be mindful that you won't be able to fit full-size pans in one of these. Larger ranges will include two space saver ovens side by side.
Because many kitchens rely on a standalone oven, they may well opt for a more practical base option. We also offer models with a storage compartment or shelf underneath the cook top, providing you access to your most commonly used cookware, ingredients, and utensils within arm's reach. This is also the most economical choice of bases.
Temperature controls can be manual or thermostatic. Manual controls include a range of intensities, from low to high. You need a little more experience to use a manual control, but many people prefer them for the flexibility they provide or because they're typically cheaper than other models. Thermostatic controls have specific temperatures on the knob, and the thermostat keeps the cooking temperature around what is set. These are usually the easiest to operate, because once you know which temperature you need, you can always just set it there and know that your equipment will stay at that level. These are helpful in kitchens with inexperienced cooks or high turnover. They make training easier and operation simpler to understand.
A commercial gas range is powered by either natural gas or propane (LP). The one you choose may well depend on which resource you have access to. Natural gas is usually provided as a utility by a municipality or cooperative, and you may already have the right hookups installed to use it. To use propane, you need a tank outside your building to store it in. Keep in mind that although these all use gas as their main heat source, some of them contain electrical components - the fan in a convection oven, for example - and will require at least one electrical outlet as well. Be sure you have the right connections in your kitchen before you order a range.
Gas ranges will need to be vented to protect indoor air quality and to remove excess heat and grease-laden vapors. The size and type of hood you need will depend on which range you choose, the setup of your restaurant, and your local requirements. Be sure to check on this critical detail before you choose a range.
Locking casters are an option on many commercial gas ranges. These allow stability when locked, and when unlocked allow you to easily move the range to reconfigure your work area or clean the floors underneath.