Dual-fuel kitchen ranges couple an easy-to-control gas cooktop with an even-heating electric oven. These restaurant-style stoves put both fuels to their best use, starting with gas burners, which are widely preferred for even heating and efficient cooking. While dual-fuel ranges have many attractive features, there are also some factors to consider that may be disadvantageous.
Gas top burners are commonly preferred over other electric top burners for simmering, sauteing and high-temperature cooking. Dual-fuel range cooktops offer greater temperature precision than the burners on standard electric ranges. They also feature more control over optimized simmering and high temperatures than electric burners do.
Perhaps one of the most attractive features about dual-fuel ranges is the electric oven. The even-heating electric convection oven is widely considered to be superior for baking than a gas oven. The burner in a gas oven cycles on and off in order to vent out the combustion by-products and maintain an average temperature, resulting in fluctuating temperatures during the cooking process. Electric ovens have a more sealed environment, resulting in greater temperature precision throughout the cooking time.
Style and Decor
Dual-fuel ranges offer an appealing style and decor that fits into almost any kitchen design. Most are stainless steel, a desirable, upscale-looking finish. The ranges typically have four to six burners, and usually one oven, though some models have a second, smaller, oven as well. The ranges can make a boring kitchen look like a professional cooking space almost instantly. One reason to use a dual-fuel range is for a kitchen upgrade or makeover, though if you do not cook often or do not enjoy cooking, then installing a dual-fuel range is unnecessary.
Gas and Fuel Types
Most dual-fuel ranges require a 240-volt outlet in addition to a gas hookup. Most home kitchens are outfitted with one or the other, so paying for the professional installation of a new outlet or gas hookup can add to the expense. These ranges are configured to use natural gas, but manufacturers often include a conversion kit so the appliance can use LP, or liquefied propane. If you rely on LP rather than natural gas, make sure to check whether the range can be converted and, if so, whether the conversion kit is included or sold separately.
Dual-fuel ranges are more expensive than standard stoves and ovens because they are regarded as higher quality than standard kitchen equipment. In fact, Consumer Search reported most dual-fuel ranges are priced at $2,000 and up, as of the time of publication. Installation is typically more costly as well, because dual-fuel ranges are larger and may require kitchen renovations, and because they hook up to both gas and electric lines. Most dual-fuel ranges are larger than standard kitchen stoves and ovens, measuring 36 inches wide or more, while a typical unit is 30 inches. The higher price tag and larger footprint might deter some people from buying one. However, for large families and those who like to cook and entertain, the larger dual-fuel range might be a benefit, as it offers more cooking space and greater precision.