Long before modern conveniences, such as slow cookers, fancy espresso makers and even microwaves, most kitchens featured just a few key necessities: a refrigerator, a sink and, of course, the range. And while today's ranges come with a variety of top-of-the-line features, from pan-size detection to ergonomic designs, it's that timeless quality that makes them a staple in so many modern kitchens.
But when the options and styles are virtually endless, how do you choose the perfect stove to suit your dream-kitchen wants and needs? We polled five of our favorite kitchen designers to get the skinny on their ultimate 30" ranges. Here are their top picks:
BlueStar Precious Metals Collection 30" Range, from $3,700
Susan Serra, owner of Susan Serra Associates in Huntington, New York, has been designing luxe kitchens for more than 20 years, so it's no surprise that her top pick is an ultra-snazzy BlueStar gas range from the Precious Metals Collection. "It's truly beautiful, and the aesthetic creates an instant (and stunning) focal point in the kitchen," Susan says. Its function, starting with ergonomically designed French doors, a super powerful 22,000 BTU burner, convection cooking, and choice of French top, griddle, charbroiler, or two extra burners defines cooking flexibility."
Jenn-Air 30" Induction Cooktop, from $2,300
This might not be a range, but it's a new favorite for kitchen designer Jere Bowden, who runs her business out of Auburn, Alabama, with offices in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Georgia. She has seen it all in her nearly 30 years of work—from gas to electric (to gas again) and now to her top choice, induction cooktops. "Everyone loves gas, me included," Jere says. "But induction cooking is absolutely foolproof!" Her favorite? The Jenn-Air 30" Induction Cooktop, which features simmer and melt functions, 13 heat level settings, and pan-size detection. "This one gets the highest rating among clients," Jere says. "It exceeds expectations every time."
Wolf 30" Gas Range (R304), $4,905
Mick de Giulio, Principal at de Giulio Kitchen Design in Chicago and author of Kitchen Centric, opts for a range that's tried and true, but anything but boring. "I like the Wolf 30" freestanding gas range," he says. "It’s basic—four burners with automatic re-ignition and an oven that has convection capability. It’s all stainless and has a bold look—a simple and sleek design with great proportions. And the classic red knobs make it my favorite."
Bertazzoni Professional Series 30" Four-Burner Gas Range, from around $3,000
Washington, D.C.-based kitchen designer Jennifer Gilmer, owner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, is straight to the point with her top choice: "Bertazzoni. I like the way they look, and they function well," she says. Bonus: "They're priced competitively, too," according to Jennifer, who has 20-plus years of experience in the industry. The Italian company's 30" four-burner gas range is a stainless steel model that features a high-efficiency burner with triple rings and a separate flame controller.
Wolf 30" Dual Fuel Range (DF304), $6,540
Cyndy Cantley, a certified kitchen designer with family-owned Cantley & Company, Inc., in Birmingham, Alabama, could only narrow down her preferences to a couple. "I have two favorite 30" ranges," she says. "A Wolf dual-fuel is incredible. It has the same features as the 48" and 60" options, just one less oven, and it will cook better than you will ever need it to—unless you're a professional chef." That's pretty high praise for this model, which includes dual-stacked sealed burners and top grates with porcelain-coated cast iron. And if this one just happens to be too far out of your budget, Cyndy has another recommendation: "The 30" Jenn-Air range looks great!"