Choosing an Oven Range

The oven range has long been seen as the cornerstone of the kitchen as it is so versatile, allowing for 10 of the 12 methods of cookery. With so many different types to choose from, what type is best for your business?

In this article we try and point you in the right direction by offering some advice and points for consideration when looking to buy an oven range.

What types of ranges are available?

While there are hundreds of oven ranges on the market, they all fall into four main types:

  • Gas open top – these are generally available with either 4 or 6 gas burners.
  • Gas solid top – single or twin bullseye.
  • Electric hotplate – combination of rectangular and circular hotplates.
  • Induction hob – less freely available, these ranges utilise induction technology in their hob.

Each of these has their own particular advantages and disadvantages, some of which are listed below:

Open Top Solid Top Hotplate Induction hob
Advantages Controllable heat Multiple pot cooking Multiple pot cooking Multiple pot cooking
Instant heat Generates intense heat Instant heat
Variable heat across the hob area enables simmering to rolling boil Precise power control
Little wasted energy
Disadvantages Limited to one pot per burner Slow initial heat up time Can’t control temperature with any great accuracy Pots must contain ferrous metal
Inefficient energy usage Slower heat up Generally much more expensive to purchase

Before you make your choice, there are a number of issues that you need to consider:

Fuel type

Gas has traditionally been the preferred choice of most chefs due to it being easier to control the temperature and offering instant heat. While standard electric ranges generally cannot compete with gas equivalents in these areas, the advent of induction ranges (such as the Dominator Plus E3914i) has meant that gas ranges now have a serious competitor. Comparisons between the best-selling Dominator Plus G3101 six burner gas range against the E3914i, the induction model brings the food to the desired cooking temperature faster and provides a more precise and instantaneous heat. However, gas ranges still provide fantastic value for money and will continue to be the favoured choice for caterers for the foreseeable future.

The G3101 is extremely versatile

Oven types

There are two main types of ovens to choose from – natural convection or fan-assisted convection. The natural convection is the type found in traditional oven ranges. The top of the oven will be hotter than the bottom enabling a number of different foods to be cooked at the same time. Fan-assisted ovens provide a consistent temperature throughout the oven chamber, ensuring even cooking. This makes them ideal for cooking oven loads of the same product (i.e. Yorkshire puddings or croissants) but they do not offer the flexibility of zonal heat.

Service times

Rather than what type of range do you need, thinking about your service times will help guide you towards the appropriate duty of equipment. For example, a busy hotel offering food all day, from breakfast at 6am right through to dinner until 11pm, plus room service through the night, or a motorway service station operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, will need a heavy duty range, one that is more durable and powerful than the standard offerings. One such example of this is the Chieftain G1006X. A cafe serving breakfast and lunch 6 days a week would be better advised to look at medium duty ranges, such as a Dominator Plus G3101.

Other points to consider

There are a wide range of other factors that should be taken into account before buying any cooking equipment. These include menu choice, number of covers, staff skill levels, food type being cooked (i.e.ambient, chilled or frozen), existing kitchen equipment and kitchen environment. By taking all these factors into account you'll develop a clearer idea of what range you need.

Cooking in a natural convection oven

As a range is so versatile, it may be worth investing in two different ones. For example, a combination of a 6 burner range with a fan-assisted oven and a solid top with a natural convection oven provides the ultimate in flexibility. Another aspect to think about is your menu choice. If you are cooking a number of different soups and sauces, a solid top would provide the flexibility to have multiple pot cooking. If the menu offers a high number of baked goods, a fan-assisted oven would be a priority.

Making the right choice

Like most pieces of commercial catering equipment, buying a range is a significant expense so it is important to choose the correct one. The surest way to get it right is to talk to our development chef. He will discuss the various ranges available with you and offer impartial advice as to what would be the most suitable option for your business. You may want to consider a visit to our development kitchen for some hands-on testing. With 33 different ranges on offer, you can be confident that Falcon has the configuration that is just right for your specific requirements.

Dominator Plus Ranges

Dominator Plus G3107 solid top gas range

Gas

G3101 - 6 burner open top

G3101D - 6 burner open top with drop down door

G3101 OTC - 6 burner open top with electric oven

G3151 Fusion - 6 burner open top with powerful wok burner

G3151D Fusion - 6 burner open top, wok burner & drop down door

G3106 - 6 burner open top with fan-assisted oven

G3161 - 4 burner open top

G3161D - 4 burner open top with drop down door

G3107 - Solid top

G3017D - Solid top with drop down door


Dominator Plus E3914i induction range

Induction

E3914i - 4 zone induction hob (5kW)

E3913i - 4 zone induction hob (3.5kW)


Electric

E3101 - 3 hotplate (900mm)

E3101D - 3 hotplate (900mm) with drop down door

Dominator Plus E3101 4 hotplate range

E3101 - 4 hotplate

E3101D - 4 hotplate with drop down door

E3101 - 6 hotplate

E3101 OTC - 3 hotplate with fan-assisted oven

E3101 OTC - 4 hotplate with fan-assisted oven

E3101 OTC - 6 hotplate with fan-assisted oven

E3161 - 3 hotplate (600mm)

E3161D - 3 hotplate (600mm) with drop down door

Chieftain Ranges

Chieftain G1066X

G1006X - 4 burner open top

G1066X - 6 burner open top

G1006BX - Single bullseye solid top

G1066FX - Twin bullseye solid top

E1006X - 3 hotplate

Falcon 350 Ranges

Falcon 350 G350/1 4 burner open top range

G350/1 - 4 burner open top

G350/2 - Solid top

E350/30 - 4 hotplate range

Dominator Ranges

Dominator G2102 Open Top Oven Range

G2102 - 6 burner open top

E2102 - 3 hotplate

E2102 - 4 hotplate