Consumer Watch: Lower-priced pro-style ranges

FRESNO, Calif.

Consumer Reports took a look at two NXR ranges available online from Costco. Testers pitted them against big names in pro-style, such as Wolf, Thermador, and Viking.

To test, they boil pots of water, simmer sauces, bake cookies, and broil burgers. They also assess the look and feel of the ranges, including the stainless-steel finish, the iconic chunky red knobs on the Wolf, and the continuous grates over the burners.

The Costco NXR ranges skimp on some of the finer features. The 30-inch range lacks continuous grates. And the 36-inch model has metal strips that are likely to catch lots of food and be difficult to clean.

And both NXR ranges are only mediocre when it comes to overall performance. But even the big names such as Wolf, Thermador, and Viking didn't perform well enough in tests for Consumer Reports to recommend them.

Consumer Reports did find a few pro-style ranges to recommend, including the 36-inch KitchenAid KDRU763VSS. But top-performing pro-styles are expensive. That one goes for about $6,000.

You can save a substantial amount by getting a regular gas or electric range. Consumer Reports' tests have found that many perform better than the pro-style ranges and come with lots of those features you might have your eye on. Consumer Reports recommends the KitchenAid KDRS505XSS, starting at about $2,000. It's a gas range with continuous cast-iron grates, five burners, and a double oven.

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