Commercial vs Residential Range Buying Guide

Commercial vs Residential Range Buying Guide

Warning… this is intended to aid the purchase of either a commercial or residential range. In no way is this to be used as an installation guide; before purchasing, talk to your foodservice professional and consult a licensed contractor. As always with commercial equipment… leave the installation to the professionals.

Commercial Range

The right commercial range can provide you with the best quality product while a subpar range can cause quite the opposite effect. A quality commercial range will produce consistent temperatures, and mass quantities of product, and provide you with the capability to create specialized dishes. Below is a comparison of residential ranges and commercial ranges (also known as commercial stoves).

1. Electrical & Gas Capabilities

Electrical and Gas Considerations
Both commercial ranges are available on the market. Ranges that are a combination of both are common and may include multiple oven types and cooktops.

The installation of both gas and electric ranges in a commercial setting very often requires new gas and electric lines.

Electric commercial ranges are usually three-phase electric. Commercial settings that are not already equipped with such electrical capabilities will require the installation of three-phase electricity.

Many commercial buildings are already fitted with the proper gas connections. Those that are not will require a more costly installation than residential gas connections. Commercial gas appliances typically cannot operate off of gas tanks due to the large amount of gas needed to run the appliances.

The proper orifices for commercial gas connections are usually available at home improvement retailers.
Both gas and electric residential ranges are available on the market. Ranges that utilize both power types are harder to find and are generally more expensive.

Residences are most often pre-equipped to accommodate an electric range unless built specifically for gas appliances. Quite often little installation is required and can be done with the aid of an instruction manual.

Electric residential ranges are usually single-phase electric and therefore typically require no major change to the wiring of the residence.

Gas residential ranges usually operate under or around 20,000 BTUs. This means that most homes manufactured to operate gas appliances need little to no adjustment.

The proper orifices for residential gas connections are readily available at most home improvement retailers.
Commercial ranges used as base units are designed for your basic cooking needs. However, they can accommodate more than one oven type (i.e. one convection, one standard) and can support accessories such as griddles or broilers on the stovetop. Ranges that are not built with the accessories attached can usually be modified to support accessories (i.e. detachable salamander).

Commercial ranges have a high output. Gas ranges can total 200k - 400k BTUs. This is used to mass-produce food for large amounts of people at a continuous rate.

There are both heavy-duty and standard restaurant ranges. Heavy-duty ranges are designed to cater to larger amounts of people while standard ranges have a lower output and are more often used for applications such as broiling and simmering.
Residential ranges are typically designed to accommodate most types of in-home cooking. Since in-home cooking usually does not cater to mass amounts of people, more features are available at lower outputs.

2. Cooking Environment

Commercial ranges require a high-powered hood/ventilation system in order to maintain a safe cooking environment. The amount of grease-laden particles produced is far higher when using a commercial range versus a residential range.

Only masonry and stainless steel furniture should be in the area of a commercial range. Any combustible material (such as wood cabinetry) is required to be at a minimum of 6" away from the range on all sides. It is highly recommended that in any commercial setting, no combustible furniture exists in the kitchen.
Residential ranges require a hood or ventilation system for grease-laden particles. The ventilation or hood is generally low power.

Residential ranges can be positioned in most kitchen areas as long as the ventilation and flooring are adequate (i.e. not positioned on carpet).

3. Cost Considerations

Basic Economics
Take into consideration electric and gas bills. Both will see a major increase with the usage of a commercial range due to the need for high output. Many manufacturers have or are moving to more energy and eco-conscious designs. Look for certifications for energy savings.Residential ranges are generally manufactured to provide the most capabilities in the most energy and eco-conscious way.
Companies abide by the different standards and expectations set by insurance companies that take certain risks into consideration. Some insurance policies are designed with the food service industry in mind.The average homeowner's insurance requires the homeowner to take as many precautions as possible.

Contacting your insurance agency will, if approved, increase your insurance. Homeowners who do not seek approval from their insurance agency before installing risk losing their insurance.

4. Alternative Equipment

A variety of options are available for homeowners who are interested in purchasing a commercial range but do not have the budget or environment required to run one. There are many standalone countertop units that are easily used and easily stored. Precautions should be taken when using this equipment, whether they are residential or commercial grade appliances. For example:


Commercial Griddle

Countertop Convection Ovens

Countertop Convection Oven

Countertop and Drop-In Induction Ranges

Induction Range

This equipment can expand you far beyond the usual residential range. Research these products to find more information.

5. When Should a Commercial Range Be Installed in a Residential Setting?

A commercial range can be installed in a residential setting when the consumer has the appropriate environment that's purposefully dedicated to its use. If the environment is adequate and the need is plenty, a commercial range could be a successful fit.


  1. comment authorConnie Ihringer Jan 17, 2020

    This was great information for me, as I am currently working on a kitchen remodel project for an HOA. It was enlightening in many ways and helps in the decision making process. I am looking at a gas/electric combination and was concerned about going over the residential BTU limit. Trying to keep the permitting issue as easy as possible.

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