Dacor RNRP36GS review: Low-tech Dacor range falls short of $7K expectations

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MSRP: $7,130.00

The Good The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS is a 36-inch gas range behemoth that's nice to look at and easy to use. The burners perform well when it comes to keeping food warm on low heat.

The Bad The RNRP36GS has a suggested retail price of $7,130, which is above and beyond the average consumer's budget. The broiler is frustrating to use and delivers uneven results. The oven's baking produces equally inconsistent results, even on convection mode.

The Bottom Line The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS would make a nice showpiece in a kitchen. But there are much cheaper ovens that deliver outstanding performance at a much better value than this $7,000 range.

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6.5 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Usability 9
  • Performance 5

The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS 36-inch slide-in gas range intimidated me before I even started testing the model's performance -- I'd never cooked on an appliance that was worth more than my car. This luxury-brand range comes with an MSRP of $7,130, which makes it the most expensive range to come through the CNET test kitchen. In exchange for such a steep investment, you get a beautiful, easy-to-operate range that looks as if it was plucked from a commercial kitchen. The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS also has an oven that can roast a heckuva chicken.

However, the RNRP36GS has too many imperfections to justify its price, even for consumers who can afford such an expensive range. The flaws center on the oven's uneven baking and broiling performances. The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS would make a nice showpiece to impress guests in your home, but there are plenty of ranges that will give you an identical performance for less than $2,000, such as the Kenmore 74343 or the KitchenAid KGRS306BSS . Do you want to stick with Dacor and an electric oven is an option in your kitchen? Go with the Dacor Renaissance 30-inch Double Oven , a model that's in the same family as the RNRP36GS but provides the more consistent baking for $4,999.

Handsome range with simple controls

More than one person in the CNET office compared the Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS to a tank. Most models I've tested only have stainless steel on the oven door and control panel with black panels that surround the rest of unit. Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS, however, is made entirely of stainless steel, which makes the range seem daunting in comparison to other models. The range's 36-inch width is larger than the 30-inch models we usually see, which just adds to the RNRP36GS's formidable presence. It also means you need the appropriate amount of space in your kitchen before you consider buying an oven this large.

Dacor relies on simplicity and symmetry in the RNRP36GS's design. You could haul this range into the kitchens of a novice cook and an amateur chef and both would feel at ease with the controls. There are no touchpads, digital screens, time display or advanced bake settings. Instead, this range has six heavy knobs to control each of its burners, a knob for the oven and two buttons to turn on the oven light and the convection fan. The most apparent uses of technology are the blue LED lights that backlight the buttons and surround the surface of each knob to indicate when they are in use.

The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS has a sturdy, formidable body that would stand out in a kitchen. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The cooktop has six burners that provide 800-18,000 BTUs of power. Continuous cast-iron grates cover the cooktop for a professional, seamless look. It would've been nice to have the indicators for the oven knobs on the flat edge of the cooktop (similar to the KitchenAid KSGB900ESS gas range ). Instead, these indicators are on the front of the oven, so you have to bend at the waist or squat to make sure you're using the right knob.

The oven of the Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS has a 5.2 cubic foot capacity. On paper, this puts this model on the small end of the oven size scale. For example, the KitchenAid KSGB900ESS has a 6.5-cubic-foot capacity, and the Whirlpool WEG730H0DS clocks in at 5.8 cubic feet. In reality, the Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS's oven feels bigger than its listed size because the unit is 6 inches wider than the 30-inch-wide ovens I've reviewed. There's also an infrared broil burner in the oven, a feature we've seen on the LG Smart ThinQ electric oven that replaces a traditional coil system with a ceramic plate to sear or toast foods.

The Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS comes with some nice extras to add to your cooking experience. These include a broiler pan, a griddle and a wok ring to stabilize a wok on the cooktop. A set of brass burner caps are also included with the range. They're attractive, but begin to discolor as soon as you turn on a burner, so save these caps for when you're showing off to houseguests. The RNRP36GS's oven comes with two GlideRacks, racks that roll out of the oven cavity like a drawer in a dresser. It's a lot smoother to remove food with these racks than a standard rack. However, the GlideRacks were a bit tricky to take in and out of the oven.

Good chicken, bad burgers, so-so soup

For $7,000, I expected nothing but phenomenal food and performance times from the Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS's stovetop and oven. By the end of my tests, I rated the range's performance as just "fine," a designation that is suitable for a less expensive model but disappointing for a luxury brand like Dacor.

Let's start with the highlights of the Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS's performance. This particular Dacor Renaissance model has a lot to live up to. Ry Crist reviewed the Dacor Renaissance 30-inch Double Wall , and this model produced exceptional roast chicken that has become the stuff of legend in the CNET office. The RNRP36GS's roast chicken didn't live up to the hype of its predecessor, but for the folks who were there for the legendary chicken, the newer version came pretty close. The skin was the best part of the chicken -- brown and crispy. The chicken breast wasn't as moist as we would've liked, but the dark meat was juicy and phenomenal.