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Dacor ER30DSCH review: Powerful, high-end oven needs lots of attention

At $6,320, the Dacor Renaissance ER30DSCH 30-inch Dual-Fuel range is a big investment. But an avid home cook will appreciate this range's sleek exterior and fast convection oven.

Ashlee Clark Thompson Associate Editor
Ashlee spent time as a newspaper reporter, AmeriCorps VISTA and an employee at a healthcare company before she landed at CNET. She loves to eat, write and watch "Golden Girls" (preferably all three at the same time). The first two hobbies help her out as an appliance reviewer. The last one makes her an asset to trivia teams. Ashlee also created the blog, AshleeEats.com, where she writes about casual dining in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ashlee Clark Thompson
7 min read

Luxury appliance brands often point to their products' hand-crafted and long-lasting construction, efficient cooking performance and sophisticated design to justify oven prices that approach (and, in some cases, surpasses) five figures. Dacor, a member of this high-end category, makes and delivers on many of those promises with the $6,320 Dacor Renaissance ER30DSCH 30-inch Dual-Fuel range.


Dacor ER30DSCH

The Good

The Dacor Renaissance ER30DSCH 30-inch range boasts a solid, stainless steel structure, easy-to-use controls and an appealing dual-fuel combination of a gas stovetop paired with an electric oven. The powerful convection oven roasts phenomenal chicken and broils burgers at an outrageous speed.

The Bad

The suggested Pure Convection mode for multiple-rack baking cooks food quickly, so biscuits came out scorched in our standard tests. The broiler produced plumes of smoke thick enough to fill the average kitchen. And this range comes with a suggested price of $6,320 that puts this appliance out of reach for a lot of folks.

The Bottom Line

Though the investment is substantial, the Dacor Renaissance ER30DSCH is a worthwhile purchase for the avid, patient home cook who's willing to experiment to find the right oven settings for their baking needs.

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The Dacor Renaissanace ER30DSCH is a stainless-steel, four-burner model. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

This stainless steel model combines the precision of a gas cooktop's open flame with a powerful electric oven to make a formidable and versatile product. The controls were easy to use. The cooktop performed on par with other gas units we've reviewed. And the chicken that I roasted was nearly a religious experience, thanks in large part to the connected meat probe that reduced the oven's heat when the chicken reached the appropriate temperature. Overall, this Dacor is a better performer than its bigger, all-gas counterpart, the Dacor Renaissance RNRP36GS .

But Dacor ER30DSCH is not an oven for the occasional home chef. This is a range for the attentive cook, someone who weighs their dry ingredients and writes the expiration date on their spices. The ER30DSCH's Pure Convection baking mode requires a lot of experimentation to figure out the right temperature and cooking time for recipes. For me, this meant a lot of scorched biscuits during my double-rack bake tests. The quick-cooking broiler takes hamburger patties from medium-well to charcoal briquettes in a flash, so that feature also needs your close attention.

Like other Dacor models we've tested, the ER30DSCH is a beautiful range that looks like a smaller version of what you'd see in a commercial kitchen. This range is a good investment if you have patience and interest it will take to tweak your favorite recipes in this oven. If you're one of the consumers locked out by the $6,320 price, go for the Kenmore 74343 to meet your gas cooktop needs or the Samsung NE59J7850WS for an electric oven.

Got a spare $6K? This Dacor oven's worth a spin (pictures)

See all photos

Compact, intuitive design makes for a beautiful range

Dacor continues a tradition of handsome, user-friendly design with the stout ER30DSCH. As opposed to the mammoth RNRP36GS , the ER30DSCH is compressed into 30 inches of all-stainless steel construction with a slide-in design intended to fit snugly between your countertops. There are four burners on cooktop that produce 1,000 to 18,000 BTUs of power. The range doesn't have a middle fifth burner for griddle cooking that we've seen on models like the LG LRG3085ST , but Dacor includes a griddle that fits over the two burners on the right. This provides more room for a larger griddle than other models allow.

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Heavy, cast-iron grates cover the four burners on the ER30DSCH. The range also comes with a griddle. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The control panel makes it easy to select cooking modes. The panel lies flush against the front of the oven, but you can push a button to tilt the panel upward for easier viewing. The four burner knobs are large and easy to grip. Each knob also features a blue LED light that turns on when the burner is in use, a sleek feature I enjoyed on the Dacor RNRP36GS . The touchpad on the control panel is very responsive and includes a number keypad, a clock display and eight different cooking modes. Dacor makes it easy to figure out how each cooking mode works with little pictures on each button that illustrate where the heat source comes from in each mode.

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It's easy to figure out how each oven mode will cook your food with these illustrations. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The ER30DSCH's oven has a 3.9 cubic foot capacity, which makes it the smallest single-oven cavity we've seen, but I didn't have any problems fitting in our normal medley of test dishes. Inside, glass plates cover the heating electric heating element on the top and the bottom of the oven, a sophisticated features that makes cleaning a lot easier than if there were exposed coils like on traditional ovens. In the back of the oven is the convection fan, which is surrounded with a third heating element that comes on when you use the pure convection mode.

Mighty oven overshadows disappointing cooktop

The gas cooktop of the Dacor ER30DSCH falls behind less-expensive gas ranges we've tested, a big disappointment from such an imposing range. I boiled 112 ounces of water in a 5-quart pot, and the results put the ER30DSCH toward the bottom of the gas cooktop pack. This range's performance showed me that it doesn't take a lot of money to get a good gas cooktop, as you can see in the chart below with the impressive $1,399 Kenmore 74343 or the $1,549 Electrolux EI30GF35JS .

Large-Burner Boil Test (Gas Models)

Kenmore 74343 9.75Electrolux EI30GF35JS 11.17Samsung NX58F5700 11.5LG LSRG309ST 12.68KitchenAid KGRS306BSS 13.55KitchenAid KSGB900ES 14GE PGS920SEFSS 14.2Dacor ER30DSCH 14.42Whirlpool WEG730H0DS 14.85LG LRG3085ST 15.17Dacor RNRP36GS 15.38
Note: Time to achieve rolling boil, in minutes

I also used the stovetop to simmer cans of tomato soup. Fun fact: This Dacor performed almost identically with the gas Dacor RNRP36GS . Both gas ranges continued to slowly heat the soup after I turned the burners to low.

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You can barely see any difference between the behaviors of the two Dacor gas cooktops. Ashlee Clark Thompson/CNET

Dacor packed most of the ER30DSCH's impressive performance features in the oven. The broiler cooked six hamburger patties in an average of 13.67 minutes, the second-fastest time we've seen with an electric oven. I tracked the temperature of each patty during my broil tests, and the hamburgers beneath the front corners of the broiler cooked slightly faster than the others. This was significant because the broiler cooks so fast that those first patties to reach 145 degrees F were nearly burnt by the time the last patty had reached the proper temperature. But even when the hamburgers were slightly charred on the outside, the insides were always juicy. The ER30DSCH produced enough smoke to cast a haze in our test kitchen, so be prepared for your smoke detectors to go nuts if you broil in a normal kitchen.

Hamburger Broiling Test (Electric Models)

Samsung NE59J7850WS 12.32Dacor ER30DSCH 13.67Kenmore 41313 14.32LG LRE3021ST 14.75Samsung NE58H9970WS 14.9Samsung NE59J7630SB 15.08Maytag MET8720DS 15.58GE JB650SFSS 16.25GE PHS920SFSS 16.31Frigidaire FPEF3077QF 16.75Kenmore 95073 17.17
Note: Time to achieve 145 degrees F, in minutes

When it comes to roasting chicken, Dacor has already set the bar high with its Renaissance 30-inch double-wall oven . The roast chickens from that unit have reached legendary status in the CNET Appliances office for its exceptional taste and texture. The Dacor ER30DSCH matched the myth. From the breast to the thighs, the meat was tender and juicy. A knife slid cleanly through the pieces. I only used salt, pepper and olive for seasoning, but the ER30DSCH brought out the natural flavor of the meat so well that it tasted like it came from a more complicated recipe than the one I use. It's not hyperbole to say that this chicken was perfect.

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Dacor creates wonderful chicken thanks to its convection roast mode and temperature probe. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

I attribute the roast chicken to the Dacor's convection roasting mode, which uses heating elements on the top and bottom of the oven along with the convection fan to distribute the hot air evenly around the chicken. The included temperature probe, similar to what we've seen in models such as the Samsung NE58F9710WS , also helped create the perfect chicken. Once you insert the probe into the meat you are cooking, the digital display on the control panel will show the internal temperature of the meat.

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The heating elements at the top and bottom of the oven and the convection fan in the back help this Dacor roast a delicious chicken. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

When the meat reaches the appropriate temperature (you can set that temperature yourself or rely on Dacor's preset 160 degrees F), the oven will automatically reduce its temperature to 150 degrees F to keep your food warm for as many as two hours. This is a helpful feature that will prevent the harried cook from burning a pot roast. When I roasted a chicken in the oven, I hooked up both the meat probe and our own computer-connected thermocouples. The temperature readings on both probes were nearly identical, with a variance of about 2 degrees. It was good to know that the probe is reliable. It only took an hour and seven minutes to roast the chicken -- most chickens took at least an hour and 20 minutes to reach 160 degrees.

Baking biscuits in the ER30DSCH was a tricky exercise. My usual biscuit tests involve baking two sheets of a dozen biscuits for nine minutes at 450 degrees F on convection mode. Manufacturers recommend a reduction of temperature and/or time when an oven has a convection fan because of its quicker cooking capabilities. Some ovens have a feature that will automatically convert temperatures when you use the convection mode. This Dacor, doesn't have the auto-conversion feature, so I lowered the baking temperature to 425 degrees F for my tests. The biscuits were browner than I'd like to see in my tests, especially on the top rack. The use and care guide for this range recommends that you experiment with your recipes to determine the best temperature and time to cook your food, so I conducted another round of tests, this time reducing the cook time to 8.6 minutes and the temperature by 25 degrees. The biscuits' appearance improved, but they were still darker than I would like.

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The top left and top right pictures show biscuits baked on the top and bottom (respectively) of the Dacor ER30DSCH when I reduced the temperature on Pure Convection mode. The bottom two pictures show what happened when I reduced the temperature and time in Pure Convection mode. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Why did my biscuits turn out so brown? I used Dacor's Pure Convection mode for my tests, which the manual recommends for multiple rack baking. In this mode, the oven uses the heat element that surrounds the convection fan rather than the elements in the top and bottom of the oven. This heats the air as it begins to circulate around the oven that cooks food fast. Essentially, this oven acts like a sports car. It can perform quickly, but it can be too much machine for an amateur. A home cook needs to be willing to burn a few biscuits to find the appropriate settings that will let them harness the Pure Convection technology. I didn't find the perfect time and temperature at which to bake biscuits in the Pure Convection mode, but I'm confident that the ideal settings do exist.

Final thoughts

I had been anxious to get my hands on a dual-fuel range since I started reviewing appliances at CNET. These ranges give home cooks the precision of a gas cooktop's open flame with the evenness we often see with electric ovens. For the most part, the Dacor Renaissance ER30DSCH 30-inch Dual-Fuel range met my expectations. The oven roasts, broils and bakes quickly, which make up for the slightly below-average cooktop. The chicken alone makes it worth setting up a savings plan to pay $6,320 for this range. The convection features in the oven require your full attention and patience to get the most out of its capabilities, so this is a range that will please the passionate home cook who savors experimenting with recipes.


Dacor ER30DSCH

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 9Usability 8Performance 8