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View Full Version : New Kitchen. Which Range?



bprescot
04-23-2013, 12:24 AM
We are preparing to make an offer on our first house. It's a very nice house, but the kitchen is really bad. No counter space, horrible layout crappy cooktop, crappier wall oven.

SO! Provided our offer is accepted, we're going to need to get some new equipment. I know a few guys here really like the Bluestars, but honestly, unless I can find a floor model, they might be a bit more expensive than I'd feel comfortable with. (Remember, we would have just coughed up a down payment.)

Are there any "bang for the buck" models out there you guys can recommend? I'm looking at all gas, and 36" free standing. There are some good deals on Bertazzoni's, and I've read some good writeups on them... Don't know much about Veronas nor AGAs... Any suggestions for an ~ $4K kick-ass range?

WildBoar
04-23-2013, 12:30 AM
Bluestar is usually priced a bit less then most of the others. I think AGa is big $$$.

I think the vendor I used was Eurostoves; they shipped from the New England area. Of course you could always drive to Reading, PA and pick it up at the factory, too (and visit Dave M).

Zwiefel
04-23-2013, 12:34 AM
I went through this a few years ago and got really good consumer "pro kitchen" cooktop/wall ovens. If I had it to do over, I'd 100% buy my EQ from the restaurant supply store: gas cooktop, electric ovens. Ugly as hell, but awesome performance.

Oh, and I'd have gotten a better hood too....mine is too small and is only 1500CFM.

El Pescador
04-23-2013, 12:35 AM
I like craigslist for used stuff. Most of the ranges I ended up looking at were Vikings,DCS, Jade and Wolfs. I bought a 6 year Viking that had hardly been used (maybe 20 times) and the oven never used. While still significant, it was 1/3 the cost of a new one.

DSChief
04-23-2013, 11:04 AM
the only first hand experience I've had is with Wolf, got this 6 burner "challenger" back in 1990, paired it up with a VentAHood dual fan Island
model. have never regretted the decision.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UPuIbKO5xOU/UQoBWZrSL0I/AAAAAAAABXo/_zBAa_0kqHA/s512/100_1128.jpg

Lefty
04-23-2013, 11:26 AM
Viking, Wolf, or if it's a pure value/budget purchase, the basic GE gas ranges are unbeatable. You could always go with La Cornue....

I should add, without slandering a well respected company, I've been to a few carbon monoxide calls that were linked to a certain brand that I didn't recommend for that reason

mhlee
04-23-2013, 11:27 AM
I would not recommend a DCS (I have one). They were really a good bargain a while back; now, not so much.

While I was refrigerator/washer/dryer shopping last year, I took a look at a number of newer models while I was looking around and the ones that impressed me the most were GE Monogram; they had the best starter design, burner, grate and oven features of all of the models I looked at, including Viking, Wolf, DCS, etc. Unfortunately, they're not cheap. But, I would take a look at them to see if there are any deals or floor models out there.

Commercial ranges are inexpensive compared to commercial-style home models. Just know that they don't have as much insulation as home models so they tend to run hotter (a really strong range hood is absolutely necessary in such a case) and using a commercial range at home may void the warranty. But, I'm sure you could find a new one for sub 4k easy.

Oh. One last thing. I would not skimp on your range hood. CFMs are important, but I think it's more important to buy one that has baffles that are easy to remove and easy to clean, and where you can easily access and clean the grease reservoirs.

mano
04-23-2013, 11:28 AM
A friend builds luxury condos and after years of complaints about Viking ranges he switched to Wolfe, but I'm not sure about the price. Most of the people I know with super high-end ranges say they have lots of problems. I've heard good things about Capital Culinarian, though.

We went induction even though it meant replacing 75% of our cookware. IMO, it's better than gas, but I don't know who makes a 36" induction range.

Zwiefel
04-23-2013, 12:28 PM
I would not skimp on your range hood. CFMs are important, but I think it's more important to buy one that has baffles that are easy to remove and easy to clean, and where you can easily access and clean the grease reservoirs.

:plus1:

Ideally, you could toss them in the dishwasher 1-2X/Month.

bprescot
04-23-2013, 01:51 PM
Great ideas all! Thank you! We just put the offer in, so we'll have to see how it goes. If it's accepted, I'll have a good long time to scout ebay or find a floor model around.

Because part of the reason for the kitchen is also to increase the re-sale value of the home (it's likely that we would be moving within the decade, potentially half-decade) I'm not sure a commercial range would fly. Between that, the voided warranty, and the extra insurance most property insurers would require...

And great point about the hood. The kitchen already has one, but I have no idea how powerful it is...

Yeah, I've heard from a lot of places that DCS isn't the value it once was. I got a PM about NXR being a fairly good "budget" choice. And very good tip about just visiting Dave and Bluestar directly!

I don't suppose anybody on the forum has a Bertazonni at home? I hear they're a nice range, but the oven is finicky (and only starts at 275 degrees) and that they vent a lot of heat into the kitchen.

Dream Burls
04-23-2013, 02:29 PM
We have a Garland in the country. That thing is probably 40-50 years old and still going strong. I'm not even sure they still make them, but if they do it might be worth a look.

markenki
04-23-2013, 02:35 PM
What range hood CFM numbers should one be looking for in a home kitchen? I have no idea what the CFM numbers translate to in real terms, so even ballpark estimates would be great. Thanks.

Zwiefel
04-23-2013, 02:55 PM
Mine is 1500CFM, which is the volume of air in a room that has an 8' ceiling and is 14' square. That much air is moved through the hood every minute. This is pretty close to the volume of air in my kitchen, actually.

The typical home hood is about 300-600CFM. Not sure what the restaurant models do.

one other big different between home and restaurant models is the actual size of the hood...mine is slightly smaller than my cooktop, so some smoke/vapor escapes around the sides...this would be much less of an issue with the commercial models.

OTOH, if I was selling in 10 years, I wouldn't make that investment either..and agree it would probably be a liability when reselling the house.

WildBoar
04-23-2013, 03:10 PM
We have a Garland in the country. That thing is probably 40-50 years old and still going strong. I'm not even sure they still make them, but if they do it might be worth a look.Garland spun off the 'residential grade' part of the operation; that is Bluestar now. What is great about the Bluestar range is it uses Garland parts, so it can be serviced by commercial pros and you are not limited to typical residential appliance repair companies (which tend to not be as honest or inexpensive on the whole as the commercial guys).

WildBoar
04-23-2013, 03:14 PM
Mine is 1500CFM, which is the volume of air in a room that has an 8' ceiling and is 14' square. That much air is moved through the hood every minute. This is pretty close to the volume of air in my kitchen, actually.

The typical home hood is about 300-600CFM. Not sure what the restaurant models do.

one other big different between home and restaurant models is the actual size of the hood...mine is slightly smaller than my cooktop, so some smoke/vapor escapes around the sides...this would be much less of an issue with the commercial models.
We installed a 42 inch wide Vent-A-Hood above our 36 inch Bluestar. I think the hood vents about 1,800 cfm when both blowers are turned on high. This is barely adequate, as our smoke alarm (about 20 feet away) goes off on a regular basis when we sear or use a grill pan -- and that is with us cracking a window nearby for make-up air (make-up air is a must for minimizing smoke alarm events). A 48 inch wide hood would have been better.

mzer
04-23-2013, 03:23 PM
Lower your bid 50k and throw in a Molteni or Bonnet!

mkmk
04-23-2013, 03:37 PM
Watching this thread closely.

I went through this with my current house, and the insulation and power requirements for a commercial range made it more hassle than it was worth. I ended up just going consumer grade, but I'm moving to a new house, too -- and this time I'll go higher end. Fortunately, I'll need a cooktop only, so it'll be a bit simpler/cheaper.

Troy G
04-23-2013, 03:46 PM
Mano,

What induction unit did you go with? Would you go induction again?


A friend builds luxury condos and after years of complaints about Viking ranges he switched to Wolfe, but I'm not sure about the price. Most of the people I know with super high-end ranges say they have lots of problems. I've heard good things about Capital Culinarian, though.

We went induction even though it meant replacing 75% of our cookware. IMO, it's better than gas, but I don't know who makes a 36" induction range.

mano
04-23-2013, 03:58 PM
Got an Electrolux, which is phenomenal. High heat is as good or better than gas, low is perfect for stocks and more than enough digital increments. It has a "perfect turkey" oven setting that cooked it about as good mine, which took me years of trial and error. Lots of bells and whistles that are actually useful.

Consumer Reports loves induction but gave the Electrolux a 73 because of the small oven (it has a second drawer oven at the bottom). IIRC, GE, Kenmore and Sanyo all got scores in the 90's. I think Electrolux make the Kenmore range.

mhlee
04-23-2013, 04:09 PM
I agree with Z - definitely get baffles that are dishwashable.

Also, 600 CFM is the bare minimum in my opinion for any higher end residential range. I have a Windster that's rated at 650. I wish mine were stronger. I've experienced the same issue as WildBoar when using a grill pan.

Most commercial-style ranges have a dedicated simmer burner. Personally, I think they're pointless. Most burners now have a simmer setting so a dedicated simmer burner is unnecessary. A

36 inch ranges should all be able to hold full size baking sheets. I would just verify this. Some, not all, 30 inch ranges do. (My DCS doesn't. Full size baking sheets don't fit.)

Range grates. I would recommend getting ones that don't require rubber feet, if you can find a model that doesn't have them. DCS/Fisher Paykel charges something like $30 for like 12.

Burners. I personally look for and prefer burners where the electrode is not completely exposed. If they are, a messy spill can destroy the electrode; although they're not expensive, they're not cheap to replace. For my DCS, last time I had to deal with it, it was about $120. I would find out how much maintenance the models you're considering require. Although the burners are likely all technically considered "sealed", some burners have multiple parts that can get gunked up.

Troy G
04-23-2013, 10:05 PM
I would not have guessed Electrolux as being a good induction top and oven. But hey if Kelly Ripa endorses the brand it has to be good.


Got an Electrolux, which is phenomenal. High heat is as good or better than gas, low is perfect for stocks and more than enough digital increments. It has a "perfect turkey" oven setting that cooked it about as good mine, which took me years of trial and error. Lots of bells and whistles that are actually useful.

Consumer Reports loves induction but gave the Electrolux a 73 because of the small oven (it has a second drawer oven at the bottom). IIRC, GE, Kenmore and Sanyo all got scores in the 90's. I think Electrolux make the Kenmore range.

mkmk
04-23-2013, 11:54 PM
The thing that drives me nuts about most consumer stuff is the way they spread out the high capacity burners. I understand their reluctance to put full-size burners at every location, given the supply lines, hood capacity, backsplash, etc., of most home installations. But seriously: couldn't they just give me two big burners placed in such a way that I can use them both at the same time? I don't think I'm particularly rare in wanting one big pasta pot going while I've got something on a high heat front burner. I may be slightly unusual in that my main saute pan is a large saucier (wok-sized), which needs a little extra elbow room, but I don't think that's too much to ask. Too many ranges and cooktops put the two biggest burners next to one another -- or worse, put the big one right in the middle of the cooktop, so that a big pot clogs up the entire stove.

Grrr.

Troy G
04-23-2013, 11:59 PM
I have often wondered about the ergonomics of tops as well. MKMK you make some valid points.

mkmk
04-24-2013, 12:15 AM
I was just looking at Bluestar, based on some comments above. Their cooktop makes a lot more sense to me:

http://www.bluestarcooking.com/images/configurations/lrg/rbct365bss.jpg

http://www.bluestarcooking.com/products/drop-in-cooktops/drop-in-cooktops-details

I'd really prefer a rangetop, but need a drop-in because I don't want to mess with the lines of a very cool mid-century modern kitchen. Looks like they have some nice options in both free-standing and rangetops.

Ahem -- sorry to hijack! Thanks for the suggestions, all!

bprescot
04-24-2013, 12:24 AM
Hijack away! Got the response back on our offer... Let's just say this is one kitchen that I'll not have to re-do! Still though, even if the house we DO end up with doesn't NEED a new range... I mean, it can't HURT to get one anyway, right? ;)

Thanks for all the info guys! It will come in handy eventually, just not right now, it turns out :(

mkmk
04-24-2013, 12:48 AM
Aw, dang.

I know how hard it is to be in limbo like that, and to start mapping out a new home. This must not have been the one.

;- (

There's a lot of cooking wisdom in here, and it's nice to hear a range of perspectives about, er, ranges.

WildBoar
04-24-2013, 01:03 AM
I was just looking at Bluestar, based on some comments above. Their cooktop makes a lot more sense to meThe 22k BTU burners rock!

mkmk
04-24-2013, 01:15 AM
How do they do at lower temps? I don't expect them to go as low as the simmer burners, but can you manage smaller pots at lower settings on them?

WildBoar
04-24-2013, 01:31 AM
On the range, the round center portion of the 2-piece cooktop grates can be installed in three different positions, raising the pot/ pan higher above the flame. Before I, uhm, discovered this feature, I used to stack a couple grates to raise up the pot/ pan. It is a very simple feature to use; I can lift/ rotate the center portion with tongs when the grate is hot. Only takes a couple seconds. I don't know if the cooktop grates are a similar design or not.

bprescot
04-24-2013, 05:02 PM
I can lift/ rotate the center portion with tongs when the grate is hot.

That's a brilliant friggin' idea! Well even if we don't have to remodel something right away, I think I'm heading down to the Bluestar showroom nearby anyway. Can't hurt to be prepared, right? :D

Thanks again guys!

bprescot
04-24-2013, 05:11 PM
I know how hard it is to be in limbo like that, and to start mapping out a new home.


Haha. No worries. We hadn't moved in in our minds or anything. We just did some back of the envelope calculations and drawings and sketches to make sure that we COULD remodel the kitchen it into something we'd like. If we couldn't figure out how to do that, or if the $$ estimate had been way too much, we wouldn't have put in the offer. The wife is a bit upset, but I had kinda anticipated this result, as the seller bought the place in '07 I think, for WAY more than his listing price. And we can in significantly under listing due to what comparable homes in the are have sold for... It would have been nice if things had worked out, but we're not taking it too hard or anything.

Thanks though! It's appreciated.

mkmk
04-24-2013, 05:16 PM
Sounds like a good approach. I'm probably especially attuned to the anxiety this can all cause, because my wife and I are getting ready to close on a new place 1200 miles away. This house was our first choice, and we've got it under contract -- but still we'll sleep better once it's all signed, sealed, and delivered.



That's a brilliant friggin' idea! Well even if we don't have to remodel something right away, I think I'm heading down to the Bluestar showroom nearby anyway. Can't hurt to be prepared, right? :D

That's the spirit!

;-)

bprescot
04-24-2013, 05:29 PM
we've got it under contract -- but still we'll sleep better once it's all signed, sealed, and delivered.

GOOD LUCK!!! It sounds like you found a really exciting one. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that all goes well (and I'm sure it will). Keep us posted!

-Ben

Mike9
04-24-2013, 06:43 PM
If I put a 1/2" gas pipe on my South Bend I could up the BTU output greatly, but I only really need that when I chow. That said - that's why they put a volume knob on the things.

I can't take my range with me when we move out back so I'm thinking two induction tops and two LP burners + 1 oven - probably electric w/convection option it depends.

Duckfat
04-25-2013, 08:49 AM
I've had a Viking for 12 years now. Nothing but good things to say. 99% of the complaints for any of the commercial style products come from the ignition system and the modules in nearly all of these brands are made by the same company.
BS is not owned by Garland, never was and does not use Garland parts. BS bought out the rights to the design when Garlands home division went out of business. BS is using a Garland burner clone. That's where the similarity ends. Take a good look at their service network in relation to where you live before you buy one if a warranty is important to you. Don't get sucked into the 22k burner hoopla. In a residence your gas flow is restricted by line size so the actual working difference between a 15K and 22K residential burner is not nearly as much as one might get led to believe. Even less if you use propane. The biggest difference with BS compared to many other commercial style ranges is they use a star burner (If you want to see the difference between BS and Garland look at the manifolds) but that comes with a trade off of getting 22k burner(s) and a dedicated simmer burner so some might feel there's less flexibility.
The bottom line on Wolf, Viking or BS is that these products are designed with out all the electronic crud (aside from the ignition). As long as you can turn a screwdriver and have a base mechanical background there's really nothing a homeowner can't repair cheaply and with ease on any of these aside from a gas valve. Pick the brand you like best, look at scratch and dent sales if you want to save some $$$
In regards to commercial ranges at home, at least in the US in most places they will void your homeowners insurance policy as they do not conform to residential building codes. If you have a true commercial range in your home make sure it's listed on your insurance policy.

Dave

WildBoar
04-25-2013, 01:52 PM
<shrug> The BS/ Garland info was actually on BS's web site a half-dozen or more years back. Maybe I misinterpreted what they were stating, although I remember reading it on some other appliance sites as well. But in the end the key is the lack of electronic, other then the actual ignitions. The simplicity is what is so good about the BS to me. Some of the ranges out there today have electronic control panels, which make your range a large paperweight when they crap out, and replacement is often 1/2 the cost of a new unit. There is a noticeable difference between the 22k burners and the others on our stove. Besides the additional BTUs (can't verify if it is truly a full 22k) there are twice as many gas holes so slightly better flame coverage.

Craig
05-16-2013, 01:11 PM
I recently bought a house that came with a gas stove, but no hood. I'm considering picking up this one: http://www.kitchenhoods.ca/range-hoods/professional-series-wall-mounted-wall-mount-p-220.html

Anyone see any problems with it, or have any thoughts on alternatives I might not have looked at?