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Gas range: Wolf? Thermador? Bluestar? Viking?


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#1 annachan

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 10:33 AM

After several years of looking to remodel the kitchen, it's finally time to get it started. One of the issues that concerns me the most is what gas range to get. I've asked around at the appliance stores and they haven't been the most helpful. Whenever I asked about the difference between the higher end stoves, they keep telling me that they're all good. How's that suppose to help me choose?

So, here are things I'm looking for and hopefully someone can give me some advice:

1) Prefer a stove that can handle a low simmer and getting a wok red hot.
2) Continuous grate (or some other option) that makes moving pots and pans to the different burners easily.
3) Easy clean up - maybe a tray that can be pulled out and wiped, etc.
4) Wok ring option would be fantastic.

What brand have you used that you like? What will my approximate cost be for a 30 or 36 inch?

Also, the kitchen is not very big, so I'm thinking a gas range with the oven (convection) on the bottom would be best. Any opinion/suggestions on that?

TIA :raz:

#2 Bombdog

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 12:50 PM

After several years of looking to remodel the kitchen, it's finally time to get it started. One of the issues that concerns me the most is what gas range to get. I've asked around at the appliance stores and they haven't been the most helpful. Whenever I asked about the difference between the higher end stoves, they keep telling me that they're all good. How's that suppose to help me choose?

So, here are things I'm looking for and hopefully someone can give me some advice:

1) Prefer a stove that can handle a low simmer and getting a wok red hot.
2) Continuous grate (or some other option) that makes moving pots and pans to the different burners easily.
3) Easy clean up - maybe a tray that can be pulled out and wiped, etc.
4) Wok ring option would be fantastic.

What brand have you used that you like? What will my approximate cost be for a 30 or 36 inch?

Also, the kitchen is not very big, so I'm thinking a gas range with the oven (convection) on the bottom would be best. Any opinion/suggestions on that?

TIA  :raz:

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Ah, boy can I weigh in on this one. I JUST replaced and electric drop in range with a new DCS 6 burner gas. I did considerable research before this purchase and am pretty confident that the DCS was the best for me.

The DCS has a wok ring as an available option, and a 17.5k btu, they are the largest residential burner outputs on the market.

The eyes are a sort of 2 stage thing. They claim that when you are simmering only one stage is operational, which makes that very low simmer possible. I made a huge pot of chicken stock last weekend and the simmer worked great for me.

The grates are continuous from front to back for 2 burners, but not side to side. Still, the grates are touching side to side, so you get the same effect.

Although the oven is gas, not electric, it does come standard with a convection fan.

For a 36 inch, 6 burner, you are looking at over 5K for the price.

I've had this new range for about 2 weeks now. Previous to the electric range from hell, I cooked on Wolf commercial ranges over more than 10 years and two houses. This isn't a commercial Wolf, but I'm EXTREMELY happy with it.
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#3 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 01:26 PM

Wow -- you're where I was, last year! Without the snooze-inducing background, here's what I found:

I picked a 60" Viking, all-gas range; it's got more BTUs than Wolf, and while I've had Thermadors my last two kitchens, I just like the Vikings better. I really liked the BlueStar ranges -- they're flush with regular cabinet-depths, and get nice and hot -- but servicing around here is difficult.

I'd asked for the Viking range to be fitted with a 22,500 BTU burner, but Viking said they couldn't do it on the range itself; it would have to be a separate unit. There's also the ventilation to think about -- if you go with a higher-BTU range, you'll probably have to have overhead ventilation, the heavy-duty kind.

My setup is (from the left) four burners, one flat-top, one grill, and then two burners. The Thermadors all had four burners and a grill, which I used all the time.

Oooh, have fun! I planned this kitchen with a big, purple Viking stove in mind, but I think I'll keep it to a less-flashy color.
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#4 scubadoo97

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:05 PM

This is my set up. I don't have a range but I did look into several brands of range tops and vents. I ended up with the Viking range top and hood. I was dead set against Viking from things read on gardenweb. I ruled Thermador out because their simmer uses and on/off method that results in a click sound every minute. The Wolf had different outputs on different burner and I wanted them to all be the same so I didn't have to worry about what goes where. I had an electric range before and love the gas. I had to go with LP gas. I truly think my electric burners were hotter. If I had it to do over again I'd look at the Blue Star which is hotter. 15,000 BTUs/burner just aren't hot enough. Example; When I have a large pot of water boiling and add vegetables it takes too long to get back to a boil. That didn't happen on my old electric burner. All the burners on the Viking can go from Hi to Simmer with continuous adjustment. I wish it was easier to get a very low simmer. You have to barely tap the knob to try to get it to that just barley on level.
I picked a hood that was wider and deeper than the range top to allow better capture of smoke.

Posted Image

Edited to add-If I had it to do over again I would also go with an external or remote blower for the hood. Too much noise when the hood kicked up.

Edited by scubadoo97, 04 November 2006 - 03:08 PM.


#5 tommy

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:34 PM

the iVillage GardenWeb Appliances forum is an insanely good discussion group for appliances. it's a bit hard to navigate, but they have a good search feature. and everyone seems very knowledgeable and eager to help. after spending days on it, i opted for Jade.

#6 johnder

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 03:45 PM

I picked a 60" Viking, all-gas range; it's got more BTUs than Wolf, and while I've had Thermadors my last two kitchens, I just like the Vikings better.  I really liked the BlueStar ranges -- they're flush with regular cabinet-depths, and get nice and hot -- but servicing around here is difficult.

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I thought the Viking stoves had 15k BTU vs. the Wolf which has 16k. At least that was the case when I did the research last year.
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#7 *Deborah*

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 04:07 PM

I have a Wolf 48 in. (6 burners and a grill). I got the S-grates. There is a wok option, and the simmer is sweet (500 BTU I think? v low). I think it maxes at 15K BTUs at the top end so not as hot as some others, but fine for my purposes. My convection oven is the bee's knees, I am extremely happy with it. My second (smaller) oven runs cool but that's not a big deal.

Here is the range:
Posted Image

And a closeup of the S-grates, which I love.
Posted Image

Edited for photo codes.

Edited by *Deborah*, 04 November 2006 - 04:09 PM.

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#8 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 04:34 PM

I thought the Viking stoves had 15k BTU vs. the Wolf which has 16k.  At least that was the case when I did the research last year.

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The issue is propane,I think; Viking told me that propane runs a little less hot in their stoves, so to expect less.

But I have bigger things to worry about: we are literally ready to go to construction, once the cabinet issue is settled, and ... "someone" just figured out that the 60" range ovens won't be big enough to fit a sheet pan (18 x 26). AUGH! THIS is what happens when a right brainer tries to figure something out ... I have literally been saying to myself, "60" = 3'; 3' is two 36" ovens."

I have no excuse. None. And I cannot believe I did this! (Thank God the thing hasn't been ordered yet ...)

Quelle knucklehead, eh?


Deborah, your range is gorgeous! Just beautiful.

Edited by FabulousFoodBabe, 04 November 2006 - 04:35 PM.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#9 Marya

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 09:16 PM

"So, here are things I'm looking for and hopefully someone can give me some advice:

1) Prefer a stove that can handle a low simmer and getting a wok red hot.
2) Continuous grate (or some other option) that makes moving pots and pans to the different burners easily.
3) Easy clean up - maybe a tray that can be pulled out and wiped, etc.
4) Wok ring option would be fantastic."


I went with a BlueStar for all the same reasons.
1. It has a 350 BTU simmer burner(one of the lowest in the industry).
2. The movement of pots is very easy from grate to grate, at least front to back (the other two burners are at the opposite end with grill and griddle in between.)
3. It has easy to clean open burners and two pull out trays.
4. It does not need a wok ring. You simply flip over one of two 22,000BTU burner grates and the wok recesses into the open fire creating a lot of heat to stir-fry.
5. The burners are the same ones that Garland used for their now defunct semi-pro ranges. They are pretty awesome.

#10 C. sapidus

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 10:46 PM

We also chose Blue Star, in our case a 36-inch cooktop rather than a range. After nearly a year, we are absolutely delighted. As Marya points out, Blue Star has dedicated burners that go very high and very low. Even the regular burners have no problem melting chocolate without a double boiler or steaming rice.

Fabulous FB makes a good point: sales and service are spotty in some areas of the country, so do enquire. Also, make sure your vent hood will handle the high-powered burners. Even with a 600-CFM Vent-a-Hood, I occasionally drive everyone out of the kitchen with capsaicin fumes.

Prizer-Painter (Blue Star manufacturer)

David Rosengarten article comparing Blue Star, Viking, Jade, and DCS.

And for the truly obsessed, the archive of all Blue Star threads on GardenWeb.

I’ve posted this before, but this is our setup.
Posted Image

#11 Marya

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 01:51 AM

I neglected to mention that my rangetop is fueled with propane and the unit came propane-ready from the plant, thus giving me the full 22,000btu's and no loss in power. And as C.sapidus mentioned, a powerful hood is a must. I have a 900cfm Vent-a-hood that's 54"x27". The three extra inches all around allow for smoke-free grilling and wok cooking.

#12 FabulousFoodBabe

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 05:06 AM

I neglected to mention that my rangetop is fueled with propane and the unit came propane-ready from the plant, thus giving me the full 22,000btu's and no loss in power.  And as C.sapidus mentioned, a powerful hood is a must.  I have a 900cfm Vent-a-hood that's 54"x27".  The three extra inches all around allow for smoke-free grilling and wok cooking.

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this is very interesting; the Vikings come with a propane conversion kit. The cooktop we had installed when we bought the house runs a lot cooler with the conversion, too.

Excellent news: BlueStar has a 60" range; both ovens hold the sheet pans! Service could be an issue, yes, but maybe not. We'll see.
"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

#13 Bill/SFNM

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 07:34 AM

1) Prefer a stove that can handle a low simmer and getting a wok red hot.
...
4) Wok ring option would be fantastic.

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Sometimes, an object which does everything does none of them very well. High-heat wok-cooking was so important to me that it was distorting the whole selection process. After a great deal of research, I decided that a red-hot wok was best relegated to outdoors: much higher heat and less mess inside.

Indoors, I have a 36" dual-fuel Wolf range - great burner control,self cleaning oven with a "stone" mode for baking bread.

Outdoors, I have a 60,000+BTU wok burner that I can also use for deep frying, lobster steaming, and other messy tasks such as browning meat for braises. This burner cost me $60 (the wok was $9) and produces results that I doubt I could ever achieve on an inside burner:

Posted Image


Bill/SFNM

Edited by Bill/SFNM, 05 November 2006 - 07:35 AM.


#14 scubadoo97

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:02 AM

I neglected to mention that my rangetop is fueled with propane and the unit came propane-ready from the plant, thus giving me the full 22,000btu's and no loss in power.  And as C.sapidus mentioned, a powerful hood is a must.  I have a 900cfm Vent-a-hood that's 54"x27".  The three extra inches all around allow for smoke-free grilling and wok cooking.

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To my knowlege you will always get a drop in BTUs with propane

#15 Soupcon

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 09:15 AM

I have just installed a blue star 36" cooktop and I am in love :wub: :wub: . Although there is only one dealer in Canada I know of (in Montreal) gas ranges should not need much servicing if any IMHO.
As Marya says, you just take out the grate of the high output front burner and most decent sized woks will sit nicely in the hole just above the burner. I have in the past week cooked some of my best stir fries ever on this burner. And the simmer burner kept a 2 qt saucepan at a real simmer with no tweaking of the flame. :wub: :wub: :wub:
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#16 *Deborah*

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 10:45 AM

Deborah, your range is gorgeous!  Just beautiful.

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Cheers! I still cannot believe it sometimes, and look at it agape...it even looks good when it's all grubby. :biggrin:
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#17 coquus

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 11:20 AM

Posted Image


Bill/SFNM

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That is really awesome. Someday I hope to have a huge indoor burner like your outside one, I figure it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000-3000 to get it done proper.

#18 Bill/SFNM

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 11:51 AM

That is really awesome.  Someday I hope to have a huge indoor burner like your outside one, I figure it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000-3000 to get it done proper.

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This generates a fairly large amount of smoke and airborne grease (you can see a little of it in the photo). I hope you're planning on having an industrial-strength hood/ventilator.

Bill/SFNM

#19 annachan

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 12:28 PM

Outdoors, I have a 60,000+BTU wok burner that I can also use for deep frying, lobster steaming, and other messy tasks such as browning meat for braises. This burner cost me $60 (the wok was $9) and produces results that I doubt I could ever achieve on an inside burner:

Posted Image


Bill/SFNM

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I WANT ONE!!!!!! Too bad we don't have much of a back yard.....I'll definitely look into it when we move to a place that can accomodate an outdoor kitchen!

BTW, where did you get the $60 burner from? How is that hooked up?

#20 Bill/SFNM

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 12:37 PM

I WANT ONE!!!!!! Too bad we don't have much of a back yard.....I'll definitely look into it when we move to a place that can accomodate an outdoor kitchen!

BTW, where did you get the $60 burner from? How is that hooked up?

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I got the burner here.

It is hooked up to 20# propane tank which is under the counter.

Bill/SFNM

#21 coquus

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 01:14 PM


That is really awesome.  Someday I hope to have a huge indoor burner like your outside one, I figure it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000-3000 to get it done proper.

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This generates a fairly large amount of smoke and airborne grease (you can see a little of it in the photo). I hope you're planning on having an industrial-strength hood/ventilator.

Bill/SFNM

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Yea, I figure a thousand for the burner, then fifteen hundred for the hood.

#22 budrichard

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 02:29 PM

Put in a Viking unit and Viking dual fan hood about 15 years ago. The thing is a TANK! Yes the burners are ALL 15K but most other ranges if they have a higher burner rating, then the other burners are lower to keep the same total heat load. You MUST have an adequate ventialtion system to the outside not only for smoke and odors but for heat removal. Once a year if lucky it gets cleaned. The most important thing is to clean the grease traps on the hood by removing the housing around the fans, very simple. I also pull the fan units out and inspect the ducting for grease and oil, so far the grease traps have done thier job.-Dick

#23 LindaK

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 05:10 PM

We also chose Blue Star, in our case a 36-inch cooktop rather than a range. After nearly a year, we are absolutely delighted. As Marya points out, Blue Star has dedicated burners that go very high and very low. Even the regular burners have no problem melting chocolate without a double boiler or steaming rice.

Prizer-Painter (Blue Star manufacturer)

David Rosengarten article comparing Blue Star, Viking, Jade, and DCS.

And for the truly obsessed, the archive of all Blue Star threads on GardenWeb.

I'm so glad you love your Blue Star. I have my heart set on one, when I finally get around to the big kitchen renovation. 22,000 BTUs as well as low simmer. A big plus for me is that they do not have sealed burners--though I know others may not share that preference.

Your kitchen is beautiful, btw.


 


#24 Marya

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:20 PM

Yes the burners are ALL 15K but most other ranges if they have a higher burner rating, then the other burners are lower to keep the same total heat load.

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I have two 22,000, one 15,000 and one 12,000 (simmer) BTU burner. BlueStar does not provide you with a high output burner, a wimpy simmer burner (this one goes from 350 to 12,000) and mediocre secondary burners. I can cook full blast on all of them. I also use the griddle to keep sauces warm and maintain temp or simmer. It's my compromise for not getting a flattop.

#25 Marya

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 08:28 PM

I neglected to mention that my rangetop is fueled with propane and the unit came propane-ready from the plant, thus giving me the full 22,000btu's and no loss in power.  And as C.sapidus mentioned, a powerful hood is a must.  I have a 900cfm Vent-a-hood that's 54"x27".  The three extra inches all around allow for smoke-free grilling and wok cooking.

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To my knowlege you will always get a drop in BTUs with propane

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Each unit is custom manufactured after the item is ordered. If you specify propane, they don't build a natural gas product and then convert to propane. I was told that the fittings were specifically designed to allow the full complement of gas to flow through with no loss in power.

#26 budrichard

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 10:30 AM

Yes the burners are ALL 15K but most other ranges if they have a higher burner rating, then the other burners are lower to keep the same total heat load.

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I have two 22,000, one 15,000 and one 12,000 (simmer) BTU burner. BlueStar does not provide you with a high output burner, a wimpy simmer burner (this one goes from 350 to 12,000) and mediocre secondary burners. I can cook full blast on all of them. I also use the griddle to keep sauces warm and maintain temp or simmer. It's my compromise for not getting a flattop.

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My Viking has all 15K burners. The BlueStar burners are not all the same, the 12K burner is not full power so I stand by my statement. I do wish the Viking burners were higher output but I don't have to worry about which burner I am using. -Dick

#27 Bombdog

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 05:22 PM

[My Viking has all 15K burners. The BlueStar burners are not all the same, the 12K burner is not full power so I stand by my statement. I do wish the Viking burners were higher output but I don't have to worry about which burner I am using. -Dick

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All 6 of the burners on my DCS are 17.5.
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#28 lcdm

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 09:37 AM

I have a 36" all gas DCS seen here: http://www.dcs-range...detail.php?id=8

Very pleased with it. The simmer works great very low. To tell you the truth I was so hung up with BTUs when looking at ranges that I have to laugh at myself - I hardly ever use the burners past medium, but I do have "the power" for the rare instances that I do. :smile: