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kiliki

Ranges/Cooktops/Ovens

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This cook's vote goes to the vintage gas ranges. I've cooked many years on a coil electric stove at my previous home. I've taught years of cooking classes on a high end professional style range (which shall remain nameless). Then I moved to the house with the O'Keefe & Merritt. Wow! For home cooking, especially in a smallish kitchen, the OK&M wins hands down. The oven is the most accurate I've ever used. The burners rock! They're 12,000 BTU, according to the repair guy I had out to hook up the broiler. Once I started to use the broiler, I figured out why the previous cook didn't use it - its too hot! Its like a restaurant broiler and it is scorching the cabinet above the vent. Wait'll I get a good vent hood.

Its 12000 BTU burners (four of them) are more than enough for everything I want to do at home. Much more often than not, I find myself turning the flame down, rather than up. It simmers beautifully.

We're remodeling the kitchen next year (no more cabinets over the stove, thank you), but the OK&M is staying. The money saved is going toward top notch refrigeration, but that's another topic.

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Started my research for a new Electric Range today. I'm considering Bosch, Maytag and the likes.

Found some interesting information regarding warranties.

Effective January 1 2006, most all major market players of residential equipment will be slipping the warranty from 3 years to 1 year on parts.

Oh yeah, price hikes on most will go into effect the same day. :hmmm:

I was hoping for a price break after the holidays.

Appliance Advisor

woodburner

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We went through our kitchen remodel at the end of last year. We considered both a cooktop with a wall oven and a range. We opted to go with the range for 2 reasons. First was that it made more sense space wise and I feel it is more efficient to have the oven right there as well as (with a smallish kitchen to begin with) it made more efficient use of our space. The second reason for going with a range is that the cooktops I looked at did not have the same btu's for all burners. Even with the high end makers this held true.

Size wise we were limited to a 30" model. I will say that if we had the room for a 36" I certainly would have gone that direction though we are perfectly pleased with what we got.

As to which model to get and what features comes down to one's own cooking preferences. I wanted a gas cooktop, period, so electric was out of the question. I also wanted to be able to get as much heat as possible on the burners. I was also looking for the range with the cooktop best suited for stir fries and using a wok. When it came down to the oven portion, I wanted to have convection, but I don't do much in terms of baking but I wanted as good a broiler as possible. I should add that due to wanting high output burners I had to get a good fan as well.

In terms of the brands that we looked at, we primarily considered Wolff, Viking, Dacor, & DCS. We briefly looked at Thermidor, Miele and a couple others. The first one I eliminated was Dacor. I had a strong dislike for their grates and (perhaps motivated by that) didn't care for other aspects of the range which I can't remember exactly now. DCS was okay and wouldn't have been a bad choice other than at the time frame we were looking at was when they were being taken over by Fisher-Paykel and it would have been near impossible to order one and get it within any reasonable time frame. While I still didn't consider it to be the best option anyways this eliminated it totally.

The final choice came down to Viking or Wolff. Since I wanted a good broiler I opted for Gas throughout as opposed to a dual fuel range. These two ranges had the best broilers I had seen and I think both were equal in this regard. Both ranges were also at the top of the list in terms of appearance as well. The final choice came down to the grates. I really liked the Wok grate (available accessory) offered by Viking. The swing though came as with the 30" range, the Wolff had an empty channell between the 4 burner grates while the Viking had grates in this center channel. That swung the final choice in favor of the Viking.

In terms of the major features and the final cost the options were: All gas as opposed to dual fuel. Sealed or non-sealed burners. Whether or not to get self-cleaning on the oven. As I've mentioned I went with all gas. You cannot (and I think this holds true with Wolff and perhaps others as well) use a wok grate with the sealed burners as the Wok wouldn't sit down low enough. Personally I'd also rather be able to take the rings to the sink to clean so going with the non-sealed burners was a no brainer decision. I also opted to go without the self-clean as I figured the 600 dollar difference, for having to clean an oven twice a year wasn't worth it. I will say that on those 2 days I do sort of wish I'd gotten that feature, though I don't regret having to clean the oven myself.

In terms of the hood I went with a Zephyr Typhoon. A good hood is worth the price.

I know Viking has different locations (and probably one in the Seattle area) where you can go and get a thorough demonstration. I also happen to like Viking's 'Vari-simmer' feature immensely. I've been using my stove for a year now almost and have no regrets whatsoever. Regardless of which model you decide upon, is a high end range worth the buying? I'd say yes. Price is a one time issue. Cost is a long time issue. Since a range will last you many years, if you break it down over time, it isn't that big of a cost difference to be able to do the things you would like to do efficiently.


Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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    As to which model to get and what features comes down to one's own cooking preferences.  I wanted a gas cooktop, period, so electric was out of the question.  I also wanted to be able to get as much heat as possible on the burners.  I was also looking for the range with the cooktop best suited for stir fries and using a wok. When it came down to the oven portion, I wanted to have convection, but I don't do much in terms of baking but I wanted as good a broiler as possible.  I should add that due to wanting high output burners I had to get a good fan as well.

.....

    The final choice came down to Viking or Wolff.  Since I wanted a good broiler  I opted for Gas throughout as opposed to a dual fuel range.  These two ranges had the best broilers I had seen and I think both were equal in this regard.  Both ranges were also at the top of the list in terms of appearance as well.  The final choice came down to the grates.  I really liked the Wok grate (available accessory) offered by Viking.  The swing though came as with the 30" range, the Wolff had an empty channell between the 4 burner grates while the Viking had grates in this center channel.  That swung the final choice in favor of the Viking.

talk to me about the broiler issue - how did you determine that the gas broilers worked better than the electric broilers you might have found on a dual-fuel range?

I haven't done much hands-on research yet. I'm struggling with the dual-fuel vs gas option. I'd been considering dual-fuel simply to get a more accurate oven, and a "true" convection, but am concerned about the daily cost of using electric power to fuel an oven vs. gas. I don't know how to research the fuel usage to be able to get a comparison of the costs when looking at my gas and electric bills. I know that gas is high this year due to the Katrina mess, but typically it has a lower cost here in Texas.

Can anyone point me to a method to figure out how many cubic feet of gas or kilowatts of electricity would be used for an hour of 350 or 450 degree cooking for a particular model/brand name of range?

I do have a Cadco commercial countertop convection oven - but the convection never shuts off. I bought it to save me from having to crank up my gas Chambers just to do a quick oven job.

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Can anyone point me to a method to figure out how many cubic feet of gas or kilowatts of electricity would be used for an hour of 350 or 450 degree cooking for a particular model/brand name of range?

I doubt you'll find exact figures for any or all ranges and ovens, but here from the California Energy Commission, is a breakdown of oven operating costs, by fuel type.

Plug in your own local gas therm and electric Kwh costs for a more accurate assertation.

woodburner

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This GE Monogram is now the range of my dreams.

I was going with GE mainly because it was good enough and we have some real service issues here with Viking and some of the others. I have enough acquaintances with high end kitchens and the horror stories are rampant.

Then, the house got delayed but is on again so I went to check it out. I was told by our main dealer here that last year or so, GE started making the ranges etc. themselves. They used to be made by DCS. Well . . . I am almost glad I waited on the house. All of the burners are dual ring, sealed, will go from a 140F simmer to 17,000 BTUs (natural gas). I first fell in love with this thing because of the small oven that will proof bread or make yogurt. And there was the service thing. Now I am in ecstasy.

Someone up-thread asked about venting. I do know that a lot of jurisdictions around here are pretty picky about ventilation with gas. Some of our building codes won't even allow gas in islands or with downdraft.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Since I wanted a good broiler  I opted for Gas throughout as opposed to a dual fuel range.  These two ranges had the best broilers I had seen and I think both were equal in this regard.

A good broiler is one of my priorities, too. Is yours an infrared? I've been assuming that's the best available for a non-commercial range.

All of the burners are dual ring, sealed, will go from a 140F simmer to 17,000 BTUs (natural gas).

What is a "dual ring" ?

There was a little discussion on another thread about the Blue Star range series (the new non-commercial brand name of what used to be Garland). On paper, it's still tops on my list, but I've yet to see one in person. Up to 22,000 BTUs. I once had an old Garland, still the best range I've ever used, so I'm very intrigued. Not cheap, but less than Wolf or Viking.



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. . . . .

What is a "dual ring" ?

. . . . .

There are two concentric rings of flame. How it actually functions, like when the outer ring kicks in, I am not sure. I do know that on simmer, only the inner ring is lit. The way I know that is I saw a close-up of the simmer thing in action in some ad.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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oh no! i hope you haven't bought your GE appliances yet.

LOTS of horror stories over the past several years at ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl.

I basically did my research there when we thought we were building two years ago. Then again last month we thought we were going to build so I started researching appliances. Ended up buying a house but we're remodeling, so I'm not done -- sorthing through ovens and ranges right now.

I have *not* read convincing stories about GE or Viking to make me want to buy any of their appliances. GE's customer service is appalling too, as some of my friends will attest. We also lived in Cincinnati for a bit and will be moving back soon, so we have some friends who worked at GE -- no good stories there either.


stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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The GE ranges have some of the best repair records, according to Consumer Reports. After our contractor installed ours I thought I smelled gas, so I called GE and had no trouble arranging a service appointment.

I remember reading somewhere else on this board that the garden web forum posters were famously anti-GE. I would use more than this source when evaluating appliances.

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Consumer Reports isn't without bias either. It's not just the people at Gardenweb that say or know this. And I certainly don't make my decisions either based on ONE forum, but rather do a lot of research on my own, ask people I know that have them, test appliances, etc., before I buy them. I meant the post to be a "take it or leave it" suggestion. Sorry!

PS As I mentioned, my friends (real people, not online) have had horrendous GE customer service experience. Glad to hear your experience was the opposite.


Edited by stef_foodie (log)

stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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I've been flirting with getting a new stove and have been doing some research of my own. If there's one thing I've noticed it's that few brands are without detractors entirely. Almost every brand has its contingent of haters. It also seems that the pro-style ranges, while clearly offering great functional benefits like BTUs, might end up being less reliable overall. Which is very disappointing when one is dropping that kind of cash. That said, I wonder whether forums, which are essentially qualitative in nature, are a good means of assessing quantitative factors such as reliability? I mean, if ten people have a bad experience and choose to post about it, what does that really prove? I don't doubt that Viking, Wolf and DCS are great fun to use (and look at) but I'd love to know whether statistically they do break down more often. I guess another variable is the whole service experience: ease of getting parts, finding service people to work on them, getting work done under warranty, etc.

Just thinking aloud...

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You're right, Tony. Take Viking for instance -- for every person who loves their Viking, there's a person who would say they hated it or decided against it. I think it all comes down to what tasks are most important to you in the kitchen and how much you're willing to spend to do that task more efficiently, more authentically, or whathaveyou. Right now I'm vacillating between getting the Blue Star (for the high BTUs) and a lower-end range + a $50 wok burner for outside use. The difference in price is considerable, but at the same time I do stir-fries several times a week, so I certainly will put any appliance I get, low- or high-end, to good use. Same thing with the oven -- we do a lot of baking; deciding right now between the full-featured Miele and a less expensive one (but without a rotisserie and other features). Been wrestling with these decisions for over two years, and I still haven't decided :laugh:

The thing with appliances with more/better features is that more things can go wrong as well, that's just a given. Bottom line, you have to decide if the extra headaches that are bound to come with the bells and whistles are worth it for you. We all have our personal thresholds of what's acceptable in terms of performance and price. And we all have our own priorities that ultimately will determine what percentage of our hard-earned dollars will go into equipping a kitchen.


stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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I have used Viking and Thermador at my old house and uncles house...when we moved to our new place, there was this large 6 burner range called Wolf.

Definetly my favorite of the 3.

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Good points made, about how to realistically interpret forum responses. It does seem what typically happens is you hear more about the bad than the good, as dissatisfied customers are more likely to post, methinks.

For me, though, what I in particular was trying to find out, was if there was a consensus on particularly unreliable models or makes. Our current range happens to be a GE, and the parts that are broken cannot be replaced (no longer made).... I suppose I would pay more for reliability and customer service, over particular features and good looks, to avoid being in my current condition anytime soon (of having only half an oven, basically!) .

Perhaps I'll just go with the longest warranty I can find and hope for the best .... :wub:

Cacao

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one recommendation I've noticed in rec.food.equipment over and over is to buy the extended warranty, due to so many failures in the new electronic controls all ranges have now

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Can I kickstart this discussion again? General thoughts on GE Monogram ranges? I'm surprised at their price -- do they perform well? How about DCS? I remember it used to be the dark horse favorite.

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Can I kickstart this discussion again?  General thoughts on GE Monogram ranges?  I'm surprised at their price -- do they perform well?  How about DCS? I remember it used to be the dark horse favorite.

I can't speak for DCS, but I love my Monogram.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Can I kickstart this discussion again?  General thoughts on GE Monogram ranges?  I'm surprised at their price -- do they perform well?  How about DCS? I remember it used to be the dark horse favorite.

I can't speak for DCS, but I love my Monogram.

MelissaH

I have a 36" DCS 6 burner and am totally in love with it. My previous two stoves were commercial Wolf's and I'll take this DCS over either one of them.

Melissa, the salesman told me that the Monogram is made by DCS


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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In response to Kiliki's original request for personal experiences with ranges vs cooktops I would add. I have always used a range but in our remodel project I opted for a rangetop and double wall ovens. I do miss the convenience of going from cook top to oven in one quick swoop but it's not so inconvenient to walk a few feet to place a hot pan in the oven. The oven height is better in the wall oven than in range oven so that is a positive for the wall oven. I have a 36" Viking rangetop. I never use all six burners at once but the added space just makes it easier to move things around when I have three pots all going at the same time. I think the most I've had was 4 burners going at any one time. The rangetop is the pro stainless look but with it you loose a drawer compared to a similar cooktop. As far as brands go I searched here and at gardenweb as well as asking anyone who had any experience. You will hear good and bad with all brands. I liked the Viking rangetop because all burners are equal in performance with no simmer plate needed. Thermador's simmer uses an on/off mode that clicks every minute and that would drive me up a wall. In retrospect I wish I had a Blue Star rangetop after hearing about how much more heat it produces compared to the Viking. So in the end you try to get the best you think will work for you and just know there are always trade offs.

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I opted for a rangetop and double wall ovens....The rangetop is the pro stainless look but with it you loose a drawer compared to a similar cooktop.

what's the difference between a rangetop and a cooktop?

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I remodelled my kitchen a little more than a year ago. I bought thermador 6 burner cooktop, downdraft venting system and thermador wall ovens. The simmer burner does click, but I like how it keeps sauces and coffee warm, I think its a good feature.

The wall ovens are the 30" ones with a convection self cleaning one on top.

It also has low temperatures for proofing bread or doing things like sun drying tomatoes. I am very happy with all of the choices, my previous ovens were GE monogram and due to smaller cabinets, were too small for a large roasting pan or baking sheets.The old Jenn Air cooktop was difficult to clean and some burners got rusty. The big expense with your cooktop will be installing the correct downdraft- mine is a Bosch pop up in a center island. The Thermador with star burners has one hi BTU burner so I needed a better system than the Jenn Air I had. I also installed a Bosch dishwasher, which has been great. I used granite for the island and a plain speckled corian for the perimeter counters. I am happy with both.The corian does not show stains and is easy to clean. The designer talked me out of soapstone. I also ordered my faucet from ebay and it came promptly.I agree there are always tradeoffs-I did not always go for the most expensive item and I would do most of it again. You will be in chaos for a while but it is worth it.Did you know you could microwave an egg in a custard cup while your kitchen is destroyed? We made meals for two months with a toaster oven, electric kettle and microwave,Good luck.

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