30" bluestar rnb @$4,400 vs. wolf ag r304 @ $3,200

needinfo1January 23, 2013

I am finally at decision time after eliminating other choices that don't work for us--Viking with a bad repair/customer service history, CC just don't know if it is all it is cracked up to be, was ready to buy American Range until we discovered it is too deep for our configuration, and Bertazzoni because it doesn't have the superior broiler we desire.

I've found a floor model (assuming it hasn't sold already) of the soon to be discontinued "open burner" Wolf for $3,200. Or, I can pay full freight for the RNB (no discounts to be found on these anywhere as far as I can tell). I can afford either, but my frugality makes me ask if the RNB truly is worth the extra $1,200.

Super high heat blazing BTU burners aren't my primary objective in a range. So, I wouldn't choose the Bluestar just for that reason alone.

We want a reliable range that does an excellent job of cooking for the person who is not by any means a pro but a more adventuresome home cook than many. So, I want good control from a low simmer to a good sear. We want an excellent ceramic broiler, and I believe both of these have that. I want an even-baking oven but don't use full-size bakers sheets so that is not important. I am by no means a clean freak but want something that is relatively easy to clean. As far as service providers, we live in a major metropolitan area.

So, what do you think? And if you've someone who has actually cooked on both of these, I'd really, really like your impressions of your experiences. Thanks.

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I think you should go with what your heart / research tells you all these products have fans and naysayers.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 1:05PM
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I thought the Berta had an infra red broiler as well unless you are looking at dual fuel.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 1:22PM
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I'll have to check on the Berta. Maybe I am wrong. When I stuck my head in the oven of one, it seemed more just like a regular gas burner broiler rather than the ceramic.

Thanks to both of you so far.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 1:49PM
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One more opinion brand longivety I don't see this discussed much.
Viking just got sold, Capital seems like Apple with Surgit running the show.
Will there be a brand shuffle ? I'm betting on Wolf but ...who knows. They back their products like no one else.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 3:54PM
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So, you've already been through the reams of postings on the Wolf and BS stoves? The differing preferences as to the BS's star-burners and the Wolf's circular-dual-stack burners don't matter to you? Then you've seen everybody's pros and cons on both stovs, and there is not much to add here.

You have a frugality gene? Seems like the Wolf is the choice simply because you can get it for $1200 less than the BS.

Does the floor-model Wolf come with a backguard/vent/riser or is the store going to making you buy that separately? If one comes with the Wolf, that widens the price difference a bit more. (They are mandatory extras with the BS and retail Wolf.)

Do you have your heart set on a painted stove? (Your interest in the Berta suggests you might have inclinations towards that.) You can order the BS RNB with a factory paint job but you have to go to some lengths and expense to get an aftermarket paint job on the Wolf.

You should ask about what kind of warranty comes with the Wolf. Full/ from Wolf Subzero? Partial? Something from the store?

Are there any concerns about delivery and set-up?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 4:58PM
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This is like comparing a Mercedes, and a BMW, or an Audi, it's all personal taste at this level. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these. In my recent search for the perfect "last range I will ever own", I had it narrowed down to the exact two brands as well, (only the 36") I ended up going with BS for basically two reasons: 1. I loved the star pattern burners, I've always had open burners, and nothing else. 2. I really wanted a black range vs. the stainless...
Go with your gut, and I'm sure you will be happy with either!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Just back from the store again.

Berta definitely has just a regular broiler rather than the better infra-red one we want. So, those are definitely out.

With the Wolf I'd have to pay $200 extra for the back riser, but I'd also have to do the same for the BS. So, that is a wash.

Yes, I really thought I'd prefer a color and that has been complicating my search and my decision making. But, the Wolf to me is actually one of the more attractive looking ss ranges. Since I am replacing a white range, I have a couple sheets of the dull side of some foil hanging from my current range just to get an idea of how the stainless would work in my kitchen (it looks better than I had thought it would). I'd actually started to investigate the possibility of getting a custom paint job on the Wolf (assuming the painting was inexpensive enough), but having just looked at the range again I can see it wouldn't work out because the door does not cover the full frame of the range, and there would be a stainless frame around the color.

Wolf actually seems to have a much better warranty than the Bluestar. And, if anyone else reading this in the future is wondering about warranties on floor models, I was very surprised to find out when reading warranty info for both models that Wolf honors the full two year warranty on floor models while BS only gives a 90 day warranty on floor models.

Yes, I've read all of the posts and know the pros and cons of both. I just can't quite make up my mind. Thanks to all of you.

ctycdm--I had to laugh when I read about your search for your final range purchase ever. That is exactly the position we are in--thinking this is the last range we will ever buy. I think that is adding to my vacillation about what is most important to me. Do you like your black color a lot more than you would have liked stainless?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 5:43PM
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In your case, I think the Wolf is a better deal and what you should get. That's a significant savings on a good range and seems too good to pass up.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:55PM
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On the 'bay there is an American Range floor model with a starting bid of $2k or buy it now option of $2.8k plus $200 shipping.

Here is a link that might be useful: AR Performer Series

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:44AM
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As others have said...go with your gut. The cooktop performance is no comparison, they are in different leagues...advantage bs. Quality, fit and finish... advantage wolf. Wolf is creme de la creme in the latter category.
My 4 year old bs is not as polished as a wolf to be sure. (I don't even want polished...but some do) But has performed without a flaw for well over 4 yrs now.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 1:44AM
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In case you don't know the AR Performer series is an open burner range with a dedicated simmer burner and 25k btu power burners.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:21AM
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We were planning to buy the Performer as the best of all worlds and values until we did our last minute double checking of the measurements. 1/2" too deep for our L-shaped configuration. Because of how far the handle sticks out, we wouldn't have been able to open a drawer on the adjacent side of the L. So, lesson to all who are replacing appliances. Start your decision-making process by eliminating those that won't work in your space! We made the mistake of just assuming any 30" would replace any 30". So glad we figured this our before we bought. That's why the BS and Wolf dilemma. Right now I think we are leaning towards the Wolf. Decision to be made today.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:40AM
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I want to thank all of you who commented here. Yesterday we bought the Wolf. So, now when it is delivered next week we'll see if we are satisfied with our decision.

We both believe the Bluestar does cook better. How much better is up to debate through. And, I am thinking it is easier to keep the top clean. So, those are pluses. And, I loved the colors, so for me giving up that option was no small deal.

But, in the extensive research I did for this purchase, I just had too many niggling doubts about Bluestar as a company and its quality control issues (and there are still many even since the introduction of the V1). Go beyond this forum too when looking for info. We just did not want to pay full price for something when we would be worrying whether we'd be the lucky ones who got a great range or the unlucky ones (and there are quite a few) who got a range with problems. Our decision was finalized when we read the warranties for both. Bluestar's has more "it is not our fault" and "we are going to wiggle out of responsibility" clauses than we thought were reasonable. (One more thing: we live in a major metro area, so this wouldn't have been a problem for us, but if you live more in the boonies, very definitely read Bluestar's warranty before buying.)

Price came into play a little bit in this decision but not all that much. I'm hoping we made the right decision for us. Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Enjoy! as I said, I don't think you could have made a "wrong" decision here....

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Curious... We also have the option to buy a floor model R304, My question is in regards to the knobs/burner. The AJ Madison description says: "The large red control knobs have FOUR POSITION SETTINGS." Does this mean I can only use the burners on low/med/med-high/high? I can't just adjust the flame to whatever size I want?

Any input greatly appreciated! Thanks!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:53PM
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They are infinitely adjustable. See if you can find the posting I made not too long ago titled something like two week review of Wolf AG open burner. It should probably answer some of your other questions too.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:23AM
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