Capital or Wolf

LynnNitoJanuary 12, 2012

Hello, I have been reading these forums for a few weeks and have found all the info very helpful. I'm grateful so many people take time to help others. I am trying to buy a 36'gas range to replace a 30'GE. I want something that is reliable not prone to problems/repairs. I've visited several dealers (who have not been great for info) and think I've narrowed down to a Wolf or Capital. I've seen the Wolf and the CC but for some reason, the dealer is pushing the Precision. I ruled out Bluestar because the only local dealer said he has sold it for years and has never had a single complaint or problem. After reading this forum, I don't trust him. I need the six burners and several times a year I cook 30lb turkeys. I also have a tendency to cram tons of sheets and pans into my oven at once. This makes me think that the Capital (which I love) won't work for my situation because of the smaller oven. Can anyone tell me if I'm heading for trouble with either of these two choices.

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I ruled out Bluestar because the only local dealer said he has sold it for years and has never had a single complaint or problem. After reading this forum, I don't trust him

Seriously? Sounds like you've read all the recent complaints about the CC's oven/racks and you choose to disqualify Bluestar?

Color me confused!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 5:21PM
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If you love the Capital, get it, but not the Precision. Get the Culinarian. The open burners are night and day better than and any sealed burner, including the Wolf. Further, if you can spring for the self-clean model, you'll get the better rack system that will lessen the issue of the oven size due to better spacing. I have the 48" and my large oven is the same as the 36". The 36" self-clean only comes with three rolling racks but you can buy two more and use up to five at the same time. Each rack can fit a commercial full size sheet. I can't speak for the 30lbs bird situation. Overall, the CC is very well built and is a cooking machine. I'd buy another in a heartbeat. Search for my ID and you'll see pictures of mine. Let me know if you need and specific measurements or pictures or anything and I'll see if I can help you out.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I haven't found the complaints about CC, could you please direct me? Bluestar is not easily found around here (despite being close to Reading) and I don't want to work with a dealer who is disingenuous. If the dealer had told me there were problems but things have really improved, I'd take a chance. It really is an issue with the dealer that makes me nervous about taking a chance on Bluestar despite the positive comments of new purchasers.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Complaints collect in pockets on internet fora such as this. I would not dismiss them -- I gather some folks have had problems with BlueStar oven doors over the years, if perhaps those problems have been addressed. Here's the thing: did those problems occur with 50% of the ranges sold? 5%? 1%? I don't think there's any way reasonable way to know based on the threads you've seen here. I've seen no reliable 3d party surveys on this for BlueStar or Capital.

So why conclude that the dealer is lying? I don't know who your local dealer is and I don't know whether he's honest, lucky, or full of it. How many of the ranges has he sold? How many got heavy regular use? Anybody who combs the internet for customer reviews of ranges will be familiar with reports about the BS oven doors (and will now find reports about a few CC ranges). But that doesn't mean that everybody who has seen (or handled or sold) a few necessarily knows about those problems?

It can be pretty hard to get good information on dealers, but you can at least check for complaints locally. And while you're collecting ad hoc opinions, maybe some local chatboards devoted to something else could be a source of reports on the store.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 8:55PM
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There's kind of a war, (Well maybe a skirmish) here in GW between the Bluestar's and the Capitalists. Both of them feel extremely strong about their particular choice, alto there are a few "Moderates" here.

Blue Star did have extremely serious problems a couple years ago, and in fact there were numerous posts from folks that could not even get any kind of response from Blue Star about their problems, A Guy named Trevor, (Eurostoves), helped some of those folks out.

Then along comes the Capital Cullinarian. And BEFORE it came out, folks here in GW were asked what they wanted, same size burners?, several other things that escape me now, but GW, as well as Trevor had a lot to do with the design of the Capital Cullinarian.

Well the Capital Cullinarian turned out to be a HIT!
It Awoke Bluestar, and they have done a complete 180 as far as customer service and attending to problems, even did some redesign here, door in particular due to , "I'm Sure" inputs from Garden Web.

So there you have the whole story, Your dealer should have been forthright (hard to believe he never heard of these problems)~~~~However, old saying, "Don't cut off your nose to Spite your face"

There are only 2 open burner ranges that have any reviews to speak of, there is a 3rd company but we just never hear about them.

1st, do you really need/want the high power?
if so Blue Star or the Capital Cullinarian

Simmering, how important is that? The Blue Star has a simmer burner, the Capital Cullinarian does not and from some recent posts, it looks like you may need a "Flame Tamer" or whatever they call it to do some Really Serious Simmering on the Capital Cullinarian.

Oven size, take your turkey pan and see if it fits in any oven you are contemplating.

If you don't need high power, then go with the Wolf, we have little info here on the Capital Precision,and unless a big price difference, go with the one folks know and love here, Wolf.

I do not have a hoss in the race as I have been "Inducted"

Best of Luck!!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:07PM
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Hi Lynn,

At the risk of stirring up the hornets nest let me just point you to the search feature. Not the one in the upper right corner, that searches the whole website. Go to the thread list in the Appliances forum and at the bottom you'll see an option to Search THIS forum, meaning just appliances.

What you'll find is a huge number of fights, a ton of assumptions, lots of hearsay and a little bit of real world experience from owners.

Both Bluestar and CC have had their share of issues. Bluestar is basically down to one question, the oven door temperature, which actual owners (and their kids, dogs, cats, etc) don't seem to have any problem with.

The CC seems to be working out a number of issues, with thread topics ranging from oven rack positioning to loose grates to simmer settings that are too hot to ignitors that come on erroneously.

Out of fairness to both, respective owners seem quite happy with their choices. My only point here is really that you shouldn't count Bluestar out based on things you've read here.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:13PM
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dodge59, that's a pretty good "brief history of time" here on GW! Nicely done! :)


    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:15PM
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so what's the general opinion of BS vs CC range tops? No oven issues at all involved.



    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 9:20PM
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Bee, both have great burners. The BS has a mix that will go from warm to high heat. The CC is all the same burners and will go from simmer to high heat. That's it in a nutshell.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Thanks stooxie.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Lyn: if you go with a 36" oven size for your birds will not be an issue.

However, I would not discount BS either. Unless there were other reasons to mis trust him he may be telling the truth or *close to* the truth, which is probably as good as you well get from ANY salesman, I do not care who they are.

For example, I knew a salesman at an appliance dealer quite well on a personal basis, and he found it odd to hear all the complaints about viking. He said he " never has issues with them", although that may be a slight generalization, as even Toyota has the occasional issue. Unlike a toyota however, when a person has an issue with an appliance many people assume the protocol is to call the manufacturer. Even when I prodded my friend, he insisted that he can not recall having an issue with a viking range he has sold.

You also have to keep in mind that BS's have been around a heck of a lot longer than the CC therefore more time for issues to crop up. If you search this forum I would bet that there are as few or maybe fewer issues with BS's purchased in the past 1.5 years than CC's which I believe is the aprox time CC has been available. BS's cusomer service in this time has also been as good or in my opinion better than capitals. There have been times trevor had to step in for customers just as he did during the earlier BS years when he was selling those.

As for the wolf, a good unit, but not as powerful as CC (or bs) of course.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2012 at 10:59PM
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I really like our Wolf 36" AG range. The burners are powerful enough for us.

One thing that might or might not be an issue for you (something I feel was an oversight on Wolf's part) is the oven depth. You cannot fit full size baking sheets in the oven (which means 1/2 sheet pans placed on the rack longways won't fit either). It's only off by 1/4-1/2" (I think?), which I still maintain they could have avoided when designing the range. Interior oven height is good--I've cooked a 22-23 lb turkey in it no problem.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:00AM
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I have a 48 inch CC rangetop, so no oven. I like the fit and finish and the high BTU burners. I am disappointed in the simmer though. I don't think it's a real simmer and I've tried the adjustments -- but I haven't called the factory yet. Big pots boil over on the lowest setting, even with simmer plates. Others say they don't have this problem.

The other thing I would do is compare deep cleaning on the BS and CC -- I don't know if either one has an advantage when you have to take off the grates and burners to clean the insides.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 12:11AM
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I'm just wondering about the comment from tyguy that most appliance purchasers call the manufacturer rather than the dealer when there's a problem. Reason is that a few years ago I purchased a high-end fridge from the local high-end dealer in my area, and when I started having problems, I first called the dealer and they said they don't do anything as they only sell the appliances. (The fridge eventually had five service calls under warranty and the manufacturer replaced it under the lemon law.)

What exactly is the role of the dealer after the sale? The fridge mfr used a couple of different firms for warranty repair, and I don't believe the dealer even provided any service work.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:22AM
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Lynn you mentioned Reading. How far are you from Pittsburgh?

I bought my Blue Star from Don's Appliances in Pittsburgh (along with other appliances) -- very happy with them. May-be you can see it there?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 7:00AM
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Lynn, where are you located? There seems to be a few dealers around the Reading area that sell and have them on their showroom floor.

Martin's Appliance
4850 Perkiomen Ave.
Reading, PA 19606

Maidencreek TV and Appliance
8261 Allentown Pike
Reading, PA 19605

Kieffers Appliances
785 Sumneytown Pike
Lansdale, PA 19446
215.699 0570

(Kieffers has every brand imaginable to look at. We went there to be able to compare apples to apples under the same roof. Worth the field trip)

Not sure how far you are from Martin's in Quarryville, but their BS is live and you can see it in action.

Martin's of Quarryville
2318 Beaver Valley Pike
New Providence, PA 17560

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 6:54PM
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American makes the largest oven in a 36" range. And they offer it with sealed or open burners. I think the Heritage sealed burner model has 6 cubic ft of space in the oven. It's more than 32 inches wide.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 1:34AM
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Thanks for all of your help. beekeeperswife, you are a much better googler than me. One of your recs is the dealer I wish to avoid...he says he has sold BS for years and it's his number two selling stove and never an issue. He does provide the follow service so... I will try the others and take a second shot at BS. I would like to support local. I'm going to try to find some "live" stoves. I will say the Capital simmer problem would be a huge issue for me. I use that feature every meal.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Lynn, I really don't think it's as big a deal as some non-CC owners make it out to be. All it takes is a little common sense. If you have a small pot, or any sized pot for that matter, and need below a simmer, you can do one of two things or both. You can crack the lid on the pot or you can offset the pot. Cracking the lid prevents the interior of the pot from getting too hot. And in case you're concerned about evaporation, don't worry about it. By cracking the lid, moisture condenses on the lid and then rolls right back into the pot. It's not hot enough to really reduce. Offsetting reduces the surface area being heated. The result is similar. The method has served everyone from grannies to professional chefs on ranges of all types for as long as humans have been cooking. In professional kitchens, they even roll up foil into a donut and rest the pot on it. For you or anyone considering the CC, my advice is to not worry too much about it. It's not a show stopper, unless your entire cookware arsenal consists of only tiny 1 qt pots and butter warmers.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 10:27PM
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jscout, in the interest of friendly conversation, what are the CC's advantages in this thread? If oven capacity is smaller than Bluestar's and the simmer must be worked around, what is her impetus? The "warm door" of the Bluestar oven doesn't affect cooking or require cooking style modification. What is described about the simmer and the oven capacity/racks does.

She might like the look of the CC better, that is fine. What else? Rotisserie and self clean are two other check marks in CC's favor but I haven't seen that as a stated requirement here.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 7:59AM
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Well, regarding the OP's original question I believe I already stated my opinion in the third post. When the OP followed up with something about the simmering capabilities of the CC, again, I addressed their concern from my perspective. Nowhere did I bash another product. If you don't find my posts useful because I don't attack another brand, then you can ignore it. For that matter, if Lynn doesn't find it useful, then s/he can ignore it too. But they posted on an open forum and I addressed the concern to the best of my ability, which is first hand experience.

See, here's the thing, Stooxie. Other than the obviously lighthearted thread I started about Marcus Samuelsson cooking on a CC, I've never bashed the BS. And even then, I didn't criticize the BS directly. That's because generally speaking, I like the BS. But I don't own a BS. So not owning a BS, anything I say about it functionally would be BS [pun intended - read hearsay]. Therefore I don't. I have seen it first hand and kicked the tires, like playing with the burners and looking under the grill and in the oven. So I at least have a frame of reference. On the other hand, since I do own a CC, then everything I say about it is first hand.

Frankly, I think some of your posts come across sounding like a jilted lover. It was as if you were somehow betrayed when the CC came onto the scene. Or maybe, just maybe, you could no longer say unequivocally and convincingly that you own the best range on the market. So forgive me if I will not engage in your interpretation of "friendly conversation." I have nothing against you. That's just not the kind of back and forth I wish to partake in. You have enough dance partners at that ball.

If you are in the market of buying a new range and are seriously considering the CC for yourself, then I will tell you everything I have experienced with the CC. I'll even tell you about my old KA sealed burner and Jenn-Air downdraft cooktop if that interests you.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I have a CC cooktop and have had no problems with the simmer being too high, although the installer said it would be. My observation is that he did not take into account the distance between the burner and the grate, just the flame.

Bluestar has simmer-dedicated burners--I don't remember if you have any control over which ones are the simmers. With CC all burners have a simmer function. My preferance was to have all burners with the simmer function so I could use them as I pleased. It's a personal choice. I also liked the CC higher output for woking, although the BS probably would have been fine too. If you are concerned about the simmer, you should go to a vendor who has a demo you can use and see what you think.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 11:25AM
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This makes me think our CC burners need further adjustment for proper simmer. It is so bad that that we have HUGE pots that boil over with the CC on simmer, even with two simmer plates between the grates and the pot.

The low simmer problem is worse with larger pots because they catch heat that would go around a smaller pot. Do you use large pots on simmer?

For the record, I disagree with jscout about how to deal with a simmer that is too high. If all the burners are being used (and frequently they are) you don't have the luxury of just pushing a pot over to the side because there's nowhere for it to be pushed... And raising the pot higher doesn't help much with open burners (although it works well with closed burners that shoot flames to the side) because the heat is going straight up and efficient cookware will catch this heat.

If the pot boils over because the simmer is too high then you get into the cleaning aspect of the CC. The Bluestar appears to be easier to clean unless you decide the wrap the interior parts of the CC in foil, in which case you'll lose the look of the stainless steel. Very little of the spillage in a CC open burner system ever makes it to the drip dray. Typically the stuff gets burned on to the interior parts of the CC long before it gets to the drip tray.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:15PM
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jscout, relax. Like I said, I was just curious.

As much as one my call my motivations into question I find it equally fascinating to watch people dance around obvious issues with the new range that can do no wrong!


    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Billy, if your pot is boiling over on simmer, then something is definitely wrong. It could be the calibration, it could be something else. For all I know, it could be wrong LP/natural gas configuration, then you have an orifice issue. Over Christmas, I had 5qts of Bolognese simmering in one pot and 4qts of garden veggie marinara simmering in another and it was never a problem. I got just a few small bubble popping on the surface of each pot, all normal simmering. I also had a about a quart of Brandy Cream sauce in a small pot that I needed to hold and not simmer. So in that case, I kept the lid on and offset the pan. I needed to keep the lid on to prevent the skin. And it held beautifully.

Last night I did a little test of my simmer. I used a 1.5qt pan and put 3 cups of water in it. I brought it to a boil and then turned it down to simmer with the lid off. Once the boiling subsided, I put the lid back on. I checked back 30 minutes later and it was simmering, meaning there was some minor bubbling. I checked the temp with a candy thermometer and it registered just under 200F. It was a wee hotter than it should be. I put the lid back on and left a crack. Checked again 30 minutes later and no bubbles. The temperature of the water was ~185F. That's a low simmer. Then I offset the pan and left the lid cracked. But I fell asleep on the couch. I woke up this morning, six hours later, and rushed to the range. I opened the lid and the water was still, while the flame still on. I checked the temp and it was ~175F. I checked the water and I had a little more than 2.75 cups. I don't know what else there is to say, other than it works for me.

You can disagree with me all you want about ways to tame a hotter burner for simmer, but I've been in restaurant kitchens with Vulcans and Garlands with all ~30K BTU burners, and that's what we did to simmer when the burner was too hot. We left the lid off, cracked the lid or offset the pot. For warming and holding we used a bain marie. My grandmother on a wood burning stove in the country side simmered by cracking the lid and offsetting the pot. My mother, when I was young, simmered rice on the old open burners the same way. I'm sure others on this forum have done the same, including professional chefs.

To address your situation of having all the burners full, say you did have one simmer burner and needed to simmer two or three pots. One pot would be all set, but what would you do with the rest of them if the simmer is too high?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 6:34PM
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I hear you, something is not right. I've cooked in commercial kitchen too, but that was years ago.

The simmer appears to work better in smaller pots than in big pots, probably because the larger pot with aq wider bottom catches more heat.

The gas connection is natural gas.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 7:13PM
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Billy G- I think there is certainly something wrong with your ranges settings. On the lowest simmer I get no bubbling on pot and pans of any size.

Back on topic. I would not consider the Wolf mainly due to the sealed burner and the difficulties in cleaning that come with that design. I went from a sealed Thermador range to a 48" CC. The T was such a pain to clean! After a while I had to take a dremel to the stainless near the burner to get it clean. On the CC things could not get easier. I have had a milk spillover, a hash brown mishap (I flipped and missed the landing- it went EVERYWHERE) and a few minor spills/food particle drops. The grates are a joke to clean, and they go in the dishwasher when they get really dirty. The stainless top drip pan is AMAZING to clean. Since it is not attached to the burner it never gets very hot which keeps spills and food from caramelizing on it. Usually I pop off the grate and hit it with a sponge. If it is real bad I take it out and go to the sink with it. I really is impossible to be easier to clean.

The oven will hold a good amount- I think you need to check the number of available racks. Cubic feet is not a very reliable gauge for the size of the oven- actual usable space is. Take several of your pans to the store and see how the ranges hold them.

The performance of the oven is my only downer. I was hoping for a little more. Thats not to say it isn't a great oven, most people will love it. I am coming from my Thermador which also had an infrared broiler. In that oven you could turn on the broiler and start browning in 2-3 minutes. In the CC I need to wait at least 10 minutes for it to get hot enough. The oven also tends to have hot spots, mostly on the left rear. I usually give a turn half way through and all is well. I have not perfected cooking in the small oven- I must be putting things in too soon- everything tends to burn on the bottom.

I have quite a bit of experience on Wolf's and Vikings (I LOATHE having to cook on a Viking- I'd rather use a $300 GE). The Wolf is ok, I have no complaints other than things just take longer (luckily I have never had to clean it!)

All in all I am VERY happy with the CC- it is not perfect, but it is a great combination of performance, looks and ease of use.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 9:04PM
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I don't have a pony in this race (yet), and I've extensively read on this forum about the CC vs BS debate. My distilled wisdom is as follows

1. Pay no mind to the passions that flare here; it's hard to go wrong with either CC or BS. Just go with the one that fits your needs and tastes:
a) which looks better to you? Points for the one you like better.
b) which is more important to you, maximum heat (CC boils faster) or delicate simmer (BS does this out of the box)?

2. While BS people brag about 112-114 F simmer, ultra low simmer below 160 F may not be as important as they say:
a) ultra low simmer isn't something pro chefs use, since 30,000 BTU burners don't do 112 F simmer;
b) 112 F, or anything below 140 F, for that matter, promotes bacterial growth. Cooking temps should be kept WELL above 140 F, and even serving temps should be above 140 F. ( 150-165 F is something the CC can do... when properly adjusted.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:03AM
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ultra low simmer isn't something pro chefs use, since 30,000 BTU burners don't do 112 F simmer;

The pilot light on a 30,000 BTU burner will achieve what you say nicely. I was playing with a commercial Vulcan pilot light just this past Saturday.

112 F, or anything below 140 F, for that matter, promotes bacterial growth. Cooking temps should be kept WELL above 140 F, and even serving temps should be above 140 F

Unless the food is inhospitable to bacteria anyway due to low water activity. Keeping butter melted without browning, chocolate tempered, etc.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 6:40AM
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