Some specific range questions

coop2925February 8, 2013

My wife and I are starting to build a new home and I'm in the mind-boggling process of range selection. What we're leaning toward is a 48 or 60" range - even though it's just the two of us, we frequently need two ovens and don't have the wall space for a wall-mount. We do a lot of broiling and roasting. We think a griddle would be used a lot. Whatever we get, it will have a charbroiler/grill feature (great for grilling veggies). Wok cooking is not really a concern (I'm getting an American Range 90k BTU wok burner for the outside kitchen), so uber-powerful burners are not a priority, but I'd rather have more BTUs than less. Open burners are fine. I've been looking at every conceivable brand but have mainly focused on Bluestar and Capital. I'm open to suggestion, though.

To help in my quest, I have some questions for the crowd here that I'd like to get input on.

First - the broiling issue. While I have had great experience with in-oven broilers (like the DCS ceramic broiler), I am drawn to the Bluestar Heritage Classic RNB with its combination of salamander and griddle. I am also considering a smaller range with a countertop Bluestar salamander. For those of you have have actually used the heritage classic griddle/salamander unit, how well does it work? Is the small 12" one (for the 48") sufficiently sized or should I really go with the 24" that's on the 60" range? Is the griddle mounted too high for a petite (5') chef?

Second - the construction/reliability issue. Based on anecdotal research here and on other discussion boards, Capital seems to have a bit of an advantage over Bluestar in terms of build quality and design. Their support seems to be lacking, though. BS, on the other hand, seems to have some build quality problems (igniters, adjustments, warping oven doors, etc.) but seem to have a slightly better support structure. I know every builder is going to have lemons and some transport damage problems, and you roll the dice on any purchase like this, but am I right in observing that there are basic build quality issues with Bluestar? Given that, how bad are they compared to the more known and distributed brands like Wolf, Viking, Thermador, et. al? Also, I used to have a DCS range that I loved. How has the quality been maintained since F&P bought them out and has Capital been a good evolution?

Third - the burner output issue. I know more BTUs are better, but how much difference are we really talking here between 15k, 17k, 22k, and 23k? It sounds like splitting hairs between the Wolf and the Capital in this regard, so it there a significant difference in performance when making dinner as opposed to making scientific evaluation?

Thanks in advance for your input.

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1) I have only used the BS salamander once but in talking to people who use it and reading post by people that use it most use it as cheese melter/browner not a true broiler. I have not used the 24" one just the 12" one. I am 5'10" so can't answer the petite question.

2) The build quality of the BS and the support has improved over the last two years. My guess is in response to the Capital Culinarian. Capital support had an excellent reputation two years ago, sunk a bit during Culinarian launch,but has rebounded since. I still think the Culinarian has better fit and finish than BS and customer service is now about the same. Excellent.

3)Even with woking removed from the equation, the CC/BS is still superior. Not only the output but the evenness of the heat. Go to a Wolf/Viking gas cooktop demonstration if you can find one because they mostly demonstrate induction. They use very wide pots/pans and instruct you to do so to capture the very wide ring heat pattern. The difference between 15-17btu closed burners and 22-23k btu open burners is significant. From caramelization to boiling water for pasta. The difference between CC/BS/and even AR open burner is stuff for science experiments.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:05PM
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F&P is no longer a private company as of Nov 2012. They were taken over by Haier Corp. of China.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:13AM
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@deegeaux, how would you compare 15k BTU open burners to the BS/CC/AR burners?

@coop, you might want to check out Imperial's home line of ranges. There is no in-oven broiler but they do have a 15k+ BTU griddle/broiler on the range as an option. Also, be aware that they do not offer convection in the oven. OTOH, the oven is quite large. All of this is as far as I can tell from research, I haven't seen one yet but I plan to as I'm considering it for my remodel.

Here is a link that might be useful: Imperial Residential line

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:23AM
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My wife's ex got a 60" Imperial w/the salimander, he seems to like it quite a bit. I wouldn't consider them culinarians but they like to cook and it works well for they're needs. They use the sali mostly for heating Hors d'oeuvres and melts so can't comment on it's true abilities.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:44PM
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WinnetkaJAK, thanks for the link to Imperial. They seem to be making changes to their gas residential line right now and have no info on their site.

Deegeaux, thanks for the input. I wonder why no one seems to be using the BS heritage top as true broilers? I'm looking to sear steaks and salmon, not just make grilled cheese. So, if the heritage rangetop broiler is not a good choice for steaks, I could probably save bo coup bucks by just using a rangetop charbroiler and finishing in the oven.

Today I took a hands-on look at both the Capital and the Bluestar at a local dealer. They also had the Wolf grill and steamer integrated modules. Interesting ideas. I also saw the new DCS ranges - F&P and now the new Chinese overlords have taken the brand away from the industrial kitchen look and more in the home decor look, more Dacor than Bluestar so to speak.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:31PM
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There's a lot more information, spec, etc. under the "Literature/Downloads" section or Dvorson's has some good information on Imperial as well.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:06PM
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