Has Viking gotten back in the game? Single wall ovens...

ourhouse25February 8, 2012

Looking for two single wall ovens, one gas, one electric. Not a lot of choices out there for gas wall ovens and the Viking, on paper at least, seems like it'd do the trick but there's such a substantial Viking-negative vibe out there it seems going that route might be imprudent. Thoughts?

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I looked at the Viking single electric for an elderly relative who needs something simple. She didn't need a particularly good one, just one that was easy to use and didn't look too freakish in her existing kitchen. After reading through the manual, however, she knew she couldn't cope with the way the oven works. It has its own ideas of how to cook that don't jibe with hers, and she wasn't about to relearn how to cook!

Viking, in general, have been trying to improve their offerings and reclaim their good name. I don't know how this applies to their cooking products.

Several years ago there were many reports of the oven doors falling off! I'm not sure if that was range ovens, wall ovens or both. You might look to see if that is still a problem. Read through all the documentation to see if it seems like what you want, and see if you can find one that is installed that you can try out.

(Bit of warning, I was way sold on the Viking dishwasher when it was brand new on the market, after reading the manual. I did see it in person, but not hooked up. I loved everything about it, except the misleading "heated dry", which was a puff blower not a proper heating coil. My dishes didn't dry at all. It is a superb dishwasher in every other way, and if I had loads that would work with the Euro style convection dry, it would have been a keeper. That heat thing was a joke, however. Documentation only takes you so far...)

When I was researching gas ovens for someone else, the American Range one seemed the best, but I've never received feedback on how it works installed.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 1:06PM
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Here's my thoughts...

Viking's bad image is very widespread, and appears to have been warranted at least in the past. That being said,

(1) It seems like a LOT of the past complaints - though not all - have related to ignitors on the gas cooktops, which would not be an issue on the wall ovens.

(2) There have been some complaints about (a) the way Viking ovens temperature average (too wide swings for many's taste) and (b) the fact that they use their broiler to bring the oven up to heat, and you can't turn this off (bad for some baking, etc - see past posts from p111og, etc). These are fundamental design issues, not quality/build concerns...their importance to you may vary, and be based on how you plan on using the oven.

(3) More recently, it seems like reports of customer service from Viking have significantly improved...This seems to be connected with them in the past year also increasing their warranty up to 3 years. To me, this says they think they have fixed their major problems, and are willing to stand behind that.

(4) In general, most of the Viking bashers on this forum have never actually (or at least recently) owned a Viking...they are just repeating the "common wisdom." This may or may not reflect reality.

Bottom line...Viking has its flaws. It is certainly overpriced and overfeatured for many of their offerings, there are some questionable design choices, and in the past they have had legitimate quality issues. On the other hand, they seem to have made an effort to improve, they are standing behind their product now, they are made in the USA, they come in colors if that is important to you, and they make some products which have few realistic competitors (for example, gas wall ovens like you are looking at). In our case, despite some concerns I went for it and we did order a Viking range in the end...it is supposed to be delivered in about 3 weeks, so I can't actually give you any real world feedback yet, but I am hoping for the best.

You should check out who your regional distributer is - they are the ones you will have to deal with if you have any problems, after all. Many of them have demo centers where you can see the appliances in action, and/or try them out yourself...it might be worth making a visit.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 1:08PM
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One other quick note...not important performance wise, but symptomatic of recent efforts. In the past, there were lots of complaints about the markings rubbing off viking products (near/on dials, etc) which made them look/seem cheap. They have now moved to laser etching such things, so they won't rub off. Its a small thing, but it does show they are trying hard to fix things there have been complaints of.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Have you checked out the American Range gas and electric ovens? You can do a double oven with gas above and electric below. If you like the look (but not the reputation) of Viking, you might like these.

(I probably sound like a shill since I keep posting about these ovens -- but really I'm just looking for a guinea pig to check them out before we commit for our remodel!)

Here is a link that might be useful: American Range wall ovens

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 4:28PM
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