American Performer vs. Blue Star RNB

adamnelsFebruary 24, 2012

Hi all. I've read through what feels like hundreds of threads on this forum, and yet still find myself asking for any advice between 36" American Performer and Blue Star RNB. Both open burners, by my account very similar ranges, but can't quite seem to pull the trigger. Any pros, cons, or gotchas people would be willing to share? Thanks so much for your help.

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adamnels

My apologies -- I was thinking RCS but said RNB. The RCS is the lesser version, I suppose, given the BTUs.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 8:21PM
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alexrander

The open burner Performer is relatively new, so you may not get much feedback. I saw a working model at a big showroom in San Francisco but can't tell you much more. Oh and my neighbor has an older "Heritage" sealed burner American range (3 years now) and she loves it.

Of course many people here have a Bluestar, myself included. As far as comparison with the RCS model, well, the American has a hotter burner at 25K BTU. Also, the American uses 3 different sized burners- similar to some Bluestar models. I think the American has a slightly bigger oven size.

I guess the only thing that I wonder about is that like the Capital, the American uses a drip pan before any spills reach the lower "drip tray". Bluestar uses a heavier cast iron 'bowl' that is more open that the pan design.

I of course would love someone to buy one just to report back on how they like it.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 11:14PM
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CWirick

I too am intrigued by the American Performer, particularly the fact I could get one for about $1000 less than the equivalent Bluestar. But finding any owner feedback seems impossible, and oddly I can't even find the Performer on the American Range website. What's up with that?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 1:03PM
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adamnels

95% sure I'm going with the American, primarily based on budget. So I'll make sure to post back with my review of it. Think I've read every post I could find on the internets, and just not enough. But as I've never cooked on a Blue Star, it may not be particularly helpful. Any Bay Area (not too fanatical) Blue Star owners wanna drop by and try it out for the good of future range-buyers? :)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 1:45PM
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elyash

Was American so much less? Maybe it was the range I was looking at - a step up with induction and gas versus the BS and CC. They all came in +-$500. Personally I would love to hear about your range because I still can't decide. Part of me is leaning toward waiting until I see the duel fuel CC at its NY unveiling the end of March. But, I won't be able to cook on it. Anyway, I also looked for postings on American Range and found very few. I guess owners aren't as passionate as the CC and BS owners. Have you checked NXR? (no open flame) I found owners happy unless they needed service. That made me want to stick with BS or CC. I see how responsive Trevor is to issues which is important, but BS owners say customer service has improved. I couldn't find anything on American Range regarding customer service.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 11:42PM
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alexrander

If you live in the Bay Area, Dvorson's(415) 332-5840 is a good place to call and ask about the various American ranges. Also, in San Francisco there is a showroom "Sierra Select" at 8th and Brennan that has working American ranges, and a thick catalog with all the new models. (415) 431-8682---- 680 8th Street, Suite 169C
San Francisco, CA 94103

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 2:19AM
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deeageaux

Was American so much less?

30" American Range Performer Series $2999
30" CC Manual Clean $4609
30" BS RNB ~$4K

36" AR PS $4199
36" CC MC $5810
36" BSRNB ~$5k

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 2:37AM
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oceangirl67

One thing that gives me pause with the price difference:

4" stub back = $230 (does not come with one)
leg cap = $85 (I've never seen a picture of the range without it)
center grate = $$ (I have email saying it is available in March)

When we start adding it up, the price gap starts to close. Also, I wish manufacturer's would provide accurate burner ratings "at the pan."

American's biggest flaw appears to be lack of dealers and advertising though. Going by the specs, it would be the range to buy, and it's not a made in china alternative.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 9:13AM
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CWirick

The Page Not Found error when you click the Distributors link on American's website doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the company. And why isn't the Performer line shown on their website at all? Am I overlooking the obvious? If not, why aren't the Performers on the website, and how confident can I be in a product that the manufacturer doesn't even show on their site?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 2:48PM
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GreenDog194

I too am looking at the American Range, and have not found much feedback from users. What appeals to me is the oven size -- like Blue Star, the 30 inch model fits a commercial size pan. (Actually, I'm looking more at the AR dual fuel; BS does not offer dual fuel).

The only other oven that seemed close, pans don't quite fit, is the GECafe (but the stove top of that is not as deep and apparently the fan in the oven blows out the burners in the back, and the oven either melts the knobs or gets them so hot you can burn yourself - no thank you).

I would love to learn more about user's experiences with the American Range. I think I just may ask our local retailer to hook up the floor model and beg them to let me cook them lunch!

If you get your oven, please send a report!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 5:14PM
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dodge59

That would sure help a lot of folks , if you could do that GreenDog194!!!.

I did find a few reviews of the American Ranges, I think Chow hound and possible Epinions, but I would havta go back and find them , to be sure, and they , "To Me", would not have the "validity" that a direct report from you does!

A poster on another American Range Thread, did post a picture of what is (apparently) the "Lastest American Range Open Burner". I was hoping that some of our experts here in the Appliance Forum, could look at that burner and either make some "Wags or Swags" as to its
potential Simmer performance, as the only 1 or 2 negative reviews I found were due to simmer performance.

So if you are able to use one, maybe you can especially look at the simmer performance.

I hope it all works out great and you are able to evaluate the American Range, open burner.

The only thing that keeps prices down, especially when the other 2 manufacturers are playing the "Fixed Price Game", (UMRP), Is A third competitor and possible one with more friendly prices!

Gary

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 6:37PM
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dodge59

"and oddly I can't even find the Performer on the American Range website. What's up with that?"

As a famous poster here in GW (Mojavean as I recall), once posted, "Ask and you shall receive"

Soooo HereTis!

American Range Website with the Performer Series
(Open Burner)

Here is a link that might be useful: American Range Web-site (Perforner)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 6:49PM
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CWirick

Thanks Dodge59, I actually found that PDF document via a Google search previously. The mystery is why the Performer line can't be found via the site's product menus. Do they not want you to know about it? It just seems odd.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 12:10AM
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dodge59

They may do kind of the same thing Elux was/is doing as far as web-sites.

You actually had to do a search for Electrolux Icon to see the line of Electrolux Icon products, rather than the other Elux lines, and we used to see some posts where folks said they could not find the Icon products on the Electrolux web-site. I haven't been there for a while (Electrolux Web-site) so I don't know if they have fixed that or not. I agree with you, it should not be a "Pita" to find ANY of their products by just going to their website.

I bet their Web-site designer make the big bucks and most you folks here could do a better job!!!

Gary

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 7:57AM
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CWirick

In addition to the Distributors page being broken and no product info on the Performer, the Press page hasn't been updated in 2 years, there are no photos in the Customer Gallery, and the Trade Show schedule is outdated by a year. One might wonder if the company were still in business at all. I would love to find a more cost-appealing alternative to BlueStar (that's not NXR), but my info search on the American Range Performer thus far has been disconcerting.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 10:33AM
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PRO
trevorlawson

This will sound very biased coming from me, but the above post is very typical of American Range. for the above reasons and others i don't recommend AR or promote them with any vigor.

They do make high quality commercial equipment but seems not to care about the residential market at all.

We let so many customers down with the poor service and woefully long deliverer times it became embarrassing.

I would highly recommend people looking for true open burner ranges or range tops only consider the two leading brands in the country at this time. Things may change in the future but right now AR are non starters in my mind IMO.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 11:31AM
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CWirick

Trevor, solid advice I'm sure, yet subject to balancing against the always-important cost side of the equation. The 36" all-burner BlueStar is $5699 at my local dealer. Price is, of course, non-negotiable. Oh, plus I need to pay for freight to get it from the manufacturer to the dealer (???). Oh, then I need to pay for dealer delivery (another $100). The dealer doesn't set it up - I'd have to pay for an installer. Don't forget sales tax. I'm now well over $6k. The Capital would be about the same.

The American can be purchased online for $4199 (I don't know if they have any dealers in my local area - as I mentioned, their distributor page is broken). I'd still have to pay an installer, but that's it.

That's a whopping $2k difference for a unit with equivalent specs. Not small potatoes. It's a very compelling alternative between the entry-level-commercial-style Chinese-made NXR (with lesser specs) and the BlueStar/Capital.

It's a shame American wants to complicate my decision by making their product as obscure as possible.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 4:50PM
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deeageaux

The 36" all-burner BlueStar is $5699 at my local dealer.

Is that the only dealer in your area?

It seems he wants you to pay the full MSRP not the "contractor price" or UMRP.

On ebay there is a BlueStar RNB366BV1 color RAL 6019 pastel green for $4747 Or Best Offer plus Freight from Pittsburgh.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 5:27PM
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CWirick

Unfortunately yes, there's only one BlueStar dealer in my area. I was given the same price from another dealer in another state (about a 3-hour drive).

Also unfortunate is the fact a pastel green version isn't going to work for us.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:08PM
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deeageaux

Below is a 36" CC all burner manual clean at UMRP or best offer plus free economy shipping.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:16PM
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PRO
trevorlawson

The CC in the link is over priced, that's not a good deal at all.

Shame the BS wont work that is a good price.....

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:45PM
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oceangirl67

To say just buy Bluestar or Capital based on a poor website does nothing for the consumer. If there are quality issues or design flaws, then I can see, ie. burning hot door, poor oven racks, etc. The way it is now leaves nothing for us to do but shell out way too much money for similar products. Berta seems to have taken notice as I see their prices also have skyrocketed.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 1:10PM
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stooxie

oceangirl, I understand the frustration but the onus is on American Range to instill some kind of confidence in their target market. Right now all there seems to be is a two online retailers (that I can find from Google) and a barely-there web page from the manufacturer. Nothing says "here one day gone the next" like not even being able/willing to tout your own products.

As for rising prices, you might have noticed that the price for everything is on the rise. You have choices, though! You can opt to buy the American Range and test the waters. You can buy the made-in-China NXR with matching price, you can buy the American metal-by-the-ton BS or CC. You can also buy the $400 Magic Chef.

-Stooxie

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 2:42PM
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tyguy

I don't know what the heck AR is doing except killing potential sales. The range seems like a real bargain.

I wish they would start selling some ranges.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 8:38PM
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alexrander

All I know is that my neighbor got great service from a retailer in the Bay Area. I think the guy's name was Josh, or something like that, and it was at Dvorson's.

I helped her go shopping, and she saw the range at a distributor's showroom, and I think we found Dvorson's on the internet. I'm pretty sure she ordered it over the phone and it was delivered here in Berkeley.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 9:54PM
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CWirick

"It seems he wants you to pay the full MSRP not the "contractor price" or UMRP."

So what is contractor price/UMRP on the 6-burner BlueStar RNB? I've received the same $5699 quote from the two dealers within driving distance. Internet retailers apparently can't sell me a BlueStar in my area.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:52PM
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deeageaux

I have a dozen or so BS dealers within 25 miles so maybe that is the difference.

I got a quote of $5090 delivered for the 6 burner VI last November when I bought my CC. I got the 6 burner self-clean with cranberry knobs delivered for $5,088. I can get another quote for here in Los Angeles if you really want to know. I will probably drop into a BS dealer this weekend.

Or you can call Trevor at Eurostoves about a CC.

Seems he might be able to deliver a CC to your door cheaper than a local BS dealer can deliver a RNB VI.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 11:32PM
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CWirick

Unfortunately the Culinarian doesn't have the industrial vibe of the BS or the Performer, which is what I'm looking for to fit our interior design theme.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 1:18PM
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deeageaux

Did you see the previous generation 36" BS RNB with griddle on Ebay?

$5045 Or Best Offer plus freight from Kansas.

If you are willing to forgo the upgrades on the VI I would think they would give you a good discount.

Freight is probably about the same you would pay in sales tax from local dealer.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:25PM
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CWirick

I emailed American Range via their contact link on their website 3 days ago asking about a local dealer in my area and for more information on the Performer ranges. I have not received a reply. Apparently American is not overly interested in selling their product. A real shame, as I may end up finding the BlueStar impossible to fit into my budget.

Interestingly, the Distributors link no longer leads to a dead end. It now opens (eventually) a strange, half-displayed page with non-functional links from what appears to be the business website of American Range's web developer (Blufly? Dogbone?), complete with "ultra-cool" designer team photo. What a mess.

Who runs a business this way?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:10AM
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deeageaux

I got the same general impression when I contacted American Range.

When I visited Capital Cooking everyone seemed excited to work there, like they were on the ground floor of something big.

The receptionist was selling me on the Culinarian and doing a compare and contrast with Wolf.

Employees at American Range seemed to be doing the minimum not to get fired.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 2:45PM
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tyguy

>I emailed American Range via their contact link on their website 3 days ago asking about a local dealer in my area and for more information on the Performer ranges. I have not received a reply.

Absolutely astonishing. The product seems really nice. What a shame.

I always wondered why there has not been any feedback yet on gw regarding these fine looking ranges. The mystery is now solved. You can not buy one! Lol

Cwirick: how close are you to the canadian border? Its not often canadians get the better deals, but in the case of bluestars a 36" bs can be had for $3000 from costco. Its only an rcs, but still a very fine range. Its a deal that can not be beat anywhere. I bet a bs dealer pays more than that for a 36" rcs. I could even help you out with the transaction.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:53PM
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CWirick

I'm not close enough to the Canadian border to make a run for a range practical. Thanks for the offer though.

6 days and counting since I emailed American Range regarding the Performer with no response received. Nice work American! :(

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 1:36PM
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grodri02

Does anyone know where to get the best deal on the BS RNB 36" around NYC?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 1:28PM
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elyash

Reno's appliance. You can call Paul in the store on route 46 in Fairfield, NJ or go to the one in Patterson, NJ where there is only 3% sales tax because of it being a depressed area. Trevor at Euro Stoves is selling BS again.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:49AM
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billy2004

Any other developments on this range? What did you decide in the end?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 10:25PM
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billy2004

Any other developments on this range? What did you decide in the end?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 12:06AM
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Cep55

I finally pulled the trigger on an American Performer 30" yesterday... so I should be able to report on it in a couple of weeks once it is delivered/installed!

I was deciding between Capital Culinarian, BlueStar RNB and American Performer, and I do think they are all fantastic ranges. (I have not cooked on any of them, but did see them all "in the metal" at a local dealer). Each one seems to have its own set of tradeoffs.

I had pretty much decided on the Culinarian based on my internet research (largely influenced by what I've read here in GW), but was still intrigued by the BlueStar and also curious about the American.

Then I went to see them all "in the metal", and things changed a little. Aesthetically, I found that I preferred the American over the other two. I think the CC and the BS are great-looking machines, mind you. The CC is a little more refined, I think, definitely more residential, softer and less of a statement. I tend to like the more commercial styling of the BS and AR, and between the two I liked the bullnose shape on the AR, probably because it is similar to the shape of my countertop edges.

Craftsmanship and build quality on all three felt top-notch to me. I was surprised to find that I didn't care for the feel of the BlueStar knobs, which taper into a thinner part whre you grip them than the CC or AR.(Again, personal preference; I think it's because I had a Viking for years and got used to the basic, chunky knobs!) Aesthetically, I didn't so much like the sort of flared shape of the CC knobs in person, and could do without the chrome strip, but they are definitely good quality and feel solid in the hand. The AR knobs are plain-jane pro-style and felt sturdy, basic and familiar, a lot like my old Viking.

The Capital definitely has a great burner design. I haven't cooked on it, but it just makes sense and I believe it's probably very versatile.

What really made the difference for me, beyond my personal preference as far as aesthetics, was oven size. I really love the fact I can fit a full commercial sheet pan in the AR (or the BS), and I will take advantage of that. (I think a lot of people, even serious cooks, wouldn't necessarily use that or feel a need for it).

One thing I don't like so much about the AR is the grate design; I just don't like the look of it as much as the BS or CC grates, and they sit quite high above the burner, which looks a bit odd. But I do like the lift-off design of the burners/pans, and the fact the grate does not sit directly on stainless steel, which invariably scratches where the grates contact it no matter how much care is used(which drives me crazy!) I did find out that the other thing that made the AR grates look strange to me, the missing center grate, has been remedied; my dealer said the center grate will ship with my Performer. This will look better and also provide the ability to drag pans into and across the center, which is important to me.

The other consideration is of course customer service. I have read of great and terrible experiences with each; Capital seems to have the edge, with fewer complaints (though in fairness, they are also newer and have had less time/opportunity to accummulate negative impressions than the other two. But they do seem to be pretty buttoned up as far as service).

American definitely has less than impressive marketing (I'm an editor and I'm very tempted to offer to redline their website for them. The misspellings - even of their own product name - really hurt credibility, as do the broken links). But spending less on marketing means that as a consumer I don't pay for it in the product price (often it has a notable impact), and I DO like that! As far as service, I am taking a calculated risk. I've read some negative things about AR, but I also have called couple of times and immediately reached customer support/technical representatives who answered my questions very competently. I also have a strong dealer and distributor in my area, so I feel comfortable that I will be taken care of if I encounter any problems.

I set out to buy the range I wanted, regardless of cost - really thought it would be the CC, which just didn't speak to me when I met it in person (jeesh, reminds me of my online dating days!)- and actually ended up preferring the one that cost less (substantially less) than the other contenders. (This almost NEVER happens to me!) I am excited to get the AR installed and fired up, and hope that its performance matches its build quality. I will be sure to provide in-depth information on GW, as I've really appreciated all that I've learned here, and info on the AR Performer is definitely scant so far.

Stay tuned, rangeophiles...

Christina

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:09PM
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eve72

Christina

Can you tell me if you saw any AR's that did not have the optional leg caps installed? I am interested to know what kind of bare leg it has. Thx

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Cep55

Hi, Eve-

Yes, I did see one without the caps. The legs were just black metal, very much like what I remember on my old Viking VGIC. They were far enOugh back on the range that they seemed quite unobtrusive, though because of the setup in the store I couldn't stand TOO far away to see it from a distance. I think it would look just fine without the caps, but they were only $43 apiece, so I ordered them to keep my options open.

Best,
Christina

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 8:13PM
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SeaKoz

I'm really looking forward to seeing a review of this range! I'm in the same boat, leaning between CC and BS and having a third option would be awesome.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:46PM
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alexrander

I wonder if the Performer has open door broiling- My neighbor has a Heritage A.R. and the broiler shuts off if the door is opened. I believe she got a small magnet to place over the sensor, and thus can run the broiler longer with the door open. (an open door allows a bit of heat to escape, so that the thermostat doesn't cycle the broiler off as fast as if the door was closed).

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 12:29AM
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tyguy

Cep: amazing preview review!!! Make sure you don't fall off this board. Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:22AM
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armada

So Cep55, I assume you've had enough time with your range to post a review? I've been reading about the ARs and would like a firsthand GW review from you :) Hopefully you didn't drop off as tyguy prognosticated.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Cep55

Hi, all -

Thank you for the reminder, Armada; I have absolutely been meaning to write an in-depth review and post it on my blog. Life has been busy! I still love the range, and I will work on writing this over the weekend, with any luck!

Happy new year and I hope all of you are well -
Christina

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Jode57

Cepp55. Ditto Armada. Would really like to know how it's going with the AR Performer. Particularly as concerns its ablility to simmer well. I must make a decision about this range within the next couple of days before prices skyrocket on July 1. Thanks ahead!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:41AM
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Cep55

Ugh, I'm sorry, all... I will make every effort to write a comprehensive review very soon. It's been on my list!

For now, by way of a quick update, I'm still very pleased with the AR Performer. Awesome burner power for searing, quickly heating everything. The simmer is comparable to any other range I've used in the category of commercial/semi-commercial gas ranges. (I've used Wolf, Viking, Blue Star, but not Capital). The low simmer remains WAY better than even my mom's Viking cooktop, which is not nearly as powerful as the AR.)

I do a lot of sauces and candy-making, and I have no complaints about the low-heat and simmer properties. (I usually use reasonably heavy/good quality cookware, mostly All-Clad, which definitely factors in). There are times, when doing a smaller batch of pasta sauce on a long simmer, for example, that I'll turn it off for a bit, but that's been the case with every gas range I've ever had. For most medium to large batches of soups, sauces, etc, the simmer is just perfect; I can get it quite low.

The oven, also, is fantastic. I LOVE the large (full-sheet) capacity, and that's one of the reasons I chose the AR over the others. Heats very evenly, and I've been really pleased with how it handles everything from cakes to macarons, and the roasting and broiling is also superb. As I've mentioned before, none of the other ranges in this category can compare in terms of the quality of the shelves; they are heavy-gauge steel, as are the racks, and they are super solid and slide smoothly. That is actually something that makes a huge difference to me, especially when taking delicate items, like souffles out.

I still highly recommend the AR Performer; I love it and have no regrets about my decision to buy it over the BS or CC. I say go for it!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:50PM
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fung_jeff

Hi guys, I checked the price on the Performer recently. It seems like AR increased the price from 4399.99 to 4999.99 on most sites... That brings it to RNB price level, does it not?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:32PM
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stuckwi

Hi everyone,
Brand new member here with same interest in AR performer vs BS RNB. Thank you Cep55 for sharing your experience with the AR.
One of my concerns with the AR performer is the overall depth being 30.5 inches while the BS RNB is around 28 inches deep. Should I be concerned about that?
Cep55 could you share a photo of how far the range protrudes from your counter?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:47PM
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needinfo1

stuckwi--

We were all set to buy the AR until we did that final check on the depth measurement. It wouldn't work for us because of the way our kitchen is laid out with the range in the corner of an L. We wouldn't have been able to open a drawer on the adjacent wall. Unless you have a similar situation, I don't see why the depth would be a concern.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 6:07PM
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stuckwi

@needinfo1
Thank you for your info. Our range would be in the middle of a 13' wall, but it sits opposite from the island. The distance between the current counter and the island is 41" so my concern is the reduction of that space. But it seems like adding a couple of inches probably won't matter.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:09PM
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