Help us choose -- Lacanche (Sully) or Wolf Rangetop/Double Ovens

rbirnholzMarch 11, 2009

This is a very useful forum - thank you all contributors. We are picking new appliances. I had little doubt that I would pick a Wolf 48" rangetop and the 30" double wall ovens. I have long been a Wolf fan, I like the look, the fact that all burners go from very very low to very high, and the wall ovens are large and flexible between modes of operation.

Now I have stumbled across the Lacanche ranges. They are stunning. After reading, I think the right fit would be the Sully. I like the larger ovens. I'd probably pick two electric ovens. (I find that I am not using our current convection settings all that much.)

The unvarnished "facts" seem to favor Wolf in terms of features. given the features above. But the Lacanche is the hands down winner in aesthetics in my view; and it seems to have earned the praise of many professionals.

Is this a "head" vs. "heart" decision? Do Lacanche owners have any reservations with their purchases (oven size, lack of simmer capability on all burners, any other problems?)? Or is this "take the leap" and "don't look back"?

Comments and feedback are very much appreciated!

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Hi -

Can't speak to Lacanche (though I did look at the LaCornue with admiration), but we do have the Wolf 48" rangetop and double ovens. They are now about 2 years in use and are wonderful applicances. While I loved the look of the range, I liked the wall oven height/ease of use compared to the range.

Both rangetop and ovens have exceeded expectations. The only think I don't like about the ovens is the display panel, and I believe that the display panel is now easier to read.

Good luck with either choice.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:26AM
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How much do you cook? How fancy or complicated? If the answer is "lots" then your best bet would be to try out the different appliances with your pots or ones that are the same size and weight, and at least play at the oven part, and for sure see how the stovetop handles.

You're talking about great appliances. The big difference is really between range and components, and between the different gas tops. Check the ovens for size and utility for your style of cooking/baking. Check the feeling of starting something on the top and putting it in the oven. Etc., etc.

If you mostly make pasta, a roast chicken, and occasional cookies, go with the prettiest. :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:56AM
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I loved the look of the Sully, too, but could not at all consider its price. We have a 48" Wolf rangetop and an F&P dbl oven. We paid a total of $6500 for those 2 things, so over $3000 less than a Cluny, and I don't know how much less than a Sully.

Looking at the Sully's specs, I notice it's 57" wide, so space used is something to consider, as well as hood size needed.

I see that the ovens are each approx 3 1/2" narrower and about 4" shorter than mine inside. That seems like a lot of difference if you ever want to bake or roast using more than one rack at a time, and depending on the width of the baking sheets you use. Like Betsy_anne, I really like having the controls and one oven at eye height, and the other oven is higher than a range would offer, too, so easier checking, basting, and putting things in and out.

I like having the burners all with equally high power and low simmer, so that I can situate my pans according to what fits and works best for me at the time, not by how the burners are powered. Obviously, you'd give that up with the Lacanche, but whether that's a sacrifice to you depends on what and how you like to cook. It may be one of those things, that even if it is a sacrifice, it may be small enough to deal with the gain the appearance.

Super performance and good look, or good performance and amazing looks. It's a tough call, but it's an enviable dilemma! After all I said, if price was no object, and even though I'm usually terminally practical, I might have to have the Lacanche...They take my breath away.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 4:33PM
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rhome makes good points. The observations are in general on target in my opinion, based on my experience with our Cluny 1400.

Issues: cost, no doubt, it's a premium priced range, not in the (real) CornuFe stratosphere, but well above other high end units.

Size is metric, so be aware of the special needs here, and the future difficulties it may create if you ever wanted to swap it out (though most LC owners can't imagine why you would ever do that). Ours is 55 and a fraction inches wide.

Ovens are definitely smaller, such that a half sheet pan does not fit easily. I knew going in that the electric non convection and gas ovens on our Cluny might not meet my needs and we have an additional Miele 30'' wall unit, which is my primary oven. It's lovely to have three, when company comes.

I love the quirkiness of the burner layout on our LC. We have an 18K burner, an 18K french top that we bought an extra grate for to give us two 18K burners when needed, plus the 15K, two 11K, and the 5K simmer. You lose flexibility, but you gain burners exactly tailored to their proper use. That's particularly true from the standpoint of the diameter of the flame circle. Using a large burner, even with ultralow simmer capability, can result in an overly large sized flame when cooking with small pots.

As for rhome's comment "super performance" (the Wolf) versus "good performance" (the LC), I'd put up an argument. If rhome has the closed burners, and if my failing memory serves me correctly, those burners max out at 15K BTU. Now, there have been debates on GW as to whether that 3K difference is significant. Suffice it to say that our 18K LC burners are significantly hotter than the 15K burner on our Dacor cooktop at the lake. So it's not a slam dunk on performance.

Still, it's the look of the LC that cinches the deal for most of us. Just a whole different world versus the Wolf industrial SS look. Many prefer that Wolf look, but for what we were doing the LC was a perfect match. I've always said that if seeing the LC the first time doesn't take your breath away, then it's probably not for you.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 8:42PM
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Sorry, didn't mean to insult the Lacanche performance...and I have Wolf open burners, 8 @ 16,000 BTUs.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:37PM
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Hi, we are (were) going through the EXACT same dilemna! I wanted a WOLF before they were ever made for Residential use! (26 years!)
But, after doing a lot of research, I find that there is even an issue with the WOLF in simmering if the pan size is not large enough. (Or so, that is how it appears.) I have gone through excruciating pain trying to make this same decision, I thought the Sully would HAVE to be the Lacanche model if I bought one.

THEN...Husband comes in and informs me that if I could get the Cluny 1400, there would be the same burner configuration I wanted on the Sully, plus, with the price difference, I could still get the modern 30" convection oven for the price difference.

THEN... I called Art Culinaire and talked to Chelsea. After talking to her, I feel comfortable with the Cluny ovens...

Now, I've got to decide on an island oven, but that is for another post.....(Maybe the Wolf!)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 9:47PM
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rhome: no insult taken. I was just trying to point out strengths and weaknesses of the LC's. And, FWIW, my other choice would have been a Wolf, so I'm in your camp on that.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:10PM
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Thanks for all the responses, and I look forward to hearing from others.

Susied3-- That is a very interesting, thoughtful idea. I still favor the Sully, but then again, whenever I buy a serving piece for vegetables (just for the family, not a gathering), its always too big.

Having not seen either model in person yet, this is all conjecture.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:37PM
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yes, rhome410 is on the money. the LC is gorgeous no doubt and from what i hear it is a great performer. but my fleeting affair with it soon ended after i realized the ovens were just too small for us. plus i wanted a rotisserie and an infrared grill...
maybe i didn't research the LC seriously enough, but it just seemed as though the capital i selected would serve us better.

it's a completely personal decision though. you should think about what you cook, how you cook it and what you cook it IN. good luck and i can't wait to hear about your selects!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:37PM
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Glad I didn't offend, because it was only my intent to compliment both choices.

I think you have to find a Lacanche owner in order to look at one? Unless you're in or near Western Washington where Art Culinaire, the only US distributor, is... We're only about an hour and a half away, but I gave up on them as an option because of price before I made the trip to their showroom, so don't know what they have to see in person. But they have quite a packet they're happy to send you, and like Susie said, seem very willing to answer questions. If I remember right, they're also willing to help you find someone that will allow you to come visit theirs in their home.

If I'd known I was going to bring in an LP tank, I might have tried harder to fit the cost into the budget. By the time I knew we'd be using gas, it was too late for many reasons, to change my mind. I now console myself that it wouldn't suit the style of the kitchen I ended up with. --It would grab too much of the attention! :-)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:56PM
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Yes, LC's are off the beaten path, compared to the "big guys" like Wolf. So there is no "Lacanche store" to visit. If you peruse the ongoing LC thread, you'll see that there are many owners like us, who bought sight unseen, based mainly on info from Art Culinaire and the discussions here on GW.

However, AC does maintain a program of "ambassadors" who are happy to show their LC's off in their own homes. Many are delighted to let you cook on them. If you are in an area where Chelsea doesn't have a contact, it's worth posting on the LC thread to see if someone there would be willing to show the range.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lacanche thread, Part 39

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 7:40AM
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I didn't seriously look at a large range. While I love the look, I am tall, have a bad neck and shoulders and bake a lot. I could not deal with ovens down so close to the floor, so double wall ovens were a must for me. The deal would have also been cinched with the larger ovens. I have the Wolf Rangetop and Wolf double ovens and I find the Wolf to be a bit tight with some large pizzas.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:55PM
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I popped in for the first time in months and saw your thread.

I have the Sully +2, (two warming cupboards, one gas and one electric convection oven). From left-to-right, I have one 18K, two 15K (front/back), one French top, one 11K/one 5K (front/back), two 15K (front/back), and stainless steel work surface.

I absolutely love my range. I'm an avid cook and baker. I think the largest turkey I've roasted was 22-24 lbs. I've never had an issue with pans not fitting in the ovens. The convection (all-time convection) is a shallower oven, but it hasn't posed a problem.

If I were to purchase another one, I would get the regular electric oven vs the convection. If I felt I needed convection again, I would have a separate wall oven that could go back and forth between convection/nonconvection and with 6 racks vs 4 in the Lacanche.

As to the burners, I think I would replace two of the 15k burners with another 11k/5k combo. One 5k isn't enough lower heat level. I love, LOVE my FT, no matter what the naysayers say. The warming cupboards are a must.

My journey started as I was waiting for the Wolf 60" dual fuel to come out. Then I found GW, then Lacanche and never looked back. I purchased the range sight unseen and don't regret any of it for one minute. Having all cooking sources fired up at once is a thing of beauty!

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 6:21PM
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decision to get grates was not an indictment of the french top, more an admission of ignorance. I'd love to know how you use the FT: is the burner always at high, how long do you preheat, does moving in or out on the FT really control heat, what are some of your favorite things to cook on the FT.

Agree, if I had more burners, first priority would be another 5K simmer.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 6:58PM
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Have you considered the wolf induction cooktops. They are beautiful and I believe they are the only induction cooktop that has a pattern. It doesn't bother me at all anymore if stuff boils over because the cooktop is able to sense the liquid and turns itself off. What little that does touch the cooktop is a snap to clean up. It also is as responsive and powerful as gas, but is more energy efficient then gas or electric! It can go so low as to barely melt chocolate. Another advantage is that it greatly lowers the risk of kitchen fires because it heats magnetically. We have put kitchen towels between the pot and cooktop and the water comes to a boil, but the towel doesn't burn. I think Wolf shows this on their website and we were also given a demonstration in a store that was the same. I like this feature because when I was a girl we had a neighbor that badly burnt her body when the sleeve of her bathrobe caught on fire while she was cooking. We were ready to go with gas until my husband found this cooktop. I love it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 7:27PM
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***Sorry, sorry, clinresga!!***

Oh geez...clinresga...I didn't even know you said anything about the FT! That wasn't a snark aimed at you!! So sorry! No, I've read a lot of comments by chefs who say it's nonsense to have a French top in a residential kitchen.

We're a family of six, plus we entertain a lot. I use my FT to hold a lot of pots. It's a very efficient tool if you can get the hang of it. It's a long lead time to get it heated up, but from there I can juggle a wide variety of heat needs all at the same time. I find it easier to scoot-n-slide pans around than constantly bend over and look at a flame.

I don't always have the burner up on high. Usually I'll have a sauce along with whatever I'm doing and I'll want to hold it on the outer edge. I use it just like any other burner, but I can cram more pots on if I need to.

I like to have a lot of variety of side dishes, so the FT comes in handy. I run out of burners. When we have a bunch of kids over all weekend long, it gets quite a work out. Since I tend to operate more like a short-order kitchen, I find the FT to be a good place to have pots "hang out" while I'm focusing on other pots/pans that need direct attention. The FT, being large and flat, can hold more pots/pans in a smaller place. I use it far more than my open 18K burner! Plus, I can put big odd-sized pots on it with even heating. I have a number of oval pots.

I probably turn it on a good 20-30 minutes before I need it. I like to know it's ready when I am. I can't say it throws off a lot of heat. I'm sure it does, but my kitchen is large and the heat doesn't seem overwhelming. Summer. Winter. It doesn't matter.

It took a little while to get used to it and build it into my cooking routine. Now I wouldn't be without it. I used to say if I only had 6 burners, I'd eliminate it. But not now. I'd definitely get one again. 4 burners and the FT. I probably wouldn't do 2 burners and the FT, but definitely 4.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 7:51PM
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Induction is fantastic, originalvermonter, but rbirnholz is considering a 48" rangetop or 55" range, which a 5 burner induction unit really can't compare with in cooking space and flexibility of cooking types. I had wanted induction, but needed more large burners...The induction just can't handle my 15 1/2" skillet, 2 burner griddle/grill, or cooking in 4 large pots and pans at once. :-)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 7:57PM
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momto4: OMG, that was not a complaint!!! Your description was great--just what I was hoping to hear!!!

I am loving your description of how you use the FT. I was always intrigued by the idea, but had not yet gotten into the comfort zone with it. The idea of a flexible cooking surface, with the ability of using multiple pots at once, is great. Sounds like I just need to start playing with it more. Just another reason I love playing with our Lacanche.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 9:44PM
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momto4, so glad you checked in and shared about the FT. Like clinresga, I haven't gotten the hang of it yet and hearing your description has me motivated to learn how to use it. You were the one who so kindly spoke to me on the phone and helped me in my decision for getting the warming cupboard on my Cluny and it is one of my favorite parts of my kitchen.

I remember you sharing about your kids getting used to eating on warm plates (like they serve you in restaurants) and I have to say, my kids are now warm plate spoiled as well. I've never been one to time our meals perfectly and now with the warming cupboard, everything is served piping hot and at the same time!

If I had the room and the money, I would have gotten the Sully with the warming cupboard as there are times I would like a bigger oven. Mostly for baking lots of cookies. I find the smaller ovens do cook the food beautifully though.

I agree with you that I could use another 5K burner and would change that as well if I was ordering. But now that you have explained the FT so well, I think I will use the outeredge of the FT and that will help a lot. And since I live in New Hampshire where it is cold, if it warms up the kitchen it will be another plus.

Since I have never owned a Wolf, I cannot really comment on it's capabilities (I know it has a great reputation), but I can heartily recommend the Lacanche as a great cooker and looker!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2009 at 10:34PM
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Thanks very much for everyone who posted. I will keep you updated when we make a final decision! I originally had not been set on a warming cabinet, but many here have spoken pretty strongly about how often they are used. Another idea is to do a Cluny 1400 and add a single 30" wall oven, rather than a Sully with 2 larger ovens....

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:00PM
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That's exactly what we have--Cluny 1400 plus Miele 30'' wall oven and I love it. Best of all worlds if you have the space and budget to do it.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 1:07PM
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Hi pluckymama!! More hot plate snobs! Love it! your idea. I love my range, would definitely buy it again....but if I needed to be flexible as to how cabs/appliances were configured...I'd definitely go the route you're considering (and clinresga did!)!! Good luck. Yes, I'd work hard to get that warming cupboard now that I know how it functions so much more practically than a warming drawer!!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:11PM
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Ooh, ahh, just reading this thread is changing my mind from an AG Wolf or Bluestar. My only problem is that I have room for a 30" range. Is it absolutely ridiculous to contemplate getting a french range in this small size? I have not found anyone on GW who has such a petite (lol) size. Thanks in advance for any input and/or advice.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:06AM
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The lacanche that would fit your space is the Cormatin. Its a little over 27 inches. It seems quite expensive for that size unit ($6K plus shipping and extras for other colors), but if your heart aligns with your wallet go for it. Otherwise, the Wolf would be terrific. Here's a link to the model:

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:04PM
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SOOOO, what did you decide?
I have same problem. Sounds like many choices are made based on the heart (lol) not necessarily the function. Being a designer, I am always inclined to select the best looking anything but the practical cook in me must know that this range will funtion as I need it. Previously owned a Viking 36" range and an electric convection wall oven. I found that I only used two ovens for holidays. I tended to use the wall oven on a daily basis. However, I do cook on the cooktop a great deal. I have narrowed my choice to the VOLNAY and would love to hear from anyone that has advice. I will also be purchasing an Electrolux 30" electric wall oven (I think...maybe the miele?).

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 9:30AM
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Dear Sggirl,
How did you go with your Volnay, Lacanche purchase?
I am currently trying to choose the stove that will best suit our needs and am keen on the Lacanche range, but a limited budget will also determine the choice. I like the idea of a wall oven, possibly with a separate grill and perhaps the Volnay? Our local Lacanche importer in Melbourne is closed until the 20th January so I have no idea of costs.
If our budget will allow it, the Fontenay is also appealing because of the width and the additional cooking options this offers. Not sure though whether I'd make good use of two FT's? Any thoughts anyone??

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:33AM
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In the US, the Volnay starts at around $8500. The Fontenay at $11,500 (all in USD). I think each country has their own pricing depending on import duties etc, so you may be more or less than these, but this will give you a relative idea between these two ranges. Lacanche has many options with their ranges which is nice. Than once that is done, the choice of color becomes the hot topic. Good luck.

This post was edited by bakerboy63 on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 17:17

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:02PM
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Thank you bakerboy63,
Your input was very much appreciated. Some further questions for Lacanche users: how do people find the grill function being inside the oven in most models, as opposed to the 'Chagny' which has a separate grill? Does anyone have the 'multi-purpose cooker' option and if so how useful is it? What do people think are the priority options or 'must haves' based on your use over time? Some feedback around this would be helpful in terms of my decision making.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:03AM
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New addition with new kitchen on the horizon and am researching ranges. I have the Elmira (it's adorable) and my mother has the LaCornue. Looked at Legacy by Aga (ovens too small), my husband likes the duel fuel Wolf Range but just found the Lancanche -and love the looks of the Sully. Appreciate suggestions, pros, cons, etc Thx

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 4:48PM
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Wolf is a super range, and found in many a high end home. It has a more "professional" look to it. No one would blame you for getting one (you can't go wrong). The Sully on the other hand, is a looker, performs well enough (some minor quirks), good size ovens and people will NOTICE this range. You buy the Sully because you LOVE the LOOK of it. Using a car analogy, Wolf = Mercedes; Lacanche = Ferrari. Which would you notice more? In the hands of a competent cook, both will perform equally. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:35PM
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