Viking, Thermador and Wolf, oh my!

mommyatlawMarch 29, 2012

I really appreciate the advice and guidance from you GW'ers. I am now working with a new dealer, and these are the brands he carries. I am asking him to price all three brands (allowing for a SubZero fridge). I am most concerned with reliability, but not sure I can afford the Wolf. For the first time I am entertaining the idea of a range (36") plus a single oven/micro combo. I had been dead set on a rangetop/double oven set-up. I had also been dead set against a built in fridge, for fear that it would more likely need repairs. Any recent experiences with your Wolf, Thermador or (gasp) Viking appliances? Many thanks - I take your responses to heart!

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There is a chance of getting a lemon with ANY brand, but for what its worth:

(1) Wolf has probably the best reputation on here, but as you noted it is expensive. I am assuming you are looking at dual fuel...if so, the 36" 6-burner has an msrp or $9015. If you buy a subzero refrigerator as well, there is a $1000 instant savings promotion that would also apply. So in that case, though the cost would be somewhat balanced by the price of a subzero refrigerator the range would be $8015.

(2) Viking has a really bad reputation on here, but I am not sure it is still justified. They have been trying to address problems, and have increased their warranty. The equivalent Viking range to the Wolf above (in stainless) seems to be pretty consistently priced at $8029 (NOTE: This varies a little depending on your region/distributer, but within a region/distributer will be set) Currently there is an additional $750 off promotion on the range, without any requirement to buy anything else, so that brings it down to $7279 (Note that many online sellers show this price, without at first mentioning the instant savings is already figured in). So, about $800 less than the Wolf, all told. Note: I wouldn't recommend the Viking refrigerators, so you could buy whatever you want there and potentially save a lot of money.

(3) Thermador, I think, has really stepped up their game recently. Some on here don't like them. Some are really bothered by the clicking of the XLO simmer feature on the burners; you should definitely try to check out that feature in person, to make sure it isn't a deal breaker. In the past, they have had some reliability and technology issues. Honestly, however, I think they have addressed the past reliability issues pretty well, their fit and finish is top notch, and they have nice powerful burners. Their pricing for the equivalent range is $7249 from most retailers. If you buy the range, you get a free dishwasher (or an upgraded dishwasher for $500. These are Bosch dishwashers underneath, the Sapphire upgrade gets you a top of the line built-in-Germany Bosch. If you need a dishwasher, that would save an additional $1000, at least...if you don't, you can sell the dishwasher for at least a few hundred on Craigslist. Also, the Thermador refrigerators are very, very nice, and if you buy one of them you get a free hood...again, a big savings if you need it, or you can sell it if you want.

My personal opinion? If you really want Wolf and can afford it, go for it. Don't bother with Viking for a gas range unless you really want a color instead of stainless (in which case, you will have to pay extra for the privilege). If you don't go with Wolf, Thermador will save you a couple thousand in the end and I think you will be very happy with them.

Of course, this all assumes those are really your only three choices...if the universe were expanded, I would definitely look at the AGA Pro+; at $4400, it is a REALLY good deal; last fall, they also had a $500 instant savings, which might come back if you are lucky. Alternately, I would encourage you to also look at Bertazzoni (about $5500 and DCS (about $5700, with a free dishdrawer promo) as alternatives that are well built and have good reputations for reliability.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:32AM
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I have the Wolf 36" DF range. I agonized over the same 3 brands you're considering (so many patient GWers!! helped me!!).

In the end, since I wasn't going to go for the "sea glass" color viking, I chose Wolf because of service repair records. I know there is no guarantee that my Wolf won't be faulty, but from what everyone--especially the many people who worked in both sales and service for various appliance stores--told me, there are many, many more service calls on Viking and Thermador as compared with Wolf.

One installer who works with all 3 brands also mentioned that a Wolf is much, much heavier--built like a tank--compared with what he felt was the lighter-weight, less sturdy Viking. I don't recall what he said about the steel construction of the Thermador.

The extended warranty on the Viking still tempted me, as I think aesthetically it's so gorgeous, but I was warned about the potential nightmare of appliance repairmen damaging adjacent cabinets and counters when removing the range to repair it. The thought of going through that sealed the deal, and I'm very, very happy with my Wolf.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 4:22PM
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I agree with the others here. Wolf is your safer bet for reliabity, but you can get a bad toyota and a good chrysler. Ok, ok, I'm stretching it with the chrysler but you get the point :)

The recent thermadors I've seen have been meticulously made if that means anything. There was also a recent post on here by a VERY happy thermador repeat customer. I owned a trouble free viking range from about 2005-2008. You won't find the answer you need on here, and I know its a hard choice, but I hope you gather enough info to make your decision and feel comfortable with it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:27PM
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I think tyguy might be referring to my review of a recently purchased and installed AG Thermador Pro Grand PRG366JG...
I've been exceedingly happy with its performance thus far.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 9:53PM
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I too am in the same boat. I was set on Thermador. I love the star burner it makes sense. The dishwasher is a a great incentive also. But now Wolf has a great promotion and I 'm torn on which brand to buy. I am purchasing a sub zero so if I purchase the wolf range and hood i will get a $1500 rebate. Thermador has increased its warranty to two years. Wolfs is still better. I like the look of the Thermador a little bit better but am a little apprehensive about its customer service ratings. Also, I am thinking of an All Gas Range. any comments are greatly appreciated. This is my first time this type of a forum. I hope it will be helpful. Thank you ahead of time for your responses.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 5:29PM
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My Viking products (hood and microwave) have been nothing but trouble since the day they were installed. I can't speak to their range quality though. Their service is not up to their price range.

I adore my Sub-Zero (Wolf) and their service. I only needed a small bit of help directly after it was installed, and their 24/7 customer care line is great.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 7:01PM
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I am in the same place you were in 2012. I have it narrowed down to Wolf, Bluestar or Thermadore. Which one did you end up choosing and could you give me your opinion on it? Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:35PM
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I have a Viking Induction range , about 1-1/2 old ... Zero issues... I couldn't be happier with the range ... I don't believe anyone mentioned the Vikings do come with a 3 yr warranty .... Brad

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:32PM
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I am mulling over what to do with my failed viking ovens. Both ovens are BURNT!!!.
While I await the repair bill I am mulling over do I replace these suckers.
Local appliance store is offering
a 48 inch viking for 10,300 plus a free dishwasher
a 48 inch thermador is 9 and change also with a free dishwasher
a 48 inch wolf is high 8's and change with no dishwasher incentive.
I was told price hike to be March or April 1st.

The viking unit is 15 years old installed by previous homeowner with no history of service calls.
Hmmmmm Funny but when I called to service this oven the previous homeowner's name was in their system.

Not happy happy happy

Plan on giving away the dishwasher I already have a brand new Bosch.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Earlier today I was at a small appliance dealer who carries Wolf, Bluestar, Viking,Thermador, Bosch and a few others. I went specifically to see Bluestar ranges, yet quickly found myself looking seriously at the Wolf ranges as well. We did discuss Viking and spoke briefly about the Thermador (and I am sorry, I don't remember the specifics of what was said about the Thermador ranges, other than people had purchased them and there were no extraordinary claims one way or the other, ie not bad, not outstanding either. It just wasn't on my radar today).

Right off the bat, the salesman admitted that he was totally smitten with Wolf. In his experience, the company stands behind their products and he gave them highest marks for both quality and performance.

And Wolf had me with the sassy, high-tech-yet-intuitive knob controls and fold-out display in the front of the range - this is significant because I'm normally not an electronic gizmo type of gal. Also, the big, heavy oven doors are tops (I prefer stuff that's built BIG, yet, I understand others may not) and I appreciate Wolf's reputation for their excellent ovens. The burners have plenty of power for my needs - as long as the simmer stays low, I'm happy. Overall, the Wolf ranges are beautiful pieces of equipment.

FWIW, the salesman said his Wolf sales had GREATLY increased since they made the change from open to sealed burners. Unfortunately, this is not my preference, but I'm glad everyone else is happy, lol.

I asked about the chipping issue with regard to Wolf oven interiors and the rep said he'd had a couple of customers encounter problems awhile back, yet the issues were resolved quickly and did not reoccur.

Also, he gave highest marks to Bluestar products and company, although he admitted that he'd not carried the brand as long as he's offered Wolf. Lots of people are asking for the Bluestar ranges, he said.

I LOVE the all-gas Bluestar's open burners, single grates, and the pull-out metal tray underneath the cooktop for cleaning. I also COVET Bluestar's awesomely heavy, easy-to-glide, extension racks. They are to die for, and are more substantial than the Wolf racks (which are substantial enough). Having a wealth of colors to choose from doesn't hurt either! Also, in my experience, living on a farm, stainless ranges and hoods are dirt magnets. The non-stainless option is significant.

For me, 22K burners are great to have, but I don't need THAT kind of power - just means we've got to accommodate and pay for more venting and maybe visit the MUA issue. The fact that the burners provide a great simmer is more important to me than the extraordinarily high power.

Overall, Bluestar appears to make a more basic machine (ie, without the fancy electronic do-dads) than Wolf, but they are incredibly substantial. I imagine either, Bluestar or Wolf, could provide decades, if not a lifetime, of service.

As I mentioned Viking's reputation for poor service, the sales fellow shook his head in agreement and said it was a shame because the ranges are beautiful and were once something to brag about in terms of performance. He said he'd be happy to sell me a Viking range, however, he could not stand behind it today because they'd had so much trouble with the company not responding to service issues, for both customers and dealers. However, he added that the Viking issues that he knew of were most often about the gas-over-gas ranges, not the dual fuels, and if I wanted dual fuel, it could be worth the risk (and savings compared to a Wolf of the same size, for example). He also mentioned, as others have here, that Viking is going through some changes now and company reps are indicating that they are working to do better. Of course, only time will tell!

I'd hoped to see a DCS range. I guess that's for another day ...

Just some food for thought as you whittle down your choices. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 5:19PM
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Posted by trinkette
I asked about the chipping issue with regard to Wolf oven interiors and the rep said he'd had a couple of customers encounter problems awhile back, yet the issues were resolved quickly and did not reoccur.

You might want to read a thread about some recent occurrences. One person went through three ovens.

thread-Does anymore have a Wolf that isn't chipping?

They have redesigned the new ovens so that the bottom can be replaced. The Df range, which is what I have has not yet incorporated this feature.
They may take care of you under warranty but not when you are out of warranty even with an issue as we'll known as this. This is a change from the way they used to do business. My oven on my range has chipped to bare metal and if I did spend the amount of $800+++++ to get it replaced, they will give me the part but only guarantee it for one year. These two things lead me to think they have not fixed the blue enamel issue.
If someone would buy a Wolf oven I would try to get a ten year extended warranty and read it very carefully to make sure the interior is not excluded or that they consider it a cosmetic defect. It is a safety issue. Blue glass shards and a convection fan along with open food is a dangerous combination. Electrolux has excluded very specifically interior enamel on their extended warranties.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:08PM
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sueveid, I read the thread, as well as many others on this forum. And I've researched other sources as well. Research is what led me to ask the question about problematic Wolf interiors when I was in the showroom. And I don't doubt the information shared in the thread you cite. Obviously, there is a problem and if you purchase a Wolf range you may have to deal with it. Just as you might have to deal with reportedly hot doors/knobs on a BlueStar or non-existent service for Viking, for example.

Reading over my post, perhaps I confused folks by using the word "rep" to describe the salesman. I apologize. This was a sales professional at an independent appliance dealership whose company advertises sales, service and installations of appliances from Wolf/Subzero, Miele, Bosch, Viking, KitchenAid, GE, BlueStar, Thermador, KitchenAid and others. I'm just reporting what this one, salesman said to me, and he said he was relating what he and his customers encountered. Maybe his customers were happy with the resolution to their problems with Wolf, maybe not. I only report what he said.

Also, as I mentioned, this is a local dealer, not a giant internet clearinghouse for appliances. If a "couple" of his customers experienced problems, what does that say about the percentages of problem-free ranges to problem-ridden ranges? Readers may draw their own conclusions.

Honestly, I have yet to find ANY brand that is problem-free; it's a matter of balancing each appliance's pros and cons - whether they be design, performance, service or price related - to best fit one's needs. And FWIW, I'm still looking.

Still, I thought my hands-on showroom visit with several of the appliances the OP and at least one other person here inquired about might help shed some light for someone considering the same brands.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 1:26PM
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And I am just pointing out real user experience vs what the salesperson is telling you and how to protect yourself if you choose the Wolf route . Surely you know salespeople don't always tell you everything either because they truly don't know or don't want you to know. Most problems are handled through the distributor or manufacturer and the salespeople know nothing about it. In my area there have been other ranges with the same issues and I live in a small market. If you really want to know ask the people who repair appliances. I was a huge fan of Wolf before this happened and in the past they would have fixed this, at least as has been the experience of others on GW. I really did expect a $9000 range to last more than 4 years. You are right that any appliance can have a problem but it is how they handle it that makes a difference. You pay a premium price for Wolf service and my complaint is in this context. Also if something like this blue enamel that has been an issue isn't, then they should fix it and at the least be able to stand behind a new part for more than a year. I agree let people read what the Wolf salesman says and what real users have to say and then make up their own mind. Don't take it personally that I am posting that thread. I am just giving it as a counterpoint for the many that don't do as much research as you do and may only read this thread. The purpose of the forum is to get as much information as possible so that people can make the best decision possible.
I usually sign in as wekick but my phone won't let me most of the time and I am away from my computer.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:16PM
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No problem. I'm not taking it personally. This thread began looking at several brands. I happened to see them all together, so I thought I'd share. The Wolf issue, which I brought up with a gentleman who sells AND services several higher-end brands, was just a part of the big picture. It was not the main focus of my post, nor was it the main focus of this thread, as I interpret it. I never claimed to know or have any opinion about service issues with Wolf.

By the same token, I DID ask about the reported problems. And, I decided to record my question and the response here because I understand that some people on the forum think it is important. Regardless of the answer I received, a savvy reader who may be interested in a Wolf range, who hasn't heard of the issue before my post, will know to investigate further. And, still, even with the knowledge that it MIGHT be a very expensive blooper, without a doubt new Wolf ranges will end-up as "perfect," problem-free ranges for many home chefs. As will Viking, BlueStar, Thermador ...

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:12PM
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I was also trying to decide on these brands and thought I wanted wolf with the oven problems I decided to go with Viking range and oven. I have had for about 3 1/2 yrs. repair guy out today for oven. Door does not close. Claims hinges worn out and also seals need replaced. Just seems crazy that these things go wrong so quickly. Repairman said caused from opening and closing oven door. Said will need to be replaced in another 3 to 4 years cost $501.86

Cook top so bad on Viking wouldn't even think of purchasing again.
Warranty on Viking ovens only 1 year.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:21PM
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"... Repairman said caused from opening and closing oven door ..."

Umm, isn't that what an oven door is supposed to do - open and close, over and over again? *SIGH* Seriously, after ANY amount of time, having to replace worn-out hinges and seals is just terrible. And after just 3-1/2 years? It seems unthinkable. I'm sorry for your troubles. : (

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 10:25PM
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Check It Out, Just Finished Big Job On thermador refrigerator

Here is a link that might be useful: Marat

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:39AM
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