bluestar rcs vs rnb

nellymMarch 20, 2011

Since kissing my Capital dreams goodbye, I am now looking at BlueStar. I went to a local retailer (they are far and few in Vancouver, Canada) and only had the RCS on display. They kindly provided me with a list of the differences between the RCS and RNB. I do not understand all of the differences between the 2 models so I am asking the knowledgeable folks here to figure out if these features are worth it.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Below are features exclusive to the RNB:

1) 2 x 22,000 BTU direct heat burners

- RNB ranges and range tops are equipped with 22K high heat custom burner heads, backed with 10 year factory warranty

2) 33K BTU Brass Gas Controllers with Large Knobs and Bezels

- controllers are commercial grade, brass built controllers, added large bezels and knobs finished out of metal (additionally available in 190 colors with up charge)

3) V1 series glide out drip tray with stainless grease pan inserts

4) Upgraded Island Trim

- high quality finished edges with superior design

5) Upgraded Bullnose Design

- unique design bull nose finished in high grade stainless

6) Twice baked stippled interior oven finish

- custom high quality interior finish for ease of cleaning and long life

7) One glide out heavy duty oven rack plus 2 heavy racks

8) Upgrade to BS badge on oven door

9) Direct igniter system

- individual direct ignition system, allows for better service and use of the burners

10) Custom paint option with no charge

11) White glove service

- customer calls BlueStar after install, tech is dispatched and completes a check list and tune up and then customer gets extra 1 year warranty at no charge

There appears to be a marked difference in the fit and finish between the RCS and RNB but I am not sure if it makes that much of a difference. The trip tray, island trim, bullnose design, tray racks and badge do not bother me. I could live with the stainless steel finish as well. So this leaves me with:

a) burners - mojavean's hotrod post indicates that changing the burners to 22K is possible but would BlueStar sell the kit or the components? The retailer sells the upgrade kit to 18K but is not 100% sure of who actually performs the upgrade after delivery. I am not inclined to tinker around with the range myself but could an experienced person (say a technician) be able to do it? Personally, I would love to be able to do real wok cooking...is 18K sufficient for this?

b) gas controllers - aren't the RCS controllers commercial grade and made of brass? I can't imagine what else it could be made out of and why this is important? The knobs on the RCS seem sturdy enough.

c) interior oven finish - the RCS finish is plain black. I don't know what it is but it bothers me - as if something is missing. The twice baked stippled interior finish sounds like it is better in the long term and considering this is a manual clean. True?

d) direct igniter system - according to the retailer, the RCS' burners all share 1 igniter so every time I turn on one burner it will make the others click. True? or does this really make a difference? or why is this bad? I am thinking that if the igniter goes down then all the burners would be non-operational.

e) warranty (via white glove service) - the idea of getting another year's warranty sounds great but is it worth it? I am not sure what the service calls are required for this range...the Bluestar troubleshooting videos seem so uncomplicated.

RCS - $2900 CAD; RNB - $5500 CAD --> Price difference $2600 + 12% tax. Unlike in the US, prices in Canada are higher and not that flexible. There just isn't enough competition around here. I also cannot get the range from Costco.

PS: I confirmed that the RCS has convection and broiler as RNB.

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alexrander

What's the question...is it worth the difference? I think that depends on if you like the upgrades. Especially if color is important.

The brass stems might be stronger, and the new trim and fit and finish around the doors etc might make it worth it to you. And you don't have to upgrade the burners. The drip trays are easier to clean as you don't have to take the whole thing out, and it rolls out nicer.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Mabies

Hi, we are considering the RCS... here will cost us about $2200 US. We are thinking that the additional cost for the RNB goodies is not worth it.

However, my notes (from yesterday at the appliance store) say that RCS does not have convection, so might want to check that out if it makes a difference.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 2:22PM
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djg1

Well, the RCS seems to offer really good value for money, right out of the crate, and I gather that modifications are possible as well.

It seems as if you're doing well to try to isolate the differences and ask whether, in the end, they matter to you. Nobody else can say how much they should matter, either emotionally or in terms of the dollars you're willing to spend to get them. It's a big price jump to the RNB, which is similar in many respects and the same in at least a few. Frankly, it seems to be a striking bit of price differentiation on the mfg's part. But you knew that . . . and there's still the legitimate question what you'd prefer to do.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 8:22AM
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mojavean

The 18K burner is identical to the 22k burner. There is no difference in the burner head at all. The only difference is the size of the burner orifice, a small brass part that is easily replaced. After having both an 18K (my range as originally configured) and a 22k (post-hotrodding) I can say the differences between those two configs are minor. The BIG difference is between the 15K and 18k burners.

The 18K will do up a wok very nicely, btw.

It sounds to me like the RNB is very nice with the improved, individually-fired ignitors and better oven hardware, but for me the big thing was being able to fit two half-sheets on one rack. I don't have the fancy racks or the special coating inside the oven, but I just don't miss it. I do pizza on stones in the bottom of the thing and I just leave them in there for everything else, too. So the coating on the oven is just not a big deal for me. I leave aluminum foil in the big old drip tray and it catches the boilovers and droppages fine.

For me, the biggest thing about the range is the all cast iron top, heavy burners and grates, bowl configuration for woks, easy cleanup, and the marvelous performance of ALL the burners. With the little 8k simmer guy, I can dial it way down and put a pan of sauce on it that will not burn. And I can sear up a huge pork or beef roast quickly and easily with fast recover times using the 22k. So I am perfectly fine with the RCS and am very glad that I found it at the time I did at the price I did.

What I would do is order the RCS with the 18K upgrade as part of the sale. Be sure to buy from a retailer who will install the kit for you if you are not comfortable doing the work yourself. If the dealer looks at you funny, walk out and find another dealer. I would be pretty insistent upon getting the 18K upgrade, though. It IS approved by Prizer Painter as an upgrade to the RCS but unless you get the parts through the selling dealer you are going to have a hard time getting ahold of them in Canada. Bluestar will not ship them up there directly, it seems, and the distributor sounds like he is stonewalling the Costco RCS buyers, so I would not take a chance on it. Tell the dealer you want the upgrade and the sale of the range is contingent upon his installing that burner for you. Tell him you will not take delivery of the range until that kit is installed and you have the replaced parts in your hands.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:58AM
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summerbabies

I was all set to get the RCS ($3299 US) as opposed to the RNB ($4799), thinking that 4000 BTUs probably wouldn't make THAT much of a difference. But after talking it over with DH, who said, "Well, this is IT, we will never buy another range. Make sure you won't have any regrets. I'd go for the one with real power," I decided to bite the bullet and get the RNB. Since we have to have a gas line put in (complicated bc our basement is finished), the gas line guy is also charging us another $700 ($1700 total) bc the RNB can't use flexible pipe.

So the RNB is costing me $2200 extra, plus a high tax. And I had to upgrade the vent hood, as well. But I am dreaming of perfectly seared ahi, crisp wokked veggies, water boiling in a matter of minutes...I can't wait. I am going to buy it today (has to be ordered by March 25th as prices are going up April 1st, according to the appliance salesperson), but it won't be installed until the kitchen is finished, hopefully by mid-May.

I think the RCS with the upgraded 18k burner is a great idea, and that sounds like it would work for you.

I don't really care about the rest of the appliances--I got exactly what I wanted, all good but not spectacular, Bosch and KitchenAid Architect--but as a serious and devoted cook, the range is the most important. I'm replacing a horrible 4-burner Jenn-Air electric downdraft, so you can imagine how I lust after the 6-burner BlueStar :-) Good luck with your decision! I'd probably still be dithering if I didn't have "No regrets" in my head.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:29AM
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nellym

Thanks a lot for everyone's comments. I am slowly putting the puzzle together. I also called BlueStar and they were very helpful in explaining a few things to me.

In Canada, the RCS model is the same as the Costco ones - it does have convection (the US version does not have convection). Costco sold the unit for $1900 for a 30" and MSRP for the dealer is $2900. The difference goes to the dealer for their "service". At Costco, you are responsible for hauling the range away yourself.

According to the parts and service department, it is possible to upgrade the 15K to 22K but this will void your warranty as it does not come out of the factory like this. Following this train of thought, 15K to 18K using the Upgrade Kit would also void your warranty (but they do not say that). Unlike what my dealer told me, BlueStar does not do the upgrade. You have to hire someone to do it or do it yourself. It is not clear either if you have a problem with the oven later, but changed the burner yourself, if the warranty does not apply to the oven (which you did not touch).

Brass gas controllers appears to be nothing but metal knobs instead of plastic ones. You can buy the metal knobs later. Glide out rack can be purchased after the fact and installed without any hole drilling etc.

No paint on the RCS. Ever.

The only question left to my mind is the direct ignition system. The parts and service person I spoke says regardless of RCS or RNB, each module has its own ignition system. So I still don't understand what "direct ignition" means and why this is important now and in the long term. Anyone? Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 3:36PM
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mojavean

Summerbabies, where are you getting the info that you can't use flex to connect the RNB? I looked in the installation manual and can't find anything about that. We have a large number of RNB owners on here and I have never before heard that requirement. If I were you, I would consult both the install documents, the local codes of your home town, and perhaps a reputable gas technician in your area before coughing up that much for a simple gas hook up.

You will certainly need rigid pipe to route gas through the walls and floor, but once you get up through the floor, you should probably be fine with a shutoff valve and a compression fitting using a properly sized flex hose for the actual hookup. In fact, having that will be very useful later should you need to move the range for repairs, etc.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 3:44PM
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alexrander

I thought the brass gas controllers referred to the stems that the knobs slide onto. If it only refers to the knobs themselves then I think the plastic is just as good.

I was told that the individual spark was 'slightly' stronger, maybe that means a millisecond faster re-igniting the gas, also, I guess it would be less wear and tear on the ignitors because they would not be firing when not needed. It's a minor thing, but in the bad old days if an ignitor wire grounded, or an ignitor was wet, cracked or went bad, or if the module went bad, all the burners would continue to click while you were cooking, until you could figure out what burner was causing the problem, or if it was the spark module itself. The new circuits might help in such a case.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 5:18PM
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djg1

Just to follow-up on mojavean's post regarding flex:

the installation manual is here:

http://www.bluestarcooking.com/manuals/installation_instructions.pdf

and on page 11 it says, among other things, this:

13. If the appliance is to be installed with flexible couplings and/or a "quick disconnect" the installer must use a commercially approved AGA Design certified flexible connector at least 1/2" NPT that complies with ANSI Z21.41. In Canada, the connector must comply with CAN 16.10-88 and the "quick disconnect" device must comply with CAN 16.19M-79 and installed with a strain relief device.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:02PM
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summerbabies

Mojavean, the GC asked me what model range I was getting, and I texted him. He called my dh to say that the gas guy claimed it would be an extra $700 bc he couldn't use flexible pipe. H'mmm. THANK YOU!

dig1, thank you, too! I have copied and pasted both yours and Mojavean's comments. I'd like to add that I also copied mojavean's "hotrodding" post, but dh had a fit and said it would burn the house down. Ha. To the OP, it would make me slightly nervous about the warranty being voided.

Anyway, my RNB was ordered today, and there is a whopping hole in my kitchen account. But I'm excited :-) I bought a ProLine 1000 cfm hood, which arrived today.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:25PM
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mojavean

I have made a video of my RCS with the original 18k orifice in place, and then I demonstrate the trivial operation of hotrodding that burner to 22k.

You can see the entire upgrade, plus compare the fires by watching this video. I will post the link here and also on my original hotrod thread.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluestar in both 18K and 22K (Mojavean's Hotrod) configuration

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:38PM
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alexrander

Now if you're really clever, you'll take the 18K orifice and install it on one of the 15K burners.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 1:41AM
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mojavean

LOL! No need! 1 big burner is plenty, plus, the big one is designed for the #47 jet. Though someone could hotrod the 15s easily, the point of doing so escapes me.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 12:00PM
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stooxie

Don't you just love misinformation? :)

My range is installed with CSST (corrugated steel gas tubing), no problems at all. The only thing to worry about is that CSST installs have a few requirements to meet code but any good plumber worth his paycheck would know that.

djg1 posted the rules.

Just be sure to use one big enough-- don't use a 1/2 inch one, use a 3/4 and the right nipple to step it down to the 1/2 NPT on the range.

-Stooxie

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 12:53PM
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summerbabies

Stooxie, no. We are not amused :-)

Thank you. I am going to call somebody else, just for fun. The GC brought the guy that came over. I do trust the GC, but I'd like a second opinion on this. I LOVE this forum! I lurked sporadically for a couple of years, and now I can finally post because we are--at long last!--actually remodeling. When I joined, we were GOING to do the kitchen, but ended up with a new deck--the THIRD--instead.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 3:21PM
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mojavean

While you are investigating the gas man, be sure the one you hire knows where to route the gas pipe and valve so that it doesn't interfere with the range sliding against the wall. Same goes for the 120V Power Outlet required by the range. It needs to be mounted low enough so that the plug can protrude into the open space under the range. Also, be aware that Bluestar recommends a dedicated line for the range, non-GFCI. If you run into electrical problems with ignitors or anything, they will be asking if you have the range plugged into a properly configured outlet. The time to be aware of all of this is now, not when they are delivering the range.

Lastly, ask your contractor if your new vent will require makeup air provisions in the design according to code in your area.

This thread talks about problems a couple of people have run into getting the range installed when the gas line wasn't routed right.

,

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 5:44PM
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summerbabies

Mojavean, I had a sudden vision of myself in cape and deerstalker, armed with a large magnifying glass, as I suspiciously follow the gas man through my house. LOL!

Thank you for the wonderful advice. I would be REALLY upset if there was a preventable foul-up somewhere along the line.

I'll read that thread after I finish all my post-clipping. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 6:24PM
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stooxie

A lot of people wonder if they "really" need a dedicated outlet for the range when all it seems to do is click the spark. They forget about the glow plugs that are used to ignite the ovens and broilers. Those suckers use a lot of electricity (albeit it for just 10-20 seconds).

-Stooxie

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 10:33PM
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vinjah

According to the BS installation instructions referenced above, the manual states on p12:

8. We recommend the circuit for your appli- ance be a non-GCFI dedicated line.
9. It is recommended that your circuit never include a microwave oven.

'Recommended' isn't exactly the strongest language, but I definitely plan to connect it to a non-GCFI circuit, maybe shared with only the hood if that's allowable.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:28AM
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alexrander

Bluestar told me that it wasn't necessary to be on a dedicated circuit, but to make sure the polarity was good.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:47PM
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