Steam-combi versus GE Advantium

samanaMarch 1, 2012

Is there anyone trying to put together a kitchen who isn't overwhelmed? :)

So instead of double wall ovens, I'd like to go with a combination. One will be a single electronic convection oven (leaning Bosch or Electrolux, but not sure about 27" or 30"). For the other, I am now trying to decide between the Wolf new steam-convection oven or the GE Advantium. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they both do well as a small oven. I liked the claim that a steam-combi can be more healthful (vegetables, fish) but perhaps that is just marketing. Wolf is clearly much more expensive, but they seem to have a stronger record on quality and service.

I plan on using the larger oven for baking, roasts, etc. I would like to use the smaller one for small baking jobs (tray of frozen fries), vegetables (instead of in water or the counter steamer), leftovers, etc. We have two children, small right now.

We are very close to committing to splurging on the Blue Star 36" range top, so perhaps another way to look at this is what would the Wolf give me for the $$$ that the GE wouldn't? Price is why I'm not looking at the Gaggenau.

Thanks so much, I just don't want to make a decision we'll regret.

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Steam/water will remove soluble vitamins--I think it's about half of them. OTOH, unless Jack Sprat's wife, steam can be "healthier" because you don't use any fats. You still have moist, stick-free foods but no butter or oil.

I have both a combi-steam (Gaggenau) and an Advantium (needed the oven space). They're both fine as convection ovens. You can't do everything in them that you can in a "real" oven, but, for instance, I just heated up a tray of borekes from the freezer in the Advantium, same as one might in a toaster oven. I have the Monogram Advantium Pro 240, which is very big inside. It's my go-to for reheating dishes for feasts. I can put my largest baking dish on the wire rack, and three 2 qt. casseroles on the turntable, all at once. My small roaster (Graniteware 8qt.) fits, with lid, in the combi, though just barely.

I've looked at the Wolf, and it seems very nice. Those automatic "trust me" programs would make me nuts. I want to know what it's doing!! But it seems to have plenty of functionality.

As to which to chose, I'd go for the steam. You can do almost everything in a regular oven that you can in a combi-steam, but it's just a lot more bother. OTOH, for a young family, an easily replaced counter-top microwave is probably the way to go, especially as the kids get old enough to get their own breakfasts or whatever, and then get into the rambunctious stage. OTOH, for a young family, especially as they get into activities and all, having a speed oven might be particularly useful. OTOH, the reheat setting (at least the Gagg version, but I assume the Wolf is as good) is like magic for heating up a plate of leftovers for the straggler. I'm not entirely impressed with the speed oven results with the Advantium, though people who use theirs more, and especially those with other brands, say they can't tell the difference from regular. I'm not sure if that's a real difference, or what and how we cook and what our expectations are. Many, many people find the speed cook invaluable. OTOH (how many hands am I up to now?), the combi-steam was the one must have at any price in my kitchen, along with the matching oven, and it's even better than I expected. I wouldn't ever want to not have it again, even though I do know how to achieve the same results without the fancy, expensive oven.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 5:33PM
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plllog has a freaky number of hands.

If you get the combi-steam, do you have a place for a separate microwave?

I am biased toward the Advantium (I have a 120v --- for now! Will get a 240v one with the remodel). I love the speed cook for fast kiddo meals. Not having to wait for preheating the oven is a big deal to me sometimes.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 6:16PM
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I really like my Advantium 120, too. We mostly use it as a microwave, but the flexibility and features of speed-cook, convection, and warming get used a fair amount in this household. For the type of cooking and entertaining that we do, the Advantium is absolutely perfect.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Samana-may I ask the price difference between the Wolf steam oven and the Gagg combi?

I have the Gagg now and hope to replace it in the new house we will be building. Wondered how much it had gone up.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 5:03PM
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I don't have quotes yet, but based on searching I think the Wolf will be ~$3000 and the Advantium $2000. For a Gagg that is from an authorized dealer, I think it's above $4000.

Despite some warnings about GE, the Advantium seems like it might be more useful for us right now. We will have a basement with a space for a bar area, and I am thinking of having a regular microwave there. Anyway, in a few years the steam/true convection style may be more common and more reasonably priced. I love to cook, but I also work full-time. I don't like to admit it, but too often we eat or take out because I just don't have the energy or time to cook from scratch.

Thanks everyone, I think I may have avoided that little fact had I not been posting on these boards.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 7:57PM
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Advantiums work beautifully. Not the kind of falls short of the mark of the dishwashers. :)

Most excellent microwave I've ever used. The Gaggenau is a better convection oven, but there's nothing wrong with the Advantium. It's good, and the Gaggenau is superior.

Do get 240V if you can.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 10:57PM
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I have the Advantium which I like a lot and the Gagg which I adore.

However, if I had to give up the Advantium and get a cheap $80.00 wal-mart microwave to get another Gagg, I would do it in a New York minute.

But I know nothing about the Wolf steam oven. I have a Wolf range and SZ frig and they make good products. Service is good as well.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 2:47PM
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Not to highjack but I have quotes on both the Wolf and the Gagg - $3500 for the Wolf and $7900 for the plumbed Gagg and $5900 for the Gagg with water tank.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Yowza, they have gone up in 6 yrs. Thanks for the info Michelle.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Red_lover, Gaggenau had a 38% price increase several years ago.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 10:44PM
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That's a huge increase. Across the board, or just on the combi??

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:44AM
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Red_lover - from the prices I received on other Gagg items including the non combi and refrigeration, I would say the increase was across the board. I believe they also increased the warranty to 5 years with the overall price increase.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Ok, my warranty was not 5 yrs. good to know. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 11:33AM
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Yes, it was across the board. The 5-year warranty was supposed to be a sop to customers, but the increase, as I understand it, the increase was supposed to offset the rise in the price of steel, the (at the time) spread between the dollar and euro, and other operating costs. They figured one big shift to realign prices was better than a constant trickle change. Of course, this happened four days before I went to start ordering my appliances. I'd been off GW for awhile due to family issues and was just getting back to the kitchen, and didn't have any warning. I cut back to just the ovens from them (there wasn't another combi-steam on the market, and I wasn't having anything but a Gaggenau oven anyway). That five year warranty just wasn't a big enough sop!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Ouch. Big price increase! As the euro and dollar are less out of whack, are they rolling back prices? just wondering...

meangoose: lol! I hope plllogs appendages are in firm control. ;)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 3:09PM
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We happen to be trying to figure out what wall oven/microwave combo unit to buy too now. Just to add a new suggestion into the mix, has anybody come across the Sharp SuperSteam Microwave Oven? It has a trim kit for making it into a built-in. We've been thinking of buying it ourselves, but I'm not sure if it would bug me that it doesn't have a number pad (I guess the same is true for the Advantium?) or a turntable. It has great reviews, though, and has both steaming and convection cababilities.

Another one we're looking at is the Electrolux Icon 1.5 30" built-in microwave with convection (but no steamer). Reviews are more love-it or hate-it on that one, and I know their 1.1 cu. foot similar model has lots of complaints about the door hinges being plastic and breaking, though maybe the bigger one has different hinges? We're thinking of getting it b/c we're planning to get an Electrolux Icon fridge and already have a GE Monogram range (which we just got for cheap as a floor model and which has a very similar handle style to the Electrolux Icon Professional line), such that everything would match.

Maybe one of those might work for you? Anybody here have any thoughts on either of these choices?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 2:10PM
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I went with Sharp SuperSteam Microwave Oven plus trim kit on advice from appliancesalesvet from some older threads on this subject. Bought it online and found the unit to be fine but the trim not so. Too much not so durable plastic parts. I was weary about the unit for a long time, thinking that microwave power won't be sufficient and I'll miss turntable. I have it for a couple of months now and overall satisfied, find that MW power is not such a problem and benefits outweigh the lack of desirable features. I am happy for now, just didn't want to spend a lot in case I find out that I don't use some of the features the combos offer.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 3:18PM
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I am planning a gagg combi steam and a simple panasonic microwave. I was able to find several combi steams at quite low prices. I paid 1300 for a plumbed unit that was displayed but never installed. So I would say don't give up if you want one :) Also I wanted the microwave to be easy for kids and others to use without asking me.. The advantium seemed overkill for my 90% use case which was microwave only.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Did Gaggenau have yet another price increase in the last year? That's 25% more than quotes from just 9 months ago.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 4:04PM
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Are you ladies (and gentlemen?) talking about the 30" Gag combi-steam?

Google search gives a lot of 27" ones for ~$1700. That is a LOT cheaper than $7K.

What's wrong with 27" ones? Is it too small for most people or is it just b/c it wouldn't look right over a large single oven underneath for those who want the "double-oven" look?

Or is it about the 27" models being hard-to-replace should they break in the future b/c disappearing from the market?

I am going to place a single oven and a combi oven on two different walls b/c I don't want to play for re-plumbing the kitchen. B/c of the limited wall space, I am considering the 24" and the 27" Gaggenau models. I am still kitchen-illiterate and wondering if I am making a mistake.

Please advise!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 2:21PM
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As far as I know, the 24", 27" and 30" are all the same size inside. It is just the front is wider to match your cabinet width or other oven below it.

The 27" ones I have seen (at least the cheaper ones) are the old model. Nothing wrong with that, as I understand that the feature updates were not all that compelling. I think that model has been out of production for 3 years, maybe 4. I bought a 24" one, floor model never hooked up, on eBay. When I checked the serial number with Gaggenau, it was from about 2001. I haven't gotten the remodel to the point that I can install it, but I did hook it up in my workshop it fired up just fine. I do have to wonder if I will be able to buy parts from it 10 years from now.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:32PM
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There is only one interior size of the combi-steam, which is the same as the 24" version. The other sizes are just trimmed out to line up with another oven.

The 27" is the previous model. They're all at least 4 years old. If they're still selling them new out of the box, don't believe it. There may still be a few showroom samples, but there shouldn't be any of them left either. Usually, they don't stock up on them in warehouses, though it's possible that a dealer made a mistake and is still moving them. Another possibility is a pre-order that never got picked up. You can get a great deal on open box, but you also take risks. Make sure the warranty is intact before you leap.

If you aren't budget squeezed, go for the new 24" one. You also get the nice display. :)

There's no reason not to have ovens in different locations. I've used kitchens like that, and, in fact, if you count the Adavantium as an oven, I have that in my kitchen. Just make sure that the work flow works well for each.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Oh, good to know.

Actually, I was more interested in the 24" model I saw on their website than the 27" one b/c it was all I could "squeeze in". I was just trying to understand why anyone would pay $7K instead of $1.7K for 3 inches.

Ever since the big oven that came with the house "blew up", I have been baking in my ~20" DeLonghi convection countertop oven (while awaiting the kitchen remodel) and have gotten pretty used to "make do" with it, so a 24" oven will be an upgrade, LOL. OK, JK, will get a "real" oven too.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 11:54PM
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Glad you understand that it's not a big oven, even for 24". The cavity is small, and the short side is across the front. It's 18" deep x 12" wide x 8" tall, not including the side racks. It's very different from a conventional oven. Do see one and make sure you know what you're getting into. I'm sure you could make cookies in it, but it's not ideal.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 1:14AM
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