Bluestar/Wolf Cleaning

beastyMarch 20, 2012

I know that cleaning comparisons of various ranges have been the subject of a number of threads in this forum, but I have a specific question about cleaning these ranges and I'm having a hard time sorting through all the info in those threads. Right now my oven is a GE sealed burner with a black shiny enamel top and it drives me absolutely CRAZY because it shows every speck of dust or grease spatter. I saw the Wolf duel fuel range and noticed that the pan under the grate (sorry, I don't know the correct terminology) looked like it was the same kind of black enamel.

I cook a lot of things that spatter oil or grease out on the cooktop but I rarely have a problem with spillovers (maybe that's because my burners aren't that powerful, I guess). So I'm not that worried about cleaning big spillover messes because they don't happen that often. I'm worried about cleaning on a day to day basis so that grease spatters and dust don't show.

I looked at a Bluestar and my impression was that it would be easier because the material wouldn't show the grease and dust as much and you could basically upend the bowls into the sink to get rid of dropped crumbs. I really don't care about cleaning the innards so long as having crumbs drop in there doesn't affect how it functions or shorten its lifespan.

In other words, I want it to look clean and function properly -- but I don't really care if there are crumbs or things hiding out of view.

Could some Bluestar or Wolf owners chime in and let me know your experience?

Thanks very much!

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I've got a 36" Bluestar 6 burner range.
What you're describing is exactly how a Bluestar works.
The black cast iron top helps to hide the grease that may spatter but also makes it easy to wipe up with a damp sponge or cloth.
The deep cast iron bowls, which lift out easily, will allow small crumbs and spills or boil-overs to end up in the drip tray underneath.
We've had or range for about 18 months and have found it to be much easier to clean than our previous sealed burner range.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 3:22PM
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Yeah, with the Bluestar, just shove everything down, wipe the tops, and then clean out the drip tray (or line it with foil if that's what you like).

Every few months I do a deeper clearning of the burner bowls, and usually coat them with a thin coat of oil (makes them easier to wipe up, and makes them look better. Not really necessary for rustproofing unless you've gotten chips since they're enameled.)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 4:12PM
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I've owned both, and by far, the easier range to clean is the Bluestar. I found keeping the Wolf clean to be finicky and frequent.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 6:29PM
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I don't own a BS, but I've found that cleaning an open burner range is MUCH easier than anyone's sealed burner units.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 8:53PM
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I find the Wolf easy to clean black enamel and all. We had another brand with black enamel that always streaked. I don't know what the difference is.
I would probably find the BS easy to keep too, though-just different cleaning.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 10:37PM
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In my experience my Bluestar needs almost no "daily" cleaning. Crumbs etc get pushed down to the drip trays using a wooden skewer to poke them if needed. Drip trays are lined with foil which gets replaced when needed (can be months). I take a damp cloth to spills as I go and that's about it for the daily routine. It does not show dust at all but then I wipe it as I go. Once in a while I have been washing al the bowls and grates in the sink and replacing them and lightly coating them with a cast iron preservative stuff. Good luck with your selection.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 8:45AM
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Another vote for BS here. I used to own a Viking which also had that shiny black enameled finish and it was the one thing (probably only thing) I think I disliked about the unit from an esthetics standpoint. And I had the open burner viking, which was an improvement over the sealed burner vikings in this regard.

I also had a lot of clients with wolf's and although I wasn't in there cleaning their range on a daily basis I did witness that the shiny black enamel didn't take long until it looked kinda crappy.

The BS cooktop can not be beat. In my opinion it is the only range (residential) on the market that looks great when new, and equally as good, or maybe even better as it ages. It has everything to do with the industrial heritage of the bs. I remember at the time when I had my viking, I had a client who had a garland commercial range in their home (the cooktop looks nearly identical to BS) and I was always envious of how amazing their garland looked even tho it was obviously a heavily used machine. I would say that the only time the bs doesn't look fantastic is that period between shiny new out of the box and heavily used and seasoned. Kind of like a hardwood floor, they look great when new, as well as when they have been worn in with lots of character. It is the first few scratches and dings that look the worst.

To sum it up, although the wolf is a fine machine and I would recommend one in an instant, if you are concerned with how a cooktop looks with age your best bet will be BS without a doubt.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Thank you, all! Exactly the sort of helpful info I was looking for.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 2:29PM
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I have a Wolf, and my one regret is the cleaning of the black enamel, and I wish it was cast iron like BS, so it might season over time. Although, I thought it was bare cast iron, so I'm not sure the black coating will allow the seasoning like in a good cast iron pan.

When I looked at BS, I was concerned about how large the openings were between the pieces, but after using the Wolf, I can see that those would allow dropped food and crumbs to drop down to the tray, rather than burn on the underpans' surface. I do like, though, that I have equal power and simmer on all burners. I don't have to shift pans to get the heat or non-heat I need.

I also have had NO problems with the Wolf since the first time we turned it on, and I read so many posts here where some ignitors on BS's had to be replaced before some ranges/ rangetops would work fully right out of the box. Maybe not a big deal if they get fixed properly and quickly, but sort of a pain and a disappointment for a new appliance.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 3:31AM
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As for the ignitors, I don't recall many if any posts in recent memory of troubled ignitors, particularily on new unnits. Maybe what matt schutte said is true. I am however considering changing out the ignitors to the viking style. A gw member posted a while back that they converted theirs with step by steps. It seems as tho the viking ignitors are less intrusive than the bs and I think he said they were cheaper and I also recall him saying that they are closer to the burner holes making it possible to turn the burners down lower in the simmer position (which would only have a real advantage on the 22k's).

In my opinion wolf is the best made professional range, and a lot of testimony suggests their customer service is responsive if you do have issues. They are both great looking ranges, but I really do think the bs ages better and with the huge advantage in cooking power makes the bs worth it. With either choice the OP will end up with a fantastic cooking appliance.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:42PM
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tyguy: I have not done this in a couple of years but I recall when I adjusted my BS burners I hit the end of the travel of the adjustment screw BEFORE I encountered ignitor clicking or whatever. So on my range it seems the ignitor was not the limiting factor in achieving the lowest simmer. When I have time I am going to go back again and check. What with all the simmer talk here lately I am wondering if I did truly hit the low end of the adjustment screw. Also for informations sake I am almost 2 1/2 years in on my Bluestar and no trouble with the ignitors whatsoever. They are indeed looking more than a little dirty but still seem to function fine.

OP: I have no experience and for the longest time was intent on the Wolf dual fuel myself. However, I suspect that if the black enamel & sealed burners are driving you crazy on your current range then they might do the same on the Wolf. Perhaps you should look at the CC too? Also believe there is a Capital dual fuel range imminent and by all accounts the details will be up here on GW pretty soon.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Buffalotina: ya I think you should give it another try. When I adjusted mine, I could turn it so low that it would extinguish, and that seems to be the norm gathering from posts on here.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Thanks, everyone! Buffalotina, I suspect you are right that the black enamel on the Wolf would bother me, though probably less than it does on my current range where everything is made of the same material. I actually did look at the CC, but I just didn't like it as much on an aesthetic level.

I am leaning toward the Bluestar -- though I have some reservations. I wish Bluestar's customer service had a better track record. Also, I've never cooked with such high BTUs and I have to admit that I am a little afraid I am going to burn the house down. (I feel a little sheepish admitting that here...)

On a separate note, have any of you all used the BS or Wolf stovetop grill? I live in an apartment with no outdoor space for an outdoor BBQ and would love to be able to do grilled steak, fish, veggie, etc. again.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:14AM
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Beasty, I don't have a grill, but most of those items I have cooked under the infrared broiler with similar results- a great sear. (no grill marks tho') Except the broiler is in the oven and will actually consume some of the smoke and atomized fat. Occasionally I'll use a grill pan, or roast veggies over the stovetop on a wire rack.

I guess my point is, the stovetop grill will require a good hood.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Beasty, Unless you can install a substantial hood (1200CFM) and properly vent it (8"-10" duct), an indoor grill will generate too much smoke.
In fact, if you're considering a Bluestar at all you're going to need some kind of hood.
You'll quickly get used to the increase in BTUs and you'll love it.
As for Bluestar's customer service, it has improved, immeasurably, since I purchased my range in October 2010.
If you finally decide to go the Bluestar route, I think you'll be pleased.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:39PM
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>I wish Bluestar's customer service had a better track record.

Beasty, I have to ask what worries you about this? I can not think of a single post in recent times (past year and a half or so) complaining of their cs. It seems to be one of the best now. I would say wolf is the benchmark in this area, but in recent times I think BS has been nipping at wolf's heels in this regard. A personal example; I emailed them asking them for a new door (I wanted the newest design in case I ever encountered problems with the old one) and they responded back to me within 20 minutes saying it is on its way to me (in canada) at no charge. It was sent UPS(which I am not a fan of), which I know charges a huge ripoff "brokerage" fee to bring a grain of sand over the border. Plus its a big heavy box so shipping wouldn't be cheap. I would say shipping and fee's alone would probably be $200+ to Canada plus the cost of a brand new door (couldn't be cheap) all because I asked for one. (Never had a problem with mine). And trust me on this one, BS knows what goes on here and CS has been given their top priority.

As for the grill. I have a grill, and LOVE it! In fact I have a grill and griddle, and if I could do it over I would go for a double wide grill. I use it all year round, even in the nice weather :) I do wish it was infrared tho. If you do go with a grill with either brand just make sure you do not skimp on the ventilation, you will NEED it.

What size range are you thinking about?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:41PM
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I am planning on getting a real hood to go over the range and checking with the contractor to see if the ductwork and external venting is sufficient. If it's not, oh well, the infrared broiler sounds like a very good alternative. I'm thinking of either a 36 or a 48 inch range. I'd love a 48 inch, but I may need that extra 12 inches for other things.

On the customer service, my concern is that a range is a long-term investment and BS's current track record for good customer service is only about 1 - 2 years. Two years ago, it seemed that they went through a real rough patch on customer service based on posts and reviews (here and elsewhere) that I've seen on the web. I agree that their customer service right now sounds excellent -- my concern is whether they will sustain it over a 5 year period. Wolf, on the other hand, has been one of the industry leaders in customer service for a long time. And I really don't want to be grinding my teeth in frustration at bad customer service after spending 8 to 10 grand on a range.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 1:47PM
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As with any manufacturer, there's no way of predicting the future and knowing how their CS will be down the road.
One of the pluses of a Bluestar is that it's a very simple machine that can be serviced by any competent repairman.
So even if their CS were to revert to its former self, getting the range repaired should not be a problem.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 2:14PM
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"Beasty, I have to ask what worries you about this? I can not think of a single post in recent times (past year and a half or so) complaining of their cs. It seems to be one of the best now."

Did you miss the post about the BS Range, that has had a busticated oven for 9 months?

"Think it was" Mike, that would not even return her phone calls or emails? The post is only about 2 weeks old (around the first of March 2012!).

It was the folks here in GW that came to her rescue with her oven, and one suggested calling Mandy, instead of Mike at Blue Star.

I don;t believe that Mandy is actually in Blue Star Customer support, anymore, but She did get the ball rolling
as far as getting the oven fixed.

So In this case, Blue Star Service was not #1 or #2 compared to Wolf, and all of us here in GW, know who # 1 is
Right?????? Well it's the Folks in GW!!!!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Actually, Mandy is back in customer service. I sent her an email late one night last week, and she'd already replied when I woke up the next morning (I'm in the west coast). Fixed the little problem I was having too.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 5:44PM
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Yes, I can confirm that I spoke with Mandy on the phone a little while back and she clearly said she is back in CS. I had actually posted that on one of these threads somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 7:22PM
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>>Did you miss the post about the BS Range, that has had a busticated oven for 9 months?

>"Think it was" Mike, that would not even return her phone calls or emails? The post is only about 2 weeks old (around the first of March 2012!).

Is that the best can come up with? ONE post, that by the way, is missing a lot of info? Have you tabulated how many phone calls and emails have gone un answered from your favorite range company over the past 6 months or so?

It seemed mike was working with OP quite well and left off looking for a new service company. We do not know how long a period of time these phone calls and emails went unanswered. It could have been a day or two, we don't know. Maybe he had not found an answer for OP yet. Not that the customer should be avoided but unfortunatly it is very common practise these days with most companies, but in the end he did get back with a new service company AND cared enough to ask OP to contact him when the company shows up. Certainly not horrible CS.

Beasty: I do understand where you are coming from tho. Wolf/sub zero has a long history of good service and a very large network all over the the US(and canada). That is one of the big plus's to buying a wolf(and what is important to each person is an individual matter). I would think cs is most important during the warranty period. Once that has expired I really can not see having absolutely no luck finding a competant service tech if the need arises. A lot of parts can even be swapped out with generic parts. As for trying to predict too far into the future, I have given up on that. You never know who will be in business next year, or who bought out who, or who runs into trouble or who might come from the bottom and be the top. (Apple corp was as good as dead in the late 90s)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:38PM
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