36 gas range: Smeg - Fratelli Onofri or Berta master?

Roan PastorApril 16, 2012

I need some recommendations! I am torn between these three brands - my criteria is below $3k for a 36" gas range.

I have seen the Berta in person and while impressive, it is on the higher end of my price range. Have not seen the Smeg and Fratelli but they look great on photos and (youtube videos!). At this point, I am leaning hard on the Fratelli - but the Smeg has a really good deal (at $900 off) and is the cheapest of the bunch.




............was also looking into the NXR but its not as pretty as these other 3.

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Berta in a heartbeat!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Berta has no oven temperature readout, strange procedures for lighting the gas, a noisy fan, small ovens and a few other oddities. I must tell you that while Bertas have fans here, everyone I know who has used them in real life speaks of theirs with white hot rageful hate. Sorry.

Fratelli is bankrupt. You can pick up existing stock but who knows whether you can get parts in the future.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:09AM
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Roan Pastor

THANKS!!! Glad I asked..... so Smeg it is then!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:41AM
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Well, I wouldn't rush into Smeg, either. I've heard the wall ovens helpfully shut off every time you open the door to check on the food--don't know about the ranges. Make sure you know exactly who will be servicing it first.

No range is perfect, everything has its pros and cons.

There is a tradeoff with pretty ranges. The prettier they are, the less they're designed around function, at least until you get into the highest price points.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:15AM
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My Berta (a pro, not master) has no 'strange' lighting techniques, its fan isn't overly loud (of course, my ancient caloric was silent, but my even more ancient wall fan/hood was like a vintage attic fan as far as noise, so anything is quieter in comparison), and the oven temperature is quite even...you simply need a $15 oven thermometer to snap onto your oven racks to get an accurate reading (note: a friend with a much more expensive professional brand had to buy the same thermometer, as her oven readout was quite inaccurate). I have not found the oven to be overly small (ie, I have the 36 inch gas range and have not had to buy different baking pans...it might be different in a 30 inch range); in any case, ANY European brand will have a smaller oven than an American professional range, and those European brands include the other two you are looking into.

In short, I'm a Berta owner and have no 'white hot rage' over my range. It's not as high performance as, say, a Wolfe, but it has worked just fine for the kind of cooking I usually pursue (a lot of 'mom' cooking, as I have young children; a lot of baking of bread, granola, and sweets; and the weekend pursuit of more ambitious culinary pursuits (both 'cooking' and baking) on the weekends.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:05PM
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I also have a Berta (48") that I am quite fond of! The lighting just requires holding the knob in for a second, while turning it to the high temp. In the past, I have always had electric ranges, so I can't say how the lighting is different from other gas ranges, but it is not difficult.

The cooling fan, when it kicks on is noticeable, but less than my vent hood on low and comparable to the sound when the convection is turned on.

My larger oven preheats quickly, much more so than the small oven, which I find odd. The oven size also has not been a issue for me. I find that they are comparable to an American range in width, but smaller in height. The only time I have had to make an adjustment is when I was trying to stack multiple dishes in one oven.

I also am strictly a "mom" cook like rosiebean, but it is a pleasure for me to use on a daily basis.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:17PM
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Berta oven temp cannot be low.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:12AM
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Roan Pastor

Hmmm..........now I'm even more confused. It seems that Berta is too polarizing a brand.......and I can only afford the Master version and not the Pro.

At this point - it seems the Smeg still is the most logical choice - cheap........and the 3 reviews I read at AjMadison were glowing. Just wish somebody here has hands-on experience before I make the final plunge.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Berta has a fan club here but I don't recall anybody posting here about Smeg experience.

No "strange" lighting techniques? I suppose "strange" is subjective, but I'd guess most people would find it strange to have to hold the oven door ajar for 15 seconds and then having to manually confirm that the oven is on by looking inside for the flames. Some people also report that it is tricky to get the oven or broiler to stay lit. Lighting the burners also requires a turn and hold not typical of American ranges.

Unfortunately you don't have any easy answers. You could say Bertas are polarizing but you don't know what people might say about a Smeg if asked.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Ya right about the Berta Fan club here, Marcolo.

I would suggest the OP here google Smeg range (+ reviews).
In doing so, AJMadison has 3 reviews on the Smeg range and all are 5 stars, (see for yourself).

Even better is to google the model number + reviews as there are a number of Smeg Ranges, and they may not all be reviewed the same. For example, some Smeg Ovens
(not the ovens in the ranges) got terrible reviews
(1 or 2 stars).

The Euros, (especially the English) refer to these ranges as "Cookers", so you may want to google "Smeg Cookers"+ reviews to find even more reviews of Smeg Ranges.

I wished I had a better memory, but I "Think", note the word "Think", that somebody was having a lotta problems with an Italian range, Berta, (I think).
They "Kicked the problem up the corporate ladder" and some
"Big Shot" at Berta, (I think") responded as:
"Well that's what they get, Americans don't understand Italian ranges, and what the heck are they buying them for"
(Paraphrasing), hopefully others here in GW may recall that post, it was several years ago.

I only mention it to encourage the OP to be sure whatever range chosen can be serviced in a satisfactory Manner.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:30PM
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Roan Pastor

Gary - I have read the glowing reviews of the Smeg range at AJ Madison - and it has an instant $900 rebate till June! It seems to be a great deal. I read somewhere that SMEG and Bertazzonni are the same company - is that true?

In any case, I am 90% sure I am going for the Smeg. My kitchen remodel should be finished by the end of May and then I will purchase the range once it is done.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:26AM
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In googling Smeg Bertazzonni, it does appear you are correct that both are owned by the same company, and in fact Mr. Bertazzoni named the Smeg.

Glad you were able to find a good deal, and if you do get it, please review it for us as there is a "Dearth of Info" here in GW regarding Smeg.

Competition is our best bet in fighting high prices plus we really could use some more competition (in the US), ((OT)) as far as Induction Ranges go the Euros are getting all the really great looking ones, Range Master etc, so maybe Smeg will eventually join the fray here with a nice looking Induction Range (Cooker)!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Roan Pastor

......will sure to do a lengthy review once received. Whichever it will be..........

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:02AM
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I doubt this is particularly helpful but thought I'd offer it up.

My brother lives in the UK and has a Smeg range in his rental kitchen. He doesn't love it and when I was just there last week I found it a little quirky. Some of the burners didn't light properly which may have been a maintenance issue. The smaller top oven wasn't really much good for anything, and the bottom oven was very low down. I think his was the 24 inch though (or european equivalent)?

It really did look nice though!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:32PM
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I am in the market for a new range and briefly considered Bertazzoni because they are so pretty :-) but our local appliance dealer that sells Wolf, Bluestar, Viking, etc. said they service everything they sell except Berta. I didn't ask why at that time, but that put me off buying that brand. Plus they didn't have one at our closest location and whatever I buy I'd like to see in person first.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:51PM
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I have been browsing the 36" range offerings for the last two months as I have been going through a kitchen remodel, and considering the best options. I have to say I am pretty dissapointed by whats available, the cost point and how unreliable many of the choices seem. I am a professional chef and work on industrial stoves all day, many of which I could purchase for half the price of these so called pro style ranges. Unfortunately they are not insulated for use next to cabinetry. After looking at NXR, Berta, Smeg, Verona, and Fratelli for not wanting to spend more than 3500, which should be adequate, I have decided to go with the GE Cafe Series CGS990SETSS. I thought I would be getting more oven space with a 36" range but turns out not to be true. The GE offers two ovens with over 6 cubic feet of combined space, a 20,ooo btu burner, a included griddle, convection and many, many positive reviews. It also offers many convenience options like roll out racks, digital touch display, sabbath mode, timed shutoff ect... that the bare bones euro models couldn't think to offer. When I considered all of this, the $2500 price, extra cabinet and counter space, and parts and service that I wouldn't have to wait months for, it seems like a no brainer. I appreciate everyone's threads and contributions in making this decision and hope my opinion helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best price warranty I found

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 12:56PM
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What did you end up getting? Any critique you'd like to share?


    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:22PM
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