take a risk or play it safe with range choice?

phillyfeetApril 7, 2014

I guess no matter what appliance you purchase these days, you are taking a risk, but i like to lower my odds on bad choices by searching these forums and reading other online reviews.

Anyway, after getting a major dose of financial reality, I thought i should pass on the 36 inch range. I looked at 30 inch ranges and yesterday, after seeing at it in person, and knowing someone who loves theirs, I thought i choose the GE cafe all gas with warming drawer. At $2500, it seems much easier to swallow than the Bluestar RNB 36 and Wolf 36 I had been deciding between last week.

The problem is, I just can't help feeling disappointed in losing the extra space on top. I am not in need of a huge oven, nor high BTU's. I do want to boil my water faster than 25 minutes (!) (don't want induction only because of past power outages). At the store yesterday, my husband tells me that he always liked the looks of the Berta, but never said anything because he knows how much research i have been doing. I have seen too many bad reviews about the oven on that to go in that direction, but suddenly, I am looking at the Verona. Is it worth the risk to go with the 36 inch Verona? It would be close in price to the GE and I would get my extra space on top. I know i wouldn't be getting Bluestar power, but like i said, i don't really need that. I am suddenly seeing a lot of positive reviews on the Verona, but i guess i am leery of service if there is a problem, i've never seen it in person and the local appliance store i will be using doesn't sell it.

Thoughts? I can't believe i still haven't made a decision and i need to tell the cabinet maker this weekend!!

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If you were willing to go with separates, (IE cook top and separate oven), You could do as Pillog did.
She has both induction and gas cooktops.

That way you get your extra space, You can use the induction for boiling water, doing delicate things , do all the things that you see posted here, about how great induction is. You still have your gas, and the extra "real estate" (the 6 inches you mentioned) (LOL)!

You also now have the benefit of choosing the type oven, (gas or electric) as well as size that you want.

We had a range, and we replaced it with "separates" when we remodeled our kitchen.
We love not tripping over each other when one is using the oven and the other the cooktop, as many times, both "The Boss" and I are doing "our thing" in the kitchen @ the same time.

There is not a "Home gas Appliance", that will keep up with induction, when it comes to boiling water.

I believe Pillog says She uses the induction most of the time, and she has a choice.

Why not have the same choice?


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Thanks Gary, but I never have to worry about tripping over my husband near the range!! I'm the only cook and baker in this family! (I do have the problem of tripping over him at the fridge though!) My husband takes care of the grilling outside.

I wanted the all gas range and a separate electric wall oven so I can roast in one and bake in the other.

At this point, I am leaning towards the Café (though I just read a scary thread on here with lots of criticisms about it) and if needed in the future, i'll get a portable induction cooktop.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 4:23PM
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Gary represented my set up correctly, but I don't think you could do it for a worthy price. It does cost more both in appliances (unless your comparison is a fancy imported range) and in cabinet work.

As an aside: There really isn't that much difference between gas and electric ovens. You can make an electric oven moister by putting a little dish of water in with your roast, and you can bake just about anything in a gas oven--it's just easier in a good electric oven because it's able to hold a narrower temperature range, and you can do the multilevel with convection cooking in electric.

Given that, I think the setup you've decided on sounds fine. Remember to keep your refrigerator, and especially your freezer closed, as in never opened, during a power outage, because without the cold air escaping they can hold for days. As soon as you let the cold air out once, by even cracking the door, you've lost that advantage. You probably know all of that, and if you still think you'll be cooking during a power outage, or are running a generator for the fridge, go for the gas, not induction.

(Part of my thinking for getting both was that after a major earthquake, even if the house were fine, we might have gas and water but not electric for an extended period, and would want the gas for boiling washing and drinking water. Electric seems, in my experience, to be more vulnerable than pipes.)

So, past all that stuff you didn't ask about, should you get the Verona? Talk to the repair people. Find out if there even are licensed Verona repairmen where you are, who keep parts in stock. Find out both how hard it would be/long it would take to get parts, etc., and also see if you can get someone chatting about the reliability of the brand. Maybe see if you can get references to speak to people who have them.

If the stove goes out, other than during a blackout, you can always use the wall oven to get something cooked, and whatever outdoor grill/barbecue you might have, and/or the possible countertop induction hotplate. But you need to know what you're getting into.

I live in an area where there is deep market penetration of Wolf, so when something was wrong with my Wolf cooktop (because the electrician didn't believe the instructions!), Wolf sent a guy right away. Even though they knew what the problem was from my phone call. They sent the guy to just make sure that it wasn't a problem with the unit. He took it apart and inspected everything. You pay more for that kind of service, it's true, but you also get the simmer burners, and a reputedly reliable oven. In your position, given your cooking needs, it seems the only thing imperfect is the price.

If cooking to you means boxed pasta with jarred sauce, baked chicken tenders, and making cookies out of purchased dough, you'll be happy with any range that doesn't fight you. But if you think you need five or six burners, where most people use a maximum of three at once, you probably really cook. :) If you mostly want the bigger range for elbow room, you can put a couple of good trivets on the counter by the smaller range to put pots that you're taking off the fire on, to be right handy.

Oh, boy. Brevity is not my strong suit and I'm tired, so I'm rambling.

This Is My Advice: The cooking and refrigeration is what make a kitchen. Skimp on countertops. Skimp on floors. Skimp on tiles. When you see pictures of people living permanently in a yurt, there's a stove, an oven, a fridge and a table. Some might even have a plumbed sink. When you're camping, you have a fire and a pot and everything else is a luxury. A couple hundred years ago, a kitchen was a hearth and a table, and if it was very fancy there might be some kind of stove. The cooker is IT. Don't skimp on the cook stove.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:30PM
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wow! Thanks for the response - i can be rather verbose myself, so i appreciate a good ramble!

I am definitely not a gourmet chef, but i am not a jar sauce and chicken nugget cook either. I am somewhere in between. I mostly cook and bake from scratch. I would love to be a bit more adventurous (just learned how easy it is to make really good italian bread and want to learn how to make ravioli), but right now I am a bit tired with my toddler twins and one more on the way!! See, i ramble too!

Anyway, I think the 36 inch would not be totally wasted on me, but for most nights 30 will do. I guess why I am disappointed with my GE cafe decision, is that for almost a year i have been looking at 36 inch ranges (BS, wolf, dcs) and suddenly, i am going with a 30. But we are doing a major addition with the kitchen reno and with a baby on way, i just don't want to overspend. i definitely appreciate your advice on where to skimp and where to save though.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:15PM
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"Need" is a funny word.

Does one "need" an Italian range"

Does one "need" anything more than a basic $800 range?

It will turn raw food into cooked food.

On Ebay there is a 30" floor model Bluestar RCS for $2600 plus $300 for delivery.

For some reason I can't paste link.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Since you're doing a major addition, I'm guessing that you plan to stay in this house for the foreseeable future. Your kids are getting bigger, and your entertaining needs are going to grow. You can do everything you need to with your 30" range, but it could take some juggling and extra small appliances if you're feeding fifty. I suggest putting in a spice pullout or tray cabinet in the 6" that you're giving up. That way, when the future comes barreling down on you and you do need or want a new range, it's easy enough to adjust the cabinets if you're ready to upgrade the size. If you're getting a stone slab counter, that'll be a little harder to adjust, but it can be done, sometimes in place. If it's a matter of tearing out the whole kitchen, you'll be looking for another range to fit your hole, rather than seeing if you can get your kitchen to fit your dream range. (And if you're really expecting to change in the future, you can even have the counter made with a separate piece over the 6".)

Good luck and best wishes for the new baby.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:13PM
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Did you price out the 30" Bluestar RNB? That's what I have and I love it! I cook a lot. Seems like there have been deals on it at Costco etc - not sure about currently.

Our range and dishwashers are our highest end appliances and it's worth it for us. Fridge is mediocre and I'm OK with that. Microwave will be low end.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:30PM
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Plllog - that's a great idea about the 6 inch pullout. The plans now had them on either side of the range and i was going to eliminate them in favor of wider drawers, but i like your idea.

Feisty68- i am going to price out the 36 inch BS RCS. My husband has some doubts about BS because of the oven door, so i wasn't going to consider the 30 inch, but he may go along with the 36 knowing how badly i wanted that size. Of course, after seeing how our budget was affected by changing courses this weekend, it may be a tough sell to go back up!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:26AM
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Just got a price on the BS 36 RCS - about 1500 more than the GE cafe (and 1500 less than the RNB).
these are the things keeping me up at night.......

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 4:07PM
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I understand that sometimes (probably most times), a 30" range is all
people have room for. But if you have the space and the budget, you will not regret getting a 36" over the 30", but I can almost guarantee you'd regret passing up the larger one for the smaller one in the future. At the end of the day, it's only 6 inches bigger...the length of a any American dollar. But that mere 6 inches gets you 2 additional burners, the "slideability" on all the burners and bigger oven, no matter what you choose.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Remember that a 36" range needs a bigger hood than a 30" range. And a powerful Bluestar needs more exhaust cfms than other residential ranges will. Larger hood size and higher cfms add significant dollars to hood cost, and may also require a larger exhaust duct than you have planned for a hood.

I get your yearning for a 36" Bluestar. Totally. But it's a decision that has other costs associated with it other than the range itself.

Having said that, I agree with Gtadross. I think you will always be disappointed in a 30" range. Where you need to make the compromise is not to get the 36" Bluestar. Get a less expensive 36" all-gas range, such as a GE, with moderate cfms so your hood requirements won't be as challenging.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 7:36PM
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I can tell how much you really want your dream range. The points about the vent needs are good. If I had to choose either or between the bigger, better hood and the bigger better range, I'd get the hood now and hope for the range later.

That said, you can also call around (or shop and take advantage of your baby bump to get managers semiotically convinced of your need for a deal) and see if you can find a deal on a floor model of one of your preferred ranges, and the hood too. Even if they won't be changing displays until Autumn, you could reserve one. :) Also troll Craig's List, the Habitat store, eBay, etc. Sometimes you can find "Stupid lady ordered this range and doesn't want it" kinds of deals. Just stick within your area or shipping will kill the savings. And at the donation stores like Habitat, you can also sometimes find these unused, or installed but mostly unused, appliances. You still have to pay because they're raising funds, but I know people who've gotten incredible finds.

Getting the whole house structurally to where you need it is most important. Well, the health and safety of your family is most important, and after that the structure. But the range should be pretty well near the top of finishes, and if you have to get creative, it's worth it.

And spice pullouts are wonderful!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 12:55AM
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Great advice here. Sahmmy's point about the vent/hood - specifically, the extra cost, space and attention to CFMs and MUA issues - was the deciding factor for me when I ultimately quit looking at the larger, most powerful ranges. I priced it all out and realized that I could easily spend $5K or substantially more just on the hood and its working parts, and that didn't include installation or any MUA work that might need to be done to the house as well. Also if you have them, you'll also loose upper cabinet space with the larger hoods which may be important in a smaller kitchen space.

If your budget is a factor (or even if it's not), and you enjoy preparing meals, then I agree with the notion that appliances take priority over cabinetry. It's not for everyone, but that's exactly the approach I'm taking with my redo and I'm not loosing sleep over my planned expenses.

pllog has great solutions for prepping a kitchen for a future range upgrade. Still, if the difference between your dream range and the one you plan to purchase now is no more than a couple thousand dollars, you may want to consider biting the bullet now as opposed to spending more down the road for a refit.

Also, FWIW, after purchasing a house with no working oven we were able to find a used DCS wall oven to use until our kitchen remodel. We purchased it at a Habitat store for $325 and it is one of the best ovens I've ever used - so, as suggested here, deals can be had. And I see brand-new BlueStar ranges advertised on eBay and Craigslist all the time - perhaps there is one in your area. If you have the time to look and wait, you may want to consider this approach.

Still, Phillyfeet, looking over the list of ranges you're considering, it seems that in addition to budget you and your husband still have three distinct issues to clarify; 1) the size range you want; 3) the style range you want; and 3) the brand/model range you want. If you can define which one of these points is most important to you - size, style or brand/model - then the second and third questions may be easier to resolve.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:11AM
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I want to thank everyone for some great advice here. I went to the appliance showroom today and spent a lot of time with the salesman going over all of my options. I realized that i will definitely regret not going with my gut decision to put in a 36 inch range since i have the space in my kitchen and technically, i have the room in the budget. I am also 90% sure i am going with the Bluestar RCS. I can appreciate the differences between that and the RNB, but the RNB may just be too much for me. (And you don't know what you're missing if you never had it!) I feel like it may be a good compromise between budget and function.

I will be getting a good deal on a hood with the same specs as the Zephyr Tempest II with 1100 CFM, so i am feeling pretty confident with this arrangement. I know someone started a thread today about RCS vs RNB and i will definitely follow that.

Again, if i haven't said this enough - THANK YOU!! Oh, I'm sure my husband thanks you too cause he is tired of listening to me!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:32PM
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I'm so happy for you! I'm glad you've made such a sensible decision. You're saving some money and getting a great range. I promise you won't miss the fire power. Perhaps if you're trying to do restaurant style wok cooking, the extra BTUs might be well desired, but Asian mamas make great food with ordinary kitchen appliances, so you'll have a step up on them. If you really don't think you're getting the sear you want (which I doubt will happen), you can heat your pan in the oven before putting over your flame (which is another normal appliances mom trick).

You sound happy now! (so I have a BIG smile!)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:10AM
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Great news. Great choice. Happy to hear you've zeroed-in on your range!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:58AM
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Agree with plllog. Grace Young recommends 15K BTUs for stir frys. It is really a matter of getting your cooking surface to temperature not the size of the burner. It will be a little quicker with higher BTUs and you will have a little faster recovery time but you can stir fry with 15K. You might also want to cook smaller amounts at a time. If you want to sear steaks, use cast iron. Cast iron holds a lot of heat. Again it is about the temperature of the cooking surface. An oven will heat it very evenly.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:08AM
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