Best Appliances by Different Manufacturers

qcwinoMay 27, 2014

I've enjoyed this forum over the past few days and one of the pieces of advice I've picked up is mixing and matching appliances is the best way to go since different manufacturers are better at making different appliances.

My wife and I are embarking on a total renovation of our lakehouse which is about 45 minutes from our primary residence in Charlotte. The house is a cottage at about 1000 sq ft so we are spatially challenged. I cook at lot as a hobby so I want functional top end appliances but my wife is an interior designer and must have the commercial look with the thick pulls and stainless steel. Budget is 12-15K for appliances. With that said, recommendations for....

36 in freestanding, counter depth fridge

30 in. slide-in gas range

Hood for the range (I've read that it needs to be larger than the range so I'm guessing 36in)


Ideally everything would be from the same manufacturer since they have rebates or free hood or free dishwashers BUT since quality, look, and longevity are the primary concern I am prepared to mix and match.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

This post was edited by qcwino on Tue, May 27, 14 at 15:56

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You are making the same decisions as my husband and I! (except we are going with a slide-in electric range). We were given an offer of a high price fridge and range by Electrolux with a free dishwasher which together fit our budget. The sales person strongly recommended that we go with all the same so that the stainless steel matched. But after much consideration, and looking at pictures online, talking with friends, we decided it really doesn't matter that much. None of our appliances are in the same sight-line so that helps. In the end that didn't feel important to us. Picking the best appliance was more important and--even with the free dishwasher- we found similar total price mixing and matching. So that is our decision. Of course none of it is in place yet so I could be singing a different tune this Fall :-)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 3:17PM
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You have a tough road ahead, very tough. You don't have a lot of sq footage, and your budget is pretty modest.

Yet, you both have strong views on what you want performance and looks wise - that don't necessarily mesh with the other parameters.

You can probably forget the wider hood, doubt you'll have the space for it. Second, the choices for a "commercial" look range in 30" are fairly small. They will also eat up 25 - 50% of you budget. And , wanna get that free dishwasher??? You're gonna need to spend an additional $5-10k on top of you budget (built in fridge minimum) to qualify for that free potscrubber ! You'll also need to find space for that fridge too!

"Ideally everything would be from the same manufacturer since they have rebates or free hood or free dishwashers "

NO NO NO !. This is a marketers' dream come true. The best path is to get the appliance to fit YOUR needs and budget. Not the magazine and catalog editor's vision of utopia. No company makes the best in every category even before YOUR needs and budget are factored into the equation.

I think you'd be best served by really sitting down and focusing on your needs and the kitchen design BEFORE dreaming of pretty and powerful appliances and ehm, cough , free dishwashers and rebates.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 7:53PM
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My wife and I built a simple rustic 1,100 square foot cottage, so we bought a small 24 inch BlueStar propane stove ($4k) which keeps it in scale with the rest of the kitchen and doesn't overpower the limited counter space.

It's eye candy to look at,
and pure joy to cook on! : )

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 2:11AM
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I have somewhat of a different take, i.e the one brand for all can be a smart way to go. I have lived in 6 houses and am currently building my 7th, so I've experienced a lot of appliance buying. I've owned the high end stuff and the entry level. You can (and I've had) problems with any of the brands. The most important factors by far (IMO) are the local service and support resources available to you and the manufacturer's warranty. That's always my first question in shopping appliances: who are the authorized service providers, do they actually know the appliances, do they have quick access to parts, what's their feedback? The best experience I've had with appliances was with lowly GE profile stuff years ago. Why? because the service was provided by actual GE employees who were trained on the specific appliances. Again, my premise is you will likely need to use service resources over the life of the appliance, whether the problem is large or small. When I had problems with the GE stuff, and there were plenty, I called an 800 number to schedule a service call, usually 2 to 4 days out, a 3 hour window for the appointment provided. The uniformed service employee would show up, quickly and correctly diagnose the issue (because he knew the specific appliance really well), order parts while in my home from his hand-held and 3 to 5 days later return to make the fix. This service model is dying as more manufacturers farm out their service to third party providers. It's more likely today you'll need to call a local provider who will send someone much less familiar with your appliance who will call the manufacturer while in your home to try and troubleshoot the issue and maybe or maybe not resolve the problem in a timely way. This is why it's important to check the quality of local resources before selecting a brand, some are way better than others. The other consideration is warranty. The norm today seems to be one year (not much). A few years ago I did a full Thermador package mainly because there was a promotion that if you bought enough stuff and used their installer you could get 3 years of manufacturers warranty. This is huge. Look at the cost of extended warranties and service calls/parts on out of warranty appliances. Again my premise is it's highly likely you're going to have some problems over time with some of your appliances. I'm looking at Dacor stuff now mainly because they are the only ones I've found offering 3 year warranties as part of a promotion (Thermador stopped their 3rd year extended warranty "giveaway"). So while it's certainly true that no one manufacturer makes the best in every category, there are very few "bad" appliances anymore. My suggestion would be to ask yourself what's the most important appliance to you? The cook top? Fridge? Pick that out then look at promotions the manufacturer is offering to round out the other selections. It's clever marketing, but you can benefit by saving considerable dollars and getting "free" stuff. In my case when I did the Thermador, I wanted the dual compressor fridge and started there, The induction top, ovens, etc. were secondary to me. The "free" dishwasher was fine. It got dishes clean and I don't care that much about 51db vs. 47db. So, just one man's experience, but I learned these lessons the hard way. Caveat: If you are serious cook/foodie and actually need ultra high performance in every appliance, you need to go a different direction. I'm just an average schlub who likes to cook but, as importantly, wants the equipment to work and last over time and, when it stops working, have as cheap and painless experience as possible to get it working again.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:43AM
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"I cook at lot as a hobby so I want functional top end appliances but my wife is an interior designer and must have the commercial look with the thick pulls and stainless steel."

Top end appliances with commercial looks are not impossible on the budget you gave but they aren't realistic either.

I'd suggest a trip to the appliance store. That may suggest queries which could be answered here.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:08AM
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While space is somewhat of an issue in the kitchen, the appliance sizes that we have selected match the size of the existing appliances. Additionally, we a taking out the pantry and using some new cabinets to make up for the loss of the pantry. We are slightly bumping out and squaring off a bay window which is currently used for only a sitting area. The new area will house the sink, dishwasher and some upper shelves, and lower cabinets.

As for budget, I just got the numbers back from the appliance store that our GC is working with. As expected, there are enticements but mixing could still be an option….

GE Monogram:
30” Pro Range - $5200
30” Pro wall hood - $900 (It lists for 2300 but is on special if I buy the range)
36” Monogram counter depth fridge - $4300
GE Café Pro Stainless Dishwasher - $775
TOTAL - $11,175

Alternate GE Option:
Use everything listed above but substitute a Cage Fridge for $2305
TOTAL - $9,180

Viking: 6 year warranty for parts and labor if I purchase all Viking
30” 5 Series Pro Range - $5700
30” Pro wall hood - $1200
Blower - $465
Dishwasher - Free (with purchase of range and hood; retails for $1300)
36” Viking counter depth fridge - $3140
TOTAL - $10,505

After reading some of the reviews on here I am very hesitant to purchase Viking. However, the salesperson in the store said he thought the Viking fridge (which is made by Kitchen Aid) was better than the GE Café or Monogram. He said that he would never recommend an integrated Viking fridge but that the freestanding are solid b/c they are made by KA. Plus that warranty is a plus. However, the Viking service model seems to be iffy.

I guess I could get the Monogram range and hood, with the Café dishwasher and get the Viking Fridge. Such a confusing decision.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:15AM
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Additionally- since this is a 2nd home, these appliances will be used only on the weekends during the summer and maybe once per month when it is not summer.

I'm a pretty good cook, I worked in restaurants and bars through college and moved to Chalreston in the early '00s after I finished my undergrad. There I lived with culinary students and picked up even more tricks in the kitchen.

I cook for fun and like the poster above am looking for some thing that gets hot enough and will last but is easy to fix if it breaks.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 10:26AM
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I agree with the above poster that going all one brand can make a lot of sense, but I'll give my personal opinion on what is best in each category. Keep in mind I haven't owned all these appliances I'm listing below (I have owned many of them though) so some of this is based on what I've read on this forum/elsewhere online and heard from repairmen.

30" prostyle gas range - Capital or Bluestar

Fridge - Whirlpool, new GE

Dishwasher - Maytag, new GE, Bosch, Miele, Asko

Hood - whatever. They are extremely simple so hard to screw up. Pick the one with the looks and price you like.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:35AM
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I'm one of the long-term Viking wounded so I would never endorse that as an option for anyone. Don't know anything about the current quality of GE. Perhaps there are past posts you can search.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Wed, May 28, 14 at 12:29

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 12:26PM
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I think you have a lot of options and not sod on one brand
Elux fridge
Miele DW
Your GE range and hood

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 9:35PM
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All I can say is, if you do love to cook, get a Bluestar range!
... After that, the rest of the appliances don't really matter much ;)

This post was edited by ctycdm on Wed, May 28, 14 at 23:59

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Given your requirements, $12 to 15K is more than adequate since you are not getting a built-in fridge. We just bought a set of appliances for our 2nd home (loft), and ended up with one brand not just for the promotions but because in such a small space, big differences are really apparent.

The BlueStar probably fits both your requirements, but the Capital may have too many soft edges for your wife's criteria (imho). You may even consider the Wolf. That will run you 5K for AG 30". The KitchenAid CD 36" have a pro finish that goes well with the handles on either range. $3K Add a Miele or Bosch DW (800 to 1.5K) and a then you have plenty left for a very nice hood that will meet your wife's design needs (try a customized ModernAire). You can do that for $12K.

For the main house, we really considered the Thermador bundle as well. You can get a 30" range and get a good Bosch made DW for $4.2K. Add a KA CD Pro finish fridge and Kobe hood and you are complete for $8K.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:56AM
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I like the Blue Star and Capital ranges but unfortunately the appliance dealer our builder works with does not carry them.

My choices for appliances are SZ, Wolf, Viking, Thermador, GE, KA, Bosch, Miele, and Electrolux.

I'm goingto get a quote on a Thermador range and see if there are some offers for a free dishwasher or a hood.

One thing I have learned from this process is that most brands experince some break/fixes and when thye do, people get pissed and post about it on the interenet. It is a lot easier to find the bad than it is the good.

Please keep the advice coming and I will update this thread as I continue to work through my decision.

This post was edited by qcwino on Thu, May 29, 14 at 13:53

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 1:51PM
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The Thermador deal is still on. It's called one-two-free. It is very popular with builders and flippers in my area.

Are those your only choices for hoods? Because that can get a bit expensive (and limited) if you are limited to those options.

Here is a link that might be useful: one two free (no affiliation)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 2:30PM
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Given that selection of brands, listed in order of preference:

Range: Thermador, Wolf

DW: Miele, Bosch, GE

Fridge: KA, GE

If you decide to go all one brand, I think all of those are a safe bet except Electrolux and Viking.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Purchasing a Thermador gas range will allow you a free dishwasher, however Thermador does not manufacture a freestanding refrigerator. I am a huge fan of the Bosch counter depths if you don't mind a side by side.
If your builder can get a 36" Ventahood it is superb and will last many many years for your ventilation.
Doing all Kitchenaid will allow you a hefty manufacturer's rebate, however certain manufacturers do things better than others, and Thermador is superior in cooking.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 7:06PM
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Read the reviews on the 5 star burners, and also oven performance.

Particularly read about Thermador reliability and service, I can't recall even a single positive review about service, but then I "may have" missed one.

Interesting that Mccainjl just registered today, ya thinks???


    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 7:52PM
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I don't have recommendations for you, but I'm in the camp of picking out appliances based on what you want from them, not sticking with a suite.

I have a Gagg wall oven, Electrolux all-fridge, Kenmore freezer, Bosch DW, and am getting a Bosch induction cooktoop soon. They were chosen based on what I needed and how much I could spend. My oven was an ebay score, otherwise I would have had a Bosch.
So far, I haven't regretted a thing.

Zero people have noticed that they aren't all the same brand, but then the people I have over aren't GW-ers!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 8:25PM
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