Comparing gas ranges - thought and opinions needed

LinariaCOJune 15, 2013

Hello forum,

This forum is full of folks who love to cook! I�m hoping you can offer opinions/experiences with gas ranges. I�m comparing Dacor, Viking, and Capital Culinarian. All have great features and are similarly equipped. Do you have thoughts on usability, functionality, and reliability? I love to cook and need a solid, reliable, generally simple range that will last 10 years or more.

These models attracted me: Dacor Renaissance ER30G, Viking ProCustom VGCC5304BK, Viking ProCustom VGIC5304BSS (open burner) and the Capital Culinarian CGMR304. Two are sealed burner systems, two are open burner. Any experience with evenness of baking with any of these? What about maintenance? I�m jazzed by the Capital but would have to buy it sight unseen since I don�t live near a dealer. The open burner Viking seems similar, but I don�t find many reviews on it.

Thanks for any help and ideas!

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deeageaux

Which one is not like the others?

Viking

Culinarian

Bluestar

American Range Performer Series

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 3:20PM
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deeageaux

Viking is really a semi-open burner that performs closer to a sealed burner than open. In addition Viking was recently purchased by a much larger company, Middleby. They had retirements, lay offs and other wise let a large percentage of management go including Viking founder Fred Carl. They are looking at how much original Viking manufacturing capacity they need. What do you think this does to company morale and product quality?

Dacor is fairly typical sealed burner range, meaning nothing special.

I would look at the three true open burner system ranges.

I own a Capital Culinarian with self clean. I have had for a year with no issues other than I needed the burners adjusted when new to get a true simmer. As far as evenness goes I think it is much better than my previous Kenmore gas range but not quite as good as my Gaggenau wall oven. I really like the motorized rotisserie in my Capital oven. This is the most expensive of the open burner ranges but highest fit and finish.

Plenty of info on Bluestar and some on AR Performer Series if you google gardenweb + bluestar or performer series. Vast majority of Bluestar owners are very happy with their range and the limited number of reviews on the Performer Series have all been positive.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 3:34PM
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LinariaCO

Thanks deeageaux for the info and photos!

I'm curious about servicing on Capital, American, or Bluestar - I live in Colorado, so we are not near the manufacturers nor presumably their trained techs. What are folks experience with reliability and service? I'd like to keep this range for 10-15 years...

Since you mentioned oven evenness, I realized I forgot to mention I live at moderately high altitude (5000 ft). I've heard that a gas range must be built for or tuned for high altitude performance.

Apparently, the Dacor fits this requirement, but I'm not finding info on the Capital or Bluestar at altitude. My guess is that the Capital burners would 'compensate' since they go up to 23K BTU, but I'm afraid that the oven in the Capital, American, or Bluestar might not perform as well at altitude. Any thoughts/ideas on that?

Again, thanks for any insights!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:09PM
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deeageaux

None of the companies you are considering offer their own employee service except for customers near their HQ/Manufacturing plant.

They all contract out to local providers. If there is not currently an appliance repair shop contracted out to CC/BS/or AR in your area they will then contract one.

AR has models of the Performer Series calibrated for high altitude.

BS and Capital are mum. I would call/email them directly and ask about service in your area and high altitude calibration. Bluestarcooking.com Capital-cooking.com

I have seen many many people that live in rural areas ask about service. Veterans here always say it is not a problem the chosen company will make it work.

I have seen one person who at the end of the day was really not happy with service with one of these niche range brands. She used to own Wolf and was happy with service. She switched to Bluestar and she was not happy with the new service shop. There were only two that dealt with high end ranges in her area. The shop that serviced her Wolf would not touch her BS. That was one in last three years. Maybe find out who would service your range and research them on yelp and among friends. Maybe walk in and talk to them directly to know you are comfortable with your potential repair techs before you even buy your range.

People had quality and service issues with AR and BS a few years back but the last two years have really been good. Capital had service delays when they first released the Culinarian but has been good the last year and a half. Some people did not like the placement of the racks on the manual clean CC but that was changed to virtually everyone's satisfaction shortly after introduction.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:55PM
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deeageaux

I just re read your question maybe I did not answer your question about long term reliability.

This are simple machines without much electronics. If there is a manufacturing defect it general shows up rather quickly and fixed under warranty. After that these should be good to go for 25 years plus before the oven or burners needs a new igniter and oven insulation may need to be replaced. Or the SS refinished.

The one small exception is Bluestar. There burners have exposed igniters. You can break them if not careful but this is an easy simple fix you can do just by seeing the company video on youtube. Bluestars come with two replacement igniters. Then again there are some Bluestar owners that have gotten many years of hard use without every breaking an igniter.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:09PM
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FmrQuahog

diego, do you work for one of these high-zoot range mfrs? or are you just passionate about high BTU open flame cooking?

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:26PM
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deeageaux

I don't nor have I ever worked for an appliance company or store.

I have been a foodie for a long time which turned me into an appliance geek when I started planning my kitchen renovation many moons ago.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:54PM
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LinariaCO

Wow - I really appreciate the detailed, thoughtful responses.

Left the local high-end appliance store yesterday leaning toward the Dacor but now realize I need to search out the one or two places in Denver that have AR and BS on the floor to get a better sense of the grates and oven components...

Also, will call to check on high-altitude and servicing. Thanks again for all your help.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:58PM
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flwrs_n_co

Mountain High Appliance in Louisville has Bluestar, and BAC (Builder's Appliance Center) in Englewood has American Range and Bluestar. I don't know of any appliance store in the Denver area with Capital.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 1:32AM
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