Thermador vs. Wolf Rangetop

CT_NewbieJuly 31, 2013

I had been set on a Wolf rangetop until I read a recent thread in the Kitchen forum which said Wolf went to sealed burners for cost reasons, not for product improvement. The Consumer Reports for their latest range model wasn't very good. We currently have a sealed burner GE Profile which I like and thought was fairly easy to clean vs. things dripping below into a drip pan, but the poster was adamant that the latter was easier to clean. She also wondered if this was the start of the demise of Wolf, a la Viking (no offense to current Viking owners).

I was also considering Thermador but heard it was a slightly lesser brand than Wolf. Why is that if Thermador has all 18K BTU whereas the Wolf burners vary and only go up to 15K? Also, both tout their simmer capability. Can anyone explain which simmer is better? Lastly, Thermador has a good deal; buy the cooktop and double ovens and get the DW for free. We were thinking of keeping the 1999 Thermador ovens in the new house to save costs while doing a complete kitchen reno. The inspector said they worked but couldn't tell us more about performance beyond that. Some KDs have suggested that we just replace it, whereas others said that they could make the cabinet 30" to allow for a larger replacement down the road. So unless we give up on the old ovens, we won't be able to take advantage of the promo. Also, is Thermador only sealed?

Wolf's promo involves buying a refrigerator which we don't need. We're keeping the 1999 SubZero and hoping that doesn't break yet. The KDs all seemed to think we could keep the SubZero with minimal risk. Even though an appliance rep said in general that large appliances have a 10 year life. i thought it was 15 (granted he said some break sooner and some last longer)

Please advise. Thank you

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IMO the only time a sealed burner is easier to clean is if there is a spill directly and only on the burner cap. Otherwise it is different clean. Tossing and replacing the aluminum foil in the drip tray once a year is pretty easy. Having liquid in the burner well burning maybe not so much. A major spill with things splashing inside the open burner range vs liquid spilling over the cooktop onto cabinets/range and onto the floor maybe a push.

Wolf rangetop has a dedicated 9.2k btu simmer burner that goes down to 325 btu while Thermador has all 18k btu burners that go down to 375 btu but click and clack to get that low.

Why does Thermador have all 18k while Wolf has 9.2k and 15k power burners? That is their marketing/engineering department choices. Thermador offers only sealed burner gas ranges ,rangetops and cooktops. I think Wolf sees its future in induction cooktops and no longer focusing on gas but that is just my opinion.

The '99 ovens have maybe 5 years left. You will probably have to modify(pay cabinet maker) cabinets to fit other ovens down the road even if you make them 30" cabinets ready for 30" ovens.

When the compressors fail in your Sub Zero they can be replaced for far cheaper than a new fridge. I know here in LA the top Sub Zero authorized repair facility charges $4k to essentially replace two SZ compressors and recondition a 48" SZ fridge. I am sure you can find competent techs to do so in your area for far cheaper.

I would ditch the old ovens but keep the old fridge. Promos making you buy appliances that you don't need or that are not the best in their class is not a deal IMO.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:56AM
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I agree with deegaux, don't buy something just because of a promo. They generally put promo's together to clear out inferior stuff to go with better stuff. Now, if those items work for you and are what you want, then it is a win-win.

Also, are you only looking at Wolf and Thermador? There are many other options out there for range tops. I would consider CC and BlueStar as well, they are both open burners and both are great units. I don't think that you have anything to worry about if you go with Wolf though, at least not in my opinion.

I would also opt for ditching the existing ovens and getting something new, but I would personally stay away from another double oven and either consider two single oven's if you have to have two ovens, or just do a single oven to save money. Another option would be to look at one standard wall oven and a speed/combi/steam type of oven (name depends on brand and model). It might be a splurge, but it might be worth it and offer you more options.

I also agree with keeping the SZ fridge, as stated you can most likely get that repaired, if necessary, for far cheaper than buying an entirely new unit at this time, again saving you money to spend on other things, or just saving you money to keep in your bank account!!


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 10:01AM
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"Posted by CT_Newbie
I had been set on a Wolf rangetop until I read a recent thread in the Kitchen forum which said Wolf went to sealed burners for cost reasons, not for product improvement. The Consumer Reports for their latest range model wasn't very good.

I have a Wolf DF and I really like the burners. It has great control especially at the low end. It is very easy to clean but I think something like a BS would also be easy to clean. I don't think it is a matter of one being easier to clean, sealed vs open but varies brand to brand. I think the cost savings for Wolf, is that they only have to deal with one burner type. I am not sure why they picked the semi open burner to discontinue. I am guessing that it might be because the semi open burner wasn't really a true open burner. Also the simmer on the sealed burner is wider so the heat is more diffused on the sealed burner. I know that some posters here wanted to get the semi open burner before they dc'd it but I preferred the sealed over the semi open when I bought mine. Unfortunately I will probably be looking to replace my range, less than five years old, because of issues with the blue enamel so I wouldn't be recommending anything Wolf. Their "decades of service" promised, has shrunk. Their level of service over the time I have been on this forum has definitely declined.

" Can anyone explain which simmer is better?"

There are negligible differences in the simmer. Look at the BTU rating. For some the clicking is annoying.

As far as ovens. I would allow for 30 inch ovens if possible. I would also stay away from anything with blue enamel. I have had it fail in 5 appliances with three different brands. If your ovens work and you like them I would be inclined to keep them!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:54AM
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