30" gas range, upper middle end

marymac91July 28, 2013

I'm remodeling my kitchen next month. We may put our home on the market in the next few years, since our second will be in college in 2014.

I'd like a nice range that will make our kitchen look "upscale" to potential buyers. Our home is in a town with a 35 minute commute to midtown, so potential buyers will be from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

I'm looking at the GE Cafe series:

What other appliances would fit the bill? I'm willing to pay between 2-3K.

I'd like a range from a company with good maintenance record, and am not looking for a professional grade range.
I'm not looking at NXR, since as a working mom I get home late and throw meals together quickly.

I went to a local appliance store and one salesman told me that the GE Cafe is a "best value". Another salesman recommended the Viking range.

The range will be vented to the outside, so I can put in a range with a few high power burners.
My family is mostly vegetarian so we won't be cooking big turkeys or broiling steak.

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Sophie Wheeler

Cafe or Bertazzoni is more high middle range than low upper end. Wolf, Dacor, or Viking are more "low upper" end, and probably above your budget, but it sounds like more appropriate to what you're asking about. They're not as costly as the French specialty ranges, but generally perceived to perhaps have some performance advantages above them. Choose based on your cooking skill (or desire to improve your cooking skill) first of all. And factor the needed ventilation (and possible makeup air) into the dollar equation as well. You won't get any money back at resale time because of your choices, so pick something that will work for you the way you need it to work.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:59AM
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>>>"I'm not looking at NXR, since as a working mom I get home late and throw meals together quickly."Did you mean to say this the way you did? It sounds as though you think that Duro/NXR somehow enforces "slow food." ;>)

The GE Cafe does have conveniences which you might well find useful and which the NXR does not provide, but fast cooking is available on both stoves. Have you seen the thread below where I (and others) compared the GE Cafe Dual Fuel stove to the NXR 30" stove? Almost everything said there will apply to the Cafe all-gas range as well.

As for "more upscale" --- which sounds like you want to try to use a stove to enhance the market value of your property --- that is a highly subjective term and will mean very different things to different folks in different situations and circumstances. There are a lot of GW members who would sniff at the notion of any GE Profile or Cafe stove being "upscale." Heck, there are folks here who consider VIking, Wolf, etc. to be mid-range products. And, for that matter, the NXR will look like a trophy stove to Manhattanites and, except for folks who know something about ranges, the Cafe models won't be distinguishable from Profile ranges. Your kitchen remodel is apt to get you a boost in value, overall. But a lot of buyers won't pay much attention to appliances beyond the units looking clean and having stainless finishes (at least according to the buyers you see on HGTV.) Do you know any realtors you could ask about this? If your main objective in getting the $2800 Cafe instead of a $1800 Profile is wowing potential buyers three or four years from now, you might not get that money back.

As for buying Cafe all-gas model, you will see from the thread linked below, that I (and others) think the Cafe models are very nice ranges. Because you said "upscale," I'm guessing that stainless fascia and black cooktops will be a look you want to avoid. Pretty much every other major brand slide-in all-gas stove will have a black cooktop (black porcelain enamel or black ceramic coating). The only other non-black-cooktop slide-in ranges that I can recall are the Electrolux Icon and Wavetouch ranges. However, IIRC, the E-lux burners cannot be lit manually when the electric power goes out. You'll want to download the manuals and check that out.

GE has a pretty good reputation for reliability and service, although the quality of service can vary greatly. I'd talk to the appliance companies and find out who does the warranty service in your area and then check out those companies. As far as product defect rates, the CR membership surveys give top marks to GE with Kenmore and Frigidaire (an Electrolux brand) in the same tier. Apparently, the brands of gas stoves to avoid are Whirlpool's Maytag and Kitchenaid brands. CR doesn't get enough responses on Electrolux to report reliability on that specific brand.

As for VIking, are you even considering that salesman's recommendation? Are you thinking he recommended "Viking" simply because you said "upscale" and "real estate?" I'm guessing that you dismissed the suggestion. If not, let us know.

Here is a link that might be useful: $2k range budget, ge cafe & NXR

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 14:19

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 11:49AM
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I'd like a nice range that will make our kitchen look "upscale" to potential buyers.


am not looking for a professional grade range.

These goals are contradictory.

I'm not looking at NXR, since as a working mom I get home late and throw meals together quickly.

As JW said NXR does not make meals any more slowly than GE Café .

I'd like a range from a company with good maintenance record

That IS a good reason to exclude NXR AND Viking.

If you want @ $3k that looks as high end as possible look at the Italian ranges.

Bertazonni is $3.1k Verona $2.7 can be had in color or SS.

The biggest issue people have with the Italians is small ovens but since there are no turkeys in the future does not really matter.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:02AM
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Verona VEFSGG304BU $2.8k

GE Cafe Series CGS985SETSS $2.9k

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 2:25AM
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To expand on what deeageaux said about "maintenance:." There are two different ways this term can be used:

(a) normal upkeep (like periodically changing the oil and replacing sparkplugs in a car)

(b) warranty service and support for fixing product defects and breakdowns.

The first is not a problem for the NXR and most "pro-style" gas stoves. At some point, every gas stove will eventually need a new oven glowbar/ignitor and stove-top burner ignitors just as a car needs oil changes and --- eventually --- new sparkplugs. Apart from the oven panels and oven door, these stoves often do not use proprietary parts. The NXR certainly does not, and there is very little on the NXR that can wear out that cannot be fixed with standardized parts by anybody with a modicum of handiness and access to an appliances parts warehouse. If you prefer, then you can have any competent restaurant or home appliance repair service do it for you, instead. (Viking seems to have been something of an exception to this, according to numerous posts here.)

But, warranty service is an entirely different matter for the NXR as it is for other small-market share companies (boutique brands.) As we've seen with postings here about NXR, warranty service for production defects, shipping damage, etc. can be --- and all too often, has been --- slow and cumbersome. Lots of similar posts for other brands such as Blue Star. Small brands often don't have much of a service infrastructure and, while their products may usually be pretty good, the companies often take a while to solve problems when problems turn up. True of Blue Star and others as well as NXR.

This is a fact of life that has to be recognized as one of the trade-offs in buying any small brand.

As has been noted elsewhere, premium brands such as Wolf are not immune from these kinds of problems, either. Some of them never seem to get solved. (See Wekick's recent posts about the oven lining in the Wolf ovens.)

While Deeageaux has been pretty deeply suspicious of NXR because it is built by Hyxion, a Chinese company, but -- so far --- it has not been any worse than other pro-style brands. Which may or may not be comforting and may or may not serve as a recommendation.

That almost everybody who buys one of these things -- be it Blue Star, Wolf, CC, American Range, NXR, etc. --- is pleased with a problem free purchase --- well, that will be of no comfort to you when you are the one who happened to get the stove with shipping damage or a product defect and are faced with slow and cumbersome warranty service. FWIW, the reports here indicate that everybody who got a problem NXR eventually got service that fixed the problem and left them happy with the stove. But, note that I said "eventually."

That possibility is concern that has to be factored into deciding what to purchase.

The Italian-made Veronas and Bertas are definitely high style but will be even harder to get service and support for, particularly if you are not conveniently close to the vendor.

All that having been said, buying a major brand appliance may or may not get you quick and competent warranty service. Depends on who the local warranty contractors are --- hardly any warranty service is still handled in-house. Remember the Maytag repairman? His modern counterpart works for A&E, the Sears repair subsidiary, and is grossly overscheduled, has little time to do anything and, never mind lacking expertise, may not know anything at all about your dead appliance. Check on any brand and model and you can see dozens or hundreds of complaints about tardy and no-show incompetent, etc. warranty servicers. A&E undoubtedly has some skilled and competent personnel but you wouldn't know it from the long list of complaints about them. (Google "gardenweb + A&E" and check out the long running thread on them here.)

All this brings me back to re-emphaszing my suggestion that you do on-line searching and calling around to check out who in your area is authorized, for the stoves you are interested in, for warranty service and what their reputations are.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 13:57

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:51PM
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Upscale is a relative term. I was trying to say that I'm not much of a cook. I wasn't saying that NXR with its high powered burners would imply longer meal preparation time, than a basic range with lower powered burners.

I can definitely see the benefit to higher powered burners.

My current appliances are white appliances with average features, so stainless steel with rapid boil and a convection oven sounds like a colossal improvement.

I also understand that a high end kitchen would have a separate cooktop and wall oven. However, my house is over 100 years old, and the kitchen size reflects that era.

One of my neighbors homes was on the town kitchen tour, and she put in a large GE Monogram. The other neighbors have similar sized homes and less expensive appliances.

I'll look into all the suggestions above. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

I'm not sure if Costco has NXR in their warehouse.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:15PM
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"I'm not sure if Costco has NXR in their warehouse."

Nope. Only carried by Costco at the online store, Costco.com. Heard today that the 30" models are out of stock, there, though. There are numbers of dealers in the NY metro area, and everybody sells the 30" models for the same $1999 price as Costco. A search might turn up some vendors close enough for a convenient visit.

Don't give up on the Cafe, though. If you've got the budget for them, the Cafe models are very nice stoves.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 11:42PM
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Jennair has an all gas range that comes in two slide-in versions. The link shows the "pro" look.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jennair

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 7:18AM
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From stove shopping last fall, I thought I remembered that JennAir having a black coated stovetop surface (as shown in the link) and costing around $2k. Just had a look at Sears and the one shown there seems to have the "upscale" look of a stainless top instead. Here's a link.


Be cautious, though, as Consumer Reports annual membership surveys show that Whirlpool's Jenn Air and KitchenAid stoves are far and away the least reliable brands of gas and electric stoves. Roughly 1 in 6 have major problems in the first five years of ownership according to the survey results. With GE stoves, it is more like 1 in 15. (Curiously, the plain Whirlpool-branded stoves have a much better reliability record that the company's other corporate brands.)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:40PM
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If it's mostly for your future selling of the place, i think most people think of "high end" when they see the knobs on the front side of the burner instead of on the top.simple as that! having more than 4 burners is a high-end look.

having said that, we LOVE our dacor range and many people comment on how impressive it looks. (though the knobs are not on top, it has a professional look.) we love the super-high burners combined with a 'simmer' feature. we use the simmer a lot!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:49AM
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Curious: what would be the "desirable" cooktop color/finish and why is black not desirable? Just ordered one with a SS top under the burners and am really fearing trying to keep that clean.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Right now, black-coated stove-tops is almost a de-rigueur look for mid and upper range gas ranges with stainless steel doors and fascia. It seems something of a design statement as well as providing a practical benefit to buyers and an economic one to the makers. The design "statement" that I read somewhere was that it mimics the "pro-style" look of commercial stoves that have cast-iron tops. Blue Star ranges, which derive from Garland restaurant equipment, being an example of a premium price stoves that actually do have cast-iron tops.

The practical benefit to owners is masking the bits of burned-on gunk that can accumulate burner caps and in the relatively shallow burner pans around the sealed burners used on major brand ranges. The economic benefit to the manufacturers is that a black-painted stovetop is less expensive to make than one fabricated out of good (i.e., expensive) stainless steel. They use the stainless or brushed metal on the front fascia parts fascia (oven door, control surface, etc.) and paint the other parts. You see the same thing these days with fridges -- the doors are clad in stainless while the exterior sides are painted, often black.

A further aspect of this is probably related to the design of the gas-burners and burner wells on the stove-tops with sealed burners. Most major brand gas stoves have sealed burners that sit in rather shallow wells. Because the burners are as close to the cooktop as they are, the cooktop can get a lot of high heat . High heat can discolor a stainless surface where porcelain-coated and ceramic-glass coatings ("gas on glass") won't be affected that way.

The other side of this becomes apparent when you look at the deeper wells for the stainless topped stoves like the GE Cafe models. Because the burner wells are deeper, stuff is less likely to bake onto the surface and the stainless doesn't get heated to the same extent. Look at the pro-style stoves and rangetops --- "professional" sometimes being a kind of code for "premium priced luxury goods" --- and you will see that they mostly have deeper burner wells so that the stainless does not overheat and discolor. The deeper wells do take more material to make, and more material contributes to the higher price for the product.

All that means that ranges with stainless stove-tops (and separate range-tops) are more expensive and thus are sold (and perceived) as more "upscale" products.

As for cleanability, the answer is "it depends." My experience is that it mostly depends on the depth of the burners wells. For example, the NXR range that I bought has fairly deep burner wells and cast brass burner fittings. It has been very easy for me to clean --- mostly stacking the grates in the sink, spritzing the grates and then the stove top with a spray-on cleaner (Windex, Pinesol, whatever), wiping the top with a microfiber cloth, and rinsing off the grates with the faucet sprayer.

In contrast, my previous stove, a GE dual fuel from the turn of the century, had much shallower burner pans and cast aluminum burners that looked clean only with constant work and frequent use of Barkeeper's Friend. (Back when I bought the stove, the design statement was gray porcelain enamel on the grates, burner plates and caps, so even more work to keep from looking grungy.)

I've also found that when stuff does sometimes burn onto the stainless surface (as when some of a boil-ever seeps under the edges of a burner as it spills downward), the stainless surface is actually much easier to clean than when that happened with the enameled surface on my previous range.

I'm recalling that there was a thread here last year on which stainless-surfaced cooktops were easy to clean and which were not. Can't find it at the moment, though, so I can't give you the link. Sorry.

In sum, depending on the design of the cooktop that you just bought, the stainless might or might not be a big cleaning deal for you.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 11:39

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Oh boy, JWVideo, I ordered a Capital Precision. I DON'T like the look of the stainless top. Hope I haven't made a big mistake. I did post here re my choice between Electrolux Icon and the Precision, but no replies.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 5:12PM
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I've responded to this in the separate thread you just started on whether buying the Capital Precision was a mistake. Don't look for the old thread I mentioned in my previous posts, It was about cooktops not ranges and won't help you. Basically, though, your CP has deep burner wells so won't have the cleaning issues that sealed-burner stoves stoves with shallow burner wells will have.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:35PM
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The 30" NXR is back on the Costco website.

Here is a link that might be useful: 30

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 1:04PM
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