Bertazzoni gas range comprehensive review
So I've seen this question presented a few times, and the answers seemed to only kind of gloss over everything without giving a comprehensive review of the unit itself. I wrote this in the other forum, but I figured it would be more relevant and better archived in here.
I have had my 36 inch 5 burner Bertazzoni gas range for almost two years now. I can safely tell you it's an awesome cooking machine, but as with any range it has ups and downs which I will try and relay to you.
First, the burners are awesome. They light easily and burn with a really smooth clean flame. I love the layout of the burners as well. I find myself using the front left burner generally the most. I do use the center burner occasionally for big pots and such, it has great power, but in reality the tiny 1 inch center inner ring burner doesn't really make sense to me the company should have just made it one burner complete burner instead. The control of the burners is pretty great, and the low settings can go very low on the smallest burner (think melting chocolate or something without burning). The other feature I really like about the burners is that they can be manually lit, which as of this past week was a godsend since I didn't have power. The burners are the best feature on this range by far. They are easy to operate, and super easy to clean.
Secondly, the oven. Now, this oven is great for flatter dishes like casseroles and stuff. It can handle things like a turkey and what not, but this oven is obviously wider and flatter than some other ranges. This is due to a design where there is a fold down cabinet below the oven. Part of me wishes they had just done away with that storage space and made the oven taller. This I feel like is the ranges biggest limitation, fortunately for me I have a wall oven as a supplement. The oven is very even, but it does heat up fairly slowly, and there is no thermometer inside the unit so you'll have to put your own in. One quirky thing about the oven is that it has a "fan failure" light, which seems pretty weird, and mildly worrisome that a manufacturer decided to put a failure light on it. The oven also CANNOT be lit manually, I tried and tried, you can get gas to come out into the oven, but I believe the temperature gauge is electronically controlled. Just an FYI the owners manual says you should NOT attempt to do that, it was a desperation attempt since my power was out for days due to hurricane Sandy.
The build quality is very good, I really enjoy the fact that the burners can be removed and there is a single pressed stainless top to it, making it extremely easy to clean. The oven however is not self cleaning, and requires some elbow grease (or have your maid clean it if you've got one ha ha ha). Another oddity of this range (which my friends have now learned to deal with) is that the burner knobs need to be turned "downward" to turn them down. It's not a big deal once you realize how it works, but it's funny to see someone who has never used this range before try and turn the burners down. If you're not understanding my point, the burners don't go left to right, the highest setting is 90 degrees to the left and straight down toward the ground is the lowest setting.
Now, the reason I purchased this range over the other options were as follows. I am not by any means a professional chef, I cook for myself and entertain a lot, but I didn't need 22,000btu burners and stuff. I wanted something that just worked, and looked nice doing it. I also thought the price point seemed much more reasonable when compared to the 'high end' brand names. I also picked this because my friend owns a Viking range and it has been absolutely nothing but trouble. I went out on a limb buying this range, and the bert wall oven even further since I couldn't even buy that through my local Bertazzoni rep, I ended up getting it online. I wanted something unique and I think I got that. It's also a plus that the oven was built in Italy.
However, there are some serious drawbacks with this range. Minus the oven stuff, there is one thing I am very concerned about, which is that there is no way to lock the burners, especially the oven burner/ignite switch. People tend to lean in this area of my kitchen and it's happened so many times that someone will bump their butt into the gas on oven on switch. This causes the range to start ticking and it freaks people out, it also starts the oven releasing gas. The burners also cannot be locked *they need to be pushed in but only a cm or so to allow them to be turned thus releasing gas*, and they are very easy to move and operate (a plus for the chef) but a major downside when my 2 year old niece is around and pushing buttons on everything in my kitchen. I wish to death that the range had a lock feature for these. My old Jenn-air needed to be pushed in and down to unlock the burners, a design which I felt was much safer. Another upside/downside depending on how you look at it, is that the racks inside the oven are exceptionally heavy, these are by far way too overdesigned. They probably weigh 8 pounds each, which means they won't bend ever no matter what you put in there, but moving them in and out of a hot oven is going to require two people with mittens. The oven when operating also blows warm air into the kitchen, which in the winter is amazing for me, but in the summer it's kind of a drag if you're cooking something for 3 hours, it'll heat up the kitchen space by a few degrees.
I also see now that Bertazzoni is offering a stainless griddle that can be rested on top of the center burner, or burners depending on the model. I wish the company had included that with the unit, as it does seem nice to have. And I'm a little iffy about spending the $375 dollars to have such a small griddle, even though it is matched to my range.
Overall, if I had to buy purchase a range again, I would choose bertazzoni over the other brands. The price simply cannot be beat for the features you get, I think I got mine for $3,100 and the next comparable pro-style range was $6,000+. People automatically assume it cost much more than it actually did ha ha. However, if I were to do a remodel again, I would have gotten a larger range but unfortunately bert doesn't make a 42 inch, the next biggest size up from 36 is 48inch, so I settled a little. But it performs just as well as my friends Wolf and Viking on the burner front, which is what I use it for the most anyway. It looks beautiful in my kitchen, and it's a good conversation piece since not many people have seen this brand before.
I have the feeling that in the next few years this range will go up in price. I think Bertazzoni is a "budget pro-style range company" but I believe with the continued popularity and the presence in high end installations, their price will gradually increase. I saw that the 48inch model is currently (2012) priced at $8000. I would not be surprised if next year the 48 inch model is $1000-1500 more, and the 36 $500 extra or more. Hopefully I am wrong, because this is a great (nearly amazing if only the oven was taller) range for this price point.
I hope this review helps anyone who is considering purchasing this range.
Here is a photo of my beautiful range in my kitchen!