Buying a range is a complete crapshoot I think

needinfo1December 14, 2012

We've spent so much time visiting stores, talking to salespeople and reps, and researching online, yet we have not found one range that clearly says to us, "I am what you are looking for as far as performance, reliability, and service." I don't think there is one out there, and I am amazed that such costly products seem to have so many problems. When we have purchased cars or cameras, after some research it becomes quite clear what is best. In ranges it just doesn't seem to be this way.

I want something other than stainless, so this does limit my possibilities a bit more than most people's. The $4,400 for a 30" RNB is about the top of my price limit; this is only a cooking appliance after all.

Viking--forget it because of reliability and service. Initially I though that perhaps people on this forum were being too harsh and were referring to problems from years ago. More research on the current state of affairs convinced us to stay away.

Wolf--only comes in stainless, but I just had a very experienced repairman tell me that since they became part of SubZero they are a PIA.

Bluestar--still have pretty hot doors. Don't know if all of those issues like exploding broilers that I have read about have been taken care of.

American Range--seems like an intriguing product, but we can't get straight answers from their website, their rep or the salespeople about exactly what we'd be buying. Seems like the company just doesn't have their act together yet as far as dealing with residential sales.

Aga--we looked at these as a niche market item that seems to be okay, but the cooking ability of the Legacy (what we were looking at because we found a floor model) and the build quality is lacking in comparison to some other things we've seen.

Bertazonni--I just started looking at them (only on the web), and it seems like they probably have issues too.

It is looking like this purchase is going to end up being a decision that is "least worst" of the bunch type buy.

And, the other thing that is amazing to me in comparison to all other things we buy is the price fixing on ranges.

Is this the same experience others have had?

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What was the reason you excluded Capital? Was it because you were concerned about available service? Or was it because you couldn't find a local dealer? Or was it something else like the price. The Capital does come in different colors. Sorry if you've stated the reason elsewhere. I've seen a couple of your threads, but didn't really pay attention.

I'm a very happy Capital Culinarian (CC) owner and I would buy it again in a heartbeat. Before buying the CC, I was leaning toward the BS, until I got to see them both live at Eurostoves. IMHO, the CC was a much better range for my needs. Before the CC and BS, I also went through evaluating Wolf, Viking, Thermador, Gagg, etc. I looked at them all over a two year period.

If lack of a local store is holding you back from considering a CC then consider Eurostoves in MA. They have most of the ranges you listed available for live demo. Last time I checked they still have a program where they will pay for your plane ticket if you travel to the store to demo and buy the CC from them. While at the store, you can demo everything they have live. I think that program is still up.

I have no affiliation with Eurostoves. I live in MA and was prepared to by the range from Eurostoves. But another high end appliance store closer to me carried all my other appliance selections including the CC. They were able to put together a fairly attractive package for me. I still endorse Eurostoves because I think Trevor's customer service is second to none. If nothing else, you should give Trevor at Eurostoves a call. It can't hurt, especially if you still have lingering questions. He's always very straightforward and he knows his stuff.

This post was edited by jscout on Fri, Dec 14, 12 at 10:46

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Needinfo: exploding broilers is something that had been taken care of a long time ago, ever since they modified the glowplug assembly. Although mine is an older model I never experienced the broiler problem, but I know of at least one long standing member on here that has(buffalotina) and has been corrected a long time ago. I also can not recall seeing any credible issues with this from other members since they modified the glowplug on the broiler which was at least a couple of years now.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Too much time on the Interweb is a bad thing sometimes. If 99.9% of consumers of a given product are perfectly happy they for the most part will post nothing, while the remaining 0.1% will post their horror stories, resulting in an impression that Product X, whatever it is, is crap.

That said, Toyotas often perform better than Yugos, so a real disproportionate number of complaints should be a warning, as should inspection of the actual product that reveals shoddy workmanship and poor materials. So it's important to read broadly and not just within single settings line this one where a certain groupthink can set in over time where very minor features in the overall performance of a product can take on monumental significance (think ultimate low-end simmer performance of various ranges-- for a few people it probably matters, most of us will never notice).

I'll bet most of these ranges will get your food cooked and you'll be perfectly happy with them. I'm an equipment geek, so have enjoyed the process of the give-and-take and the tech specs and the test drives, but I recognize that the differences are at the margins--they will all cook the food. I ended up choosing the CC (not yet installed), replacing a 15 year old Viking that was crappily built and has failed far too often (with really lousy customer service to boot). Even so, the Viking was only an irritation, it did it's basic job reasonably well though I didn't think about trying to keep it when we sold the house. It sure worked better than the $300 electric range in the apartment we're renting now.

So I'd say relax and pick the one that appeals to you--ergonomics are important, and you can quickly see how a range feels to you if you go to a store that has live models. Eurostoves is great for that. Buying from a company that you think will continue to be in business, at least in some form, is probably also a worthwhile consideration. You'd hate to pitch a range because some $50 unobtainable bit of electronics failed.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:07PM
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I have a Bluestar 36 and I am very happy with it. Only been using it for two months but it seems very solid, knock on wood. I have no issues with the broiler. The burners are fantastic, but you will want to own a diffuser for low simmers of soups, stocks and sauces. The door gets warm but not that warm; this is a total non-issue as far as I'm concerned. The convection is a fan turned on with a simple switch, hard for that to get messed up. I have absolutely no regrets about this appliance.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:48PM
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Thanks for the reassurances about the Bluestar. Whether or not I really need all of that firepower is another story.

I guess I never considered the Capital because I wasn't aware it came in colors. And, I believe it is more costly than the colored RNB that I can get for $4400 which is about the max I am willing to pay.

I don't think it is getting caught up in the specs issue that is driving us nuts as much as it the service and reliability. In fact, with some of the specs we are asking ourselves whether or not we really need what the manufacturer is marketing as the bigger and best......

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:12PM
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