Just saw American Ranges "live" and am impressed
I have been scouring the internet for recent information/reviews on American Range because I am considering buying the 30" Performer (open burner) for my new home (next summer). I have found posts and reviews online and decided that I wanted to see an AR "live" before making a decision. I traveled to the regional distributor's shop this weekend (a 3 hour drive). I am glad I went. I thought I would post on a few issues that I have seen discussed and questioned regarding the AR. I do not own an AR yet so cannot speak to day to day performance, repair issues, etc.
SIMMER: I have read concerns about the simmer not being low enough. It is absolutely low enough in my opinion. You can adjust the knob to just keep something warm, no problem at all. The flame on even the largest (25k BTU) burner goes down very, very low. It's fabulous. We could keep water at a simmer or even below a simmer on the largest burner w/no problem. I wondered if the simmer issue was more with the sealed burner (Cuisine) ARs.
LIGHTING AND STAYING LIT: No issue at all (on this stove, which is new....)
CLEANING: It looks impressive. The grates are heavy (iron) but the burners pop right off and the drip tray is light (it's not cast iron) enamel coated stainless (I think), one drip tray for two burners. Very simple.
WIRING: In the past there had been issues with shorts in the ignitor wires. I was told that that was most often caused by the wires being wire-tied together, causing friction and wear. AR is no longer bundling like that (there are not many wires - just for the ignitors, oven light and convection fan light).
HEIGHT OF GRATES: Seeing the ARs in operation and comparing the Cuisine (sealed burners) with the Performer (open burners) helped me understand why the grates are high on the Performer. The Cuisine's burners are set higher but it is putting out quite a bit less heat. If the Performer did not give you that distance (flame to pot bottom) the flame would be wrapped around the pot. That 25k burner is a whopper. It needs the space for dissipation and the flame needs the air. We did a bit of heating on all burners and the heat was just fine on the smaller ones. I was not turned off by the aesthetics of the higher grates.
OVERALL FEEL: Lovely. Very, very smooth, knobs seem to turn flawlessly, racks are chunky, but seem to slide well (it only ships w/two racks, which surprised me). I think the look is sleek and fairly stylish, but there is a chunky appearance, which I like.
OTHER NOTES: There is now a sliding rack available as an add on for the AR (like the Electrolux and others), which can be put at any level; the new stoves ship with a center grate (no burner there - I asked the reason a 5th burner is not an option on the Performer - the answer is that there is just not enough space with those big 25k burners); the prices are not going up, but are staying about the same or even dropping a small amount on ARs (my local shop was urging me to buy soon b/c prices are going to go up, not so apparently).
The sales person told me that AR has been slow in developing promotional materials for the residential market so word has gotten out slowly.
Barring some new information that causes me to rethink things, I plan to buy the 30" AR Performer.