Just saw American Ranges "live" and am impressed

singingmalaNovember 26, 2012

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.

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Good detailed analysis but

You don't need high set grates for heat dissipation.

Commercial burners are upto 36k btu without the need for high set grates. Dedicated commercial wok burners can be had upto 200k btu. High flames seems like the air/fuel mixture needs better calibration.

I strongly considered AR Permformer range but speaking with unknowledgable people when I called their 1-800 number,no Performer owners on this board at the time,and finally spelling,grammar,and other basic errors on their website made me cross them off my list.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 3:54AM
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What other ranges did you consider and compare this to before you made this decision?
How did the price of this compare to the other options?

How did you manage to find the distributor? I live in a major metropolitan area and haven't yet found anyone who carries this line. I am going to call the manufacturer today to see if I can find anyone.

I think you might have gotten more response to this if you'd posted it over in the appliances forum.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:02AM
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The American brand was on my short list until I read on the appliance forum about it NOT being power outage friendly.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 10:33AM
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I assume this means you can't light the burners with a match. Correct?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 4:37PM
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We have an AR Performer. You can definitely light it with a match. I found this out when our ignitor failed (I don't know why that happened, but it was taken care of without problem). I was actually a little glad that the ignitor failed because one of the appeals of gas over induction was the ability to cook during a power outage. I was glad to know it worked just fine.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:22PM
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Windy City--

If you have a few minutes, would you mind telling me your likes and dislikes about the range. One of the things I am wondering about is if the exterior of the oven door gets quite hot the way the Bluestar does. How long have you had the Performer, and what other companies were you considering? Thanks.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:33PM
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I like it quite a bit. I do wonder if the grates need to be as high as they are, but I don't mind it. We've been having a lot of fun cooking things that we just couldn't do on our old stove. We worried a bit about how low it could go when cooking, but we haven't had any trouble getting it low enough for our needs. I've made pudding and slow-cooked oatmeal in milk on it, for example, without any scorching issues. I couldn't do that on our old stove without standing over it and stirring constantly, but on the Performer I've found I can walk away and do other things and just stir those items occasionally.

We chose it because we wanted a lot of power, we'd heard about Bluestar's hot door issues, and we had a friend who hadn't been happy with Bluestar. We thought we probably wanted an open burner as well, and that really limits the field. We couldn't find a live Capital, and I'd heard a lot about some people's simmer issues, so I ruled it out since I couldn't try it for myself. There is a Luwa gallery not far from our home that had several American ranges live. We went there and tried the Performer out and decided it would work well for us.

Our oven door does get warm, but I've never noticed it getting burn-your-skin-instantly hot like I've heard about with Bluestar. Let me bake something in the next day or two, and I'll pay special attention to how warm the door gets. I'll report back.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Great! It would be very helpful if you could let us know about the door aftr you've done some baking. That is one of my key hesitations about the Bluestar. Why wasn't your friend happy with Bluestar? I too want open burners, and, as you said, that really limits choices a lot.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:22PM
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FWIW, the door on a Bluestar does NOT get "burn your skin hot" (instantly or otherwise). It gets warm, is all.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Ok, I had the oven on at about 425 yesterday for a couple of hours. The front of the door barely got warm. The edges of the door (on the sides where they meet the main body of the range got hot. I could touch them without burning myself, but you definitely wouldn't want to leave your hand there. It makes you pull back. Of course, I then realized that one of the oven racks was askew, forcing the door very slightly ajar, which probably added to the heat. I guess I would say that worse case scenario is that the edges of the door by the seal get quite warm.

I'll have to ask my husband to ask his work friend about why they regretted getting the Blue Star. I kind of recall his wife complaining about one of them getting cut on a sharp part, but I think there may have been more issues. Anyway, it left a bad-enough impression on my husband that he really didn't want to consider Blue Star. I really have no personal experience with them other than seeing them in the store, and I know lots of people really love them. If you can, I'd definitely try cooking on a couple of different brands of open burners.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Hi again--

I finally saw a 30" one myself (not live). I am curious though about the huge valley of dead space between the burners. Is there an extra grate or anything that can be bought/ordered to go between the burners so there is a continuous surface across which to slide pans? Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:37PM
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