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Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Posted by jah1795 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 11:43

Help! I'm about to start tearing my hair out! I've spent the past several months researching new appliances for a total gutting and redo of our kitchen. Thanks to the valuable input by members of this forum, I've been able to make informed decisions which will save me money and potential grief. I'd pretty much set my mind on getting the Bluestar 4 burner plus grill range top (I'm getting double Electrolux Icon wall ovens and warming drawer, and am debating the Electrolux counter depth vs Kitchenaide, but that's a whole other posting that I'll put together). I'm also getting a Vent a Hood 600 cfm fan. Once I made my 'final' decision, I informed one of the appliance dealers and his response was that I should consider the American Range instead. Now, given the fact that he doesn't sell Bluestar and does sell American Range, I take his recommendation with a huge grain of salt - however, he's made a couple of valid points. The following paragraphs are from his last email. I'd appreciate any comments anyone cares to offer in response. ("Dave" is the American Range Distributor.)

"The open burners will have 2 x 25K burners (back left & front right, so hotter than BS), 17K & 12K. The Built in grill in the middle is 18K output w/ Inconel SS burner, which same SS super alloy material (super heat resistant and will not change shape) same as they use in Formula 1 race car exhaust pipe manifolds! The grate is the same material as the burner grates. Price for you would be $3360.00 incl taxes included, lead time is about 6 - 8 weeks or so.

Dave also said you can call him as he used to sell the BS in USA.

The main thing Dave mentioned in comparison to the BS is that the burners actually overlap slightly over the burner opening in the so the majority of spills go into the pan, the pan is easily removed for cleaning. The BS has gaps all around the burners so spills just pour down below, covering anything below the burner and then into the pull out tray. Both the American Range & BS pull out trays are full depth and both capture and massive spills easily. Also when you take the enamel burner tray out of the American range top there is hardly anything else under it, whereas the BS has all sorts of stuff wires etc going on underneath making it difficult to clean off all the stuff that falls down.

The other thing is that the BS range tops ignitors are more exposed on the burners and they apparently actually send the customers spare one to replace as they break often, this is not a warranty so the customer is responsible to replace, the American Range top doesn't have this issue at all, and they are auto re-ignition burners as well so pretty awesome!"


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I'd go with bluestar. The American range is more of a sealed burner whereas the blustar is a true open burner system. All I can say is I have a bluestar and have cooked on every other residential range out there and the bluestar can't be beat.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Are you sure 600 cfm is enough to exhaust a grill? Most specs I've seen recommend 1200 cfm.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

American Range makes both sealed burners and open burner models. In fact Oceangirl posted a picture of the open burner, and I have put the brochure up,
(in another current GW thread) for the American Ranges/Ovens, and it also shows both types of burners.

"To Me", American Open Range burner, looks more like the Capital Culinarian open burner, than the Blue Star burner.

Gary


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

While most of the criticism of the BS is fair by Dave, particularly the igniters, a couple of the things to point out.

A few GWers have pointed out that the distance between the grate and the burner in American Range Performer Series is much greater than the Bluestar. Reducing or completely negating the 3k btu advantage.

The ARPS grates are double burner grates. Single burner grates in pro style ranges/rangetops are heavy. Double burner grates are very very heavy.

The Bluestar grates are awesome. Can be used as wok rings and you can twist and elevate them to lower simmer temps.

Lastly, I much prefer the all cast iron top of the Bluestar than the Wolf type black enamel finish on the cooktop. The cast iron seasons over the years while that black enamel finish shows wear and tear.

I am a Capital Culinarian owner so " I don't have a dog in the fight" between Bluestar and ARPS.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I thought the American range open burners were for restaurant use only and that their residential ranges were the sealed burners.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

American Range does have an open burner series of ranges called the Performer. The American Range rangetops are all Legend models with sealed burners only.

The grill burner is 18k btu, the other burners are 17k down to 9k btu. I believe they are all single ring burners where the performer series uses a version of a star shaped burner.

A blue star range top has the same options as a blue star range.

hth


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I have been researching the American Range performer series, and talking with the California distributor. This is not currently available in a Rangetop, but only a 30 or 36" range. While I haven't yet seen one live, this is what the distributor said about the burners:
"The units are modeled very closely to the Commercial line, where “less is more”. Fewer parts to fail results in fewer repairs and less downtime. The Performer series is most closely related to the commercial units, as it shares it’s burners with the commercial “greenline”.This makes the Performer series the only residential range available with a true commercial burner."


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Thanks for your quick responses!

Cooksnews - I was assured by the dealer who carries BS that the 600 cfm Vent a Hood is adequate - because of its different 'mechanics' for lack of the correct phrase, he assures me that it is the same as a 900 cfm of any other fan. I've had so much information thrown at me, I'm a little fuzzy on the exact reason - I will double check before buying though - I'd rather have too much power than not enough. Having said that, I have to bear in mind that if I go to 900 cfm, according to local building codes, I'll have to have an air exchange system put in the kitchen as well. Hopefully the 600 cfm will be adequate.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

My understanding from the dealer is that AR is on the verge of putting open burners on their rangetops and while not quite on the market yet, the distributor said that he'd have one built to my specs (4 open burners with a grill). From looking at the 36" range, the 'open burners' look very much like sealed ones - with the enamel tray to catch any spills etc.

Deeageaux - I appreciate your comments re the size and weight of the burner grates. I currently have a Viking and even those single grates are heavy - I don't think I'd be happy with a double grate at double the weight. I also don't really relish the idea of having to lift it off to clean under one burner - which means I won't and the mess beneath will have to get sizeable before I'll bother. I also prefer the look of and maintenance required to care for cast iron - once it's seasoned, it's only going to get better. I don't understand why some people feel the need to put them in the dishwasher - I'd certainly never consider doing that to a cast iron pan! I love the look of the BS burners and really don't like the look of the AR (burners so high and utilitarian looking.

I guess the only other consideration is the handling of the igniters - I'll probably request a few extra be sent with the original order and learn how to replace them myself - problem solved!

Thanks again everyone for all the input - I'll be ordering the Bluestar tomorrow!


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Just to jump in on your last comment about the igniters. We have had our BS 36" rangetop (6 burners) for about 4 months now. We love it and I am so glad we go this model. As for the igniters we have not had any issues at all with them yet, and I clean the unit almost after every use at least just wiping it down to get splatters off. From what I have heard it is also very easy to replace one if you do break it and our unit came with one replacement.

Phil


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Good to hear that phil - I don't have a huge problem with spending a few minutes replacing something (that I broke) and love the simplicity of design that allows and encourages the owner to do that.

My Viking oven that I've had for 10 years has had to have the glowbars in the oven replaced twice during that period. Each time it cost me $400 plus (CDN) and several weeks of down time. Infuriating to find out only recently that its a simple part that costs less than $100 (need 2) and takes about 1/2 hour to replace (thanks to Youtube, there are even instructional videos). Of course, Viking doesn't advertise that fact. I understand the newer ovens have a different technology and glowbars are no long used.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

by jah1795:

RE: 600CFM VH over a grill. Don't know if this helpful or not, we have 600 CFM 42X27 VH over 36" Wolf with grill. Wall mount with flanking cabinets beside the hood. Design couldn't take anything larger. Has worked out pretty well overall, very little smoke doesn't get captured. One point, we have high riser with fixed shelf (hood has warming lights), would have preferred fold-down or separate shelves to make easier vertical air flow when grill on. With riser shelf removed rarely see anything not captured. Have never had any grease on hood enclosure or upper cabinets.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I wonder how much difference it makes having it 42" (as opposed to 36). I'm not planning on flanking cabinets mostly due to the fact that I've found over the years that they get greasy with regular use and I'm sure once I get grilling on the BS, it'll be even worse. Also, I'm planning on putting some shallow stainless shelves and rods for hanging cooking utensils on either side of the rangetop and nothing behind (stainless tiles).


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Just to chime in about the igniters. I have had my bluestar for almost 5 years now. I have not replaced a single igniter yet. In fact, have not had any issues with my range until yesterday. It appears as tho my ignition module is fried, as it only sparks on the left side of the stove now. This still is not bad, those ignition modules are notorious to fail in all gas ranges, and to get 5 years is not bad. The good thing is as mentioned the BS (and many AG pro style ranges) are so easy to work on that it really isn't a big deal to replace. Now I need to find time to replace the unit as well as research which one would be the best replacement. An open invitation for anyone to feel free to give their thoughts on the best replacement.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

"Cooksnews - I was assured by the dealer who carries BS that the 600 cfm Vent a Hood is adequate - because of its different 'mechanics' for lack of the correct phrase, he assures me that it is the same as a 900 cfm of any other fan."

DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!

VAH has never produced any evidence that their strange advertising bumph has any merit whatsoever. 600 cfm will NEVER be more than 600 cfm, although, depending on ducting and other installation issues, it may be less.

BTW, I have a 600 cfm VAH over a 6-burner 36" range. The range's installation specs called for 600 cfms, which is what my code guys looked for when approving my installation. It works well for my purposes, but I can't imagine it would adequately vent a grill, unless all I grilled was asparagus.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

My range is also at least 6 years old and I never broke an ignitor. I've cleaned them with a toothbrush and baking soda.

However, I did replace the old module several years ago. I think it was a Tyronics, while the orignial was an Inversy.

The Tytronic one has been great, I don't remember the model- # but Bluestar will know, and probably even sell you one, or you can find it on line. I installed it myself.

The other thing I remember is that the Tytronic one is 1/2 second slower in re-igniting... but I no longer notice that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link about Replacing Module


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I bought a 36" blue Star range top. We got a Broan 1200cfm with built in double blower for around $1100.00.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Alex, thank you kindly for the info and link.

I suppose changing over to the new style (V1) individual burner ignition would be a hoe-lotta rewiring?


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

Glad to see so many long-time Bluestar owners chiming in about this nonsensical ignitor "issue." Gotta give deeageaux credit for keeping the dream alive, though!

So my BS is now going on 3 years old (my how time flies!) and zero problems. Zero. No ignitor issues, stuck oven doors, rattling fans, stovetop bon fires, burned children/pets, etc. The thing has been a total champ.

-Stooxie


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I've had my 36" range Bluestar for almost seven years and we have replaced every single ignitor at least two times, many three or more. We've also had issues where we have had to replace the entire burner because the screws had rusted into place (our original range was built without stainless steel screws ... oops) and then they've broken off when we tried to make the ignitor change. In addition, we've had to have the spark modules (ignitor control boxes) replaced twice on one side, once on the other. On several occasions, "shorts" (that's the term we were told by repair people), have caused the wires to melt and fuse together--meaning the ignitor wire that goes from the ignitor itself and then plugs into another wire that goes into the spark module fused--requiring replacement of not only the ignitor, but the second wire (which also requires removal of the front plate). We also continue to have issues with all of our burners clicking constantly, even when the lit burner is fully on, unless the flame is on full high. (But only on two of the six burners.)

So, yes, replacing an ignitor is a fairly trivial, if annoying and potentially expensive prospect, IF you don't also have melted wires, rusted screws that shear off when you try to remove the ignitor or broken spark modules. Oh, and you can actually get Bluestar to send you the ignitors you order and pay for in the first place. That's never really gone smoothly for me, either. In my experience, 6-12 week waits are the norm for parts from Bluestar. Plus, once you get the parts, you better hope they're right. We've had at least four replacement ignitors that didn't work, right out of the bag: cracked in shipment. The fragile, unprotected ceramic ignitors are sent loose--hitting against each other, if you order more than one--in small bubble mailers. A little rough handling in route and you're bound to get at least one pre-cracked ignitor per-batch ... At $25/pop, for what I've been told by several service people is a "$3 part." (But we've also not found off-brand ignitors that fit the Bluestar without modification.)

"Stooxie," and others, I'm glad it hasn't happened to you but the ignitor issue (no air quotes) is, or at least, was, NOT "nonsensical." It's possible they've addressed these problems in later models, but I can attest the issue is most certainly a legit one.

I don't have one, but I was very impressed with the Capital Culinarian, for many reasons, but at least in part because they had a large metal shield covering part of their ceramic ignitors, making me think they'll be a LOT less fragile.

Oh and, in terms of Bluestar issues ... I will also say that, it's likely these are not current concerns, but we were certainly not thrilled to need two oven door replacements (locking itself shut) and a new oven bottom (support collapsed) ... Just more "non-issues" experienced by myself and many other Bluestar owners of the same generation.

When the range works, it's impressive, but the shoddy build-quality I've seen (mine also came with loose screws floating free and missing parts) and abysmal customer service means I would never, ever buy another Bluestar, no matter what their next, latest-greatest is. They may have cleaned up their act now, but they treated their early adopters like Beta testers ... Without the service and support such positions usually come with.

EDITED TO ADD: I'm not saying no one else should buy a Bluestar, or that they haven't solved the problems I've described above in later builds (I haven't cooked on one built later than mine, but I've read anecdotal evidence seems to indicate at least some changes have been made). I'm simply saying that I, personally, based solely on my own experience, would not.

This post was edited by applnut on Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 8:57


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

I absolutely love my 36" BlueStar Range Top - we have 6 burners ranging from 9K to 22K BTUs, and a Zephyr island hood overhead. The BS is awesome! We had some issues with the Zephyr hood that turned out to be fairly minor and everything now is great. The BS came with 2 extra ignitors but so far, I haven't had to replace one. I really wish I had gotten a BS hood but I don't think they make one for an island application.


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RE: Bluestar Range Top vs. American Range

We had a 36" range top for 7 years. Really enjoyed it. Had to replace one igniter,,, no biggie. I don't remember if they even charged for it. My wife is big Pampered Chef person and done over 1,500 shows. She has cooked on everything from Amana to Viking and asked for the range in our new home to be be replaced with a 36" Bluestar. Demanded BS actually. Don't know how the sealed burner thing got started, but nothing is as easy to keep clean as BS. They have also come along way refining their product.

Not on BS payroll, just a very satisfied consumer.


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