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Viking, Themador, DCS or Blue Star, what's the best?

Which 30" range should I get?
I have seen some topics, but nothing that specific.
Any help is greatly appreciated...ordering this week!

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  1. I purchased a 30" Blue Star in July 2005 after months of research. The appliance forums on gardenweb are great -- check out www.goldshlag.com/bluestar/ for a summary of them. The thing is a monster, generating unbelievable heat, and yet the low-level burner allows me to barely warm sauces. It's terrific. My one complaint is that I had to get used to a gas oven, which takes longer to heat than my previous electric oven. However, it performs well, and the broiler is second to none.

    27 Replies
    1. re: Caroline

      I have a Blue Star and love it. It heats water in record time. The electric igniters work beauitfully. The heat in the oven is level and constant. It has a large oven. The star burners are really worth looking into, especially with the double row of gas jets to bring the heat up to 18K on two burners. What a joy to cook on a stove that responds immediately. Easy to clean up, great big sheet pan under all the burners. A big oven. The steel back against the wall and the shelf and the casters all make it a wonderful appliance. Expensive, yes, but after I read the putdowns by Consumer Reports about Wolf and the other "in between" restaurant and home kitchens, I opted for the Blue Star and have never been sorry. It even has a convection oven and a radiant burner in the broiler. The star design really gives heat out to the edges as well as the center of the pot, look at it closely and when something is boiling you can see the bubbles mirroring the star pattern of gas underneath. I've never spent so much on a stove and never enjoyed one so much as this one. I have the 36" six burner. E-Mail me for questions if you want to talk with a very satisfied owner. Website is http://www.prizer-painter.com/pages/b..., You can pester them with questions and get their specs from this site.

      1. re: EclecticEater

        Thanks! Question: how is the actual look of the Bluestar? is the stainless nice? also, what about the baking...is that good as well? also...did you get sealed burners or not?

        1. re: chris011001

          I think the Blue Star is very simple, in stainless very straightforward, with the steel backplate that goes above it on the wall, and the shelf. The stainless is nice but, as all stainless will, it can show scratches and spills. The baking is great; the oven, once it heats to the temperature you designate, turns the amber light off (as I recall), and it keeps a constant temperature as long as you want it. I checked it out with a separate thermometer when I first got the range. You can also use the convection oven to speed things up but have to wait ten minutes for the oven to heat up before you turn on the fan. Baked stuff comes out just fine and the inside is big with nice shelves.

          1. re: chris011001

            We have a 36" six-burner Bluestar. I think the stainless is comparable to the other brands out there. And Bluestar does not have an option for sealed burners. We don't keep ours pristine, but it's relatively simple to clean. I opted for power/function over ease of cleaning. But then I'd imagine that a real boilover on a sealed burner stove would be a serious mess.

            I haven't baked in it much so far, really just a pan of cookies, a roast chicken, and a couple of other things. Waiting for the weather to cool off. Also have a Chowpup toddler who's at the stage where she gets into everything. I'm admittedly a little nervous about running the gas oven when she's around b/c the oven front and toekick get pretty warm. She likes to turn on the fan and light, since the switches have LEDs. Figure we'll get that worked out as she starts to talk more.

          2. re: EclecticEater

            I'm trying to choose between Blue Star, 5 Star, DCS, Viking, GE Monogram and Dacor Epicure. We want a rangetop because 2lefty cooks need the controls in front of us. Fuel will be propane. We want equal power on as many burners as possible, and high BTUs because we lose 10% to the propane conversion. Can't find a site that compares this particular group. Has anyone done a 5star cooktop with broiler below?
            We are also considering range vs cooktops. Current design of the kitchen in this new construction shows wall ovens a few steps from the cooktop, and we might like to have the broiler closer to the burners.

            1. re: EclecticEater

              How noisy is the Blue Star fan? Does it go on whenever oven heats? Stay on after? We live in a small apartment. Thanks!

              1. re: EclecticEater

                Hi,

                I know it has been a while since you purchased your Bluestar range. We are currently looking to buy a range and have read the great reviews for the bluestar. I went to see one today and am a bit concerned with how easy they will clean. Do you find it difficult to maintain this range and to clean them? looking forward to hearing your response.

                1. re: ninatancredi

                  I have a Bluestar (see my previous posts below). I'd say easy cleaning is not the strong suit of the range. The open burners, and the heavy cast iron grates, make for a job if you insist on doing it. I don't. The fact is that spills mostly fall down to the slide-out drip tray below and can be cleaned out (or ignored) at your convenience. The remainder that actually clings to the cast iron grates tends to burn off and become a nice patina over time. The front deck, over the knobs, is easy to clean. In sum, to me it's not a problem because I just don't find it necessary to clean the grates--they more or less take care of themselves, not unlike a cast iron skillet. But if you're a neat freak, it may not work for you.

                  1. re: ninatancredi

                    We have a 36" Blue Star with six burners. Each burner has a cast iron grate and a cast iron bowl. We keep a tooth brush sized wire brush handy for quick cleanups of the grates. Now and then, when grates and bowls look grubby, we clean them all in the dish washer. They clean easily this way. (Just handle them carefully, don't drop them and don't scratch up the stove in the process of reinstalling them.)
                    Go Blue Star!

                    1. re: GeezerGourmet

                      That's interesting because I've tried to dishwash mine a couple of times and it hasn't worked so hot for me. What detergent do you use, or do you have an older machine that uses lots more water--mine are the new, energy efficient types (I have 2 DW's).

                      I like the wire brush idea. May have to try that.

                      I worry more about dropping one on my foot than any damage to the stovetop!

                      1. re: johnb

                        We're using Cascade powder in a year-old ASKO DW.

                  2. re: EclecticEater

                    Your response os several years old, but it has inspired me to consider the 36" Blue Star for my remodel. Would you still recommend it? And can you tell me how long it takes the 5 cu. ft. oven to reach temo of say 350?

                    1. re: berlyfish

                      We bought a 36" BlueStar range with 4 burners and a grill in 2006. We would not buy BS again. At the moment, we have ONE working burner, plus the grill and the oven. The others three burners will light, but the igniters will not stop clicking. We're still trying to find a repair person who will come out and service it. I've tried calling a local dealer, but when the guy realized we didn't buy from them, he stonewalled and wouldn't give us a name. Obviously, I'll be making more calls to other dealers and hope to find someone soon.

                      Back when we had a serious problem under warranty (the grill exploded during a dinner party--drama!), we had a horrible time getting any service out of Prizer Painter or the regional distributor that they designated for their warranty work coordination. It took them three weeks to ship us the replacement part and another 3.5 beyond that to find a local service person to install it. Trevor from Eurostoves (our dealer) had to go to bat for us with the regional distributor or it might have been even longer.

                      This difficulty in finding a repair person makes it sound like we live way out in the hinterlands, but we're on the west side of Los Angeles.

                      The huge oven is fantastic when cooking something larger (several trays of cookies or a big turkey), but it takes what feels like forever to heat up. I've timed it at about 30 minutes to get to 350. It has broken me of the frozen pizza habit, since with a 36" BS that's no longer a quick just-get-it-on-the-table dinner. Our old stove was an ancient 36" Magic Chef with a 36" oven (not a 30" oven with padding!) that came with our house and it didn't take anywhere near as long. It probably wasn't quite as big, though...I didn't measure but I'm pretty sure the BS oven is somewhat larger.

                      The burners on the BS were the big draw for us, with the large-capacity oven second. And the burners, when they work, are fabulous. When we have to go to another stove when this one dies (or more accurately, finishes dying), I will miss their super high-power and wonderful control.

                      I read things before we bought saying the BS has very sharp edges on some parts, is hard to clean, and the front of the range heats up to the point that it's dangerous for small children...all true in our experience but not a deal breaker for us. Right after I cut my fingers cleaning the grill (you have to disassemble that part completely to clean it), I was ready to ship the whole thing back, but over time I've gotten used to being careful when cleaning it and it's not such a big deal. As for cleaning the grates and stovetop, I second what johnb wrote above. And the exterior of the oven does heat up, but I didn't want to allow my young kid close enough to the oven for this to be a problem anyway.

                      Sorry for such a long post, this is my first time writing about our BS experience and I guess I tried to fit everything in. I've been meaning to write something up for quite a while not, but just hadn't made the time until now.

                      Bottom line, we would not buy Blue Star again. And if you're still considering one, get your dealer to give you the names and phone numbers of TWO repair people BEFORE you buy, so if it breaks later you at least have some options for repair.

                      1. re: Miketsu

                        Your range isn't dying. It needs a new igniter module. You can buy from Prizer or be industrious and find a different supplier online (I believe the maker and part number has been mentioned on THS). You can find the PDF of the service manual for the range online to see the troubleshooting section, which will tell you that's exactly what you need.

                        As for who installs it, that's up to you. It'd take about 1.5 hours (conservative) and a Philips head screwdriver. One alternative to DIY might be to see who services Wolf in the area. The BS is built differently, but changing out the igniter module should be the same as an all-gas Wolf. Doesn't take a rocket scientist.

                        1. re: ted

                          Thanks for the info, this is very helpful. I'd actually already tried calling a repairman recommended by a friend with a Wolf, but they guy wouldn't even consider touching our BS, even though this is not warranty work. Of course, that's just one guy, so I will either try DIY or find another recommendation. Probably DIY, since my spouse actually IS a rocket scientist. :-)

                          I do realize the range isn't actually dying, that was meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. But this isn't the first problem we've had with it, although it's only been in service for a bit less than four years.

                          I guess my point is that the range should hold up better, and that it shouldn't be this hard to get it repaired. I think Prizer Painter and their distributors and retailers really ought to have a network of repair people to recommend and be willing to provide that information to any Blue Star owner, regardless of when or where they bought. I know Trevor at Eurostoves does, but they're all on the East Coast, which isn't useful for us. I've never had to call around like this for any other appliance unless I was looking for a better price or repair schedule. In this case, we just want someone qualified to come fix the darn thing, we're not shopping for a great deal.

                          1. re: Miketsu

                            Sorry to hear about your experiences, but Ted is fundamentally right. These things are very simple and easy to fix, certainly in comparison with the competition. If you've had trouble finding a someone who's willing to try it's probably because they assume it's complex like so many others (I've had my local gas guys fix mine and they aren't even specifically stove techs). The part is question is AFAIK not made BS specific but is a common part used by other manufacturers as well. Here's an idea--if you can get the part number, try calling around to appliance parts places. When you locate the part, ask them if they can recommend anybody who can install that part. With a bit of luck you may solve the problem that way.

                            1. re: Miketsu

                              The service manual, IIRC, shows steps for several repairs with pictures. Reasonably sure switching out the igniter module is one. Our oven thermostat died (on Xmas!) and I had to replace it. That's the first thing to happen after 4 years. It was a pretty simple job.

                              As for the service side, maybe the should have a bigger network. But they still are a relatively tiny manufacturer compared to all the brands they get compared to. I bought my range out of CA- no local retailer carried them, and my regional distributor would only sell at MSRP (theyr'e in Tampa, wonder what their biz is like now?).

                              So, I knew what I was getting myself into in terms of support. Another idea for you might be to talk to a restaurant supply house and see who they use for service.

                              It's kinda hard to tell hyperbole vs. hysteria online. Have seen enough folks posting over the years who are ready to chuck their $5k range for something else instead of spending a couple hundred to get it fixed. And go post all over that it's the worst product in the history of humanity.

                          2. re: Miketsu

                            I live about an hour and a half from Reading PA so I had the fortune to visit the Prizer Painter factory and see how the BS is manufactured last week along with a local dealer who had been wanting to take the tour. I also had the pleasure of finally witnessing the range live. As if I wasn't sold before . . . let me tell you I sure am now. I plan to buy a 48" with 6 burners and a grill for our new house currently in the the design phase. This is a VERY small factory. Many aspects of the build are done by hand in a way that truly surprised me. They have lots of big machines - of course - but there appeared to be nothing robotic anywhere. A human operator touches every part of this process. The ranges are hand-welded. The colors are so remarkably consistent because PP's parent co. is a paints and coatings mfg in the building next door. The factory is one of those ancient 4 story brick buildings and components of the range are moved vertically on a huge, very old freight elevator. They employ over a 100 real people to put out at best 30 pieces per day (piece being a stove or a hood). I saw where the day's production was staged for shipping. A woman is bubble-wrapping each piece individually in a room. The ranges are tested for leaks by a human being using a flame. The guys in the factory are pretty thoroughly engaged in their work, have been there for a long time and there is an artisan quality to the process. There is a lot of pride in the place. I recognize that when PP took over the distribution and servicing end of the business from Garland - I think in 2002 - they failed to rise to that task sufficiently. They were previously just a manufacturer of component parts for others; I think this was their first venture into distribution and the retail end of things. That is unfortunate, and I hope things have improved. Obviously, it doesn't matter one way or the other to me -- PP is so small that sometimes the plant manager who gave us the tour personally would drive out to service the range where we happen to live outside of Philly. But I will also say that I looked "under the hood" as it were and asked some questions and can see that this thing is so simple and mechanical that IMHO there is no reason to call someone to change an igniter module. Even though I live in driving range of the factory, if I needed to switch out an igniter module, I would do it myself. PP now ships the range with two extras anyway. It's so unfortunate that you had a bad experience. I know this is a good company that cares about doing things right, but I'm not really sure if even to this day their range extends far enough to be able to provide consistent service on the west coast. But I do agree with others that any competent mechanic can switch out the module with nothing more than a screwdriver. More complicated repairs are another story. Nothing in this range is complex, however. Nothing. There is not a single circuit board anywhere. (a big selling point from my POV) It is really just kind of silly that generic repair people refuse to come look at it.

                            Anyway, notwithstanding your experiences - and I am really sorry to hear of them and think that they represent the far end of the negative - I cannot WAIT to get my hands on this beast. I literally dream of owning this range. I haven't seen anything else that can touch it, but then I used to cook professionally and so this range gives me everything I need and nothing more.

                        2. re: EclecticEater

                          Are you still satisfied with your Blue Star? Did you purchase the RCS or RNB? I too am concerned about Consumer Report ratings with regard to Wolf/Viking/comparable brands. I recently started reading more about Blue Star and want to make certain I am making a good choice and researching brands. Appreciate any feedback.

                        3. re: Caroline

                          I bought a Blue Star based on these types of reviews (perhaps people from Blue Star writes them??) and I regret it. The range is of terrible quality. The knob for the oven has a different casing than the rest of the knobs and continuously falls off. The convection fan is so loud, that I have to kick the thing to make it stop, though that rarely works. The markings have been so lightly stamped into the metal, they are hard to decipher and the worst problem, is that whenever I turn on the oven, the house fills with the smell of gas. I have had a repairman look at it, but he has been unable to fix it, and there is no one at Blue Star, who I can contact. I have yet to find customer service except from the distributor, who oddly enough, no longer carries the Blue Star line. What a surprise. Don't buy the Blue Star, get the Viking or the Wolf instead. I sure wish I had.

                          1. re: Abbo

                            At The Garden Web - they have a bunch of BlueStar sales reps that post there pumping the product. I've lurked there for several years and have watched normal consumers get attacked and bullied off the board by the Bluestar people.

                            Personally I think BS makes the best burners out there but the rest of the product has problems as you have noted. Also many people to complain about their customer service. FWIW, Viking's too have their own problems, talk to repair people, they have a higher than average repair rate among stoves.

                            1. re: RetiredChef

                              Another one-post wonder and the typical RetiredChef response that takes the complaints as gospel. And it isn't enough to claim that GW is overrun by BS sales reps once in the thread- he has to do it 3 times.

                              Abbo- if you have this many problems, and your range is still under warranty, get on the phone to Prizer Painter and get them addressed.

                              http://www.bluestarcooking.com/contac...

                              Are you telling the full story? Did you buy a closeout range from one of the dealers that was either going out of biz or dropping the line?

                              The only thing stamped into the metal are marks for which knob goes to which burner. The controls on the 36" consist of 7 knobs (one per burner, one for the oven) and 2 switches (oven light, convection fan). Which is which takes about 3 uses to commit to memory.

                              If I had a range that was working this poorly, no matter the brand, I'd be all over the manufacturer to address the problems. Phone, fax, e-mail, certified letter, smoke signals.

                              I am not a Bluestar sales rep.

                              1. re: ted

                                I think the claim that GW is "overrun with BS sales reps" is patently bogus. If all those BS sales reps are posting there, why not sales reps for every other brand too? And anyway, what sales rep would be dumb enough to think that posting on GW is going to be seen by so many folks in his area that it will bring him so much business that it's worth his time? I would be shocked if one person in 1000 who buys a high end range, including BS, has ever even heard of Garden Web. This is Conspiracy Theory 101 run amok. Sorry, I don't think so.

                                1. re: johnb

                                  LOL,

                                  Actually several of them very openly admit to being BS dealers and pushing their products.

                                  It’s kind of hard to have a conspiracy theory when they admit that they do it.

                                  >>> And anyway, what sales rep would be dumb enough to think that posting on GW is going to be seen by so many folks in his area that it will bring him so much business that it's worth his time?

                                  ROTFLOL, Trevor comes immediately to mind of Euro-stoves, he’ll tell you flat out that GW brings him lots of business.

                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    Yes but Trevor admits it and he is clearly an enthusiast as well as a salesman. That's not my point. You suggested there were sales reps doing it in an underhanded way ("pumping the product"), trying to sell goods by posing as ordinary buyers--a very different thing. That is what I'm clearly saying I doubt is happening.

                                    LOL

                                2. re: ted

                                  Ted,

                                  I have always said that they make the best burners on the market, with that being said the consumers should also know the not-so good about Bluestar and how to deal with potential problems before they purchase.

                                  >>>Abbo- if you have this many problems, and your range is still under warranty, get on the phone to Prizer Painter and get them addressed.

                                  If it’s under warranty BS will refer you to a local service outlet, best to call them first.

                                  >>>If I had a range that was working this poorly, no matter the brand, I'd be all over the manufacturer to address the problems. Phone, fax, e-mail, certified letter, smoke signals.

                                  Exactly, that’s the problem that people are complaining about, BS has been unresponsive to quite a few individuals, not only individuals but speak to service repair managers, they too have problems when dealing with Bluestar,

                                  Bluestar is a small company and are experiencing some growing pains; they produce a good product but need some improvements in customer care and quality control. That’s NOT unusual at all when companies go through growing stages.

                                  To ignore these and pretend they don’t happen is foolish, it’s far better to let people know of the potential problems and then let them know it might be worth their while to buy this stove from a large volume dealer of BlueStar’s, even if out of state. These dealers have more pull and will generally stand behind your out of warranty issues and get them resolved quicker than XYZ stove company that has sold 3 Bluestars.

                                  With saying that I’ll give a pump to BlueStar Salesman Trevor who posts all the time on GW, he has gone to bat for many people to get issues resolved; he is one of the larger Bluestar dealers and ships stoves all over. It might be worth contacting him if your local people do not do much BS volume.

                                  1. re: RetiredChef

                                    We got our 36 BS this October and we LOVE it! We did have an igniter problem, but BS worked hard to solve the problem. I agree with RetiredChef that BS is working to avoid problems in service, but they have grown awfully fast. Ours was the first BS that our local repairman has serviced and he was very impressed, it is simple, rugged, easy to work on and very well built. As for the performance, it is AWESOME. The burners are uncomparable, the oven bakes wonderfully. My cousin who is a chef came over and we baked and cooked last night and she absolutely loved the range!

                          2. Look into the 30 inch Five Star range.

                            1. I had a DCS cooktop in my old place (replaced a 11 year old Thermador) and now in my new place have a Bluestar (all 36"). The Thermador was pathetic (but I don't know about newer ones). The DCS was much much better, but the Bluestar blows it away. Everything I've seen suggests the Bluestar is heads and shoulders above the others--it is a Garland for all practical purposes. Note the others have sealed burners and perhaps look a little more slick, but if it's performance you want the Bluestar is your best bet. Check the Prizer-Painter web site---they have a link to an independently written article comparing several of the top brands, and it's pretty convincing. Also check the Garden Web as a previous poster suggested.

                              1. I did alot of research and ended up with a Wolf. Its been fantastic. We got a $500 rebate so it ended up being a bit less expensive then the DCS. I like it better than the DCS because all 4 burners have the same amoutn of heat. The broiler on the oven is great. We like everything about it. As an earlier poster said, check out the Gardenweb website, these people are obsessed! But most of them love the Bluestar.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: dimples

                                  My 36" DCS cooktop had five burners of which 4 were the same size and only one, the center one, was different (and bigger). The lack of those smaller (and for me useless) burners on the DCS was one of the main reasons I was attracted to it at the time. Maybe the designs have changed since then. The Bluestar I have now does have different sizes, but even the little one puts out enough that it is a useful burner---anyway, with six of them, the stovetop provides enough firepower under any reasonable scenario.

                                  This brings up an important criterion for range/cooktop selection---burner sizes. For me, I don't see much point in having smaller burners as long as the big ones can be successfully turned down to a low level when you want to simmer etc. But this depends on your particular cooking needs and style.

                                  1. re: dimples

                                    >>> As an earlier poster said, check out the Gardenweb website, these people are obsessed! But most of them love the Bluestar.

                                    At The Garden Web - they have a bunch of BlueStar sales reps that post there pumping the product. I've lurked there for several years and have watched normal consumers get attacked and bullied off the board by the Bluestar people, that could be why you think they are obsessed and love Bluestar.

                                  2. You should look at the 30" Dacor. Dacor is an ISO 9001 Quality Standard Certified company and makes very good ranges.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: GeezerGourmet

                                      According to Consumer Reports, Dacor has a terrible frequency of repair record.

                                      1. re: GeezerGourmet

                                        I've had three Dacor Dual Fuel 30" ranges. My only complaint is that the cooktop igniter's work when they feel like it. They will occasionally not work for weeks at a time. This is a real pain in the neck. I'm done with Dacor Ranges. Next time I'll try the Wolf, Miele, or Blue Star range. It'll cost me though.

                                        1. re: GeezerGourmet

                                          I had a 30" Dacor. Had. The igniters kept breaking -- company fixed it once, then said it was out of warranty (even though it was an ongoing problem. The oven door glass broke. Company said the oven got too hot. (!??!). Broiler stopped working -- estimate to repair was $500. Goodbye Dacor.

                                          1. re: GeezerGourmet

                                            My wife and I purchased a 30" Dacor Dishwasher and a 36" Dacor Epicure gas range (with convection oven) in 2004. Immediately, I noticed that the oven was "under-heating". There is an adjustment that allows for a 35 degree +- adjustment to the thermostat, and I adjusted it the maximum (+35 degrees). At high temperatures it works adequately. At low and slow cooking (under 300 degrees) it takes forever to accomplish the task. We have also had issues with the burner ignitors, which seem to have a mind of their own... sometimes working, most times not. Contacting Dacor has simply been impossible. We got one repairman out, he was unable to determine the "error" messages he was getting on the dishwasher, spent three weeks trying to get assistance from Dacor, and was unable to do so. He finally apologized to us, and simply gave up. We have not been able to get ANY repair assistance (still under extended warranty), and have finally received a check to replace both the dishwasher and the stove, less depreciation of course. There is absolutely no way I would EVER purchase another Dacor product. There is NO support, period!