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Jan 2, 2007 11:34 PM

Need advice on appliances for renovation

Our kitchen is bare to the studs; I guess it's time I decide on the appliances. I've been searching the Internet for independent advice but most of the sites are 'sponsored'...I'd love to have some real-world advice on the confusing choices available. I'm struggling with balancing looks/features/reliability/cost:
- refrigerator, settled on a 36" counter-depth french-door bottom freezer. KitchenAids were well-rated by CR but saw some posts that they're the looks of the Jenn-Air but read they're less reliable and repairs can be difficult. What's worked for you?
- DW, don't need anything too fancy but would like it to be quiet with a flexible interior. Read Bosch and KitchenAid are recommended but Braun is quiet and Miele is super quiet. Are they equally reliable?
- putting a 4-burner drop-in gas cooktop in an island; wanted to use a downdraft vent but just today read the they're REALLY noisy and can adversely affect the flames. Then read some are happy with a compromise (and the absence of a large hood) of using a downdraft vent with multiple speeds--are there also some strategies of moving the blower further away?

I've read the Vikings have strong BTU levels but may be less reliable. Does anyone like the Wolf line? Jenn-Air? Are some downdraft vents better than others? Should I stop resisting getting a hood?

- will use a wall oven/MW combo (30", electric). Any favorites out there?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to comment.


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  1. I have/had GE Monogram 5 burner gas cooktop with down draft, until it shattered (tempered glass) on 12/31. Still trying out what we are going to do about it. My cabinetry is all custom made. Many delimmas. I am not in a position to change my countertops or do another kitchen overhaul. The down draft has been pretty ineffective but to remove it would mean the new countertop which is not in the budget. GE sells replacement galss but for a 16 year old cook top is it worth having an appliance repair person take it apart and put it back together again. I am thinking after 16 years the oven may be next and the fridge is one I have always hated and it is beginning to go too. The problem I am facing is fnding replacements that fit the cabinetry that is already there and not having to have it reworked.

    1. The Bosch DW is a great choice. I have the basic 3 cycle with controls up top. Cleans every time and so quietly too.

      I'd like to get a regular Jenn-Air gas stove but have not heard much response to my own enquiry on this board...with the exception of all those who say to stay away from their downdraft model.

      Don't do the MW/hood if you are serious about cooking. You want a real hood with at least 600 CFM rating.

      1. I haven't had any problems with my jenn-air french door frige. It looks great, like a sub zero at half the cost. You should try it in person though because the twin doors use a somewhat clunky closure to maintain the seal. Also, the water dispenser is in a weird location on the inside left wall.

        I also have a Thermador professional series slide in range which works great. And I also agree that if you're doing serious cooking, especially with a higher BTU stove, you should get an overhead range hood that vents to the outside. I like vent-a-hood because you could take the fan apart and clean it yourself in the dishwasher.

        1. I think all in all the refrigerator and the freezer makes or breaks the kitchen. For me, those would be only household models as a last resort. Go to something with some commercial performance, as home units no longer chills the mustard.

          A friend has one of those French Door refrigerators and it is a serviceman's nightmare. Door alignment problems and the inability to remain in the safe zone (36-40 degrees) are big issues.

          They otherwise have a nice kitchen but are forced to eat out when nothing is fit to cook.

          I hope you follow me for not going any further.

          1. I've haunted GardenWeb forums for years. Check out the appliance forum and maybe post there.

            Yes, It's odd....but great advice!