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Feb 11, 2007 04:08 AM

Which all gas 36 in. range to buy.... Wolf or Blue Star?

I am having a horrible time making this decision. I have spent countless hours on line and at least four days in various stores talking to sales people, trying to weed out genuine information from "hype". I'm relatively comfortable saying these are my two choices. That said, any rebuttle would be appreciated. The cost, and the stage I am in my life, this has to be the last range I will ever buy. Please share your opinions on which one to buy and why.
Thank you.

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  1. I have 36" Wolf . It is great. Expect a higher gas bill. BTU's

      1. re: Gourmette

        I'd pick Viking over Wolf . . . but what about an Aga!

      2. I am in the same position. I have never had a self cleaning oven and was hoping for one but Bluestar doesn't seem to have one.

        1. Salesmen really like Blue Star for their huge BTU burners . I wonder how important that feature is though? I don't cook with a wok or deep fry any more. I also was told the venting hood has to really be powerful. I have one that's great with my old commercial Wolf range but I don't know the BTU's on that. I'm thinking not to mess with what I know.

          11 Replies
          1. re: LIMary

            LIMary, I bought a Bluestar this year and I'm still trying to get in installed correctly. All the burners spark very brightly - it's like having six firecrackers go off every time I turn the oven on - but my well meaning contractor hooked it up for me, and I think it needs to be calibrated. I have not been able to find anyone who knows what a Bluestar is -- If you live on Long Island (as in, I hope, "L.I. Mary"), would you please give me an idea of who you used to get your range up and running? (Please, I have had no luck with Signature Marketing.)

            1. re: cteevan

              The sparking action is what it is- there's no adjustment to that. As to when the ignitors fire, that's a different story. If your stovetop burner ignitors go off when you turn the oven on, there's a problem.

              One of Prizer Painter's requirements for installation is that you plug the range into a dedicated outlet (i.e. one that doesn't have any other items on the circuit). If yours is on a circuit with other items, fluorescent lights in particular, it can cause problems with the burner ignitors firing when they aren't supposed to.

              As for the calibration, the factory procedure actually allows a good bit of leeway. You fire up the oven set at 350F (325F for convection) and let it go through 5 cycles of turning the burner on and off. You put a thermometer in the oven beforehand, and measure the temperature for the last 3 cycles. If the result is within 25F either way of 350F, it passes.

              1. re: ted

                Thank you very much for your comment, ted. I mis-spoke when I used the word "oven" - I meant "burners". At some point, I thought I came across Bluestar literature that indicated that all the ignitors going off at the same time was a malfunction. Seems that you are saying this is normal. It will take some getting used to.

                I made sure to put this unit on its own circuit - I also had a 220 put in for an induction cooktop, I'm sure some babysitter will come along and decide to plug in the blender and burn the house down.

                I'm contemplating fluorescent lights, but the lighting is going in last. I happen to love fluroescents, because of the quality of light of the daylight high CRI tubes - Phillips used to make them.

                I would like to have a Bluestar-familiar service person handle this installation. But I don't seem to be able to find one. Can't get any information from Signature, or Bluestar, or even the appliance store that sold it. I still have not settled on a hood, I am just too apprehensive about spending $3K on a high CFM hood when I get a reasonably high CFM hood from a company that cares about me. I've dealt with Asko and SubZero repairs, and their customer service is a totally different story. Bluestar has a lot to learn.

                To think I could not wait to buy this oven.

                1. re: cteevan

                  I think some of what you're experiencing is just from the components. All the high-end mfrs went through bad ignitors a few years ago. I know that the spark modules were Invensys at some point, and there were quality control issues with some that were made in Brazil. Where I'm headed is that my range, now 5 years old, has 3 burners ganged on each spark module. If they went to a single spark module that covers all 6, that's why they're all sparking at once.

                  I've never seen a range, low-end or high-end, with spark ignition that wasn't similar in how it sparked and how loud it was.

                  If your range is on a dedicated circuit, fluorescent lights should be fine, and I'm all in favor. We used the thin, linkable GE ones from Home Depot for undercab lights and the color is great. They're bascally instant-on, and I've replaced one bulb in the 5 years they've been in.

                  We have a VAH, and I didn't go fluorescent there in order to get two-speed fans.

                  I get the impression from your last paragraph that you're considering a BS hood. I have no experience. I suspect that a lot of the deal with BS is that they're still a small operation, and don't move a lot of units through the distributors to get the kind of love that others may in terms of local support/service/sales. I think with them the service comes down to 1 or 2 people in their company. If they aren't responsive (one person left or was replaced w/in the past year), or are overwhelmed the entire brand's image suffers. Especially when whoever's feeling slighted may run to the boards and post to all of them.

                  1. re: ted

                    Bluestar has made sweeping changes between July and October of 2010 to their construction. They changed the ignition so that it now only sparks at one burner. They now offer custom configurations so if you want your simmer in the front you can get it. They also offer the only residential french-door oven if you want it in your custom configuration. They also now offer both the original open-burner configuration and a new closed-burner configuration (The new closed burner tops out at 18k btu like other closed-burner units). Their ovens are huge. They don't have fancy computers or extra frou-frou settings like "proofing" or "warm" that have become the vogue for people who like to play at cooking but if you actually know how to cook this is a great range for you. No one else offers the kind of power they have. No one. Some people say they don't like the open burner, that they think it is too hard to clean but the Bluestar grates can go in the dishwasher and then you can actually "season" them like you would season a cast iron pan.

                    Viking's quality went south about five years ago and their service is non-existent. I wouldn't want the burden of one if someone gave it to me! That's pretty strong but there it is.

                    Thermador is a fantastic product, but their service level depends on whether you have a good rep or a bad rep covering your territory. I am a kitchen designer and deal with two different reps for the cities that I do work in and there is a vast difference.

                    For what it's worth I don't sell appliances but I do work with them every day.

                    1. re: kitchendsnr

                      Just for a different perspective--

                      "Their ovens are huge"
                      Many may view this as a negative, what with all the attention to being green and all.
                      I have a 30 inch and 36 inch oven and love that the 30 inch oven heats in 7 minutes. I only use the big oven when I am cooking for 30-40. It might be an interesting comparison to determine how much energy it takes to run different ovens and how much insulation they have.
                      I don't bake with full sheets because they don't fit in my sink flat to soak if need be.

                      "They don't have fancy computers or extra frou-frou settings like "proofing" or "warm" that have become the vogue for people who like to play at cooking but if you actually know how to cook this is a great range for you".

                      Well I have been "play cooking< for 50 years on 10 different ovens, gas and electric and I love, love, love, the computerized settings on my oven that I have now. I love the temperature to be within a few degrees of the setting instead of the customary 25 degree swing. I love the flexibility of the choices in baking and roasting and they make a difference in my outcomes. I have used the dehydrator mode and even use my oven for certain art projects(the ultimate in play cooking). Advanced technology is a good thing! If you are a kitchen designer, I would think you would personalize your recommendations with consideration to the client's needs. The serious baker may be happier with an oven that is more precise and flexible.

                      "No one else offers the kind of power they have. No one"

                      Yes you can get that kind of power and MORE elsewhere. The main reason many want the increased power of the BS is to stir fry. I am putting in an outside wok burner for this. I can't see increasing the BTUs by a few thousand. Give me 175,000 BTUs and no mess in my kitchen
                      Some might consider the low end of the BTUs more important then the high end and want a super low simmer.

                      The real strong point for BS, IMHO, is the star shaped, open burners that give an even heat on all sizes of pans and the infrared broiler. The oven while very serviceable might be a lesser choice for some.

                      So many choices --you really have to decide what is the priority for your own style of cooking and baking.

                      My next kitchen let's see...some induction, some BS burners (2 or 4?), need that infrared broiler but I sure do love my oven now........hmmmm...

                      1. re: wekick

                        The big argument against the computer boards for oven control is that they're proprietary (have to buy from OEM) and expensive to replace. I don't bake enough to have an opinion one way or the other about whether they make for a better product.

                        For whatever reason, I fall on the grill outdoors, wok indoors side of the argument. Maybe b/c an indoor grill just replaces burner space and you have to clean up afterward (instead of just burn off whatever the next time you fire up the Weber). And I can wok inside year round and not worry about hot/cold/mosquitos. Lots of ventilation helps.

                        1. re: ted

                          I am not saying one is better than the other and I know they are expensive to replace but I'm just saying there are some people who want that versatility. An interesting thing though, a friend and I had the same brand oven, hers a little older, and we both had the boards go out. Her husband bought the board on ebay for $40 and the "bill" from mine9 under warranty so I didn't have to pay0 was $1800. I carry the warranty on my Electrolux I have now, but actually, I am on the second washer with a computer board and they have been used and abused having 4 boys at home, doing their own wash with no problems and a previous range with no problems.
                          We like to cook outdoors and I would love to have an outdoor kitchen. We just have a Weber now. The outdoor wok is pretty inexpensive.

                      2. re: kitchendsnr

                        I love this response; thanks for dealing in facts. Agree on Viking; been there. Wolf looks nice, but BTU is low: been a while since I cooked on anthing above 12k; can you advise on BTU? Not about ego, but I do a lot of big batches of stock and also stir fry, so I want everything from wok sizzle and fast 20 qt recovery to long gentle simmer. Is 18 enough? Can I get more? And venting: is there a rule: X BTU means Y CFM, so I can judge the need? We're doing a de novo kitchen so the world is my oyster.

                        1. re: kitchendsnr

                          I know this thread is very old - but I need help deciding on a 36" gas range too! I LOVE the look of the Bertazonni! Except for the oven being so small and it also has had very bad reviews on the oven - not holding it's temperture along with burning everything. I Iike it's price point $3k. The NXR seems to be a good value but not loving the look, I also love the American range look. Any help??? I love to cook and I'm not baking as much anymore. We are remodeling our kitchen after we built about 25 yes ago. So I need a range that looks good and is functional. Please any help would be great! I've spent hours and hours and days and days - thank you in advance for your help!

                          1. re: BonnieAnn

                            Hi Bonnie,

                            I'm quite prejudiced, but I still think you can do better. Shop all the sales, and do more research. That's how I got my Bluestar. I was really unimpressed with Bertazonni when I looked at it.

                            If your dealer allows it, go and cook on one in a showroom somewhere. Stock up your recyclable shopping bags and have at it. Believe me, it will show you all the flaws at one single go.

              2. Venting requirements are going to be similar between the two. Total BTU output on the burners will add up to essentially the same number (two bigger burners on Bluestar plus three 15-16k BTU ones and a smaller simmer burner adds up to the same as 6 x 16k or so on Wolf).

                For some, the detailing on the Bluestar isn't up to snuff compared to the Wolf. The only thing I've noticed is that the edges on the sides of the drip pan at the front could be a little duller, but I've never scraped or cut myself on them. Others have complained about sharp edges on the sheet metal parts under the burners (i.e. you pull off the burner grate and bowl to get to them), but how often are you going to be fooling with that? And some have complained about edges on the ends of the wire pieces that the oven racks are fabricated from. Hasn't been a problem for us.

                Let's see- other issues...The toekick and below the oven door window in the middle can both get hot on the Bluestar. We have a Chowpup-toddler, and we've managed to keep her away from it.

                Positives- the Bluestar burners don't have an equal for power and even distribution of heat. Even if you don't wok, you may find yourself inevitably drawn back to it b/c of how easy it is to get great results with the big burner and perfect hole to drop a 14-16" wok into (no ring required). We mainly use the 22k burner for throwing on a pot of water for pasta and the like. Honestly, I'd use the regular burner for frying b/c I'd be worried about running the temp up too quickly otherwise. The burners still have great turndown, also, and it's readily adjustable.

                The Bluestar oven beats the Wolf mainly because Wolf hasn't figured out how to make an oven large enough to put in a full-sized sheet pan. Big range- little oven. We can put a full recipe of cookies in on two pans and be done in 10 min- that's tough to beat.

                The Bluestar is mechanically very simple- no electronic parts or boards that may cost $$ to replace in the future. It's a cooking machine- for the price I don't think you can beat it. If you can overlook the few minor flaws (which some folks have to seize on to be able to make a choice), I think you'll be very happy. FYI, supposedly the 2007 ranges have some improvements to address the cosmetic concerns, but I haven't seen one.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ted

                  Beautiful kitchen and range, ted. I love your countertop and cabinets. Which hood is it?

                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                    It's a VentaHood, 42" wide, 27" deep, euro-style wall mount with emerald lip.

                    The article you refer to below is by David Rosengarten a few years ago. It appeared in Departures, but it was circulated in draft form for a while before it was published.

                  2. re: ted

                    I love my Blue Star 6-burner except for one flawed component. The ceramic igniters (little sparkplug-like things on each burner) crack very easily. The only way to deal with the problem is to replace the igniter. I've had the range since January '07 and this is the second igniter I've had to replace. Anyone else having this problem?

                    1. re: ted

                      Ted- Love your kitchen style, at least what I see of it! Can you please tell me what kind of granite you have; it's beautiful. Thanks.

                      1. re: Island

                        Thanks! IIRC it's Verde Butterfly. The backsplash is slate, and the cabinets are frameless cherry from Scherr's. It's all held up well so far (5 years down the road). Except for the one chip I knocked out of the edge of the counter while moving a wine bottle from the counter to the recycling bin a while back.