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Feb 15, 2008 04:39 AM

Which range is best: Wolf, Viking, or DCS?


We are remodeling and trying to decide on a 36-48 inch commercial-style range. There aren't many comprehensive reviews out there, but we are looking at Wolf, Viking, and DCS. We are thinking all gas but are open to duel fuel if it's a clearly superior (but I'm not sure that's the case). It seems one gets more for the money with DCS. We'd also be open to other brands, perhaps Blue Star. Please help!

  1. I've been told by several friends who have both brands that Wolf is almost identical to Viking, but substantially cheaper. Have you been to a specialty high-end kitchen store to check things out? We're in the process of starting a kitchen remodel ourselves, so I'm just starting some research as well. I'd love a La Cornue stove purely for the looks, but I've heard terrible things about how they cook.

    I do have one friend who is recommending that we check out the GE Professional Line. I haven't seen them yet, but if they're comparable to the Wolf in quality, I can forego the name on the door for the extra cash in my pocket. We'll see where we land, though!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Suzy Q

      We just built a new house and installed a Viking 48 inch dual fuel with 6 open burners and a griddle. I absolutely love it. The griddle is a lot of fun, the burners are really hot (whatever you do, don't skimp on the fan), the simmer function is great, and the ovens are great (especially the broiler--it's adjustable and the big oven has two different convection functions). And the small oven has a setting for proofing bread dough that works well to.

      1. re: Suzy Q

        We've been to a store that sells high-end stuff. They said Wolf is the best quality - but I hear conflicting advice and I'm not sure sealed burners are an option with Wolf. Wolf and Viking are comparably priced. DCS is about $1000-1500 cheaper.

      2. I have a DCS 30" DF range and love it (5 burners). I used to have a DCS 30" AG range and loved that too. Left it behind when we moved (because I got the DF cheaper than my AG, but that's another story). The performance of the cooktop and flexibility it provides is great. I have an older model where all burners are 16,000 BTU with the center burner 17,500 BTU. Newer models have varied BTUs on the burners, which I don't care for.

        AG or DF is a personal decision and really depends on what you use the oven for. Gas is better for meats; electic is better for baking. Gas is a moister heat; electric is dryer.

        If you want a place to review some serious appliance discussions, I highly recommend the GardenWeb forums. I did a lot of research there before buying my DCS. You'll hear good and bad about almost every brand made. I can't recommend it enough.

        You should also know that a lot of brands are not made by the name on the machine. You'll find a lot of those discussion on the forums as well. Start with the Appliance forum.

        Good luck!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dee S

          I too have the 30'' DCS, all gas, 5 burners, sealed burners, self cleaning, and love it. Listen -- the sealed burners make clean up easy. The self clean works great. Here's a little tiny tidbit, that means a lot to me: The oven racks have heavy duty casters, rather than just racks than scrape and slide in and out. Those regular racks always get hung up and stuck, seems to me... the heavy casters are a dream... glide in and out. DCS is solid.

        2. We recently installed a Blue Star 36" and are very pleased with it. The burner power is awesome but surprisingly, the simmer burner is most impressive--turned to low and with a heavy copper pan, a stick of butter will melt, not burn, but bubble a bit to let you know it's ready.

          As a professional, I don't find dual fuel, sealed burners and self cleaning at all useful. I do have and use the convection oven feature, however. Also, note that whatever the brand, a 36" stove gives you the biggest oven--only one but it's big.

          6 Replies
          1. re: GeezerGourmet

            That IS an important consideration. I tend to think the 48" is bad compromise -- if you want a BIGGEST oven get a 36" and if you want bigger go to 60", which really offers the benefits of DUAL 30" ovens. With a 48' you either get a 30" and some really undersized oven/storage space or TWO undersized 24" ovens...

            As to brand a lot comes down to the service type issues. Wold is partof SubZero (now) and they have had ups and downs in customer service. For as long as Viking has made an serious effort to be the premium professional style appiliance company they have tried to foster that image. DCS is part of Electrolux, though there California fore bearers were very good about service.

            BlueStar is a smaller company and is still building the organization. Fortunately the equipment is well designed and largely troublefree, though they are not as easy to deal with as company with a more mature network.

            1. re: renov8r

              I agree. I used to have a 60-inch Wolf with six burners, 24-inch square griddle, and two ovens. When I'm ready to shop for my next big range I won't be considering anything smaller.


              1. re: renov8r

                DCS is owned by Fisher-Paykel, not Electrolux (Electrolux owns Frigidaire and dozens of other names). DCS founders became disillusioned after the FP takeover and left to form Capital, so if you want a DCS-type design but the old (pre FP) quality you should look at Capital. BlueStar (Prizer-Painter) is small but has been in business a hundred years literally. Their machines are simple enough that anybody local can service them--the factory is pretty good about supporting the local guys with parts etc and is easy to get hold of on the phone, so service really doesn't seem to be an issue. I have a BS and couldn't be happier. I have the cooktop only--I installed an electric double convection wall oven, and still think that is the best way to go unless you're really tight for space.

                1. re: johnb

                  johnb, I am thinking about a 36 in BS range. How have you found the oven and broiler performance? Are they consistent from a temp perspective? Any complaints? Thanks.

                  1. re: bguy2008

                    Sorry just now saw this question. I can't help you because as I mentioned above I have the cooktop only, no oven.

              2. re: GeezerGourmet

                We got a Blue Star 36" too, and we're really pleased. I use the simmer burner regularly, whether to keep big pans of stuff warm, or to actually simmer a pot of stock for hours on end, knowing it won't go out and won't ever overheat. The horsepower on the mega burner is also great, as are the other 4 "regular" burners, which have a ton of BTUs and turn down reasonably low too.

                One thing about the oven--Blue Star is supposedly the only 36" range that fits a full professional sheet pan. They really maximized the oven space.

                We love the broiler. Heats fast, gets blistering hot, fun to just watch the sheets of blue flame while it's getting to temperature.

                We opted to go with the baseline model (no convection) and it was in the low $3000 range. I've never had a convection oven to compare it to, but the heavy duty construction on this and high horsepower seems to translate into an oven that cooks very evenly and reliably in terms of temperature. It was correctly calibrated right from the get-go.

                Reviews I read online said one drawback was that the ceramic surrounds on the burner sparkers/lighters can crack, but I've been careful not to get them wet and have had no problems in 7 months of heavy use.

                I like that the entire cook top is black cast iron, which really hides spills well. It's also easy to pick up individual pieces of it to scrub in the sink.

                I also like the open burner design, which means there's a pull out crumb tray a few inches below the cook top surface, and open channels for air in between, which supposedly helps improve burner efficiency. Something about the open burner design also keeps the surfaces of the stove top cool enough that spills don't carbonize on them--only on burners. My old closed-surface stove carbonized spills wherever they ended up, making cleanup more difficult.

              3. Maybe a thermador range if your budget allows it, and from what I heard and what I'm going is duel fuel range.

                1. Do some serious research if you are considering spending a lot of money on a Viking or Thermador. Consumer Reports had an issue from last year that gave very poor marks to Viking on frequency of repair. Thermadors have had a lot of recalls and have been problematic.

                  I wound up with a Bertazzoni (cooktop only).


                  12 Replies
                  1. re: mlgb

                    I'll second your thoughts on Viking having had to replace the very expensive oven ignition system!

                    1. re: OCEllen

                      I would have to agree, having had several problems with burners failing to ignite on my Viking and having to fork out lots of money for repair. The person that did the repairs works with all of these high-end stoves and says he sees many problems with all of them but likes BlueStar best as it is mentioned above..

                      1. re: OCEllen

                        I had the same problem with my Viking, but the repair person still told me he thought it was the best.

                        The repair cost me @ $300 and while I considered getting a new rangetop instead, it would have cost MUCH more.

                        1. re: OCEllen

                          Our Viking cooktop (we have separate GE wall ovens) is 8 years old and never been serviced. There are infrequent occasions when the igniters do not work, and more frequent occasions when they ignite but continue to make a clicking noise for about 30 seconds or more after ignition. The clicking problems typically arise after we have removed the iron disks that rest above the flame source, and then replaced them. If they are not precisely replaced or if there is water or air in the holes, the clicking occurs. Not sure why there is an occasional failure to ignite, but we just manually supply a flame; it does not happen often enough to warrant a service call.

                          By contrast, before the Viking cooktop we had a KA for about 12 years for which we needed multiple service calls because the igniters were so fragile that they actually broke off.

                          We love the perfomance of the Viking and the occasional ignition quirks are completely manageable.

                        2. re: mlgb

                          Vikings come in great colors. If your getting the stove to look pretty in your new kitchen, go with the Viking. If you're going to do some real cooking and need performance, go with the Wolf. I've had a Wolf for about 3 1/2 years, and its the best stove i have ever owned. Several friends that have the Vikings have had issues.

                          1. re: baldwinwood

                            I agree with baldinwood, I've had a smaller Wolf, 30-inch, 4 burner, for about a year. Get a good hood, though, it gets hot

                            1. re: chuckl

                              I also have a wolf 30-inch and never had any problems. I've had it for about 8 years. The only drawback with mine (as it is pre-subzero) it doesn't have sealed burners. Other than that, I love the simmer, I can melt chocolate directly in the pot, and the high BTU's make for great stir-frying.

                              1. re: chuckl

                                I use a vent-a-hood for my wolf too. Highly recommend.

                              2. re: baldwinwood

                                I have a black and brass Viking. IMO if you choose any range like this including the Viking you should stick with SS as the finish is far more durable.

                                1. re: baldwinwood

                                  I have a Viking and am having serious issues now, and have had smaller issues for the 4 years we've had it. We're ready to get rid of the d/mned thing. Wolf sounds like the way to go.

                                2. re: mlgb

                                  Hi there,

                                  Good luck with the Bertazzoni! We love them! Great company, hardly any issues at all, we sell them often, and they are becoming extremely popular here in the US.

                                  They really make a quality product.


                                  1. re: mlgb

                                    Vikings in professional kitchens often have door hing problems as well as the usual thermal coupler issue which crops up often. However the ovens are on like 16 hours a day.