Cooktop, wall ovens
I'm new here, so forgive me if this is the wrong place to post, and please direct me to the right place.
I'm looking for advice on a gas cooktop. I've been pointed to Viking and Dacor (30"). Consumer Reports rates them highly, but also repairs for both are quite high. Does anyone absolutely love or hate either? I've never cooked with gas before, and I understand cleanup is a problem. I'm not sure what that means exactly.
Also, double wall ovens. Kitchen Aid or Bosch? I can get a Bosch for about $100 more than the KA, but it has a lot of stuff, ie. Pie, Dehydrate, Pizza, that I'm wondering if it just means more stuff to go wrong. I have a 50 year old Moffat that works wonderful, so I'm after something durable, reliable, with a low repair record - a workhorse in other words.
One last question, Miele or Bosch dishwasher?
Thanks, and I'll try to be more succinct next time!
Welcome to Chowhound, casey30. The COOKWARE board is indeed the place to ask your specific question.
Before any really helpful, good information is offered, tell us a bit more about your situation, location? budget? experience? etc.
You write: "..... and I understand cleanup is a problem..." (with gas cooktops). Huh? Could you help me here, please? I have cooked on a Viking six burner gas cooktop-cum-griddle for the past seven years and love the fact that I can disassemble the entire thing and clean it thoroughly. That does not happen with all cooktops and when I was forced to use electricity (only) the clean-up was nightmare-ish. What is the downside to taking something apart and cleaning all the bits and pieces?
You say you want a workhorse appliance. What commercial gear is available where you live (Canada, I assume)? That may be the best bet for you, although it will depend on numerous factors.
(Crossing my fingers as I write this) I have not had to call the repairman for either my wall ovens or cooktop so I cannot comment on cost, although I'll hazard a guess and say that it will be pricey.
There is another board, gardenweb.com with an appliance forum (kitchen) that you might consider as well as asking your question on CH.
Edit: I forgot to add that once you cook on a gas cooktop, you'll be spoiled for life. There is a valid reason it is used in commercial kitchens although many swear by the induction cooktops. I have used one (commercial induction) and loved it! What I didn't love was the idea of replacing much of my cookware. That was the deal-breaker for me. I own too much lovely old French copper to discard it.
2nd! I absolutely love my Miele gas cooktop (ss surface)...perfect, very flexible heat, easy to clean, no problems. The highest quality & from me the highest praise. I love my Miele elec oven, too. The cooktop & oven replaced a Dacor cooktop & oven...the cooktop was OK but the oven drove me nuts...took forever to preheat & the temp was never reliable...I switched from Dacor to Miele because of how pleased I was with my Miele dw......1st one lasted over twenty years...2nd one looks like it will go that long, too...totally silent, cleans perfectly, zero problems...
cannot praise Miele quality enough...
Yes, I do live in Canada, in Toronto. The Viking is about $1990, and the Dacor $2100. I've been on the gardenweb site, and that's where I first heard about cleanup difficulties - I don't actually know what it means. Can you go over the cooktop with stainless to clean up? My old electric I take out the rings, soak and scrub with steel wool. Can you do that with the Viking? or any gas cooktop?
Is the KitchenAid cooktop worth a look? Thermador my appliance guy showed me had star shaped burners which he said some people didn't like.
Any thoughts on KA or Bosch double wall ovens?
I don't want to overthink the whole thing, but am getting more confused. Prices for the KA ovens are $3280 and the Bosch $3400.
We're redoing the whole kitchen and I feel like a lamb being led to the slaughter - every store tells me something different!!
After much research when we were totally re-doing our kitchen 4 years ago, I chose DCS. My cooktop is gas with 4 burners and a grddle. Each burner has 17,500 BTU with a simmer of 500 BTU. It is easy to clean, reliable and looks great.
I chose DCS electric wall ovens with convection. The broiler in the top oven is concealed as are the bake elements on the floor of both ovens. This sold me! So easy to clean in between "self Cleaning". Also, the internal capacity was bigger than other brands that took up the same amount of space.
We chose a Bosch dishwasher for the water use efficiency, style and noise level. Half the time I don't evn know it's on.
Good luck, take your time and enjoy the process.
Just a suggestion:
If you are going to get a stainless cooktop, you might wanna look into the KA with the scratch resistant coating.
In the end, you are going to have to make your own decision. Sounds like you've narrowed down the hundreds of choices to only a few for whatever your reasons might be. If you dig a little deeper into each decision you have to make, you might find another reason to lean towards one thing over another. Since you are asking Bosch or Miele for the dishwasher, you might also want to include the models you are thinking about to get specific responses. I'd assume that you are considering very specific models since there are many more options for makers of Euro brand dishwashers at a myriad of price points. Definitely same for your wall ovens - you've narrowed it down to KA or Bosch out of the many other choices for whatever reason. When I was searching a few months ago, I crossed them both off of my list, and went with the Electrolux Icon Pro for the price range.
My cooktop decision was a little easier. A gas cooktop, to me, is basically a few tubes that carry gas to keep a flame lit. Some of them have an outrageous amt of btus, and some of them have a wide range of btus (simmer to 18,000 btu on one burner.) So, I narrowed it down to range + appearance + continuous grates. My final options were the Electrolux regular (NOT icon,) the GE monogram, and the kitchenaid - all in 36 inch 5 burner configurations. These three all looked nice, had knob configurations that did not interfere with usage, continuous grates, and knobs that felt substantial and not flimsy. In the end, the KA was a no brainer because they offered a scratch resistant coating which actually worked ( we were getting stainless)
Keep digging for info, and I bet some reason to go with one instead of the other will pop out at you. If you are only trying to decide between two ovens, cooktops, and dishwashers out of the many other brands/models, you're 99% done.
We renovated our kitchen just over a year ago. We decided on an Electrolux gas cooktop (30 inch) and a Bosch dishwasher. Love them both. For walloven, we were somewhat 'price sensitive' and ended up getting a Frigidaire, which I quite like but we're not huge oven users. We ended up getting all of our appliances, including fridge and microwave at Tasco.
I have a Viking wall oven and hate it. It is just under 9 years old. I have had to replace the heating element 3 times, it took 3 trips to repair the self clean function. All the numbers are just painted on and come off with normal cleaning. It is slow to heat up. There is no positive indicator between the oven and broil function. In other words, it is poorly designed and poorly made. Every service rep I have had work on it has the same opinion. They look good, but are not worth anything near the price they get.
casey30: "One last question, Miele or Bosch dishwasher?"
We were faced with that decision about three years ago. We chose the Miele, and we are glad that we did. The factor that weighed most in our initial decision was an "irrelevant" one: weight. The Miele that we purchased was considerably heavier than the Bosch simply due to employing a heavier gauge of steel, and that impressed us enough to tip the scale, as it were.
Then, when the Miele was installed, I found that the REAR leveling feet of the dishwasher could be adjusted from the FRONT of the dishwasher when the dishwasher is in place, and it became even more apparent to me that some serious thinking and engineering had gone into the appliance. Did you know that electronic diagnosis (and software upgrades) can be performed on the Miele from the front, also, using a personal computer and a serial cable that you connect to a port on the appliance?
Once in operation, it was the top silverware tray that won me over forever. That tray is so many orders of magnitude better than the standard receptacle in other dishwashers (such as the Whirlpool that our Miele replaced), I am not sure that we ever could go back to any dishwasher that lacked a similar tray.
The Miele is admirably silent (as are many other modern dishwashers), and, so far, completely reliable (knock on wood).
Finally, we had the trap on our sink drain (into which the dishwasher also drains) rust through a few months ago, and, for the day before we could get a plumber in to replace the trap, we had a bucket below the trap to collect the water going down the drain. We ran a load of dishes through the Miele during that time, and we were stunned at how little water the "normal" cycle used. Obviously, we did not have a chance to do a comparison with the Bosch (or any other dishwasher), but the exercise underscored for us how much water and water-heating energy we save by washing our dishes in the Miele instead of by hand.
Did I mention that the Miele gently gets our dishes really, really clean?
During the past 15 months I've purchased a Dacor 30" gas cooktop (PGM304), a Dacor 30" raised vent, and a Bosch 30" double wall oven (HBL8650).
I love, love, LOVE the gas cooktop. It comes apart for really easy cleaning. The knobs lift off and are easy to clean, the grates go into the sink and never really need scrubbing, and the area around the burners cleans easily with 409 and a Dobie pad. The cooktop has plenty of BTUs and a range of heat settings, including a simmer setting on one burner that really does simmer. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.
The raised vent, OTOH, was a total and complete waste of money. I had no place to install an overhead venting system, and since I was replacing an old Jennair cooktop with downdraft venting (that did work fairly well), I went for the Dacor downdraft. It's useless, period. It sucks the heat from the burners, and it's not high enough to capture the steam or fumes from my pots. And it makes so much noise you'd think an airplane was landing in the kitchen. I NEVER use it and I wish I had gone with my gut and not put in a vent at all.
The Bosch ovens -- if I had to do it over again, I'd buy Bosch but I'd choose a model with fewer bells and whistles. I don't like the control panel at all -- too many (mostly useless) options, and I really have to press the panel hard to choose the settings I want. Another (minor) annoyance -- the oven light goes off every time I open the oven door, so I need to turn it on each time I close the door -- a real pain when, for example, I'm basting a turkey. I also learned, after testing the oven temps with a thermocouple, that the oven indicators lie, telling me that the set temp has been reached 8-10 minutes before it's actually reached. It takes a full 20 minutes to reach 375 degrees, regardless of whether I use convection, fast preheat, or any other setting. That said, once it reaches the set temp, it remains fairly consistent, +/- 12 degrees, usually. I've had the ovens for about 3 months, so I can't really speak to repairs, but by now, I've learned to adapt to the ovens' quirks and I enjoy using them..
A few thoughts:
The more of these questions you ask, the more opinions you will get. Just about everybody who loves what they have will tell you about it, and you will hear how great nearly everything out there is. A few who hate what they have will also chime in. In the end you just have to hold your breath and make a decision.
Garden Web has much more information, or opinions if you please, than Chowhound. It can be very confusing. That said, I did learn some things over there when I was doing what you're doing (nearly 4 years ago), and it did shape what I did, and I'm glad I did the research.
I was basically doing something similar to you, ie a gas cooktop and an electric wall oven. For the cooktop I went with Bluestar and am very pleased. I don't think any brand will come close to it in sheer cooking performance--it as close to a true professional cooking surface as you will find in a residential unit. But if you've been on Garden Web you surely have seen references to BlueStar by now.
For my wall ovens I went with a Jenn-Aire model, because it was the least expensive one I could find that had true convection in both ovens and hidden heating elements. It works fine. I'm not a baker, so take it FWIW.
For my DW's (2) I chose a mid-scale Whirlpool. Doesn't have the cachet of the German names (Bosch is made in North Carolina BTW, and some Whirlpool equipment is made in Germany) but they work fine and are quiet enough for me. I just couldn't see spending four figures for a dishwasher. All modern dishwashers use minimal water by federal regulation. And the new requirements are why nobody's love for their old machine should have much influence on you--all machine designs today are very different from what they were 10 years ago.
I have a Vent-a-hood. That is a good brand of hoods. CindyJ above is right about downdraft "hoods." They are terrible. The laws of physics insure they can never work. Avoid at all costs.
Bosch has many models that are not "four figures". I can't even tell it's on. After the model I had prior to it (I think it was called the freight train dw), noise level was key to me.I am happy to know it is made in the US, but that was never an issue. I never knew dishwasher brands had cachet. I find that kind of funny.
You betcha foreign brand dishwashers have cachet with many people, perhaps not you. And yes there are certainly Bosch models that sell for under four figures, but there are many many foreign name brands that don't, and aside from the magic $1,000 line the point is that the foreign brands are generally quite pricy. If they bring value to the buyer equivalent to their cost, that's fine, and not for me to judge anyone else's value calculation (to come full circle, however, some of that value often is cachet, for some people--same as the crowd that spends 3x or 6x more for sub-zero, Viking, and other such refrigerators---after all, it's just a box to keep things cold, one might point out--they are mostly buying cachet, let's face it).
Your current DW had better be quieter than your old one. That is probably true of every DW out there. Because your Bosch is quieter than you old _______ really doesn't tell anyone much about buying one today, because essentially every modern DW is quieter than the old ones.
johnb: "Some things are just better now than in the 'good old days.'"
It goes both ways. A major brand refrigerator purchased 20 years ago is quite probably running today (and using energy inefficiently). Most major brand refrigerators purchased ten years ago have either gone to the Big Compressor in the Sky or have become a recurring source of repair bills. A new model refrigerator certainly will be more energy efficient than an old one, but that efficiency is purchased at the cost of durability.
As to dishwashers, almost all are quieter than previous generation dishwashers, and almost all use less water than previous generation dishwashers. Within those parameters, however, some dishwashers have evolved by adding more features while holding the price line -- a remarkable achievement attained by using lower priced parts, more plastic, less metal, etc. Others have added features without compromising build quality -- but the prices have gone up accordingly. Neither philosophy is right; neither is wrong. But the informed buyer becomes aware of which camp each model falls in and makes a purchase with his or her eyes wide open.
I agree about refrigerator durability. In part I think it was due to some bad compressor designs that now have been corrected. But there are a couple of additional factors to consider The new units' energy cost saving (to which you alluded) probably make up for any disadvantage they have in terms of lifespan--the newer unit, even if it has to be replaced sooner, still costs you less overall than the older unit that lasted "forever." In addition, I at least think that most refrigerators that are 15-20 years old look pretty bad, inside and out, and to me there's some additional value in being a little more up-to-date. But to each his own.
As an aside, a lot of people put their old refrigerators in their garages as back-ups. Bad idea. If they realized how much running these things costs them they would probably send them to the junkyard in a heartbeat.
I had an old amana that we thought about tossing in the garage or basement - it was a tank - worked perfectly. 25 yrs old. But in the end, we figured we'd just get a cheap new one as the extra fridge because of the energy issue. We put it in the alley - it was gone in a day. I'm sure someone is happy with it.