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Nov 8, 2009 04:45 PM

Ranges similar to Wolf R304?

I'm looking at the Wolf R304. I like the flexibility of all four burners being the same (500-16,000 BTUs), the simple controls (I won't buy anything with "glass touch" controls), and the continuous grates. The price seems kind of nuts, though.

Is there anything similar at a lower price point?

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  1. The Jenn-Air PRG3010NP seems to be pretty similar. Does not have downdraft. Sales guy said it does not have problem with the door not closing that cheaper models do.

    Minus: only left front burner has 570 BTU simmer, the other three go down only to 1600. Otherwise seems like a knockoff of the R304.

    1. We ended up ordering a Wolf R304, $3799 after the $200 rebate. We like the super-simple design (five knobs plus on-off switches for convection and oven light), proven reliability, and thoughtful design that makes it relatively easy to clean for an open-burner model.

      The Blue Star RNB was the runner-up. It costs about the same, has higher BTUs (not all the burners have the same output though you could special-order that), and a slightly bigger oven (can hold a full restaurant sheet pan), but it looked like it would be much, much harder to clean. The choice of 190 colors is a nice option. If you don't care about convection, the RCS is around $5-600 cheaper.

      The Viking VGIC and Thermador PRG304EH had similar features but cost a bit more and I find a lot of reports from disgruntled users online.

      The NXR had similar features and costs only $2000, but seemed flimsy by comparison, didn't have continuous grates, and the grates had really big openings that would be a problem for very small pots. If the grates had been more like the Wolf's we might have gone with this as the price is much more reasonable.

      I also compared Bertazzoni, Dacor, DCS, Electrolux Icon, Jenn-Air, and KitchenAid ranges in the same general price range but they didn't make the cut for one reason or another (high BTUs on simmer, too much variation in burner output, wide grate spacing, electronic controls, disgruntled users).

      I find it insane that we have to pay $4000 for a simple, well-made range without a bunch of electronic crap.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        I don't think you'll be disappointed. It sounds similar to the 4-burner Wolf we have, and we haven't had any problems. The burners can go from very hot to a very low simmer. The oven is very reliable too, although it doesn't self clean. Make sure you get a hood/vent that's strong enough to handle all the heat your range puts out. The back vents get pretty hot when the oven is on

        1. re: chuckl

          The research I did for this purchase has convinced me that self-cleaning is a terrible idea. Not only does the high heat shorten the life of various components, but having a self-cleaning cycle requires electronics and an automatic door lock, which are two more things to break down.

          The only negative reports I've found on Wolf ranges involved dual-fuel models with electronic controls and a self-cleaning cycle.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          I am local (near Berkeley) and was wondering if you could tell me where you got your R304. I'm in the market for a new range and that is at the top of my list. It's good to hear that you really like it.

          1. re: scoolguy

            We went with General Appliance in Berkeley. I shopped around and at that time nobody was selling them any cheaper.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            Hi, I'm currently looking at the 30" Blue Star vs the 30" Wolf. Since you've had your Wolf for over a year now, I was wondering if you'd still make the same decision? The advantage of the Blue Star for me is mostly the cast-iron grates and the "wok-ready" burners, plus, the fact that I can get it in something other than stainless. (I am not a fan of "matchy-matchy" kitchens.)

            But... I'm also an engineer, and when I opened the Wolf, it was love at first sight. I'm having trouble convincing myself that the Blue Star for $3900 is a better deal than the Wolf at $4100, BUT, there is the lower-end Blue Star without convection for only $2300, and THAT is very tempting. (These are all recent prices I was quoted in the southeastern Michigan area.)

            Also I have heard that the Blue Stars get hotter, in terms of having small critters (I have an 8-year-old, 2 cats, and a 3-month-old puppy) who might inadvertently get too close to the front of the range.

            1. re: zoe99

              New here and making a similar decision. Was going to go with the Wolf R304 until I just heard of the Capital Culinarian, the new kid on the block! Anyone know about it?? Open burners, 23,000 btu. Love the design. Just coming out now. The only place I can find to look at one is in LA.
              Anybody know anything about this? You can check out the Capital website!

              1. re: khuselid

                Several mentions of it on these boards. Here's my take, along with some other links:

                There's a guy in Mass who has them in his shop for trial as well. But basically, not being able to see it locally is one drawback of Capital Culinarian, unless you happen to live in Southern California or New England. The other main drawback is that it may be hard to get service locally.

                All that said, we love ours so far, and very glad we went for it over the Blue Star, which we were all set to get until hearing about the Culinarian.

              2. re: zoe99

                Yeah, I'm happy with the Wolf R304. It's really well designed. The grates are cast iron, with some sort of coating that makes them easier to clean. We had the door painted to match the knobs.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Hey Robert,

                  We have pretty much settled on the R304 and we live in Orinda. Where did you get yours painted??? What a great idea!


                  1. re: khuselid

                    The guy was recommended by General Appliance in Berkeley.

            2. Hey Robert I have a R304 and would never buy another Wolf product based on my experience.
              Good luck with yours.I am currently trying to sell mine and replace it with an induction cooktop and wall oven. The oven in my R304 was a poor performer. Uneven cooking in the oven in any mode.
              Many more issues mostly related to the dealer and service have plagued my purchase.
              I felt the unit is highly overated.
              Wolf has a long way to go to ever get another dollar from me.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Magnapro

                Our dealer has a good reputation and said they've had good experiences with Wolf.

                1. re: Magnapro


                  As you stated its sounds like you are having a problem with a dealer, call wolf/Sub-Zero directly and tell them the issues that you are having. Wolf/Sub-Zero’s customer service is legendary, with service managers and customers, report you issues and what the dealer has done or not done. I think you will find any issues will be resolved in your favor.

                2. Our range was delivered Tuesday and I'm quite impressed. The burners not only put out more heat than the supposedly 15,000-BTU burner on our old Kitchenaid, the heat is much more even. The broiler is much bigger and hotter and again much more even. The oven can hold a huge roasting pan and giant cazuela that were too big for the old oven.

                  The one minor drawback is that the heavy grates hold the heat, so if I want to reduce the heat quickly I need to move the pan to another burner.

                  If I'd realized how much better this would be, I'd have bought one years ago.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Hi Robert,

                    Are you still digging your new r304? Doing kitchen renovation and am seriously considering one as well. For all my research and all the reasons you and others have stated they like the r304, it sounds like the right range for us.

                    What I have now is a 12+ (it was in the house when we moved in 12 years ago, could be older, I don't know) year old extreeeeeeeeeeeemely basic Maytag gas range. I don't know the model or the output, don't know anything. The thing has "gotten the job done" just fine for 12 years but I'm ready for something a little more special, without being TOO special.

                    Any new info you have on your opinion of your range would be much appreciated! Also, any info you have regarding appropriate ventilation for the 30" range would be great. Do we get a 30 inch hood? Or 36? Does it have to be a special kind? Right now I like the look of a Faber hood, style is called Diamante. Haven't done any research on that yet though.

                    Thanks again in advance!!!


                    1. re: cinnamonk

                      Yes, very happy with it. Don't walk away from the broiler. Seriously.

                      We just have the crappy hood that was in the house. Nothing special. Perfectly adequate.

                      1. re: cinnamonk

                        A "crappy hood" is not adequate when you have just a few burners and the oven going some consideration should be given to all the real ventilation required.
                        I put in a Venta a hood fan system model SLH 18
                        Do some research on proper ventilation it's worth the time, and I also made allowances for makeup air in a "tight" home.
                        And I sold my Wolf as it was a real poor stove for the dollar.
                        I will never buy another Wolf stove unless they improve the service and dealer system.
                        Contacting the factory was useless.
                        Good luck.

                      2. The oven has uneven temperature even in convection mode. Temperature distribution from front to back is very poor and the convection fan blows grease everywhere around the oven.
                        Overall the worst appliance purchase I have ever made. The burners on low have a poor heat distribution. Service was so poor I gave up after four service calls. I felt the service people were doing more damage than good.
                        Never will I reccomend Wolf until they fix the issues.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Magnapro

                          Where do you live? I get the impression service varies with location.

                          Ours has been pretty much perfect so I haven't had a reason to test it here in Berkeley.

                          1. re: Magnapro

                            Just seeing your reply 4 months later. Thanks, Magnapro, for the info on appropriate ventilation for the Wolf. I wound up going for a 36 inch hood over the 30" Wolf R304 and everything meets suggested requirements. The Wolf is now in place in the kitchen but is not yet hooked up and the hood is still in the box waiting to be installed. I'm still wondering if I should have gotten a BlueStar (ahhh those open burners) but am sure the Wolf will be worlds better than what I have been cooking on the past 12 years. I'll move the pan around if the flame creeps up the side.

                            Robert... you still loving yours?

                            Also, I want to say... Magnapro, I wonder if yours was a lemon. I bought a Mini Cooper Convertible in 2005 that was plagued with unfix-able problems. That car was in the dealership's shop on and off a total of 29 days when they finally told me nothing could be done. I was very upset, but I loved that car despite all the problems. Long story short, after nagging MINI for a while, they finally made a deal with us where they basically bought back the car and we bought a new one (this time, a MINI COOPER S convertible, which has a different transmission than the lemon I had... BTW...if I'm correct, MINI has changed the transmission completely on the Cooper convertible starting in 2006 so it was obvious people were having problems with the same transmission I had problems with) Sorry, long story short... I LOVE the S convertible, haven't had any problems with it, and would recommend it and MINI to anyone. I loved the MINI so much, even with its problems, that I gave them another chance and I'm glad I did.

                            Magnapro, maybe your Wolf was just a lemon? Maybe not? I dunno. I'm just hoping mine is a great range and that I love it and don't have annoying problems with it.

                            1. re: cinnamonk

                              Yeah, I like the R304 a lot. The range is particularly well designed, very easy to clean.