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Feb 5, 2011 05:50 PM

30" gas range Dacor? Jenn Air? Viking?

hi we are a growing family of 7 . We don't eat out much and are upgrading our kitchen. We have room for a 30" range ( replacing a newer Jenn Air) and could squeeze a 36" range in. We would like to add a proper hood ( good bye over the range microwave hood) trimmed to match our new cabinets. The local salespeople keep pushing the pro style Jenn Air, but I'm not convinced. We are considering Dacor also Wolf and Viking are available. We use our range everyday - for everyday cooking, pasta and home made sauce, pot roast, stews, etc also need the sitters to be able to heat up a can of soup... The oven is used for roasting meats, home made pizza or home made Mac and cheese and 7 birthday cakes per year. We are willing to invest in high quality, reliable, attractive range that we will be satisfied for the next 10-15 years. We aren't looking to impress our friends and ate also leary of too many electronic touchpad controls. My budget for range and hood is approx $4k-5k.

Any help is appreciated!

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  1. Have you considered induction? Some (I!!!) say it's the wave of the future. Plenty of info on CH about the science of it. Here's what I have --- for about $1700.

    ETA: Curious why you're focusing on the high end brands?

    7 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Interesting. It wasn't something we were considering. We currently have a slide I gas range and we like it. I suppose a high end pro style range is on keeping with the rest of our house/ finishes in the kitchen. That said it isn't only about that. We are leaning toward the Dacor, but wanted to make sure. We love our Bosch dw and are planning on installing 2 paneled ones in the new kitchen because we found our current one to handle the 1-2 x daily run with no problems. Usually we like to buy great products and then use them like crazy and not worry about them. In the next 8 years we wl starting sending kids to University so this remodel will need to be built to last.

      1. re: c oliver

        C Oliver,
        I am intrigued by your satisfaction with an induction cooktop. I have several questions: (1) The link you provided describes a stove with only ONE induction burner and THREE radiant burners. Is that what you purchased? (2) Apparently some kinds of metal are unusable for induction cooking--obviously ceramic, but anything else? (3) Can you use non-stick cookware? (4) For high end cooktops, to me, BTUs are what I am paying for. How do induction cooktops compare?

        (5) Does the magnetic nature of the cooktop play havoc with your watch or high end appliances with computer chips in them? (I am thinking in particular about my stick blender, which I like to use right in the pan still on the cooktop.) (6) How finicky are induction cooktops about metal pans being absolutely flat?

        The idea of cooking on a surface that stays mostly cool and that heats up instantly is intriguing. I'll say that! Thanks!

        1. re: gfr1111

          Not co, and I have only messed with friends' induction cooktops (my kitchen remodel is perpetually scheduled for next year), but...

          1. According to Samsung, that range has "4 full induction cooktop burners."

          2. Only magnetic metal pans work on an induction cooktop. Cast iron (enameled or no) works great, as does carbon steel. But copper, aluminum, and some stainless pans don't work. Most stainless made in the last ten years or so works fine; the simplest way to test is to see if a refrigerator magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan.

          3. So long as the non-stick coating is laid down on an induction-compatible pan, yes. But much of the nonstick cookware out there is aluminum.

          4. This is the good stuff. Induction kicks gas's butt when it comes to power. The highest-power element on a low-end induction cooktop is 2400 watts, which is about like a 17,000 btu gas burner - something you're only going to find on high-end ranges. And even a mid-range induction cooktop will go up as high as 3700 watts, the equivalent of over 26,000 btus. The pan heats up just as fast if not faster than with gas, and small amounts of water boil in seconds, not minutes.

          5. No.

          6. They're not.

          1. re: alanbarnes

            Way cool. I decided to have breakfast before replying and ab did all the work for me. Thanks, kiddo.

            There's a lot of info on CH about induction. If you search and include politeness (a CH and ardent user of induction) you'll get much better explanations than I can give. And find an appliance store where you can actually see it working. That clinched it for me. Not only do you get all the power that Alan mentions but the low end is fantastic. With my previous gas, my lowest was sometimes not low enough. I can now make Bolognese sauce and actually maintain it where a bubble only occasionally breaks the surface. AND as I've told Alan, I'd buy it again JUST for the ease in cleanup. It seems I'm an incurably messy cook. What a delight it is to have a completely flat surface.

            To close, I would encourage everyone who is planning to replace to at least investigate induction. It's changed my (cooking) life :)

            1. re: c oliver

              C oliver, I bought a portable induction unit that I use with a 10" Lodge cast iron skillet that lines up perfectly with the outlined circle on the cooktop. I'm getting a 4 inch circle of heat in the middle of the pan that is noticeably hotter than the rest of the pan. Do you encounter this with a real induction range? I'm looking at the Electrolux 30" induction range, but this circle of heat in the center of the pan has me concerned.

              1. re: Rick

                I've not had that experience. Sorry I can't advise.

                1. re: Rick

                  It's all about coil size. An induction element only heats that part of a pan that is directly over its coil. There isn't a direct correlation between diameter and power, but lower-powered elements tend to have smaller coils.

                  I'd be willing to bet your portable unit has a 4-inch coil. The Electrolux range has elements that are 6, 7, 8, and 10 inches - the coils are probably slightly smaller than that, but they're still probably bigger than the little one on your portable.

                  Best way to find out is to look under the hood. Lift the glass and the coils are easy to see. But I'll guarantee that the coils on that range are bigger then four inches.

        2. My most recent experience is with purchasing a built in oven rather than a range, but what I learned can help you with that part of the decision. One (or at least not many) factory makes the thermometers that go into ovens. After a thermometer is made each gets tested for its responsiveness and sensitivity. Then, thermometers get divided into batches. I think the range is less than a 5 degree temperature swing, a 10 degree temperature swing, and a more than 10 degree temperature swing in the top three categories of ovens. Viking and Wolf use the most sensitive thermometers. Thermador and (I think) Jenn Air were in the second tier and Kitchen Aid is in the third tier. There are a considerable number of brands with even wider temperature swings.

          (Incidentally, when I learned this in my shopping, I shared this with my husband who is a scientist. He confirmed that this method of making a sensor device and then identifying its sensitivity is a fairly standard manufacturing technique. He named two sensors that scientists in his company use that are produced the same way. When ordering the part, the scientists specificy what degree of sensitivty they want.)

          I'll use the most sensitive thermometer to illustrate what this means. If you set the oven to 350 degrees, the oven will not get hotter than 355 degrees before the heating element shuts off. Then, the oven will not cool to any lower than 345 degrees before the heating element turns back on. Obviously, in ovens with wider temperature swings, you could be talking about a 30 degree swing.

          The salesman recommend I think about the majority of my cooking and decide on what degree of sentivity I need. Baking requires very small temperature variation. Long, slow braising can tolerate less precision.

          I went with a Viking oven.

          I separately bought a Thermador gas cooktop two years ago and I've been very happy with details like two simmer burners and a central high BTU burner. That decision was made more spur of the moment so I can't claim any particular research behind the choice.

          Good luck!

          1. If you can really fit in a 36" range, the oven size is a real plus in my opinion. I am not a fan of Jenn Air, downdraft systems SUCK. I had a couple that wanted to get rid of all the Viking appliances in their remodel. Thermador has proven realiable and I like their burners, a vast majority of my clients have been very happy with Thermador. Wolf convection ovens are wonderful if you are a baker, their convection is one of the best. This go around on my kitchen I am going for the Dacor. I have always liked the product and wanted to put one in, so now or never. The 36" Dacor dual fuel range is close to $8000.00, not including a proper hood. Not sure how much the 30" is.

            1. My experience with Jenn-Air has been uniformly negative. Their "pro-style" is way more "style" than "pro." I currently have a Dacor cooktop and am not thrilled with it, either. And friends tell horror stories about their Vikings.

              Were I shopping for a gas range or cooktop right now, I'd be looking very seriously at FiveStar and BlueStar. High power, minimal bells and whistles (which tend to break), and better value than brands that advertise heavily in kitchen design magazines. (A significant portion of the cost of every Viking stove goes to help cover a **very** large advertising budget.)

              But my friends who've gone with induction can't stop singing its praises, so my inclination is to go that route instead of gas when we finally get to the long-awaited kitchen remodel.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alanbarnes

                And hopefully I'm one of the friends you're referring to :) I can't imagine going back to gas. We did two house exchanges over Christmas and New Years and I had to use two very high end gas cooktops. Couldn't wait to get back home to my induction. It's pretty life-changing :)

              2. I have a 6 burner Dacor and have been happy with it for fifteen years. Last year I bought a grill for the middle burners. I have never had any problem with it, easy to clean, still looks new.

                17 Replies
                1. re: sedimental

                  A neighbor has a Dacor and it malfunctioned and set her house on fire! The self-cleaning control malfunctioned and it just kept getting hotter and hotter and hotter, finally melting the solder (excuse me if my terms are incorrect) on the gas line creating a little mini-blow torch. Burn through the back of the range and set the wall behind it on fire. Gratefully they were at home and awake, smelled the smoke and called the fire department. She had a nightmare (not life-threatening this time) with her SubZero fridge. She said if she could throw them off the second floor deck she'd gladly do that and NEVER get another high-end, la-dee-dah brand again.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Malfunctions can happen on any brand. That's too bad about your neighbor. I have only had malfunctions on cheaper brand appliances -but more importantly- cheaper brands have not lasted as long for me. I tend to buy la -dee-dah brands now. I find lasting longer is well worth the money.

                    1. re: sedimental

                      I can honestly say that the only malfunction I've ever had on any large appliance was an icemaker problem on my newish Samsung French door fridge. So I feel sorry for you that you've had other problems. 'Course, I'd never "step down" to gas again :) I can't imagine ever giving up induction. BTW, I know someone who paid something like $5-7K for a Wolf (I believe) induction cooktop and has had major problems. Here I stand with my $1700 Samsung induction/convection RANGE and it works SO well.

                      1. re: sedimental

                        It's an indisputable fact that high-end appliances have a higher incidence of repair than mass-market stuff. That may have something to do with replacement cost (it makes more sense to pay for a $1000 repair on a $5000 stove than on one that was $500 new), but IMO there's absolutely no correlation between price and reliability.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          I think that is true (about getting high end appliances repaired, instead of new ones). I just threw away a Maytag washer that was 3 years old. It cost more to repair it than I paid for it. I had a long talk with the repair guy that made me ill about the quality of US washing machines at this time in history (but thats another topic).

                          But, I still have all my high end appliances. None have been thrown out. They all look new and work like new. I have had service calls on them once or twice in 15 to 20 years , but never for manufacturing problems. Those calls were not after only 3 years- they were after 10 years. Big difference.

                          Of course, it depends on what type of appliance you are talking about, but IMHO I *do* think most high ends are actually more reliable as well. There are quality differences and workmanship differences that matter over time. Especially if you buy commercial appliances (and alot of homeowners don't even look at commercial stuff and sometimes they should). My commercial Brasilia Espresso machine has had one service call in 15 years. My neighbor has gone through 4 coffee pots and 2 mini espresso machines in the same time period (a few were just upgrades). I know this because she came over a few weeks ago and was asking about how to get one. I reminded her how she mercilessly teased me about opening up my own coffee shop with it, yada, yada- before I told her.

                          So, I would never discourage people from looking at high end appliances or commercial appliances. I think they need to match their use pattern to the appliance, before deciding.

                          1. re: sedimental

                            I agree with you when it comes to true commercial stuff. Anything that can stand up to the rigors of a professional kitchen will likely be trouble-free at home. OTOH, the OP is asking about ranges, and installing a commercial range in a residential kitchen is problematic to say the least.

                            But I disagree with you when it comes to high-end residential appliances. The Viking stove is the ne plus ultra of upscale kitchen design, but it may well be the most unreliable range on the market. According to Consumer Reports, of all the models considered, Viking scored dead last for reliability.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              Well, I have never had a viking but I'll take your word for it. My Dacor range is residential and has been a workhorse. I would buy another one. I don't trust Consumer Reports, they have been extremely unreliable for me.

                              I think people forget that they can check out commercial equipment and appliances and compare them to the residential items to see the differences. It really helps me to do that- even if I end up going residential. It is a good comparative tool.

                              1. re: sedimental

                                I had more recent Dacor appliances-3 years ago and it was a nightmare.. I bought them on their previous reviews. I had the ER36D range and wall oven with Discovery controller. They had a multitude of problems but the main one being they couldn't maintain a set temp. I fooled with them and their fixes for 7 months. At the low point, they promised to expedite a third wall oven by the next week so I would have something to cook with for thanksgiving. I heard nothing so called the distributor and they knew nothing. When I tried to call Dacor they told me basically everyone wants their oven fixed so get in line.
                                I finally insisted on my money back as I had the appliances for 7 months and never had a working range.or oven. At this point it was Christmas I was physically sick that I spent that much on appliances and had nothing to bake in. They did agree with pressure from the dealer to buy them back and told me it would take 3 weeks to get my check. I finally got it 6-8 weeks later and ran to the bank. If anyone was dependent on getting their money back to buy new appliances, you would be outta luck. Mine is not an isolated instance. I know of others in my city who have had issues and received an email yesterday from someone having the same problems wanting to know how mine was resolved.
                                I was a little gun shy at first but bought a Wolf DF and Electrolux oven. I did initially have trouble with the Electrolux flaking enamel but they were no quibble in replacing it and these appliances have been trouble free.
                                Anyone can have problems but it is how they treat their customers.

                                The sad thing about appliances today is past performance and reliability has nothing to do with the way they are made today as you found out with your Maytag. If you want to get a quick idea about quality, go pull a knob off of a Dacor ER36D and compare it to others, especially a Wolf.

                                1. re: wekick

                                  Wow. That is sad. I guess quality workmanship is really harder to find now. I guess I should really consider getting all my good stuff repaired and not replaced! My Maytag experience may not be an isolated incident after all. That is one of the troubles I have with Consumer Reports. They test current models and rate them, turns out to be a piece of crap 3 years later. I learned more by talking to repair people. THEY can be a wealth of information!

                                  1. re: sedimental

                                    If there is a way get get it repaired I would. If I droned on and on about my appliances that I put in when we remodeled, you wouldn't believe it.
                                    Not one appliance including the microwave came intact. That was just the starting point. Also you really have to watch who you do business with.
                                    My parents have their original refrigerator that is 60 years old and still running with one service call many years ago. We attended an auction a few months ago that had a frig from 1935 running like a top. There was a young guy there that collects them and bought it. He was so excited and said they are more energy efficient than you think. I didn't have the heart to bid against him or I would have bought it. Those days when appliances were made to last are gone for the most part.

                                    1. re: sedimental

                                      I totally agree about talking to independent appliance repair people about their experiences with various brands; if I'd done that, I never would have bought my Bosch double wall ovens a couple of years ago. I curse that control panel EVERY time I use it!

                                    2. re: wekick

                                      I have a Dacor 30 inch gas slide in. It's five years old, and been serviced four times. Two days ago the wiring started to burn. I am sure it will cost at least 500 to fix it, and I am not going to bother. I will never touch this brand again.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            I have turned into such a high-end phobe that I can't bring myself to replace my piece o'crap GE Monogram fridge. It's a counter-depth built in, so the only thing that will fit in its space is a high end something or other. When I read stories like yours, I quake and try to keep my horrid appliance going for just a bit longer, in the hope that the fridge fairy will sneak in and replace it with something awesome. But it is 10 years old, and 10 years in fridge years is old....

                            1. re: Isolda

                              Good news - counter-depth refrigerators are hitting the mainstream. They're still priced at a premium, but odds are when the GE finally gives up the ghost you can fit some Samsung or LG reliability into that space.

                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                I just got rid of an LG, I wouldn't go there.

                                1. re: JEN10

                                  According to JD Power & Associates, LG initial quality and reliability are better than any other manufacturer except Samsung. They've got linear compressors, which are inherently less failure-prone, and their warranty is the best in the industry. It sucks to get a bad unit, but that's less likely with an LG than with just about any other brand.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    It wasn't the motor/ compressors, it was the design of the unit. It was cheaply made, the drawers were falling apart and did not glide well. I was not thrilled with the interior functions of the fridge. It was a "french door" model and I found the capacity lacking. Fortunetly it has left the house.