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Nov 14, 2011 03:49 PM

Help me choose a gas range

Hi. I found this board on a google search for "open vs sealed burners." It seems a little dated, so I thought I'd join and get some current advice.

I'm nearing the end of a major kitchen remodel. We had planned to keep our electric range (a Kenmore Elite) until we got our money's worth out of it. But I really want a gas range. So I've arranged for the installation of a propane tank and am looking at my options. I sort of wish I had left room for a 36" range, but I'm limited to a 30". I've ruled out dual-fuel as I plan to eventually get an electric wall oven/microwave combo (saw an Electrolux that I like).

I spoke with a Wolf dealer who seemed to be knowledgeable, but I'm still undecided on open vs. sealed and manual vs. self clean. My wife does a lot of Wok cooking, and I need some precision for pastry prep. Neither of us cook professionally, but we enjoy it.

I'm hearing from the Wolf dealer that sealed has come a long way in simmering capabilities. But my Wolf options are limited to a single choice; open/manual clean. I haven't cleaned an over manually in many years and don't miss it one bit, but was told the higher-end ranges are easier than consumer/builder grade stoves. My current choices are as follows, not listed in any preference. I'm giving Made in USA a lot of priority, and haven't yet learned if this rules out the Thermador. I'm also unsure of how their cycling works for low temps. I don't want to hear constant clicking, but don't know if it actually does that.

I'll consider others too.

Wolf R304X
Viking VGIC5304BSS
Viking VGCC5304BSS
Viking VGSC5304BSS
Thermador PRG304EG


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  1. Hello,
    Here are two links that may be of help. The ranges do come in a 30 inch. On the Blue Star site, look for the videos on wok cooking which you or your wife may find interesting. The Five Star site has Rick Bayless videos. For the record, my wife and I were somewhat torn between these two ranges and settled on the Blue Star because of the burners. I will also tell you that there have been complaints (garden web) about fit and finish on the BS but we have not had any problems. We have had no regrets. Both ranges are made in the USA, as are many others.



    Hope this helps.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dcrb

      Thanks for the reply and links. Looking at AJMadison.com, the FiveStar ranges cost far less than the Vikings (was my current leaning until I read of brand issues on gardenweb.com). Are the BlueStar ranges similar in price? My first impression of FiveStar's ranges is that the oven capacity and window are a tad small.

      Why did you limit your two final choices to those without self-clean options? I'm very interested i knowing if these "class" of ranges are easier to clean than your average Lowes/Sears brands.

      1. re: pnosko

        I have never been a real fan of self cleaning ovens. They work fine but I had read enough that the continuous high heat can lead to a shortened lifespan. I don't know if that is true of not. But I wanted the simplest range available without a lot of electronics, timers, etc. As close to pure mechanical as possible with the exception of the ignition system.

        I looked at ranges with clocks, motorized control panels, etc. And to me they were just something to break.

        No, the range is not easier to clean than others without a self clean feature. I would not say it is difficult, but easy it ain't. The real selling point for us was the burner configuration; the actual BTU output was secondary. An appliance of this price magnitude really needs to be a personal choice, and with luck you can find a stocking dealer that may have them on the floor to look at. It is going to be with you for a long time; for me simpler is better.

        This link might be useful


        1. re: dcrb

          Well, I think I snagged a good deal yesterday on the 30" BlueStar. I called AJMadison for their price, and then found a local dealer that beat ADMadison's price by $112, and that was including tax and white glove delivery/installation. They even threw in an extra year warranty. I was glad to be able to see the range side-by-side with others I considered.

          The one on display did have a "fit and finish" defect, the top cap on the island trim back had a few burrs on the front edge. I pointed it out to the dealer and he said if we got one like that, he would replace it. He said he put a BlueStar on the floor a year ago thinking he wouldn't sell any and figured he could break even on selling the floor model if he had to. Instead, he sold over 80 and it is one of the most popular sellers. He did mention that the oven door gets hotter than other brands and he took two returns due to this. We don't have kids, so I don't think it will be an issue.

          This dealer had all the brands and most were high-end. There was no pressure. The sales people do not work on commission. I highly recommend the place to anyone in the Washington DC area. They have 3 locations. I went to the Rockville store.


    2. Also look at Capital Culinarian. The heat on the burners seems to be more toward the center of the pan and the burners are 23K BTUs and if you do a lot of stirfrying this might be the best configuration for you. They are open burners. I've not heard too much about how the ovens are though, the burners seem to get the most press.
      Check out the gardenweb appliance forum if you haven't done so already. Viking doesn't get the best reviews.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wekick

        Thanks as well for the line and brand reference, especially the Viking comment.

        But I can't believe the two CC ranges that I could consider have such a steep price difference (+38%) for the one with self-clean.

        1. re: pnosko

          I have a self-clean Capital Culinarian. Made in the Sante Fe Springs, CA USA.

          There are several videos on youtube about the Culinarian.

          Below is one on the burner.

          The self clean oven also adds motorized rotisserie and ez glide racks.

          All come with cool-door feature. Cooler than Wolf and especially Bluestar.

          The only thing I think is superior in the Wolf is the ez glide racks.

          My second choice would be Bluestar. Door can get hot but burners and 30" oven that can take full size commerical baking sheet make up for that IMO.

          I don't think Consumer Reports is the end all be all of appliances,particulary high end appliances but they consistently give low ratings to Viking and Thermador ranges.

          The Viking I would run the other way from.

          There were several reports of excessive carbon monoxide emissions in American Range gas ovens a few years ago.There were two web sites dedicated to it. No only one.


      2. I got an American Range earlier this year. I have always had whatever (crappy) oven came with an apartment or the house I bought 13+ years ago.

        When I re-did the house this past year, I researched lots of ranges. I love this one. I have no basis of comparison having only had cruddy standard ovens before, but even without being able to compare, this thing rocks.

        There are 100,000 BTU al tolds--strongest on any burner I think is around 17,000. It's hot--I will need new pans to handle it.

        I love it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SeaSide Tomato

          I've had a GE Monogram for 20+ years, 5 burners, periscoping downdraft. My next cooktop will be induction. I may buy a Max Burton single gas burner for emergencies like power outages. Induction is fast and serious. Take a look at them. I am slowly changing all of my cookware to Chantal with the copper and carbon steel interiors, they are enameled inside and out, dishwasher and oven safe too. Fast, fast, fast and energy saving.

        2. I have neither in my house, but have cooked extensively on a viking 6 burner range for my classes, and I HATED it. 1/2 the time only 2 burners would light, the oven had hot spots, and it was a PITA to clean. It has since been replaced with a Wolf, which I LOVE. The simmer feature is wonderful, the oven is true to temp (the viking ran cold), and it a bit easier to clean than the Viking. I always wanted a Viking, until I cooked on one. I'd buy that Wolf in a heartbeat.

          1. Dacor is made in USA.