Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Feb 20, 2012 11:52 AM

New range - Blue Star or Viking or Capital - or something else?

Looking for some advice on a new range. Seems the more research I do, the less sure I am. :)

We are looking at 30" models. All gas or dual fuel. Convection oven not a must, but would be nice (I like to bake, but we mainly use the oven for cooking). Must have metal knobs. Self clean vs manual clean is not a deal breaker. We cook A LOT and are essentially looking for a work horse that will stand up to daily use, with multiple burners and the oven going at the same time. Don't need any frills - no fancy gadgets or options or styling. We'd go true commercial if we had the required wall and countertop clearance, but we don't.

The frontrunner has been the Blue Star Residential Culinary 30" (RCS304BV1) ($2500). (3) 15,000 BTU burners, + (1) Simmer burner. Lists the oven as having a Convection fan system. We really like the power behind the Nova (RNB304BV1) but don't really want to spend that much cash ($4500). One of the biggest pluses is that the entire top surface is cast iron - not stainless steel, not porcelain. We can remove the entire top for cleaning, which would really be a huge plus for us (I think).

My husband is now leaning towards the Viking Professional series (VGIC5304BSS). (4) 15,000 BTU burners (which is nicer than the Blue Star since we really have no need for a separate Simmer burner). Has a Convection Oven. The biggest downside, to me, is that the top is sealed enameled porcelain. That can be a pain to clean once stuff spills. Based on a current promotion, this range would be about $500 more than the Blue Star, but still within the range we are willing to spend (based on current deals, we could get it for $3000 - it's normally closer to $4000).

Anyone have any good / bad experiences with either? In reading reviews and threads, there are folks who love both, and who have complaints about both, but it appears there is more negative feedback out there about Viking.

We've also looked at Capital, DCS, Dacor, Wolf, and American Range.

If I remember correctly, the Wolf in our price range had plastic knobs, which is a deal breaker. I think the one with metal knobs was out of our range. DCS and Dacor look out of our range, too, I think.

The Capital brand has the Precision 30" Self Clean (GCR304) in our range ($3100) that looks kind of bad ass - (4) 19K BTU Burners (sealed) (I see mention of a Power-Wok™ Burner* 800 – 25,000 BTU but it's not clear if that's included or a separate add on). The Culinarian (CGSR304) is sadly a bit out of our range; about the same as the Nova. Looks like we could get the Precision for about the same price as the Viking. Oven capcity is slightly larger on the Capital (4.6 cu ft vs. 4 - 4.1 cu ft on the others).

Any experience with Bertazzoni? Looks like they have a few in our price range, but that the BTU options may be lower? States "Triple Ring Power Burner: 12000 + 3000 Btu/h" - not sure if that means 18K total??? I'm really not willing to go below 15k, so that may strike them out.

Did very limited research on Five Star, but the small oven capacity (3.69 cu. ft) rules that out, I think.

Anyone I am missing?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am biased toward the Blue Star. We have the 48 inch range. I have to say that it is not fancy looking, had no timers or modern computer boards, etc. It is just a big stainless steel box that contains and controls fire very well. For us it was the simplicity of the range and the burners pattern. It is pretty good at wok cooking. The BS site haas a couple of videos demonstrating this.

    Another brand we considered was from Brown Stove Works, which is the Five Star range that Rick Bayless endorses and uses. Pretty good videos there also.

    Good luck in your final decision.

    1. We just purchased a Capitol 36" self clean with grill, and LOVE IT! After reading alot about the vikings we scratched that one right away. We read more good reviews on this Capitol. Althou pricey it was my dream stove. We just remodeled our kitchen after 40yrs and went Highend all the way. LOVE IT so much, and now retired. Ours has a rotessaire too. We only used it once but did great. The convection oven is great too. I just need to learn how to time everything better. Everything cooks so much faster than the cheapo Stove I use to have so its a big change for me.

      12 Replies
      1. re: justaladyintx

        Did you buy a dual fuel or gas? Did you buy open or sealed burners? I am very interested in a Capital stove. Does the fact that the oven shelf does not come out very far effect your cooking? Please give me your analysis of cookingnand cleaning on the range you purchased. Also, does the simmer go low enough? Are their any extras that the oven offers that you particularily like? Thanks

        1. re: sylviasroses

          Ours is gas with open burners. Would you believe we haven't tried the self cleaning oven yet, but will soon. Everything comes apart easly the burners and theres a pull out tray that catchs spills etc and so easy to clean. The simmer is great! My husband loves putting things on simmer and walking away because he alwas forgets whats on the stove and nothing has burned yet. The only thing negative is the burner handles are touchy and at times leaning up against the stove has turned the handles on. We have the rotessarie but really don't use it much. I think we cooked a chicken and ribs once. We have the top grill and use it all the time cooking hamburgers, chops etc. We are very happy with our stove.

          1. re: justaladyintx

            Thank you for getting back to me. I would also like to know how easy it is to clean up after using the grill. Which hood did you purchase. I have been researching and looking at a lot of stoves. There are negatives about all of them. I am glad to hear that the simmer works well for you because that is important. Also, do you find the burners to big and to hot for small pans like a 1 quart pot?I think I would use the rotessarie. I also like that all the burners are the same btu. Do you find the oven cooks with an even heat? Seems to be some discussion about that. I think that is why electric ovens are so popular. Thanks again.

            1. re: sylviasroses

              Some pans are too small, I have to make sure the heat is lower because the fire comes up around the pan. The Grill is easy to clean but takes some time to heat up. Now about the ventahood....We are not real happy with the one we purchased manily because its not takeing the smoke out fast enough. My husband knows more about that than I but hes not here to ask him. I just know the grill can really smoke up when cooking.
              What I like is the speed of boiling water. I can cook hard boil eggs nothing flat! Theres going to be likes and dislikes on every stove. I didn't want the Big Red knobs on the front and the capital has all stainless steel. So everyone has like and dislikes about each stove. But all I can say is we are happy with our purchase.

              1. re: justaladyintx

                Thanks so much. You have been a big help. I hope I can make a decision soon. I am concerned with the smoke coming from the grill. We have a very old oven now and when I use the broiler that is a big problem. My husband would not be happy if I spent a lot of money and still had the same problem. I might opt out on the grill.

                1. re: sylviasroses

                  You might also keep in mind that the hood makes a lot of noise. We have to run our hood at top speed when we grill inside, and it means that for 20 minutes or however long you produce smoke no conversation is possible. It's like standing under an airplane.

                  1. re: tharpe3

                    Do you think the hood system that Trevor sells would be better? I am in such a quandry. I have reserched so many ranges. You definitely want a powerful hood if cooking on a powerful BTU burner like Capital. Thanks so much for your help.

                    1. re: sylviasroses

                      We bought 900 cfm exhaust hood from China on line and it works good except when the grill is on smoking alot but he put a cap on the vent pipe on the roof that restricts the air flow but he's going to take it off and it should work much better.
                      The prices on ventihood were too pricey for us so we went online and ordered one from china and we like it.

                      1. re: justaladyintx

                        Yes, the vent hoods are very expensive. I will check on line also. Thanks

                        1. re: justaladyintx

                          Hello, what brand was your Chinese exhaust hood... I am also shopping for a similar set-up.

                  2. re: justaladyintx

                    We have a "Ventahood" and it is noisy. Has anyone purchased the Capital hood and is it quiet?

                    1. re: sharonhaney

                      Hi Sharon ... didn't purchase (yet) but saw and listened to, or TRIED to listen to Best Hoods at Purcell Murray in SF. They were awesome, so quiet and so efficient. Take a look if you can.

          2. Take another look at American. We love it. Just as simple as Bluestar but with vastly superior fit and finish. We have zero regrets.

            1. We have a Blue Star 48" range. We use the smaller oven almost nightly, the larger oven for cookies and larger pans. The large oven has never heated evenly, we have to be very vigilant about turning cookie sheets often or they burn. Same with broiler, the back portion will be burnt to a crisp while the front is raw. I should mention that we do not live near a Blue Star dealer and we cannot get anyone in our town to service the stove. I should also mention that, sooner or later, you will get hurt--either a crushed finger because the cast iron pieces are unbelievable heavy, or you will get cut by the very sharp edges on stove parts. We have a grill and the first time I cleaned it I shredded my hand. This is a stove for iron pots, not for souffles.

              1. The original comment has been removed