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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?

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  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.

      9 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

      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. I bought the 36 inch Capital all gas range and oven about five years ago and I've been happy. The cooktop is easy to clean with plain baking soda and water or if something is really cooked on, EasyOff will do just fine. The component parts can be cleaned with EasyOff too, especially the grates. I wouldn't buy the Capital vent because that thing is LOUD!!! There are other vents that advertise quietness so I'd go and check it out in person. I think it would be worth the expense. The hood switch failed after four years, which was a surprise, but it's a $35 part and with labor, it's about $185 to replace. I'm happy with the Capital range because it's got a lot of BTU's and you can boil water in no time flat and you can also keep things warm on the lowest Simmer. Wonderful. The gas oven itself is just like other gas ovens. It heats up and the temperature is variable but it's good for roasts. I have another oven, a GE Monogram electric oven and that is a thing of beauty! Everything bakes evenly no matter what part of the oven it's in. I use that for baking cookies and cakes and pies. Oh, the oven on the Capital range doesn't give off a lot of heat on the front glass and that was why I bought it because I had little children at the time. It does blow out a lot of warm air, which is a good thing in the winter but not so much in the summer! I think overall, it's a good range and durable. Seems to be built like a tank. Don't buy the hood! Good luck in your quest!

            1. We are starting a major renovation and I have the very same questions you did. I'm curious what you ended up getting and whether you are satisfied with your choice. Whatever pearls of wisdom you have to share, I welcome!

              1. We bought the 30 inch BlueStar gas convection oven about a month ago and have been very happy with it. I looked at all the different websites and bulletin boards to get peoples reviews of all of the stoves that fit our needs and it came down to Blue Star and Capitol and in the end it was Blue Star because their manufacturing pant is about 2.5 hours from here and I know I could get it serviced easily.

                When i comes to a vent, we have a 36 inch Venezia Zephyr which works very well. I got the larger size on purpose because I thought a 3 inch overhang on each side would draw just about anything and in fact it does.

                Good luck with your decisions

                16 Replies
                1. re: jnk

                  Many thanks! The Blue Star has open burners, yes? No clean up troubles? I'm drawn to the BS36" 6 burner. So appreciate your feedback!

                  1. re: amyleechen

                    Yes, it has open burners and yes, cleanup is a breeze. Everything comes apart so all the parts are easy to get to for cleanup, and then there's the stainless drawer under the burners that has 2 stainless trays, again for easy cleanup. If you live in N.J. feel free to get in touch with me and you can see the range in action.
                    By the way, here's a link with more info:
                    http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

                    1. re: jnk

                      We are in NYC, so, we'd really welcome seeing what it can do on the open road ;-) Thank you for the GWEN link. Very helpful. One last thing, we have a 6 year old and I've been reading about the hot oven doors. Has it been a concern for you? Many thanks, jnk,nor your most helpful feedback!

                      1. re: amyleechen

                        Our son is 19 and is away at college most of the year (though he just went back after spring break and will be done by May 8,ugh!). To be honest, I haven't touched the door while the oven is on, no did I with our old GE Profile so I can't make any sort of comparison. I can tell you that the stainless lip at the front of the range gets hot when cooking.

                        1. re: amyleechen

                          We've had a 36" RNB for 8 years. The Chowpup was a little over a year old when we finished our remodel. That whole period has been without incident. Obviously, early on it was more of a challenge to communicate that the oven was hot.

                          I wouldn't worry too much- you just need to communicate when it's heated up. And, FYI, my understanding is that they still have to meet UL limits, which I remember as being 180F. That's hot enough that it'll burn you but not so hot that it does immediately on contact.

                          1. re: ted

                            So appreciate all the feedback. Many thanks!

                          2. re: amyleechen

                            Amy, you can get my email address from my profile page. I work on the West Side in the 50's and we're 25 miles miles door to door if you're interested in seeing the range in action. There's also a great store in Newark where we bought ours from. I got the lowest prices from a couple of internet/phone order stores and they matched the price and gave me free delivery and set-up along with taking the old one away. Couldn't recommend them more highly.

                            1. re: jnk

                              Thank you so much for that lovely offer. I'm sorry to be so late in responding. I'll email you shortly. Many thanks!

                              1. re: jnk

                                Hi jnk. I, too, am scouring message boards and customer reviews looking for a new 30 inch gas range. I have come away w/serveral bits of info the foremost being there is no single perfect range out there. So I'm wondering how do I find the best one for me. I am interested in the great appliance store in Newark, NJ and if you know of a place that let's you test drive ranges. I live in northeast NJ, Bergen County.

                                1. re: Pauliegirl

                                  Hi PG, as you said there's no perfect range out there, it's just about figuring out what's most important to/for you. My wife and I looked at a bunch of different ranges for 3-4 months before we chose the Blue Star and we're VERY happy with it. We've been using it for 3 months now and I can't say we should have chosen something different.
                                  The name of the appliance store in Newark is Paul's Appliances http://www.paulshomeappliances.com/
                                  There you'll find all different levels of ranges starting at about $300 and going into the stratosphere. They also have a bunch of them hooked into gas lines on the second floor so that you can "light them up". If you call them I'm sure they'll tell you which ones are hooked up and you might even get them to let you cook something on them. If you have any other questions feel free to get in touch with me.

                                  Jon

                                  1. re: jnk

                                    Thank you for the appliance store info. Paul's Appliance only has BS cooktops and wall ovens. Where did you purchase your BS from?

                                    1. re: Pauliegirl

                                      From Pauls.
                                      http://www.paulshomeappliances.com/_C...

                                      Mine is the 9th range from the top. Horrible website!

                                      1. re: jnk

                                        Ma Po Tofu on said range

                                         
                        2. re: jnk

                          I am currently considering the 30" Blue Star, and wonder if you would comment on the weight of the grate and burner parts and sharp edges, mentioned in another review. I live in the Caribbean so service is out of the question. Have you had any problems with yours? They are apparently coming out with a 30 dual fuel model in a month's time, which is what I want.

                          1. re: chefbecky

                            Sure CB, The grates and are very heavy duty and I have yet to have an issue with the burners. I cook 5 days/week, 1 meal/day on average so that while it's not "heavily" used, it's regularly used. There are some sharp parts "inside " the stove, under the grates but unless you're doing a thorough cleaning at the time you won't come across them. We had the opportunity of buying a dual fuel range but my wife who is the baker chose not to though we did get the convection feature. Good luck with your decision.

                            1. re: chefbecky

                              Have had a 36" B.S. for about 3 years have never had a problem. One of the main reasons we went with B S is the fact that it didn't have all the solid state controls. Heat and solid state controls never are a good mix. These are great units. On a foot note my neighbors put in a 60" Viking around the same time. Numerous problems to the point they just replaced the complete stove. So I can tell you this Viking seems to have good customer service can't say the same for BS never needed it.

                          2. Looks like the Power Wok Burner is now 30,000 BTUs. That would be such an upgrade from my current 16,000 BTU Wolf burners for wok cooking. Anyone have any experience with the Power Wok Burner feature?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: emily

                              Our "uber" burners are only 22,ooo btu/each and work really well with a wok, I can only imagine what 30,000 btu would be like.

                            2. 36 inch induction cook top with Viking exhaust.
                              The Viking will almost suck the food out of the pans when on high!

                              1. DO NOT BUY VIKING. I have a Viking 6-burner cooktop, Viking downdraft, Wolf double oven, and Subzero fridge. I smelled gas when I used my Viking cooktop. I called a repairman that Viking recommended. After testing with a gas detector, I saw that 4 out of 6 burners were leaking gas (not enough to smell) even when the cooktop was off. So, I needed to replace 4 valves. I received the bad news that the parts are no longer available - i.e. there is NOTHING I can do to fix this piece of junk. The cooktop was manufactured in 2005. Viking customer service tells me that they only "guarantee parts for 7 years and are working on this issue of parts being no longer available." Only 7 YEARS for high-end prosumer appliances?! These are supposed to be investments!! I will NEVER buy Viking again. I am livid that I have a piece of useless junk in my kitchen!

                                Although I did have to get some repairs done on the Wolf double-oven, I have found the Wolf customer service is excellent! This is the response I received regarding how long they support their appliances: "Sub-Zero and Wolf Appliances are built to last 20 years on average. Although a formal guideline for parts availability does not exist, Sub-Zero and Wolf attempt to keep stock of replacement parts for about 20 years. Sometimes part suppliers are unable to provide parts for that length of time but for most high volume, common parts this is not an issue."

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lkljunky

                                  Well that's good to hear. I'm considering a new stove as my GE Profile has had some problems and I've also had a hell of a time getting it repaired properly. Most troubling was the rep saying "It's not so easy with a stove this old. Remember, you bought it almost 9 years ago."
                                  JeremyEG
                                  HomeCookLocavore.com