cheap 30" Viking gas range... don't know what to do!
So there's a 30" Viking gas range (RDSCG230-5B) that's about to be (or already is) discontinued, meaning I've found two stores selling floor models for just under $2,000. I would never normally be able to afford a quality range, so I feel like I need to jump on this. However, I've read and re-read all the horror story reviews of Vikings. Yet I keep thinking I want to risk the purchase anyway, for a few reasons:
1 - Maybe I'll just get lucky and not have any problems whatsoever with mine!
2 - I always vegetarian meals, so the range won't really be put through its paces--veggies don't really take that much heat or power to cook! I'm hoping this translates to less of a chance of something breaking or failing.
3 - I cook a lot but mostly just for myself, so I will rarely have more than two burners going at once--again I assume this means less wear and tear on the oven, therefore less things that could potentially go wrong and put me many hundreds in the hole, for repairs.
4 - I barely do any baking (maybe once I have an oven that doesn't suck, I will bake more), so I don't particularly care about the nuances of an oven's capacity to brown a souffle or something--again most of what goes in the oven would be root vegetables, or I'll occasionally bake a loaf of bread.
5 - I'm going to purchase a 5 year extended warranty, so there's always that.
Manufacturer website for the range is here: http://www.vikingrange.com/MEDIA_Cust...
So my question is, does anybody out there have experience with this particular model? I've searched for threads about it and can't find any (on chowhound or elsewhere). Even if you've never owned this model, does anybody have any thoughts?
My sort of corollary question is, I'd like to purchase the Zephyr Breeze II hood (AK1200), which is rated at 450 cfm, to go along with the Viking range (venting to the outdoors). The guy at the store said I'd need at least 600 cfm, but when I checked in with Viking customer service, they told me 450 should be fine. Again being vegetarian and therefore not dealing with meats that throw off a lot of smoke when cooking, does 450 cfm sound workable? I mean I feel like I would believe the Viking people rather than the guy at the store who's possibly trying to upsell me, but I appreciate anybody's two cents!
If you really want a Viking you should get one.
But I hate to see people waste money so I will tell you that a Viking is one of the worst investments you could possibly make if you care about food or cooking. They use them on Food Network only because the company donates dozens of them to the Network. Even the head of Sales for the company admitted, in a famous New Yorker article, that 95% of the people who buy them never turn them on. They are just for show, and are cheaply built using cheap materials that will fail sooner rather than later.
Your five points above aren't really valid -- there are virtually no moving parts in a gas range so it doesn't matter whether you use them a lot or a little, or at high or low temps, or if you are a Vegetarian or Vegan or eat nothing but Ice Cream. You won't hurt its feelings.
It's good that you don't plan on using high heat, because you can't really get there with at least two of the four burners on this range. The scrawny little 6 and 8K burners on this one are the same you'd get with the cheapest Kenmore gas range --- and you could save about $1500 in the process if you did. But if you ever decide to stir-fry or properly saute your veg, you'll need much more heat than this thing can provide. And by the time this thing can boil a pot of water for pasta, you will have gone to KFC.
There are so many other ranges out there that perform better and cost less, it's stunning, and amazing to me anyone still buys Vikings. Yet people do.
I have a professional range with a 1200 cfm hood, and wouldn't go with anything less, but that's just me.
Viking is one of the worst investments you could possibly make if you care about food or cooking. They are just for show, and are cheaply built using cheap materials that will fail sooner rather than later.
In a word that is simply......Incorrect.
There is nothing "cheap" or inferior about the materials Viking uses.
To the OP;
There are some great features on the Viking and 2K is such a steal you should grab it. That's less than what a Kitchen aid convection was selling for 15 years ago and I killed one of those every three years. You will have a 16K burner which is just fine for searing and stir frying.
In regards to the hood the Viking 30" hood had a 600 CFM fan in years past but they are now around 480 CFM. 450 CFM should be fine but you need to remember there are far greater factors when looking at CFM. You must measure the length of your exhaust run, look at the diameter of the exhaust you can use as well as determine if there will be any bends or turns in your exhaust run. There is a large loss in CFM for every 90 degree turn your exhaust run makes. That's what you need to know before you can determine if 450 or 600 CFM is what you need in a blower. In short CFM calculation is far more complex than just the BTU output calculation of the range. 1200 CFM is absurd on a 30" range.
Are there better ranges? I'm sure their are but they are 2- 3x as much $$$ for very little gain and just as many problems.
The bottom line is that our Viking has paid for itself in longevity and has served us well. Repairs are simple and parts are cheap and easy to find on line.
You would though have 16K btu on one burner though which should be enough to stirfry. Still I wouldn't probably buy the Viking just because of all the criticism it has received. There are a few though that have liked theirs but you can do much better. Some on the gardenweb forum have liked NXR.
I'd check to see if there are any complaints or reviews online on the vendor. I'd advise you to proceed cautiously. Why would you make a major investment knowing that you wouldn't use all the features?
Sigh. Thanks for all of your input. I guess I want to believe it's worth the risk of buying this range, but I probably shouldn't ignore the nagging feeling that I will come to regret it if I make this purchase.
That said, you dig around on any appliance forums long enough and you find nothing but complaints, regardless of price point or brand. So I'm going on the assumption that no matter what range I get there's a likelihood of problems--this despite the fact that my utterly crappy "Magic Chef" range has a perfect track record for the 8 years I've had it.
Anyhow, if I take for granted the need for future repairs of one sort of another regardless of which range I go for (though perhaps Viking makes that a greater likelihood), I feel like my other option, the NXR 30" is problematic because it's apparently next to impossible to get parts for. The other problem with NXR is that I cannot for the life of me find a showroom or dealer in New York City that has one of these out on the floor, for me to look at in person. Does anyone really spend $2,000 on a range, sight unseen, no matter how good the reviews are?
I can't comment on the Viking range, but I can comment on the Zephyr hood and the idea of just getting 450cfm worth of ventilation power. Range manufacturers always underquote what you need in terms of ventilation. My parents bought a BlueStar with a Zephyr hood and we got the hood with 650cfm capacity. Even though that should be more than enough for that stove (which has a total of about 60,000btus), with the Zephyr, it just isn't. We were also disappointed with the way the buttons and switches on the Zephyr were made -- very cheap and flimsy. The first set of switches didn't work and we had to wait 3 weeks to get another set and then they asked us to do the replacement ourselves, claiming that, even though we had a service warranty, there weren't any people in our area to do the service. When we found a few ourselves, they caved and sent someone.
If you're going to invest in a high btu range, get a great hood, too. If I could go back, I'd push my parents to pay double for a Vent-A-Hood with 1000 cfm (you need 8" ducting for that, though). Even vegetarian meals need ventilation, especially if you're going to do any wok cooking (and how could you not with that kind of power?). And if you don't need all that power, why not get a Bertazzoni. Small oven, but otherwise beautifully made, utterly reliable and stunning. They run about $2300, but they sometimes offer the incredible deal of a 600cfm matching Bertazzoni hood free with purchase of any model stove 30" or larger.
$2300 for a Bertazzoni with a 600CFM hood is a freakin steal.
halfiejulia; The thing that is really unfortunate about a lot of feed back on the internet is that so many comment on products they have never owned or used. I'm sorry you feel you've found nothing but complaints when you got some good feed back from a long term Viking owner right here.
BTW How much is a GE profile? ;)
I hear you TraderJoe, and I appreciate your positive assessment of Viking. I guess it's just that an expensive, broken range gets people pissed off, and pissed off people need to vent, and are therefore that much more present on message boards. The content customers don't generally have a reason to be combing appliance message boards, so you hear from them less often.
Given my price range, I'm actually thinking now that I should consider 24" ranges, since as stated earlier, though I do cook often, I don't cook large quantities or for more than one or two people, generally. And my kitchen is tiny!
You know something though, the 24" models of good gas ranges usually cost more than the 30", at least here in the States. I was considering one at one point and a realtor friend said they also negatively impact house/apartment value, so maybe think twice about the 24" if you can at all get a 30" in there. I looked at a LOT of stoves when my parents were renovating their kitchen, and I find that the Frigidaire range that came with my house stands up well to many much more expensive and "professional" ones. I guess it depends on the model you get, but the one I have has great features like removable plates under the burners that make cleaning up super easy, it looks nice (if you don't mind a black top (which I've found easier to clean than stainless), and the oven holds temperature well. If I were in the market for a range I'd seriously consider spending more money on a hood and getting a Frigidaire Gallery with convection. But I wouldn't write off the Viking just because of some bad reviews either. That sounds like an amazing deal.
You can always check the latest Consumers Report buyers guide to see which ranges have more problems. You can also see which ranges are top rated. I don't think this info should be the deciding factor in choosing a range, but it could be a starting point. If memory serves, Viking does not rank high in tests or in the repair histories.
RE: "$2300 for a Bertazzoni with a 600CFM hood is a freakin steal."
Yeah, Trader Joe. Every couple of years they offer this free hood thing between Feb1 and July 1, I think. They don't advertise it, although there is a note about it on the Bertazzoni website when it's offered. And only some dealers participate, because I guess it involves more paperwork for them and less commission. The place we went to was really great about telling us of offers like that and saved us a lot of money.