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Smeg range - a worthwhle risk?

Just posted this over on Gardenweb, but hoping we'll get additional responses here as well.

We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen and are researching 36" gas ranges (no dual fuel). Smeg and Bertazzoni are both in our price range. We've read a fair number of complaints about the Berta oven regarding uneven temperatures, burning of baked goods, etc. Some say using convection solves this problem, but we've also read that the convection doesn't work well and isn't appropriate for all baked goods, such as bread baking. We bake bread regularly.

Are these complaints about the Berta valid? We've also read some reviews that love this range.

Meanwhile, the Smeg seems like a great alternative, but it has few reviews and given its newness on the American market, we worry that repairs and parts might be challenging. Has anyone gotten a Smeg and used it? Is it worth the risk of potential parts/service difficulty? We called AJ Madison and talked to their sales guy, since they sell both brands and seem pretty high volume, and he said he's heard nothing but good things about the Smeg and would go with it over the Berta. Then we called back and talked to a different guy who said the opposite. Help!

About us: we cook almost every day, but we've always dealt with low-end ranges in rental units. We make jam, beer, can tomato sauce, you name it. The 36" will be a dream for our big canning pots. But we simply can't afford the Capital or a blue star.

Looking forward to the wisdom of the group. We need to make a decision quickly. Thanks!

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  1. I had never heard of Smeg before so I looked it up. No comments other than check on availability of parts if and when they become necessary since it is an import. AJ Madison lists it. You might want to call and ask some questions about the Smeg and a few other ranges regarding quality, problems etc. If your remodel involves replacing all appliances, you might want to keep them and concentrate only on the range. That is what we did a few years ago and it allowed us to afford the BS. A couple of places to look at ranges are Eurostoves and Dvorson's.

    1. This is obviously your call, but in view of the wide selection of ranges out there, how is it that you have narrowed it down to these two rather unusual brands?

      1 Reply
      1. re: johnb

        Johnb, For 36" ranges in our price range, there are surprisingly few options. Around $3k, we're pretty much limited to the European brands - Bertazzoni, Verona (which I've heard bad things about) and now Smeg.

        DCRB, I did call AJ Madison - the first person I spoke to said they've heard great things about Smeg and would recommend over the Berta. The second person we talked to said they'd go with Berta. So we're stuck. But a great idea to try other stores that sell both products.

        We unfortunately have to replace all appliances, since we bought a fixer-upper with no usable ones that conveyed.

        I'm hoping to find a baker who can assuage our fears about the Berta oven, or someone who's bought and used a Smeg and can give a report back.

      2. It can be hard to get the needed parts for bigger brands in the US (we had a 3-week wait for a not-too-unusual Miele part not long ago). I appreciate the appeal of less common appliances but I'd hate to risk waiting weeks for a part should anything happen.

        1. estarmer,
          Here is a link to AJ Madison showing ranges at or under $3k. You can refine to go lower as well. Maybe this will help and possibly some readers may have experience with some of them. Good luck.

          1. Did you end up getting the Smeg (if not, what did you get and are you happy)? I'm interested in the 36" Dual Fuel model (C9GMXU) and have only been able to find 6 reviews, none by people who have had it for more than 6 months. I'm a little scared to take the plunge, and would love your feedback. Thanks!

            1. I know that this is two years old, but I would like to know if you purchased the SMEG and how well it works?

              1 Reply
              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                I do not own one, but have been researching ranges in that price range. I ran across two separate sites (one in the UK and one in Australia) that feature numerous complaints about the oven fan failing numerous times. One person said they had to replace the fan 3 times in 3 years. Sorry, I don't recall the exact link, but search under "Smeg complaints" and you will see this appears to be a common problem.

              2. I endeavor to keep smeg out of my kitchen

                3 Replies
                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                  Personal experience with the brand Biscuit?

                  1. re: hawkeyeui93

                    I've heard things...seen the pictures

                2. I have a smeg. Bought it new in 2012. Two years later the oven no longer works. I have had a very difficult time trying to find parts or anyone who actually knows what they are talking about. For the amount of money spent on an oven you would hope it would last longer than 2 years. And the run around about what is wrong with it. Evey person has their own opinion. The best part is they insist only a technician can replace the parts. At this point I am tempted to give it to goodwill.

                  1. Never mind... didn't realise it was an old post.

                    1. OP here, two years later. We ended up getting the Bertazzoni. We did have some minor issues with the oven heat not being as uniform as it could be, but now keep our pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and that has helped even the heat dispersal for whatever we're baking. I liked the look of the Smeg but ended up being too worried about availability of parts. Other than the minor oven issues, we've been thrilled with the berta. Love the range of burners. We have had no maintenance issues to date.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: estarmer

                        I loved the Bertazzoni but price was a major issue for us. We have had a Smeg for 7 months and I love it... If I could have spent $3,000 to $5,000 more I would haven gone with something else... But for under $4,000 I got the 48 inch range I wanted.
                        When installed I had an issue with the small oven's light not going off.... I contacted the warranty / repair folks with no issue. They had someone at my house as soon as I could make it work in my schedule!
                        Since then no problems......

                      2. Since the thread has been revived...
                        About 7 years ago we moved into a house that had space for a 70cm cooker (we live in the UK where standard size is 60cm or 90cm/100cm). The only brand that was available through regular appliance stores was Smeg. Some research into them yielded that they were a bit more style over substance than we would have liked. At the time the 70cm version worked out at around £1500, about US$2300, which was more than I was prepared to spend on that brand.
                        Some more research and I found a cancelled order Westahl (a Lacanche brand) 70cm 4hob/single, wide oven, gas only for under £1000. It was brand new, with the distributor, and I couldn't buy it fast enough.
                        Some friends bought a 90cm Smeg, and while it works for them, they only use it a few times a month, and then it is mainly to heat something up, and the oven doesn't get used that much. They have had to have the spark units replaced twice, and thermocouples replaced once. The Westahl did daily service for two, and regular service for more (80 for a buffet was the largest party we did) with no problem.
                        All in all, I was pleased not to have bought the Smeg. We've since moved, and at the new place the owners left us a 110cm 6 burner, 2 oven range by Brittania (an Italian company) that while less powerful than my old one, works a treat. The Westahl is in storage until I can face selling it, or trade it and the brittania in for a new Lacanche.