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What is a good range?

BHosch's picture

Ok, I know this question probably comes up weekly and I HAVE scoured the archives for info. I WAS looking at a pro-style range and then I got confused by the following information from Consumer Reports:

"

What we are saying

"You can spend $2,000-plus on a pro-style model, or get better performance and pro-style features for far less."

"

Are these guys all wet? Admittedly the most frustrating thing about Consumer Reports is the seemingly random selection of brands/models tested (inevitably not the model I am interested in) but they have Dacor and Viking at the bottom of their ratings as performing poorer than models from the major appliance manufacturers and I want performance!

Any comments?

Also, as to my cooking needs, I cook a couple of times daily, typically just for my sweety and I, seldom for larger parties. I seem to do a lot of sauteeing and broiling. Occasional roasting, occasional baking (pies mostly). Any grilling I do happens outside weather permitting. I will be using propane.

Thanks!

Bob in and around Poulsbo WA

PeterDurand's picture

(post #53952, reply #1 of 26)

Have a look ;-)

http://www.cstorestuff.com/products/DCS60-6-24BG-2.html

But I really lust after a Wolf 6 burner.

Cheers,

Peter

gjander's picture

(post #53952, reply #2 of 26)

For what it's worth, there is a response to the Consumer Reports issue on Dacor's web site (link posted below).  I have a Dacor and have been very happy with it. 


http://4.38.34.10/pdf/press_release/consumerreportsletter.pdf

MadMom's picture

(post #53952, reply #3 of 26)

I agree with their comments.  I also have a Dacor and love it.  I would like to know if Dacor received any response from Consumer Reports?

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

gjander's picture

(post #53952, reply #4 of 26)

I don't know if they did or not.  I haven't read the entire Consumer Reports review but from those examples it doesn't really seem like they are making fair comparisons.  It's true the pro-style ranges are expensive and that many people would be just as satisfied with lower priced models, but I do think they offer many compelling advantages.  I don't regret spending the extra money.  For the record, I think the gas broiler is a great feature.

KarenP's picture

(post #53952, reply #5 of 26)


We also bought the dacor and are very pleased with it. In the realm of things that you would not know about me is that I will research to death any major purchase. I had questions I could find no answers for at the time. I called dacor. I received both an email and a phone call from a vice president who had had the model I was interested in as a prototype in her kitchen. There is nothing but good you can say about that kind of service. I've read good things about their post sale service, as well.

BHosch's picture

(post #53952, reply #6 of 26)

Hmm, well thank you for all your comments.

Consumer Reports is an interesting and frustrating publication and I have disagreed vehemently with their conclusions in the past to the point where I suspected they were being paid off (I think they just have different priorities than I do).

I have done a lot of research at this point and don't feel any closer to a decision. Unfortunately there is no easy way to cut through all the hype and marketing exaggerations short of actual hands-on testing and my next step will be to look for demonstration kitchens.

Bob in Poulsbo

UncleDunc's picture

(post #53952, reply #7 of 26)

Time to turn up the heat (pun intended) on the sales people. Go into the stores waving a big wad of cash and tell them you're ready to buy this week and pay in cash if you can find the right stove, but you need to try one out. If that doesn't motivate them to set up a demo, you don't want to buy there anyway, because that store doesn't believe in customer service.

MadMom's picture

(post #53952, reply #8 of 26)

Bob - I think the problem with Consumer Reports is the same problem I have with Cook's Illustrated when they look for the "perfect" recipe...it all depends on what your criteria for "perfection" is.  My suggestion...write down what you really really want in a range.  Is a super low simmer important to you?  Is easy cleaning a priority?  Is the location of the controls important (for safety or cleaning or whatever)?  What about the oven?  Do you want something with convection capability?  Self Cleaning?  Broiling? 


Once you've defined what is important to you (as opposed to what might be important to me, or to Consumer Reports, or anyone else), then you're ready to go see what you can find that meets your criteria.


Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

BHosch's picture

(post #53952, reply #11 of 26)

Being a "perfectionist" myself (definitely a troublesome trait) I can appreciate Cook's Illustrated. What I like about them is that they do a pretty good job of detailing where they are coming from, what they are looking for and the steps they take to achieve their goal. Consumer Reports seems almost random sometimes.

Anyhow, I appreciate the suggestion as to focusing on my needs and taking it from there.

Thanks!

Bob

MadMom's picture

(post #53952, reply #13 of 26)

I agree about Cook's Illustrated...for example, if they say the "perfect" cookie should be crisp, rather than chewy, they will detail what they did to make it crisp.  That way, if I happen to believe the perfect cookie should be chewy, I can make intelligent informed adjustments.  I believe that Consumer Reports would be better served if they approached their ratings in a similar fashion.  For example, you love to broil; I seldom use my broiler.  We might both end up with the same range, but it shouldn't be without a knowledge of how the broiler performance affected the ratings, right?


Anyway, good luck in your search, and do let us know what you decide on.


Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #53952, reply #9 of 26)

Are these guys all wet? Admittedly the most frustrating thing about Consumer Reports is the seemingly random selection of brands/models tested (inevitably not the model I am interested in) but they have Dacor and Viking at the bottom of their ratings as performing poorer than models from the major appliance manufacturers and I want performance!


 


A couple of years ago when I bought my Viking, consumer reports said that the Viking dual fuel 6 burner was the best they had "Ever" tested.  Go figure.

Wolvie's picture

(post #53952, reply #14 of 26)

did you end up having the problems with yours that Aussie had with hers? Just curious - I am deciding between Viking, Dacor, and Wolf right now. Thanks. ( Maybe Le Cornue, although I haven't heard much about their cooktops).


I am leaning towards a gas 6 burner cooktop and  2 electric wall ovens, and maybe a warming oven near the cooktop. Do you really like the range??


Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.

 

PeterDurand's picture

(post #53952, reply #15 of 26)

Hi Wolvie,

I have a few problems with the old Russell Range (no longer in business BTW) cooktop I bought 10 years ago. One is the design of the grates. If I put a small saute pan on them , it has to be just so or the handle can make them tip. I suggest you take your smallest pan/pot and try them on a floor model. That is the only way you will know. Second is the matter of cleaning. I know, I know, some say they have so called "sealed" burners. For my money I would look for a model that has a pull out spill tray like the Wolf. The Russell has no "sealed" burners AND no pull out. It is a nightmare to clean spills.

BTW, as an engineer, what is you take on the difference in BTUs? Some are topped at 14,000, others at 16,000. Would it affect the time to boil or the maintaining of oil temp for frying etc?

Cheers,

Peter

Wolvie's picture

(post #53952, reply #17 of 26)

personally, I think 14,000 btus's should crisp just about anything. ;-)


So - you'd probably be able to boil water a few seconds faster, but not that much. It will be the other issues that determine purchase for me.  That's what makes it so difficult - they are all very alike - I do like that pull out idea for cleaning, sealed burners - so called is right!


Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.

 

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #53952, reply #16 of 26)

No.  Hers is an older model.

Wolvie's picture

(post #53952, reply #18 of 26)

so - you really like the range? Better than a cooktop with wall ovens?

Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.

 

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #53952, reply #19 of 26)

I would prefer a cook top with wall ovens.  It was not an option in my remodel.  I like ovens at eye level.


However, I do an awful lot of stove top to oven cooking.  It would not be good to have an oven removed from the cooktop.


 


 

Wolvie's picture

(post #53952, reply #22 of 26)

hmmm - I see your point. Maybe I'll put the small , finishing oven under the cooktop.


It will all be in a line, galley style, so that few steps will be required to get stuff to the oven.


It took me forever to decide that! The center island will have a small prep sink, but will be the baking prep area. Sink, ovens, cooktop and fridge will be in a line with plenty of counterspace in between. Thankfully, my kitchen area is about 22 x 15, so I have plenty of space to work with.



Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.


Edited 3/17/2003 6:30:31 AM ET by Wolvie

 

MarieLouise's picture

(post #53952, reply #20 of 26)

I've aways had ranges, but as I start to contemplate remodeling our beach house into our retirement home, I'm going to get a cooktop and a a wall over. That seems a lot safer-I can't see bending down into a hot oven six inches off the floor at age seventy-five! The wall oven will have to be near the stove, though, and have a heat-proof counter between to set things down. Carrying hot pots across the kitchen isn't much of a safety improvement over bending down into a range oven.

Tuck's picture

(post #53952, reply #21 of 26)

I've a suggestion for wall ovens - one I wish I'd incorporated when I redid my kitchen.  Have a pull out shelf built directly under the oven to set hot pots on.   By the way ML and this is totally off topic, I was reading an article about storage last night and they had a neat idea for storing china - I thought of you.   I'll see if I can get a picture posted.

Edited to add: oopps, I keep forgetting my oven door opens sideways.



~tuck
"Crisp crusts crackle crunchily"


Edited 3/16/2003 5:35:11 PM ET by tuck

TessaK's picture

(post #53952, reply #23 of 26)

Wolvie, you can come over and test-run the Dacor at our house if you like! It's range (gas cooktop, electric oven), not separate cooktop and ovens, but it should give an idea.

Wolvie's picture

(post #53952, reply #24 of 26)

looking for something specific? ;-)


Seriously - that sounds like fun - and I probably won't get caught by 2 feet of snow, either!


Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time - Abe Lincoln.

 

TessaK's picture

(post #53952, reply #25 of 26)

Nah, I was just kidding about the menu. The snow is gone, even my trusty old Civic can make it up and down the driveway again.

BHosch's picture

(post #53952, reply #26 of 26)

Well after days of research (and then actually looking at what is available in our area) decisions have been made!

To recap: I was hoping to move up to professional-level equipment (or as close as possible without spending a fortune).

I decided I wanted gas and was willing to install a propane system. I wanted at least 1 high output burner for the type of cooking I do. Ideally I wanted a high powered broiler. We definitely needed ventilation.

I really wanted to keep it all under $3,000 because it just doesn't make sense for us to spend extravagantly right now (which is always a challenge for me because I love tools).

There were a few tense moments when we came across a Dacor Epicure at the local appliance store marked down to $3400 for a scratch or some-such. Luckily it turned out to be natural gas and not propane or else I don't think I could have resisted (whew).

Next I was looking at a Viking (or similar) all gas range because I felt I could swing that and it met most of my requirements (ok going a bit over budget including the hood).

Then we came across a Dynasty Range and 1000-cfm Dynasty Hood combo for $2999 left over from a home show. I liked it because it was dark green and I thought it looked pretty cool. Definitely more unique than the usual stainless restaurant look (isn't the lack of color variety sad?). My sweetheart liked it too because it was kinda funky but she really couldn't come to terms with the lack of a self-cleaning oven. I doubt if it's that much of an issue but she knows me by now and realizes that she would end up doing most of any oven cleaning so we kept on looking.

Anyhow to make a long story short (too-late) we found an old model Elan cooktop in the back room of an appliance store for only $850 which my spouse really liked. It has sleek Italian styling and 5 burners (1 18k, 2 13k, 2 8k). Ok, I wanted a range but we're compromising here. Later I came across a new Jenn-Air 27" convection wall-oven for only $780. It looks real nice, it's silver instead of black, white or smoker's white. Ok, I gave up on the broiler I wanted.

Of course we now have to redesign our kitchen plan (once I realized that putting a typical wall oven under a counter-top makes for a too low oven) but I think I will be happy with our purchases and I feel real good about saving so much money (for a change). We haven't purchased the hood yet but are leaning toward the zephyr typhoon for $590 (instead of the vent-a-hood of our original plans) again trying to get good value.

As always I welcome your comments.

Bob the Poulsbohemian

Syb's picture

(post #53952, reply #10 of 26)

1)  I can't offer any specifics here, but in my experience with Consumer Reports, it's been helpful to look at their description of the tests.  When I do, I find that some of their criteria are not so important to me, and should not be considered when looking at the overall rating.  Figure out which features are important to you.  Then make your comparisons based primarily on those features.


2)  Peter's link is to a store where I bought my pro-style Five Star range.   The store, I understand, sells mostly to commercial outfits.  Their prices are good.  I suppose it is because I was just buying one range for a residence, the customer service was atrocious.  I won't go into details.  I'll just say that my many phone calls, emails and letters were totally ignored when they screwed up, and didn't want to hear from me.  If you deal with them and have any problems, contact the office manager if you can find her.  She is the only one there who seems to be able to get anything done right.


3)  When I did my lengthy research on ranges, I found that in general, sales people know very little about their appliances.  They are eager to tell you plenty, but some of what they say is b.s.  Talking to the service people was somewhat better, but they don't know everything either.


Sorry for the rant, but I had a particularly bad experience.

BHosch's picture

(post #53952, reply #12 of 26)

I agree completely about salespeople.

It is extremely frustrating!!!

When I know what I want I work at being well informed through research, and when I go into a high end store asking pertinent questions to narrow down the manyfold choices I get conflicting, sometimes nonsensical information.

Bob