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befuddled by new ranges - fancy schmancy or plain jane?

befuddled by new ranges - fancy schmancy or plain jane?
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  • befuddled by new ranges - fancy schmancy or plain jane?

    Post #1 - April 14th, 2015, 9:27 am
    Post #1 - April 14th, 2015, 9:27 am Post #1 - April 14th, 2015, 9:27 am
    Hi all,

    We are considering two extremes - either a nice Samsung/LG/comparable 30" stove under $2k OR a more commercial type oven (i.e. Blue Star Model RNB304BSS) on the lower end of the high end. The current drop in is 30" but we could actually go up to 36". My husband does a lot of stovetop meals with stir fries and such while I tend to occasionally use the oven for baking.

    In addition to the higher cost of the "fancy" oven, we are learning we'd then also need a hood. In turn, we'd need to find a new home for our microwave, which is currently over the oven. In concept, the fancy oven would make my husband happy, but I wonder if it's worth the extra cost and work to reconfigure for the hood and microwave and if he'll actually get greater utility out of the fancy oven given that the "standard" models are decent in both function and looks.

    Thoughts on "taking the plunge" with fancy or "keeping it safe" with plain jane? I think the fancy oven could be a great showpiece, but I also hate spending money on something that becomes another project and doesn't function significantly better than the standard version.

    Any input on models, buying experience, user experience, etc. is welcome.
  • Post #2 - April 14th, 2015, 10:17 am
    Post #2 - April 14th, 2015, 10:17 am Post #2 - April 14th, 2015, 10:17 am
    I have a Bluestar rangetop (i.e. just the stovetop, not the oven) and love it. But rather than think about fancy vs plain jane, think about the features that you care about. Do you care more about ease of clean up, ability to get higher heat for stir frying, looks, etc? For most people, the quality of the stovetop and oven will have very little effect, if any, on the quality of food.

    One advantage of some higher-end brands, such as Bluestar, is that you can get open burners. These allow for a slightly higher BTU (which is good for boiling water faster and stir frying over very high heat). Most people, though, have closed burners and aren't any worse off. I also find open burners easier to clean. If something boils over, the liquid just falls through the stove onto a drip tray.

    Another issue is the distribution of BTU across the burners. For example, my stove has two very high heat burners in the front and a medium and low heat burner in the back. This is pretty typical, but if you do a lot of stir frying (or boiling water) you probably want to avoid stoves that have a more even distribution of BTU across the burners. Similarly, if you make a lot of delicate sauces or rice, you may want a really good low-heat burner.

    One thing that I love about the Bluestar is that the entire top is cast iron and comes apart really easily. This makes it really easy to clean. It also looks great and doesn't show any grime. It's also really versatile. You can turn burner grate upside down to increase the distance between the flame and the pot (which is good when you want really low heat). You can also remove a grate, which allows a fully rounded wok to sit right on top of the flame. The Bluestar website has some videos, if I recall, that demonstrate all of this.

    Similarly, think about features for the oven. Do you want convection? Do you want low heat (for proofing bread dough, heating plates, or keeping food warm)? Etc.

    Don't think of the hood as necessary with the Bluestar but not with the plain jane. The hood is useful for both. The Bluestar may have slightly higher BTU than the plain jane stove, but as a practical matter you'll be putting out the same amount of heat, smoke, smells, and oils with both units. The hood is there to trap and remove that. Yes, buying and installing a decent hood can be expensive. It might be worth getting some price quotes for installation services. What's the kitchen like when you stir fry? If you buy a hood, make sure it is 6" wider than the stovetop. i.e. if you buy a 30" stovetop, get a 36" hood so that the whole stove is covered by the vent.

    I bought my stovetop at Abt. They have great prices and great customer service. The only issue is that they don't (or didn't when I bought) stock Bluestars in the showroom.
  • Post #3 - April 14th, 2015, 1:25 pm
    Post #3 - April 14th, 2015, 1:25 pm Post #3 - April 14th, 2015, 1:25 pm
    kithat wrote:Hi all,

    We are considering two extremes - either a …...stove under $2k OR a more commercial type oven….on the lower end of the high end.


    I've been in the market for a new stove but don't have the budget for anything near 2000 bucks.

    I've been eyeballing scratch and dent units for six months at Sears outlet in Melrose, my budget is 700 and under, and when there I also walk the "upper end" residential stoves just to see how the other half lives.

    What I see once you hit 1500 bucks is a ton of "features" that could make cooking more diverse and also more pleasurable. I'd assume lower end new commercial stoves puts you back to the same features I'm looking at on residential stoves in the 700 dollar price but with way way more BTU's.

    I'd love the ability to have 30000BTU in my kitchen but know I might also burn the place down too much easier.
  • Post #4 - April 14th, 2015, 3:02 pm
    Post #4 - April 14th, 2015, 3:02 pm Post #4 - April 14th, 2015, 3:02 pm
    Darren72 wrote:I bought my stovetop at Abt. They have great prices and great customer service. The only issue is that they don't (or didn't when I bought) stock Bluestars in the showroom.


    Interesting. So did you get to see the unit in person? Or did you order sight unseen?
  • Post #5 - April 14th, 2015, 3:40 pm
    Post #5 - April 14th, 2015, 3:40 pm Post #5 - April 14th, 2015, 3:40 pm
    rtb178 wrote:
    Darren72 wrote:I bought my stovetop at Abt. They have great prices and great customer service. The only issue is that they don't (or didn't when I bought) stock Bluestars in the showroom.


    Interesting. So did you get to see the unit in person? Or did you order sight unseen?


    Another store had a range in their showroom. So the unit that I was interested in was similar to that, but without the oven. So I got to see it before I bought, but even then it isn't the same thing as actually using it.
  • Post #6 - April 14th, 2015, 9:07 pm
    Post #6 - April 14th, 2015, 9:07 pm Post #6 - April 14th, 2015, 9:07 pm
    I rent an apartment, so I don't own (or have a choice in) my stove. I will chime in for those of us who are in the "plain Jane" end of the spectrum.

    About 3 years ago, my landlord replaced the stove with a Whirlpool model XFG361LV7 gas range. The current comparable model can be seen here, and sells for about $500 - $600 at Sears or appliance stores. For a "plain Jane" range, I have been happy with it. It has one 13,500 BTU burner, two 9500 BTU burners and one 5000 BTU simmer burner. For my needs, that is generally enough. I especially like the simmer burner, the reasonably sturdy burner grates, and the "warm" feature for the oven. I periodically check the oven temperature with an oven thermometer and so far it has been very accurate. I certainly like it much better than its predecessor which was a GE gas range.
  • Post #7 - April 15th, 2015, 3:01 am
    Post #7 - April 15th, 2015, 3:01 am Post #7 - April 15th, 2015, 3:01 am
    About 20 years ago we put in a 4 burner Viking with convection.
    Simple, 4 -15KBTU burners, simple to take apart, oven walls included, a veritable tank of a range.
    It did require a two fan Viking hood ducted to the exterior tht cost as much as a conventional range but it is there to not only vent odors but heat to the exterior. I would not have one of the newer units that just vent to the interior.
    Combine 15K burners with Falk copper pots and pans and you have extremely fast heating and changes in pan temps. The convection oven is akin to the Bessemer steel process.
    The fact that is doesn't have digital control or other fancy features is not missed at all.
    What it does have is heat, easy to clean and longevity.-Dick
  • Post #8 - April 15th, 2015, 7:33 am
    Post #8 - April 15th, 2015, 7:33 am Post #8 - April 15th, 2015, 7:33 am
    While I very much like my Thermador gas cooktop and separate double GE electric oven (I've never seen convec with gas), there are some pains: Thermador only uses a nonstick griddle for their griddle plate, I'd much prefer a plain steel surface (I've replaced it once at a $300 cost because the non-stick flakes off), and the only configurations with a massive wok-style burner take up 4 regular burners (I don't wok frequently enough to justify... but 18k btus isn't quite enough for wok hay).

    Upgrading the exhaust may be pricey -- especially if it's on an island. Island hoods are outrageously priced.

    One other thing: I found my previous sealed burner gas-on-glass GE much easier to keep clean than the Thermador. The star-shaped burners are gunk magnets. They distribute heat better, but scrubbing in between the arms is difficult compared to a traditional round burner.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #9 - April 15th, 2015, 9:37 am
    Post #9 - April 15th, 2015, 9:37 am Post #9 - April 15th, 2015, 9:37 am
    Hi,

    There are two Samsung slide in ranges with True-Convection, Warming Drawer and Five Burners that more than fit your needs. Either can be easily purchased for under $2,000. (I bought the first one for $1,900.) Consumer Reports gave these their top ratings and my experience bears out their recommendations. Great cooktop control and excellent oven performance.

      NX58H9950WS Slide-in Gas Chef Collection Range with True Convection

      NX58H9500WS Slide-In Gas Range with True Convection

    Image

    Tim
  • Post #10 - April 15th, 2015, 4:42 pm
    Post #10 - April 15th, 2015, 4:42 pm Post #10 - April 15th, 2015, 4:42 pm
    Fancy-schmancy and plain-jane are not necessarily price points. Some of the higher-end models are very simple but basic, others are pointlessly elaborate. I have a Dacor cooktop that's basically on-off-simmer. Real workhorse and very little that can fail. I also have a Thermador double-oven that's a bomb waiting to go off. It's all electronically controlled and a single glitch can (and has) rendered both ovens unusable simultaneously. Fortunately I have a third (commercial) oven which is a solid workhorse. My advice is to stick with less electronic crap.
  • Post #11 - April 16th, 2015, 3:08 pm
    Post #11 - April 16th, 2015, 3:08 pm Post #11 - April 16th, 2015, 3:08 pm
    JoelF wrote:While I very much like my Thermador gas cooktop and separate double GE electric oven (I've never seen convec with gas


    Convection with gas is very common. Just about any manufacturer who makes convection ovens (all of them, I'd guess) makes gas versions.
  • Post #12 - April 16th, 2015, 7:35 pm
    Post #12 - April 16th, 2015, 7:35 pm Post #12 - April 16th, 2015, 7:35 pm
    Curious. Perhaps not doubles?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #13 - April 16th, 2015, 7:48 pm
    Post #13 - April 16th, 2015, 7:48 pm Post #13 - April 16th, 2015, 7:48 pm
    JoelF wrote:Curious. Perhaps not doubles?


    Nope. My Thermador double ovens are both gas/convection.
  • Post #14 - April 16th, 2015, 9:11 pm
    Post #14 - April 16th, 2015, 9:11 pm Post #14 - April 16th, 2015, 9:11 pm
    Well, it was ten years ago that I shopped for mine... Possibly it was budget.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #15 - December 23rd, 2020, 10:26 pm
    Post #15 - December 23rd, 2020, 10:26 pm Post #15 - December 23rd, 2020, 10:26 pm
    Bumping this thread—considering the Bluestar open burner range but concerned about the hood—if I get the 36” range, I only have room for a 36” hood. Is this really an issue?

    And if anyone has intel/updates on the brand/range itself, or other suggestions, that would be great. (looking at the RCS: https://www.abt.com/product/89398/BlueStar-36-Stainless-Steel-Freestanding-Gas-Range-RCS366BV2.html)

    Thanks!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #16 - December 24th, 2020, 10:03 am
    Post #16 - December 24th, 2020, 10:03 am Post #16 - December 24th, 2020, 10:03 am
    boudreaulicious wrote:Bumping this thread—considering the Bluestar open burner range but concerned about the hood—if I get the 36” range, I only have room for a 36” hood. Is this really an issue?


    See if you can find what the issues might be on the web, if nobody here can give 1st hand knowledge. I have a 36 on top of a 36 because of space restraints on the hood as well. I thought it wouldn't be too big of a deal. The one thing I notice is that the sides of the hood on the top, definitely get grease droplets. I'm not sure if that would be negated or just cut down a little by getting the correct, bigger sized hood or not. My guess would be that if I had the correct sized hood, there would be less, at the very least. I'm guessing that the airflow will carry SOME grease particles up and around the hood, if the hood isn't the proper size. It's just a cleaning issue. We usually only clean it every few months, or when company's coming over. It's stainless, so the lil grease spot jerks are pretty visible on the top of the hood.

    As far as the cooktop, or cooktop of the range - everyone's priorities are different. I would highly suggest paying attention to which ones are easiest to clean when you are narrowing down which ones have the features you want. Along those lines - there are liners for cooktops. Wife 1.0 found them, and mentioned to me that some company is making something like a "weathertec" liner for cooktops, and the cooktop model we have is on their list. I didn't even ask how much it was, I just asked her to order it. I'm pretty sure it's under the Festivus Tree, and I get to see what it actually is tomorrow. I'll get the deets. If I knew about this when we got the cooktop, I would have ordered it immediately.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #17 - December 24th, 2020, 11:00 am
    Post #17 - December 24th, 2020, 11:00 am Post #17 - December 24th, 2020, 11:00 am
    IMHO a real hood vented to the outside is a necessity if you plan on seriously cooking. The microwave/hood combinations are just noisemakers. The hood should be powerful enough that you need to crack a window in a fairly tight/new house when it runs. The hood should be running anytime you have a gas flame working, cooktop or oven.
  • Post #18 - December 24th, 2020, 12:07 pm
    Post #18 - December 24th, 2020, 12:07 pm Post #18 - December 24th, 2020, 12:07 pm
    dukesdad wrote:The hood should be running anytime you have a gas flame working, cooktop or oven.

    Not in a 1936 built house in desperate need of new windows.
  • Post #19 - December 24th, 2020, 12:19 pm
    Post #19 - December 24th, 2020, 12:19 pm Post #19 - December 24th, 2020, 12:19 pm
    dukesdad wrote:IMHO a real hood vented to the outside is a necessity if you plan on seriously cooking. The microwave/hood combinations are just noisemakers. The hood should be powerful enough that you need to crack a window in a fairly tight/new house when it runs. The hood should be running anytime you have a gas flame working, cooktop or oven.


    I’m getting a proper hood that vents outside —that’s not the issue. I only have room for a hood that is the same dimension as the range if I get a 36–and don’t really want to go down to the 30 I have now. So looking for info such as what Seebee posted (thank, Seebee :) ).

    One of my concerns with the BlueStar is whether my very, very NOT cook-savvy sons/hubs will still be able to cook their repertoire of frozen pizza/Mac & cheese without burning my house down. Any thoughts? Anyone else consider the BlueStar v. the more trad’l options such as Wolf, Viking, etc.?

    Thanks!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #20 - December 24th, 2020, 1:18 pm
    Post #20 - December 24th, 2020, 1:18 pm Post #20 - December 24th, 2020, 1:18 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Anyone else consider the BlueStar v. the more trad’l options such as Wolf, Viking, etc.?

    I can't compare with BlueStar but I hate every piece of Viking equipment I've owned. It's all style-over-substance garbage. The pieces I bought, I'm now kicking myself over having done so. The pieces that came with the properties I've purchased, I've made a priority to replace. My sense is that this is equipment for people who don't cook seriously but still want a showpiece kitchen.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #21 - December 24th, 2020, 1:20 pm
    Post #21 - December 24th, 2020, 1:20 pm Post #21 - December 24th, 2020, 1:20 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:Anyone else consider the BlueStar v. the more trad’l options such as Wolf, Viking, etc.?

    I can't compare with BlueStar but I hate every piece of Viking equipment I've owned. It's all style-over-substance garbage. The pieces I bought, I'm now kicking myself over having done so. The pieces that came with the properties I've purchased, I've made a priority to replace. My sense is that this is equipment for people who don't cook seriously but still want a showpiece kitchen.

    =R=


    Have you already replaced and, if so, with what?
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #22 - December 24th, 2020, 1:33 pm
    Post #22 - December 24th, 2020, 1:33 pm Post #22 - December 24th, 2020, 1:33 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:Anyone else consider the BlueStar v. the more trad’l options such as Wolf, Viking, etc.?

    I can't compare with BlueStar but I hate every piece of Viking equipment I've owned. It's all style-over-substance garbage. The pieces I bought, I'm now kicking myself over having done so. The pieces that came with the properties I've purchased, I've made a priority to replace. My sense is that this is equipment for people who don't cook seriously but still want a showpiece kitchen.

    =R=


    Have you already replaced and, if so, with what?

    Wolf on one all-in-one range, which has been a solid, reliable performer. Still holding off/researching on the other.

    The one good choice I made from the outset was on some Thermador (electric) ovens. They're analog, so I can only dial in 25-degree increments but other than that single negative, I really like them. They're accurate, hold temperature very well, have well-positioned exterior handles and a very well-designed internal racking system, which provides ease and versatility.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #23 - December 24th, 2020, 1:57 pm
    Post #23 - December 24th, 2020, 1:57 pm Post #23 - December 24th, 2020, 1:57 pm
    I bought a 30" Five Star dual fuel range with a Broan hood. I'm very happy with it. We had Viking ranges previously and I prefer this. The hood will pull your dress up over your head. I can't imagine why your husband and sons couldn't drive it.
  • Post #24 - December 24th, 2020, 2:13 pm
    Post #24 - December 24th, 2020, 2:13 pm Post #24 - December 24th, 2020, 2:13 pm
    dukesdad wrote:I bought a 30" Five Star dual fuel range with a Broan hood. I'm very happy with it. We had Viking ranges previously and I prefer this. The hood will pull your dress up over your head. I can't imagine why your husband and sons couldn't drive it.


    Thanks!! Haven’t heard of Five Star so I’ll have a look. And it’s the range I’m worried about them using, not the hood :) :) :)
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #25 - December 24th, 2020, 2:18 pm
    Post #25 - December 24th, 2020, 2:18 pm Post #25 - December 24th, 2020, 2:18 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:Anyone else consider the BlueStar v. the more trad’l options such as Wolf, Viking, etc.?

    I can't compare with BlueStar but I hate every piece of Viking equipment I've owned. It's all style-over-substance garbage. The pieces I bought, I'm now kicking myself over having done so. The pieces that came with the properties I've purchased, I've made a priority to replace. My sense is that this is equipment for people who don't cook seriously but still want a showpiece kitchen.

    =R=


    Have you already replaced and, if so, with what?

    Wolf on one all-in-one range, which has been a solid, reliable performer. Still holding off/researching on the other.

    The one good choice I made from the outset was on some Thermador (electric) ovens. They're analog, so I can only dial in 25-degree increments but other than that single negative, I really like them. They're accurate, hold temperature very well, have well-positioned exterior handles and a very well-designed internal racking system, which provides ease and versatility.

    =R=


    I soooo wish I had room for a double oven but I’d lose too much cabinet space which is more needed. I do have an additional full kitchen in the basement which is where my perfectly capable and only 2 y/o GE range will go, if I decide to go ahead with a new one. So I will have two ovens if I need them. But have heard good things about Thermador generally. Thanks for the Wolf intel too.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #26 - December 24th, 2020, 3:47 pm
    Post #26 - December 24th, 2020, 3:47 pm Post #26 - December 24th, 2020, 3:47 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:....My sense is that this is equipment for people who don't cook seriously but still want a showpiece kitchen.

    =R=


    When I was scouring around the interwebs for our full gut remodel, the recurring message was - do NOT buy names. Buy the best appliance that you can, for the job, for your specs. Serious cooks will laugh at big names on appliances that they are not "known" for. If I'm looking at a house and see all one brand "suite" kitchen with a stainless steel Viking microwave, or something like a Stainless steel Jenn Aire built in coffee maker, I'd just facepalm. I'd be more excited to see a hodgepodge of great individual appliances, since I like to cook. Not every "suite" kitchen is bad, of course, but sometimes, you can tell if a kitchen is being used to cook, or just to look at.

    Now, excuse me while I clean my Electrolux faucet.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #27 - December 24th, 2020, 8:27 pm
    Post #27 - December 24th, 2020, 8:27 pm Post #27 - December 24th, 2020, 8:27 pm
    Ten years on with our Bluestar and we love it.

    My two cents:

    I’d still get the 36” rangetop even if you only have space for a 36” hood. While not ideal, I think it isn’t worth downsizing the stove.

    I have a 36” hood and a 30” rangtop made by a brand called Kobe. My only complaint about the hood is that the vent is a bit shallow front to back and so doesn’t always contain all of the exhaust. But it’s 1000 cfm and plenty powerful. I usually use it on the lowest setting.

    I also wouldn’t worry about safety relative to any other brand. The extra btu make it more powerful, but only a little bit. Otherwise it works similarly.
  • Post #28 - December 25th, 2020, 9:34 am
    Post #28 - December 25th, 2020, 9:34 am Post #28 - December 25th, 2020, 9:34 am
    boudreaulicious wrote:...if I get the 36” range, I only have room for a 36” hood. Is this really an issue?

    A wider hood is a "nice to have", not a "gotta have." You have the space you have. More important, what duct work do you have? What is the duct diameter, total run length, number of elbows in the run. If you have a 4" diameter duct that runs 20 feet horizontally with two elbows, you'll get 400 cfm through it (and probably less), regardless of the exhaust hood/fan combination you install. Your 36" range will easily overwhelm the exhaust capacity of that ductwork and you'll be unhappy with your hood choice. OTOH, if you have a 10" diameter duct that runs vertically out the roof with no elbows, it will handle a 1200 cfm+ fan and you'll be fine with your 36" hood.
  • Post #29 - December 25th, 2020, 10:41 am
    Post #29 - December 25th, 2020, 10:41 am Post #29 - December 25th, 2020, 10:41 am
    I first saw Five Star in Rick Bayless kitchen on one of his shows. They are made in Tennessee by an old line range manufacturer. I bought it factory direct online, had it shipped to my contractor.

    https://www.fivestarrange.com/
  • Post #30 - December 25th, 2020, 10:41 am
    Post #30 - December 25th, 2020, 10:41 am Post #30 - December 25th, 2020, 10:41 am
    Choey wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:...if I get the 36” range, I only have room for a 36” hood. Is this really an issue?

    A wider hood is a "nice to have", not a "gotta have." You have the space you have. More important, what duct work do you have? What is the duct diameter, total run length, number of elbows in the run. If you have a 4" diameter duct that runs 20 feet horizontally with two elbows, you'll get 400 cfm through it (and probably less), regardless of the exhaust hood/fan combination you install. Your 36" range will easily overwhelm the exhaust capacity of that ductwork and you'll be unhappy with your hood choice. OTOH, if you have a 10" diameter duct that runs vertically out the roof with no elbows, it will handle a 1200 cfm+ fan and you'll be fine with your 36" hood.


    Sending this directly to my contractor (guessing he knows but can’t be too careful). Hood will be a new addition but he has a plan for doing it—I’ll just make sure he was thinking along these same lines. Thank you so much!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington

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