IS A 48″ VIKING, WOLF OR BOURDEAU PROFESSIONAL KITCHEN…) GAS RANGE WORTH IT?
A 48″ range and double oven is one of the surest ways to upgrade your kitchen and cooking experience. But how much do you need to pay for quality?
If you’re in the market for a high end 48″ gas range, you’ve probably come across the same brand names over and over again: Viking, Wolf, Bourdeau Kitchen, Kucht, Vulcan, Thermador, La Cornue, BlueStar…it’s a rotating cast of boutique brands offering ranges and ovens that cost as much as many pay for used cars. However, each brand inevitably has its horror stories and detractors, and it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. There’s no question that a 48″ stainless steel range will look amazing in your kitchen, but what if it doesn’t heat properly, or if you get poor service when you need it?
Today we’ll answer frequently asked questions based on knowledge from people who made the multi-thousand dollar commitment to bring home a high-end natural gas or liquid propane range.
The truth is that you’ll find nearly the same build quality across all brands…
While each brand has its advocates and detractors, the truth is that each manufacturer is capable of creating quality ranges and the occasional dud.
We’ve seen Vikings last for decades in some cases and break down repeatedly after a year or two in others. We have noticed a general tendency for Thermador models to need silly but crippling repairs, such as broken racks due to poor welding or lights no longer lighting and requiring expensive repairs.
Overall, we’d recommend Viking if you’ve got deeper pockets and Bourdeau Professional Kitchen or Kucht if you’re on a smaller budget but still want high levels of quality control.
We’d rank brands like La Cornue and BlueStar equivalently to Viking, Bourdeau Professional Kitchen, keeping in mind, of course, that individual experiences can and will vary.
For maximum reliability and durability, choose classic, minimal designs
No matter what the marketing says, price doesn’t parallel reliability once every range you’re comparing is already at a premium level. To put it another way, you’re not necessarily going to get more years out of a $10,000 Viking or Wolf range than you will from a less expensive brand once you’re dealing with multi-thousand dollar ranges; what matters much more tends to be the number
of electronic components inside each appliance.
Most ranges stop working when their circuit boards do, so avoid electronics whenever possible
Designing luxury kitchen for over 20 years has taught me one thing... "Classical Design Stands the Test of Time".
To put it simply, electronic circuit boards lead to electronic brain damage, and it often becomes cheaper to replace the range than to repair and replace the internal circuitry. As a result, if you want a range to last as long as possible, focus on getting a model with as few lights, displays, and other “smart” components as possible. A $7,000 Bourdeau Professional Kitchen BG4808U 48″ range, for example, is one of the most reliable ranges money can buy, simply because it includes next to no electronics; you can control it almost completely through metal knobs, which are much less likely to break down over decades than fragile computerized systems.
Is a dual fuel range worth it if you primarily bake with the ovens?
Dual fuel ranges are a wonderful alternative to gas ranges if you spend the majority of your kitchen time baking instead of cooking. Even if you primarily cook, if you spend a significant amount of time baking, you’ll want to consider a dual fuel range. In a dual fuel system, the burners are powered by gas while the ovens run on electricity. The advantage here is that internal oven temperatures can be set (and stay where they’re set) very precisely due to the natural stability of radiated heat from electric coils compared to heat supplied from gas-fueled flames. To put it simply, gas ovens have more trouble maintaining consistent temperatures than electric ones, which leads to less even baking in comparison. On the other end, few would argue that an electric range can cook as quickly or powerfully as a range topped with flaming gas burners. A dual fuel range gives you the best of both worlds.
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