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Viking, Sub-Zero, et al. Really better or just snob appeal?

17 years ago

I'm not trying to start a fuss here, but we are building a new home, and I am trying to decide what brand(s) of appliances to buy. I'm new to this whole process.

Our builder took us on a tour of some of his finished homes, and frankly, some of the appliances scared me.

I guess I am having a hard time understanding why the average family would outfit their home with a kitchen that looks like it came directly out of a high-volume restaurant.

Now, I do think that the shiny stainless steel items are attractive, but when I got home and got online and started researching the different brands, I found that almost without exception, the high-priced brands were also the ones that were consistently ranked as the least dependable.

My builder confirmed this for me saying that most of the people who choose those appliances do so because they have "Parade Homes" that they get a reduction in the cost of building on in exchange for letting their home be used.

I would prefer to be able to COOK on my Viking cooktop, as opposed to just LOOK at it while I wait for my repair man.

I realize that some may choose these $$$ appliances for their performance, but WHAT makes them better performance-wise than some of the less-expensive Pro lines, like Kenmore's, etc?

Thanks so much!

Comments (65)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm first time high end appliance owners, my kitchen just got done with SZ642, Miele DW and BS range. once I decided I want a built-in look fridge 6 months ago to widen limited walking path, I had to bite the bullet to paid premium for it, SZ or Ka or whatever. Refrig is quite different from other appliances, I hardly can say SZ is functionally better than $2000 fridges, but they definitely look much better in the kitchen, my old $800 refrig paid 12 years ago still works fine in basement. So I say, the high-priced appliances are part of kitchen design, not just a box where you keep you foods or devices you cook meals with.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    For several years now my wife and I have driven BMW's. To be honest the damn things are just less reliable than the Nissan Maxima and the Honda Accord that I and my wife drove for many years prior. So, no the more expensive models (in this case the BMW's) are indeed less reliable. So, if you base your decision on those criteria the BMW would seem to be a poor choice.

    Then again driving my BMW 745Li is something that can hardly be compared to the Maxima. Both are nice sedans that get you from point A to point B but definitely not the same way. Sure, I may drive the BMW party because it makes me feel good (i.e. "snobby") but it's also fantastically fun and comfortable.

    So, I view my kitchen appliances in a similar way. Many of the appliances do the same job but sometimes the fancy models are just worth the cost - more reliable or not.

    For most "things" I buy the least expensive alternative that will get me what I want/need. For certain things like cars and kitchen appliances that impact my life significantly I can justify splurging. So, we didn't order the fanciest carpet, tile, light fixtures or siding but we did go all out on the appliances. It's a cost/benefit ratio that makes sense to us and it gives us the look and the performance we want.

    Also, don't forget that "snob appeal" isn't necessarily all bad. Some things that have such appeal look fantastic and something that you can enjoy all by yourself.

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  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm with cpovey -- I don't care all that much about any appliance except the range, so I would be willing to get a middle-of-the-road fridge, DW, etc., to have more $$ for a higher-performance range.

    If an appliance has features that will make a difference to you every day, it's probably worth paying a bit more.

    That said, I've been cooking delicious meals (if I do say so myself) on Kenmore ranges since I can remember.

    My mother produced fabulous, complicated French meals on an old electric range for years. However, I do remember her swearing at the burners :)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    lakeshore.....everyone knows that the Germans don't make the most reliable autos. They make very safe and snob appealing ones but not reliable. If you want a luxury make that is relaible then look at Lexus/Infinity. The new Lex LS is every bit as competent as the 745 and Toyota's computers actually work. Spend a bit of xtra coin and the thing will parallel park itself.

    I am totally with you on not discounting "snob appeal" or makes me feel good as a basis for deciding purchases. I feel too many people around here spread sheet purchases to death with btu this, price that, size something else, is it high on consumer reports list???? that they forget to actually enjoy the thing.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    my $.02

    Range - 36" all gas w/convection Viking - Yes, even after reading naysayers - I did my own research went to showroom then to dealer to see side by side demos etc.. Very pleased w/choice, performance and svc (minor flaws in grates changed out w/o any issue) & would do it again

    Fridge - JA cab depth french doors - built in look w/o the $$ - Very pleased

    DW - Miele - although orig research revealed they are a little less deep than american made (which is a factor in large/busy house) - and the drying issue - I choose it for function and felt it would make clean up easier _ IT has!

    Micro _ GE counter - very pleased

    Hood - Zephyr - 850 CFMS cab type model - pleased but the circuit board just went - svc was excellent

    Disposal - I thought I purchased a 3/4 hp Waste king - it arrived 1 hp when I spoke to appliance store they advised the 1hp has LIFETIME guarantee - OK w/that - I don't believe that is the case w/insinkerator

    As w/any high end appliance/electronics research can be daunting and confusing. Honestly, the experts are not on here (individuals w/individual issues that may get attention and blown out of proportion statistically)- go to appliance stores, DEALERS, ask svc people - sites that have ratings - consumer reports is one, but not good info on high end appliances rather middle & low end products.

    good luck

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This is all so very helpful, and I am getting such good information. Thank you all very much.

    As a result, I am now leaning toward a Wolf or Bluestar cooktop, a Miele DW, and a Miele or Thermador oven. I just can't get past the price on the built-in fridges vs the non, so I think I'll go with a french door KA or GE Mon. But, I'll make another post to whittle those down later after I've looked at them all in person.

    I had to laugh at the car analogies. I had thought of that myself. Especially the models used. I have had BMW 7 Series' since the 90's, and I LOVED them, but go so fed up with the $$$ every time ANYTHING went wrong. The last straw was the dealer who did not care if I bought another one or not and wanted to give me nothing for my trade. I was TIRED of paying out the wazoo, and not being a valued customer.

    Sooooo, I bought a Lexus. It's not the same car as the BMW, but I don't have to worry about the supercilious dealer; the Lexus people bend over backwards for me; the car runs great and is nice enough. It also holds its value better and has a MUCH more reliable track record than the 7 Series.

    It's the same thing here. I don't mind paying for quality, but the product needs to perform, and the support needs to be there.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Snob appeal.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Functionality.

    Really Better.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    :) :) Just wanted to offer a balanced perspective from the prior post.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Here is why we are doing a built-in fridge "again". (have had both types is the past).

    Snob appeal - nope, could care less what people think (well I do like it if they take to my cooking :) ).

    Aethetics - I appreciate good design. Freestanding fridge that do not fit the opening and pop out into the kitchen are just something that bugs me silly. But - there are plenty of solutions to address this with inexpensive counter depth fridges and a good trim carptenter. (BTW- this is one of the things I like about a stainless fridge, mutch to my wife's dismay: no fridge magnets. We'll put a corkboard in the mudroom for that sort of stuff.)

    Solidness - (I'm not talking about breakdowns here, both types of fridges have service calls). I'm talking about opening the door of the fridge and feeling the sturdiness and solidness of the swing. Every time you open the fridge, it just has a better feel to it. It's hard to place a value on this, but for myself I would pay $500-1000 more for a fridge that felt solid to me as often as I use it.

    Functionality - we are a family of six and keep our fridge full. A freestanding deep fridge requires us to always be pulling the front layer of groceries out to get to the back layer of groceries. Things can get forgotten in the back as well. A counter depth fridge fixes all of that - but one needs a built in if you want counter depth and large storage capacity.

    It boiled down to getting a counter depth free-standing with close fitting trim, and purchasing a second fridge that is outside of the kitchen. -or- getting a built-in.

    As a bargain-hunter, I saved money by finding an excellent deal on the built-in.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "lakeshore.....everyone knows that the Germans don't make the most reliable autos. They make very safe and snob appealing ones but not reliable. If you want a luxury make that is relaible then look at Lexus/Infinity. The new Lex LS is every bit as competent as the 745 and Toyota's computers actually work. Spend a bit of xtra coin and the thing will parallel park itself."

    Our M3 has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever had, with routine servicing only in the 10 years we have owned it. OTOH, you couldn't pay me to drive a Lexus. I had one as a loaner once and couldn't stand the thing; it was like driving a wallowing boat. We also had a Toyota truck at one place I worked that spent more time in the shop than on the road!

    Moral of the above? Someone, somewhere is going to have a problem with every make of car, or appliance, out there, and different people will have different tastes, needs and preferences.

    I am still waiting for DH to complete the necessary work so that I can get my Gaggenau ovens installed. I got good deals on them and, based on the comments I have read here, fully expect them to live up to their excellent reputations for both performance and reliability.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In answer to the original post, I've had a variety of appliances in 4 houses with two total rehabs over 20 years. For my $$$, both Subzero (had 4) and Viking are overrated and overpriced.

    I agree with cpovey on what matters and what doesn't. I like the F&P ovens better than anything else...sort of like a Mac computer they work easily and well. I like my Viking induction cooktop better than any gas or electric I've had, but it's twice as expensive as it should be and it's been serviced twice in the 1st year. If I could have waited longer I would have the Kenmore 36.

    Unfortunately I live one of those zip codes where you have to have hig-end appliances for resale. I found GE Monogram to be somewhat more reasonably priced and just as feature rich and perhaps better made. I also annoys me to no end that most of the high-end brands will not allow their dealers to discount; GE Monogram does.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    to the OP:

    as you can see, there is a debate on your question.

    however, what is undeniably wrong, is the contractor's claim that most people put high end stuff in to builder/parade homes. wrong, wrong, wrong. very few builder homes have high end stuff. builder homes are where you find the complete package of one appliance brand ("all kenmore" or "all whirlpool")

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Like Beth4 above, I love my Wolf. All those BTUs get the water boiling faster and the simmer is really simmer. Also we have the grill and love it. Kind of simple in a way, an all gas unit, but it works well.

    We also have a Thermador electric oven that I esp. really like because of many options.

    We opted for a KitchenAid fridge because of good recommendations and it's a cold box that works. Took the money saved by not buying the SubZero and put it into the grill and extra more powerful hood. (Love the say the SubZero looks but too many problems among people I know who have them).

    Enjoy the hunt!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Know what you mean by builders and high end stuff. Our builder's idea of upgrading is GE profile stainless steel package. His standard allowance is $2500. We will be spending around $16k for approx $23k retail of appliances.

    We are going with:
    Miele ovens (picked up last years model for a great deal)
    Bosh DW (SHE series has a nice latch for my special needs son)
    Di Deitrich induction HOB (safer than gas for my special needs son)
    Viking fridge (I got a good deal - I know there are service issues)
    Zephyr Cheng Hood (We did pay extra for looks here - but island ventilation options are rather limited and more pricey than their wall counterparts)

    This will be way out of the ordinary for our builder.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    While I agree that many may want high-end for the snob appeal, I ended up going with it for function and quality. And the one appliance I went cheap on, I very much regret.

    Refrigerator: Because of my small kitchen and the location of the fridge, I needed it to be a counterdepth 36" model. There were only a few that gave me the refrigerator space I need and they were all around $5,000. I have a freezer in the garage and really needed to get the most refrigerator space in it I could (family of 6). I wanted to go with panels (just for looks - my bad) and no water in door. I really liked the Viking, but there were too many bad reviews. The Sub-zero 650 (loved the integrated one, but that cut back on fridge space to give more freezer space) and the GE Monogram were only $300 difference in price and DH liked that the top ice drawer came out with the main drawr in the Sub-zero. So between that and friend's recommendations, we went with the SZ. When it came, they had changed the design to allow for full-extention of the bottom drawer and the ice drawer no longer came out, but that is okay. DH modified it himself to do so. We love this refrigerator so far and are very happy with our decision.

    DW: We were going to keep our old one and have a panel made, but at the last minute our cabinetmaker said that he had a lot of problems with Kenmore panels not fitting and if we had any ideas of replacing it might be prudent to do so now. Especially since our cabinets are cherry and the colors could be quite different. We did some fast research on the forum and decided to get the F&P Dish Drawers. We were able to get them on S&D for $800 and since they would be paneled the tiny scratch didn't matter a bit. I absolutely love these things and can't believe I ever lived without them. It's a little bit of an adjustment, but they are so worth it.

    Cooktop: Kenmore induction. Love the induction! The controls are kind of touchy and a pain, but it cooks like a dream and was a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

    MW/Speedcooker: Advantium OTR 240 Oven. I adore this thing. Especially since we saved a bundle and bought it in S&D (without a mark on it) for only $500. I can cook a whole chicken in 25 minutes or baked potatoes in 8 minutes and they taste great! I will never be without this appliance again!

    Trash compactor: The GE Profile integrated model which really isn't much more expensive than any other (including a pull-out cabinet) and has worked fine.

    Oven: Sadly, we thought we could safely skimp on this one without much effect. Boy, were we wrong! We got the GE profile convection single wall oven (since we had the Advantium oven, too). We hate it! It takes forever to warm up, the time in cooking is all off and it doesn't fit half the stuff I try to put in it even though it is "full-sized". What a mistake! Also, of note, I would have fought DH harder and gotten the warming drawer I really wanted. I sorely miss it.

    That's my 2 cents!

    Marie

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    One last thing I wnat to mention.

    If you are seriously send a lot of $$ on a fridge, do a lot of research.

    Avoid Viking. It's a LONG story, but their fridges are sorely out of date, and are likely to need a 'special' installation if you live in humid areas, a 'special' service call or two (at no charge, if you complain to Viking about it) but that will increase your energy bill.

    GE Monogram seems to have the newest technology, but may have a loss of some interior space to make room for it all.

    Sub-zero has the best warranty in the busimess. Everything is covered for 2 years, the sealed system is covered P&L for five years, and the sealed system (parts only) for 12 years. And it is a transferable warranty.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, I had a kitchen with appliances that I chose for function rather than wow factor. The builder warned me that it would be hard to sell this type house without high end appliances. Of course, I had the same attitude as most of you, I'm doing this kitchen for me and no one else. So, I got a 48" KitchendAid frig, KitchenAid 30" double ovens, Kenmore smooth top electric cooktop, and Kenmore microwave. Well, he was absolutely right. When I put my house on the market, every couple that came to look at the house had the same response, "We love the house but the kitchen was very disappointing in a house like this - there were no high end or stainless steel appliances". After 2 years on the market and hearing the same comments over and over the realtor finally convinced us to provide an allowance for upgrading the appliances (because my hubby refused to do it himself). We finally sold the house.
    So, needless to say, we are going high end all the way this time. (we plan on selling in a few yrs)
    And Viking is very BIG here.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    kaytee, where's "here"?

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The state in which Viking is made - ms

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Our house came with a SZ, otherwise we would not be the owners of one. I do find it keeps veggies fresh for a long time. Also, we recently had a reason to call customer service, as something minor is wrong (the vacuum condenser light keeps coming on). They have fabulous customer service, and I found out that our parts are guaranteed until 2010, based on the serial number I gave them. If DH and I ever remodel our kitchen, I would think about SZ and Wolf due to their warranty cs. Our fridge has been great, too, just a little thing wrong now, but the appliance is about 9 yeard old.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You have received lots of good advice, and here are my two cents.

    Miele DW is worth the extra money if silence is important to you. In a great room, where people are watching TV, you don't hear a sound. With my previous DW, a GE, I had to run it only after we went to sleep.

    My new Wolf, all-gas range, is definitely worth the money to me. I had to buy a 36 in. because of the previous range I had. I wasn't interested in redoing the cabinets and tile work. I have it just a week but it arrived in perfect time for Easter cooking and baking. The simmer burners are on all 6 burners, not just one or two. I made a perfect bechamel sauce with little worry of scorching. The high BTU's brought a pot of water up to boiling before I had time to peel all the potatoes. The oven, with convection, baked four uniformly colored loaves of bread at once without turning pans or covering the back ones with foil. I did hours and hours of research before deciding on which range to buy and I am thrilled beyond words. The distributor even sent over a techinician to check on the installation and so forth and he assured me that their customer service is the best you can find and they will stand behind the range even after the warranty. If the grids chip or discolor, they will replace them. Things like that.

    I don't have a Sub-zero refrigerator but I know people who do and the quality is beyond compare. My son used to work in a lab at the university here and that's all they there. I don't have the space so I bought a GE. It's definitely not the GE we used to know and love. It drips water and I had to call a serviceman twice in 5 years.

    Good luck with your decision. Do your homework and don't settle if you don't have to. You want to enjoy your kitchen and the right appliances for you will definitely made a difference.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Really interesting that the 2 builders here are weighing in on the side of better reliability from good quality, low-status appliances. I remember working in a kitchen design store where we had cooking demos and the chefs produced wonderful food with one knife, a portable chopping board and a one-burner hotplate. But it won't sell houses or magazines, or make you feel special, or impress anyone. Plus, most home cooks can't cook that well. Oddly enough, the demos were to bring in traffic; no one ever seemed to notice the discrepancy between the equipment the chef used and what we were selling!

    Nevertheless, I try to remember that experience, consider what I actually need and think about whether I'm being conned into something for resale when I know some years from now it'll all be outmoded or out of fashion.

    Therefore, what suits us best is to take along to the new house appliances of proven reliability/performance: our white freestanding electric range with ceramic cooktop--a 1998 Amama(which has never needed a repair); our 2003 white Kenmore refrigerator (has always worked great); our 1996 countertop white Amana microwave. We'll buy a single, or maybe a double dishwasher drawer of whichever brand seems most reliable at the time; and a range vent hood of about 300 cfms properly vented to the outside.

    We'll install new, scratch-and-dent range and refrig. at our current house before we sell it.

    OTOH, plenty of money will go into truly custom (from a local cabinet shop) cabinets with slab fronts and all base cabinets will be drawers (except the sink cab.)with sof-close, full extension drawer slides. Because they're easier to use, esp. for us older folks. There'll also be a special run of cabinetry with sink/disposal and storage geared for seated users and installed per ADA specs for a wheelchair user--which any of us could be at any time, or a visiting relative could be.

    So, we're putting our money into the best appliances, and other kitchen features for US, which is the entire point. One thing that helped us was to step back from all the talk, pictures, etc. of kitchens and think hard about function and our own lifestyle. Much of what is installed now will be outmoded or unfashionable by the time you sell, so don't be swayed in some useless direction by that trap.

    Good luck; it's very exciting!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can tell you from my experience that putting your money into quality appliances will pay off in the long run. 15 years ago my husband and I built a new home and purchased a side-by side SubZero which is still working like a top. In that time we have had only had one service call and that was on the ice maker which was fixed under warranty and has been fine since. My Thermador cooktop (4 burner with griddle and grill in the middle) was just repaired last week for the 2nd time in 15 years, and considering the amount of cooking I do, I am happy with that service record. Both the SZ and Thermador have stainless trim, so neither looks dated, and I hope my Thermador cooktop lasts at least another few years. I am now in the process of evaluating double ovens. My Monogram doubles are still working beautifully, but now I would like convection and an updated look. After reading many postings on this site and evaluating many different brands both on the web and in person, I am terrified to change ovens for fear I'll get stuck with a lemon. I haven't run across one oven brand that doesn't seem to have service issues. My 15 year old KitchenAid Superba dishwasher has never had to be serviced, although I am planning to replace it with a newer, quieter model.

    Does anyone have experience either negative or positive with the DCS double ovens (WOSD 227 or WOTD 227) or with the Asko dishwashers. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We built a house two years ago and went with Subzero refrigerators (two), Miele dishwashers (two), and Wolf rangetop and double ovens. In retrospect I'm pretty happy. From our experience I would say that the refrigerators and dishwashers win out only on aesthetics, and if I could find a dishwasher as quiet as the Miele I wouldn't spend the bucks on that to do it again. I don't think I would spend the money on the subzeros if I did it again. But I would get the Wolfs again without a doubt. Instead of a rangetop and double electric ovens though I would get an all gas range and a single large electric oven.

    Our rangetop has the built-in grill and we use it a lot and love it. We're in Chicago and use it all year, fwiw. I'm not keen on the black rolled top of the Wolf rangetop - it is impossible to keep clean.

    If we did it again though I'd do a house with a closed kitchen and focus less on the aesthetics of the kitchen than we did on this house. Our kitchen is beautiful and it is open to the family room, so it was important for this house.

    YMMV
    -a

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Angela - we just got rid of a 10 year old Asko DW. Never had a single problem with it. It washed well and was quiet.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Really better"?

    You are the only one who can define those terms.

    Remember that Toyota has the BEST owner satisfaction of any car company: they make so many cars, they can refine the design and build process till its practically bullet proof, in terms of repair history.

    Still won't out run a Porsche, or 'out glam' a Bentley.

    A gourmet range makes sense to me: more heat is better than less heat.

    But a gourmet refrigerator? I have a hard time with that one...

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    For us, it was all about design. We chose the SZ 736TCI only because it was completely integrated (hidden). We frankly didn't even pay attention to the specs - dual compressors, etc - couldn't have cared less, and as far as I can tell, it doesn't keep stuff any colder, or any longer, than the old GE Profile it replaced. The freezer drawers are great, by the way, but again, that wasn't part of the decision equation. Sure does look good, though!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oruboris said "A gourmet range makes sense to me: more heat is better than less heat.

    But a gourmet refrigerator? I have a hard time with that one..."

    I'm totally with you on that. I want something that keeps food cold/frozen. Has a decent repair history and warranty. I've bounced back and forth between the JennAir and SubZero (both counter depth).

    The JennAir/Amana/etc is cheaper. Period. End of story.

    The subzero has slightly larger fridge capacity which we want. It has a more solid feel to it when you open the doors and the shelves feel really stable. Every fridge we've had for the past 20 years freezes food in the fridge on the top back shelf - particularly when the seasons change and the temp changes in the house. We're constantly trying to hit that perfect spot on the dial. Supposedly the dual compressor of the SubZ would eliminate that problem.

    We seem to need a new fridge every 7-8 years. If a SubZ lasted 15-20 years we'd be ahead of the game.

    In this case, I really do think SubZ makes a better fridge. I'm just having a hard time spending the $$ it costs.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Isn't this board just the best??? Here is a group of people all in the same boat. I am at the point that EVERY salesperson we speak to gives a different story. But this board is so helpful. This is where we are at. This is our 8th house. We lived in seven of then under 3 years each. Only one did we live in for 12 years while our children were growing up. Each kitchen fit the $$$ of the house. (resale) This #8 house we hope to live in for 8-10 years until full retirement. We are moving closer to Boston and the $$$ is higher so the kitchen will justify.
    Wolf range - Bosch D/W with panel. The fridge has been the big issue. I just can not justify $6,000. Where are the $3,500 - $4,500 fridges? They don"t exist. We resessed our wall back so we can have a full depth fridge. But, it will look built in. I like the looks of LG and Samsung but I get the impression they are both VERY hard to get service for. (I am going after the look with the round pro type handels. I don't want the curved. So that leaves only the Jen-Air FD/SS pro handel which I think will work for us. Also building in the GE microrave into a cabinet and getting a garb disp for the first time. I am looking at the insinkerator or Waste King. (again recommended from this board) Not sure of cont. feed or the other style. I have to do more research.(I have asked several salespersons about the air switch and they don't seem to know about it.) And for the fan over the range Vent-a hood. I honestly can't believe all my stress over a fridge. I place my order by the 1st of July so that will be my deadline.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    sanborn5-- I'm with you with the stress. Mine is over the range. I have never been close to spending this kind of $$$ for appliances! We are in the process of adding on to our 1928 home (which includes a new kitchen). I want the look to stay "old home." What lead you to decide on the Wolf? I am trying to decide between it, the Thermador or the Cornu Fe'.

    Your thoughts (and anyone else's) would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My 25 y.o. GE fridge in our apartment has duct tape on the shelves and the drawers fall every time they are opened and I keep hoping I can replace without a full reno but that won't happen.

    So I keep looking for a fridge with resale in mind. Liebherrs and Thermador seem very popular right now. Haven't really read any complaints about either. Believe those are in the mid range as this stuff goes

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I started off looking at a Kitchen aid pro stove, (never had pro kitchen before. Then I compared it to a DCS that was in the store and realized how tinny it looked. Then I also looked at a Decor. Someone who works with my husband had bought a wolf and he mentioned it to me. (I thought he was nuts in regard to the $$$$ but he didn't seem to have a problem(but must keep other expenses down) So I went to a large appliance store in the area and looked at DCS, Decor, Wolf, Viking and Thermador. My friend has had problems with her viking range and viking fridge. Even though I liked the look I ruled it out because of repair issues(even though I hear they have been taken care of) Then I ruled out the DCS and Decor and it was between the Wolf & Thermador( T-was my favorite in looks) but after talking to salespeople and this board I chose the Wolf. If there had been a good size $$ difference I would have chosen the Thermador. There is lots of good mentioned about the Thermador but there seems to be some small problems, It just seems like nothing bad is said about the Wolf Range. Everyone who has them loves them. As far as the fridge, the Thermador is beautiful but still up there in $$$. I don't know much about the Liebherr, I will check it out. And the other range I know nothing about. Maybe it is the area we live in. (Northern New England)

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the info. Just went to look at the Cornu Fe'. I just love the look. Unfortunately, the ovens are smallish. Oh well, still looking.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I looked at the cornufe today too: the ovens ARE small if you ever do 20 pound turkeys and the like, and I was a little troubled by the brushed stainless 'burner bowls': looked like they might develope a tetch more 'patina' than I'm really comfortable with. And I don't understand why they would do two electric ovens, instead of an electric 'bake' and a gas 'roast'.

    The Aga Legacy was much the same. Burner bowls are black, but the ovens are small and the grates didn't seem as hardy. Almost as good a look as the cornufe, but a very different kind of aesthetic. Liked the removeable oven liners and separate broiler.

    So Bluestar once again takes the lead, despite really poor aesthetics. I hope I like cooking on it more than I like looking at it...

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    oruboris & chauffeur4two

    On the size of the ovens for CornuFe: I own one here in NY. I have the Chateau in my other house.

    La Cornue designed the CornuFe ovens with 6 concerns:

    1. Customer who cook for 20-30-40 people everyday should never buy a La Cornue and look at Wolk, Viking, Imperial Pro...large cavities for huge amount of food.

    2. Home cooking: that's the design

    3. Always small cavities with powerful heating source: excellent calibration, no temperature variation, La Cornue ovens are know to be precise, even though the cavity and FORGIVING!

    4. 2 ovens for maximum flexibility: Roast & Bake, Roast & Roast (2 twenty pounders done in 2:45mm with exquisite moisture retention, no basting, just relax)

    5. In addition to the Convection mode, the left oven features multiple functions for a variety of cooking applications.

    6. 18" x 13" x 1 Half-Sheet Pans slide in directly in the cavity. Result: I bake up to a total of 8 sheets at a time - 4 in each oven with convection mode.

    You can check this video on this...

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I, too, thought I didn't need expensive appliances. But I do love my SubZero fridge. Not only does it store a lot, is well constructed inside, and keeps my produce amazingly fresh, the integrated panels make the kitchen look beautiful. If I still had my old kitchen and the fridge went out, would I replace it with an expensive SubZero? No. But since we were building an addition onto the house that included new space for a kitchen, it was worth the money to include the SubZero in the design.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "A gourmet range makes sense to me: more heat is better than less heat"
    I don't understand this at all. Perhaps if I'm running a restaurant kitchen where I have to simultaneously turn out dozens of different dishes that arrive perfectly cooked at the right temperature. But aren't we talking about HOME kitchens here? I don't know how other people cook, but I don't hand out menus to my guests and/or family and then go into the kitchen and cook up food to order. I prefer to make food like roasts or stews or salads that are more flexible in their finish time so that I can relax beforehand and enjoy the food and conversation with everyone else. Besides stir-fry, what exactly do you need such high heat for? What exactly do people do with 4 or 6 high output burners in a home kitchen? And why do you want your home kitchen to look like a restaurant's kitchen? And why is wanting attractive appliances 'snobby'? of course I want it to look good - this is my home and I spend a great deal of time in it - why wouldn't I want it to look good - that's a huge input of my decision making - especially as more people are moving towards 'open' kitchens.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Eric, I want/need big heat because I have a big extended family, live at 5400 feet [which means gas burners loose heat due to the lack of oxygen], and am on propane, which also means less heat, unless the range is designed for it from the ground up.

    I need big heat to boil 12 quarts of water for lobster or pasta, where more time with less heat doesn't yield the same result. I want to be able to put a good crust on a steak without leaving it on the heat so long the interior is ruined. I want to do a true, cajun styled blackened snapper, not a fried fish with a little cayanne. And yes, sometimes I even stir fry...

    I could probably get there with a 100 amp induction, but I prefer gas for day to day cooking, and don't want two separate systems.

    And when I want to do a lot of steaks without standing out in the cold, I want a broiler in the oven that can give a good sear quickly.

    I have one 13k burner on my current range, and it isn't nearly hot enough. The electric broiler does the job, but not as well as it would if it were a little hotter.

    My choice of range [today, may change tomorrow] is a 48" bluestar. I'll be able to roast in the big oven, do some bread in the small one, and have 2 big burners on top for what ever I please. I figure I can always lower the heat on a big burner, but there's a limit to how much heat I can wring out of a small one.

    I don't want a restraunt look. Not all gourmet ranges go that route. That's why Bluestar and American come in color. The French ranges don't look like typical commercial gear either, at least not what we see in the US.

    If a high heat range isn't right for you, don't get one.

    But it IS right for me, even when I'm not stir-frying.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree: High Altitude + Propane = loss of BTU.

    It can vary greatly from one brand to another. 5% loss of BTU up to 25%...sad

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Money really is an object for me. Several months ago someone was renovating their kitchen and we bought their oaks cabinets and the matching SZ, something I always wanted. Once installed, we couldn't find the temp control so I called an appliance store and discovered its age. That fridge is 20 years old and it's great. It looks practically new and works perfectly. Everytime I open that door and look into the huge capacity inside I'm delighted. The investment is worth it if you care about longevity.

    Now all I need is a new range--Wolf or Bertazzoni.

  • 17 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Without reading the gazillion posts here, this is what I've heard by word of mouth:

    Whirlpool makes great washers and dryers. Some people swear by Maytag.

    Wolf is known for their ranges.

    Sub Zero is known for their refrigerators, though I've read a lot about food freezing in the refrigerator as a result.

    I've heard positive things about Jenn Air.

    Frigidaire - I've also heard good things about their refrigerators.

    GE Profile Arctica - I have one of these, and would never, ever buy a GE profile SxS again. You couldn't give me one for free. JUNK!

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    ]Your information....I don't know if you have a Servco appliance showroom by you but if you do, they have most brand names...GE Gaggenau Thermador. I take food in there and cook it in their appliances to see how they work and if their features match my needs. I've used their trivection ovens, Advantium ovens, induction cooktops, etc. You might try some place that will allowo you to do that.

    Also, re Sub Zero. I had one, didn't like it and it was repair prone. I haven't talked to anyone that hasn't had a compressor go out albeit while it was under warranty, but I don't care if it is under warranty, it shouldn't break.

    So there you have it. Hope the info helped.

    Claire

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My Irish wife cooks her ass off and really digs 1800 degree broiler. I make beer, so a 15000btu burner is qute charming when boiling 5gal. of wort.

    Cheers

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Fascinating. We have an appliance budget of $10K so that lets out a lot of the high-end appliances. One appliance place today highly recommended the Jenn-Air fridge (we are getting a 36" counter-deep with french doors and bottom freezer), although they are owned by Whirlpool who also makes Whirlpool, KA, Amana, and Maytag. Argh. They all look identical inside. The Jenn-Air comes with black glass front - anybody have this instead of SS?

    Ovens - I may need to go with a 27" wall oven because of my kitchen configuration and not everyone makes a 27" convection oven: Monogram (love the handles), Kitchen Aid (love the full-extension rack which Monogram does NOT have but don't like the handles), or Jenn-air which I have not seen. The oven thing is agonizing: do I go with two 27's? One 27 wall oven and a 30" under counter? A 27" and an Advantium? Will the Advantium really work as a second oven when I need one?

    Time is closing in and I am more confused than ever: every dealer tells you another story. Any further advice from you very savvy people?

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hi raynag,
    Have you looked at the Bosch wall ovens. They have both 30" and a 27" coming out this month. The models I'm looking at are the 30' HBL545OUC and the 27" HBN545OUC. You can also order a telescopic rack as an accessory for the ovens. Most appliance dealers I have spoken with like these ovens and they have large capacity (4.7 cu ft in 30" and 4.2 cu ft. in the 27").

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've had my SZ since '99 when the price tag didn't bother me. Now, its up there.

    I have a few friends who are realtors who tell me I've added to the value of my house as SubZero has such a great reputation.

    Even with the mechanical complexity of the ice on the door, I really haven't had any failures once I figured out that you have to switch from a Culligan Reverse Osmosis water purifier to a Kinetico Quickflow for the Ice maker to keep from overflowing. With the low water pressure of the Culligan, I had to manually defrost the icemaker when I tested to see if the freezer really can go below zero.

    Back in those times, the SZ was the only fridge with ice on the door that consumed less than 900Kw/H a year thanks to the air lock on the door dispenser and having two separate compressors for fridge and freezer. My house is solar, so that was very important to me.

    If water on the door dispenser stops flowing, you set the fridge temp below 34 and it froze. You can't leave salad stuff outside the crisper even at 34. It will freeze and decay quickly. Same thing with fruits like strawberries. They go bad faster if they start to freeze.

    My beer has never been as cold and delicious since it started resting in the meat drawer. Your mileage may vary.
    My other appliances are a beloved F&P dishdrawer and an AGA cooker. But, thats another thread.

  • 16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    good thread

  • 6 years ago

    I went to a nearby appliance store and the salesman said "Based on your zip code, you *have to* get a Sub-Zero, only $12,000!" Nice ploy for a commission on an expensive, price-fixed line of appliances!