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Fit and finish, Wolf and BlueStar -- specifics, please

12 years ago

At this point I'm leaning toward Blue Star but am nervous. We've all seen the posts -- even Trevor says "cook or look" which signifies that there are differences in fit and finish between Wolf and Blue Star.

But, what are they? Can we please cite specifics?

Hope to see one soon but would love to go prepared regarding what to look at . . .

My Rancilio Sylvia has definitely got some issues in the fit and finish department (I've cut myself on the reservoir tray) but I still love the machine. Just trying to calibrate what we're talking about here when we say the Blue Star finish is not up to the Wolf standard.

Comments (45)

  • pete_p_ny
    12 years ago

    Wolf is perfection in the look department. Bluestar is unrefined. My last home had a Bluestar. Not the prettiest of ranges. Go to a good appliance store where they have them all on the floor, you will notice the differences right away. Viking is a nice looking range also. I think Bluestar quality is marginal in the fit/finish department. You can notice inconsistencies in panel gaps, the top stainless piece across the front had the square edges marginally finished, etc. The cast iron pieces on the top drove me crazy because they were not a tight fit, you could push them a bit because of the gaps between them. The center cast iron pieces are a different finish then the burner grates. I just envision there manufacturing process to be very dated with not much high tech in the process.

  • sayde
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thank you pete, I appreciate the specifics and will look at the things you mentioned when I go to see the Blue Star-- probably Saturday.

    Would love to have additional input . . .

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  • parkplaza
    12 years ago

    I agree, the BS is a rough looking range. The cast iron top is quite ugly. My center cast iron piece is very rough (like fine sandpaper) while the grates are smooth (I believe they may be finished with porcain?).

  • castironcook2
    12 years ago

    Think of it as picking a spouse: do you go for eye-candy or for personality/character?

    I agree with Trevor. Cook or look.

  • sayde
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    I like the appearance of the Blue Star! It is the reports of quality shortfalls that is making me apprehensive. These are the things one cannot see in photos, and that I hope to be able to check out in person -- with some helpful pointers on what to look for. If it were a design question pure and simple, I would, for my particular kitchen, pick Blue Star as being the most in keeping with the overall vibe. It's the prospect of a bum oven door hinge that is giving me pause.

  • chesters_house_gw
    12 years ago

    I'm with you on that sayde. When I finally saw one, I was impressed. Certainly I expected something a good deal more raw given some of the descriptions and for that matter the pictures.
    I still haven't been able to make myself pull the trigger on it, and the hinge reports are a big part of that. It seems that oven heat and use strains the hinges. Every report I've seen on this has concerned the 30 inch ranges, not the 36, so I don't know if this a "feature" of the 30 inch. I've lived with quite a few ranges over the years, and most have had their quirks. The need to spray hinges to keep the door from freezing is a new one.
    I've gotten the impression in reading around that there has been a change in the door that might help.
    So I still sit undecided, with the BlueStar 36 inch, an Imperial (residential) 37 inch, and a Chambers or O'Keefe and Merritt as the choice set.

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    I disagree, in principle, with the cooks/looks idea. It implies that you cannot get both, which I don't feel is true. I was at the AD Home Design Show yesterday and boy, are there a lot of nice ranges out there.

    It also implies that you must settle for an element that's not positive.

    At these prices, and with the issues that have been raised over and over again in the case of BS, I don't think this is a fruitful approach. Wolf makes an across the boards top of the line range. Blue Star makes a high performance range with issues at a different price point.

  • chesters_house_gw
    12 years ago

    And not a hugely different price point.
    Rococogurl, what caught your eye?
    I've read about a new Aga that looked interesting. Way more electronics than I had in mind, but interesting. No one around here has one on the floor yet.

  • PRO
    Trevor Lawson (Eurostoves Inc)
    12 years ago

    Please forgive me for the next few lines, i mean no offense to anyone......

    I don't not understand why anyone would not by a Bluestar range because of the slight chance you may get a funny door hinge. We have had 5 Bluestar ranges in the cooking school and to date have never had a door stick. Bluestar has a service call out rate of 2.57% which from an industry perspective is fantastic. All it takes is a little spray every now and again and you wont have any trouble, i know what some people will say to that "on such an expensive item you should not need to do anything to maintain the range, my answer to that is you change your oil in your car every year at least and the car cost way more than a Bluestar, its called maintenance take two mins and is not a problem. Even if the door stick totally closed you have two options.
    1) Rip it open causing damage that you will pay for.
    2) Take a screw driver and fix the problem in 10 mins.

    I cannot tell you why Bluestar hinges do this, nor can I say that its acceptable, but i can say that a stuck door was preventable with a simple spray.

    AS for wolf making top of the line ranges i agree that is correct, having said that not only do they have very standard cooking features but also so problems. I recently purchased one for filming, to date i have had 5 service calls in connection with the oven, i also have issues with the door opening in a clunky fashion, the service tech said time will make it better, the problem is we don't use it right now due to the extremely erratic temperature control.

    the reason I post the above about the wolf range is not to rubbish the wolf but to point out that a hinge is not a big deal IMO...

    I guess what I am saying is.... I don't understand why anyone would not buy any item be it a range, Dishwasher, Ref, Computer, Car, ipod whatever you want because of such a small issue that might never even happen ..... if you chose not to buy a Bluestar (in this case) all you do is sacrifice excellent cooking, which is normally the main reason you are buying a range in the first place.

    But I do understand that everyone needs a comfort zone and that the Bluestar range is not a good fit everyone. but just remember not one single range you can buy is trouble free.

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    Trevor, no offense intended, truly, but if you need something fixed, it's not the same as the average person.

    If someone must stay home from work to wait for a repair of an oven hinge, it is not a little deal. With what things cost, part of what you should be buying is reliability.

    We all understand that no brand is trouble free. Some have chronic issues, some come and go, some are spotty. Then there is Lacanche f.ex., with so few issues/complaints it's astonishing.

    I have no vested interest in what sayde buys. Don't know her; don't sell anything. But there are many ranges that have good performance -- and that may not always be defined by high btus. I also look at ranges from a cook/kitchen designer's point of view which is to optimize appliances for the way someone cooks and uses their kitchen.

    That's often not well understood and obviously, for lots of other reasons, people go with names for prestige, aspiration, or safety.

    So I don't see the choices to be as limited as you might.

    chesters, I am always drooling when I see American ranges. Good reports on the threads here. I saw and photographed the new Aga pro. Very interesting range. Beautiful and has a 4.9 cf self-cleaning oven. Haven't seen it operate yet (going next week). There is also a split oven -- fascinating idea and unique. Bears looking.

    Lacanche, which is basically custom and everyone seems to love. Great power in their big burner, which gets raves.

    Bertazzoni came out with pro-style knobs and handle. Same range (about $2300) though not in the Wolf category. It's a different animal, totally.

    Jenn Air had a rangetop with a ss griddle inset. I found that fascinating (though boy, sticker shock there.)

  • mojavean
    12 years ago

    If one looks at a burner on a Wolf Gas or DF range, it looks more polished. The ignitor is dressed out on top with brass or bronze or something. The look is very snutzy, which is a word my brother invented to describe fancy items of a certain look before either of us had ever heard the term "art deco." The Wolf is very attractive. It also shoots the fire to the outside of concentric rings and operates just the same as my old Jennair did with burner caps you can pull off for cleaning.

    The Bluestar is not designed to that standard of finish. The plain ignitors stick out like little white incisors in a mouth of black. The heavy burner bowls are roughly porcelain enameled and coarse, as if you were looking at something that came out of a 100-year-old boiler. I do not think that the look is ugly in ANY WAY. It is really quite beautiful, but it is not as polished a look as the elegant Wolf.

    I think of it as a BMW vs. Dodge Viper contrast: one is more polished, the other will smoke anything on the road. After that it all depends on what is more important to you.

  • PRO
    Trevor Lawson (Eurostoves Inc)
    12 years ago

    I agree with most you say, the only hting i would say is that Bluestar's high btus are not the main feature on the range, its the even heat distribution that makes it so much better than any other other range from a cooking perspective.

    It may surprise everyone to learn I have no loyalty to Bluestar. I do however have a very strong loyalty to the best residential cooking machine on the market. As soon as another manufacture comes out with a range that can match or beat the Bluestar from a performance perspective I will promote that range side by side with the bluestar.

    Sure Wolf, Lacanche, Jenn Air Bertazzoni, Viking and many others have a better US presence, which in turn gives customers a warmer feeling, but they don't cook like a Blustar. If I buy anything I buy it to do a job in this case i can handle a possible problematic hinge which may need oiling every four months because I use the range twice a day, what I am trying to say is "any problems that people read about need to be put in perspective".

    I have people call me everyday looking for info on the Bluestar because it is recognized as the best cooking range, once some people find out it does not have a "self clean" feature they drop it like a hot stone. That to me does not make sense they are sacrificing what they want which is the best range from a performance point of view, which they will cook on twice a day (over 700 times per year) for a feature they will use maybe twice a year. Again perspective.

    I again agree with you that I look at it truly from a guys perspectives, considerations as to cost, design, look and feel are not to important to me especially been English, we tend to look at performance only and in some cases blindly.

    Everyone one will make a judgment call as to what fits best, whatever you all do I wish everyone the best with what they purchase after what is a long and difficult decision
    I will totally agree with you that the new AGA pro does look very interesting especially as you noted the split oven

  • dredpir8
    12 years ago

    I can only speak to my experience with my BlueStar. I think the look is on a par with the Wolf but for different reasons. The Wolf is sleek and stylish. The BlueStar is chunky and serious looking. (that's not quite the right word). Point is, the BlueStar is just as 'cool' looking as the Wolf but not as fancy. Not a knock on either, just a personal taste thing.

    As far as quality, I have been nothing but pleased with my BlueStar (36 Range).

    My reasoning was this (and this is insight into my thinking NOT an indictment of anyone else's tastes). I went with the BlueStar because it was just as good as the Wolf but not as "trendy." Foodies know them both but most of our guests have never heard of BlueStar. I've always gone with the distinctive choice. I didn't want anyone thinking I picked my range to try to impress.

    All that being said, I think you'll be happy either way.

  • deeageaux
    12 years ago

    I think of it as a BMW vs. Dodge Viper contrast: one is more polished, the other will smoke anything on the road

    That is almost the exact analogy I was going to make except I was going to say the Wolf is more MB.

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    I do think it's important to define terms like "best residential cooking machine on the market"..."performance perspective"..."best cooking range". I just don't see how those blanket generalizations hold.

    Best how? Best for what? How are you defining performance?

    You're basically said that a Bluestar outperforms a Wolf. That's quite a claim. I'd like to know how and why you feel that's true.

    If it isn't btus (the BS claim to fame) then what? Because, on the down side there are the things one reads a lot about right here: igniter issues, hot frames, door issues etc.

    Also, from a cooking standpoint, a real argument could be made that with appliance modularity, newish power sources such as induction, and the sheer range of choices available today, a gas range may no longer be the best choice at all -- unless you're cooking your way through Julia Child -- and even then. When you have an induction unit with as much power as a 25,000 btu gas burner that's also cleaner energy, generating less heat and residue...and when you have an oven like the Turbochef on the market, best can get relative.

    The Blue Star mythology began when David Rosengarten did a range test about 6-7 years ago. I had issues with what was done but that put them on the map. It's never been revisited.

    One of the great things about this forum is the ability to have discussions of this type. I'm sure there are a great many folks who would contribute (others will have their popcorn in the microwave).

    Also, I'm not ready to throw aesthetics out the window because I don't feel it's necessary. Certainly not at this price point.

    I'd like to see the discussion kicked up several notches -- it would be more helpful to people on here who are trying to make decisions.

  • PRO
    Trevor Lawson (Eurostoves Inc)
    12 years ago

    I agree discussion is a wonderful thing :)

    My reasons for my statements are noted below, especially in comparison to the Wolf Range but not limited to Wolf.

    1) Highest btu power
    2) Lower simmer
    3) Better heat distribution
    4) More powerful broiler
    5) Larger usable oven capacity

    I am of the opinion that the above 5 points are the major cooking features on any stove, and from my research (which could be wrong) Bluestar beats all comers.

    Now this is not to say that the Wolf heat distribution or any other manufacturers is not good, just not as good.

    You highlight two newcomers to the market Induction and Turbo chef. I have very limited knowledge about Turbochef maybe someone can jump in here. As to induction I feel that while it is fast to heat, has even heat distribution and is easy to clean, I wonder if it is right at this time to compare a gas range with the very limited options for induction ranges, and without any real feed back from cusotmer.

    I don't think the David Rosengarten test should be called mythology, this test was carried out independently of Bluestar. It really shows that from a basic cooking stand point Bluestar won that battle. I for one would like to see a modern day test say between Wolf, Bluestar, viking, DCS, Dacor, Capital and also the new induction ranges. to see if the results would be different. I would be more than receptive to using our cooking school to carry out such comparison test.

    I can not disagree that the igniter issues, hot doors and the hinge issue is a real downer for Bluestar, and has cost them many sales, and will continue to do so until these problems are resolved. I am sure Bluestar as a company are working on these problems, I understand that ranges are now been sent out with a couple of spare igniters, the doors have had extra insulation added the same with the kick plate to try to deal with this problem. Heck i have recognized the problem to the point where this month i have put together a "Bluestar Care Kit" for my future customers.

    As to my claim that Bluestar out performs the Wolf I can back that up with the videos I produced, I am 100% confident that my findings are accurate and fair. As soon as Wolf fixes my oven problem i will do the oven tests.

  • chesters_house_gw
    12 years ago

    I'm a buyer paralyzed because I can't figure out where there are too many good choices or not enough. I know that meals were just as good coming out of the now mouse-ridden Hotpoint (it's a second house, so the cats weren't at work) as any of the stoves I've been looking at. I'm aiming for requiring less creativity in making it do what I want. And I certainly don't want a stove with drama. It's ok that people have issues -- but not appliances.

    I was drawn to Bluestar (and Wolf) because of all gas simplicity. I'd rather turn a knob to set the oven than push buttons through menus (there's a funny "Kitchen of the Future" thread on kitchens on where that can end). Imperial is also in the running: their residential stove is their commercial, with insulation (therefore an inch wider), smaller capacity burners, and igniters rather than pilots. I've been balking at the potential drama of Bluestar, little feedback on the Imperial, and the price of Wolf -- not that dramatically different, but still.

    I checked out the Bertas and the Italians because of the reputation of the ovens. Great for baking, but not for low and slow cooking, which I do frequently. They look great, however.

    So on to checking out Agas. Great looking. But I don't want to learn how to cook the way the stove wants me to. And the non-traditionals seem to have more of those cooking "modes" that I was trying to avoid. I'll look again.

    And then there's the option of bouncing them all and buying vintage. An O'Keefe and Merritt and a Chambers are in the running. Stove size is a worry.

    Speaking of stove size: a lot of makers -- Kitchen Aid, American, and Bluestar off the top -- say they have the most in a 30".

    I don't stirfry much -- the Asian food I cook is more likely to trend toward dishes that stew more than flash. 12,000 BTU burners are plenty to get coconut milk going for curries. Pots of water for pasta don't need to hurry, since I'm making a sauce. Sautes are easier with higher powered ranges. I bake -- cakes, pies, pastry -- and use the oven for slow cooking.

    So are there too many good choices or too few?

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    You've taken a very "guy/car" approach to the analysis of a range. Let me push back a bit.

    Highest btu power: So what. Firepower is fine if you are sauteeing in 12 inch skillets a lot or if you are doing a lot of Chinese cooking in a wok, or making 20 quart batches of stock. Otherwise, a 15,000 btu burner will handle most tasks extremely well -- even those I've enumerated. A Ferrari has more power than a lot of other cars. Doesn't mean everyone needs one.

    For most cooks control and reliability is more important. That takes me to the issue of simmer.

    Lowest simmer? Lowest simmer for what? How do you measure lowest simmer? Besides, rate of simmer is dependent on the size and composition of the saucepan, thickness of the liquid, shape of the saucepan.

    Again, better heat distribution - Better than what? Better than a cheap stove, sure. But again, heat distribution depends so much on the pan I don't know how such a claim is possible. If I use one of my French copper sautoirs from Dehillerin the heat distribution will be better than heat distribution using the same size Calphalon no matter what stove I'm using. The browning will be better, the simmer will be better. Because copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminum. Physical fact. The range is only one component, not an absolute.

    Larger usable oven capacity. Again, larger than what? What's the oven capacity? And if I'm baking 2 8-inch cake layers why is a larger oven better? (If I'm doing a 25 pound turkey, obviously it's good).

    If you haven't seen a Turbochef work, it's quite an experience. I've not seen anything else even close to what this oven does. They have videos on YouTube I believe.

    Don't know how limited induction is. Limited in terms of cookware. But folks who have good units report excellent results, big power, good control. And there is a real upside to the cleaner energy.

    I agree I would love to see a comparison test between Wolf, Bluestar, Viking, DCS, Dacor, Capital but I would add in American Range, Lacanche & Aga Pro. I feel those belong in the group.

    Are we talking about all gas?

    The reason I add those is because Lacanche -- per the link -- is very competitive. A Cluny has 5000, 2- 11,000, 1 5000, 1- 15000 and 1- 18000 burner. It comes with one gas an one electric oven. And the ovens are custom.

    Don't know how one assembles all those ranges for a side-by-side comparison. Perhaps it would be necessary to find them in various places and move around. I've run a test kitchen so I can put together tests that could be agreed on and there needs to be methodology. Perhaps people here might have suggests for tests as well.

    Which ranges do you have in your school?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Lacanche

  • PRO
    Trevor Lawson (Eurostoves Inc)
    12 years ago

    Rococogurl... I agree 100% i do take a very "guy/Car" approach to the facts relating the this subject.

    Higher BTU : Better for Searing, Stir fry, boiling, recovery time once something is added to boiling water or fat, wok cooking, sauteing, reducing liquids faster. using larger pans. 15K may well be adequate and do a good job, but not as good as 22k

    The range of each burner on the BS I would suggest is better because of its range of highs and lows.

    Lowest simmer... I say to customers the simmer burner is wrongly named it should be called smallest burner. Simmering is a cooking technique not a burner, but all manufacturers strive for low simmers. misguided yes but that's what they do.

    Better heat distribution...... you have been around this site long enough not to question, the Bluestar open Burner distributes heat much better than ANY sealed burner. If you use your French Copper pans on a wolf and then a Bluestar you will appreciate how much better the open burner on the bluestar really is. But I agree the pan dose make all the difference.

    Large oven capacity.... again another measurement used by one manufacture to trump another. Bluestar achieved the largest oven capacity from a usable perspective, as in the size after taking into account broiler height, racks and fans. I would agree it depends on what you are cooking as to whether a big oven cavity is good or bad.

    I have seen a turbo chef work unfortunately the guy who showed me knew as much as i did so i am sure i would have been more impressed had my demo been more successful. i will look at the you tube vids.

    Induction.... We have sold many inductions units over the last 6 years, as a result we have many happy customers, this maybe a horses for course situation.

    I was referring primarily to All GAS units but I think duel fuel ranges should be incorporated into the discussion.

    I would be happy to discuss what a fair series of tests with you anytime, I have some re-sauces with live ranges and the ability to film alll results in our cooking school.

    We currently have Live.....

    Wolf 36" All Gas,
    Dacor 48",
    AGA traditional 4 oven,
    AGA Companion.
    fagor induction,

    Along with several wall ovens and other items. We have had other live appliances in the past...
    Five Star Range
    Diva Induction, Cooktop
    NXR 36" Range
    AGA six four, Range
    Kuppersbusch Cooktops
    Delonghi, Range
    AGA Legacy Range
    Miele Cooktops
    Fratelli Onofri

    Having cooked on and in all of the above, I always speak or post my personal experience and opinion, not what a Manufacturers rep taught me to repeat like a parrot.
    Maybe other manufacturers might consider participating, I am sure we have someone from American Range, Viking and DCS reading these threads who might be interested in coming forward to partake in a fair and honest series of comparison tests.

    As always a pleasure :)

  • deeageaux
    12 years ago

    A Ferrari has more power than a lot of other cars. Doesn't mean everyone needs one.

    Most people don't "need" anything more than a Corolla.

    Definetly not more than a Camry.

    Anyone with any joie de vivre wants one.

    I don't do alot of wok cooking nor do I grill indoors during the winter. But I will when I get my BS.

    Don't know how limited induction is. Limited in terms of cookware. But folks who have good units report excellent results, big power, good control. And there is a real upside to the cleaner energy.

    So is big power good or not? Does everyone "need" an induction cooktop? Cleaner than what? The Nuclear/Coal plant generating the electricity?

    I am roasting one pepper or another at least once a week directy over flame. Can induction do that?

    Again, better heat distribution - Better than what?

    Better than Wolf Gas and Viking Gas. It's main competition.

    For most cooks control and reliability is more important.

    And BS does very well there too. Add simple repair too.

    Most of the reported "quirks" of BS are so simple to fix I can do it.

  • deeageaux
    12 years ago

    BTW The Lacanche 27" Cormatin is $6K. The Bluestar RNB 30" is $4k. That is quite a bit more.

    For $2k I could get a decent hood or a spare NXR to put in the garage in case the cataclysmic event of an ignitor cracking happens.

  • beth4
    12 years ago

    I'm not going to get caught up in the Wolf vs BlueStar's gone on so often and with such predictability that you can pull up old threads and read the same old arguments.

    What I will tell you who are shopping is that I purchased a 30-inch Wolf DF range for my kitchen 5 years ago. Since that time I have cooked and baked on it extensively. There has never been a problem with my range -- ever. I did have some questions about how to dismantle the Wolf hood/vent to clean it, and called the Wolf hot line and they were super about providing immediate guidance and waiting to see if I had any difficulties. I've called a couple of times about questions I had, to ensure I understood what I'd read in the operating instructions, and each and every time the Wolf staff were responsive and helpful.

    I can tell you that I have never loved a range like I love this 30-inch range. Three (3) of the burners have max output of 15,000 BTUs, which is ample for the kind of cooking I do. I've never needed a pot of water to boil in 2 minutes or less, so 15,000 BTUs meets my cooking needs.

    What knocks my sauce off, and what I use far more than I ever anticipated, is the small burner at the back of the range which I can turn down to such a low simmer that I can cook delicate sauces without every worrying about scorching. I don't need to tend them, stirring constantly. I can melt chocolate and butter on its very low heat without worrying about scorching. THAT is a far greater requirement for the way I cook than a humongous amount of BTUs. I also use this burner to simmer a stew or soup all day long. I cannot say enough good things about this low heat burner -- it's max output is 9,000 BTUs.

    I've read a lot about BlueStar's claim to "even" heat distribution. All I can attest to is that the Wolf cooks/heats all of the food I make on it evenly...again, I never scorch anything. Of course, it is important to select the right amount of heat...and I love the infinite heat settings on all the burners.

    The Wolf DF oven is a delight to use, whether I'm baking/roasting in the conventional mode or using the convection mode. And I love the temperature probe for roasting meats.

    I don't know how much larger a BlueStar oven is compared to my 30-inch range, but I can tell you I can get a large (20+ lbs) turkey in my oven. I love the convection oven baking and have turned out super duper cookies, pies and other baked goods using that feature.

    The cook top is easy to clean. Its burners are sealed, as best I can tell.

    From a user's perspective, and not trashing BlueStar in any way, I can tell prospective buyers that I'm a very happy Wolf customer, and would purchase this same range again in a heart beat. It more than meets my needs, and makes cooking a real joy using this magic machine.

  • sayde
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Hi rococogurl and others, yes the OP is still here, reading with great interest and about to leave to see a Blue Star. These responses have been helpful and I will report back. Thank you all for the input thus far!

  • chesters_house_gw
    12 years ago

    I hope the smackdown happens. This would be real food, rather than boiling water, as in the Appliance Advisor tests? With difficult items, like supermarket chicken (with "enhancers" that bleed water no matter what) and tricky ones, like caramelized onions, where time improves results, and lemon curd, where controlling heat matters?

    Here is a link that might be useful: people's test

  • cat_mom
    12 years ago

    I am not jumping into the fray to defend one over the other. For the record, we have a Wolf AG 36" range. It had its issues early on, but it's fun to cook on/in, and were I to do it again, I'd probably choose it again.

    I wanted to clarify the oven capacity difference between the two ranges, if I may. The oven in the Wolf is "just" that much too shallow to allow full-size sheet pans, while the Blue Star apparently can fit them. Now, I don't use full-size sheet pans, but I do use the 1/2-sheet pans. With a 36" wide range, one would think I could take advantage of those nice wide oven racks, and place two 1/2-sheet pans side-by-side on one rack, freeing up the other rack(s) for other pans or baking dishes. Unfortunately, the depth of the Wolf oven cavity doesn't allow for that. It's about an 1"- 1 1/2" too shallow.

    I've not used the Blue Star at all, so I can't compare the burners, heat distribution, etc., to my Wolf. I can see how the Blue Star 22,000 BTU burners might be more effective with my largest pan (A-C 6 qt. buffet/saute pan), but otherwise, no complaints with the Wolf burners.

    I will say that my one regret is that the Wolf oven isn't as deep as it could/should be.

  • alwaysfixin
    12 years ago

    I am linking a thread that may be helpful. It was started by someone who has a video blog about cooking. The kitchen in his blog looks expensive, and his 36" AG Wolf range looks beautiful in it. Obviously he is an avid cook, since he has a blog about it. But his thread is questioning his range's flame spread. There is a link in that thread to a Youtube video which compares the Wolf and Bluestar burners.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Thread with Wolf AG range question

  • parkplaza
    12 years ago

    I believe Viking and Wolf to have a much more refined manufacturing process with better quality control in their build. I just envision Bluestar to be a bunch of folks in a large dark warehouse using 18th century tools and techniques.

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    chesters, the people's test has some really good qualifiers on there. Thanks for that link and others.

    I've done this type of testing in the past. The key is to get it all very well defined ahead of time and to do it consistently and methodically. With videos, that can work well. I think a video of heat distribution using a copper skillet, because it's so responsive, will be super informational. My purpose is to satisfy my inner appliance geek and learn something new -- which no doubt I will.

    We can put up the list of tests for folks to comment. I favor a range of basics, real cooking tasks, high-low, delicate stuff and high power stuff.

    If anyone else has testing or other suggestions, throw them out there please.

    Question, too, is whether to test ovens and broilers in addition to stovetops -- that would give the full picture.

    A lot would be involved and there's no "smackdown" intended on my part, nor am I interested in argument. I see this stuff as fun and informational and Trevor indicated he does as well. He also appears to be set up for a lot of it and while we're not close, it's not geographically impossible.

  • PRO
    Trevor Lawson (Eurostoves Inc)
    12 years ago

    I think it may be helpful to look at the videos we made comparing Bluestar to Wolf, especially the video "Seeing is Believing" which addresses specifically heat distribution on the same range, same pan, same btu's, same water temp and amount of water, with completely different results. Other videos are also useful in relation to pan size. The videos are simple in nature.

    Its funny you mention the oatmeal, I make oatmeal every morning on the 22k btu BS burner using milk and two packets of oatmeal, in a 6" CIA saucepan. Someone asked how well does the 22k btu burner simmer, so I made a video showing the oatmeal in boiling and simmering on the 22k btu Burner.

    We should talk more about carrying out some controlled tests. I agree it would be fun and interesting to come up with some testing.

    The videos are located on our dedicated Bluestar website.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bluestar vs Wolf

  • mojavean
    12 years ago

    @parkplaza said: "I just envision Bluestar to be a bunch of folks in a large dark warehouse using 18th century tools and techniques."

    So do I. Here are some snapshots from a recent tour of the facility:

    Halloa! Just up ahead: The Bluestar Works!

    Bluestar workers on gruel break pose for the camera.

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    Shall check out the vids and send u an email. Meanwhile, I have pix of the new Aga Pro - also inside the split oven -- (scroll down) on my AD show report.

    Here is a link that might be useful: show report

  • alwaysfixin
    12 years ago

    Mojavean - you crackin' me up!

  • tom_p_pa
    12 years ago

    This forum is the last place to get accurate BS advice. Too many BS groupies.

  • brianmeek
    12 years ago

    Based upon tom_p_pa's comment, I'm eagerly awaiting mojavean's photos of "BS groupies"...

    I don't expect "fair & balanced" political reporting on Fox News or MSNBC, where the POV blatantly influences what's reported and how, but I haven't found it challenging to sort out the personal preferences of posters here from accurate reports of appliance performance...

    Trevor's videos for example, are clearly produced to convey his well-founded opinions, but one can't argue with his objective approach and scientific method. His videos in combo with my own experience cooking on sealed gas burners sold me on BlueStar enough to go look at one, and I'm posting on this forum, so I guess I'm now considered a BS groupie :-)?

  • mojavean
    12 years ago

    Ever in the service of the dignity and decorum of the appliances forum, I fear that I must decline to illustrate "BS Groupies" at this time. Thank you.

  • buffalotina
    12 years ago

    I cannot compare anything to Wolf as I have never used one. But I just had to try the oatmeal test myself. I have so far been cooking one portion of oatmeal on the back "simmer" burner of my Bluestar. No problems, boils it fast enough, then keeps it super low
    with no bubbling or burning on its lowest setting. This morning I tried two portions in a 6" all clad pan on the front 22K burner. I actually think it did a better job than the small burner. It was quicker to get going and on the lowest setting it was not even bubbling the oatmeal. When it was finished I felt the oatmeal was cooked through and heated more evenly than it does on the smaller burner. That last comment is subjective, but it is definitely not true that the Bluestar 22K burners are useless for two portions of oatmeal. Also, I have found the fast recovery of the large burners to be very useful and I swear dried pasta comes out tasting so much better than on my old electric coils. Again no Wolf comparison but fast recovery is obviously a good thing.

    Good luck in your range decision!

  • thull
    12 years ago

    rococogurl- a lot of your arguments against Bluestar are related to what a person needs versus what the range can do. I think that's up to the individual to decide. Most of the features that were the deciding factors for me in getting the 36" RNB have been mentioned- open burners with even heat distribution vs. sealed; giant 22k burner for wok cooking; room for a full size sheet pan in the oven; low simmer on all burners; and mechanical simplicity.

    We've had our range for almost 5 years. The oven thermostat died at the end of the year, and that's the only problem we've had. Sucks that we figured it out Xmas morning, but ~$120, 2 days of waiting, and 75 min for me to clumsily install, and we were back in business.

    No igniter problems. And I did a major cleanup a month or two ago by tossing all the cast iron parts in a warm tub of TSP for an hour or so.

    In the fun department, I had an infrared camera a few weeks ago to do some looking around my house and took a couple of pictures. I meant to get one of the front with the oven at temperature but didn't get around to it.

    15K burner turned down:

    22K burner on full blast (probably not very well focused):

  • rococogurl
    12 years ago

    My arguments were not against Bluestar. My reaction was to the claims and to the reasoning/marketing/promo when a poster asked for specific points of comparison between 2 ranges.

    I won't have an opinion until I test it myself, side by side with the others -- and it will happen early in the summer.

    I do know is that heat distribution has a lot to do with the configuration of the burner, the number of gas jets and their relationship to pan size.

    No one mentions the distance between the top of the grate and the surface of the burner or any degree of adjustability on those -- all of which could affect heat distribution as well.

    Clearly the star shape of the BS burners puts a higher percentage of the underside of a pan in contact with heat than, say a burner with a single ring of jets.

    For me, sealed/open burners is more of a cleaning issue though it certainly affects the height of the burner. But in theory, if a sealed burner were well configured, the heat distribution should be excellent. As good? Let's see.

    I've seen Trevor's very admirable videos which come with his conclusions. To be fair, they may be perfectly valid and correct. However, it's undeniable that he has a vested interest in those conclusions.

    I have no problem with that and I totally applaud and admire his willingness to do objective side-by-side testing of the various ranges in his school where several are available and anything needed can be called in.

    However, what did come out of the discussion was the issue of the oven as a significant component of the range. Otherwise, we're just talking about rangetops.

    Meanwhile, I love that all the Bluestar and Wolf folks are coming out for their pianos. Passion is a wonderful quality in life.

    Your infrared photos are super and movajean's photos yesterday were a hoot. Made me think: more please!

  • pharaoh
    12 years ago

    If you have any influence on BS manufacturing, please instruct them to put each unit through a better quality control step. Check the ignitor modules, hinges, and the razor sharp finishes inside. There should be no need to require in home repair calls for such an expensive range (especially for a low tech device).

    Even a $299 stainless outdoor grill made in china has better innards!

    With better QC and already great cooking performance BS is certainly be the 'best' in the market.

  • frenchman
    12 years ago

    I like the idea of spare ignitors... Mine didn't come with any (despite my asking the salesman) and had to replace some. It literally was a one minute job. I'll take a range that is so simple that I can do that kind of fix over a range that requires me to be home for a four hours window when anything goes wrong, like my Ikea/Whirlpool wall oven.

    I have a friend with a Wolf, and I have my Bluestar. Both work. I haven't paid attention to the fit and finish but my Bluestar definitely looks and performs well. This being said, I am not one to agonize about the touch feel of my cooking grates: my pans are the only ones who care.

    And for the OP, who loves his Silvia... My Mazzer Mini isn't the most gorgeous appliance in my kitchen, and it shoots grinds to the left, which ends up being messy. Yet it's tough to beat the quality of the grind, and it isn't ugly either. It all depends what you're after, and esthetics are so personal anyways that you owe it to yourself to see and feel both ranges if that is your last decision factor.

    Good luck! Neither of those will be bad for cooking :)

  • sayde
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thank you all for inputs. I have now seen the Blue Star and Wolf AG ranges and have documented my observations in a separate thread.

  • crazycook
    12 years ago

    I've really enjoyed reading this thread since I'm close to purchasing a range. Learned alot from trevorlawson,rococogul, mojajean and others. Chesters lists Imperial as well. Does anyone have further info on Imperial's since they are considerably less expensive.

  • chesters_house_gw
    12 years ago

    I've seen posts about their hoods, but not the stoves. What I learned:
    If you're in California, the bay area especially, you can check them out. Dvorson's and Select Appliances carry them. Otherwise,they're a bit of a mystery.
    They aren't a ton different from the commercial version. It's the commercial version made an inch wider to include insulation, and with electronic igniters rather than pilots and lower BTU burners. That suggests something pretty solid.
    It's not a big part of their business. Calling the company to ask about who'd service if you're not on the west coast got no answer; the same with calling their commercial service provider in my area. Select Appliance guessed that if there were warranty repairs, I'd need to get the work done and send in the paperwork for reimbursement.
    That said, it appears that it's one of those ranges that anyone who works on gas ranges could figure out.

  • footwedge
    12 years ago

    I finally got to see a bluestar in person plus I got to spend to nights in the French Quarter. I was a little nervous based on the discussion here but I found the BS a thing of beauty. I'm going with the rangetop not so much for the BTU's but for the cast bowls and grates which to me will be easier to clean and will only look better with use and the open burners. Now I have to decide on where to buy it.