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buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby slippyfish » September 30th, 2013, 6:51 pm

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So, let me get this out of the way, this is a request for information, under the guise of a design question.

Our range/oven (gas) in our home is getting ready to die. I've spent a few hundred on it already, to fix a door motor. Seriously, the motor that makes the door locked shut for the self-cleaning cycle was faulty, it kept making a clicking noise all the time, and the oven wouldn't heat up. Now that dumb thing is fixed, but the oven won't go over 100 degrees, which means its an igniter, or the board. I don't have the $ or patience to deal with either because its guaranteed to be a losing proposition.

Which means I have to find a new unit.

The KitchenAid is currently the front-runner. The Fridgidaire is second, because the nicely surfaced bezel surrounding the knobs and controls is PLASTIC. The GE Cafe looks like a Dacor which costs thousands more, but the features are somewhat lacking which makes me think its purely a styling exercise, trying to look more upscale. Well it does have an oval shaped burner in the middle, but the knobs are plastic, or perhaps metallized plastic.

Our house is 1962, vaguely modern lines, but more like a log cabin than a mid-century look. There are other stainless appliances in the kitchen. No predominant styling motifs throughout the house other than 'suburban Seattle'.

And no - Wolf, Viking, Gaggenau etc are not under consideration. We have Montessori school to pay for.

Any insights from GE/Whirlpool/appliance designers on the pros and cons of these ranges, from a design, materials, or engineering POV? Who is the OEM of these units? Are some of the features liable to fail? Any other good ones in the sub $2K price point that look decent and perform well? And, what happened with the Whirlpool "White is the new Stainless" color?

Thank you.

photo 1.JPG
KitchenAid

photo 3.JPG
Fridgidaire

photo 2.JPG
GECafe
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby yo » September 30th, 2013, 10:22 pm

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I think white will be the new stainless but I think the trend will take a serious amount of time to trickle down. Right now it is in the Dwell world.

I can't comment on the build of any of them but the stove top seems the nicest.

If you get the one with the plastic knobs just paint them red and everyone will think its a Wolf ;-)

Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby NURB » September 30th, 2013, 10:43 pm

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I rented an apartment that has a range like the GE model you have here. It was amazing... Especially compared to the pile of junk I'm waiting to die on me in my own home.

Super accurate knobs with tons of control over heat. Is never had a gas range before, and that completely spoiled me.
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby slippyfish » September 30th, 2013, 11:23 pm

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NURB - thus the quip "now we're cookin' with gas!"

The one at top - the KitchenAid - has a nice feature on the front left grill, where it can flip over to expose three cast-in protrusions, that stick up about 1.5" above the main grill surface. Their purpose is to support a wok...that burner also has the 'high-output' flame.

I am absolutely going to paint these @&^$* knobs. I might even do custom rub-on lettering like a Swiss chrono, with a hundred little lines.
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby NURB » October 1st, 2013, 7:03 am

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Cool. Built in wok burner is pretty sweet. I bet it boils water pretty quickly...
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Those who define design as knowing how to use Illustrator will be condemned to using Illustrator their entire career. - @monteiro

Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby chevisw » October 1st, 2013, 8:43 am


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One feature that i love is the cent "skillet" option with additional small burners. This allows you a little more freedom in prep and preparing.

Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby rkuchinsky » October 1st, 2013, 9:42 am

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Appliances are an interesting thing. You know there are all kinds of features and specs to compare, but really as a designer, how can you not go on looks and materials...

I have the KitchenAid one pictured but in electric (no gas in the loft). Had it for about a year and half, no problems, seems good quality. Wish the handles were more straight looking like the GE aesthetically.

Previously I've had a Frigidaire (also electric). Similar to one pictured but previous model. Had it for 8 years, no issues.

All these things have tons of features you'll never use. I cook a lot and maybe use 10% of the functions.

Many of these companies are the same OEMs.

For example, Whirlpool Corp (http://www.whirlpoolcorp.com) makes -
Whirlpool
Maytag
KitchenAid
Amana
Jenn-Air
and some high end "German Brands"
They also make IKEA appliances

Aesthetically to me the GE in your pics looks the nicest, but I'm more leary of the brand.

From my research, at this price point, best bets are- (in no particular order)
KitchenAid
Bosch
Jenn-Air
maybe Frigidaire

I can't believe I'm saying this, but you might want to check out IKEA appliances. As mentioned they are made by Whirlpool so probably have the same build quality as some of the KicthenAid stuff, and the design is very nice. I honestly get more comments about my IKEA microwave which was a last minute addition to the kitchen plan than any of the KitchenAid stuff or the $1000 carbon fibre Kohler Karbon faucet that was supposed to be the jewel in the kitchen crown!

I haven't looked at the IKEA ranges in particular so don't know if they are decent or not quality/material wise.

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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby no_spec » October 1st, 2013, 10:06 am


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one thing to consider is the performance you need. Gas is slowest. Residential BTU output is nowhere near that of commercial restaurants because of safety regulations. So most of the market for gas cooktops is more about the appearance of professionalism. How important is this to you? if very important then the one that looks best is the way to go.

if you can run 220 volts, Induction is by far the most efficient way to turn electricity to heat.

beyond that all I can say is that GE has pulled offshore factories back to the US for a variety of reasons but having direct quality control is one of them. And consumer reports is probably the best cooking results oriented ratings around.

Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby slippyfish » October 1st, 2013, 11:07 am

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Thanks all for exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

@rk agree completely about those KitchenAid handles. They suck. It doesn't even really belong with the KitchenAid brand language. It should be something more linear with rounded corners.

Also, that GE Cafe model did look good, and was aping some of the truly commercial/pro-sumer brands, but in poring over the specs and a few reviews it doesn't seem to live up to its pro appearance. I will check out the IKEA offerings though!

The prices for all of these things are choke-inducing, but cost per use, spread over daily use for 5 to 10 years, is probably quite low.

@no_spec I don't have 220 into the kitchen, at least not to the area where the range sits. So there would be some electrical work under the house to make that happen. Regarding gas v electric though, gas must have the most quickly adjustable/variable heat....right? What you're saying is that an induction cooktop will boil water faster than a comparable gas burner?
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby slippyfish » October 1st, 2013, 11:16 am

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One more...strategically placed by the sales staff at the end of the row of front-console gas and electric ranges, sat this Dacor model, straddling the fence between the big general brands and the semi-commercial glamour ranges.

Obviously its a lot more money but I don't think there's a designer on this board who wouldn't appreciate the restraint, clean lines, attention to proportion, and minimal front panel/knobs that add up to the solid good looks of this piece. The oven door hinge was nearly perfect: tight with no slop, slightly dampened but not at all heavy, and it closed with a muffled thud just like (you know what I'm going to say) a BMW sedan.

Dammit I probably just talked myself into that one.

photo 4.JPG
Dacor
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby Mr-914 » October 1st, 2013, 11:46 am

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The Dacor looks nice, but I liked the Fridgidaire. The other ones have recessed control panels that I know will accumulate grease and dirt. I used to have a Kenmore with a glass control panel that spanned the whole front. It was wonderfully easy to clean, although it did accumulate dirt behind the glass. I don't know why the makers don't pay more attention to this stuff....

Anyways, the Fridgidaire seems to have the only flush mounted control panel. However, since it's angled up, it might still become dirtier. Hard to know.

I second Richard's comment about Ikea appliances. I always end up wandering around that part of Ikea, even though I don't need appliances. Really nice looks.
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby rkuchinsky » October 1st, 2013, 11:55 am

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Not that familiar with Dacor but looks really nice and seems to be a quality brand. American made, apparently, if that means anything.

Frigidaire and not really known for that great quality, so I think you can do better.

I got mine only 18 months ago and now wish I had gone higher end. I was buying 4 appliances though and once you bump up a level on one, you gotta do it for all and all of a sudden that $6000 total can turn into $12,000 very quick...

Are you only getting a range, or a full suite? What fridge, etc. do you have to match to?

Also check out Fisher & Paykel. Solid euro style.



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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby no_spec » October 1st, 2013, 12:12 pm


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induction is much faster to boil vs gas.
it's also a lot easier to keep the ceramic-glass surface clean vs stainless - if you cook much with tomatoes be aware thier acids discolor stainless if left on too long.

Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby slippyfish » October 1st, 2013, 12:23 pm

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I'm just getting a range. Its a mixed bag in there now - Kenmore (Sears) range and dishwasher, KitchenAid fridge, some microwave...

So, its not a kitchen remodel, which is at least a few years away, but it would be nice to think that whatever we choose would still be relevant/good looking/functional by then.

The problem with that angled Fridgidaire control panel is that the bezel is plastic. I couldn't tell if it was painted or molded in that color but there's no way it will look good after a short period of use. Too bad, because the upwards angle makes all the rest of the other models seem stupid and hard to see.

Yes the Dacor model is made in the states... they have a very clear mission statement. Talk about a BHAG design goal (last paragraph).

http://www.dacor.com/About-Us/About-Dacor.aspx
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Re: buying a range - soliciting advice

Postby yo » October 1st, 2013, 1:05 pm

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slippyfish wrote:One more...strategically placed by the sales staff at the end of the row of front-console gas and electric ranges, sat this Dacor model, straddling the fence between the big general brands and the semi-commercial glamour ranges.

Obviously its a lot more money but I don't think there's a designer on this board who wouldn't appreciate the restraint, clean lines, attention to proportion, and minimal front panel/knobs that add up to the solid good looks of this piece. The oven door hinge was nearly perfect: tight with no slop, slightly dampened but not at all heavy, and it closed with a muffled thud just like (you know what I'm going to say) a BMW sedan.

Dammit I probably just talked myself into that one.

The attachment photo 4.JPG is no longer available


Super nice. The house bought had a Wolf in it (I'm probably too cheap to ever buy one of those) but I do love the simplicity of it.

I always thought the complexity bell curve was interesting.
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COMPLEXITY CURVE.jpg

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