high-end kitchen appliances review?

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We are going to do a big remodeling job for the kitchen and we plan to get high-end appliances such as Viking/Thermodore/GE Monogram/etc. I am pulling my hair out trying to select the appliances. Anyone has any suggestion on what to get or not to get? What are some good websites that review high-end appliances? I already looked at Consumer Reports and I found the information to be limited.

Thanks!

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Bosch dishwashers rock. Stainless steel liner, super-quiet and efficient.

Per the models you mentioned, I looked in the 2007 Buying Guide published by Consumer Reports:
RANGES-
Smoothtop models:
Viking VESC306-48(SS) ranks #23, 60 of 100%
30-inch gas models:
Thermador PG304BS ranks #3, 70 of 100%
30-inch dual-fuel models
Viking VDSC305-49 (SS) ranks #10, 61 of 100%
Viking VDSC307-48 (SS) ranks #11, 61 of 100%
36-inch gas models
Thermador ProGrand ranks #1, (of 2 ranked) 70 of 100%
Viking Professional Series ranks #2 (of 2 ranked) 57 of 100%
You may want to get a copy of this publication or find it at the library for their comments on each product. Pages 306 to 315

Thanks for the input! I also heard excellent comments on Bosch dishwasher from other sources. Bosch it is ...one down!

Hi WashintongState:

As I mentioned in the original post, I also looked at Consumer Report.

Thanks anyways...

subzero & wolf

I know you said you looked in Consumer Reports, but I suggest you look particularly hard at the reliability issues because most of the high end appliances have a much higher percentage of problems. Just my two cents.

Smiley1 said: I know you said you looked in Consumer Reports, but I suggest you look particularly hard at the reliability issues because most of the high end appliances have a much higher percentage of problems. Just my two cents.

That is so true. My mom's husband repairs appliances for a living. He is always replacing some $30 part on Sub Zero refrigerators. They charge a pretty penny and use cheap crap. Call an appliance repair place. Better yet, go visit one, pay them $50 for 30 minutes of their time and ask them what is good and what is good to avoid. It will be worth the $50 in the long run.

Smiley1 said: I know you said you looked in Consumer Reports, but I suggest you look particularly hard at the reliability issues because most of the high end appliances have a much higher percentage of problems. Just my two cents.

Totally agree. I did a remodel a few years ago and got a great look - dual fuel convenction range, dishwasher drawers, etc.. -by doing my homework (lots of Consumer Reports input) and balancing style with reliability. Most appliance lines have the "high-end" look you are going for so you shouldn't have to make a trade off. But this is a huge investment and you need to think hard if those lines you are looking at are really the best for you or merely for designer label "bragging rights."

And keep in mind that Consumer Reports chooses what models/brands it reviews and it is not all-encompassing in any way.

As well as the usual suspects look at Blue Star and Ventahood. Especially if you're looking for a working kitchen as opposed to something shiny to impress the neighbors with

Why get high-end appliances when you can get better appliances for less? For example, Viking ovens are rather famous for breaking down, and nobody ever saved the most energy with a Sub Zero refrigerator.

Check the forums at www.fixitnow.com

Thanks for all of your replies.

For anyone who is interested in this topic, CR Forum (subscribers only) also has more information from real users.

my two cents...LOVED my Bosch dishwasher and also LOVED my Thermador cooktop. You can put a stick of butter on to melt and walk away- the low setting is THAT good!

I recently went with a Bosch dishwasher as well. Get a 10% off coupon from Lowes. Sign up on there website. Agree with other posters check out reliabilty ratings for other items.

I have been a field rep for 11 years for BSH Appliances(Bosch/Thermador/Gaggenau). Having been in the industry for about 20 years, I have a good knowledge of what each manufacturer/company does well. I talk with salespeople and servicers from most major retailers daily, and the feedback helps guide my own opinions.

1. COOKING - GE makes terrific cooking products in the mid to high end price range with their Monogram line. Thermador, Wolf, and Viking are also excellent, but you will pay a high price for the names. Service on these brands is also at a higher incidence rate and parts are more expensive.

2.DISHWASHING - I may be biased, but Bosch makes the best dishwashers ever built. They have completely changed the industry in the last 10 years with new innovations, energy savings and exterior design. Prices start at about $500 up to about $1500. Whirlpool also builds a great product along with the Kitchen Aid brand that they also own along with Sears brand of Whirlpool built Kenmores.

3. REFRIGERATORS - Again Whirlpool/Kitchen Aid fridges have had a good track record with the exception of side-by-side ice makers having a few issues a couple of years back. The new Korean built LG brand are also creating quite a buzz as far as value, innovation and reliability. Sub Zero remains a well known high end brand, but is plagued with very expensive service calls during the life of the product.

I would completely stay away from Electrolux Brands (Frigidaire, Westinghouse) as they have had major problems with engineering and servicability forever.

The Maytag Corporation is now owned by Whirlpool, which hopefully can turn the company around, since it has been in financial trouble for the last 10 years. Recently, the reliability of Maytags products have gone down as the Iowa based company has had massive layoffs in all departments.

Maytag was known for years for building the best laundry products available, and have made great strides in cooking with the Gemini Ranges they introduced 7 years ago. Whirlpool should help with a great engineering and development background.

Hi Mattytude,

I appreciate your sharing insights as a professional! After much research late at nights, I am picking the following appliances. Please let me know what you think...

- Range: Dacor Duel fuel 6 burner. Are you aware of any issue with Dacor? The brand seems to be more popular in California (headquarter in SolCal). I even plan to sign up for their cooking demo in their office, of course, using Dacor appliances.
- Frig: KitchenAid bottom freezer 42'' french door. Looks like there is no other brand that has this feature spec.
- Dishwasher: Bosch. People can not stop raving about the Bosch dishwasher. But the sales people at the store all warn me about the fact that there is no food grinder, small utensil holders and the filter cleaning.
- Microwave/Convection combo: GE Monogram Advantium. This one has 'speed cook' technology. It looks very useful and multi-functional.
- Small beverage center: Marvel. Similar to wine cooler but colder. We need a place for all the drinks (wine, beer, soda cans, etc). I didn't find review on this brand though.

I also researched home warranty. It doesn't say the expensive high-end appliances are excluded. What do you think of that? Better than getting extended warranty from the store?

Regarding LG, I spent around $1000 on their top of the line LG front-loading washer one and half year ago. The water keeps getting in and underneath the door gasket (that rubber ring). Over the time, mold develops due to all the water accumulated there and it is absolutely disgusting. While I am waiting to schedule repair with Home Depot extended warranty, I called LG help line. The rep said the user should dry and clean the gasket every time after use?! It is ridiculous and there is no way to clean underneath the gasket. And the rep said it is not an uncommon problem that people call in for. As soon as I mentioned the word 'mold', she knew what the problem was. And she denied it was a design flaw, of course. I am very disappointed and I will be NOT buy LG anything again!

Thanks!

If you really want a great cooking range at only have the price of viking or wolf I would suggest blue star.. They make an excellent range at only half the price.

xualice said: Hi Mattytude,

I appreciate your sharing insights as a professional! After much research late at nights, I am picking the following appliances. Please let me know what you think...

- Range: Dacor Duel fuel 6 burner. Are you aware of any issue with Dacor? The brand seems to be more popular in California (headquarter in SolCal). I even plan to sign up for their cooking demo in their office, of course, using Dacor appliances.
- Frig: KitchenAid bottom freezer 42'' french door. Looks like there is no other brand that has this feature spec.
- Dishwasher: Bosch. People can not stop raving about the Bosch dishwasher. But the sales people at the store all warn me about the fact that there is no food grinder, small utensil holders and the filter cleaning.
- Microwave/Convection combo: GE Monogram Advantium. This one has 'speed cook' technology. It looks very useful and multi-functional.
- Small beverage center: Marvel. Similar to wine cooler but colder. We need a place for all the drinks (wine, beer, soda cans, etc). I didn't find review on this brand though.

I also researched home warranty. It doesn't say the expensive high-end appliances are excluded. What do you think of that? Better than getting extended warranty from the store?

Regarding LG, I spent around $1000 on their top of the line LG front-loading washer one and half year ago. The water keeps getting in and underneath the door gasket (that rubber ring). Over the time, mold develops due to all the water accumulated there and it is absolutely disgusting. While I am waiting to schedule repair with Home Depot extended warranty, I called LG help line. The rep said the user should dry and clean the gasket every time after use?! It is ridiculous and there is no way to clean underneath the gasket. And the rep said it is not an uncommon problem that people call in for. As soon as I mentioned the word 'mold', she knew what the problem was. And she denied it was a design flaw, of course. I am very disappointed and I will be NOT buy LG anything again!

Thanks!



As far as Dacor is concerned, I do know they make good cooking products. I dont have any retailers that carry that line, but have heard through the industry that they are well built and provide alot of features. DCS is also a good choice in the mid to high-end cooking catagory.

Kitchen Aid (made by Whirlpool) Built-ins Refrigerators have a great track record and are usually about $2000-$3000 less than SubZ, Viking, & Thermador. In fact, Kitchen Aid has made all the Thermador built in models up until last year, and they were building us a great unit, with almost no service issues.

Bosch dishwashers do not need a food grinder, they heat the water to 161 degrees and use 2 pumps for greater water pressure. The combination of the heat and pressure breaks down the leftover food and also self cleans the filter. The only time you would need to clean the filter is if a bone or something hard were to get into it, which would protect the pumps from getting clogged and jammed.

GE Advantium has really come a long way in the last 8 years since it was introduced. They have added alot of features and there is nothing like it on the market..great choice! GE makes great cooking products period! No other manufacturer can match them in quality and features for the dollar. GE also owns Hotpoint which is their low-end line.

I have heard of Marvel, but really dont know anything about the quality. U-Line is the industrys favorite choice, but their product are rather expensive.


Warranties are another issue, as I sold them when I worked the retail floor several years ago. Products like refrigerators, freezers, ranges, ovens, cooktops, microwaves rarely need service which is mainly due to very few moving parts. Washers, dryers and dishwashers are completely another story, many moving parts where water is concerned is a recipe for a service call in the first 5 years of ownership. Home Warranties are hard to collect upon, and usually require a deductable. I have never had good luck with a home warranty myself. The cost seems fairly high ($300-$400) for just a years worth of coverage. I would probably go with a store warranty on the laundry and dishwasher alone.


LG, Samsung, Goldstar are all fairly new to the upper end appliance market. These are all South Korean owned companies that are changing the industry with lower prices for the consumer and higher profits for retailers. Unfortunatly, by making a cheaper product, you have to cut costs somewhere.

LG laundry products although innovative and eye catching, have had many service problems along with Whirlpools Duet laundry, and Maytags Neptune series. These companies are new to making front load washers and have had many problems that will probably get ironed out as they re-engineer these units. European manufacturers such as Meile, Asko, & Bosch have been making front load washers for decades and have better overall engineering, but again at a higher price.

MyDiscover said: If you really want a great cooking range at only have the price of viking or wolf I would suggest blue star.. They make an excellent range at only half the price.

I have a 6 burner Blue Star and like it a lot. It is built like a tank. Made a Pennsylvania too, if you like to support U.S. manufacturing.

Another plus is they build it to your specification - if you want 6 simmer burners, or 6 full-on power burners, or 6 nomral ones, or any combination of the 3, they'll make it that way (I have 2 power, 1 simmer, 3 regular).

http://www.prizer-painter.com/

(no, I don't work for them - just a happy customer)

Thanks, MattyTude! I was impressed with the GE Advantium oven. Love at the first sight.

To myDiscover, I had never heard of BlueStar before. I did some research after your post. People just love this range and 22000 BTU! Thanks for the recommendation. I like the burner combo you got (2 power, 3 regular and 1 simmer). One problem is that not too many stores carry Bluestar. I went to their website and called one of the numbers listed there. The nearest two stores are 1.5 hours away (I live in Orange County, CA), although I see them being sold on internet. I think I will drive there to check out the item this weekend. Any suggestion on how to purchase them? Since there is no local store that sells it, the item will be shipped anyways no matter where I purchase it. So I am open to internet if they can give good pricing and ship the unit safely and promptly. But I would avoid getting it from unauthrized dealer. I also notice the prices vary. What is the warranty like? How is the service? I would appreciate any information on the purchasing process.

We bought a blue star 30" range several years ago directly from the distributor in palm springs, ca but don't believe they still work with them. At the time, they were the only place south of the bay area to view one - have no idea where you can find one now in so cal.

Love our range but there were some problems in the beginning with the ignitors cracking after a few weeks/months of use. Contacted the manufacturer and they sent new ones and have not had any problems since. For the inconvenience, they also sent for free a middle iron grate that later models had, which mine did not. Great service and I would not hesitate buying one again. It really is built like a tank - I don't anticipate buying another range for decades.

RE: Dishwasher - was also looking at Bosch as well as Miele back then as well and actually bought a miele. But while waiting for the store to get it stock, bought a $600 Kitchenaid DW for only $50 (price error and rebates) so of course couldn't turn that down.

A great forum to check out would be the gardenweb site - learned all about appliances there.

GE monogram and Wolf (owned by subzero) seem to have the best reputation and best repair records in the high end. My friends with Viking and Dacor (some thermador models) always have repairmen at their homes. Wind Crest makes high end cooktops for less $$$ supposedly same parts as Wolf but I don't know who repairs as they don't have distributors everywhere. Monogram cooktop claim to fame is the high 18,000 BTU burner and the 140 degree burner which is supposed to melt chocolate without burning. Miele is supposed to make the best ovens but they are pricey. They say don't buy ovens with the ball bearing racks as they are almost impossible to get in and out. That will give you a start. E-opinions sometimes has reviews as well as google groups.

If anyone is in nj and would like to try out the bluestar pm me. This range is built like a tank.

xualice said: We are going to do a big remodeling job for the kitchen and we plan to get high-end appliances such as Viking/Thermodore/GE Monogram/etc. I am pulling my hair out trying to select the appliances. Anyone has any suggestion on what to get or not to get? What are some good websites that review high-end appliances? I already looked at Consumer Reports and I found the information to be limited.

Thanks!


From a restaurant standpoint Viking, Wolf, and American Range all suck. Montague by far makes the best ranges but you would have to retrofit a commercial range into your house.

Appliance advisor is probably your best resource. Navigating the site is a joke, but from the top menu use 'Report' 'Advisor' and 'Consumer' options.

My parents had a Thermodor range put in their kitchen when the remodeled it a few years ago. They had so many problems that they just gave up, pulled it out, and went with a mass-market model. Cheaper parts, better reliability. Enjoy your new kitchen.

Hi everyone,

After a dozen trips to appliances stores and many sleepless nights, I have finally made the decision. Thanks for everyone's input. For those who are interested in this topic, I will list my choices below:

1) Refrigerator:
KitchenAid 42'' Built-in, French door, bottom freezer
This is the only 42'' french door bottom freezer one on the market. None of the Thermadore/Sub-Z/GE Mono makes it.

2) Dishwasher
KitchenAid, the model is top of the line, with a third level tray
I chose it over Bosch because it seems to have a larger capacity (bigger utensil holders) and more customizable racks.

3) Range
BlueStar 6 burners 22000 BTU!
I can't wait to do some wok stir-frying on that new range.

4) Hood
Independent 42'' 1200 CFM
Independent made all the Wolf hood until the end of 2006. The design is identical but the price is much cheaper. Besides, I heard there is a huge backup with ordering Wolf hood. And I dare not to try any product too new (Wolf is just starting to make their own hood in 07) even if it is Wolf. I chose a slightly bigger hood than the range because there is some concern over the strong BTU possibly damaging the cabinet overtime.

5) GE Profile Advantium oven
I was going to choose the Monogram for the look. Then after reading the specs, I realize Profile actually provides bigger capacity (mainly more depth. Thinking pizza night...) and more cooking modes.

6) GE Profile warming drawer
To match the Advantium oven

xualice said:
3) Range
BlueStar 6 burners 22000 BTU!
I can't wait to do some wok stir-frying on that new range.


I hope you didn't specifiy 6 22K BTU burners. You'll melt your kitchen!

im a bit late in this thread but when we bought appliances last year the gardenweb forum was the best resource...

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/appl/

we ended up going with an induction cooktop and miele dishwasher

the miele while expensive is crazy quiet and very very very very nice i think the bosch rates similarly.

I started to look at new appliances and was hoping that there were some model #'s provided. Can anyone provide some model numbers for dishwashers that they recommend? Also curious what consumer reports recommended? Thanks.

I have a hookup on LG appliances and pondering whether to get a fridge, gas range, and a dishwasher - I can basically get any model. Is LG reliable? I don't want to get a discount and then have the appliances go bust in a couple of years.



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