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FiveStar vs GE/KA/etc?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

So I've poked around the forums here and gathered that the consensus on FiveStar ranges is that they are inferior to other "commercial-style" ranges like Wolf, BlueStar, DCS, etc. But my question is, how do they compare to more mid-range stuff like GE Profile or KitchenAid Architect II series gas ranges? I ask because I've found one on clearance for $1600, about the price of the GE and KA. I'd lose the self-cleaning oven, but gain (presumably) BTUs and maybe quality?

post #2 of 3
Five Star ranges are built by the same company (Brown, IIRC) that used to build Viking residential ranges back in the day when Viking first cracked the commercial look market. You have to understand that to a large extent commercial/residential ranges are a lot like gas grills. That is, custom chassis and grids filled with components, burners, valves, tubing, etc., sourced from a few different manufacturers. In other words, much like with high-end barbecues, all the "manufacturers" buy their parts from the same group of bins. Five Star buys from good manufacturers but they might be a little too cost-conscious.

Wolf is not built by Wolf. Wolf residential has nothing to do with Wolf commercial, other than that great looking Wolf logo. They're built by a subcontractor for Sub-Zero. And so it goes.

Don't worry too much about burner BTU specs. You may think that's a measure of how hot how fast, but it's really not. It's really a measure of how fast the stove uses fuel. More is not necessarily better. The real limitation on a commercial/residential is the size of residential gas hookups. You just can't get enough gas to a commercial/residential burner to make it cook like a commercial stove. But that's not a big deal since you can get plenty of heat to cook ANYTHING on a decent residential stove. What you don't get is the speed of getting pans to temp in 15 seconds while the chef is yelling at you. Instead it's going to take a minute while your spouse whines. You can live with it.

What you want to look at is ease of cleaning, frequency of repair and cost of repair. Ask a lot of questions about the guarantee, and what you can get in writing -- including timeliness of repair and when the dealer or manufacturer must replace with new. For instance if the fault cannot be repaired on the second attempt. Did I mention IN WRITING? A great written guarantee from somewhere local is worth hundreds. Your best sources of information for a lot of this are the high end stove repair people you can reach by phone. Do not trust self proclaimed experts you find on the net. And yes, that caveat includes me. Nor should you try and generalize on a single good or bad experience had by any individual.

GE Profile have a mixed rep. I've heard good and bad, but don't known anything really meaningful. I don't know much about KA Architect. It all depends who builds 'em and from what parts.

Another thing you want to look very closely at is styling. You're buying mostly for looks. Admit it and enjoy a stove that really turns you on. If that's the Five Star see if you can't work out some sort of super duper warranty -- even if you have to pay extra. IN WRITING.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great info.
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