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Thermador range reliability?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
After being a renter my entire life, I've just bought my first house -- meaning I can finally design a kitchen. My wife and I are very excited.

We want to get a 48" dual fuel range, and we love the look of the Thermador, and it seems like a good product. When I Google "thermador reliability," though, I find all kinds of complaints, but I find that with just about any high-priced consumer-grade appliance company. What's impossible to tell online is whether those complaints are the exception or the norm. (I think people are more likely to write complaints online than positive reviews. Being upset with a product is a lot more motivating when it comes to taking the time to write a review.)

I don't want to spend $10k on a range only to have major reliability issues. Does anybody here have any experience with the recent Thermador ranges? How has the reliability been? I've searched the forums, but most of the Thermador reliability postings are fairly old, and the 48" dual fuel is a newer model.

Thank you!
post #2 of 7
These posts don't generate a lot of responses. It seems the high end home appliances aren't used here that much. And yes, all the brands have about the same reports. You might give a try at some some of the other forums. Discusscooking.com is also a good forum and might have some who have used the appliance you're looking for.

Good luck and let us know what you find so we can help the next person who asks this question, such as the Back40 who seems to be in about the same place you are.

Phil
post #3 of 7
You won't get the kind of information you need to make a meaningful decision by asking individuals to give you statistically significant information. Your best bet is to call independent stove repair services and ask them. At least they see enough stoves to form an opinion.

I've said this in other threads, but here we go again: Professional and professional look ranges are very different from one another. Even those manufacturers who build both, build them on entirely different chassis with entirely different components. Sometimes they may use the same grates and knobs or even the same cold-rolled griddles -- but those few things and the logo-plates are the only commonality. A home stove is not a pro stove. The end. One of the major differences is the size of the gas inlet. A home stove just can't pull enough fuel to generate the kind of flame a pro stove does.

Pro-look stoves and regular home stoves have almost everything in common except the look. If it's the look you want, buy the look and don't look back. If you want a good performance for price ratio, buy a regular home stove with the features you want. The extra few BTU you get out of the burner on a pro-look will not make a difference in how you cook. They just won't. When you learn that one stove has an 18,000 BTU burner and another has a 16,000 BTU burner, the 18,000 BTU sounds like it's more like a pro 24,000 BTU burner doesn't it? Did you know BTU is a measure of the amount of fuel used per unit time and not a measure of heat generated? That's one example of how confusing "objective" measurement is when it's in the hands of advertising writers. Did you know that the extra heat on a pro stove is used more for getting the pan hot fast, than it is for cooking? Think for a second how almost all high-heat stove top cooking is done on a home stove's medium-high flame rather than full up.

Stove manufacturers typically don't make all their own components. This is even more true for the high zoot pro-look stoves, which don't sell as many copies. That means they're sourcing from a small group of component manufacturers and screwing the components into their chassis. In turn that means many stoves by different manufacturers have more, rather than less, in common. It also means that many pro-look stoves are "semi-custom" rather than truly mass produced, and that in its own turn means they tend to be less reliable than their more popular, less expensive counterparts. It's a cliche that the children of Viking stove repairmen have straight teeth and go to good schools. That's true of all the big deal pro-looks. After reliability comes clean-up. Many pro-looks are a real PITA. Believe me, a well-sealed top is a lot more important than 2,000 BTU you'll never use.

If you're interested in performance and have the room, you're best off buying two "regular" home stoves with the looks and features that are actually useful to you. I suggest getting one with all the desirable stuff, and another that's more or less stripped, but still fits with the decor. You'll save a lot of money, get more space, more burners, two full-sized ovens, and 25% of the BS. They all come in stainless these days. In addition, you'll get an extra "station" for those times when you have two or more cooks in the kitchen at the same time. IMO, it's even a better and more pro "look."

You can get a two-burner, cast-iron, grill/griddle plate -- heaven knows you'll have stove-top space!

Another alternative is to combine a cook-top with a wall oven and a residential range and scatter them around your new kitchen strategically. Not a money saver, but a big help in designing a useful kitchen. You see this type of design frequently on cooking show sets where the set is built into the host's actual home. Paula Dean and Ina Garten are two examples.

FWIW, the features I'd look for on the primary range are, dual-fuel, continuous grates, "infra-red" broiler, and (self-cleaning) convection oven. About the most important feature in any stove is how easy it is to clean and keep clean.

2 cents plain,
BDL
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post #4 of 7
I tried to look up 48" dual fuel ranges on Consumer Reports website, but they stop at 36". Thermador gas ranges had good reliability- not spectacular, but good.

This was for 2007 models, non-dual fuel, 36" wide. I don't know if you can make any surmises about 48", dual fuel models.
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post #5 of 7
I can't speak much about Thermador's ranges but your post convinced me to finally join this forum....to say "Don't buy Thermador"!

I own an older Thremador dishwasher. It's an amazing unit....very quiet, cleans dishes very well, etc. It was VERY expensive at the 19 years ago when we bought it and has served well except for the same reoccurring problems. One is the spray tower which breaks every 7 years. Well despite this design flaw Thermador no longer makes the part!

Perhaps I am wrong in assuming that when you buy a very well built appliance and pay really good money for it, it should not only perform better but should last longer. I have an expectation that manufacturers of these high end appliances should support their products for a VERY long time. Thermador has the attitude that their products are disposable and do very little to provide assistance.

That is why I would NOT buy another Thermador appliance and right now I'm out looking for a 48" range. The dishwasher....well I'm getting a local machinist to replace the broken plastic pieces with brass.
post #6 of 7
We bought a Thermador Wall Oven mod# SMW272 in 2003 and had numerous problems...LCD display malfunctions...computer control failure...uneven heat....failure of self cleaning feature...Wiring problem causing element failure. Like the unit itself, repairs were shockingly expensive. We are currently waiting on a control board which will be around $500-$600 with labour and taxes. On a positive note...this overpriced piece of junk looks impressive when not in use but, alas, would make a better anchor than a reliable kitchen appliance. This has been my personal experience...hope yours is better!!
post #7 of 7

well written and still applicable in the year 2013.  I used to be a line cook for 6-8 years and now am a custom cabinet maker.  So I'm well aware of how incredible a Vulcan 8 burner stove can be to cook on, and now the other side of people asking my advice on what appliances to buy.  I'm located in the NY tri-state area, and know one of the Viking/Wolf/Sub-Zero repair men on a first name basis.  Rick M. The stupid amount of money people insist on spending for things to "look" professional is amusing.  What's more amusing is the amount of actual cook time these appliances receive before they need major expensive repairs.  They look really, really nice don't get me wrong, they can even work really really well.....but when they don't, count on ANY part starting at $125.  

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