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Viking or Wolf? Range-top or Drop-in? Residential

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks, we are in the process of yet another remodelling project. I think this is house number 7. Like other members with similar questions I have become confused with information overload on gas ranges, however, one that I haven't read is whether to purchase the drop-in models as opposed to the range-top (which is more professional looking.) Will we be frustrated with the smaller heat output on some of the burners in the drop-in styles? The comments from some of you is that these brand names are overpriced is appreciated and yet when doing over a house for resale, the brand name recognition is a selling point. The cost difference is dramatic between the drop-in and the range-top, about a $1,500. Our small town offers the Viking, Wolf and Thermidor plus the regular brands like Maytag and Kenmore etc.
Thanks for your input.
post #2 of 50
depending on how the transition from counter to "cooking doohicky" is made, cracks/gaps present dirt traps.

I have a 36" six burner Viking. I like the cooktop design for cleaning (sealed burners, transition, etc) but Viking has proven unreliable and high maintenance (cost&effort)

after 2-3 yrs the ignition sparkers are iffy - they work when they want to with no apparently reason(s) why / why not. parts are extremely expensive - and only available through brick & mortar "authorized dealers"

at the time I preferred the overall design of the Wolf, but they did not offer sealed burners (then) - that may have changed.

'the name' is indeed a selling point, but I would not recommend Viking. it may not be your problem, eventually, but customer happiness is a point of recommendation should you rely on that.
post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Dilbert. Many of the posts indicate that there have been problems with servicing the Viking. In a small town like ours, service is often difficult so it's good to hear that your experience has been fine. Moving the pots on and off with the spill factor is always an issue - that's what toothpicks are for aren't they? Many an happy hour has been spent digging out grimy bits from around edges of burner rings on our old electric models. And sinks, yech!
post #4 of 50
Neither are any good. I have worked in houses that had Wolf and Thermidor. Problems with both electronic ignition burns out at least once every 2 years plus other things... Wolf commercial rest. equip. is even worse. I would stick with a Common brand that can be serviced by anyone(maytag, kitchen aid, magic chef etc,) although I have not used these, they cant be any worse .Happy Hunting.

PS check out Consumers report, see what they say.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 
It is scary to hear the service problems that can occur, what happened to the old appliances that never saw a repairman? My Mother had a 35 year old Westinghouse fridge in her home that she had bought new, it never ever saw a repairman.

Do other members have similar comments as Ed, I have friends that have had a Wolf range for 7 years and they love it.
post #6 of 50
These industries heard about "planned obsolescence," is what happened. See, if you sell an appliance that never breaks, you don't get to sell something to that customer again, get it? So you make something that will wear out in X years, deliberately.

My parents built a house in northeastern Vermont, back of beyond, 35 years ago. They bought a fairly standard solid Kitchen-Aid brand dishwasher. At that time, that was a Hobart, actually. Now about two years ago, it suddenly had the hiccups and started spilling its water, so we had the repair guy in. He pulled out two cherry pits that my wife had allowed in, and then it was fine. Still is. Why? Because at that time, they built the things to last. Nowadays, good luck buying any dishwasher that lasts more than 10 years: they're not built that way.

If you're planning to turn the house over soon (good luck in THIS market!), get a Viking -- sexier name, and you won't see the repair problems in a year. If you're planning one day maybe who knows, get a $700 drop-in by somebody like GE or Frigidaire or whoever. You want top-of-the-line but without frills. Look for it: every line from people like this has a break-point. Below X line, you get X without something, for economy, and oh heck if it breaks, who cares. Above X line, you get X with some extra piece of useless gimcrackery. Buy X, and it'll cost about $700, I betcha.

Installed separate range and oven is primarily cool and worth doing if you can mount the oven in the wall, like on TV. That's saleable, provided you have granite countertops. You're aiming at the "wow, great kitchen!" market. If it's just going to be installed separately at normal level, don't bother -- you'll make less, or anyway no more, than what you pay for the separate installation.

If you're doing complete redo, where you're doing the granite countertops together with the range and the oven all together, then separate starts to make sense. Just put the oven in the wall somewhere, about 2 feet above where it would normally rest, and you're gold. Make sure the range is inset in the granite, and get sealed burners. At that point, you might consider a Viking oven for the name and a less ritzy range for the actual utility, unless of course you're planning to flip the house in under a year. If the latter, be sure to get 6 burners and one of those multi-section grating top things that make the whole range flat, like an imitation flattop.

And remember to bake some bread and make some fresh coffee when you show the house. :smiles:
post #7 of 50
true, as it goes, but:

>>>>Our small town offers . . .

in a small town, there is the issue of reputation. cheap junk goes in, good reputation does not come out . . . . you'll be dead and buried and some 90-yr old who was a kid when her parents bought the house will be telling her g-g-grand-kids never buy a house from <x> cuze they build it cheap and it don't last.
post #8 of 50
Wolf, Viking, and the other "these people want a fancy appliance, but don't have the sense to know what that really should mean, put lots of stainless steel on it, and take their money" brands don't have the sales volumes to work out problems. If GE designs a stove that doesn't work right, they find out fairly fast, because they sell more in a week or two than viking does in a year. So they sell things that break, and when they break, the people who service them say "Hmm. Idiot with too much money, charge double.", so they cost a lot to fix.
post #9 of 50
Thread Starter 
You folks are cracking me up, I'm still laughing about the 'charge double' quip.

And to ChrisLehrer, we are doing the granite and making the kitchen as 'chi-chi' as we can on a limited budget. We are lucky that the separate JenAir wall Oven and Micro is in great condition still and it can be updated by just changing the black glass front to stainless. This is our 8th house reno always on a budget, and I have become pretty good at renos for less. We are reconfiguring the kitchen yet re-using most of the boxes and doors. We have sanded and stained the cabinet doors, then sent them to be lacquered. They look amazing. Total cost including new boxes and re-installing the cabinets is less than $5000. (Not including the granite of course but I've done a partial trade on that.)

We are still needing advice on choosing a drop in gas model compared to a range top.
The range tops have full 15,000 btu's on each burner while the cooktops have a simmer burner and a moderate burner. When I've got 16 people in for dinner it can get a bit hectic, especially when someone shows up with something that needs cooking. Do I go for the full btu option or not? And I've been reading about the Blue Star gas tops. Comments.
post #10 of 50
No quip. Same parts and service will cost you more for an over-priced lemon than they would for a mainstream appliance. You'll probably also pay more for living in neighborhood where people have over-priced lemons. That's the way it works.
post #11 of 50

Former servicer with advice

Chrismitch:

Hey, my name is Ryan and I am a former appliance servicer (7.5 years exp) and have experience on many of major brands.
As for what brands to get, really your budget will determine what you should get. Having said that NO one brand makes the best of any product, so prepare to mix and match. And No one makes a product that is perfect.

My personal favorites while servicing were the sub-zero and wolf lines (both made by same company). Not because they never broke, because they do, but because their warranty and customer service is by far the best. They warranty the longest of any of the premium brands, and seemed to treat customers better than anyone else.

My second favorite brand was Miele. They make the best dishwasher available in america hands down. They also make some very nice wall ovens and cooktops. But they are very European in style (read small) and don't always fit with what an American consumer is looking for size wise. They are also a very close second in customer service to wolf/subzero. Also reasonable to repair given the initial cost and repair prices of other high end units

Brands that i would definitely stay away from are:

Kitchenaid: An often overpriced version of an identical Whirlpool product.

Maytag/ Jennair/ Amana: Now a Whirlpool subsidiary and not a Maytag product, also see Kitchenaid

Viking/ Ultraline: They only make cooking appliances, (and they don't even make all the ones they sell) so you really don't know what you are getting. They also are very repair prone. (burners, ignition systems, hinges, gaskets, oven linings etc)

Thermadore/Bosch: With the exception of the dishwasher (a very good unit) these tend to also be repair prone and built delicatly.

Frigidaire Gallery: A very exspensive version of plain old frigidaire, bigger price same appliance

GE: Anything they make is usually a piece of crap, poor warranty, poor quality, and usually repair prone (including the stuff from the top chef tv show). And often expensive to repair.

Kenmore: Not even a Kenmore, these are simply re-badged units built by whoever tenders the best offer to sears on a given specification. I have even seen the supplier change in a single model year from one to another. As a consumer you have no idea what you are getting. You may decide that the Frigidaire is not for you and buy a Kenmore only to end up with a Frigidaire built unit.

There are obviously others but those are the major ones

Brands worth considering:

Whirlpool: Some products are decent and reasonably priced as well you can get it fixed by practically anyone for little money. Not the best performing most of the time but wont break the bank either.

Frigidaire: As long as you don't get anything too cheap or too expensive, these can be a really good value. See whirlpool for why.

LG: Making some very good products as of late as well as offering the best non-high end warranty. The dishwasher is kind a crappy but the rest of there stuff is decent to really good. Again dont go too cheap or too expensive to get your real value.

You can get more obscure with brands but the problem then is service, installation etc.

other decent high end brands are..

Dacor
AGA
DCS/ Fsher and Paykel (Same company)
Gagganeau (a thermadore/bosch brand)


Hope I was informative and not too boring. Any questions about anything in particular give a shout on here.

later
post #12 of 50
Boy do I ever dissagree with some of the advice here. Let me start by saying I actually own a Viking. So many seem to have this strong opinion about them that have probably never used one. Mine us ten years old. Prior to that I was buying a new range every 5 years and with Kitchen Aid I needed to buy an extended service contract just to get through the five years. My 30" open burner self cleaning Viking was a little over 4k at the time. They are acutually a little less now. I have probably spent a total of $500 in repairs over the ten years and that includes one new spark module.
The electronic ignition is the weak point in any brand. If you keep it more than five years you will probably replace that part.
Viking probably has the largest dealer and service network for any commercial style range.
I put a Blue Star in a second home and had nothing but service head aches. Make sure you check for service availability before you buy no matter what the brand is. Viking and Wolf have gone to sealed burners only on the self cleaning models in the 30". I have no idea what size the OP was after but I thought I'd weigh in as an actual Viking owner with a positive experience.
I think we all know Viking dish machines and fridges are made by other companies with the Viking label. Viking makes all of their own ranges and cook tops and they now have a true professional line although it has sealed burners.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #13 of 50
>>So many seem to have this strong opinion about them that have probably never used one.

I own one, I use mine on a daily basis.

>>The electronic ignition is the weak point in any brand.

not according to the people who service mine.

>>Viking probably has the largest dealer and service network for any commercial style range.
no clue as to whether that is true.
please provide link for online service parts:
(I've not found any onlines sources; it's all exclusively through dealerships at galactic sized mark ups)


>>they now have a true professional line although it has sealed burners.
what makes an professional model require non-sealed burners?
what makes it "professional" - other than marketing hype?

>>Viking makes all of their own ranges and cook tops
please post the source for that information / fact.
post #14 of 50
Duckfat:
I am glad to hear of your happiness with your Viking product. Every product has its good and points. When people ask me what they should buy, I normally suggest that they are not so much picking out what they like in a product what problem they can live with in the future.

I will certainly agree with you that the electronic ignition system is the week point in any gas range regardless of make ( eaton and honeywell make probably 90% if all the ignition electronics used by all manufacturers). However, viking makes only ranges and cooktops of there own design. they do not make all of there wall ovens, or any of there hoods, dishwashers (as noted), etc. So it is hard for the average consumer to determine what the are getting in some cases. Further, having been a factory trained viking repair person, I can tell you that they over charge for parts to the tenth power and that there designs are poor from an engineering standpoint. They may or may not be functional from a user standpoint (i have in fact not owned most of these brands) but from a repair standpoint they are a nightmare to fix. This means higher labour costs for repairs as well as parts costs compared to, for example wolf (still not cheap exactly but more reasonable).

As I have noted in my previous post, Kitchenaid in most cases is little more than an overpriced mid level whirlpool. So with that in mind you get what you pay for, it will likely work fine for the average person but not keep up with an energetic home cook (lower btu burners, smaller oven cavities, cheaper electronics etc), regardless of the fact you've over paid or not.

I am vaguely familiar with Blue Point, having never worked on one, but thoroughly looking them over at a training seminar, they appear to a reasonable if not simple sort of copy of the better known brands. They are made cheaper and of course cost less. Another line that is very similar is Five Star. Many of the burners, valves and other core components of these machines are made by a few manufactures (ie eaton, honeywell etc) and thusly what you are often paying for is creature features if you will; electronic igniton, better gaskets, fancy paint job etc.

You are also correct with regards to Viking having a large service force, but this neither here nor there as almost all of these servicers will in fact provide factory authorized service for any well known brand of product, high end or not. For example when I was in the field our company was authorized for all of the big US brands, LG, SUB/Wolf, Dacor, Fisher/Paykel, DCS, Best, Broan, Smeg, Asko, Eurotech, AGA, vent a hood, Ducane, weber, woods, aeg, miele, Bosch/Thermadore plus more, and even one off jobs for odd ball brands that didn't have local service personal like Creda, and Philips.

Ultimatley it is up to the consumer to weigh the pros and cons of each unit and pick based on their own personal tastes.

PS another brand of refrigerator that I would recommend is Northland from Greenville Michigan. They are Sub Zero in style with built in looks and features but have a overhead (or remote i believe) cooling unit witch makes for easy and quick (read cheaper labour costs) repairs.
post #15 of 50
Dilbert, I'm sorry I don't do internet arguments. My experience is obviously not the same as yours. I'm pleased with my product.

rbrosseau, I agree with most of what you are saying. The other brand I referenced was Blue Star which used to be a Garland product. Not every one can service them under warranty unless there is a service agreement.
In fact what they try to do is just send parts and stiff you on the labor. At least that was my experience.
In regards to the cost of repairs all I can tell you is the way service techs operate here. They have a service manual just like an auto dealer with time estimates for each repair. High end brands like Wolf, Viking, Thermador and Blue Star are all charged at the same hourly rate depending on the size of the unit being repaired.
The Five star is an interesting product. It sort of bridges the price gap between the higher end brands and a standard consumer range.
I also agree with you about Viking making only ranges and Cooktops. Thanks for catching my error and thanks for plugging a product made in Michigan!
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #16 of 50
DuckFat -

I'm very glad you're pleased with your Viking. regrets, I am not.

not remotely trying to "argue" - but I own one, a gas six burner "professional" - it sez' so right on the label - and starting at year two it has been unreliable and problem prone. the 'warranty' is one year - hence a completely meaningless scrap of paper. don't know about you, but I'm not of the opinion that a $4,000 cooktop needs to be replaced every year just to maintain a 'warranty'

we're talking about "gas" here - the stuff that tends to ignite and blow up kitchens, houses, and cooks.

pretty much any silly goose would expect the "ignition" system to be absolutely IDIOT proof and work forever. see: pilot light.

the burner grates have warped (probably the finest Chinese cast iron available), the valves are sticky and inconsistent in their numbered settings-to-flame. don't get me started on the burner grate feet, at $16+tax per burner.

I've got a very expensive "hole" in my counter top that needs s natural gas powered cooktop device that "works" - Viking, regardless of marketing hype, does not meet my standard of "it works"
post #17 of 50
Dilbert:

>>The electronic ignition is the weak point in any brand.

I apologize, calling this a service issue is probably a inaccurate in many cases. The actual issue with many of the ignition systems is user care such as dirty burner caps not making a good ground connection, and poor positioning of the electrode (which usually leads to redisgned parts and service bullets) etc. Further the ignition system on any gas appliance will wear out like the spark plugs on a car. Many people will get 5 or so years out of oven igniters, spark modules etc but this all depends on use and how well the unit is cleaned.

>>Viking probably has the largest dealer and service network for any commercial style range.

Again any appliance repair center can apply to be a servicer in any area. The only brand that uses an exclusive servicer is Kenmore, by sears witch as many know is entirely manufactured by random third parties (Including viking at times) The thing about parts is that they will only allow authorized servicers to sell their parts. So very few parts if any are available at Reliable Parts, or A.P. Wagner etc This also makes the customer susceptible to stupid pricing (that is pricing determined on the spot based on whether the servicer likes you or not as you have no idea of actual pricing) The regional parts dealer we had to use wouldn't even sell parts directly to consumers.

>>they now have a true professional line although it has sealed burners.
The only thing that makes any of these units professional is the look.
They will almost never have as powerful of burners, or large of hinges etc as a true professional range. They may be similarly equipped with features but most importantly real commercial ranges will likely lack some safety features required by state or local law to be installed in a home. I have seen a few Garland ranges for example in homes that have required farther spacing from flammables (your cabinets etc) than a similarly looking residential class unit.

>>Viking makes all of their own ranges and cook tops

You may never find any credible 'source' for this other than a dealer or servicer's word of mouth. This is sort of highly guarded info that is common knowledge to many. As an example I currently own a Maytag built fridge ( it has Maytag labeld on many of the parts as proof) labeled as a Fisher and Paykel, it has a well document problem and a Maytag issued service bulletin, but Fisher and Paykel dis avow any knowledge that this is a Maytag built unit and will not perform the suggested repair. As another example, many parts you order through Viking will have a viking sticker simply laid over the maytag or asko label and of course a higher price tag.
post #18 of 50
"The only thing that makes any of these units professional is the look"

I'm not sure if that's a typo or if you are un-aware that as of this spring Viking has a true commercial line. These units have much higher BTU's etc than the commercial or professional "style" ranges etc for the home.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #19 of 50
rbrosseau -

the position of the metal-ceramic-metal ignition posts actually has not changed over the years. In my attempts to "maintain" function I bought a cute little brass wire brush to "clean" the area(s).

the theory should work so well as the attempt.

I turn a burner on, it sparks. two minutes later I turn a burner on and it does not spark. next day it does not spark, day after it does spark. the 'sparking' bit is high voltage generated by a transformer inside the "guts box" at year 5+ the fact that it works, it does not work is unlikely an electrical transformer issue. it's a crappy design of the ignition post. NHSTA recalls cars for faulty brakes; faulty ignition systems on a gas appliance is not entirely dissimilar. the failure results can be fatal.

I also have to disagree with the "any servicer" thought. Viking controls its distribution chain very tightly. if one calls a non-Viking rep, all you get is a service call to investigate the problem, a "I'll get back to you" promise from the technician - while the cook top sits there quietly incapacitated, then finally Viking's markup + local non-Viking markup on parts plus service time for the local guy to educate his-self on how Vikings work.

you can go online and order little rubber grate feet from Sears (for their brands) - you cannot go online and order Viking grate feet. been there, (not) done that.

>>The only thing that makes any of these units professional is the looks.
oops, gotta disagree. the "definitions" are not formalized - but 'professional' devices tend to higher outputs, and frequently require (as mentioned) clearances / non-combustible surrounds not commonly found in USA home kitchens.
a more accurate "label" may be 'residential' vs. 'commercial'
the 'professional' label is imho entirley meaningless - ask any professional chef around here - they can cook on anything . . .
post #20 of 50
Duckfat:

No argument intended, only rational conversation.

I stand corrected Viking is now offering a commercial series of ranges etc. I have no idea who makes it. It may in fact be viking, however this product is aimed at restaurants not the home market.

As far as labour pricing this could be a regional law issue. But the companies i worked for all negotiated labour rates with the individual brands and customers paid by the hour at market prices for labour.

As for blue star, five star etc... like it or lump it, if i am gonna buy a Cadillac i'm gonna save up and get a Cadillac not the Hyundai that looks like a Cadillac.

PS. it has been a pleasure chatting with you. As a servicer i see people when you are pissed off, you are the first person i have "met" that is happy with their viking. Good luck with it in the future.
post #21 of 50
Dilbert:

Actually the electrode issue i was referring to specifically was on a DCS, the kit provided by them had burner base plates with a slightly altered position for the electrode a new ignition box and wires with better insulation.
But the convenience of an electronic ignition means maintenance such as your wire brush keeping the area clean. Many of these high end appliances have filters the need cleaning or scheduled maintainance or special installation requirements (water line locations, cabinet spacing, larger gas line etc). High end doesn't mean indistructable and it certainly does not mean idiot proof. Many of the complex electronically operated ovens and such from Miele would make a Microsoft employees head spin.

Another reason I was never a fan of Viking, they seldom had these "kits" to offer customers as well as their very short for the price warranty.

As far as the danger to from a faulty ignition system, it is no more or less dangerous than a pilot light that fails. The fact is that NG or LPG are dangerous substances but it would likely take hours and hours of an open valve and an igniton source for you to have an explosion. The air to fuel ratio has to be exact. You would most likely notice the smell and investigate the problem before any such issue ocurred. Anything can happen, but the odds are in your favor.

And true you can only call an authorized viking rep for parts and warranty service, but any servicer can technically apply with viking to be authorized. They do keep tabs on their technicians, but its not as organized as you would think. There are large organization that do this business but most smaller towns and cities rely on family operated firms for service. My local viking rep does all of the aforementioned brands plus likely some i have never heard of.

The bottom line to any purchase is to do your homework, weigh the product options and opinions of others and dont let yourself get sold on a products looks or un-substantiated reputation alone.
Maytag had a good name, and now?? Kitchenaid used to be the best dishwasher you could by, and now??

My opinions are mine alone and yours to interpret for your own use.
post #22 of 50
>>opinions

indeed, we all have them. along with assorted other unmentionables. <g>

I can brush-a-brush-a-Ipanna until I'm purple. there's some dumbwitted logic in the Viking ignition circuity that wins out over common sense and applied physics.

>>Kitchenaid used to be . .
oh yeah. things change.

>>take hours and hours of an open valve and an igniton source for you to have an explosion.

well, perhaps technically accurate, but when I turn on a gas valve, wait for the click-click, not come, go put a spark ignition to the burner and experience a 12-20 inch ball of flame, kinda makes me think it's time to unplug the crappy ignition system and rely on a manual ignition routine from the git go. no comparison to pilot lights. if the pilot light goes out, it is "out" until relit. it does not go lit and go unlit according to whims of <whatever>
post #23 of 50
I am also looking for a 48 inch or 60 inch stove. I recently came across the GE monogram and I think it is really great. It has self cleaning of BOTH ovens, convection, and 1 1/2 ovens, the largest can accomodate a full sheet pan, and the other to accomodate 1/2 sheet pan. Also, has a proof setting for baking breads.
Most of the other ovens I have looked at do not have ALL of these factors. A few have the proof setting (kitchen aid, wolf, and ge), some have no self cleaning ovens or only one, and many of the ovens can't accomodate a full sheet pan. Ones that can accomadate a sheet pan, may not have a self cleaning oven (JennAir) or only one (Thermador, which doesn' offer proof setting). If you are a baker these things are important.
Most surprisingly, Wolf's oven is one of the tallest, (DCS is really short for cooking height), but Wolf's oven is only 17 inches deep (and I tried to fit a sheet pan in without any luck). I think this is the real fault of the lovely and expensive Wolf. Viking is not too deep either.

I am still looking into American Range, Capital (although it doesn't have proof settings), and Blue Star.
Likely I will get the GE.

:chef:
post #24 of 50
I own a 48" Viking range and will upgrade to a 60" in a few months. Not because mine is a P.O.S. but rather I love their products. I wish I have horror stories to tell, but mine has not given me any problems since owning it for 4 years. Prior to that, I owned a 36" dual fuel which also performed superbly.

I actually toured the Viking factory a couple of years ago and learned a lot about the company. While some of their products are built for them by other manufacturers, they do, in fact, manufacture their own ranges, wall ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Companies like Wolf and Dacor have products manufactured for them as well (i.e. microwaves by Sharp).
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post #25 of 50
Much like the question what is better Chevy or Ford, you will find many people claiming ‘their’ stove is better. Very few people who have spent a pretty penny on these types of stoves will admit problems, even if they have had them. And it is also true that you could have bought brand X that is known to have terrible reliability and never have a problem in 20 years, the same goes for bullet proof brand Z that gets a service call every 6 months. With that said this is what I found out when I did my research 5-6 years ago.

Reliability – After speaking to several different service repair managers and repair technicians I found unanimously the same comments that have been put forth here. Viking on average is more repair prone than Wolf.

Build – I focused in on the oven door hinges which are a weak point on true commercial units. I actually got to take apart and look at the hinge assembly on both the wolf and the Viking and the Wolf. The L shape arm was attached at more points with bigger bolts and the actually arm was much beefier on the world. The spring looked very similar to those in my restaurants on the Wolf, the Viking was a smaller lighter duty spring.

Grill – Wolf has a high end ceramic charbroiler that puts out much more heat (BTU’s are about the same, but the ceramic plate is what matters) than the Viking. Viking’s is nothing more than a burner tube like you have on a propane grill.

Support – As was attested to here, people who need a repair on a Wolf get fantastic support from the factory. Their customer service is legendary and they bend over backwards for any problem that you encounter.

Trends – [This was 5-6 years ago] Wolf is doing business as usual, top quality product – top price. Viking has been marketing to home builders and because of that has been giving some steep discounts to get their product into new homes – some have wondered if they can sustain profitability or will they downgrade/cheapen the manufacturing process to keep profitable.

Personally all the evidence I saw pushed me very quickly to purchase a Wolf. But like I said earlier, a Ford person thinks his product is best while a Chevy guy knows his is better.

I also don’t want to paint the picture that a Viking is a P.O.S., it isn’t.

Cheers
post #26 of 50
My Viking is pushing the ten year mark. Like you I have had nothing but positive experiences with the product and service.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #27 of 50

I have a Viking, the oven just died after 4 years.  I quickly found on the internet the common problem is the glow-plug style ignitors that slowly wear down.  My first experience with a glow plug style ignitor was on my old furnace when it cracked after 2 years and my house was cold.  I replaced it, watched it glow orange and marveled at what would soon be another failure.  I did not believe at first it was my glow ignitors because I didn't believe they would wear down but they actually do erode from gradual oxidation (they sit in the flame, WHILE they are powered on on my stove which calls this feature "automatic reignition".  I call it an excuse to draw 600 watts off the generator just to use a natural gas oven when the lights are out.

 

If I were buying a gas appliance, no matter the brand I would avoid glow plug ignitors.  My favorite was the old electrical spark (tic-tic-tic).  This would light the pilot, and you can hear it working.  The pilot would heat a capillary bulb wired to the valve which would then turn on the main gas flow.  This kind of system was safe (no main gas flow if no pilot) saved gas (pilot gas was turned on by electric control and electric arc), and always worked for me.  And if there was no electricity, you could press and hold the button, light the pilot and cruise.

 

When the glow ignitors came out (8-10 years ago?) I think that is when things changed.  I think that is why different people in this thread have different experiences in part.  Maybe the cheapest thing is to learn to replace them yourself.  Just make sure you unplug the stove.  I was a little surprised they are wired to the mains (120V) and were not lower voltage like you tend to find in control circuits. Even at that, they seem very overpriced at $50 for each ignitor, but I shouldn't complain.  Except for the holiday detector, which of course caused the thing to finally die the night before christmas dinner...

 

Last note, on my Viking (and probably many other models w/ same controls) the ignitor current goes through the gas valve; meaning as the ignitor wears, the current diminishes, which means the valve doesn't open as far which means the flame gets smaller and smaller and smaller and it takes longer and longer and longer to heat your oven, until... it doesn't heat at all...

 

best wishes all

 

post #28 of 50

If you are spending on a high end kitchen with expensive cabinets and finishes, builder grade or mid grade appliances just doesn’t cut it. If you are building a high end kitchen, you have little choice but to purchase from one of the manufacturers I researched.

 

I examined this to the ends of the earth and didn’t find a single manufacturer (Wolf/Subzero, Viking, DCS/Fisher & Paykel, Thermador, American, Dacor, Bosch, BlueStar, Miele or Monogram) who didn’t have a higher rate of repair problems verses other equipment in the home.

  

Compared to plumbing fixtures (i.e.hot water heaters and spa tubs), heating and air conditioning equipment, electrical systems/fixtures, (installation issues aside) kitchen appliances are far more prone to problems. Why is this? Commercial restaurant equipment is far more reliable, used much harder and arguably cheaper, feature for feature, than high end residential.

 

Wolf/Subzero has the best history but their price (add 20% +/- to Monogram) and repair costs were at the highest end and still had too many problems IMO. Viking had a terrible rate of problems and for such a great name, who would expect that???? BlueStar and American have good repair records but don’t sell many, don’t sell refrigeration and good luck finding companies to repair them.

 

I just spent $22,000.00 on kitchen appliances and that was the cheapest price (by 6K) from five different distributors and it didn’t include taxes. I chose Monogram for a number of reasons and 8K less than Wolf/Subzero was enough to go with less reliable equipment and budget for repairs down the road.

 

For anyone planning to purchase high end appliances (any kitchen appliances) prepare to deal with repairs or replacement far more often than other equipment in your home. The manufacturers overall are not putting out problem free designs and top quality.

post #29 of 50

I have been shopping for new appliances as well. Much to my surprise Viking is the worst rated on the market. My next choice is a 36" wolf range top. While looking today, I learned that Bosch bought Thermador and now make a " superior" product.  It looks much easier to clean, but I  have to admit, I love the red knobs on Wolf range top.  Does anyone have  New model Thermador?? We are alo looking for double ovens. I was considering the L series wolf, again for the look, as I don't like a real modern look.  Now I am considering the Thermador. I have also priced miele and can purchase double ovens on a floor model sale for 3000, which is 1/2 the price. I'm so confused!!!! Can someone help???

post #30 of 50

Hello Y'all!

 

     I have been reading the debate about high end ranges and cooktops and am very interested in hearing what you have to say about Wolf, Thermadore and Viking. We are about to break ground on our retirement home and it has always been my hearts desire to have a "Wow Kithcen" with a great baking oven and lots of burners to cook large meals on for entertaining. I had zeroed in on a Wolf, beleiving after looking at every high end range, cooktop and oven I could find, that the 36", duel fuel range with 6 burners is my pick. I am a good cook and think that if I had the right equiptment, I might enjoy cooking and baking even more! I am thinking a wall oven might be nice also instead of the whopper, 48" double oven. We are doing a grilling porch so, no need for a grill and love my cast iron griddle that stretches across 2 burners! I have never had the oportunity to use a really great oven. I owned a Five Star in another home. Is Wolf really the way to go?

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