Words from one who knows appliances...This message is actually from my s.o. who does this stuff for a livin'. Hope it helps and it's not too late...
"I am in the distribution business of appliances and have a lot of exposure to all the appliances out there.
I will start by saying this, there is a lot of misconception out there in the "pro appliance market"
I will try to best break down what I do know of the individual product. Really the best thing to do is REALLY look at the product in a over-detailed way.
VIKING- Probably the best advertisers out there, the range is IMHO mediocre. The burners are simple stamped stainless steel that does a less than average flame distribution. This is VERY important when you have that flame cranking out. You're really only effectively hitting the edge of the pans. ALOT of Viking is also sourced from other manufacturers. Up until about a year ago the refrigerator was made by Amana which was literally 1/2 the price. This is until Viking bought them. The dishwasher is also sourced althought I don't know by whom and the same goes for a lot of their accessory items such as the wine unit, and icemaker which is manufactured by MARVEL ( a very high quality but underated company). But you are paying about 33% more for viking. What this basically means is YOU ARE PAYING FOR A NAME !!
GARLAND- Garland residential cooking appliances are perhaps the BEST cook tops on the market the truth is in the burners. They have a solid cast iron "star" burner that has a range up to 18,000 btu's and also a simmer that goes very low. It's these star burners that give them the BEST heat and flame usage and distribution. Essentially this is what alot of pros use but this is a scaled down version for home (perfectly insulated). Garland only makes cooking probucts such as cooktops, ranges, and hoods- no wall ovens or other appliances. Garland's ovens only come in gas and have open burners.
WOLF/SUBZERO- Wolf is Subzeros new baby. Subzero bought Wolf out about 1.5 years ago and is marketing them to death. Wolf has always made a good quality range product. Very underated until subzero started giving them a lot of exposure. They have a semi-sealed burner constuction which makes clean up fairly easy and 2 stage burners so you get good heat distribution. Wolf is also releasing a whole new line up of products. Subzero is still the only refrigerator manufacturer using the 2 compressors. Great quality units that don't have the laundry list of service and comressor issues that they had with some of the earlier "500" and previous series units.
THERMADOR- Thermador is still the only pro range manufactuer that uses 100% sealed burners. They also have a "star" shaped burner that is only available on the Dual fuel ranges (gas cooktop w/ electric oven) and cooktops. The all gas oven uses a round sealed burner that has poor flame distribution like the Viking. Thermador also sources their dishwasher from Bosch (Bosch/Siemans also owns Thermador) but overall decent product throughout the line. You will pay "popular brand" pricing on this merchandise.
G.E. Monogram- This is a VERY sourced out line of product, the only thing that GE makes in this line is the refrigerator, the range is a DCS, the wall oven is Bosch, the dishwasher is a Regency, the wine and beverage units are from Marvel. You are basically paying for a lable that says GE Monogram that matches the other appliances in your kitchen.
DCS- Here is another manufactuer of true pro cooking product that has a line up for residential. DCS is an underrated product as they dont have the advertising budget of some of the other brands. But overall a solid range with good flame distribution.
There are other brands out there such as Kitchen Aid, Dacor, Five Star, Miele, etc.
All the manufacturers also have good web sites as well.
If you need more information I will be more than happy to respond.
p.s. NOT a fan of consumer reports magazine! At least for appliances they shoot themselves in the foot many times. "