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Old 07-28-2013, 03:39 PM   #1
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30" gas cooktop: Wolf, Viking, or ???

When I was buying my new house everybody told me the cooktop (GE Profile) would work okay, all it needed was a little cleaning and all the igniters would work just fine. Well, wrong! I can't get a single burner to light itself. Only one of the knobs even activates the igniter system and it won't light its own burner! I don't see any way to get inside the cooktop without removing it from the counter.

Well anyway, even before I bought my house I had decided I wanted a professional or high end consumer stove. I'm planning on living here for the rest of my life so I figure it will be worth it to get the best even though I expected the price to be steep.

I don't know much about appliances at this level but my searching the Internet seems to indicate that the choice is Wolf or Viking, both of them are legendary brands. Please let me know if there are any other brands I should consider.

The choice seems to be either the Wolf CT30G or the Viking VGSU104. I'm amazed at the specifications! The features are impressive! I probably shouldn't be surprised, but near as I can tell they very nearly match up. Both have sealed, dual burner systems with automatic reignition. The Viking seems to put out a bit more BTU at both high and low (a lot more at low). Both are almost exactly the same MSRP.

Wolf: one 15,000/950 BTU burner, one 12,000/950, two 9,200/300.

Viking: one each 16,000/3,400... 12,000/1,700... 8,000/1,200... and 6,000/950.

The maximum outputs are close enough that I don't think there would be any difference for me, both probably put out 3-4 times more BTU than any stove I've ever had. I never even heard of dual burner systems but it makes sense to me, it's probably difficult to design a high output burner that will go low enough for simmer, too wide a range. Wolf's concept seems to be that chefs don't need much heat at simmer. Or maybe their high output burners go lower than Vikings at the minimum setting...

I like the look of the Wolf better but I can't say why. I'll know better when I've seen them in the showroom. It seems there's only one dealer around here (Pacific Sales) and they sell both. As far as I can tell they're both about $1,800 (not including tax or installation).

I suspect probably the products are so similar that there won't be any practical difference which I pick. What do you think?



Also, follow up question: I would have preferred a more traditional free standing range but in this real estate market you're lucky to get a house, let alone pick individual features. Housing inventory is so low that bidding wars are rampant, houses are few (some weeks there weren't any for me to see, sometimes even for 2-3 weeks). The only choice I had was can I enjoy living in this house for the rest of my life? And could I win the bidding war? Of course I'm living in the house where both answers were yes!

So I got a gas cooktop and a separate electric oven because that's what the house had. I don't like the electric oven although I haven't used it much (and the broiler is broken although eventually I'll get the home warranty company to send somebody out to fix that. (They won't fix the cooktop because my home inspection said "cooktop needs servicing.)

The question is, should I replace the electric oven with a gas oven? The oven temperature can be set up to 550 F maximum but who knows if it will go that high? The practical aspect for me is that I want to be able to cook good pizza and I'm not sure 550 is enough. Although I did passably with my old oven at about 450... I just started a max heat test and I'll post my results.

One big difference between gas and electric ovens is that gas combustion produces water vapor so it humidifies the oven. Is this going to make a difference when I bake bread? (I doubt the difference would matter cooking things like turkeys, or would it?)

Maybe I should get a fancy oven too, although after spending about $2K on the cooktop, getting a high end oven too might be a bit too pricey for me. Certainly I'd rather have the gourmet cooktop and an ordinary oven than a gourmet oven and an ordinary cooktop.

If I replace the oven do you think I should get one with fancy features? Convection? Steam injection?

Anyway my mind is made up, I'm going to get either the Wolf or the Viking cooktop. Or maybe somebody will add another brand to the list? Anyway I'm pretty excited. I'm not even cleaning the present cooktop (much) because I'm getting the Viking or Wolf as soon as I can make up my mind and get them to install it. (The darned showroom is closed today.)

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Old 07-28-2013, 03:58 PM   #2
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The consensus seems to be that electric ovens are more precise in temp management and the lack of moisture is seen as an advantage. I use a gas oven and get good results. My sister uses an electric oven and gets good results. I believe you can get good results with either fuel. Folks have been doing so for some time now.

Around her electric is a LOT more costly than gas so that's a possible factor.

My gas oven does not go above 550F and I'm happy with my pizzas. I have changed my pizza making process based on what I saw on ATK. I put the stone on a shelf about 6"- 8" from the top of the oven to mimic the low ceiling of pizza ovens. The heat reflects off the top surface of the oven and cooks the top faster so you can cook the crust faster. It seems to work pretty well.

Does DCS (Fisher and Paykel) offer what you need?
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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I don't know if there is an alternative but the two you linked wouldn't accommodate large footprint cookware well.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:07 PM   #4
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In Denmark, enough people like electric for oven and gas for stove top, that you can buy stoves like that.

I think you should seriously consider getting an oven that has the steam self-cleaning feature.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice Andy. I'm pretty sure gas is cheaper than electricity here but other considerations may make that irrelevant.

Viking's website has a FAQ question: "Q: Can an oven be installed underneath the cooktop? A: Yes, an electric oven can be installed underneath a Viking gas or electric cooktop." It seems to me they would have said "gas or electric" if it was okay to install it over a gas oven. Maybe... And from Wolf's website apparently they don't even make gas built-in ovens. Must be a reason for that, although Viking has a few gas models.

I'm afraid I've made a serious mistake... I checked out Wolf's 30" Built-In Oven - L Series, and AFAIK it would drop in to my old GE oven's spot and make a perfect match. And quite a deal at only $4,800! Once you go off the deep end it doesn't matter how deep the water is, right?

Okay I've accepted that 500 F is good enough to make pizza. I surrender! BTW I completed my test and my GE oven can be programmed to 550 F and it thinks it got there, but my oven thermometer says it's only 500.

As far as the large footprint cookware, I don't think I have much of a choice other than a major remodeling of that section of the counter because the present cooktop is 30" and anything bigger is going to cost me drawers on both sides.

I checked out the Fisher and Paykel website and apparently they make only 36" cooktops, no 30" in their line-up.


Taxlady, as far as I can tell Wolf ovens don't feature steam cleaning. At that price I bet the self cleaning works pretty good though.


I think convection steam ovens sound interesting, but the one Wolf makes isn't the same width as the cooktop. I could probably shop around and mix brands...


Some further thoughts: the whole project might cost about maybe $7,500 but it's the last expensive thing I want in life that I don't already have. Everything else I want either money can't buy it or it's inexpensive since I don't have any expensive tastes or hobbies.

My only other planned expense is getting a top brand cookware set, Calphalon or something like that.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:19 PM   #6
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Would it be possible (if you even want to) to cut the countertop, take out a cabinet and slide in a gas range? I did that in my first home.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #7
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Greg, you are getting younger. Consider the benefits of having the oven at a level where it's easy to put stuff in and take it out, instead of bending over to get it in an out, from under the cook top. It's one of the things I like best about a separate, built in oven.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Would it be possible (if you even want to) to cut the countertop, take out a cabinet and slide in a gas range? I did that in my first home.
Yeah, sure I could remodel the counter and there might be room enough for a 30" Wolf gas range (or perhaps Viking if I get the Viking cooktop). Wolf's GR304 is $4,900, less than separate cooktop and oven but I'd have to add the cost of the remodeling and probably end up at the same price. And now that I think about it, built in has the advantage of not needing to clean behind it, or on the floor on either side or under it.

Anyway you already got me convinced that electric or gas is a toss up.


Some further thoughts: Oops I just remembered one more expensive thing I covet. The kitchen has tile counters. I covet granite or something similar. I haven't priced that out yet but I know already that it won't be cheap!
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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Go with electric for the oven, I really don't see any advantages to a gas oven unless electricity is very expensive where you live and gas is cheap.

Go with electric with a convection option. I have an electric range with a convection oven, roasting is amazing, it has a convect roast option where the broiler element cycles on and off during cooking producing nicely browned and crispy chicken, vegetables, etc.

I'm with you with the Wolf, if only for looks, I wish that I had the budget for a high end range, but not now. I'm lucky to have a range that I really love and works well.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:39 PM   #10
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My suggestion that gas or electric are equal was for ovens only. Cooktop has to be gas.

Not to beat a dead horse, but if you're going to replace the countertop anyway, a dual fuel range (gas cooktop and electric oven) may be a more viable alternative.
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