I used consumner reports and ended up with all kitchen aid architech, expensive but not in the range of the Thermador or Viking gear, and frequently ranked better by CR.
24 responses Add your response
My wife and I have renovated our kitchen five years ago, and have just finished a more major renovation on our second floor. I also recently completed photographing (my profession) a book on kitchens for a major publisher. I can give you a few additional pointers to Kennyt's good advice:
If you start to consider the kitchen jewelry category: avoid Viking (consumer reports will reflect this as well, for the same reason). Though our Viking stove works great, We've had it for five years and had a repair person our twice already (warranty, but not encouraging). My folks also have Viking and have had numerous repairs, and in my recent kitchen shoot (19 kitchens), I heard nothing but similar reports about Viking (and there were many). One woman had to return her huge Viking fridge, not once, but twice, for problems that could not be repaired. This is on a brand new $5k+ fridge!
One item I'd be delighted to recommend is a Bosch diswasher. Quiet as a churchmouse and does a great job. Not a single problem in five years. On the job recently completed, the majority of dishwashers were either Bosch or Fisher Paykel (two drawers), which most folks were delighted with as well. Both are expensive though.
Other than that, I'd agree, check CR for more moderate and sensible choices. epinions has real-world reviews on many appliances (take those with a healthy dose of salt, as you would anything on the Internet).
Gotta second Marco on the Bosch dishwasher! We did a reno on our kitchen/dining room about three years ago, put in a Bosch and still am amazed at how quiet it is. It also has a stainless steel interior, which many do not. And best of all, it is real world priced.
If you are going for the professional kitchen approach, Viking looks good, but the consumer models have had some reliability "issues". Wolf ranges are a hardy alternative as are the Gagenau(sp?) from France. In the upmarket 'fridge department Subzero is far more reliable than Viking.
General Electric's Monogram series of appliances are getting some good press as well.
Best of luck in your project!!
We renovated our kitchen a couple of years ago. Tore it down to the studs, removed a wall and rewired it myself. Man, running that ten gauge wire for the stove was a chore. Anyway, we went with the upper level Maytag appliances. Very good for the $$.
A side note; we are moving into a new home soon. Running the ten gauge for the stove was good practice as I plan on doing the same (probably 12 gauge) for the listening room.
We recently purchased all new appliances for our first home. We went with matching stainless steel Kitchen Aid dishwasher, electric stove, microwave. They work great and look awesome. I only wish we could afford to remodel the rest of the kitchen. I think consumer reports magazine just recently (Jan?) reviewed kitchen appliances. Their website could probably tell you the issue that covered them. Good luck.
This thread triggered memories of my pet peeve -noisy refrigerators.
Some jackass architect decided it would be "with it" to put the friggin kitchen right in your living room along with major appliances (stupid jackass!).
In the old days, kitchens had DOORS!
This, along with noisy air conditioners, sort of negates your multi-thousand dollar sound system.
At any rate, who make the most silent 'frig?
One way to save money on a kitchen remodel is to ignore what you see in the magazines and configure a kitchen for how you actually live. The current trend is to overbuild the kitchen because the kitchen is seen as the focal point when you have guests/parties/family gatherings. If that's really part of your lifestyle, then maybe you do need the double ovens, multiple dishwashers, full size freezer, multiple refrigerator draws, six to eight burner stoves, islands w/ prep sinks, etc. Doing a realistic assessment of what you'll use the kitchen for and matching those needs will allow you to spend your money where it will have the biggest impact.
The other big cost saver is don't overspend on your cabinets. Stay with standard sizes.
For best appliance values I recommend GE and KitchenAid.
We are looking to move and I had had the idea of making the kitchen kind of a "designer kitchen". I had thought that viking would be the way to go so I am glad to hear about the problems noted above. One of the posters specifically commented on the viking "consumer" models. Do these same issues hold true for the professional models like you would see in a restaurant? These are the ones that I had considered.
Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to input. We do use the kitchen a lot, fortunately it is relatively separate from the area we have our two channel. The issue of noise is definitely there and the Bosch certainly sounds good. We are definitely not looking for audio jewellery - kitchen style. The epinions and Cr were excellent sites to check out things. Marco - interesting to hear about viking, they are an interesting story I remember reading about, sorry to hear of the problems. Again thanks for the help and I will let you know how it goes, in some fashion
One of the posters specifically commented on the viking "consumer" models. Do these same issues hold true for the professional models like you would see in a restaurant?
I doubt you'll ever see an Viking "Professional" ranges in restaurants. Their "Professional" line was specifically designed to take the features and look of a restaurant range, and ad ammenities that make it more friendly to the home environment (most notably insulated walls and SS ignition and dual-fuel option). The Viking appliances I was referring to ARE from the "Professional" line. I'm not sure what the "Consumer" line is - could be the "Designer" series they put out, which are mostly cooktops. The basis for Viking is that it is marketing its products to consumers and not to restaraunts. When they work, they do work superbly in my experience, but the repair rate is really poor. If I were buying a stove again I'd look to another company like Thermador or Wolf (the latter which you definitely would see in restaurants - though they do make various grades of ranges). As I understand it most restaurant ranges are built without insulation in the walls, as stand-alones that are not meant to be installed with a cabinet around them. The guy who started Viking was supposedly inspired by his wife's request for a restaurant-grade range that she could install in their home kitchen. The entire product line was designed with the home-consumer in mind and was the beginning of this trend of adding insulation to the walls of restaurant ranges to make them safe for home installation. BTW if you do get a range like one of these don't even think about skimping on the hood or you will be very sorry. Get a hood with a blower motor that is a bit beyond the capacity for the total BTU output of your range. I think you also need to take the size of the room into consideration as well.
Quiet fridges are more the norm these days, rather than the exception. The GE Monogram stuff I've seen seems to be pretty quiet, as are Sub-Zero if you want to spend that kind of money.
PS - If you are considering the restaurant grade ranges you will want to check that the size of the pipe that is your gas feed is adequate. The feed necessary for the average consumer range is relatively small. When you get 4-8 burners putting out 10,000+ BTU's you will likely require a larger diameter line, especially for the bigger ranges. Also, if you bake, consider the dual-fuel offerings with the electric oven and gas cooktop.
Check out the following site:
Good discussion forums on a wide range of appliance topics. The organization of the content will really make you appreciate the order of Audiogon, but it is informative.
I own a custom kitchen & bath design and contracting business. Forget Consumer Reports as they are not properly informed about many of the appliances they critique. REALLY!
Look into Sub Zero, Wolf, Fisher Paykel, the newest JennAir products, Miele, Bosch, Gaggeneau, DCS.
Amana makes high quality refrigerators at a good price. They are now part of Maytag Corp. and are building the top-of-the-line JennAir models, which are very good. Amana is our second choice to Sub Zero.
Very little out there comes close to the consistant quality of Sub Zero,Wolf, Miele,Gaggeneau, and Dacor. Fisher Paykel offers very good quality for the money.
Thermador has been having serious quality problems for several years now. Viking is seriously outperformed by a lot of the commercial-style equipment on the market but their price is still as high as the others. Stay away from GE Monogram. Kitchen Aid is overpriced for what can be had out there (riding on marketing wave given their good name).
All of these companies have wonderful web sites.
Get a double oven (one up one down) with analog control knobs and timers - you will never look back!
Modern ovens are totally stupid......some people have special plate warmer drawers instead of a second oven...this is really limiting yourself.
Most design engineers use technology stupidly....because they have a digital push button control they feel they must get rid of all knobs (even if knobs did the job well for years)!!
A digital touch panel is great for some appplications but if you have ever bent down half a minute simply trying to select a temperature for an oven then you realize how dumb these kind of controls are on an oven!!!!
Ahh, once read somewhere (discussing the merits of upgrading pc and plugs, I believe in UHF magazine?) that someone actually reduced the boiling time of their electric kettle by 15 seconds, simply by replacing the stock plug and cord. I am not kidding you.
So- why not simply tweak your existing applianced? LOL.
If you want some serious cook's perspective, try the forums over at http://www.cooksillustrated.com. Very friendly bunch, and some of the knowledgeable types seem to be on *all* the time...
Sadly, my choices of kitchen hardware were pretty limited when I spec'd my place out. The menu wasn't huge, so I ended up with Monogram SS. I would rethink SS the next time around--very hard to keep clean. The "pyrex" top on the range is also a devil to keep clean--even the slightest fingerprint shows nicely. Might not be as much of an issue with colors other than black.
In the realm of kitchen pet peeves, what is up with modern refrigerators? Granted, extra space in the door is nice, but now there is *no* space on the shelves. Try parking a double sheet cake with butter cream frosting in your fridge. Or try brining a turkey for Xgiving in your fridge. Next time I'm skipping all the funny door shelves and just going with a really freekin' huge subzero.