If you are shopping for a high-end stove, chances are your research has led to comparing two major brands; Wolf Range and Viking Range. Often a statement piece in open concept, entertaining and family-focused kitchens, both have earned a top reputation as stalwarts of home cooks everywhere.
Today, the range is considered the most versatile and evolved kitchen appliance. We’ve seen design features hit the market that speak to our current lifestyle; gathering in the kitchen as a family or to entertain our friends, preparing the freshest foods out there, our enjoyment of trying out new recipes or the need to prepare meals for different lifestyle choices. The range, as the center of our homes, deserves all the consideration we grant it, so in this article, we’ll take a closer look at these two juggernauts in the professional range category.
Wolf’s history dates back to 1934 when the Wolf brothers set up a repair shop for kitchen ranges. Recognized by the top restaurants in Los Angeles for their craftsmanship, they started producing custom-made ranges. When the gourmet home cooking frenzy started in the 70s, Wolf was able to respond to the market demand with its durable and elegant designs. In 2000, Wolf was acquired by Sub-Zero, the second largest privately held appliance company (after Miele).
Viking was founded by Fred Carl, Jr. in the 1980s with the aim of bringing commercial quality appliances into the home setting. In addition to its business achievements, each year from 2006 to 2011, Viking was named "One of Best Places to Work in Mississippi". In 2013, Viking was acquired by the Middleby Corporation, a leading commercial kitchen equipment company. This gave Middleby the opportunity to re-engineer Viking and work out any kinks.
Wolf Ranges in a Nutshell
Wolf stoves consist of three series: All Gas, Dual Fuel and Induction. There are some minor differences among them but all come with their signature red knobs. Wolf gas ranges’ prices start at $4,726, Dual fuel ranges at $6,480 and Induction ranges at $6,460. Wolf GR488 is a premium model for this brand. Thanks to its powerful 18,000 BTU’s infrared broiler, the GR488 will sear quickly and evenly if your recipe calls for a carmelized, crispy exterior and a juicy, flavorful interior. The infrared heat feature offers a much higher temperature than a traditional broiler or cooktop. This model is highly customizable with 8 burners can be configured with a griddle, grill or the popular French Top surface option.
Viking Ranges in a Nutshell
Viking ranges are categorized as 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and Tuscany, with the prices of which start at $4,299, $4,279 (with a free dishwasher), $7,729 (with a free dishwasher) and $12,859 respectively. The 48 Inch Pro-Style Range included in Tuscany series is among the most well-known Viking ranges. Combining Italian elegance with today's functionality, Tuscany 48” dual fuel range come with five different cooktop options. It has two ovens both of which offer conventional cooking. The primary left-side oven provides effortless access, which comes in especially handy while preparing heavier dishes such as an oven-roasted Thanksgiving turkey.
Size and Fuel Type
Give an inch
Inspired home-chefs everywhere love pro ranges. Although more expensive than standard stoves, they achieve commercial kitchen performance. Pro ranges offer precise control over the cooking process thanks to versatile burners that offer high BTUs in addition to their low simmering counterparts. Another benefit of using professional ranges at home is that you have the flexibility to design the stovetop the way you want based on your cooking style and how you prepare your best-loved recipes. While traditional ranges come in 30 or 36 inches, professional ranges offer 30", 36", 48", 60" and 66" inch options. Wolf offers 30", 36", 48" and 60" models while Viking offers 30", 36", 48", 60", 66 inch ranges. The consideration is not only how much cooking surface will suit your needs but how you'd like to configure the surface and ovens with different options.
Wolf 48” gas range models, for example, feature two ovens, one with an 18” width and another with 30” width. The 18” oven is a standard radiant oven, rather than convection. The 60" Wolf Ranges feature 2 full size, full feature ovens. Viking 48-inch and 60-inch ranges come with a double oven, which is suitable for those of us who love baking and roasting.
Wolf ranges come in gas, electric or dual-fuel options. Wolf Dual Fuel Ranges feature an electric oven which offers self-clean as well as a variety of roasting, cooking, dehydrating and baking options. Wolf boasts a heritage steeped in heavy professional kitchen use and was one of the first to refine dual convection baking.
Viking comes predominantly as all gas or dual fuel which is a combination of a gas cooking surface with an electric oven. Viking also has a selection of smooth top electric and induction ranges. Choosing a range in a vibrant color is the big draw to deciding on a Viking over a Wolf.
One last note about electric ovens. They require a 220-volt power source with convection as a standard these days for even temperature control throughout the oven cavity. We've seen the absence of the self-clean option as a deal-breaker. Knowing this, Wolf recently introduced the self-clean option to their line of ranges.
Just in case you need more information gas vs. dual fuel ranges please check out our earlier blog post.**
Customized Cooking Surfaces
Wolf features customizable cooking surfaces to suit your cooking style. You can design the surface with combinations such as all-burners, a griddle, a charbroil grill, the popular French top, and glass electric induction. The griddle can be used for flipping pancakes and fried eggs on a Sunday morning. Searing burgers on the grill can conjure summer memories on a wintry evening. Thanks to its vast surface, selecting different versatile surfaces to cook on makes meal preparation creatively gratifying and loads of fun.
Viking cooktops usually come with a griddle, but there are other options for customization based on how and what you would like to cook. If you frequently grill meat, fish or vegetables, Viking's grill surface does a superb job and clean-up is easy. If enjoy pancakes, burgers, fried eggs, and crepes, or searing meat and fish, a cooktop with griddle fits the bill. Families that love to bake, dehydrate or prepare roasted dishes often consider a double-oven for flexibility and versatility.
With a history of performance in high demand commercial kitchens, Wolf's patented stove burners are renown and well-respected. Wolf ranges offer a 9,200 BTU burner and options of 15,000 to 20,000 BTU burners. But how is the burner designed that makes the difference? Heat distribution is controlled by two levels of flame and their proximity to the pan. From delicate simmer to high heat sear, Wolf's sealed burner system proves to be concise, reliable and, not to mention, easy to clean.
Viking, depending on the model, features 15,000 to 23,000 BTU burners. Viking ranges feature both open and sealed burners. Open burners deliver the flame directly to your pan, which makes it a perfect choice for those who cook over a high flame and want intense cooking power. VSH (VariSimmer™-to-High) allows you to control heat precisely. Viking Elevation™ Burners (high-quality brass burners) are found on 7 Series ranges and boast 23,000 BTU output. Viking also makes 15,000 and 8,000 BTU versions of elevation burners for different cookware sizes. You will no longer wait for a pot of water to boil thanks to these state-of-the-art power burners.
Wolf dual-stacked burners offer a low BTU (sometimes as little as 300 BTUs), which is similar to Viking’s precise flame control ability. On the other hand, Viking gives you the option to choose between open or sealed burners. Whatever your preference is, you will have the low-level simmer ability (VariSimmer) which is standard on all Viking stove burners. Both brands deserve to be appreciated for their auto-reignition features and low-heat control.
Nice to Haves
Viking has GourmetGlo Infrared Broiler for an intense 18.000 BTUs of heat that doesn't dry out your food. Available for both the electric and gas ovens, it’s a great option for searing fish and meat, making bacon, shirred eggs, and flash roasting certain vegetables like peppers, zucchini, and asparagus. Viking’s tried and true Vari-Speed Dual Flow Convection System includes an extra-large convection fan for even heating. These fans turn both directions and can operate at different speeds for maximum airflow and even heat distribution. We love the 11 high-performance cooking modes which include two-element bake, convection bake, TruConvec™ Convection Cook, convection roast, convection broil, high broil, medium broil, low broil, convection dehydrate, convection defrost and proof.
Wolf has equally well thought out features. The control panel can be rotated out of sight when not in use. With 10 program modes on the pane, which include: bake, roast, broil, convection, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, proof, bakestone, and dehydration, Wolf makes the decisions for you. Wolf’s Twin Convection feature allows even temperature distribution in the oven cavity. The Wolf charbroiler grill features a 16,000 BTU infrared burner designed to emit intense heat for grilling. Who says grilled pineapple is only enjoyed during the summer months?
Ergonomics, Design and More
Wolf Coaxial Oven Knobs displays the temperature which is a very useful feature. Even though the classic red knobs are what defines the Wolf Range, they now offer customized knob colors. We were impressed with Wolf’s pivoting control panel and the responsiveness of their touchscreen controls. Each Wolf dual fuel range ovens offers three racks—one full-extension, an easy-glide rack featuring ball bearing design, one full-extension door glide, and one standard rack. Another novelty offered by Wolf is a temperature probe which eliminates the need to open the oven in order to check the temperature. Built into dual fuel ranges, this probe alerts you when your dish reaches the desired integral temperature. Wolf shows its attention to detail in soft motion design as well. In a nod to ergonomic detail, the exclusive Wolf spring and damper door system prevents the oven door from snapping closed or opening abruptly.
Viking Sealed Burner All Gas Stoves have knobs illuminated with LED lights. Viking’s latest knobs are stainless (black and white have been offered on some recent models). They can, however, be replaced by other knobs of different colors. 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and Tuscany Series Viking Ranges feature 6 rack positions, and the TruGlide™ Oven Rack (offering safer and easier removal of heavy bakeware) and Vari-Speed Dual Flow™ Convection fans (fans can turn both directions and can operate at different speeds for maximum airflow) are standard. You can also find the GentleClose™ Door feature in Viking models ensuring that the oven door always closes gently and silently.
Into technology? You'll fall in love with the iDevices feature of Viking. This feature allows you to monitor your food temperature from up to 200 feet away via Bluetooth and an Apple or Android device.
Wolf’s call center is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Since the company is based on the US, parts are easily accessible.
Viking products have one of the best and most comprehensive warranties in the industry: the Viking 3-Year Signature Warranty which now includes a 90 Day No Quibble Guarantee. That is, Viking will repair or replace a product within the first 90 days following the purchase.
Both companies offer strong warranties. The Wolf Residential Warranty provides two-year coverage for all parts and labor, along with five-year limited coverage on certain parts. Viking offers a Three-Year Signature Warranty with full coverage for all indoor cooking appliances.
We cook and write about flame, power and speed and yet we all want to know how things clean up. Many of us would shy away from preparing elaborate dishes if clean up proved laborious and difficult. Luckily, Viking and Wolf understand that and have designed features to help us tidy up.
Viking stoves have a durable porcelain finish that resists food stains. Viking ranges have the new "Elevated Burners", and the VSH (VariSimmer™-to-High) to make cleaning easier. Most dual fuel range ovens and select gas range ovens come with a self-cleaning feature. By using the self clean option, the only thing you need to do is select the cycle, wait it to end then wipe up the ash debris.
In terms of wiping up spills, Wolf's sealed burner system makes cleaning super easy. Wolf dual fuel range ovens now have a self cleaning option. If you prefer to use open burners (an option offered by Viking), you may want to consider the difference of cleaning up spills and sloshes. Open burners need more frequent cleaning as spilled food and liquid may clog the burner nozzles. With sealed burners, on the other hand, a small cap over the burner nozzle protects them.
In order to get a better grasp of these two brands, let's look at two of their most popular models: the Wolf Range - DF366 Dual Fuel 36-Inch and the Viking 7 Series 36-Inch Dual Fuel Range VDR536.
You will find subtle differences between DF366 and VDR536 such as their knob styles. The Wolf model offers their signature red knobs and if you'd prefer to change the knobs, they be ordered in Stainless Steel or Black. Viking's VDR536 sports SoftLit LED Lights for the control panel and for illuminating the knobs.
Wolf's DF366 is a six-burner gas powered cooktop with an electric powered oven. Unlike Wolf's other gas models, dual fuel range ovens have self cleaning mode. Specific to this model, the top-left burner operates at 9,200 BTU; other top two burners can go up to 15,000 BTU; the front-left burner is powerful enough to reach 20,000 BTU while the others have 18,000 BTU capacity. However, if you wish to customize your stove top, you can go for DF364G which has four burners in addition to a 15,000 BTU griddle.
The Wolf DF366 oven comes with the options of bake, roast, proof, dehydrate, bake stone, convection, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, broil and self clean.
Viking 7 Series 36-Inch Dual Fuel Range also offers you the option to choose between 6 burners or 4 burners and a 15,000 BTU griddle. Burners range between 8,000 and 23,000 BTUs. The electric oven provides consistent heat distribution for baking.
Viking Rapid Ready Preheat System means less time for preheating. Both models have a large viewing window that allows you to check your food without disturbing the cooking process.
All in all, you cannot go wrong with either brand. Choosing a range based on the feaures that match the way you like to cook will elevate preparing recipes and family meals to a delightful experience. Wolf’s cast iron frame promises long durability and its offering of a slightly lower BTU output suits simmering delicate sauces, chocolate and butter. Viking offers more possibilities for a custom designed look in your kitchen yet the feature-rich functionality inspire the most discerning home chefs. Taking a cue from Viking, Wolf introduced a self-cleaning oven which, up to that point, had been an advantage for Viking. Both have comparable price points, so it really boils down to personal preference. How do you see yourself cooking today?