An awesome modern range cooker?
April 22, 2014 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a new range cooker for our dream kitchen. I like Rangemasters, my wife likes FANTASTICALLY expensive Falcon ranges. Are they really that different? They're both made by Aga aren't they?

My wife and I are building a new kitchen in our house with very modern clean lines. My dream kitchen, hooray!

We both adore cooking, so we've promised ourselves a big, modern, awesome range cooker. A 100cm wide multi-burner, multi-cavity monster originally budgeted in the £1100- £1600 price range.

I've found a really nice Rangemaster (and a reconditioned SMEG). My wife is keen to spend more than twice our cooker budget on a Falcon range - which as far as I can tell is from the same company: Aga-Rangemaster.

If there's anyone who knows these brands, what exactly is my extra £2000 going to on a Falcon? Thicker steel? A fancy name? Different colours? Is it actually £2000 better?

We're lucky enough that we can probably stretch to it if it's worth it, but I'd rather not if it's just luxury branding on an otherwise normal range cooker.

Also open to other suggestions!
posted by generichuman to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should specify that we're in the UK if that makes a difference and if the currency didn't give it away.
posted by generichuman at 8:19 AM on April 22, 2014

If you're spending that much, might be worth paying a quid to check out the Which? reviews.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:30 AM on April 22, 2014

fire is fire. i can cook just as well on my ancient four-burner propane range from montgomery ward as your wife could on a falcon. put the money in your pots, pans and knives instead.
posted by bruce at 8:30 AM on April 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: fire is fire. i can cook just as well on my ancient four-burner propane range from montgomery ward as your wife could on a falcon. put the money in your pots, pans and knives instead.

Perhaps my bafflement didn't come through in my question. I thought £1500 was rather a lot of money to be spending on a range, for what is essentially a little bit of extra heat output and some clean, professional look over some of the other 100cm ranges. But I'm happy with it. We can do it, we're lucky, and it'll look great.

But there appears to be a whole league above what we're looking at which has got my wife's attention. The Falcons do look really cool - but not £2000 extra cool. I'm just curious if "cool" is all there is to that price.

And now I'll stop managing my own question.
posted by generichuman at 8:43 AM on April 22, 2014

Best answer: The main difference with the Falcon range is that they're more solidly built - heavier doors, heavier pan supports, more powerful burners etc. From what I recall from the time I was looking at ranges, they share only a few basic parts (the frame and some of the oven internals).

Your extra £2000 is going on more metal, components that are a bit better in various ways and to various extents, a slightly longer guarantee (I think) and the logo. Whether that'll translate to any difference in the pleasure you get from cooking with it and looking at it is something you'll have to decide.

As a general rule, you get a diminishing return on every additional increase in cost, and a range is already a luxury item by most people's standards. But at the end of the day, it's you and your wife who will be living with this range for (presumably) many years. I think people tend to wish they'd spent more on the really important stuff, rather than less.
posted by pipeski at 8:46 AM on April 22, 2014

Best answer: The main difference you will notice, and it will absolutely make a difference in your cooking results, will be in any differences in the power output of the burners.

It's a bit harder to say much without having some idea of the models you are considering.
posted by slkinsey at 9:09 AM on April 22, 2014

Without knowing lots of details, it's hard to know if the differences are cosmetic or meaningful. A friend had an expensive Viking "professional" style range, and it rapidly degenerated into a flaky mess in her very busy but not exactly professional kitchen. The hinges on the oven door were cheap and so the door was more or less falling off. One of the panes of glass in the oven door had fallen, the thermostat thereof was dubious and the controls of the burners were not all working.

So keep in mind that there are ranges that are made to be setpieces in a fancy looking kitchen that never gets used.
posted by wotsac at 9:33 AM on April 22, 2014

Response by poster: It's a bit harder to say much without having some idea of the models you are considering.

Currently, it's this Rangemaster as my choice at about £1400. The expensive option is this Falcon, which goes from at LEAST £3000.

Will check out Which for the quid!
posted by generichuman at 9:34 AM on April 22, 2014

Best answer: i'd be looking on craigslist type sites, ebay, and asking at restaurant supply shops locally for used ones in good condition. Several houses i've been in, and i family i knew sourced these types of high-end ranges that way for maybe 1/3 to 1/4 the original purchase price from someone who was remodeling their kitchen, or a pull out from a restaurant that had a dining area facing cooking space and had something fancy looking, etc.

The resale value on this sort of thing is pretty questionable because almost everyone buys new. And there aren't all that many non-cosmetic wearable mechanical parts unlike say, a fridge(even if it's a convection oven, woohoo, there's a little blower that likely never even got used).

For some reason this category of stuff is treated like wedding rings or something where no one wants an even slightly used one, but completely irrationally in this case. I'm suggesting there's likely an option C of buying the falcon for close to what you'd pay for the cheaper one, or less.

But i guess it's worth noting that this is coming from someone who hates paying retail for anything, and is willing to wait and hunt for quite a while to find what they're looking for.
posted by emptythought at 10:52 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

One thing to consdier...I bought the best appliances for my kitchen I could because if we ever had to sell, or rent out our house (which we did when we went overseas for three months lady year) it adds to the value/appeal.

We have no intention of ever selling, but one never knows what the future holds. Good appliances add value, even in older kitchens.
posted by taff at 2:48 PM on April 22, 2014

I have a LaCanche Cluny 100cm oven in my house. Think it was about £4000 new. You can pick them up on ebay for around £300 to £400 now. I don't recommend getting this brand though due to the expensive nature of the parts for repair which have proprietary fittings so you have to buy them direct from the manufacturer.

Exactly what emptythought said - If you are interested in a Falcon have a look at getting one second hand. Plenty of restaurants go out of business and flog their equipment. Ovens are worth next to nothing second hand and you can replace every single part with new and you are still less than 1/3rd the price of a new one.

An oven is simply a metal box with a heating element, thermostat and fan in it.

Things to look for when choosing a model are - what are the hinges on the doors like, are they riveted or screwed? can the heating elements be swapped out for generic parts? is the fan easily replaceable for generic? can you fit the cast iron pan rests in your dishwasher to clean (which is a huge time saver).. what are the seals like on the doors, rubber or metal braided? a bad seal will quickly rocket your energy bills and give you uneven cooking.

Can't stand paying retail. Recently put in a Stoves 100cm cooker hood I bought off ebay new for £23, only took a couple weeks of waiting for a deal to come.

An oven is a large investment. You don't want to end up buying a Ferrari of an oven to find out in a couple years you are going to be paying for Ferrari parts.
posted by camerasforeyes at 1:06 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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