Wolf Duel Fuel Range Review

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the DF366, or 36 inch, 6 burner, Duel Fuel Wolf range with custom stainless steel burner lids

Wolf Duel Fuel Range Review

I live by the rule that you don’t need fancy kitchen equipment to produce great food.  I’m also a fierce believer in kitchen tools that have multiple uses (via Alton Brown’s mantra that single use tools don’t have a place in a home kitchen) and I cringe at expensive home cooking machines like the Sous Vide Supreme and gadgets like a mandolin or pizza stone.  Of course, the three kitchen tools in the previous sentence all work and do their respective tasks well, but the question every home cook needs to ask (just like any good consumer) is: do I really need a particular tool to cook and eat well?

As an example, I turn to the many extraordinary home cooks in my family.  Specifically, I remember my well traveled grandmother who prepared all of her food via an aged 1.5 foot by 1 foot maple cutting board and small plastic handled steak knife from Italy.  She used the knife to dice, chop, and slice and pretty much utilized the “cut into your pan or pot” method of cooking (the cutting board was decorative).  My mother, for example, has never owned a dishwasher, chef’s knife, Boos cutting board, All-Clad cookware, etc. and only recently converted over to using a Kitchen Aid Mixer for pizza dough.  And let’s just say that the type of cuisine both women were/are producing would make even the fiercest food snob / “expert” salivate with envy.

It’s with a slightly guilty conscious, then, that I admit to owning a necessary, but highly gluttonous, kitchen product; namely, the gentrified industrial range (it’s insulated and will not catch on fire, so it’s not truly industrial or commercial).  The product in question is the duel fuel 36 inch, 6 burner, Wolf range (model DF366, specifically).  Yes, the monstrous cooking machine that contains enough stainless steel metal to sustain 2 or 3 southern Italian provinces (a crafty Calabrian would, for example, sell the metal from the stove and live a comfortable life via the profits; this is what my father thought when I showed him the unit).

Our Wolf stove was installed about two years ago and replaced a 25 year old four burner Thermador range top.  Our old Thermador worked but it was reaching the end of its product lifecycle and it required that we light each burner (one of which didn’t work) with a match.  When it came down to selecting a new stove we turned to the so-called high end brands like Wolf, Thermador, Viking, and a few other manufactures at the local “fancy appliance” shop (like a luxury car showroom without the exhaust fumes).Click here for my “Guide to Renovating Your Kitchen”

Prior to purchasing the range, I had done my research via third party rating organizations, online message boards and forums (see the GardenWeb Kitchen Forum for a great resource), and, of course, the product literature from each of the manufactures.  However, and uncharacteristically, I made my choice based on design/aesthetics and, to a lesser extent, on performance.  For example, I knew the Wolf Duel Fuel 36 inch range wasn’t going to boil water faster than our 25 year old range top and, most likely, require more maintenance and possibly have some sort of reliability issue down the road (Wolf model DF366 has more electronic wizardry than my Mazda3 station wagon) but I still lusted after the large hunk of metal.   I wouldn’t necessarily say I made a poor choice when it came to selecting a new stove, but I certainly didn’t make the logical choice as there were plenty of smaller, and less expensive, 4 burner gas/convection type stoves on the market.

Wolf  36 inch Six burner Duel Fuel Range Review: Model DF366

In turn, I wanted to share some specific insight on my personal experience with a semi-industrial (insulated) “professional type” range with anyone considering the same type of product for their next kitchen renovation.  Here are my unstructured thoughts on the $7,000+ Wolf 36 inch duel fuel range (6 burner set up):

  1. Aesthetically, the stove looks great and when all of the stainless steel, black enamel, and burners are cleaned and polished you’ll get goosebumps whenever you walk by it.  The stove resembles an Audi sedan with conservative, yet elegant, lines.  And from an build perspective, the unit is more in line with a fine watch than a box that heats things up.  Note, I’ve experimented with a few stainless steel cleaners and polish and only one has worked well; that is, Wolf’s recommended “Signature” polish (which seems to be made specifically for Wolf).
  2. The stove is a royal pain in the butt to keep clean if you cook consistently.  The stainless steel attracts smudges and scratches easily.  The black enamel cook top requires daily soap and water to keep clean and if it’s not buffed with a clean cotton rag you will get annoyed by all of the smudges.
  3. The large, porcelain coated, grates are very heavy and difficult to move ,which is required when cleaning the black enamel surface.   Further, the grates quickly turned gray due, I’m thinking, to our metal pots rubbing against the cast iron grates (this happened with our fancy Shaw’s Original porcelain sink as well – note to these two manufacturers when constructing items out of porcelain, please use the same material Italian porcelain tile is made out of as they are truly indestructible).  To Wolf’s credit, when I called to complain they simply sent out new grates.
  4. The sealed burners have a grey, metal material, that quickly stained on our unit and I haven’t been able to remove the brown/black spots to date.  This is annoying especially when the rest of the stove is clean.
  5. The burners themselves are of high quality and 5 out of the 6 burners are capable of producing 15,000 BTUs and all 6 burners have a simmer setting and 1 burner is capable of a melt feature with only 9,200 BTU.
  6. The auto ignite burners have worked flawlessly and are well engineered overall.
  7. The large oven takes an inordinary amount of time to reach temperature and it’s very loud during operation (including venting which happens for a prolonged period of time after the oven is turned off).  We purchased a smaller Cadco convection oven and we end up using the unit more than the Wolf oven given the aforementioned issues.  The noise and time to reach temperature are all, in my view, pretty big negat
    ives.
  8. The oven has ten cooking modes but beyond the “convection” and “broil” modes I can’t differentiate between the remaining eight modes, including “roast” and “bake” (for example, if I want to bake a ham is it the same as roasting it – which mode do I use?).
  9. The pivoting electronic control panel is easy to use and does retract flush against the stainless front (a nice design feature which creates a very clean look when pushed closed).
  10. The adjustable oven racks are well made, yet they’re incredibly difficult to adjust vertically.  The three racks are very wide and you need both hands to go from one position to another (don’t attempt to do this once your oven has reached temperature because once you open the oven door to perform the task you’ll lose heat because it takes such a long period of time to perform the task).
  11. The oven cavity has dual halogen lighting so there’s plenty of light to see your food. And the oven door construction, along with the oven insulation, is top notch.  The oven size is also very nice and especially handy when it comes to baking larger quantities of cookies, pizzas, etc. (of course with a larger size comes a longer heating time, per above bullet).

So, there you have it, overall I like my fancy Wolf range.  Would I buy a fancy range all over again if I had the choice today?  The answer is most likely no, rather I would buy a higher end version of a standard 4 burner gas range from a company like GE or Bosch (problem is I wouldn’t get the same subjective warm and fuzzy feeling every time I walked by a GE Profile).  However, and you know what, my pasta water would boil just as fast (somewhere a dead Calabrian relative is laughing at me and my range)!

Click here for my “Guide to Renovating Your Kitchen”
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  • http://www.simplyforties.com SimplyForties

    I’m jealous, or at least I was until I read your review. Thanks for an honest look at something on my “lust list”. I have to say I own All-Clad cookware and, your grandmother notwithstanding, good pots and pans and good knives really do make a difference. I also wouldn’t trade my Kitchen Aide stand mixer for anything. I don’t consider any of those to be one-use pieces of equipment. I do guiltily admit to owning this odd pizza maker. It was a gift and I thought it was the dumbest thing until I tried it. Now I love it. It’s a huge waste of cabinet space but people I’m visiting actually ask me to bring it when I come visit. If I got rid of it I probably wouldn’t make nearly as much pizza as I do now.

  • http://www.scordo.com/2010/03/recipe-italian-leftover-salad.html Scordo.com

    Recipe: Italian Leftover Salad with Parsley, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts

    Next to incorporating the right leftovers into a great sandwich, putting together a “leftover salad” is one of my favorite food shortcuts; that is to say, having a great meal full of flavor without a big undertaking.  After all, what’s…

  • WILLOBIE

    For about 10 years now I have enjoyed my full commercial South Bend range. The burners are 33K BTU (hot enough for a deep fry pan or a wok), the oven takes a whole sheet pan in either direction, and the pilot light makes the oven perfect for proofing bread or drying bunches of oregano. The price is well under $2000, not $7000, and no, its not domesticated. It’s safe though: I designed my kitchen around it.

  • Pingback: Double Oven Gas Range Reviews - Everything You Need to Know about Fireplace Information. - Gas Fireplace Repair

  • Terry

    Please consider very, very carefully before buying ANY Sub-Zero product!

    For the fourth time in five years my Wolf Double Oven had failed to cook food. (Not that daunting of a task, right?)

    I purchased this over-priced lemon on January 1, 2007 for $5,259.

    Last year, after hours in the oven, my Thanksgiving turkey was still raw inside. Yesterday I attempted to cook a rack of lamb. After 30 min at 425, it was still raw in the center.

    This morning, Wolf’s recommended repair person told me that the thermostat was bent and would require replacement. As he was packing up to leave, I asked if he would be willing to wager $1,000 that the oven would fail again within six months.

    I insisted that there was more wrong with the oven than he discovered. He claimed I was wrong and said that the lower oven was “like new”. (That was the oven I tried to cook the turkey in last year and have not used it since.)

    I then asked if everything else was fine, WHY the readout was so dim – he had NOT even noticed. (He did write that down on his worksheet after I pointed out his failure to notice.)

    I REFUSE to accept one more repair. I will be contacting the Illinois Attorney General to learn about the Illinois Lemon Law and how it applies to kitchen appliances.

    Meanwhile, I’m thinking that this may make a great planter for my yard – it isn’t good for much else.

    • http://www.scordo.com/ Scordo.com

      Thanks for your comment! We’ve had issues with the control unit dimming as well, but no other issues with the oven outside of the details mentioned in our post.

    • Jennifer

      What did Wolf end up doing for you – I also got a lemon and realized just months after the 2 year warranty over – they are offering to completely replace but I need to pay tax again and delivery charge – I think it should be at $0 cost to me since something is wrong with heating unit on bottom and is coming up and buckling the bottom flor of my oven

  • JaccaMaacca

    I read your review with great interest, having just succumbed to the same ‘lust’ for a Wolf 6 burner range, and 24 hours later, am having buyers’ remorse. I do have a chance to cancel my purchase and go for something else (I’ll deal with the replacement issue later), but if you could share a little more of your insights…one of the reasons I went for the Wolf range is because a) it has 6 burners of over 5; and b) I was told that although the burners are powerful, they also ‘simmer’. So my questions: is the simmer gentle enough NOT to burn or evaporate contents in pots too quickly? How do you manage oversize pans on the stove? As for the oven, once it does get up to temp, does it bake well? Thanks in advance!

  • Steve

    We have the exact same stove. My wife fell in love with it at the showroom. It takes FOREVER to heat the oven up. In large part because a fan kicks on that pushes much of the heat out of the oven. Which also makes it annoying to use in the summer. In my opinion, this is incompetent and unacceptable. I’d never buy a Wolf again.

    • http://www.scordo.com/ Scordo.com

      Ours has a very long heat up period; agreed that it’s not acceptable. Our fan kicks on as well during the convection mode (and to vent the cavity).

    • http://www.scordo.com/ Scordo.com

      Ours has a very long heat up period; agreed that it’s not acceptable. Our fan kicks on as well during the convection mode (and to vent the cavity).

  • ikeltz

    Thanks so much for your Wolf review. We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. My husband is making our cabinets, they are gorgeous and we will save alot of money there. We are avid cooks, and I love to bake, so we have always wanted a 36 inch range and began researching them. I admit I fell in love with the Wolf, but how would it work for someone like myself who loves to bake? Thank you for your honest and helpful review.

    • http://www.scordo.com/ Scordo.com

      My wife is the baker in the house. Some caveats about the oven and baking: 1. warm up/time to reach temp is a big issue (The 36 inch oven is large and thus takes longer than normal to reach temp), 2., the electronics on the duel fuel 36 inch are a bit touchy (inaccurate temp reading, issue with selecting temp, etc.); make sure to research reliability rating for the model you’re interested in, 3. exhaust on unit is loud and stays on for a long period of time post baking/cooking.

  • AMU

    vincent , thank you for posting your wolf, experience, I too decided to buy a wolf range but only 30 inch as I don’t have space in my home. I initially bought a full gas range but had enough troubles that wolf was nice enough to change it for me for more money. So I bought a dual range, and now that I have started using it, I could help notice that when the oven is on, my floor is warm. is this normal, do you experience the same thing. your feedback is much appreciated.
    AMU

    • http://www.scordo.com/ Scordo.com

      Warm floor is normal. Remember the stove needs to vent and it doesn’t do so directly through a wall into the outside environment (so the internal fan kicks out heat via the rear and front of the unit).

  • Ileana Keltz

    Well Vincent, we are down to the wire with our kitchen remodel and it is time to decide the appliances so my husband can make the cabinets accordingly. I posted a comment previously on your site which you graciously answered regarding the Wolf and baking. We want to get the all gas 36 inch Wolf, which we can purchase the floor model at a discount because the burners are not sealed. I guess they are going to sealed in future. That is great, as we did not want sealed. We were also going to purchase a wall oven as well. I know you said your wife is the baker in the family, but I see all of the delicious recipes you post, like the lasagna (drool drool) and I assume you must bake them in your Wolf. If so, do you like how it bakes things like that? I know you can’t speak to cookies and such, but how is it for everything else? You mentioned that you use your other oven alot. I would really appreciate anything you have to add on this subject as I have to make a decision soon. Thanks so much!

  • Joseph Chiaravalloti

    For over 10 years I have used a fully industrial six burner range that cost about $1300. I allowed for 4 inches of hidden insulation on each side and put up with the fact that the stove extends 6 inches from the counter. I topped this with an industrial size hood that cost more than the stove. My burners put out 28000 btu and my oven 38000. The oven accepts a full sheet pan in either direction and I keep one in it loaded with unglazed tile. The stove has pilot lights and the constantly warm oven is great for thawing, drying herbs, and bread proofing. The sole problem is that industrial ranges have no broilers so I keep a large toaster-broiler oven nearby for finishing my creme brulee. A similar stove is available from Restaurant Equippers for $999. You could probably buy three or four for the price of a domesticated Wolf.

    • http://www.scordo.com/ Scordo.com

      Good point, Joe. Only negative with industrial in my view is that its not insulated, can be a fire hazard if not installed correctly (heat shield, etc.), and the ovens usually are a bit inaccurate.