Viking, the makers of those gigantic shiny ranges, has been hard-hit by the economic slowdown and the slow migration away from domestic products. They're diversifying their business to try to survive - offering matching cabinets and cooking classes to try to stay in your lives. The one thing they can't do is explain to consumers that there really is a difference between imported and domestic products. You can't see it, but I can, and here are some things you should question before you buy a cheaper model:
- Is that really metal? Cheaper models use plastic coated with metal, much less durable
- How thick is that metal? If you don't like dents, you might want to ask how thick the sheet metal is - in other words, what gauge is this metal? Thicker is better for safety and durability. Similarly, you want thicker gauge wire for the racks inside a range.
- Are those buttons for real? Thin shiny plastic panels won't look so hot in a few years, physical switches are always a plus.
- How serious is the hardware? Look at the door hinge. Big thick metal parts are better than thin or even plastic parts. The oven door is a common failure point for ranges.