Bluestar RNB36 A Review

3 months ago

It’s a big leap of faith to buy a range like this. For me it was anyway. I fixated on this particular model and lusted after it for years and then … what if this big expensive thing doesn’t work out how I thought it would? It’s harder than buying a car – you’ll have it probably a lot longer and you can’t take it for a test drive. I read a lot of negative things about it on various review websites, CR, etc. Once we got serious about redoing the kitchen, did a lot of looking and there are plenty of good ranges available for considerably less. Well, went ahead and got it anyway. We’ve been using it for about 6 weeks now and I’m happy to report we love it. Even more than I thought I would. Here’s my take so far:

The burners are really powerful. Objective measure: when we were looking into induction, I did a speed test with the old gas (a 1999 Jenn Air) range and an induction hotplate. Same pot, same amount of cold water, cover and measure time to rolling boil. Old range: 6:30; induction plate: 4:46; Bluestar 22k: 4:20. I worried it would be slower than the induction but nope. Only a little faster but still faster. Subjectively, things cook really fast. Stir-frying actually works. When making stir-fry on my old stove it starts out hot but as soon as the meat starts to give off it’s juices I always seemed to end up with more of a braise than a stir-fry. On the Bluestar, you can take the grate off and put the wok directly on the burner it gets screaming hot and this is not a problem. Toasting nuts or breadcrumbs takes like a minute. Eggs you have to be careful. We use the medium burner for them. The simmer burner has been great for soups and the couple of sauces I’ve done so far but I haven’t really put it to the test yet.

The broiler is a revelation. This is the one piece that got consistently good reviews and it is amazing. Fish filets are perfectly cooked in 5 minutes. Cooked all the way through, lightly browned on top, and still moist and delicious.

The gas oven holds a full size sheet pan – had to go to a restaurant supply site to get them. So far everything has come out consistently uniform. Had a cooking baking day with my girls before Christmas – it takes a couple of people constantly loading trays to keep it going. We made 5 double batches in 4 hours (and then got takeout for dinner because we were exhausted!).

Cleaning – I don’t find it any more difficult than the old sealed burner range. There is a big tray that pulls out that can be removed for cleaning. Once a piece of onion got caught in between the burner and the surface underneath it. Not sure what would have become of it if I hadn’t known it was there and gotten it out as soon as possible.

There was one minor problem. One of the 22k burners took longer to light than the other and when it lit there was a big ‘whoomp’. At first thought it was sort of cool and powerful but pretty quickly realized it wasn’t right. Close inspection comparing with the other burners noticed that the sparker was slightly out of alignment. We were able to adjust this ourselves and it’s been fine since.

There are zero high tech features – which we actually like. We’re pretty tech savvy (both STEM professionals) but decided early on didn’t like any of the tech features we saw on stoves. It’s fire. It should be simple. The Bluestar is very straightforward – everything is very sturdy, easy to use, and looks repairable. The ONLY tech feature I’ve seen for ranges that I like is something that will tell me if I left the stove on. This was a problem with my old range – sometimes the burner would actually go off if left on a low setting for a while, and you could hardly see the flame when it was low. So far this doesn’t happened with the Bluestar but I’m still thinking of some way I could double check the stove from my phone like a video feed or something.

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