I have updated this article three times in 5 years, because so much has changed in that time. Viking was acquired by commercial manufacturer Middleby of Ohio. We are also no longer carrying Viking. I still like the company (was one of their first dealers) and bid them no ill will.
Wolf and Viking are two of the most recognized brands in the appliance industry. Let's look compare the products and companies.
Updated November 2014
Viking was the first real professional range company and are based out of Greenwood, Mississippi. At one time, they owned 60% of the market. Service and product issues have caused issues in this company and they were sold in 2013 to the aforementioned Middleby Corp out of Ohio.
Wolf was a commercial range company out of California. They were bought by the Sub-Zero corporation in the early 2000s. Sub-Zero is the second largest privately held appliance company (after Miele) in the world. They also pioneered the twin convection system.
Wolf vs. Viking 48 Inch Professional Ranges
Let's look at the specs first:
Top: Viking has a powerful 18,500 BTU right front burner, and the rest of the units are 15,000 BTU, whereas the Wolf has just 15,000 BTU.
Simmer: Wolf has a 3 stage simmer with a low of 500 BTU. This is the lowest consistent simmer in the industry. Viking has the Vari-Simmer, but Wolf has the lower temperature.
Controls: Wolf has the lighted knobs and a flip down control for clock and timer. Viking (new feature) displays on the knob.
Ovens: They both have convection in the smaller oven. Wolf employs twin convection in the main oven. The fans activate in different sequences for different foods. It is a better system and is becoming the new standard. Jenn-Air has twin fans, but they are on all the time and are not as precise as the Wolf.
Accents: Wolf has the ubiquitous red knobs, whereas Viking is available in tons of colors. If you have the right design scheme, the colors look really sharp. But then again, 99% of sales is stainless.
Grill: Wolf uses an infra-red grill, which most emulates an outside grill. Viking uses a standard broiler tube.
Warranty: Viking has a great warranty of up to 6 years vs 2 years on the Wolf plus 5 years on parts.
What I really think
I have no sour grapes with Viking and truly hope Middleby can turn this company around. American jobs are on the line and that's important. However, sales dropped dramatically for one reason: Product quality.
In our company, service and sales are tied together and feedback is immediate. For the calendar year of 2013, Viking was the most serviced brand by far. Nobody was even close. I like their warranty, but 6 years on this product? They should have fixed the problem first and then offered the warranty.
That being said, I like the Wolf better. It is an American company, so I do not even feel guilty about offshoring American jobs. At the same time, its oven, simmer and grill are far superior to Vikings one better burner and all assorted service issues.
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