- Thermador Oven Review: The Negatives
- Thermador Stovetop Range Review
- Is There Anything I Like About My Thermador Range?
- How Has Our Thermador Oven Held Up Over Time?
- Is Thermador a Convection Oven?
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy a Thermador Range?
- Need More Baby Steps?
When we redid our kitchen last summer we decided to spend the big bucks and go with the really nice 6-burner Thermador range.
I thought finally getting it installed would feel amazing! I mean, it should be better than my old $500 range from Sears in 6000 ways, right? Because it was about that many dollars more expensive…
Want to hear all my shocking disappointments in this Thermador Stove Review?
Can’t see the video? Watch our Thermador Review here on YouTube.
Thermador Oven Review: The Negatives
The very first thing we noticed is what we lovingly call the abyss. You can’t get the stove any closer than about 3″ away from the wall, and they don’t sell a piece to cover up the gap. What in the world were they thinking!? I’m going to lose whole meals back there.
The second thing I noticed is the clock. It’s down on the front of the range above the oven door and the numbers are itty bitty. You can’t see it from anywhere in the kitchen other than standing right in front of the stove.
The first day we had this in the house, my daughter came up to me and said, “Mom, I gotta show you something.” On our old very inexpensive range, we used to be able to put two cookie sheets in side by side. In the Thermador, the door doesn’t close all the way!
The Thermador is supposed to be “standard depth,” but you can’t tell me our very inexpensive Sears oven was oversized. I think the discrepancy is because the convection fan takes up more space at the back of the oven. I’ve actually lost capability on this one, and it feels unfair to use the feature “standard depth” if it’s not.
Baking Brilliance – Did we Get What we Paid For?
But…what happened when we tried baking something in this very expensive oven?
The first time I was going to bake something (gluten-free flatbread) in my new oven, I was so excited! I thought it was going to preheat faster, better, and more efficiently.
…And then dinner was late because it took a full 25 minutes to finally tell me it had preheated! I was not a happy camper.
Why does it take so long, you might ask? Apparently, all our ovens probably take that long to truly heat up for the walls and the racks and everything to be to the temperature you set it to. If you’re a very serious baker, this is important. But if you’re just a mom trying to get dinner on the table, I didn’t really care if the walls and racks were full temperature. I was shocked it took so long!
Noise Factor on the Thermador
Something I never saw coming was the noise! It has a very annoyingly loud oven fan for a highly sensitive person like me. And it’s automatic! You can’t control the noise. This fan stays on for 20 to 30 minutes after the oven is off.
We learned more about it by researching message boards and forums online. A lot of people actually complain about the fan noise after the oven is off. Apparently, the reason is to protect all the circuit boards because if the heat were to just dissipate inside the oven, or even if you open the oven door to let the heat out, (which seems like a smart thing to me so I can avoid the fan), the heat is going to hit the circuit boards more.
So really this comes back to why do we have to have circuit boards and software and hardware in all of our appliances? Maybe the dumb old appliances that lasted 50 to 60 years were better than all of these modern appliances that beep every time you open the oven.
Fake Knobs – Why, Thermador???
With every knob having its own circuit board – which all have the potential to break individually and require an expensive repair – the knobs really are “just for show” in a way, especially when it comes to the oven temperature. My old stove just had buttons and a screen, but this one has a knob – which we know is fake – and it’s also dumb.
My issue is the lack of tactile feedback on the oven knob. There’s no obvious OFF point where the knob stops moving. If you aren’t watching while you turn the knob off and go a little too far, it turns it on to broil! Definitely not what I want!
Also more button problems: To set the timer, you have to increase it in 15-second increments. Is this made for people with extra time on their hands? You know busy moms have no extra time to sit here and hold their finger on a timer button.
Speaking of the timer, when the alarm goes off, it’s very quiet and it just beeps once and then stops. There’s no way I would hear that if I was in another room! Even in the kitchen if there’s a conversation or an appliance running — or a STOVE FAN loudly blowing — it can be hard to hear.
We thought maybe the oven baked perfectly and beautifully evenly, but that was also not the case. :/ Here is just one example of the many times my daughter Leah and I have pulled our hair out and shaken our fists at the heavens after doing simple baking, only to have part of the pan burned-ish on the bottom and part not quite baked yet.
This oven is making us feel like we’re novice bakers, and for the money, it should be paving the way for novice bakers to have results like a pro!
We were told by a tech to let the oven pre-heat even LONGER – like a full hour – when baking something more sensitive like cookies. Tried it. Fail again. 🙁
Oh, and did I mention you can ONLY choose temps in 25-degree increments? I tried to bake my grandma’s apple pie recipe, which calls for one hour at 360F. I had to choose 350F or 375F. Again, illogical. If this is a “professional” grade range, wouldn’t the professionals be MOST likely to want the more precise temperatures you can get with 5-degree increments as they perfect their recipes?
Thermador Stovetop Range Review
Now let’s get to the natural gas stovetop range. Six burners are gonna be awesome, right?!?
The frustration comes with all the burners being so big and all the same size. Even on a big pot, but especially a little pot, it’s really hard to get it right. The heat comes around the edges and causes a burn line partway up the pot, and then dishes take far longer. Even for stuff like soup and sauces, it will sometimes create a burn line around the top edge of the food in the middle of the pot.
So much heat is being wasted around the edge of the pan, and the handles get really hot as well. I’ve compared this to other gas cooktops cooking on high, and the amount of heat thrown up around the pot – in other words, NOT going into the food but completely wasted – is significantly different.
AND my pot of water did not feel like it boiled exceptionally fast. I knew that a full pot took 10-12 minutes to come to a boil on my old stove, and it’s about the same with this extra huge burner. More BTUs only make a difference if the heat hits the food instead of wafting up into the house.
Sometimes I wonder if a real family has ever tested this or only commercial kitchens.
Thermador Has Weird Knobs
Also, a lot of people complain about the flame not really changing from medium to low. Thermador assures us that actually, the way that it cooks is changing even if the flame looks the same. However, I have just had a terrible time figuring out where is medium, and where is medium low. I tend to take too long to heat things, or I’m burning them too quickly.
I don’t know if I believe when Thermador says that the flame that doesn’t change visually is changing thermodynamically.
What I know is that when I start on “low” on the dial, turning it all the way to the 60% mark makes ZERO difference in the size of the flame. From 60% to 65% of the way to “high” on the dial (there is no “medium” heat label), the flame increases from low to medium-high. It’s an incredibly minute movement for a massive change in flame/heat.
Does X-Lo Work Well on a Thermador?
Another fancy feature is the extra-low feature. And there are actually five different levels of extra low. The lowest extra low setting alternates 10 seconds with the burner off and 50 seconds with it on.
In the appliance shop, they demonstrate how amazing this is by putting a paper plate directly over a gas flame and melting chocolate chips, without burning the plate. When I saw that, I was convinced I would make perfect rice, every time.
Our experience at home is that we won’t repeat that test until we make sure we have a brand-new fire extinguisher in our hands.
Even on extra low things like quinoa and rice stay at a rolling boil and the regular low boils everything all the time. A rolling boil on X-Lo!!!! I can’t even count the number of things we’ve burned because we turned the heat to “low” to keep warm, which used to be a possibility with a normal stove. This stove is on steroids on low and forgets its job on high.
The other day we did a special test of the extra, extra, extra, extra low feature making rice. All through dinner we had rice on the extra extra extra extra low setting (the 10 seconds on 50 seconds off), and amazingly, it worked great. It did not burn the rice! So there’s hope…but not much.
But remember how that loud fan is rough on my noise-sensitive ears? Especially the first couple of times that X-Lo feature popped back on with the burner igniting noise. I literally jumped. So yes, the 4X-Lo feature doesn’t burn your rice, but you’ll have a burner popping on and off the whole time, startling you.
Need More Baby Steps?
Here at Kitchen Stewardship, we’ve always been all about the baby steps. But if you’re just starting your real food and natural living journey, sifting through all that we’ve shared here over the years can be totally overwhelming.
That’s why we took the best 10 rookie “Monday Missions” that used to post once a week and got them all spruced up to send to your inbox – once a week on Mondays, so you can learn to be a kitchen steward one baby step at a time, in a doable sequence.
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When we tried to clean up, I found more things to dislike. Obviously, the huge grates are intensely heavy. That’s obvious when you buy it, you know what you’re going into. But what I didn’t notice when we purchased this was an extra crevice all the way around the edge of the stovetop. My family drips stuff so this extra little crevice has made it nearly impossible to clean and a lot of extra work.
We actually emailed customer service at Thermador to ask if we could recalibrate the burners so that low is truly low on at least one burner.
They referred us to the owner’s manual, which doesn’t answer my question. They said we could search for the owner’s manual online and didn’t even send us a link. It sounds like they’re actually pretty terrible customer service for everyone which bothers me because as a small business owner, customer service is paramount. I take care of my people, and I wish they would take care of theirs.
Is There Anything I Like About My Thermador Range?
The bottom line is there are very few nice things I can say about my new stove.
Here’s all I’ve got: It’s really, really pretty.
How Has Our Thermador Oven Held Up Over Time?
This review video was shot 18 months before we ended up posting it, so I’ve had a lot more time to “learn to love” our Thermador range. As it turns out…I must not be a very good learner.
I yell at it a LOT.
I gripe about how expensive it was and how it should work better a LOT.
I have to use SOS pads to clean the middle sides of pots a LOT, even when it’s something that most stoves can’t burn, like soup.
The burners are WAY too big and lose FAR too much heat up and around the sides of the pot.
I’m also constantly complaining (or at least invisible smoke is rising from my red-hot angry head) about the fact that until you turn the knob past the halfway point between low and high, the size of the flame does not change one bit.
Then once it starts changing, it goes from “low” to “whoa baby medium high!” in about 2-3 millimeters of moving the knob. It’s impossible to reach over and make a quick adjustment on the temp of something because you have to look under the pot to see the flame and fiddle with it.
Leah and I are absolutely fed up with the baking ability. We burn our cookies on the edges. We bake uneven rolls. Bread is a constant problem.
I’ve used at least 5 different ovens regularly in my adult life, and I’ve never seen one treat bakers so badly. We literally cannot figure out how to bake cookies where the left and right sides of the pan (or front and back) are done at the same time. It’s infuriating!
A technician said that we should let the oven preheat even LONGER, which hurt my little energy-saving heart. We’ve tried it. No dice. Only yelling!
Is Thermador a Convection Oven?
We even discovered that another feature I was pretty excited about (and which I think was a monetary upgrade, wasted) is the “convection” feature. I was looking forward to saving 10-15 minutes on roasting veggies for an hour, for example. Convection is supposed to be faster, right? Or at least bake baked goods more evenly?
Only “true convection” works this way and Thermador is using fake convection, which basically means you have a function called “convection” on your knobs and a big fan taking up too much space in the oven (see above under “not actually standard depth”) and both taken together means your oven can…do absolutely nothing different. Nothing!
It doesn’t bake or roast faster.
Even a tech said it’s pretty much worthless unless it’s true convection.
This feature is actually one that I researched pretty thoroughly, even to the point of watching a few YouTube videos, and apparently, I still didn’t understand that Thermador was using fake convection, all sound and fury, and words, signifying nothing.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy a Thermador Range?
I think you can tell what my answer is…I wish I could set this thing out on the curb and get my money back.
For a $6,000 investment, I just wanted it to be more intuitive, I want to be able to use it in a home.
I wanted perfectly even baking. Even mostly even baking would have sufficed.
I wanted to be able to fit more pans in the oven (and with 3 racks, we SORT OF can), but since the depth isn’t there, technically I’ve gone from a 4-pan capacity to a 3-pan capacity.
I wanted faster roasting, but no one told me the convection feature was fake.
I wanted faster boiling, and all I got was burnt food and dishes that take longer. The heat is intense…on our arms. I don’t wear food on my arms!!
I wanted a lower simmer and micro adjustments, and I got a range with a mind of its own – but an IQ of 60.
I guess if you buy a professional range from Thermador, this is what you get.
The bottom line is that the design is absolutely horrid – non-intuitive, inefficient, easy to break, and doesn’t even fulfill its main duty, which is to cook food and cook it well.
I’d let Thermador off the hook for the hard-to-clean crevices and even the abyss, but the burners that burn everything while being difficult to adjust and the oven that can’t bake evenly (and takes forever to pre-heat) are truly unforgivable curses.
You’re probably wondering how my husband and I got ourselves into this expensive regret situation. We’re actually the sort of people who obsess over reviews when buying something online, so we really dropped the ball on this one.
I think because we were shopping in person, something broke in our brains about looking up online reviews. We got snookered by the “fancy brand name,” which is also not our normal “go against the culture” mentality.
I wish we had made this error in judgment on a $100 microwave or something! 🙁
For the record, when we had a tech come out to try to make the knobs calibrate better, he said that Thermador makes too many changes, and those constant “improvements” mean there are more bugs and more obsolete parts. He makes service calls on broken Thermador circuit boards OFTEN, and when he replaces them, he’s never once been able to calibrate it correctly. Got that? Replacing Thermador circuit boards is so complicated that even with the tool and the instructions Thermador gave him, he’s never once been able to do it right.
There’s a circuit board for every knob…and they’re sensitive to heat. #facepalm
I look forward to paying more money to make things even worse…
Or we’ll see if we can get a few thousand out of this hated Thermador and buy a Wolf. The tech also shared that he rarely has to take a call on a Wolf, the brand is extremely consistent, has superb longevity and reliability, and people love it.
Lesson learned: Don’t buy from a salesperson, buy from the tech who fixes things.
The bottom line is obviously, Kitchen Stewardship® does not heartily recommend the Thermador range.
Have you ever used a Thermador oven?