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I looked at Viking but not Five Star when I was shopping for my cooktop that I just put in the new house. I ended up with a Thermadoor 5-burner cooktop. I was originally going to get the 6-burner one with the griddle, but I was making all the kitchen designers crazy with a 48" cooktop, so I switched to the 36" version which has the 5 burners. It also has their x-tra lo feature which I absolutely love. Basically, the burner cycles on and off and allows you to simmer things at very low temperatures. I use this a lot!

I also noticed that of the 5 or 6 houses in my immediate vicinity, 3 of us opted for Thermador. I don't recall exactly why I didn't like Viking, but I do remember that it was enough to stop me in my tracks pretty early in the search.

I don't know where you are located, but I'm in Massachusetts and we have a distributor here who basically handles all the makes and models and provides them to the retailers that people like us buy from. The distributor doesn't sell directly to the public, but they do have all the products set up in the showroom, and I was able to go down there and talk to a very knowledgeable person. She helped me to figure out what I really wanted and what features I was after. Then I decided which model to get.

Also, it's home show season up here with the first one next week. That's another place to go to see some of the higher end appliances.
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