New to Gas Cooktop & Completely Lost

bgjenkinsFebruary 18, 2013

So my wife and I are building a new house - our first - and we're a little lost on the appliances. We're both in our 20's and we don't have a lot of experience with really any appliances beyond our parents or the cheap stuff we had at our apartment.

Our builder has given us a budget of $5,000 - and we're trying to stay in it as much as possible. We went to a local appliance store and were bowled over by their prices. We now plan to get everything from

As we are new to this - I wanted to get your advice. I've been reading for the last few days on this forum, but I'd love some direct advice.

Here's our current selection:
$1300 Dacor DCT365SLP 36" Sealed Gas Cooktop
$992 Kobe CH2742DQB 42" 800 CFM Hood
$1479 Bosch HBL345OUC 30" Electric Wall Oven
$589 Maytag MDB7749SAM Dishwasher
$509 Maytag M4TXNWFYW Refrigerator
$139 Frigidaire FFCE1638LW Microwave

I'd love feedback on the whole selection - but I'm really struggling with cooktop and oven. I can't get much info on the Bosch oven - but I like the styling, the reviews seem positive and I like the price.

As for the range - I'm curious to know if the finish is hype or it actually does clean better. Likewise, does anyone have any experience with the SimmerSear tech from Dacor? I can't find any reviews of it online.

Finally, if there's a better appliance for a little more money, let me know. I am not above spending a little more, but I don't want to blow my budget by more than $500.

Thanks again for all the help - like I said, we're just a little overwhelmed.


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I don't have actual experience with the SimmerSear burner from Dacor, but I was considering buying their gas range and I really liked the "idea" of it, as well as the look of it when I saw it in person. It is a stacked-type burner ... a larger burner on the bottom with a little burner on top. I have a favorite really small pot that I use for a lot of things, and I thought that burner would be great for that, as it would keep the heat on the smaller diameter pan. I really liked the burner configuration on their range top. My local appliance dealer has a rep from Dacor doing cooking demonstrations on Saturdays. Perhaps you can call around and find out if there is something like that in your area, so you can see them in action before you buy.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Sorry, can't help with the specifics other than suggesting you keep an eye on Consumer Reports which you may be doing, but since you are just starting out anyway; and just to confuse the issue some more; wouldn't this be the perfect time to go with an induction cooktop?

After all, you probably don't have expensive cookware that might need to be replaced. Admittedly, there have been a couple stories about supposedly appropriate cookware failing because of size, but almost everyone says induction is the best thing EVER.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:45PM
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It seems to me that your budget allocation is a bit out of whack. $1300 on the rangetop and nearly $1500 on a single wall oven plus a $900 hood. You're spending $3700 of your budget right there which leaves little for the other appliances, especially the fridge.

Why don't you tell us a bit more about your cooking experience and how you plan on using the kitchen.

Do you really need a separate cooktop and wall oven? A range could be a more cost effective alternative, especially because you are only getting a single wall oven.

Do you really need a 36 inch cooktop? Getting a larger cooktop when the fridge you selected is only 14 sq ft doesn't really seem to match up unless you plan on going food shopping multiple times each week and are not planning on freezing much food.

If I were you I'd try to spread my money around a bit more. Its not worth it to go overboard on things you don't really need and cheap out on other stuff.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:59PM
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That's a good suggestion about the demonstrations. I'll check around. I'm in the Richmond, VA area - so I would think there would be more than what I've seen thus far.

As for induction - I just did a little reading - I just don't know yet. I have cooked a little with gas on the grill (side burner) and I'm fairly comfortable with that. I do like the ability to cook without power also. i'm not sure that I'm ready for induction. I do have a decent amount of pans - but most of them are stainless so they should work with induction.

Thanks for the suggestions!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:59PM
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If you are in an area of potential long power loss, I would agree that induction may not be a good call. I would also like to warn you that much stainless is not magnetic and will not work with induction. On the other hand, several have pointed out that regular cooking may be one of the last things on your mind during a severe long outage.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:55PM
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Before I realized the advantages of and switched to a gas rangetop, I was planning the DCS cooktop. It had great reviews, good customer service, and great dual flow burners. In the end of my cooktop looking, I decided on the Wolf for a little more money, but in your price range, I'd go with the DCS. It's cheaper than the Dacor at $1199. Link to ajmadison below.

I've never heard anyone here with a Dacor cooktop so I can't tell you if folks seem to be happy with theirs.

Here is a link that might be useful: DCS cooktop on ajmadison

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:16PM
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Since you save a little with the DCS cooktop, I'd go for the GW darling mid-range Electrolux for the oven. The entry level stainless is about $1700, linked below. Folks here rave about the even cooking and wonderful results they achieve from these ovens. If I hadn't found a floor model deal on my Wolf ovens, I would have bought the Elux.

Speaking of floor models, many of us here have found great deals on more expensive appliances by searching appliance stores for floor model units sold at a discount, sometimes a substantial discount. If you have the time, it's worth calling around and visiting showrooms to see what's out there. The Sears Outlet is also a great place to find units that have scratches, dents, or other surface blemishes reduced in price. Who cares if the side of your oven has a cosmetic scratch when it'll be up against cabinets anyway?

Btw, I don't consider spending most of your appliance budget on the cooking appliances to be out of whack. There's a theory that says a fridge is just a box to keep things cold. IME, the quality of the fire sources (cooktop and oven) are far more more varied in capability and can substantially effect your food-to-table outcome more than different fridges can effect your food. As long as the hole for the fridge is a standard size, you can always swap a lesser expensive unit out later for a more expensive one should you so choose.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elux oven on ajmadison

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:31PM
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I don't have any special opinions on what you "should" get.

I can only give you my perspective on the cooktop (which I don't have) and the dw (which I do have). I debated doing a cooktop over an oven instead of a new range just this last week - this is the way I evaluate something I can't try out.

In that particular cooktop layout, the larger, more powerful burners are towards the back - somewhat annoying in real life. I need to stay right on top of a saute, but not those boiling potatoes. I think that having one large pan on the center burner might preclude having any other large pan on the cooktop, I'm also wondering if a larger pan placed on the smaller burners would interfere with the operation of, or cook, the knobs. A bosch cooktop has a more severe version of pan/knob interference. Take a large pan with you when you're shopping, or cut a circle out of paper after tracing the bottom of your largest pan and maybe your most favorite saute pan and take it with you to check it out. You might get a funny look or two, but so what?

The power burner is also the only simmer burner. You'd have to evaluate whether that would work out for your style of cooking. I found the 6k and 11k burners very valuable on our p.o.c. newly dead range but the simmer burner not so much because its so small.

You'll have the same issue - I think you'll see it if you compare a six quart (or larger) pan to the size of the inner ring of a dual ring burner. I used to describe it as the food burning or sticking on two or three inches of the pan instead of the whole bottom. People will tell you to go out and buy heavy cookware to avoid this issue, but its expensive and very heavy.

I got around the tiny burner issue by using a simmer plate - 1/4" thick piece-of-steel under whatever pot or heat diffusers work well too. I can't get a true simmer on a 9k burner even with a diffuser, but its low enough for most things. Hint - I pseudo-simmer chili in an enameled cast iron pot on a simmer plate on a larger burner.

You might look at Bertazzoni for some contrasting cooktop layouts in the same price range. I also suggest looking at open burners vs. sealed burners discussions. Your outdoor burners are open and sealed burners are different.

We ended up buying a range where all of the burners are dual ring so no pan has to be located in a specific place and every burner can be a power burner or a simmer burner. I'm keeping the diffuser tho, until the new one proves otherwise. The dual ring burners I hope will help even out the heat when using high power (the new one isn't here yet). They are a compromise between the open burner ranges that we can't afford and the middle-low end ranges that have not been a good fit to our cooking style.

That particular dishwasher is kinda middle of the road in performance. Mostly cleans, but not so hot on pots unless those are pre-scrubbed. Pretty quiet except at startup because of the inbuilt disposal, but not like a bosch. It's also a little expensive to run between the water heaters and the heated dry. You might think that you'll just turn that off - but you can't set a default drying choice - the preselected default is to use heat.

Other stray stuff:

Do look at induction if you can - its as responsive as gas, but doesn't heat up the kitchen as much and for some common tasks, it can be a lot faster than gas.

A $500 ref is a 30" ref. Make sure you consider entertaining needs (no case of beer in that!), and possible arrivals of children. You might want to plan on say an narrow pullout cabinet right beside the 30" ref, so it can become a 36" ref later or possibly a pair of 24" units... or look at your plan and see if you have somewhere else in the house you could add a ref later before deciding.

Even when you're looking around online, check the outlet or clearance center side - just in case.

Everyone here has a somewhat different set of priorities when they are looking for appliances. And as you can see above, they have different ideas about what appliance is worth spending on. You can borrow from everyone's perspective to develop your own.

It is worth writing down what's important to you - whether its styling, simmering, bread baking performance or heating up frozen Stouffer's lasagna. Having some clarity in what you want will help you make better choices,

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:42PM
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It's up to you, but I'd really rethink your "allowance". I've never had a house built but if I did, kitchen appliances would be a top priority and I would try to deal with it totally myself and keep the builder out of it - but I realize that some builders are inflexible on this kind of issue - they'll try to stick you with builder-grade appliances, charge huge premiums for upgrades, or give a paltry allowance. At least your builder is willing to give you an allowance so you can get your own appliances. I don't know anything about the cost of the house or your financial situation, but you really ought to look at the kind of appliances you really want and figure out how to swing. it.

By the way, I agree that a DCS cooktop would be much better than Dacor.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:54PM
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For a 36" five burner cooktop, I also would look at the less expensive DCS or even a Bosch which, IIRC. is sold by AJ Madison for under $900. The Bosch has standard sealed burners. so not as versatile as the DCS.

[EDITED TO ADD: just saw bmorepanic's post and I defer to the greater knowledge there on Bosch and Dacor.)

My experience with cleaning sealed cooktops is that stainless is no easier to clean and sometimes harder because it can scratch more easily than a porcelain enamel surface. What I've found makes a big difference is the depth of the burner wells and the material used for the burner hardware. With deeper wells (typical of the more "pro-style" appliances), the cooktop surfaces are a but further away from the flames, so less bakes on. The porcelain-coated single-cap burners on the Bosch will require scrubbing with Barkeeper's Friend (BKF) where (I think) the DCS is using brass components which are less likely to stain and spot. I'm guessing the Dacor will be similar but have no experience with it. I have my doubts about a magically more easy cleaning surface. I wound up buying an NXR stove a few months back. It has no magic anything and it's cooktop is one of the easiest to clean that I have owned. Only induction was easier and that was mainly because I didn't have to move the big grates.

And speaking of induction, your stainless pots may or may not be induction suitable. You need to test with a magnet. If a refrigerator magnet sticks, the pot will work on induction. However, a lot of stainless cookware is not magnetic. That said, induction has a lot to recommend it and there's a wealth of info and opinions here on the subject of induction cooktops. With your house being built, it probably would be a fairly simple thing to have a 240v 40a line installed for connecting an induction cooktop. Might want to have that done for future proofing in case you decide to swap out the gas for something else.

As for fridges, top freezer models are the most energy and space efficient and the least expensive to buy. SO, I would psend a bit less on the cooktop and apply the savings to a bigger fridge. Seriously, a 14.4 cu. ft fridge is tiny for a house where you will be cooking on a 36" cooktop. Unless you shop everyday. The current Maytags are made by Whirlpool (which also owns and makes Amana and Kitchenaid and some of the Sears Kenmore brand). Pretty much any top-freezer you buy without an ice-maker or water dispenser is going to have about the same reasonably good reliability. (Consumer Reports most recent membership survey of 82,000 members who bought a top-freezer fridge since 2006 show all brands having a 7%-8% defect rate. With ice & water, Whirlpool top-freezers are about as reliable but it starts climbing with other brands and GE has defect rate of 13% for top freezers with ice and water). You might want to look at the 18 cu. ft M1TXEGMY or one of the 17 cu. ft. Frigidaires which will run $700 to $800.

I have no recent experience with wall ovens, so I'll have to defer to others on that.

The dishwasher choice is another one where you might be able to get something better. Maytags are a Whirlpool product. Some Whirlpool made DWs have reportedly shorted out and burned out the circuit boards and several have started fires. Do a search here and you will find people with some pretty strong opinions and links to the sites discussing the controversy.

Consumer Reports generally favors Bosch, Miele, and Kitchenaids DWs in more or less that order. They like the Bosch Ascenta line best, some of which can be had from AJ Madison at the same prices as the Maytag "77" model you selected. IIRC correctly, the Ascenta's are supposed to cycle a load in 95 minutes while the Maytags run between 115 and 125 minutes, and the Bosch DWs are generally regarded as noticeably quieter that the Maytags and Whirlpools.

The microwave is a commodity product as you've doubtless already discovered.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 23:37

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Thanks for all the feedback - it's been very helpful.

As for our decisions regarding budget and allocation of funds - our budget is about as high as we can afford. That said, I think we can still go middle of the road and low on some things and wind up OK.

You bring up good points regarding the size of the refrigerator. Honestly, I'd looked at so many they all blended together. We realize we don't have a huge budget, but we were comfortable cutting back on the fridge and getting just a base model. The idea is to move this fridge out to the garage in a few years and then get the fridge that we really want. That's about another $1,000. But, if we do it this way, it's $1,000 that we don't have to put in the loan and pay on for 30 years.

On the Cooktop - it didn't even occur to me to think about how the burners are arranged - I just figured I'd figure it out along the way. You're right, I need to keep looking and thinking. I'll look more into the DCS, but I was initially scared off by the comment about scratching that I read on AJMadison. Since I'll be looking into Bosch for the Oven and the DW - any thoughts on their cooktops? I heard Thermador has some issues - so I though the same would be true with the cheaper brand.

We chose that dishwasher based on my wife's preference - she said the Bosch Ascenta SHX3AR7 was too small for her. Anyone have any thoughts on that? It looks like it's only a difference of 2" on the depth. I prefer the Bosch based on my reading and your recommendation. We will revisit that.

As for the hood - I like the relative low dB of the Kobe. We also have a small parrot - and smoke is not good for them. We were worried about cooking with gas with the bird - but we thought this range would help solve that. I'd also like to fry some on the stove, and though the range would help keep the house from smelling like hot oil and falafel.

I'm looking into ElectroLux oven now - but I've heard they have problems with their doors separating, is that true? I don't mind putting a little more money in the oven - but I was wondering about the reliability versus the Bosch?

And yes, you're right - we don't care about the microwave at all. We're going to hide it in a cabinet anyways.

Thanks again for all the wonderful advice. It's much nicer to get it here than from a sales person. Nothing against sales people, but I prefer the firsthand experience and honesty that can be found here.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Adding an extra $1000 to your mortgage will likely raise your monthly payments by less than $10/month. If you're hoping to save up for a $1,500 fridge I think it would be better to just put the extra $1,000 on your mortgage now and take the money you would be saving for the new fridge and make a larger payment on the mortgage. Thats how I'd do it. Unless you'd rather spend $2,000 on two fridges.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:47AM
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What do you guys think of this Thermador?

Thermador Masterpiece Deluxe Series SGSX365FS (Link at bottom)

It's $500 more than the Dacor - but I do like the simmer burner on the front and back. Is 9,000 BTU low enough to simmer. Any experience with Thermador? How about this vs the DCS?

Here is a link that might be useful: Thermador

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Regarding your parrot, I was surprised to find out that running the self-clean cycle on an oven was harmful to birds! Just something to be aware of.

When you are actually out looking at your appliance choices, REALLY look at them ... open the oven and move the racks around, move the grates on the stove top, look at the burner configuration and placement, as well as where the knobs are located. Will splatters from the stovetop land all over the knobs? Will the racks in the oven be large enough for your baking sheets? I had a range where the burners were placed so close to the edge of the cooktop that my countertops were always covered with cooking splatters. It was only when I started comparing it to other ranges that I noticed there were differences in the burner placement. Also, the diameter of the burners was so large that small pots couldn't be used effectively, and that irritated me. It's helpful to take a camera with you and take pictures of the different models that you are interested in, including their interiors. Then when you are home thinking about them later, you will have the pictures in front of you to compare features. Often the manufacturer websites will only show the appliances from one angle.

One more piece of advice ... don't make a decision on your first trip to the appliance store. Go home and think about it, then go back and look again.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Thanks for the advice, jellytoast. We know about the oven cleaning but that would be a horrible discovery otherwise with the bird. They also don't like non-stick at high heat.

At any rate, I just got off the phone with AJMadison - they also said to go DCS. They said the Thermador has problems and to save the $700. I'm impressed with the honesty.

Looks like we will be following BreezyGirl's advice. I'll also probably use the savings and get an upgrade refrigerator.

So far, very impressed with AJMadison also - as they are going to hold the order until we need it shipped, and can give us a ship date etc. Not what I expected.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Ok. Looks like I'm ready to pull the trigger on this. Thoughts?

$1199 DCS 36" Cooktop
$1549 ElectroLux 30" Oven
$912 Kobe 36" Hood
$1169 Frigidaire 22.6 CU Fridge
$624 Bosch SHE3AR75UC DW
Total: $5453.70

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:55PM
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I'd only reiterate what I suggested above ... check them out in person at a local appliance retailer before ordering online.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:10PM
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some musings:

Forget Thermador - not in your budget

Electrolux is nice, but not worht the xtra $$$ over the Bosch.

$500 is a disposable fridge, you WILL be buying another one within 5-7 years even if it still meets your space and style needs.

You should up your dishwasher budget - that bosch is junk !!! It has a two piece tub with the bottom being plastic. The majority of the rest is also lightweight plastic an low duty components. IT IS NOT a good value at $600. You'll need to spend close to $900 to get a good Bosch with a full one piece stainless steel tub and heavier duty pumps, arms, racks, ect....

The Kobe hood is nice , but a bit overkill for the cooktop and the budget. Save $200- $500 and get a less expensive hood. Lots of options @ 500 bucks or less in chimney style, traditional , and futuristic.

If you want to really save $$$, go with a 30" range. Bosch has one at around $2k that is stylish and fairly functional. Put the saved $$$ into the DW and fridge. You'll save money on the cabinetry and installation with a range also!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:27PM
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