Help with 30" gas cooktop

mjsbthFebruary 1, 2013

Hi All,

Just purchased a house which has an old electric 30" cooktop. We are avid cookers and rely on gas stoves. Thus, we're in the process of picking out a 30" gas cooktop to replace the original. However, there is no hood ventilation, so we are debating whether or not to get a downdraft cooktop. I've heard the downdraft is basically worthless, but some ventilation, if effective, wold be good as the house has an open floor plan. I guess I have two questions:

1). Is a downdraft worth getting, or won't it make any meaningful difference?

2) if the downdraft doesn't make any meaningful difference, ahold we just get a five burner cooktop instead?

2) any recommendations on 30" that has a good high heat and good low heat (that won't break the bank)

Thanks in advance!!

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lee676

I first must ask - if you don't have overhead ventilation, why not install an overhead hood and ducting rather than a downdraft cooktop, which also will require running new ductwork from the underneath of the cooktop to the outdoors (losing some of your cabinet space in the process). Only if you have easy access to the lower floor (i.e. your kitchen is above an unfinished basement) but not overhead (i.e., there's an upper level of rooms rather than an attic above the kitchen), the ease of running a downdraft may outweigh its disadvantages IMO.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:43AM
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jwvideo

There have been several recent threads here discussing drowndraft vents.

However, I'm not sure I understand the situation, which makes me add to Lee676's questions.

When you say "there is no hood ventilation" and then ask about getting a downdraft, does that mean you are thinking about a installing non-vented downdraft? Unvented hoods are virtually useless, and an unvented downdraft would be even worse.

Or, is there maybe an existing vented downdraft (say, if the cooktop were one of the old Jenn-Air electric units)?

Or, is the cooktop on an island or an interior wall?

Or something altogether different?

As for gas cooktops. I suggest you try searching. Use the search box at the bottom of the appliances forum page, not the top one.

Have you considered magnetic induction instead of a gas cooktop? They have heat as high as anything you could get with a gas burner and excellent low temp performance, and adjust even faster than gas burners. Have you read any of the extensive postings here about induction? You might or might not find it suitable, but do look into it if you have not already done so as induction it might (or might not) make the cooktop replacement easier.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 12:36

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:29PM
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mjsbth

Hi. Thanks for the responses.

My wife has no interest in learning about induction.

As well, the current elecrtic ccoktop that we're replacing does have a down draft vent installed and operational .and the cooktop is in a counter that might as well be an island, but actually hooks out from the wall in an "L"" shape.

Does that help? And I won't be installing any hood or side ventilation system due to tightening our belts as a result of purchasing the house. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:00PM
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deeageaux

Downdraft is useless.

Particularly for a gas cooktop. The most powerful are strong enough to pull a little steam/grease through the ventilation but they turn off burner at simmer or a bit higher.

What is your budget for a gas cooktop?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:07AM
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mjsbth

Thanks! I really don't want to spend more than $1500.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:17PM
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jwvideo

There are several kinds of downdrafts, but it sounds like you would want one of the taller retractable models (sometimes called "pop-ups"). Basically, it raises up out of the counter when you want to use it and retracts flat when you are done. IIRC, several of them have their intakes up 12 inches or so above the countertop when in operation. They should connect into your existing vent tubing.

I see you have just signed up here and might not be familiar with the search engines. Again, use the search box at the bottom of the "appliances forum" page. Try using "downdraft" as your search term. That should get you five or six threads discussing these units in the last six months or so.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:35PM
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Whit461

JWVideo wrote an excellent write up on NXR range he bought at Costco. Replaces his older GE Dual Fuel. We are remodeling and replacing a cracked electric glass cooktop. Bought a range, but were in the market for a 30" cooktop. Gas. Looked at many big names, and ended up with a GE Monogram.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:23PM
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deeageaux

Under $1500 I would look at Thermador.

At ~$1600 Bluestar is much better.

One of the great things about the BS is you can really wok well. But without a rangehood vented outside your kitchen will fill with smoke if you try to do a real wok.

Boiling water for pasta or grilling a chicken breast should not be any more of a problem with Bluestar than with any other lower powered cooktop.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:55PM
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jwvideo

Thank you for the compliment, Whit461, but I am only one of many who have contributed to the NXR threads.

The OP wants a cooktop for a peninsula and NXR only offers ranges. Also, NXR comes with a built-in 4-inch high oven-vent backguard. It is not removable and there are no options for other venting. I think those things would make it unsuitable for mjsbth's peninsula location.

[EDITED 2-22-2013:
Well, the NXR now can be used in an island configuration, after all. On Dvorson's web site, I discovered that there is now an island trim kit for the 30" and 36" NXR ranges.)

Likewise, I'm not sure if deeageaux's Bluestar recommendation will work, either, alhtough Thermador does make cooktops. AFAIK, the BS unit is rangetop rather than a cooktop. For $1500 to $1600, I think Thermador made or makes a 5 burner 30" cooktop which likely could be dropped into the space occupied by the existing electric unit.

But, If I were looking for a gas cooktop, I think I might be more inclined to look at the very similar Bosch 30" five burner cooktop. Bosch and Thermador are part of the same company, with Bosch being less premium priced. IIRC, the Bosch 30" five-burner cooktop is about $500 less than its Thermado corporate sibling, running around $1k. The $500 savings could go towards a telescoping (aka pop-up downdraft.

A decent downdraft can be pretty expensive, so the savings may be welcome. My recollection from a pass through our local Lowe's was that Bosch has a pretty decent 30" downdraft which rises up to 13 or 14 inches, but it cost something like $1100 or $1200 which was as much or more than the Bosch 30" cooktop. Seems to me that I saw a Maytag or Kitchenaid "retractable" with a 12 or 13 inch rise that cost something like $900. Frigidaire had a pop-up with only a 10 rise for around $650-$700.

The least expensive telescoping unit that I recall hearing discussed was Broan's Eclipse (??) which was less than $500 but only raises up (I think) about 8 inches high.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Fri, Feb 22, 13 at 17:30

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:18AM
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JAM_SF

I currently have a 30" Thermador cooktop that has performed well, but am remodeling and was considering a 36" cooktop to get the 5 burners. Are the 5 burners in a 30" Thermador or Bosch placed such so that you could actually use all 5? I usually cook with one large stir fry type pan and maybe a pot or two. My current 30" 4 burner has a grate in the middle that I just use for setting hot plates on. I would ideally like to keep my 30" Thermador oven below it, I have no complaints with it. If it get a 36" cooktop then my stove and cooktop would be mismatched and I would waste 6" of cabinet space around the oven. Any advice would be appreciated. Don't really have the budget for a range or a new 36" inch oven to go with the 36" cooktop.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:42PM
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