Help me pick out a gas cooktop.

rph1234April 26, 2013


I am in the process of buying appliances. I have purchased a kenmore elite double oven and refrigerator, but I am considering maybe going with a different brand for the cooktop. The size I plan to use is 36". My max budget is around $1500, but preferably I'd like to stay around $1000. It is going to have to be a cooktop that can run off of propane because that is my only option at this time, and being able to add a grill/gridle would be a big plus for me.


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36" rangetops start at around $1800,unless you go with some off brand sold on ebay. They look like this

36" cooktops start at around $400 but don't have built-in grills or griddles. Some come with grill or griddle accessories but you can buy those in any kitchen department in any store. They look like this

Are you looking for a cooktop or rangetop?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:58AM
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Thanks for the explanation. Cooktop is what I was considering, but my mind can be changed haha. What is the benefit of the rangetop compared to the cooktop, besides what you mentioned about the possibity of built in grill/griddle?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:22AM
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In answer to your question, the problem with a cooktop (vs. the rangetop) is that the knobs take up a great deal of the cooktop's cooking surface. So you are paying for a 36" wide cooking appliance, but losing a certain percentage of cooking area just to the knobs. The advantage(s) of a rangetop are that the knobs are facing you on the front, rather than taking up cooktop real estate. Also, some people don't like to have their hands be so close to the flame on a cooktop to use the knobs. Particularly the style with the knobs along one side (vs. the pic above with the knobs in the front-center) where you might have to stretch your arm along the entire side of the cooktop with potentially splattering pans to turn a knob. Some cooktops also have deterioration of the knobs' finish over time with exposure to heat, but that is not with all cooktops.

With a rangetop, you won't have to do a cut-out of your countertop as you would have to do for a cooktop. So, if down the road you want to switch out your rangetop for another one, it would be an easy switch, vs. a cooktop where the cutout is specifically to one cooktop and you won't fit a different cooktop. We have seen this issue several times on this forum of people not being able to find a new cooktop to fit the counter cut-out of their old cooktop.

Also, many people prefer the rangetop's more "professional kitchen" look, but that's personal preference.

The disadvantage of a rangetop is that it is more costly than a cooktop.

This post was edited by akchicago on Fri, Apr 26, 13 at 8:59

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Remember than venting your cooktop goes hand in hand with how powerful it is. The more BTU's, the more CFM you need. And you need to figure that in with your budget. If you choose a pro style cooking appliance, it will need pro style ventilation. And makeup air. It gets long an d involved. And expensive.

Pick your battles. But, I'd personally leave the idea of grilling to doing it outside and just go for the consumer grade appliance like a GE Profile and a basic 400 CFM hood above.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Good post above.

But not all localities require make-up air.

I have 1400 cfm hood and I don't have makeup air.

Ask your contractor or your local government offices where they give out construction permits.

So knowing the above which do you want? Cooktop or rangetop and what is your budget? Because $1500 won't do, much less $1000, if you want a rangetop. Unless you are willing to look at scratch n dent, ebay and craigslist and do some serious bargain hunting.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:43PM
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thanks for all the info

I didn't even think about the rangetop needing a bigger hood, meaning more money. With that in mind, I think a cooktop is what I want.

I have been looking at them and there are just so many different options available it's confusing. Open/closed, different burners with different BTUs, etc. I just want a good reliable cooktop.

I may just have to do my grilling outside too if that's not an option with the cooktop. It would just be convenient to be able to do it inside also, but that is no biggie.

I mentioned $1500 is my budget, but that is not set in stone. Feel free to convince to me spend more.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:51PM
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Rph123 - If you get the grill and a Bluestar rangetop which has very high btu's, you will need that expensive high-cfm hood power. But if you get a rangetop with no grill, and a more moderate amount of btu's, you can be fine with a 600-900 cfm hood. You should get a decent 36" hood even if you get the lowest powered cooktop on the market. I am always surprised when people spend a lot of time and energy choosing a cooking appliance, and don't do the same for a hood.

If you prefer a cooktop, and don't want the more expensive rangetop, that is understandable. But don't don't cross off a rangetop because you think you need to have a hood with 1500 cfms. You will need a decent 600-900 cfm hood with a 36" cooktop too, regardless. If your budget is stretched, then the cooktop is definitely less expensive, but you will have to add the cost of hood to the cooktop too.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 6:45PM
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What they said.....

Also go look at the grates. Some wiggle around a lot. That bugged me. I wanted squares or rectangles too, not round ones. Gives me more area and less chance of a pot sliding off on a round grate. IMO anyway!

Watch for a cooktop that will reignite itself when the flame blows out.

Good luck! Peke

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:03PM
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The cooktop pictured above is the best bang for the buck and probably your best bet..

BlueStar RBCT365BSS ~$1800

You will want at least a 36" hood or 42" if you prefer.

About 600 cfm. If your city's cutoff for make up air MUA is 450 or so cfm I would go with that.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 3:23AM
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That BlueStar cooktop looks very nice, and it has very good reviews. I would think this would be a big step up from the Kenmore Elite I was considering. Most of the reviews I have seen on the BlueStar have been the range though. Does the cooktop have the same burners as the range? Can you remove the grates on the cooktop and use a wok, or is that only with the range? The bosch 800 series is another that I read good reviews on. Anyone use it?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 5:19PM
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I have a KA sealed burner cooktop running on propane. I was displeased to find that the conversion design from natural gas to propane changes the range of valve/knob rotation required to go from low to high. On a couple of my burners, the max heat is reached before the knob reaches the medium setting position. I suspect that this problem applies to any sealed burner cooktop that is normally designed for natural gas and requires conversion. I would also suspect that this would not be an issue with classic burner units using air shutters for air control.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Definitely get a feel for the grates and what your cooking style is. I have a five burner with a big center burner that has a wok ring. Love it with our heavy cast iron wok and just use a long cast iron rectangle griddle that i have had for years...flat on one side, grill on the other. Mostly grill outside even in the NY winters. Some of my smaller sauce pans do not sit well on my grates and tilt if not placed properly. Just make sure it is an overall flat grate surface so pans can slide on and off a burner with ease. Just my 2 cents and wish i chose more carefully. Will a fixed griddle be flush with the other burner grates.?
Also, with a drop-in, i can still have the two drawers under the cooktop. (hard to give up space in a smaller kitchen). Knobs along the front. I realize now that the knobs along the right side might have been better for me as i do all my prep on the left counter surface...but then i would be reaching around...
Have you used a stovetop griddle? We will do the random steak, (big costco thick ones that we cut in half for two, so thick they are almost square) ...grill on all six sides.
I always have to make a foil surround like a spatter fence. Great for corn cakes and toasting corn tortillas for tacos and panini, but i can remove it to free up burners for a different style meal.
This might be something i would consider,
My 5 burner, when using the large middle ring for pasta pot, the 'real estate' it takes does make the other 4 cramped.
I did a google image search and so many more options available now. Maybe narrow it down to your top 5 and re-post?
(I have the very affordable Bertazonni that is now very well but the grates should cover more of the surface area so very frustrating. Their newer model offered now is much better) and has an optional steel griddle.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 9:22AM
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For our kitchen remodel, we are going with primarily Kitchenaid appliances, except for the cooktop and hood. For those, we are going with Whirlpool. Sears recently had it on sale for $971.99. We ordered all or our appliances from Lowes and they price matched sales that we found from Sears, Home Depot and BestBuy. That allowed us to get in on the current Lowes appliance rebate.

We liked the design of the Whirlpool cooktop better than other brands. The area for the knobs doesn't steal away much space from the burners. The grills are recessed, so they cannot be slid around and scratch up the stainless steel, like other brands that I have seen. The grates also have no particular orientation and do not interlock together, unlike some other brands, making them easier to remove and replace. The burner capacities are just fine for the cooking that we typically do.

While going with a BlueStar cooktop or rangetop would have been nice, we just couldn't justify the extra cost. DW didn't really like the idea of the open burners anyways.

Here is a link that might be useful: Whirlpool Gold 36-inch Gas Cooktop

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 3:18PM
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