I'm looking into getting a rangetop with 4 burners a built in griddle and charbroiler.
I'm trying to figure out which one is better, or if there is one I'm not considering.
Thermador does not offer a rangetop with charbroiler only electric griddle. I strongly prefer gas griddles.
Wolf has the hottest chairbroiler on the market, an infrared unit, but has no temperature variability. It is either freaking hot or off/warming up. There is very little time between veggies being cooked with beautiful grill marks and burnt to a crisp. If all you were doing was grilling beef steaks this would be the choice.
Some Wolf owners sing the praises of the low simmer capability of Wolf burners but they don't heat very evenly across the bottom of the pan and don't have a lot top end power.
1) Capital Culinarian
2) Bluestar RNB
Both Capital and Bluestar have very even and powerful open burners with Bluestar able to get a bit lower simmer and Capital a bit higher power. Google gardenweb bluestar culinarian for further discussion on these burners.
Bluestar has a traditional charbroiler while Capital has a hybrid that allows temperature variability while getting temperatures higher that Bluestar but not as high as Wolf.
The three griddles are roughly equal performance.
As an actual owner of a Wolf range with sealed burners who has cooked extensively with them and they cook as evenly as any burner with reasonably heat conductive pans. If you cook with thin pans or steel or cast iron, all poorly heat conductive, there will be a pan size that is optimal for each burner. No one burner is optimal for all pans. We have had extensive discussions on this. But to cut to the chase, here is a video of a pan, 7 inches in diameter, of sugar syrup. The pan is old Revereware. If you thought you needed even more even heat, you could go with aluminum or copper pans.
The Wolf sealed burners get hot enough to sear steaks and I almost never use it at the highest heat or they might burn. Yes the simmer is very low. Anecdotally, people say they have adequate simmer on BS and CC but the company does not reveal the BTU ratings on the low end of their burners so that you can compare. They do for the high end of heat. If you stir fry for a lot of people or need to boil water fast, you might want to have the high BTUs.
Consider if you want open or sealed burners. There are people on both sides that think one is easier to clean than the other. On low to medium heat, there is almost no difference in heat to the pan. On full heat there is more flare on all burners and this can be more so with a sealed burner due to the burner cap. This varies depending on the engineering of the burner. On skillets, larger than 10 inches, on full heat a little flare can be a good thing.and provide more even heat than heat at the center of a pan. People who use a wok a lot might want more centralized heat on high.
If you search on these forums, you can find out about the service on these brands.
Consider if you want all different size burners or more the same size.
I wouldn't "rank" these particular ranges because each is very different and will meet different needs, but consider how you cook and what will be the best fit.
Here is a 10 inch skillet on Wolf regular burner, full heat. I can't think what I would make in a smaller pan that I would use full heat. Wolf and CC have a small pan burner.
Here is a link that might be useful: seeing is believing
I used to cook professionally on open burners and knew no other way. I currently have sealed burners and I feel like the flame licks up the sides of the pan, almost dangerously. I use a ton of mini pots because we don't use a microwave. We reheat in these little pans all the time.
I have a simmer burner but almost never use it, it's TOO low! I love the power burner because I am able to boil water so fast.
I do want it to be as easy to clean considering it's not a smooth cooktop.
I also have a griddle feature now and I use it all the time but it can also double as a 5 burner for big parties, otherwise I'm good with 4 burners, a griddle and a charbroiler... Thanks thus far!
What rangetop do you have now? How do you heat your small pots now? All of these ranges have big burners and can lose heat around a small pan. This is why they have added small pan burners which may be a very different thing than some "simmer" burners.. Bluestar could conceivably customize your range top with 2 small burners and you would still have 22K on one or two, all where you want them. If you know what your burners now are rated, high and low in BTUs, you could compare. Wolf small burner is 9200 Btus at the top and goes down to 300 BTUs. The high end is equivalent to medium burners on many ranges. There may be simmer burners that are very low only.
Here is a great video that shows the BlueStar burners, high and low. I love the French top. This would be wonderful for a big paella!
BlueStar burners video
This is a picture of CC. Note the size of the flame in relation to the pots, especially the small pot. This picture does not have the recently added small pan burner.
If you want that type of range, you can change your cookware a little. It would be easier than trying to find something to fit your cookware. You can get a relatively small capacity pot that is a little wider which would be helpful on any of these burners.
I consider the MW a very limited use item but it is helpful to heat things that you would heat in a small pot. We keep a small one next to the frig on a shelf.
Over the years, I have owned several gas ranges(open and sealed) and cooked on many more and never had the issue of the flame going up the side of the pan on either, unless using a very small pan and have the flame on the highest setting.
Try to find the ranges you are considering live so you can try them out.