30' Gas Cooktop 12,500 versus 18,000 BTU (long)

battmom4July 22, 2012

Hello, I appreciate anyone that can stick with my long post and give me advice. We bought a home with an older 30" 4-burner gas cooktop, that had been painted by flippers with a non-heat tolerant paint, so it needs replacing fairly quickly.

I am an average home cook that very frequently boils a large pot of water for pasta or potatoes (5 qts in a 9" pot) or soup (8 qts in an 11" pot). I want it to be on a back (or centered) burner so it isn't in my way and to keep it from the front of the cooktop for safety.

I need to know if a cooktop with a max of 12,500 BTUs will be enough for me. Along with MANY other threads and reviews, I have read the thread, What do you need high BTU for? (http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg0402111118842.html?0060c1fd8632a578f18cfcadb5c225a7&rnd=JEbp2), which seemed to imply that 15,000 BTU minimum is what I might need.

Unfortunately, my husband talked to a salesperson and found out that cooktops start at around $400. So when I told him that after my research I had narrowed it down to two cooktops, he basically had a cow when he found out they were both just under $1100. FWIW, they were the LG LCG3091 30" Gas Cooktop and Dacor Distinctive DCT305S/NG. Both are only available in SS (black would be preferred, but not a deal breaker). The highly rated LG has a 19K dual center, but may be cramped on the other burners, and ironically put both of the next largest burners on the front which hems in the knobs. The relatively unreviewed Dacor has 18K on the center with its next largest on the rear and a small simmer very accessible in the front, which is a better configuration for me. I wasn't looking for 5 burners since I would rarely use all 5, but these had their high output burner centered as opposed to in the front as with most 4 burners. (I also considered the Bosch NGM8054 but many reviews said the grate height was higher than normal, leading to a lower actual cooking temp).

My fall back is the black Whirlpool W5CG3024XB. It has a 12.5K BTU burner on the front right and another on the rear left, nicely staggered, allowing the hottest cooking in the front and my boiling in the rear. The other burners are 5K in the front and 9.2K in the rear. It also has continuous grates. It is way less expensive, on sale for around $500.

So, I would have to totally convince my husband that 18K versus 12.5K BTUs is worth $600 more. This is our forever house, so we are erring on the side of more expensive when push comes to shove, but he simply believes that any old gas cooktop will be good enough.

I just want to boil water quickly. Per its sticker, my current cooktop is a 1995 Frigidaire, model NF71203179. It lists all burners as 9K, 1.6 mm. All of its burner caps are the same size, just over 2.5" in diameter. On the highest flame, the pot just covers all of the flame and fills that burner's grate. I just tested it and it took 18 minutes to boil 5 qts in my covered 9" stainless steel pot. After about 10 minutes, I pretty much felt like it should have been boiling already.

Any experienced guesses on whether the the proposed 12.5 BTUs will save me only a couple of minutes or more like 6-10 minutes? Do I need to jump to the 18K BTU to boil my 5 qts in more like 10 minutes?

I appreciate any comments regarding gas cooktops.



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If all you're concerned with is boiling water a little bit faster than, no you may not need the high BTU burners, but they will also aid in the recovery time when you put something into the boiling water and need the water to come back to a boil. On the other hand, What they also will get you is the ability to do stir fries, sear steaks, etc. I have 17.5K burners on my range and most of the time I use them below halfway, but when I need high heat, they deliver.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Have HIM wait on the pasta water to boil and see if he thinks he needs more power. In fact, have him do this at least 3x a week for a couple of weeks and see if he thinks a paltry $500 is "worth" it to him to make quicker and better meals for the next 15 years that you are in the home.

Don't forget that if you up your firepower, you may also need to up your ventilation needs.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:01PM
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If you are convinced that the extra $600 will mean a little less inconvenience/annoyance for you on a daily basis, it's well worth it. If your dh doesn't agree....he can make dinner every day. Every single day.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:08PM
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Thank you for the replies. Hubby said he would spend $600 on pre-cooked pasta before spending that much extra on a cooktop! However, I am now looking at compromises priced between $500 and $1100. I think I can get something around $800 that will have a "super boiler" (maybe a minimum of 14,000 BTUs?), although it will probably be a front burner rather than a back burner.

If anyone has had success in that price range, I would love brand/model recommendations. One that would boil 5 qts in 10, maybe 12 minutes, would be awesome.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:01PM
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Grrrr....it's not "extra" just because you can get something cheaper. You could just get get a couple of electric skillets if what you're going for is the bottom line cheapest way to eventually heat up your food.

Ok, rant over.

In that range, I think this is a good bet.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:07AM
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Have you considered maybe a standalone induction hob for your water boiling needs? Then the gas cooktop won't matter so much.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Have you considered purchasing what you want and telling hubby to just get over it? Or divorce? If he doesn't cook, then he's got no business telling you how and what you can cook on. If you want something, your wants shouldn't be dismissed by your other half. It's supposed to be a partnership. I'd bet you'd support him in buying whatever $600 new man-gadget he's had his lustful eye on.

An extra $50 for a year is giving up dinner out once a month. It's doable, even if you are on a pretty tight budget. And there's always scratch and dent choices and the Sears scratch and dent stores.

Do it. It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 10:29PM
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Thank you everyone! Encouraged by your replies, I started with looking at meangoose's link and renewed my search. I stumbled across a Frigidaire FGGC3045KB on a big L box store's site that was on sale for about 40% of the original $899 MSRP (still available at a huge savings if you add it to your cart to view the price). It has a 17,000 and a 12,000 burner. Although they are front burners, I am happy to get such high BTU at a savings. It has continuous grates and I was able to get the black that I preferred.

I was actually able to get it for even less through price matching at a local retailer who will install it next week. Hubby was so happy that he went to the store and ordered it himself! I am confidant that jumping from 9000 to 17,000 will speed up my boiling significantly. Maybe I will even get adventurous and make a great stir fry!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 12:36AM
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    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:01AM
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I'm glad you found a good compromise between your needs and dh's budget. :) Good luck with your new cooktop!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:32PM
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If your main requirement is to boil water quickly, consider a turbopot . I bought one, and while it is not the highest quality stainless steel, it definitely boils water much quicker than any pot I own. There have been one or two posts on it here. The downside is that the pot with shipping may end up costing $125. If you find a cooktop at a scratch and dent sale, you can pay for it with the savings.

Here is a link that might be useful: turbopot

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 9:41PM
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