Induction range hob layout

yeboSeptember 2, 2012

I'm having trouble with whether the layout of the hobs "really" matters for me in the choice of induction ranges and would welcome opinions/experiences. I don't do canning or burner-spaning things. I've always just adjusted to the range in the place I lived.

Now I see layouts with 1) the big hob(s) in front or the big hob(s) in back. Anything you can tell me about how many big and smaller and where they should be will be welcome!

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Hob layout is a matter of personal preference, and probably 99% of the people just do not care. At this phase of my life, I do have preferences. Just call me one of "the 1%".

We are going with Thermador (made by Bosch) in our new kitchen. The cook top is in an island and will have the telescoping downdraft. I want the largest burner near the back, because (duh) that will seat the tallest pot or largest skillet.

I do not want to put my arm over a large, boiling pot or frying skillet to reach a smaller pot on a small hob behind it when I'm cooking on all four burners. Our current Jenn-Air has two large burners and I rarely use the one in the front for this reason. It also makes sense to me that the tallest pot and widest skillet be directly in front of the telescoping downdraft.

Our second choice is the Bosch. We can save some $$$ there and layout is identical, so at that point it came down to the controls. I have seriously tried to like the controls on the Bosch unit, but that dog won't hunt. Having the extra $$$ in our pocket would be nice, but hubby and I both prefer the controls of the Thermador.

The largest hob on both the Thermador/Bosch is significantly larger than the ones on some other brands that meet our requirements, so size wins out.

Cooktops are like cars. They'll cook our food and cars get us to work. We really don't want to buy a car whose dashboard & controls layout make no sense to our brain. What works perfectly for one person is a disaster for the next person.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Don't you wish we were really members of the 1%?

My largest hob - out of 4 - is also in back, which I love for boiling. But when I'm working in a big pan,like browning meat that needs to be turned, I need to reach back over the control panel to get to it. I really wish I had two big hobs, with one in front for when I need it. But in general, I agree with Cavimum, better to have big hot pans in the back so you don't have to reach over them.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I'd like to emphasize the point Cavimum mentioned about hob placement in relation to ventilation.

If you have an excellent hood, perhaps this won't matter, but its particularly clear if you have to use a downdraft vent. Marginal hoods may pull air unevenly from one side or the other (or, from back / front). You want the hob that generates the most effluents, probably the largest one, closest to where the hood sucks best.

Aside from this concern, hob placement is a matter of choice and depends on the foods you most enjoy cooking.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 2:11PM
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To me, a large hob means you are using a large cooking
'vessel', (pot or frypan), and those can be very heavy.
My perfect arrangement would be a small and a large
in the front, and the same in the back. But that's
just my opinion.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 2:20PM
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We have a 36" Thermador cooktop with a layout that makes sense to me. As Cavimum says, the biggest, and most powerful, hob (3.3 kW) is center, back. The second biggest (2.5 kW) is front, right. After that the two left, front and back, are identical at 1.8 kW. And the right back is the smallest at 1.4 kW.

We have overhead venting, but having the biggest hob near the back with nothing in front means you aren't reaching over it and risking being scalded. I use the right front one the most for everyday cooking, and the right, back one the least because I can get a very low simmer on either of the left hobs.

It works for me.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 5:52PM
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I would have preferred a 36" cooktop, but the cutout we had was 30" so it was easy to replace what we had.
I have the Bosch and bought it for everything but the layout. I had fully thought that I would have preferred the largest hob in front. As it turns out, the back is not that much further and I actually like the layout as it is.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 7:20PM
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I think the question is about ranges rather than cooktops. As the posts demonstrate, there is more flexibility with separate ovens and cooktops. It is possible to fit a cooktop over an oven in a lower cabinet, but there can be space constraints because the cooktops are often wider than their their nominal width might indicate. Very few 30-inch wide induction cooktops will actually fit into a 30-inch wide North American base cabinet. There is a discussion of this on "The Induction Site" which is linked below.

The cost of going with a separate induction cooktop and electric oven can be a budget buster, and may involve additional costs. For example, it might or might not require some rewiring because of the need for having two separate 240v feeds (one for the cooktop, another for the oven.) Some houses are already set up for this but others may not be. Sometimes it is easy to do, sometimes not. In my old house, I would need have to have a subpanel installed or possibly may have to relocate and replace my house's existing panel with a larger one, assuming I figure out how to shoehorn the assembly in without a complete cabinet overhaul.

So, I have been pondering induction range choices, too. I can say that hob layout does matter, but one size does not fit all. You have to think about how YOU cook, how YOUR kitchen functions, and what YOUR personal preferences are.

Having the big burners in the back allows for having a touchpad on the control top at the front of the stove. Maytag/Whirlpool ranges do this. Some people like having the big pots in the back for reasons such as keep them away from small children. My own preference is to have the biggest burners in front, but I also want the flexibility of being able to run multiple large pots. The downside to this set-up, is that the controls go on the backsplash. Right now, I've only found three induction stoves which have controls on a front panel, the slide-ins by GE ($2500-$2700) and Electrolux ($3200-$3400) and Viking's induction range ($6700 and up depending on color options). These costs are above the stove budgets for some folks (me being one in that economic boat.)

SO, in looking at the less expensive induction ranges, I ran into another set of issues about how well the hobs accommodate pans that are off center. I started a thread with some questions I had, but I'll summarize the point here as an example of how layout and design figure into the choices.

This question came up when I was looked at the the new Samsung NE597N0PBSR 30" freestanding induction range. It has two 9-inch square burners on the left side and, on the right, an 11 inch diameter circular burner in front and a 6-inch diameter burner in the back. I took some pans along to get a sense of cooktop layout for the range. What I found was that my 12 qt. stockpot on the back burner gets pushed off center by the backsplash. The front side of the pot overhangs an inch or so over the boundary ring of the front burner. The stockpot's magnetic base --- which is what the induction burners "see" ---- is fine. It completely covers the back 6" burner and does not intrude over the front burner. The problem is that the pan flares wider and the sides overhang the front burner space. When I put one of my large frying pans (around 12 inches in diameter at the top), the stockpot pushes the frypan forward two inches and some. As far as I could tell, the frying pan's 8 1/2 inch base was still within the front burner boundary, but it is off center. I do this kind of thing all the time with my existing gas stove, but I do not how well it will work or not work with induction. The Samsung user manual indicates that it "may" not work with induction. I do not know one way or the other, at this point.

So, more to think about.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Induction Site

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Unfortunately, my kitchen is so small, that a separate
cooktop and wall ovens are out of the question.
So...a 30 inch range is my only option. I LOVE everything
I've read about induction, but there are so many to
choose from. So many of them, (read: ALL OF THEM),
have so many bad references, that I'm ready to just
'toss a coin'. But maybe that's what the manufacturers
want you to do. With my luck, no matter what I do,
I'm gonna get $crewed, blued, and tatooed.
Why, oh why does this always happen to me, and nobody
else, (okay, a few others, but ME always).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 12:53PM
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