Input on Gas Cooktops Needed

NewSouthernBelleSeptember 10, 2011

I have "narrowed" down my cooktop selection to the following four: (I started with like 10.)

Bosch NGM8654UC

Thermador SGS365FS

GE Monogram ZGU385SMSS


Here's my spreadsheet with each of the specs to compare side by side:

Any thoughts, experiences, or light to shed on these cooktops? I'd love your input, especially b/c I am at a point where I am spinning my decision wheels.

As you might guess from looking at all of them, I like a powerful burner in the center. I do some wok cooking but more than that my favorite pan is a 3'' deep saute pan that I use for searing and browning. Currently I have four burners and at times, especially when I am cooking Mexican, I do use all of them at once. I do some sauces and the low simmer setting intrigues me but I don't know how often I would use it. I know the Thermador clicks on ExtraLow simmer but I haven't been able to see/hear/experience this first hand. Can anyone link me to an online video showing it? I know it annoys the heck out of some and others don't even notice. TIA!

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You're right, they're all much the same and the designs are a wee bit boring. Consider the Capital MCT365GSN.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 10:27PM
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SeeBuyFly - hmmm interesting suggestion. On paper it looks like it would be a great cooktop, I just don't know how I feel about the look. My inital reaction is that I don't like it. It seems too beefy and since I am short, I don't want to have to stand on my tip toes to stir my pots. I tried looking up how high the grates sit but I can't get the pdf to pull up at Ajmadison or Eurostove.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 12:29PM
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One thing I would look at in person - which one has the grates closest to the burner. I know when we we looked at gas ranges I noticed a big difference in the height above the burners. (I too am short & find every inch counts) Also which ones go the lowest for simmer? I know I love my DCS dual burner for simmering.
I do think the star shaped burners look like they would give the most direct flame.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Beefy grates are a good thing for durability and quality (or at least the appearance thereof). I think the grates look good, not old-fashioned like the others, but not space-age or flashy in a design-over-function way.

I looked at a lot of cooktops, and I can't say I've noticed that it's any higher than any other cooktop, but of course it could be 1/4" higher or lower. Pictures can be deceptive, and no one gives the specific measurement you're looking for. It's not so easy to find one to look at---in the Chicago area, Plass displays it but not Abt.

Because of the manufacturer's insistence, no one will advertise it for less than $1299. Ww got it for $1100 from a local appliance store.

Here is a link that might be useful: The best picture is in this PDF file

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 2:54PM
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If you want a low cooktop above all, the Jennair JGC8536BDS has a recessed lower surface such that the grates are almost level with the countertop. But it's at a lower price point than you are looking at.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 3:10PM
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If you want a lower cooktop, you just lower the whole section of counter with at least 15" on both sides. That's one of the main points of choosing a cooktop over a range.It's flexible in configuration. You might also want to investigate rangetops, as those will usually have higher BTUs.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 5:02PM
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I was going to say what GreenDesigns said about rangetops. Are you "married" to the cooktop idea? A rangetop will give you more room for your pots, because you don't have to carve out the room for the knobs on the cooking surface. You also won't have to worry about turning knobs that are way-close to hot pots, or knobs that are close to the flame. Rangetops are more expensive though. You will save a bit by not having to have your countertop scribed around a cooktop's shape, but in the end, you will pay more for a rangetop. IMO, so worth the extra expense, plus I like the look better, but that's just my $.02.

One point about the Thermador - people love the star-shaped burners, give better coverage under a pot than the circle burners, which leave the center under the pot without flame. So, out of your choices, I'd give the advantage to the star-shaped burners. Also, out of your choices, Thermador has the 2nd highest btu's; I'd rather have more btu's and simply turn down the heat when needed, than have lower btu's and be frustrated at not having enough power to sear a steak or stir fry. I think a 5000-5500 btu burner isn't very useful - it's a one-trick pony that can only simmer; again, I'd rather have higher-power and simply turn it down or use a simmer plate, than have a low-power burner that isn't very versatile.

However, be aware that Thermador's low-simmer feature will click as it cycles. The clicking bothers some people, others couldn't care less. Others have said they have so much hubbub going on in the kitchen, they can't hear clicking when the Thermador is on simmer. So you should decide if that simmer clicking would bother you.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 6:32PM
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Oh, sorry, I see your note at the end of your OP that said you are already aware of the clicking.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 6:33PM
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I wouldn't say I am married to the cooktop idea over a range top but I'm not sure I want to spend the extra money. I also don't like the industrial, commercial look (which I know a lot of non-cooks pay for just to have that look). Somewhat silly but I have small kids and I don't want them messing with the knobs on a rangetop and/or having to put the child-proof covers on the them.

GreenDesigns - I have considered doing that (lower the whole cooktop counter top area) and might, especially if I go the custom cabinet route.

akchicago - thanks for the input. I hadn't give much thought to that fact that both the Bosch and the LG have a burner than only goes up to 5000 and 5500 BTUs respectively. Thanks for pointing that out. Indeed it is pretty useless and only a one trick pony as you say. Although, I currently have a 30 year old electric coil cooktop so I don't know how to compare the heat that a 5000 or 5500 BTU burner would give off. Also for that reason, I am used to having the controls uo high and it doesn't seem to bother me. However, my current one is 36" with only 4 burners so maybe adding a 5th burner will indeed make it feel more cramped.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 8:18PM
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I have the GE Monogram about a month now and think its great. (I would say I'm not a gourmet cook but it's worlds better than the 30" dacor i had previously). The center burner is very roomy and i'm able to use all the burners at once although the centering takes some adjusting (the grates & burners don't align where you think they do).

I had liked the Thermador the best because of its looks and i thought the star burner was cool. But the monogram was more powerful and had better simmer capability which i really wanted. And was cheaper. The clicking sound on the Thermador concerned me as i hated that sound on my old dacor which it often did if if it was very low. Just another thing to break too.

Couple of other things. I was going to get a rangetop but discovered i really needed more top drawer spaces. Those drawers under the cooktop are very useful (you lose them with a rangetop). And personally i'm happier with the look of the cooktop. Cooktops are a more sleek look.

Another small thing i like with the monogram is the lights on the knobs. Not sure if the other cooktops have those. It lights underneath the knob when in use and the actual setting a bright red which is a nice safety feature.

I wouldnt sweat this decision too much. Most of the gas cooktops are pretty good - you can't go wrong with any of those other choices (although i never looked at LG so not so sure about it). My sister has Bosch cooktop & loves hers.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:59PM
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If you are interested in drawers under the cooktop, you might want to look up how much clearance each model needs under it. You might get a little more drawer height with one model versus another.

We are moving from a 36" Thermador cooktop to a Culinarian range. The main cook in our family hated having the knobs on top because they got dirty so fast from grease and were a pain to clean. It was recently uninstalled and I was cleaning it up for its new owner and the knob seals are all torn up and there was lots of gunk inside.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Zartemis makes a good point. With the monogram, my cabinetmaker cut down the sides of drawer to fit. They did that based on the specs of the cooktop provided. So it is shallower - about an 1" less.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:02AM
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Sophie - so you have three drawers under the cooktop? I think two is pretty standard but you were able to get a third by having your cabinetmaker make the top one more shallow? I am very interested in this. Can you post a picture please?

Yes, they are all so similar and good brand names that I think anyone of them will be fine. Perhaps there is not only one right choice but several good choices and any one of them would be "right".

Zartemis - Did you house's cook like how the Thermador cooked and handled? I guess not enough to keep it though.

My next step will be to bring three or four of my favorite pots and pans to a showroom and configure them on each cooktop to see if I like any one more than the others, or dislike for that matter.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:28AM
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Sorry I was confusing on the drawers. If i had gone with rangetop i would have had 2 36" pot drawers underneath the rangetop.

With the cooktop i have 3 rows of drawers underneath - 2 top utensil drawer side by side ( like 18" wide each) and 2 36" wide pots drawers underneath it. The space where the knobs go for the rangetop takes the space of the top drawer. Its a tradeoff as the rangetop is more powerful and has more cooking space & one more burner.

Here is a photo of the top drawer underneath cooktop relative to a regular showing the cut down side:

When the drawers are closed, you can't see the difference between it and a regular top drawer.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:52AM
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That is fabulous Sophie. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to show that to my contractor/cabinetmaker and KD.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 4:14PM
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Regarding the Thermador one point we were seriously considering a Thermador range. At first I thought the clicking would really bother me, but then I realized something important - the clicking only happens when you want a *really* low simmer, lower than the simmer our current stove (a 1980's vintage Kenmore) can achieve. Simmering at a "regular" simmer is possible without engaging the Xtralow, you only need the Xtralow if you want an extremely low simmer like for melting chocolate or something else equally sensitive. This was something I honestly didn't see happening too often in our kitchen, though yours may be different.

Also, in connection with how low the simmer is - the length of time between "clicks' when using the Xtralow is really very long. Its not a constant click, click, click. click...its more that ever couple of minutes the burners click on for a little bit, then turn off again. Before you decide against it, I really recommend you see it in action.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:51PM
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Is there a reason you ruled out DCS? When I first started appliance shopping, I planned a 36" cooktop under $1500. I researched and researched and decided on the DCS for the dual flow burners. I liked how all of the burners could go from very high to very low. I didn't want to have to think about which burner to put a pan on because of how high or low it could go. (The center burner is 17,500btu.) I'm busy enough when I cook to factor in pan placement.

DCS cooktops have a good reputation. Just throwin' it out there. Based on what I've read about Monogram, I would not buy that brand.

Here is a link that might be useful: DCS cooktop

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:23PM
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Jsceva - thanks for pointing that out. I rarely melt chocolate (oh wait, I have NEVER melted chocolate) so indeed, it might be a rare occasion that I need the Xtralow simmer too. So what did you end up buying?

Breezy - Umm, DCS... no I hadn't considered it and I don't really have a reason why. I don't think I have seen it in a showroom and that is where I have done some "research" - which basically means do I like how it looks and feels in person. But I would think there is a showroom in the area that I can see a DCS cooktop. I don't know if I love the look but I will add it to my list to do more research.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:52PM
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I can say the dual burners on the DCS are great. I can hold rice for 2 (1/2 cup dry) for over 1/2 hr with no overcooking or sticking. I can true simmer things without a boil on all 5 burners.
I have a chef friend that has and loves his Thermador cook top. I am going to guess and say he has had his about 8 yrs. The click when it is on simmer doesn't bother him.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 3:06PM
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Just to let everyone know, I am 95% sure I have decided on the DCS. Thanks to everyone for encouraging me to check it out. It does sit taller than the others but I will live. The burners are all brass and besides the power burner in the center, they each go up to 11,000 BTUs (maybe it is 12k - I can't remember now) so no having to be stragetic about what pot goes where while you are cooking. And you can't be the price - $1199!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 3:41PM
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I too am considering the DCS for many of the same reasons. What did you end up purchasing? If so, what has your experience been? I was excited to find recent and relevant conversation regarding this topic, as it can be overwhelming.

Thank you all

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 7:49AM
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taftna - yes, I have decided to get the DCS, however I haven't gotten it yet so I can't tell you what I think of it. My kitchen is still 2 months from being completed. As of right now, I plan to get all my appliances from AjMadison. I will report back though. I will say I looked at all of them in person and the DCS burner grates do sit up higher than any of the others. (At one point I could have told you the height of each of them but I have since forgotten those details.) B/c of this, and my short stature, I am actually only having my countertops be 35" tall (instead of the normal 36".) I'm really excited about it though. HTH.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 11:03PM
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We put in a 36" Thermador about 18 months ago and it works great. The clicking and simmer are not an issue, and we enjoy the griddle and wok ring as well. It is installed in an island with a granite top. My wife and I share the cooking (not 50/50, but I do my share) and neither of us has any complaints, and we have not had any problems.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:15PM
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I would go with the Dacor DCT365S.... wonderful beadblast finish you can clean without scratching the surface. It also has 5 burners 2 12,000 btu 2 9000 btu and one simmer sear in the center that goes up to 18,000. I also love how the knobs are stainless and in the front so I don't knock them with my pots and pans. Oh only cost $1199. Dacor is a premium brand like Viking and Wolf. I also bought it because Dacor is an American Company and their products are made in America

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:43PM
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