Inexpensive open burner ranges or cooktops

jgHGOctober 25, 2013

We are about to remodel a small kitchen in an old 50's house. I'd like to keep the cost to a minimum because I don't know how long we'll stay there.

I like the idea of an open burner ranges or cooktop, in concept they seem more efficient because the flames are directed up and not toward the sides. A quick search turned up names like Bluestar, FiveStar, Capital, etc., all of which are above and beyond my preferred price range. I did find some basic open burner ranges on the other end of the price spectrum on ajmadison, including Summit , Premier, Hotpoint, and Frigidaire. Please see link below.

My question is whether anyone has had experience using one of these basic ranges? Pros/cons? Am a little concerned that all these burners seem to have a limit of around 9000 BTUs, but hoping a more efficient flame pattern will offset it. I want a gas range that is safe, fairly easy to clean, and has good efficient flame spread. It would be great if the cheaper models fit the bill, especially since I don't really need a very fancy oven. Any suggestions comments are appreciated!

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by jgHG on Fri, Oct 25, 13 at 13:27

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The only way you'll be happy with the low end stuff is if you don't cook. It's wimpy, and the build quality is pretty bad.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 3:42PM
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I'm going to expand a bit on what GreenDesigns just said and reinforce it, too.

There is no magic in burners being "open." It really and truly is function of design and build quality

More efficient flame pattern? You mean like the star burners of Blue Star (formerly sold as Garland) and Thermador and the multi-oriface ring burners that Capital uses?

Well, unfortunately for you, all of the brands you listed are using plain old-fashioned burner rings with "mushroom" caps --- much akin to the sealed burners you find on other major brand stoves. That capped design does not give you the benefit of a flame pattern that goes up rather than high-flames flowing heat around (rather than into) pots.

As you note, a 9k btu burner is apt to seem underpowered and limited .

My only disagreement with GreenDesigns' comments are that I think you can cook on these stoves if you have to For instance, if Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina came through my neighborhood and I had to rebuild form the ground up, would I refuse one those Premiers or Hotpoints? Of course not. I would be grateful for being given one. Just as I would be happy and pleased if, after the disaster, I were given a beater car to drive.

I had a Premier 24" in a rental about 20 years ago and have seen (and used) several 30" models since then in places that friends have rented. I know I can use them to cook a very decent Thanksgiving diinner and have done so.. But, no way would I buy one for myself if I had other choices.

A friend got 30" open-burner Frigidaire in the mobile/modular place he bought in our mountain town. Buying the place was a financial stretch. (Our state has a third world economy with first world real estate prices.) He is keeping the old Frigidiare. He can cook pretty decently and has made the stove work. I wouldn't say he was happy with it, the 9k-btu open burners being no great shakes for his cooking.

These old, bargain-basement designs ere not easy to clean. The ovens are small and the manual clean versions are onerous to clean, at least in my experience.

Except for Premier, they are all pretty darn cheap, in price and build quality just as GreenDesigns says.

The Premiers (and Premier Pro models) are different only in that, as far I have seen, they retail for higer prices than the others. Perhaps Premiers are built better than the open-burner Hotpoints and etc., but the ones that I have seen did not seem any better to me.

What seems particularly telling for me is that carried the Premier Pro products for a few months, got a lot of pretty negative reviews and dropped the line.

So, the conclusion for me is that, if you really want an inexpensive open burner gas stove, you may be better off fnding a used Garland on Craig's List or else acquiring and...

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 11:12PM
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I think jw has hit most of the issues correctly. I just want to reinforce his comments about an "open burner" in itself is not going to give you the superior and more efficient flame pattern. I have said this many times over the years on this forum, open burners can be divided into two categories, commercial style and residential style. As far as I know there ONLY three to choose from in the commercial style and those in order of appearance in the marketplace are bluestar, capital, american range. All others use a residential style burner with the mushroom cap (as jw puts it) and the gas jets around the outside perimetre, shooting the flame in an unbelievably inefficient way out and around the pot.

Its actually a bit of a pet peeve on this forum how there are so many "open burner vs sealed burner" debates whithout clarification that the "open burner" being debated is the commercial style. This leads new people that are researching to beleive that all open burners are of similar design.

I think this all started many years ago on this forum when bluestar was the only commercial style open burner on the market and there were certain well meaning prominent members on here proving the superiority of the "open burner" design.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Thanks for everyone's feedback! Built quality aside, what everyone says about the flame spread really makes sense. Before reading the followup comments, I actually went out to Home Depot to see one of these things in person. They had a GE model that is similar in concept and yeah I have to admit the bulky mushroom caps did not give one much hope for having efficient flame pattern.

I guess for me its back to picking something reasonable from the sealed burner crop. Since I'm not much of a cook, I just can't justify getting an expensive commercial style range for this particular house.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Of the sealed burner consumer grade ranges, GE gets pretty good marks from many different avenues for their reliability. I don't know what your budget is, but you can get something fairly decent for if you start at around $700 in their brand. They also have some upper end consumer grade ranges like the 2.9K Cafe that give you quite a bang for your buck with double ovens, a big BTU burner, and a grill/griddle. If your budget is between those two extremes, you should find something that will satisfy your needs and your budget.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 1:15PM
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While not necessarily inexpensive unless found on sale or floor model, I had a 36" Dacor cooktop that was very reliable and cooked many a good meal.

What's nice about the Dacor cooktops is their stainless steel finish is very easy to keep clean, something Dacor is know for. It looked good ten years later when is was going out the door, replaced by a range.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 1:34PM
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this is my first post here. last year i built a new construction house and used this website for lots of info. i have the Premier Pro Series P36S148BP open burner gas range. so far i have no problems. works like a charm. one thing i was looking for is all my burners to be same BTU. plus i had a budget constraint, and premier pro series was in my budget for 36" gas range. apart from i had to tighten some screws to make everything tight, i have no complains. plus it is 100% manufactured in USA. price just could not be beat ($1250). nothing came close to that price for 36" stainless steel gas range. since the OP doesn't know how long they will be staying in same house. i would suggest not to get very expensive range unless they are going to be there for a while. This are just my opinion and am not affiliated with the company in anyway or form. Thanx!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 2:32PM
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I am also inclined to go with a cheap open burner. I'm not as concerned with efficiency but more adjust-ability. I have a cheap sealed burner GE and it has what I would describe as medium high to medium for it's range. They added a simmer burner to make up for the fact that the main burners have such a limited range. I have used several cheap open burners in rental places I've stayed at over the years an never had such a poor excuse for a stove. Simmer burners and full sized grates to move your pot to the simmer burner came on the market at the same time as sealed burners. I am convince it is due to an inherent flaw of the cap over the burner. I could be wring though.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 6:33PM
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