gas cooktop - GE Monogram?

chaocaiOctober 18, 2011

We are thinking of replacing 36" electrical cooktop with gas one. It seems GE monogram ZGU385SMSS has met the criteria quite well: high heat 18K BTU (I do a lot of stir fry cooking with wok, prefer 16K+ BTU if possible) and low enough true simmer option, easy to clean. At the same time the salesman offered Thermodor SGSX365FS and Wolf. Both are 400+ more than GE. With research found several posts online (here and others) complains that GE monogram 36" has problem when water/fluid gets under the knob and repair cost is not low. It just hesitates my decision on it. Does anyone have this cooktop and would share their experience?

I also read here that bluestar open burner has even higher BTU which seems to fits better. Anybody used it before?

Thanks for any input.

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I think you would be much happier with the Bluestar.

You can get the BlueStar RBCT365BSS for $1800 with free shipping.

This is a link to three reviews by BS cooktop owners if you have not read it yet.

This is a link to a video comparing the Bluestar burner to a sealed burner(Wolf).

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluestar 4 $1800

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 7:03PM
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Thanks for your advice. Is open burner any less safe at all?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 9:13PM
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If anything I would say open burner is safer.

The heat goes straight up where you expect not across and up.

That is only if you are consumer reports super geek.

In the real world I think they are both equally safe.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 9:17PM
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We had got a 36" GE monogram 6 burner gas cooktop last year (ZGU36N6HSS). After installation we found that it was very slow in heating up stuff. Even a pot of water took longer to boil than our 15 year old previous stove. We called GE many times to complain about this. They finally sent a technician and we showed him what was happening. All he said was - that is how it is supposed to work!!! Even when we timed and showed him how long it took for a cup of water to boil, which he agreed was slow!

Thankfully the store we bought the monogram from listened to our issue, and they allowed us to change out our stove. We got a Thermador 6 burner stove (PCG366G Thermador 36" Pro Gas Cooktop 6 Burners - Stainless Steel
), and LOVE it!!! Have used it nearly a year. On the newer models they have the star shaped burner that is elevated - it is so easy to clean below each of these burners. And things heat up so quickly. They also have a simmer option (I have not used that much!)

Also the star shaped burner - really does not have an issue with smaller diameter pots on it. Whereas with the GE monogram stove, all 6 burners were same size, so the smaller pots had a lot of heat going outside than than really heating the pot.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 9:35PM
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Thanks Rado for your sharing. I think with two of above, I'd stay away from Monogram then. I'm glad you like your Thermodor. I'm sure it's a good choice.

deeageaux, for open burner Bluestar RBCT365BSS, as a cooktop instead of rangetop, how is it cleaned? I know people saying they can take a tray from bottom and bring it to the sink. For drop-in cooktop, is there a similar thing to take out?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2011 at 11:41PM
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No, you lift up the top panel and place aluminum foil.

Every so often replace.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 2:04AM
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I have GE Monogram ZGU385NSNSS cooktop and it works great. I got it 2 months ago. (I think Rado's is no longer manufactured and was a rangetop not a cooktop.) The knobs don't get hot (or melt for that matter). Water boils not instaneously but plenty quick for me. The center burner is wonderful with plenty of room for big pots. The cooktop never does any clicking which i experienced on my old cooktop. The low simmer setting works on all the burners and is great for keeping food warm. Its a breeze to cleanup - just wipe up what you see on the top of the cooktop. The grates are substantial and you can easily move the pots from one side to another. I am able to have drawers directly underneath it (check out depth allowance for cooktops under consideration). I also like that the knobs light up when a burner is in use as well as the indicator light.

Just another opinion and experience to share! good luck.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 9:30AM
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A friend of mine has a GE Monogram gas cooktop, and it has to be one of the hottest things I've ever used, lol. Those burners can sure put out some heat.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Thanks TominLA and sophie123 for your input. Evidently every product/manufacturer has complaints/complements on them. I want to see a live bluestar cooktop to understand the open burner concept. And thanks deeageaux for your cleaning tips! Very thoughtful indeed.

I have the same problem as others who werelooking for bluestar on this site, where to find it? I live in Seattle area and AJMadison apparently doesn't sell it to this part of country - no matter how good the price is. Stores don't usually have it in showroom. The quote I got on the phone are $2100 - 2300. Quite more than Monogram. Will stop by Albert Lee's. Are they credible appliance store?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 5:23PM
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deeageaux and others who own Bluestar cooktop, do you know if it requires a wok ring for a round bottom wok?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 5:33PM
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About three years ago Albert Lee was giving away BS ranges(not really but below what some dealers were saying was their cost).

Abe's of Main was the one selling for $1800.

They will not ship to you?

BS does not require a wok ring but a few prefer it and think it allows the most efficient combustion.

Some speculate there is not enough oxygen flow for maximum heat. No one has done a scientifically valid test on this.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 7:37PM
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I think those who speculate on oxygen flow issues of a wok on the BS are wrong for two reasons: 1) the flames are always blue under the wok indicating proper combustion and 2) The air/gas mixture is controlled by the air shutter on the pipe rather than the surrounding air.

Close up the shutter and the flames are yellow and lazy. Open it up too much and the flames "jet", i.e. too much added airflow. That's what affects oxygen to the burner head.

Think of any "flame" or rocket situation, even an internal combustion engine. The air/fuel mixture is always done before combustion not at the point of combustion, or literally external to it.

I can think of no science to suggest that there would be an issue in this regard.

Anyway, I use a wok frequently on my Bluestar and it works extremely well.

Hope that helps!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2011 at 9:07PM
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Stooxie, I replied with my phone only realizing that it didn't show up on this site. Do you have a bluestar cooktop or rangetop? Do you have a round bottom wok and if so do you have to use a wok ring? What I see in the store is that cooktop doesn't have two burner grates (inner/outer) as rangetop has. So with rangetop special grate it allows wok sitting on the outer grate if you take inner grate out. The cooktop however doesn't accomodate such a setting. I tried a round bottom wok on the cooktop without ring, it seems OK but not quite stable.

BTW thanks for your encouraging scientific reply.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 1:20AM
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I live south down I-5 from you. Albert Lee is a very credible appliance store. With the closing of a few local stores recently, they're one of the only big names still in town. Did you know they have a clearance outlet now? When you make decisions on which appliances you want, check the outlet first or ask your salesperson to do it. Last I checked, they had quite a few built-in fridges.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 4:00AM
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Hi Chao,

I have a 48" RNB range so the rangetop would be the equivalent. Here are two pictures of a wok on top of the grate.

and with the flame on:


    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Wow, Stooxie thank you soooooo much for the pictures! They look beautiful by the way, your stove and wok!

It seems working great with wok on yours. As said the cooktop doesn' have the inner/outer grate design :( I probably have to get a ring for my wok if I get the cooktop.

Thanks much for your help!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 4:27PM
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I'll check the outlet out.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 4:30PM
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I was searching for info on why my 36" GE monogram cooktop (inherited) was just so lazy and I found this thread. My wife kept complaining that water takes much longer to heat up compared to the electric range at out previous place and I thought it was just a feeling. Then I put the wok on for the first time on it, middle burner, max heat and the damn thing just wouldn't hold the heat. It was smoking on pre-heat but I drop the broccoli in and a bit of water to steam and I see no steam. And here we were, delighted to have a gas range in our new place and it turns out our old electric range worked better for actual heating if not control.

Further research shows that the center burner with the max heat is the worst for wok as the sealed burner leaves a massive cold spot with all the flame going around the side!! Push the broccoli aside and throw garlic/chillis at the bottom and a whole lot of waiting is needed.

Cleaning and looks are secondary to proper heating for us. The flame pattern links on youtube were very illuminating and many of the comments here reflect that. Thanks for all the recos, I will also look at the bluestar.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:12PM
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Just want to say I've got a bluestar 36" cooktop from Albert Lee's appliance. They have a good selection of bluestar products in the showroom. Just need to install it and fire it up! Thanks everyone for your feedbacks. This is really a good forum to learn, share and chat!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Thank you chaochi for letting us know you made a choice. I'm sure you will be very happy.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 7:54AM
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"I am taking the liberty of emailing you since I can't find much info on this BS cooktop. I am seriously considering it but don't know how it holds up and how it 'looks' after a ferw years. Would you kindly tell me how you like it now and if you would buy it again? Any repairs? How easy is it to clean daily and when you have a 'spill over' (soooo worried about this)? How is the Stainless Steel holding up (scratched, stained, hard to clean)? Do you like the knobs? Anything you hate / love about it? ANY input would be SO appreciated! Thanks so much!

Received an insite message from Vivi88, but I can't reply with email because the sender didn't let GW reveal the address.

Have to come back to this topic and update in hope the vivi88 will see.

- I like my Bluestar in general. I stir fry with wok ALL the time. BS has high BTU but it's still weaker than a real stir fry cooking would need I'm afraid to say. But this is as far as I can get for Chinese style cooking.
- Spill over is a headache. I had to take the burner apart to clean underneath. The good news is it's easy to take part and put together. It's really simple.
- Tiny oil drops splatters all over even with high raised wok. We put down foils in between burners to make clean easier. You'll definitely need a very powerful vent. We got Zephyr (the most powerful model). Then the vent itself needs serious cleaning.
- Stainless steel holds well. Knob, is very essential. It is made of metal and you'll understand it needs to be that way when you use the range. The burner gets very hot while cooking. If the knob is made any cheap material it'd melt long time ago. They are easy to clean - just take them off and clean then put back.
- I don't like the grate on top of the burner. Again it doesn't allow wok's bottom to sit firmly on. The grate is built with flat bottom pans in mind.

Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 5:12PM
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stooxie - I'm in love with your wok and can't stop thinking about it since I read this post a week ago. It's so pretty. LOL!! Do you remember where you found it?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:12PM
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