Best 36" Cooktop, BlueStar? Something better?

missmeghan702November 7, 2013

We're looking to replace an electric cooktop with a 36" gas drop-in. I've pretty much narrowed my search down to the BlueStar 36" drop-in (RBCT365BSS) and just want to be sure I have made the best choice. This would be the easiest fit without having to modify the cabinets or countertops. Not sure if there's any benefit to going with a rangetop or full range instead (we have double ovens in another part of the kitchen) I also need to find a hood, ideally a canopy style that will fit in the space that currently holds the under cabinet microwave.

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The cooktop and the rangetop differ slightly in terms of the grates if I remember correctly. I don't think you can do true wok cooking on the cooktop but I could be mistaken.

Also, the cooktop does not have the pull out drip tray on it, so you lose that feature. Not a big deal, but just another difference between the two.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Yes, I would go with Bluestar.

I would definitely get a 24" deep hood.

Less expensive Broan Elite.

Mid Price Kobe

Premium Bluestar or Modern-Aire.

Benefit of Bluestar Rangetop over Cooktop. You get a drip tray, the grate-bowls you can drop a round bottom wok into without a wok ring, and the knobs are on front where they stay cool and clean even with oversized pots/pans. And obviously 6 burners vs 5.

Benefit of Bluestar Range over Rangetop. Cheaper to buy range than rangetop plus separate gas oven. You have the oven underneath the vent hood where it is properly vented. Baking smelly fish? No problem.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:30PM
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If by true wok cooking you mean round bottom wok cooking you can do that on the Bluestar Cooktop you just need a wok ring.

Or you could use a flat bottom wok.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:38PM
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I dont think Wok cooking is even a factor for us, but since so many people mention it on here maybe I just dont know what I'm missing. LOL But I am glad to know that at least I'm on target with the Bluestar, I can actually thank the THS forums for turning me onto the brand. I'd looked at Wolf and Viking, but couldn't find anything positive enough to consider them seriously.

With a Toddler, I think I actually prefer the knobs on top versus on front and I like my double oven, especially the top one used most being at eye level and again, it (and the buttons) are out of reach from my kiddo. We were pretty much set on a cooktop or rangetop, but with the cost of a hood I just dont know if a rangetop or full range is even in the budget. We do plan to replace the double ovens if we can't replace the white fronts with stainless steel. I actually hadn't considered the venting factor at all, which is definitely a consideration with how open our new house is. I will have to chew on that one a bit.

What model Bluestar range should I compare it to, knowing I have about 36" max of space for the range and hood? It's against the wall placement, so I was told a 36" hood is sufficient. And if anyone knows the price point for that size range, that would be helpful.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Also, do you think I should go with a 600 or 1100 cfm hood?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:08PM
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You want to compare it to BlueStar RNB Series RNB366BV1 ~$5600

I love woking with my Capital Culinarian so much I wok some taco fillings. I can deep fry small items for two or three people without using so much oil because the oil pools in the center with very even temperature. I have not purchased Chinese take-out since I took my Culinarian on its maiden voyage about a year ago.

In your situation you want a 36" wide x 24" deep hood.

600 cfm is sufficient 99% of the time.

An 1100 cfm blower will make less noise from 50 cfm to 600 cfm than a 600 cfm blower but obviously quiet is not a necessity but a luxury.

When something is burning and there is a lot of smoke 1100 cfm is nice.

If you do get the range and you have 4+ burners plus the oven going at the same time having 1100 cfm is nice too.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Here is our space. I measured about 25" from the bottom of the microwave to the top of the counter. Does the bottom of the hood need to be higher than that?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:10PM
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Oh and deeageaux, thank you very much for the thorough advice! :-)

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:36PM
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Not if it is metal.

25" is fine for a SS/Metal hood.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:45PM
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The hood should sit higher than just 25". There may be even spelled out as minimum 30" in your local building code. Typical heights are 30 to 36, the lower the better the effluent capture.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:55PM
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There is no such local building codes in my area.

Yeah, 30" to 36" is typical. 30" for metal hoods and 36" for combustible/wood hoods.

My guess is Meghan's kitchen is to her local code and the Microwave vent is 25" above counter.

The Vent-a-Hood distributor here in LA County has their metal hoods at 24" inches above cooktop in their display area.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 12:13AM
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FWIW, we survived toddler-hood with our 36" RNB range without any disasters. It just took some reinforcement to not touch the range and that the oven sometimes was hot.

Our range has an island opposite it, so there's a lane between that we could discourage her from going in when we were cooking. We also had lots of parties with kiddos that I trust less not to touch a knob- also didn't have any issues.

My point is- I'd work on the "nurture" side of the issue rather than not get what you want. Your toddler(s) won't be one for that long.

On the hood- I'd pick one and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for mounting height. I think our VAH is 30" above the counter.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Code or not, I'd find a deep hood (which I'd recommend) very awkward at 24". Get something a bit lower profile and I suspect you'll gain a few inches over the height you have now. Look at the actual dimension of the air intake or effective capture area itself, not just the finished depth of the hood.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Just went through the Blustar "cooktop vs rangetop" research myself, just bought a 30" cook top, but not installed yet.

The grates on the cooktop are exactly the same as on the rangetop, so you lo se nothing in cooking space (unlike other brands).

Re wok cooking, you can remove the grate and that leaves a perfect bowl that fits the bottom of the wok (there is a video of this out on Youtube somewhere)

Re dimensions: the cooktop is a bit deeper than most other cooktops - 22", so plan your countertops accordingly. It is also thicker and will take about a 9" deep cavity to hold, so you will lose a drawer below the cooktop (vs. 4" for other, lesser, cooktops). Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 12:30PM
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If you haven't already considered induction it may have certain advantages over changing to gas. You wouldn't have to run a gas line, but might have to upgrade electric service. It's faster than gas and doesn't get the entire kitchen hot like gas does. I suspect that gas has more of a venting requirement than induction.

However, if you've already invested in copper bottom pots you might not want induction. It only works on pots & pans to which a magnet will stick.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 1:55PM
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We went with a 36" BS rangetop with a Zephyr Tempest II hood set at 36" above the rangetop as I had no intentions of hitting my head on the hood as was the case in our rental house while our home was under construction. Initially, the builder installed the hood at 30" which was code, and luckily I was on site checking out construction and noticed. I had them raise the hood while I was there. Lower certainly would have been more efficient but usability was a factor. As well, with 1100 cfm, it's almost capable of sucking the pan out of the house!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 3:04PM
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