Help with Gas Stove important options

autumn.4May 25, 2013

Hi all!

I am still researching stoves for our build coming up. I have cooked on smooth top electric my whole life. For the build we have considered going to gas...researched induction but budget is more like $1500-1800 so that's about out. I see samsung has a freestanding induction that would be within my budget but I really like slide in. Budgets make everything so hard! I am sure by the time we get to appliances in a new build there will be no room for splurging. I want a slide in to avoid the side drippage and because I do think they look nicer but can't figure out why that seems to automatically bump the price up by $400-500 so that is disappointing as well!! I have had to push hard to have DH even consider anything over $1k (he thinks they are all the same, cook some food and be done with it) so expanding over 2k really isn't an option. :( When the time comes maybe I can find a floor model close out or something to help with cost but I am not counting on that.

I am trying to weed out what I think is important for a gas stove and what might be something I wouldn't miss or not worth the extra cost. With all of the different options it's difficult to compare apples to apples. I am hoping some of you seasoned gas cookers can give me some guidance on what I should be looking at as far as a must have and a nah - don't bother.

Some details - I do cook for a family of 4 but by no means a gourmet (I do not sear meats or do wok cooking). We don't eat out much though so stove is used daily - usually twice a day for breakfast and dinner. Big breakfast eaters at our house.

On to my questions:

triple tier burner - from reading I am assuming that helps with flame control and heating the pan more evenly? Speed up boiling water? Yes? Is this a must have?

burner configuration - I see that they are all over the place as far as btu's. I am not familiar but would think I'd want the smaller 5500 btu up front for simmering? Right now I mostly cook on my front burners and I prefer that (I might add that my electric stove low is never low enough and it drives me nuts). I think by moving from an OTR microwave to a regular vent hood maybe I wouldn't be bothered by cooking on the back as much as I am now? More open space overhead might cure that?

I have seen one GE that was within budget but the front burners are closer together which looks to me like they'd be hard to use at the same time so I knocked that one off the list.
fan placement and convection - Current range doesn't have convection so I've never cooked with it. I have read about fan in the back vs. on the bottom. Bottom airflow blocked by cookie sheets, pans so it does not work as well? Should this be a consideration?

griddle-we make a lot of breakfasts including eggs, pancakes and the like. I think we'd really use a griddle quite a bit but I see that there aren't many 30" 5 burner gas ranges and I haven't seen any that are slide in except...

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Admittedly, we don't do a lot of cooking, but we bought the GE Profile gas slide in range with the two front burners closer together because we wanted the SS surface underneath as opposed to the glossy black glass surface. I can honestly say using both burners at the same time has not been an issue. You may not be able to use two huge pots at once, but how often would that occur anyway? You will be able to use a big and medium pot at the same time.

If you are not into cooking, I say skip a lot of the bells and whistles and save your $. The only upgrade I got was convection, but it wasn't that much more. I would suggest a convection microwave...I love it. It serves as a double oven and you don't have to heat the big oven when making smaller portions. I baked a cake in there could also serve as a warming drawer if that feature is a lot more $ on a regular stove. I just pull out my electric griddle when I need it..not a big deal and probably easier to clean than one on the stove. You might save $ also buying your appliances online from sites like AJ Madison or Goedeckers. We bought all our appliances from Goedeckers...I was leery about it with shipping and all...but they were fantastic...everything arrived in perfect condition and I think I saved about $1,000.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 5:22PM
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joaniepoanie-Thanks for your insight. I haven't checked a convection mw so I'm not sure where that would fall with budget either. I appreciate your first hand experience with the burners closer together. I am most concerned with the handles having to face out or back or something and that 'bugging' me. Since I mostly use the front ones now that is what concerned me. I have been checking aj madison for reviews but I hadn't heard of goedeckers. Going from electric to gas is a bit unnerving since my electric is just straight forward - no differing power output and all that jazz.

Anyone else have any tidbits to share?


    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:40PM
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We bought the NXR freestanding which is not what you want nor in your budget. But a few things that we've noticed in the couple weeks since we've had it might apply:

  • All the burners are the same, and we find that we use the front two much more now, where before (electric coils) we'd use the back right a lot because it was the "big burner"

  • Where you point the handles matter a lot more with gas. If you have them "in" which we did a lot to free up work space on the sides, the handles get really hot. So you're right to think about the handles when you look at the different burner positions.

  • Our big Lodge two-burner cast iron griddle (which we really liked before on electric) is even better now; it's really easy to regulate the heat you want. Having the two burners under it the same does help with this. I don't think I'd waste the space on a dedicated griddle.

  • We had to move a couple of pans down to the basement canning kitchen because they're just too small and won't sit on the racks without tipping. If you can see a display, take your biggest pot and smallest saucepan to make sure they both will work.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 9:34PM
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joanie-do you know your model #? The ones I have seen on line seem to have the black glass top and not stainless. I am interested in that too as my current smooth top electric black glass is nearly impossible to keep looking clean!

elofgren-thanks for your response, especially on the handles and the griddle. I am sure my griddle pan would work just fine even on 1 burner as it's square instead of rectangular...but I will be taking my smallest saucepan and my big soup pot to see if they will work! I use them both often.

Can anyone tell me if 15-16000 btu is considered 'powerboil' or if there is something else to it? It seems that some come right out and say powerboil and others don't mention it but have similar btu's listed. I am hoping for a faster boil with gas compared to my electric.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 11:27PM
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The NXR has 15000 BTU burners. I put on a (large) tea kettle with 8 cups of water the other day, and put the burner on medium high. It took 11 minutes to start whistling.

The very definition of BTU is related to heating water. So for boiling water, a BTU is a BTU. The more you have the faster it'll boil, no matter what marketing label they apply to it. The only limitation might be how well your pot or kettle "captures" the heat. Some gas burners have very large burners that miss smaller pans at the highest level, wasting heat up the sides and melting your handles. We replaced our small Revere teakettle with a large Revere teakettle when we bought this stove.

Wikipedia tells me that 1000 BTUs is equal to 293.071 W, but I'm not sure if that conversion applies in the real world to gas and electric stoves.

This post was edited by elofgren on Sun, May 26, 13 at 7:29

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:28AM
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We now have a very nice pro style range, but are moving soon and leaving it behind. So DH and I went and looked at 30 inch major brand gas ranges.

Here are some things we paid attention to:

How heavy duty are the gates? Do they move or flex when you push down hard on them. Some seemed very sturdy and some seemed flimsy. I would only want continuous grates to move pans around on the stovetop surface.

How stain and scratch resistant is the surface under the grates? Some use stainless that seemed to scratch quite easily. Some had dark colored enamel, which I prefer because I think it is more scrubbable and looks better if it is not perfectly clean.

DH is does not cook as much as me, and is messier. For us as a couple, he insists on something heavy duty enough that he won't have any special rules to follow. This came up when I told him that glass cooktops would require him not to slide a cast iron pan around and to be gentle when setting down heavy things, and that stains and spillovers would have to be cleaned up immediately to prevent etching.

If I recall, the Samsung was our first choice after looking at what we saw. We still haven't sold our house or moved, so we are in the early research stage.

Hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 7:54AM
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Autumn---our model is PGS975SEP3SS. It sells for around $2,000 most places but we paid around $1,500. The burners are not the same size, but again, we don't cook a lot so it's not an issue for us. The grates are continuous and heavy duty. We also got the matching OTR microwave with convection--Model PSA1201RSS01 saved a few hundred on this as well, I think paying $600 something. Purchased both a little over a year ago. Have been very happy with both. Good's hard to narrow all the choices!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Thanks for following up Joanie. That is showing discontinued (of course as they change so much) but I will do some research to see what they have replaced it with.

Julie-thanks! I definitely want heavier duty grates but would like them to be able to go in the dishwasher if necessary as well. I will check the samsung too. Feel free to post back on what you get!

We just listed our house 2 weeks ago - purchased new appliances as our old ones were mismatched and on their last legs. The house definitely shows better with the new...BUT I have learned a few things with our new ones that will be left behind. Glass top is black - impossible to keep looking clean - dust, streaks, whatever. It's high maintenance. I wouldn't dare slide anything across it. My old one I had didn't seem as difficult but it had a speckle to the top and I think that must have hid the dust, etc.. It also has an expandable burner and so far I'm not really loving that either. It doesn't seem to heat consistently no matter if I use it on small or large. ???

I am curious about the 'stainless top scratches easily'. I have read that too and I'm wondering scratches with what? The pans are on the grates so I'd think it can't be from that. So in that case it scratches from scrubbing? I can't hardly imagine that. So many options. I really am looking for something that simmers when you want to simmer (my electric never is low enough to not burn the bottom if you don't stir regularly) and that boils quicker than what I'm used to...which also means STOPS boiling immediately when you turn it down.

Wish I could afford induction. :/

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:45AM
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I didn't read all the advice, but I wanted to address what your husband will/won't let you buy. A stove is a tool, and a hard-working one at that. The problem is it's mainly a "woman's tool". Does your husband own tools? Does he skimp and buy cheap tools or does he buy the best because he wants it to function well and last a long time? If the answer is he buys the best, there's your argument for induction.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:34AM
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may_flowers-believe me I have tried that approach. I have went round and round and to him a stove is a stove. It cooks food and he doesn't feel there is much difference between say a $800 stove and a $2k stove. I have used the tool analogy (and he doesn't buy top of the line but a good middle of the line which is where I feel I am at with the stove). I might have him come along and have a demo at the appliance store and see if that helps. He thinks we don't 'need' convection (doesn't help that his mother struggles with hers), electric oven, etc etc. He has agreed that he prefers a slide in and that also ups the $$$. He has a total mental block when it comes to appliances. I don't really care as much about any of the others but this one - it is an uphill battle! Because it's a new build I fear by the time we get to the appliances there won't be much left anyhow if we go over budget like it sounds most people do! Hopefully this is the worst of what we disagree on. Most other things we are on the same page and I am grateful for that.

Because as of right now we are making the switch to gas I have been researching btu's and all that goes with that - he has no idea about it and I did not so gently point out the other day that they DO matter.

He sees it as strictly cash outlay and that he could buy me 2 stoves or 3 for the price of a few I have looked at.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:02AM
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So basically in my given price range I can afford free standing induction or a gas slide in. Maybe style/price will adjust by the time I actually have to buy that I can swing a slide in induction.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:21AM
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I have convection and hardly ever use it. I don't think it cuts down on the baking time or browns better than a regular oven. Maybe it does for the higher price range of stoves, but I have a GE Profile electric glass top, which is supposed to have one of the better ovens for the price range--about $1500. But it was only $100 more for convection.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Thanks mayflowers! I am not so worried about convection with electric maybe? I have always loved the way my GE electric oven baked. With all gas though I thought I might? I have never really cooked with gas. My parents have it now but I'm not there cooking on it enough to really have say I've experienced it.

I need to narrow down my list of MUSTS. A hidden bake element is also one that I think I'd like to have.

$1500 is right in range for me. :) I think I need to give up on the slide in. It really bumps the price up so much. I don't understand why but it does.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:50AM
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I grew up with and learned how to cook/bake all electric. My whole adult life I've had gas (you know what I mean). I think gas is far superior on top of the stove and I honestly never had any problem switching to a gas oven. I'm 68 and have never used convection, don't know what I'm missing, so wouldn't pay extra for either dual-fuel or convection.

My stove is free-standing and it looks just fine that way. You're likely to have a riser of some sort in the back, but I don't mind that look. YMMV. As for messes down the side of the stove, I'm not that messy a cook but I've had the occasional drip and cleaned it up right away, no problem.

As for the the husband/tools situation. Never mind the argument over expensive tools. Does your husband let you choose his tools for him? I thought not.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:48AM
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linelle-lol! So true and absolutely not - he'd be in serious trouble if I did and would likely not have half of what he truly needed to do anything . :)

Very good point!

I think I need to go shopping alone and just spend the time to see/touch what is all out there and then go from there.

I am not so much a messy cook but my young boys like to help out and they definitely ARE. There have been plenty of egg and pancake batter drips down the side as they learn to cook a bit of breakfast sort of on their own with supervision.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:56PM
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I haven't researched it but what about an induction cooktop over an affordable oven?
I love love love my induction cooktop!!!
I get the functionality of gas (boil a huge pot of cold well water in 3minutes on the booster mode), but a the ease of cleaning of a electric.
Before this, I had a nice Kenmore Elite pretty high BTU range w/ closed burner. I hated cleaning that thing!!!
I'm not a big baker, so any decent looking oven fit my budget.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Autumn, I think you're very wise to go shopping on your own. Walk around, check everything out, ask your questions without any interference or sighs or shaking head. Ask all your questions, just you and the sales person. Sometimes--not always--a little tension can occur between a spouse and a sales person, esp. over someone's perceived expertise being challenged. Know what I mean? Get all your facts, decide on what you think would really work for you in your budget, go home and say, This is what will work best for us.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:29PM
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huango-I would love to do a separate cook top with wall oven and MW above it - that would be my #1 if you could have anything layout but from what I have priced that is even more expensive than some of the range's I've looked at. I am very interested in checking out induction. I hope the local place is able to do a demo for me.

linelle-thanks for your thoughts. We actually just bought new appliances for our house we are selling and dh asked this lady who worked in service if you really get more stove for the money some of the more expensive ones cost (mind you I am talking $2k that he thinks is outrageous) - "it just needs to cook food it's not rocket science" and she very casually and nicely said well there are differences and you need to take into consideration what is important to you when you cook/bake etc. and I own a WOLF because my HUSBAND is the cook and that is what he wanted! I broke into a HUMONGOUS smile and said well yes please tell me more! I think that took his breath away. It was awesome.

Ahhh, that was a good day. :)

Thank you for all of your thoughts and opinions. It is a leap changing from electric to gas, esp. with kids just becoming interested in using the stove. I need to tackle my due diligence in person and then go from there with my list of musts and wants.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:30PM
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Have you looked at Consumer Report? I would go with a gas range that scores high on reliability.

Actually, Kenmore has a slide-in for 1100 right now (sale, 480.00 off). And GE Profile and Kitchenaid for 1700.00, all stainless steel. IKEA has one, too, for 1200.00.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 4:38PM
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