Blue Star Rangetop vs Drop In Cooktop

goin2swimNovember 9, 2012

DW and I are doing a kitchen remodel. We'll pretty much gut the old kitchen, so counter depth and custom cabinetry can accommodate whatever we choose. We will have a wall oven and a 30" drop in cooktop or a 30" rangetop, but not in an island. Overhead ventilation also. We've done research plus hands-on comparison of gas vs induction. We've been able to see a BS rangetop firsthand, but not a BS drop in cooktop.

Aside from the burner BTU differences we know about from the specs, we'd like to ask those with hands-on BS cooktop experience about the following. How does it break down for cleaning compared to the rangetop? No slide out drawer with drip pans - correct? Grates are square and don't appear to offer the option of setting them up on their feet at an angle for an even lower simmer temp - true? How about wok cooking with a grate removed? Does a wok fit down right over the burner like with a rangetop?

Price difference for us is about $1200 less for the cooktop, so wondering what functionality we'd be compromising.

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I don't think you will find a single person with experience cleaning both the cooktop and rangetop. One or the other. So in part the answer must be theoretical.

Maybe you want to xpost this in Appliance Forum?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:57PM
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Regardless of the brand, I would choose a rangetop over a cooktop. A cooktop requires a specific cutout of the countertop. Should you want to switch out the cooktop down the road, it will be difficult to find one the same size that will fit into the cutout. We've seen posts about this issue several times on the forum.

Interesting you asked in particular about functionality - in a 30" size that you mentioned, the knobs on the cooktop will take up valuable cooking space. Even if you can't see a Bluestar cooktop in a store, just check out any brand 30" cooktop, and you will see what I mean about the knobs on a 30" cooktop. Plus, I personally don't like reaching my hand for a knob that is right near the flame. People opt not to get a rangetop because rangetops are more costly, or because they don't like the more beefy appearance over a cooktop. If neither of these factors is an issue for you, I recommend the rangetop.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:33AM
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I've had a cooktop and now have Wolf rangetop.

As mentioned, the knobs on a cooktop take up cooker surface space. AND the knobs require constant cleaning because they're always collecting spatters and dust. Vs the rangetop where the knobs are on the front of the appliance & w/ the Wolf, tucked in under a ledge (don't know about the BS). We've been using the Wolf for several months and I've yet to clean the knobs!

The Big Factor that pushed me to a rangetop was Cooker Surface Real Estate. I'm a stovetop cook primarily, have a garden and do some canning. With the rangetop, I can fit two large canners, front to back. Have a 36'' 4 burner rangetop w/ center griddle so, theoretically, I could fit a large pressure cooker or water bath canner on every burner. So far, I've had only two going at one time with the other burners occupied (lids on one and large stockpot of pasta sauce or tomatoes on the other.) I've not had any regrets yet about chosing the griddle over a 6 burner cooker. Griddle, when not in use, makes a good landing spot for utensils, etc.

A drop in cooktop has a more streamlined look and the countertop is continuous unlike a rangetop that slides in and you have the space between the appliance & counter that can be difficult to keep clean. I've not had much problem with that...counters are temporary. When I get real counters, I'll look into those little bridge strips that fit into the seam to prevent crud getting trapped between.

If you're just a casual cook, probably none of this matters but, since you're looking at hard core appliances like BS, I'm assuming that you're a pretty serious about cooking.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 6:35AM
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We debated the same thing, and we chose the 36in BS rangetop and love, love, love it.

The slide out drip pan makes cleaning very simple (and we are messy cooks, lot of Wok cooking), and not having to reach up to use the knobs is a huge difference (our old electric cooktop was a drop in).
I know 1200 is not a small amount of money, but if I had to make the choice now after using the rangetop, I'd still spend the extra $.

As someone mentioned, you probably won't find anyone with hands on experience with both, but check out youtube for videos- we found some demonstrations on the BS rangetops on there, so there may also be some for cooktops.
Good luck, and either way I think you'll love your Bluestar.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 8:34AM
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Thanks all for the helpful opinions. It's good to bounce this off some knowledgeable folks. Yes we are passionate cooks and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It'll likely be the rangetop for us. Value is what it's worth to you, after all. The new kitchen will be fun - can't wait.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Are you sure you don't want to get a full Blue Star Range? It comes in 190 colors! We love ours. It's quite easy to clean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Laurelhurst Craftsman

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 3:01AM
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SK97232 - Thx for the pic and the link. We did a lot of homework and had already opted for a convection wall oven separate from the rangetop. We feel having the oven up higher will better serve us in the coming years. Besides, all those neat BS colors would just give us one more thing to agonize over :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:23PM
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I have the drop in cooktop. Have had it only about a month. I must admit I am disappointed in a few things. It is difficult to have it look clean - the heavy black grates seem stained after the first couple of cook times - I have to imagine this would be the same with the range as well. I also have found that there are some spots on the stainless top under the grates that won't come clean at all. Also, the burner trays don't lie flat against the stainless top. Seems so strange to me. Another bone of contention for me is that even on the back simmer, it still was too powerful and I couldn't get it to cook lower. Thinking about a diffuser but not sure how that really works.
Does anyone else have these issues?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:30PM
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