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Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Posted by foodfiend_gardener (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 20:20

I can't decide... what are the pros and cons?

Also, can someone tell me if the difference between a cooktop and a rangetop is more than just how it looks and installation.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Rangetops allow the use of the entire surface for pots and pans. The knobs are in front and not on top. As a result the knobs also get less dirty. On open burner rangetops it also allows for a drip tray.

There was a time when the vast majority of people had open and semi-open burner ranges, rangetops, and cooktops that worked perfectly fine.

Appliance companies needed a hook to get people to ditch there working cooktops rangetops, and ranges and buy new ones. So they came up with sealed burners and sold them as easy clean.

Fact is they are different clean. Open burners are more efficient because they put the heat across the bottom of the pan not the side and up away from pan.They also heat a pan more evenly.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Because the sealed versus open burner thing has been discussed so passionately at such length in other threads, My first reaction to this post was to get really crusty and intemperate. "Ooh gawd, here's another person who thinks he or she so special they can't be bothered to read many long threads that endlessly debate the question of sealed versus open burners; doesn't anybody know to search anymore?" Or, maybe "so, you think if you ask this question one more time we will finally disclose the secret knowledge that we've been hiding all this time and we finally tell you the REAL story?"

But, then, I rsee you've been around since 2009 and are not a noob. Also, some days, the search engine works well and some days it won't find yesterday's posts. Maybe I'd better not kick the puppy.

Sigh.

So, rangetops and cooktops: well, one is flat and the other looks like the top part of a stove with the knobs in front just like deeagequx said and just like you feared.

But, think about this. You get more cooking space with a rangetop because the knobs are down front. With cooktop, the controls eat space you could be using for pots. At least in theory, anyway. How often will you be loading up the cooktop so much that the space for knobs will be a problem for you? (That's a real consideration and not a rhetorical question: the answer varies with preferences and cooking styles.)

Do want a built in griddle or grill? More likely to get that with a rangetop than a cooktop. Maybe you want six burners? (Most 36" cooktops have five burners.)

Here's another aspect you may not have considered. Rangetops tend to have deeper wells around their gas burners so less stuff will burn onto the surface than may be the case with cooktops, which, of necessity, tend to be a lot shallower. The surface of deeper wells is -- obviously -- a bit further from the flames, so stuff is less likely to burn or bake onto the surface and is thus easier to clean and keep clean. Likewise, deeper wells means that a boil-over is much less likely to get under the burners and into the interior of the stove.

Do you want colors? Many cooktops can be had in at least black and white as well as stainless. Many rangetops come only in stainless finishis (which can show scratches) although some of them (Bluestar, for example) have cast iron burner pans. Maybe you like that look and maybe you don't.

Open and sealed: well, that is a seemingly endless debtate here which has spawned numerous threads. It is a topic on which passions run high, as you can see from Deeageaux's post.

Do try the search engine -- use the box at the bottom of the page as it seems to work better than the one on the top.

Most of us who like sealed burners think that things are not as simple or wicked or foolish as deeageaux suggested. Certainly, some open burners can give the strongest performance. Bluestar rangetops and stoves, for example, which used to be sold under the Garland brand, have star shaped burners which can give better flame spread and higher heat than sealed burner units.

May you want or need this and maybe you don't care. You want to melt lead in a pan on the stove-top? You certainly can do that (and do it quickly) with open burner blue-stars. Of course, we are talking premium priced products here, too. The least expensive BlueStar 30" range generally retails for around $3500 ($1500 at Costc-Canda). The equivalent range top will run $1600 to $1700. That is a lot more than many sealed cooktop and stove competitors

Now, if all you want is an open burner so you look down on those of us sealed burner peons, you can get an open burner Peerless Premiere Pro for around $1200. The general perception here at GW is that the Peerless burners --- round things with porcelain caps --- are poor performers and more trouble than they are worth. The stoves are harder to clean than many sealed burner stoves, too.

Some folks, find star-shaped open burners to be a more flexible tool that gives them a lot more options and finer control for the way they cook, which makes them worth the premium price. Deeageaux has numbers of eloquent posts making this point.

And, some folks are just horsepower snobs.

Others, like me, are perfectly happy with moderately powerful dual-ring sealed burners. Others have different preferences.

Does that mean I'm an idiot or that Deeagueax is just a horsepower snob? Of course not. It just means we have different budgets, priorities and preferences.

Are sealed burner stoves hard to clean? Some are, some aren't. I found scrubbing an onerous and frequent task on my previous stove, a GE dual fuel. The wells were shallow, it was easy for boil-overs to flood goo beneath the burners, the porcelain coatings seemed to require all-too frequent scrubbing with Barkeeper's Friend to keep the stovetop looking like it belongs in a civilized household, and the cast-aluminum burner fittings stained easily and permanently. In contrast, my new stove also has sealed burners but, with deeper burner wells, stainless surfaces, and brass burner parts, it is far easier to clean. I mostly, just pull the grates, spritz with Windex or Pinesol and wipe with a microfiber cloth. The brass burner components don't stain or or build up burned on gunk the way the old GE's cast-aluminum burners did.

So, no simple answer to the open versus sealed debate. Try the search engine for more views.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 1:30


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

There are differences between sealed burners, as JW points out, in the way they are engineered. The same is true of open burners. What brands are you considering?

" Posted by deeageaux
Open burners are more efficient because they put the heat across the bottom of the pan not the side and up away from pan.They also heat a pan more evenly."

This is user error. The first thing I learned when cooking with a gas stove was adjusting a flame so that the hot part of the flame is under the pan. It doesn't matter if it is a bunsen burner under a test tube, open or sealed burner. My MIL used to put a 1 qt saucepan on her open burner and then crank the heat all the way. She had no clue how a burner worked.

When you commit to a burner whatever it is, that is not changeable. You will have a fixed heat pattern and range of heat input. It is only one part of the cooking equation though. The pan is the interface for the food and this is easily changeable to make the heat do what you want it to do as long as you understand how your pan works and how it interacts with what you are cooking.

As far as "even heat", there are scientific principles that govern how heat is transferred. Scroll down on this thread for explanation.

Here is a link that might be useful: burner discussion


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Regarding cooktops vs. rangetops, another important point is future replacement. Should you need to replace a cooktop in the future, you will have to find another cooktop with the exact same countertop cutout dimensions. We have seen several posts on this forum and the Kitchens forum about this problem. It is difficult to find another cooktop with the same cutout as the original, even if you are looking at the same brand. A rangetop though, does not need a special countertop cutout, and is just dropped in at the standard widths of 30", 36", etc.

Regarding open vs. sealed burners, I can only say that for my next range/rangetop, I will get open burners. Specifically, star-shaped burners. I am tired of the big flame-less bull's-eye under my pans, which makes everything cook around the edges way before heat makes it to the center of the pan (sorry Wekick, this is an issue regardless of how the cook adjusts the flame level - there is a flame-less circle in the center of the burner which consequently has a different temperature from where the flame is hitting the pan directly, that's it. I read your link, and true, it is less of an issue when I am using my cast iron fry pan, but still is an issue. Even when I am using my LC dutch oven, say, to saute onions, the circumference is noticeably much hotter than the center.). Having said that, if I had to have sealed burners, I'd look at the Thermadors because they have star-shaped sealed burners.

This post was edited by akchicago on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 9:18


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Yes akchicago, you are illustrating my point. Cast iron bare or enameled is a poor conductor of heat and you will have more of a ring pattern with high heat on an sealed burner. Conversely with an open burner you will have the hot spot in the middle. You will need to match pan and burner a little more. Use copper or aluminum for more even heating on any burner. On my other post is a link on metals used in cookware by cooking for engineers.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Sorry if my question annoyed you, JWVideo. I've used the search function many times over the years but in this instance I needed a quick answer and, having archaic dialup internet, decided just to ask the question than to search...and wait... and click... and wait... you get the idea.

I had an open-burner range for 20 years, then last year bought a sealed burner range and really don't notice much of a difference. I was just wondering if there was something I didn't "get", other than the cleaning issue.

About the cooktop vs rangetop-- I like the lower-profile appearance of the cooktop, but the rangetop would definitely be an advantage if I could have a decent sized griddle. I'll have to look into both.

This whole process is a bit difficult because of the slow internet and also because I'm supposed to have an idea of what I want in the next week or so (thank heaven a storm prevented us from traveling to the town where we are building our house, it gave me a couple of extra days to "click and wait"..)

Thanks for the answers!


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

No need to apologize. I was commenting more about myself --- I do suffer from COFS (Chronic Old Fart Syndrome) --- as well as commenting on the frailties of the GW search engine. There is such a wealth of information and opinion here that it can be both overwhelming and disappointing when the search engine does not work well. Being on dial-up takes those impediments up by an order of magnitude.

So, on sealed versus open: seems like you have sorted out your preferences and can be assured that you haven't overlooked anything you didn't already know. As you can see from the responses, folks here do have definite opinions. The "bulls-eye" thing mentioned by akchicago is something that has been debated at length before. Some of us think dual-stacked sealed burners take care of the "empty" bulls eye well enough for us while thinking that the star burner design may be more prone to hot centers as wekick says. Deeageuax thinks differently. The one observation that I have from my experience with dual stacked burners is that they favor larger pans for high heat applications where the star burners allow very high heat applications in very small pans, say, if you want to melt lead in a 4" diameter saucepan. ;>) But cooking styles and preferences differ a lot, and things that seem trivial to one of us can be important to another. Seems like you've got your own handle on the debate.

On the built-in griddle thing, some people really like having a built in, others find it more trouble than its worth. My preferences favor the flexibility of a rectangular burner-spanning griddle like the 14 x 23 carbon-steel Chef King. Put it on the cooktop when you want it, take it off when you don't. Nunyabiz just mentioned in the current thread on NXRs that Amazon has them for $51. That way, you've got lots of space when you need it and do not have to choose a rangetop over the cooktop on that basis.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 19:48


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Open vs Sealed

Try to find a Restaurant with sealed burners.. you wont... If professionals use open burners 18 hours per day that alone must say something.

Look at the poor boil pattern of a sealed burner (even double stacked) vs open burner....you will see even heat distribution vs poor heat distribution.

EVERY single person I have cooked with who has a sealed burner unit are AMAZED at open burners (in a very positive way)

Open burners are not for everyone but those who have used one generally buy one...Those who have not used one don't really know how effective they are.

This open vs sealed is not complicated, its simple physics......

Has anyone on the GW heard of anyone going from Open to Sealed ???? could be wrong but i don't recall any such postings.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

" Posted by JWVideo
The "bulls-eye" thing mentioned by akchicago is something that has been debated at length before. Some of us think dual-stacked sealed burners take care of the "empty" bulls eye well enough for us while thinking that the star burner design may be more prone to hot centers as wekick says. "

That isn't what I said. This is what I said- Cast iron bare or enameled is a poor conductor of heat and you will have more of a ring pattern with high heat on an sealed burner. Conversely with an open burner you will have the hot spot in the middle.

The burner pattern is what it is, especially on high heat. Dual stacked has nothing to do with it. Many are fixated on the burner, and it never touches the food. The pan if chosen giving consideration its physical properties can completely mitigate shortcomings or extend strengths of any burner.

" Posted by trevorlawson (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 20:37

Open vs Sealed

Try to find a Restaurant with sealed burners.. you wont... If professionals use open burners 18 hours per day that alone must say something."


What do you think it says?

For me, it is apples and oranges. My home cooking is not restaurant cooking. My kitchen isn't a restaurant kitchen. I prefer the refinement of "home " appliances. I don't have a stack of 8 and 10 inch skillets that I am trying to fire and turn out single portions as fast as I can. I don't need/want the smaller concentrated footprint of the high BTU, open burner. Just because burners are open, you don't have a restaurant burner. The BTUs are higher on a restaurant burner-35K vs 5- 23 K on residential burners. But to follow the next "thing", many restaurants are going to induction now . I'm just sayin"--in case you want "restaurant". This is not meant to demean those who do want this.

"Look at the poor boil pattern of a sealed burner (even double stacked) vs open burner....you will see even heat distribution vs poor heat distribution.

I've seen your video. I can arrange a different set(change the size or metal of the pan) of identical pans with the same burners and make the open burner look like it has poor heat distribution. It is irrational to think that one burner can be the most even heat on all pans. My above post links to a very simple diagram that illustrates this.
" Double stacked" has nothing to do with making something even or not. It allows a choice of two burners each with a different range of heat so extending what might be available on a single burner.

"EVERY single person I have cooked with who has a sealed burner unit are AMAZED at open burners (in a very positive way)"

A lot of people are dazzeled by telescoping downdraft ventilation.

Open burners are not for everyone but those who have used one generally buy one..

You have independent statistics for that? Interesting because I know a lot of people who have cooked with open burners or owned them who moved to sealed--but of course that is anecdotal. At one time all burners were open so most people have used them at one time or another. I only know two people that have open now.

.Those who have not used one don't really know how effective they are.

Ha -by defintion that would be the case. ..but...
What do you mean by effective? To make your case, I think you would have to define what aspect of cooking you are talking about and how "open" helps you achieve that. For example, if you cook with a wok a lot, you might want open burners and the highest BTUs you can find so that you would have heat concentrated at the base of the wok. The down side is if you deal in specifics vs unsubstantiated generalizations, you would have to admit that what is a strength in one instance is a weakness in another.

This open vs sealed is not complicated, its simple physics.

Can you list even one principle that you are talking about and tell how it applies to cooking?. .

Has anyone on the GW heard of anyone going from Open to Sealed ???? could be wrong but i don't recall any such postings.

Yes.....on this very thread-see above. I too have gone back and forth over time and know many who have. I might do induction next time. Huge range of heat and nothing is more even in transferring heat to the bottom of the pan.

This whole issue only makes a difference on high heat. On low/mod heat all burners have a relatively small footprint so pans with good heat conduction are always a good thing for even heat.

My point with all this discussion is not to proclaim one burner "king" , with mystical abilities to do all things for all people and any other choice indicating an inferior cook. I'm not selling anything. I would ask people to take a rational approach to the practice of cooking. Look past broad unsupported claims. Consider each aspect in the context of lucid thought-what can be changed easily(cookware) and what cannot(burner)- and consider how you might meld these variables to come up with what helps you the most.

I am reposting for this for any who missed it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cooking for Engineers-- cookware


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Oooh, red flags to bait and irritate the folks not in the market for premium priced high end stoves!

>>> "Has anyone on the GW heard of anyone going from Open to Sealed."<<<

Okay, I'll take that bait. Sure. I've worked in restaurants on those open burner stoves you mention. Heck, I've got a Coleman camp stove that has 30k-btu-hr open burners. But I'd only want to use it in my kitchen during an extended power outage and only while using my generator to power the range hood. Otherwise, I'm perfectly happy with my sealed burner stove.

And, before I bought my current house, I house-sat a place with a Garland commercial stove in the kitchen. Open, star-burners like the ones on Blue Stars (which used to be the residential Garlands) and Culinarians. Just like the ones I'd worked on in commercial kitchens. Great stove for production cooking in a restaurant but, open-burner schmopen burner, it was no fun making single servings of rice or oatmeal and an absolute bear to keep looking clean. I was very happy to get myself a sealed-burner GE dual fuel in my place when I bought it. Even though I could have purchased a used open-star-burner Garland for rather less than I paid for the sealed burner GE.

But, I'm just baiting back.

Trevor is really asking a rhetorical question: if you had a a choice of a $5k star-burner Capital Culinarian (which Eurostoves sells) or even a $3.5k star-burner Blue Star (which it used to sell), wouldn't you prefer that star-burner range/cooktop to a $4k to $5k Wolf with sealed, dual stacked burners?

I probably would, but others prefer the Wolf for reasons other than the perceived value in the burner design of the other brands. Just like some people prefer sedans to Range Rovers.

Now, if I already had Blue Star or Culinarian, would I be chucking it out to buy, a $2k sealed burner NXR?

Well, of course not.

But not everybody thinks that those star burners are "better enough" to warrant the huge upcharge over widely available and much less expensive sealed burner ranges and cooktops. So, I'm the one who buys the NXR instead of the Culinarian. Does it make any difference to me that my dual-stacked sealed burner doesn't always produce a perfect bubble pattern in boiling water? Nah. Does it make a difference to others? Sure. Sedans and Range Rovers, again.

As Trevor says, these things aren't for everybody.

And, interestingly enough, the OP says in another thread that she is going to buy a 48" sealed burner Wolf rangetop with a griddle.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Just saw Wekick's post, and agree that I did not state the point with sufficient accuracy. Pans do indeed make a big difference and it is with heating cast iron pans (or carbon steel) to high heat that the ring & hot spot effects are really apparent. And just to clarify further, you'll get the same situation with ring-shaped open burners as with ring shaped sealed burners. It is the star-shaped open burners that can produce the hot spot effect.

Beyond that, I think Wekick has made good points and I wish I had said it as well.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 16:33


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Just to throw it out there, but there are sealed burner commercial ranges. At least in Europe. I attended a cooking school at a resort hotel in Tuscany a few years back, and the main kitchen range definitely had sealed burners. The didn't look like the sealed ones on domestic ranges, but they were sealed.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

>The BTUs are higher on a restaurant burner-35K vs 5- 23 K on residential burners.

A small point, but hear it said in error many times. Not all restaurant burners are 35k. Garland's base burner is 24k and looks nearly identical to the 23k burner on the bluestar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garland Starfire Burner


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

I hate sealed burner stoves since they are a PITA to clean.

Most have a single stamped one piece top that must be cleaned in position.

Open burner stoves often have a 'take apart top' that comes off in smaller pieces that can then be taken to the sink or dishwasher.

This is one the few places that more smaller items are easier to deal with for cleaning tan one large permanently mounted item.
Viking open burners come apart into bowls and two burner sections help in place with clip pins.
Viking sealed burner tops are a large fixed in place area to clean, in place.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

@wekick said "I can arrange a different set(change the size or metal of the pan) of identical pans with the same burners and make the open burner look like it has poor heat distribution."

If you mean you can make an open burner look worse than a sealed burner, I seriously doubt it. If you look at the flame pattern on a CC burner, you will see it is far more uniform than a sealed burner. Ditto the BS.

If you simply mean you can make an open burner look less than perfect, but still way better than a sealed burner, fine, but so what?


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Calienti, the problem is attaching a universal "better" and "worse" or saying an open burner is the most even heat in all situations. Did you read the article on cookware by cooking for engineers and my other post with a diagram? If you have read these and still can't see how the burner/pan combination can be changed around to produce different results, let me know and I will try to explain a little more. There are whole books written on heat transfer but one thing to think about is that heat does not stay in one place. It moves. The minute it hits the pan, it spreads out. The pan will determine how this happens......unless you are cooking directly over the flame.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Yes, I have been to the "Cooking for Engineers" web site in the past, and I have reviewed that article again.

I majored in engineering in college, and physics was a specialist subject for me in high school, so I understand the principles here very well.

Let's note that the article you cite is not an unassailable source of truth. For example, it says cast iron's "thickness also results in even heating" which is demonstrably untrue. In my own tests, I have seen 100F differences in temperature over a distance of a couple of inches in a cast iron skillet heated on an induction cooktop. The rate of heat loss to the air was sufficient to maintain a large difference over many minutes, despite lateral conduction from the heated ring over the coil.

I looked at your diagrams, and they don't prove your point at all, nor do they show how sleight of hand with test conditions could ever show a sealed burner to be superior for any purpose to a CC or BS open burner. You appear to be conflating the open burners typical of 20+ years ago with the open burners of the CC and BS. That is grossly misleading. I have an ancient open-burner cooktop; it is slightly better than modern sealed burners, but nowhere near as good as the BS or CC.

Instead of further indulgence in thought experiments, I suggest you go and find a CC or BS range and do some tests with proper measurement equipment, then get back to us with the results.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

As a baby boomer who cooks, I've used/owned open burner stoves for most of my life. In fact, it was not until my kitchen remodel in 2008 when I switched to a sealed burner Aga 6-4. Honestly, I've not seen a drastic difference in my cooking results . . . because I know how to cook! It's as simple as that. Or, as Wekick suggests -- because I have a great range to start with, know how to select the right cookware, and will usually employ the correct methodology for the job at hand, I'm able to get the job done. Quite well as a matter of fact -- whether on an open burner, sealed burner or barbecue pit! (And, no, I'm not claiming to be able to produce the results of a professional chef -- just ones that are good enough to give me a weight problem and have my dinner guests asking for seconds) :-) If there's been any difference in my cooking results since I moved from open to sealed burners, I would say that difference has been one of general improvement. However, I also think that's largely because, as an empty nester, I'm doing way more cooking and experimenting with my culinary skills these days just for the sheer fun of it. For all the above reasons, I imagine that, with a high quality range, I'd be writing this same post regardless of what kind of burner system I had chosen.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

" Posted by Caliente63 .
Let's note that the article you cite is not an unassailable source of truth. ....

Tell me where do you find one? He may have a misstatement or with everything he says about CI, maybe he is making a comparison to steel and failed to clarify it on the chart. Who knows, but the rest of the article is great and very helpful for those who want to know about these things.

"I looked at your diagrams, and they don't prove your point at all,"

Can you explain how they don't? I made my explanation, your turn, if you disagree. Give me some specifics.

"nor do they show how sleight of hand with test conditions could ever show a sealed burner to be superior for any purpose to a CC or BS open burner."

"Sleight of hand" is a motion intended to deceive. I want people to have as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions. I'm just changing a variable. People use different pans when they cook, so lets look at some of them. My diagram just refers to heat distribution but I would love for you to illustrate how a particular burner is superior in all circumstances.

You appear to be conflating the open burners typical of 20+ years ago with the open burners of the CC and BS. That is grossly misleading. I have an ancient open-burner cooktop; it is slightly better than modern sealed burners, but nowhere near as good as the BS or CC.

To what post are you referring? Again be specific. What do you feel is "grossly misleading"? The OP was asking about the general concept of open vs sealed though. When you bring in the different brands- CC, BS, DCS and Wolf, you are adding additional considerations.-BTUs, different burner patterns and things like dual stacked burners not necessarily part of the OP's question. There are open burners that are cheaper. That is amazing that you have been able to cook enough on all those burners to be able to compare them all in all methodology of cooking.

'Instead of further indulgence in thought experiments, I suggest you go and find a CC or BS range and do some tests with proper measurement equipment, then get back to us with the results."

What is a thought experiment? How would it be a bad thing? I think I might like that term. It sounds like the scientific method-

ask a question
do your research
make a hypothesis
experiment
analyze
report

We wouldn't want anybody to think too hard though or ask too many questions.

Since you are making the claim of superiority in all circumstances, the burden of proof is on you. You are going to have to add some additional brands with sealed burners to the list to compare though. It would be great to see temperature mapping on all kinds of burners, with differing amounts of heat and different pans in size, shape and composition. I would love to how what you are cooking can affect this as well.

For the claims and nonspecific criticisms you have made, you have failed to correlate one scientific principle or make one illustration to prove your point.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

The discussion bet. Wekick and Caliente is "above my pay grade" as they say. All I know is that my sealed burners have an area several inches in diameter through the center, where the cap is, that is significantly cooler than where the flame is hitting the pots directly. I don't need an engineering degree to know this. And, it is still the case no matter how I adjust the flame - the fact is there is no flame in contact with the pan across its center, and there IS flame in contact at the edges. And, whether I am using my old Wagner cast iron, my LC dutch oven, various All-Clad pans, my most-awesome Demeyere Atlantis, and my one Falk Culinair solid copper saucier (I could only afford one Falk), they will all be cooler in the center than at the circumference. I don't understand why there is so much resistance to accepting the idea that where there is direct flame, there is more heat, and where there is not direct flame, there is less heat. Obviously, I have been cooking meals for years with sealed burners, and they come out fine. But, for my next range, I would like it to be even better.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

To AkChicago: Does your food burn at the edges of your pots? Is it uncooked in the center? I honestly don't resist the idea that plain sealed burners (not dual stacked burners) may not spread heat evenly. It's just that I've never had a failed cooking experience that I would attribute to uneven heat distribution caused by sealed burners. I could be wrong. But I don't think so.

To everyone: My bigger question is this: why is there so much passion about this issue? Sometimes I wonder if what is really driving some of these appliance debates is clever marketing combined with our need to defend and justify our having bought into those schemes -- often at ridiculously high consumer cost. I'll confess that I don't ever want to feel that I spent a lot of money on an appliance that could have been better spent on another -- and especially not because of a brilliant marketing scheme. But again, having cooked for most of my life on "ancient" open burners (not bs,cc, etc.) but now cooking on contemporary sealed burners (both flat surface and dual stacked), I'm just not seeing enough difference in results to suggest that the choice of sealed burners is "not good", much less, "not good enough."

At the same time, I don't try to argue that sealed burners are better than open because, again, the cooking results don't really differ in my book. Which all leads me to think that the real source for the debate on sealed vs. open is that of marketing strategy pushed by manufacturers and vendors. As someone posted earlier, the move from open to sealed burners in product design was primarily initiated by the cooking appliance industry in order to energize new product sales. The claim then was that sealed burners are easier to clean. However, as sealed burners became the new "standard", the technology changed once again to reintroduce open burners and a whole new wave of product sales. The claim now is that pro-style open burners with Maserrati-like btus will make you a better cook. Am I the only one who feels we are all being played by a bunch of Mad Men (or women)? :-)


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

I have sealed burners, and have found them to be problematic when preserving. I have melted the wiring underneath the cooktop twice when boiling a large pot of hot water and a pot of jam at the same time. I was told that sealed burners hold the heat in more than unsealed burners, and that making jam on my cooktop voided the warranty. I have a Fischer-Paykel cooktop and had F-P dishdrawers that broke on numerous occasions. My F-P oven no longer works in convection mode, and I would recommend their kitchen appliances to no one!


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Amen to that, Marthavilla.

Except that these passions have a life of their own far beyond the creative ability of mere marketeers.

So, you mentioned Maseratis. Wanna start a fight? Post that you think the 1996 Maserati Shamal is one of the best cars ever made. You'll get passionate devotees and equally passionate detractors. Or somebody says they think a Land Rover Defender is the best car to own. Somebody else will opine that his carburetted 1972 Land Rover is much better than any of the fuel-injected crapola made since then. And so it goes.

Anybody remember the magazines Stereophile and The Absolute Sound back when those bastions of extreme audiophile passions were promoting the dedication of an entire room to listening to recorded music played via competing preferences for elaborately rigged turntables, special tube phono-pre-amps going to tube-amps feeding exotic loud-speakers on spiked stands. Both of those mags stills seem to be around, btw, and opinions on the "best" are still being just as intensely and vitriolically expressed.

I could not care less for the very reasons that Marthavila has pointed out. Anathema to the passionate, I know, but a lot of folks would be hard put to care much about the debate.

I'm going to go make dinner, now. For guests. I'll get some passionate arguments about whether my Spaghetti Carbonara is the right kind of authentic. Because that's what these folks are passionate about. Nobody will say: "Gee, this carbonara would have been so much better if your stove had star-shaped open burners like the Blue Star or Capital Culinarian." What they will argue about is whether or not they like my home cured guanciale as much as the imported Italian stuff they had last week at a restaurant where a professional chef was cooking the meal for them.

Some folks here will be muttering, "that's ridiculous." And, maybe it is.

Can't chalk that up to marketing, though.

And, FWIW, I've been making jam, apple butter, and etc. on sealed burner stoves for a decade and a half and never had problem with cooking the wiring or electronics. I've also made those things on an old open-burner Wedgwood and had no problems with it, either, as long as I used a heat diffuser plate. So, to me, it sounds like the previous poster had a problem with build quality in the F&P cooktop rather than sealed burners, per se.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 21:43


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

@marthavila asked "why is there so much passion about this issue?"

Martha/JWVideo. you appear to be conflating discussion with passion. I don't see much passion here, just a pretty sober discussion. I know I don't feel passionate about this subject - we are currently planning to go with induction - I am just sharing the information I gathered when we were looking at gas cooktops.

As to whether any of this is relevant, this is a thread asking about the differences between open and sealed burners - what do you expect us to post about here? Telling us at length that the subject does not interest you adds very little to the thread; why not just ignore it?


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

@wekick asks "What is a thought experiment?"

There is this wonderful thing called Wikipedia that you can use to answer questions like this.

The trouble with thought experiments is that it is easy to be unaware of or overlook factors which would be immediately apparent in the real word.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link for lazy people


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Calliente63, based on your member page, you are a seriously green newbie on this forum. As such, it would behoove you to have a bit of history here before loading up your posts with such unnecessary snark. Had you spent any decent amount of time here, you would know that this discussion of open vs sealed burners has been going on this forum for years .

Now. while I agree with you that this thread has not been particularly passionate -- at least not up until now -- that's not been the case in the past. In fact, the discussion of open vs sealed burners has probably been one of the most passionate,continuing debates in the history of the AF. So, my advice to you would be to learn where you are before making snap judgements about the environment and the people who post here.

But please -- having been a member here for several years, I certainly don't need your advice about which threads to join or ignore. Moreover, I don't believe I need to have majored in engineering in college or to have studied physics as a specialty subject in high school in order to exercise my choice to post an opinion on this forum. Indeed, with no more credentials than that of one who has been cooking for quite some time and has had considerable real life experience with both open and sealed burners, I occasionally summon the nerve to share my views on this subject, believing them to be as valid as that of any other -- including those of a snarky poster who just arrived here a few weeks ago. That said, if you think my opinion adds no value to this discussion, why don't you just ignore it?


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

And here I am agreeing with Marthavila again, except that my response might possibly be seen as more temperate. (And, how the h___ did that happen with me being a chronic old fart?)

There are small differences which are hugely important to some enthusiasts and which are is unimportant to others,

If those things are your passion, fine. If they do not matter to you, well , that is fine, too.

As for Marthavilas's crack about not majoring in engineering .. well, I've got training as a physicist but who cares?. (Hey, is anybody looking for nuclear missles in suppository form? :>))

This about passions, not science. You want science? Spend $670 ( or whatever) and buy Nathan Myhrvohld's MODERNIST CUSINE. Find out t how much or how little that you have assumed is something that holds up to empirical testing, Or, least, turns out not be true true in the way you have assumed.

And, as Martha points out, what is being said here is something that has not been said at length before?


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

@ foodfiend_gardener, Most of the pricer lines have places where you can try out various cooktops - that's what I would try to do. You might have to go to more than one place, but its a small price to pay for some decision information.

I would also consider induction.

Forgive me it this has been covered above. A rangetop generally has more space for larger pans because the unit itself is deeper - there is more space available from front to back. I would view that as a positive EXCEPT if its placed near a corner with opposing cabinets. It may require a 4" or so filler to permit the next cabinet around the corner to open completely. The same kind of consideration would need to be given to access for the cabinets on both side of a decision to place a rangetop across a corner.

@marthavilla - I think it depends on your personal experience with sealed burners. Just like there isn't the one-true open burner design, sealed burners from different manufacturers are different. I'm pretty sure they vary widely in actual performance (mine have).
Same pots, same cook, but different results.

I think there isn't a big generality that explains or reconciles every view of open vs. closed. I don't have the budget for an expensive cooktop/range so I'm more familiar with the pretty bad burner designs on the more modest end of the money spectrum where the burners are always sealed. I'm not saying they're all bad, just that the ones I cooked on were.

The thing about single ring burners and the center being cold? I have actually experienced this (for 7.5 years) on the last range. I think its possible that the physics-speakers are not making enough allowance for stupid burner designs.

In my case, the diameter between where the flames are perpendicular to the bottom of the pan at medium was close to 8 inches on the power burner. Even when the burner was turned all the way down, the effective flame diameter was still more than 6 inches. The more the burner was turned up, the further out the flame moved and the larger the "flameless" center became.

It was my experience that the effect of "cold center" on that burner was barely changed by heavier cookware or cookware that was more conductive. It could be changed by stirring.

It's possible that I just didn't own any cookware big enough and heavy enough (I would have trouble lifting something like an enameled cast iron pot with at least a 12" diameter on the bottom).

The 17k power burner design was Extra-Stupid but the 11k burner design was ok. It had a diameter almost 2 inches narrower between the flames. A properly heated cast iron pot could fill-in the cold center. I couldn't use the same pot (3 qt casserole) on the power burner because the flame would miss the pan on any setting > 1. As a matter of fact, the setting at 2, 3 and 4 was the same as 1 - this was true on all its burners.

Because I could literally take the same cookware outside where I had an open burner camp stove - its has 30k burners that I never turn up more than halfway. A 30k burner turned up all the way is a scary burner to me.

It was easy for me to ascribe the difference to open v. closed burners. The burners on a culinairian look like a tamed and refined version of camp stove burners.

My new range is the baby NXR with 15k dual stacked burners and I'm pretty happy. I get done cooking in less time with better results in doing simple things like browning chicken.

I can boil a gallon of water in 15 minutes on any burner. This is a miracle to me. On the stupid sealed burner design, I couldn't boil 2.5 pints of water in 20 minutes without stirring. So, not-stupid closed burner designs have removed some of the open burner desire..

I still think positioning more of the heat in the center of the pot at all power levels is better than positioning it closer to the outer edges. Open burners win in my mind at being able to effectively heat a wide variety of pan sizes and many types of cookware on the same burner.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Thanks, JWVideo for being more temperate than me in your responses! :-) If there's anything that gets me quite passionate about certain GW forum discussions is when reason is replaced by unnecessary snark. BTW, I wasn't making a "crack" about engineers. Just referencing an earlier post by Caliente63 in which s/he posted about having studied both engineering and physics in college and high school.

AKChicago, I retract my questions to you about your sealed burners. I see where you covered that quite explicitly in your responses. Makes sense to me that, given those experiences with your sealed burners you would not be a fan.

Bmorepanic-- I think you really hit the nail on the head when you point out that broad generalizations about the merits of open vs sealed burner aren't very helpful in the abstract. Results really do depend on numerous factors, not the least of which include the cook, the cookware, and the actual cooking appliance. As such, I should amend my remarks to acknowledge that, while others may have legitimate complaints about the performance of some sealed burner systems, in my case, the single and dual ring sealed burners of my Aga 6-4 have never given me any of those cooking difficulties.


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Martha, I don't think the comments I made merited your rather intemperate response. If you want to talk about snarkiness, I found your original posting saying "because ... I know how to cook" somewhat offensive - it implies that others here do not - and the stuff about passion implies that those of us who were attempting to provide helpful and constructive responses to the OP are obsessive nerds.

As for the "green newbie" taunts, I was a regular poster here for years under a different name.

This post was edited by Caliente63 on Mon, Mar 11, 13 at 16:50


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

Whatever caliente. You leave me totally frio on the "like" side. BTW, the only person I was "sneering" at was you when you went to snark. That said, I've given your snark way more attention than it's worth. So, if you want to continue this silly exchange, you're on your own. Adios


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RE: Sealed burners or open burners on range?

bmorepanic -- good post and good points.

Oh, and I need to offer a correction to my response to Trevor. In responding to Trevor, I incorrectly referred to both Blue Star and Culiniarian open burners as "star shaped." While both provide the flame spreading benefits and power that Trevor described, only the Blue Star burners are star-shaped. The Culinarian burners are are circular with multiple rings of perforations.


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