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Cook tops

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micki May 11, 2006 02:30 PM

I'm remodeling a kitchen in a brownstone and I have room for a 30", 4 burner (alas,no larger)cook top. I've never had a cook top before and was hoping that you might tell me what cook tops are the best in terms of burner output, ease of maintenance, etc. Cost is, thankfully, not a factor. I would appreciate as much information and detail as you are willing to give. Thanks

  1. s
    Susan K Aug 18, 2006 06:44 AM

    We are planning a kitchen remodel in the very near future. I've read a little about induction cooktops and they sound like something I would like. If anyone has a 30" one, drop-in model, do you know if you have to have either an updraft or down draft vent? Presently, I have an older Jenn-air down draft, electric cooktop. Since there are no gas lines on our street, I have to have an electric cook-top but hate the length of time it takes to boil water (I'm only about 250 ft above sea level!) and the cook-top is in a center island with no possibility of a hood. So, is downdraft vent a requirement? Thanks for you help!

    1. j
      jfood May 12, 2006 01:56 AM

      I own a 36" gas viking with downdraft and love it. Two feature to check out when purchasing. Simmer mode. Many cooktops have poor performance on this feature. Ask your friends about theirs. Second is exhaust. Over is better than down but i have mine in center island and was limited and went down and give it a B+.

      9 Replies
      1. re: jfood
        w
        willow May 12, 2006 08:00 AM

        Can you use propane for a Viking? Or does that undermine its virtue of power?
        I've found propane doesn't heat as hot as gas. I'm in the country so gas is out. Electric I do not like.

        1. re: willow
          f
          FlyFish May 12, 2006 10:50 AM

          Virtually all (I'd be inclined to simply say "all" but I'm sure someone would find an exception) gas ranges can be converted from natural gas to propane and vice-versa by changing the size of the orifices and adjusting the pressure regulator. It's a trivial task that any repairman and many competent homeowners can handle. There is a loss in output from the burners of about 10%, i.e., a burner rated at 10,000 BTU with NG will generally end up at around 9,000 BTU with propane. I'm not sure if there's a difference in flame temperature, which is not the same thing as heat output.

          I've replaced the electric ranges in my last three homes with propane, most recently with a 48" Thermador dual fuel range (which I converted from NG to propane myself - took about a half hour) that I'm reasonably happy with. It's too bad that there's that unavoidable loss of output, but propane is still far superior to electric, and I find I rarely open my 15,000 BTU burners (that's the NG rating) all the way.

          1. re: FlyFish
            m
            micki May 12, 2006 11:12 AM

            But how do you like your Thermador cooktop?

            1. re: micki
              f
              FlyFish May 12, 2006 01:27 PM

              I actually have the whole range - 6 burners and a griddle (all gas) on top and two electric ovens underneath. I believe, however, that they sell a cooktop that's essentially the same thing without the ovens. We bought the Thermador primarily because of the sealed burners, recognizing that because of that some claim the flame is not as intense (whatever that means - I would think one BTU is pretty much like another) and that sealed burners can only achieve very low heat by cycling on and off. The Thermador also seemed much sturdier - heavier doors and grates, e.g. - than the Viking, which was the other finalist.

              After about two years with the range at this point, I really like the star-shaped burners and the heat output is more than enough for anything I need to do. The very heavy cast iron top grates are also a plus, as is the fact that the entire top of the range is flat - those two factors in combination make it very easy to move large pots and pans around. The sealed burners make cleanup a breeze. The electric ovens are fine, but I find I don't use the convection mode. The overall size is a great plus - it doesn't sound like there's a lot of difference between a standard 30" and a 48" range but in practice the difference is enormous.

              I'm not particularly happy with the cycling simmer feature. It's only on two of the six burners and in order for it to work the burner is actually well above "low" when it's cycled on, which results in some uneven heating. I keep meaning to pick up a couple of "flame tamers" but haven't done so yet. I think that's going to be a better option.

              We also got high-shelf back and the matching hood with lights and warming lamps and that really is beautiful product. The 1000 cfm blower is outside of the house, mounted on the roof via a 10-inch duct, and as a result the noise level is much reduced. Most of the time the low setting is plenty and on the high setting I have to be careful to open a door or window somewhere or (in winter) I'll actually reverse the flow in my fireplace!

              If I were doing the whole thing over, I think I'd be inclined to take a closer look at Wolf, although I would certainly consider another Thermador. I haven't seen anything that makes me wish I'd bought the Viking.

            2. re: FlyFish
              a
              amoncada Aug 18, 2006 08:45 PM

              Great info FlyFish.
              As far as the Kenmore electric cooktop goes...a true chowhound would avoid this option at all cost. Especially when cost is not an issue.
              Micki, I've owned several Dacor cooktops and free-standing ranges. They're great except for the electric start gas burners...not very reliable.

            3. re: willow
              s
              Sherri May 12, 2006 12:08 PM

              I own a 48" Viking cooktop converted to propane and am very happy with it. Would I prefer natural gas? Sure I would but the trade-off of living in the beautiful boonies as I do is more than worth the loss of heating power.

              1. re: Sherri
                s
                Sherri May 12, 2006 12:12 PM

                In addition to very high heat, I should add that the "simmer" feature on Viking cooktops is wonderful for its ability to sustain a very low flame. Making stock or keeping starchy food warm is a breeze. Other cooktops I tried required a simmer plate, flame-tamer or some other device to equal the low heat.

              2. re: willow
                b
                Beteez May 12, 2006 03:46 PM

                As I stated below. we did not want to invest in propane just to cook with so we went with induction which is as powerful as gas & very controllable with very easy clean up. Nothing bakes on the cooktop.

              3. re: jfood
                f
                Frank May 12, 2006 09:52 AM

                Try opening a window.
                Frank

              4. b
                beteez May 11, 2006 10:00 PM

                If you want electric we got one of the new kenmore induction units which is as powerful as gas with extremely easy cooktop. The surface does not heat up so boil overs just wipe up. The only draw back is your cookeare must be magnetic. so no alluminum.

                1 Reply
                1. re: beteez
                  m
                  MikeG May 11, 2006 10:38 PM

                  Depends on how much of what kind of cookware you have, I think. I'd have to replace quite a few expensive pots and pans I've amassed over the years to be able to use an induction range.

                  http://theinductionsite.com/induction...

                2. f
                  Frank May 11, 2006 09:18 PM

                  A gas top requiers exaust hood. Look there first\\f. z.

                  1. m
                    meb903 May 11, 2006 06:58 PM

                    electric or gas?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: meb903
                      m
                      micki May 12, 2006 08:43 AM

                      Sorry I didn't indicate it would be a gas cooktop with a hood exhaust not a downdraft. Again, any opinions both positive and negative given from personal experience would be very welcome. Thanks again.

                    2. m
                      Monty May 11, 2006 06:01 PM

                      We put in a Viking in our new house and it warked excellently. I'm sure a Wolf would do just as well.

                      1. g
                        Greg Hamlin May 11, 2006 04:46 PM

                        We have a viking, and it's great as a Wolf would be also, if they come in that size. Plenty of BTU's in both cases and easy to clean.

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