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Nov 12, 2007 07:34 PM

gas cooktops

can anyone recommend a good 36" gas cooktop with knobs on the side or front but not in the middle between the burners?

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    1. I have a Viking Professional Series 36", whli. The knobs are on the right side.

      Pros--I love the way it cooks. Good difference between the highest-BTU and lowest-BTU burners. Burners are sealed so the unit surface is fairly easy to clean. I have the wrought iron--what do you call them--grids? The contiguous surface is convenient and safe to either move vessels around from burner to burner or to use large roasters/fish steamers that need two burners, etc. Also, when not using the burners, it adds a lot of real estate to the landing area next to my wall area. Very convenient and one of the reasons I chose this versus one with non-contiguous grids.

      Cons--the grids *are* heavy, which is a benefit for safe cooking, but a little hard on me when I remove them to clean or season. Sometimes it's hard to get the round jet covers back on exactly right after cleaning. Due to single ignition, if even one of those covers isn't on exactly tightly, annoying clicking noise when I use any other burner. Also--this is my personal problem and probably doesn't apply to most people, but I'm a little...I think think the diagnosis was "spatial perception disabled"... It's hard for me to make the connection between the knobs and the burners, since the knobs are lined up in a straight line down one side. Takes me a few tries to read the labels and connect an imaginary line to the appropriate burner...and then I often first turn on the wrong burner. That's just me, though...I also tell people "turn right" while I point to the left. ;-) If you don't have those issues, should be fine.

      I'm happy with the Viking and would buy it again.

      7 Replies
      1. re: MaggieRSN

        I am hoping more people will respond to this post. We are buying a house that has a 36-inch Kitchen Aid gas cook top with four burners and a grill. I've checked it out and the higher BTU burners are both placed in the back, which I think will be odd when used. Would love to know what others think of Kitchen Aid gas cook tops.

        1. re: rexsreine

          I like the configuration of the Viking burners. The two I use the most are the highest BTU and the low simmer burner. They are on the outside front corners. I agree with your point; it would be inconvenient to me to have the high power burner in the back. There are two different points on the top where two medium BTU burners adjacent and you can set a larger roasting pan or a grill across them.

          We built the house three years ago and I researched my appliances obsessively. My cooktop runners up were the Dacor and the KitchenAid, but...I wanted six, contiguous grates. The cooktop was the highest priority appliance for me. I chose a KitchenAid refrigerator, which I thought was the best value...has some of the same features of more expensive brands. I'm very pleased with that, too, but sorry I can't help you more re the KitchenAid cooktop.

          1. re: MaggieRSN

            I have a 36" Viking rangetop. All the burners have the same output. 15,000 BTUs that can be adjusted from high to the lowest simmer. On the rangetop the knobs are on the front.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              That sounds like a nice feature, scubadoo. Are you happy with your choice?

              I chose this cooktop (after obsession research) for the way I cook because of the configuration and--I'm not sure how to describe it--the number of burners at each level of maximum-BTU output. (Does that make sense?) I liked that the most powerful burner was 16,000, and that there was a true simmer burner. Does your simmer get low enough for you?

              The Wolf looked like a good choice for that aspect, too, but there was some deciding factor I can't even remember now that settled me on the Viking. (Maybe the Wolf has five burners?)

              I realize with gas burners we have more precision, anyway, but I've found with various supposedly sensitive-performance burners (gas and electric) in previous houses that it was sometimes hard to keep my higher-quality cookware at a low enough temp, or get my not-so-good pans hot enough yet not scorch. This cooktop performs very well in those regards.

              1. re: MaggieRSN

                For the most part I'm happy with it. Wish it was hotter. Viking seems to get a bad rap on service and quality but 2yrs down and no problems so far.

          2. re: rexsreine

            We put in a KA gas cook top in 1989 and pulled it out & replaced it with a Viking about 10 years later. I cannot speak to the current KA models, but the one we had continually needed servicing -- primarily the igniters. We like the Viking very much. The BTUs are great. Having the controls on the side may occassionally result in confusion as to which control corresponds with which burner, but that's rare. The front row of the Viking has the high & low BTU burners, plus a medium one in the center, so I mainly use those.

            1. re: rexsreine

              I have a Kitchen Aid 30" cooktop with different strength burners - about 3 years old. One of the high BTU burners is in the back and I have trouble using it for anything much larger in diameter than a saucepan since there's not a lot of clearance between the burner and the back thing (?? - like a backsplash, but I'm not sure what to call it). So, when you want to use a big saute pan or pasta pot, you're out of luck. THis usually isn't an issue for day to day cooking, but when preparing a big meal it is a problem. This is my second KA (sold the house with the first one), but I wouldn't go with them again.

          3. I like my Bosch. The big burner is in the front and right, the warmer burner is behind it, and on the left there are two medium burners.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scharffenberger

              I like the Wolf 5-burner 36" cooktop. The knobs are on the right near the front. The Wolf downdraft blower is really cool too. It always wows people when I show them how it works. Wolf is pretty pricy but you can tell it the construction is high quality and solid. They are also an American company.

            2. jfood puts a huuuuge recommendation for the Viking 36" six burner. As others have stated the knobs are on the right.

              The front left burner is the high BTU burner and it can really crank it up for home use. The front right is a true simmer. While everyone talks about how hot the big guy can get most of the complaints jfood had with other models was the simmer burner. rice, risotto, sauces all need a real simmer burner. some had a "hot plate" for the simmer, others had the on-sometimes/off-sometimes, but the viking had a very very low flame. and yes it simmers.

              so when you are looking remember that high is good but simmer is harder for many of the models and the viking does a great job at both.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jfood

                Good points. The thing is...on a professional or quasi-professional (or whatever these types of cooktops are) appliance, unless you're just trying to boil a pot water quickly...if you have good pans that conduct well, you often have to keep the burner turned down to the lower end of the spectrum, anyway, even when you want something more than simmer. What I mean's hard to keep these babies at low heat. So I value that true-simmer burner.

              2. You mentioned you are looking at cooktops, apparently what specifically are called drop-in cooktops. There is one further issue for me related to the knobs, and all drop-ins have the problem. By placing the knobs on top, you will inevitably spatter grease around and on them, and they are a bear to clean. They also tend to get in the way of sliding pans around. For that reason, among others, I got a slide in cooktop with the knobs in the front and below the cooking surface, specifically a Bluestar. The Bluestar is a great cooking machine, and you ought to consider one no matter what configuration you decide on. Here is a link to the Prizer-Painter (Bluestar) website showing the model I'm talking about:


                Look around the PP website for other ideas. You should also check out the Appliance Forum on the Garden Web website, where you can read opinions about Bluestars and every other make of range known to man for hours on end.

                PP does also make a drop-in. The 36" model does have the knobs in the center front, tho the 30" one has them on the side.

                2 Replies
                1. re: johnb

                  john, I agree that grease tends to gather on/around/under the Viking knobs, but generally that's because *I* either *forget* to turn the hood on...or would rather clean on a particular evening than deal with the uberfan noise. ;-). But when I use the hood, the grease goes up, as it should.

                  When the unit was new, it was very tough to pull the knobs off to clean, but they unstiffened after a few times. Now I just pop them in the dishwasher. So the control area is not a problem to keep tidy and sanitary.

                  One thing I liked about the Blue Star models was the higher output of the largest burner, compared to Viking. The Viking goes up to 16,000, and...don't Blue Stars have 18,000-22,000 BTU burners?

                  It all comes down to personal priorities. I chose a cooktop, versus a drop-in range top precisely because I wanted the controls on the top, for three reasons. One was to maximize, to the very last inch, usable drawer space underneath the unit. That's really worked out well for me, but may be less important to others. Second, because of the design of the particular finish surfaces in my kitchen. Third, manufacturers always seem to tout that their controls are child-proof, but I think they must have never met a determined toddler. Although my stepchildren are much older now, I always seem to "almost sell" my houses when it's time to move on to families who "love and *would* buy the house", if only it were as childproof as Fort Knox. I always think about re-sale, which means I sometimes consider details I wouldn't care about, personally.

                  I think that Blue Star looks great, though.

                  1. re: johnb

                    I'd like to strongly second jonhb's comments concerning the placement of the control knobs in the front and below the cooking surface. We installed a Thermador professional 48" range a few years ago, and like most of the professional-type ranges the controls are on the front tucked under the "bullnose." Although I didn't think much about it at the time of purchase, this has turned out to be one of the best features of the range. The knobs are always easy to reach and, because nothing ever drips or spatters onto them they virtually never require more than a light wipe to clean. I have no experience with the P-P/Bluestar appliances, but if I were installing a cooktop I'd seriously consider them for that reason alone.