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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 is...it'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.

                  2. Splitting hairs: Seems to me knobs on the right reduce the usable space on the cooktop. The Viking Designer series and many other cooktops didn't fit my All-Clad pans as comfortably as a Dacor or Windcrest cooktop. I would like to have a Bluestar, but the rangetop configuration seemed too deep for my cramped kitchen. Though when you go with multiple high output burners you will need a powerful hood which will probably be louder. Rooftop blower and heat exchanger isn't always feasible.

                    When I finish installing all my appliances sometime in the next month or so maybe my opinions will carry more weight. I have cooked on Dacor, Kitchenaid, and Thermador cooktops and enjoyed them.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Romanmk


                      Good points but jfood can state that in the 5 years he owned the viking he can count on one hand the times the square footage was an issue.

                      WRT the knobs on the right interfering - they do not.

                      WRT the difficulty in placing the grates and round plate covers back on so they are "seated" properly - they have two "guides and they are not difficult at all.

                      WRT the grates being heavy - they are heavier than the flimsy ones jfood sees on other stoves, bit they weigh about the same as a cornish hen. So if you are cooking pots and pans and moving things around, this should also not be a problem.

                      Jfood also has a downdraft behind instead of a fan overhead due to location and house limitations above. Is it great? nope, is it adequate? yeah, jfood gives it a 7, but you have to be careful with combining the highest setting on the back burners with the highest setting on the fan. Been there, done that, replaced the screens on the fan.

                    2. which is better a cooktop with equal sized continuous grates or the kind with one larger burner in the middle?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: whli

                        I like the positioning of a large central burner for wok cookery and large pans. Your wok is centered nicely taking full advantage of slightly shallower hoods. There is less chance of running into the back wall with a giant pot on this burner. When sauteing with a large skillet the handle will be further back, and a little bit more out of the way of traffic. (As opposed to on a high output front burner.) These are minor advantages, but they might help make the decision between one cooktop or another.

                      2. Check out the DCS. I've been shopping around and it has (140 degree) simmer on all burners and I think two 17,500 BTU burners. Like jfood said, simmer is very important as you can keep food warm on the other burners while cranking it up on the high output one for a stir-fry. Other than the BlueStar, you can't get higher BTU's. Viking is too commerciallized for me.

                        1. I recently finished a major kitchen renovation, restoration & addition all bundled into one & I did Wolf again - it's extraordinary - love it & the smaller scale is doing just fine !
                          This photo shows the same cooktop I did & the marble I chose.

                          1. I love, love and love my Wolf stovetop from 2006. It has five burners with an option for full flame at high, med or low or simmer, high, med or low. The controls are on the right. It makes me happy every time I use it. The under the counter oven (bosch) I hate. It makes way too much noise, doesn't cook evenly and uses an ungodly amount of electricity (not available in gas).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: fayehess

                              Faye - I couldn't agree with you more & at first when my architect insisted on the sealed dual burner, in mind I was thinking that flush flat induction style, which was unappealing aesthetically to me, but what I ended up with, I wouldn't trade for all the tea in China <grin> I love it.

                            2. has anyone heard of FCI appliances. I saw a great 5 burner 36" on the kitchendirect website- but I have beenn unable to find reviews anywhere. It is from Italy and has the knobs on the side. I can't find anyone who has one or has even heard of it.

                              1. More than a decade ago I chose the Jennaire six burner cook top. I looked at Dacor and Viking and price was an issue.
                                The low simmers on the Jennaire are both in front and that's where they should be to match my cooking. The knobs on the front were also a part of my decision making. As I age, I don't want my sleeves anywhere near a potential open flame.
                                And I cook with propane. I wish gas were an option, but it isn't. And we are far enough out in the country that when electricity fails (and it does in snow/ice times), having a funcitoning cooktop is a wonderful luxury.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: shallots

                                  Dacor makes a drop in 36 inch cooktop (the PGM) that has 18,000 on the high end and will go 6-700 btu on simmer. You wont find more flexability than that and the contols are on the right side and out of the way. It is also low enough profile that it wont overwhelm your kitchen. If you are talking about a larger slide in 36 inch, well thats another story completely. In that case you are talking about a professionally sized product that normally has higher output but in this case most still dont run more than 18,000 btu on high...that is unless you want infrared....and they take up much more space unless that is you are redesigning your kitchen. But for the average home cook, this sort of horsepower is way overboard. You can do great work with 12-15,000 btu even less if your cookware is outstanding.

                                  1. re: shallots

                                    The Viking 36" 6-burner has a "big burner" at 16k/3400 BTU high/low setting and has a "small burner that drives 6000/950 BTU. The 950 is outstanding for a true simmer.

                                    The 36" PGM Dacor is a 5-burner unit in which the controls are clumped together where the sixth burner on the Viking is located (front right). The low end of the two simmer heads are actually rated at 400 & 500 BTU's a very good level for simmer.


                                  2. Dacor SGM365 Appliance is attractive and well laid-out. The bead-blasted surface is easy to keep clean. The shiny stainless steel surfaces between the gas knobs is very difficult to keep clean due to the small space between the gas valve knobs. The only way to clean is to remove the entire valve cover. It is not impossible but troublesome. The knobs melt easily if they contact a pot or pan moving across from one burner to another. Valve operation is not intuitive since they operate counter clockwise. This makes it easy for visiting chefs to burn a dish when they wanted to simmer it. In addition, the "Gas is on " warning LED light is far too dim. Overhead lights will easily overpower it's light blue color. The automatic igniter are quick reacting but troublesome. They continue to fire long after the flame is on, and periodically fire during cooking even at high heat. Service and detailed cleaning have not resolved the issue. The grills that cover the burners are spaced far enough for small sauce pots to tip over if not centered on the eye, Specially if the content is small and the handle is substantial. Avoid Dacor