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New stove advice please! Electric or gas or both or....?

Finally after 11 years we are going to redo our tiny, difficult kitchen. High on my list is a new stove to replace the ancient and awful electric GE model we got with the house. All along I've said that when I could I'd get a gas stove but now I'm being told that electric stoves have improved a lot and the clean up is better with the flat tops and.....

What do you Chowhounders say? I want a standard size not too expensive stove for daily use - baking and cooking. What should I get?

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  1. Oh, I'm sure you'll get tons of suggestions with loads of opinions, but here's mine: I like dual-fuel ranges. I like gas burners and I'm learning to like the stability of electric ovens. Also, some models will offer you the additional perk of a convection oven mode (my oven can do standard and convection, some do one or the other and some do both), which is nice when you want to roast a chicken in 40 minutes or bake a cake in half an hour.

    I can see the advantage of easy cleanups on a flat electric stove, but I'd be constantly worried about scratching the surface somehow. Ranges have come a long way and many gas models are designed for an easier cleanup.

    The good news is that you can get a standard size gas, electric, or dual-fuel range without having to look at Wolf or Viking prices! Just about every manufacturer offers these options.

    3 Replies
    1. re: leanneabe

      I would get a gas cooktop and an electric stove. I'm too impatient to cook on an electric range, but I prefer an electric stove for the evenness of the temperature.

      1. re: leanneabe

        As per most of the responses here, do yourself a huge favor and get gas for the cooktop. And get as many BTU's as your budget can afford. And more than one high output burner if possible. I'm sure I will offend some, but I don't see how anyone can cook on an electric cooktop (help me out here if you can...). There is just no way to quickly control the heat level as with gas (are there some new electric cooktops with instant on/off?)

        1. re: bnemes3343

          I *can* cook on electric and flat top burners, but I don't like to, and agree with the recommendations for gas burners and an electric oven.

      2. gas cooktop and electric ovens would be jfood's recommendation as well.

        1. Because gas lines can't get knocked down by falling limbs and high winds, I go for gas. Also, where I live gas is cheaper than electricity.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mpalmer6c

            Good point about the relative lack of reliability with electric service. I always worry about whether I will be able to finish cooking dinner when there is a good electrical storm. On the other hand, I never have to worry about whether I have a gas leak. My old gas stove used to leak a little bit and it could never really be repaired correctly. It made me quite nervous and I bought a new range when that happened.

            I've had both, and I have to say I no longer have such a strong opinion in favor of gas. I could live with either. It all depends upon the quality of the appliance you are buying. High end is still high end, if you know what I mean, regardless of the fuel. It IS harder to clean a gas cooktop versus a smooth ceramic top, and it doesn't take a lot of care to avoid scratches. Those special cooktop cleaners actually work very, very well. I've had mine for four years, and there are no scratches to be seen. I use the cooktop cleaner maybe once a month and a soapy sponge or glass cleaner most of the time. Choose a dark color -- not white -- if you go ceramic, due to possible discoloration. I find the heat control is actually very sensitive, because it seems to cool down more quickly than those big gas burner grills that have lots of metal in them. A large burner can boil water faster than gas on a high setting. It does require very flat bottomed pans, so if your cookware is warped, you will be springing for new cookware. New cookware might just cost more than some of the ranges you may be looking at, so keep that in mind.

            That said, people who have only had gas will look at your electric or ceramic cooktop as a negative when you sell your house because they are unfamiliar with it. I know I felt that way when I bought my house. I found those horrible old electric coils in my house and quickly replaced those with a ceramic cooktop. It didn't stop me from choosing this house, but I was disappointed that I could not get gas service to my center island cooktop without extensive work. I made the best of it. I am now quite satisfied, and as I said, no longer so opinionated about the fuel type. It sounds like your cooktop is part of a range and therefore against a wall, so looks are less of a consideration than center island placement. I would probably choose gas in your circumstance for the reason I just stated.

            For the record, I don't find much difference in the ovens for cooking. I don't do much baking and therefore I am probably less qualified to give you an opinion about which might be better. I do believe that my old gas broilers browned things better, but I suspect that is a quirk of my wall ovens, which are the originals with the house and now thirteen years old.

            1. re: RGC1982

              I live where power failures happen and for that reason, my cooktop is propane (and because natural gas isn't an option.)
              The longest outage we've had was seven days with high snow. Being able to eat hot food is a good thing.

              1. re: shallots

                This is nice, but you do have to look specifically for this capability these days, or maybe you can't get it anymore. Friend of mine in Oklahoma found out during those recent ice storms that his newish propane range could not be lit at all without electricity. Some kind of safety feature that the gas doesn't flow at all if there's no electricity to run the igniters.

                1. re: shallots

                  I've actually had great luck cooking in the fireplace during winter outages (and since we are using it for heat also that works well). I use the grill during summer outages. I suppose having the stove working would be nice but it's not a deal breaker or maker for me.

            2. First, the cooktop: gas offers far more control because the heat output responds instantly to the controls. There's also a visual cue (the size of the flame) as to how much heat you're emitting; that's good both for cooking and for safety (just ask the back cover of my old Joy of Cooking, which got set on an electric burner that had not been turned off completely). On the other hand, the hightest setting of a regular electric burner will emit much more heat than even the biggest standard indoor gas burner. It will win the boil-a-gallon-of-water-for-pasta race every time.

              If you decide to go for gas, see if you can test-drive the ones you're interested in; the btu measurement of the burners is input, not output, and one cooktop may produce significantly more (or less) heat than another. Also be aware that the really big burners (eg, a 36,000 wok burner) may require special venting to meet code in your area.

              As to the oven, I prefer my electric convection oven to the gas ovens I've had in the past. But based on other CH threads, this may be a function of the age and quality of the gas ovens I've had. Many folks will voice a preference for electric, but it appears that there are plenty of good gas ovens out there as well.

              1. I'm with the electric oven and gas cooktop set. One thing tho--the new induction tops may be worth your looking at. They control the heat rapidly, and they are easy for clean up. My sense is that they are coming down in price to the point that they can now be considered mainstream. I don't have one myself, but perhaps others can weigh in.

                1. Thanks for the helpful replies so far - can anyone report on using a gas convection oven?

                  1. According to Consumer Reports, there is no particular advantage to duel fuel, they feel gas ovens are as good as electric. We recently switched from electric range to gas (Bosch), after having electric for 30 years, and are very pleased with both the cooktop and the oven, which works as either conventional or convection. Broiling with gas is especially better than with electric. We haven't used the self-cleaning feature yet, but I expect it to be comparable to the old electric. At this point, we don't miss our electric in the least. Make sure you get a gas range with "sealed burners" They are very easy to keep clean. The other thing you should think about, since you're redoing your kitchen, is a good rangehood exhaust system. In fact, some people say you should think of the stove and exhaust as a unit, not the exhaust as an afterthought. For a good 30 inch four burner stove, you will need about 300 cfm (cubic feet per minute) exhaust capacity. Stay away from range hoods that only filter and recirculate and from the down draft type. They don't work very well. The ideal exhaust system, if you house is designed so that it can easily accomodate it, is one that pulls the air up over the stove and out to the outdoors. Installing the fan motor remotely, say in the attic at the point where the exhaust is expelled, is an extra benefit because it is a good deal less noisy. Broan is one brand that rangehoods with remote fan motors. There are others. If you do a google search on rangehood or some similar term, you can find a lot of info. Happy hunting. One final point: If you get an all-gas range instead of a duel fuel, you will need to have an electrician convert the old electric's 220 volt line to a 110 volt line to accomodate the needs of the gas range. That is a small extra expense. If you are prone to power outages, the gas cooktop is an advantage because you can still light it with a match, but you can't use the oven or broiler because they are electronically controlled and need power.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: eldergourmet

                      Thanks for the advice about the exhaust - we have no exhaust at all now and plan to install exterior exhaust with the new stove. We are looking at the microwave with built in exhaust but I'm not sure how poerful those are.

                      1. re: lupaglupa

                        I just redid my kitchen .. I have gas range and an electric oven ...I also repostioned my range to go against an exterior wall so I have a hood powerful enough to handle what my cooktop can do ...If you are looking at a gas range with higher BTU's I think you'll find that the hood/exhaust system built in to the microwave inadequate and you'll eventually have a thin layer of kitchen grease everywhere. Please make sure the ventilation you choose is adequate for the range you choose.

                        1. re: oliveoyl

                          My $0.02:

                          Have always preferred gas over electric or ceramic/induction top stoves. Worried about damaging the induction tops with heavy utensils (ie dutch oven). A friend has a shiny new induction top and hates it. The burners keep turning on and off trying to sense the circumference of the pot if it moves slighly while cooking. Also, if you use a wok to cook or any other non-flat-bottom utensil, stability can be a real issue.

                          My preference is a gas stove with different size burners (power, simmer, etc). I see the point people are making re: an electric oven.

                        2. re: lupaglupa

                          I have a Bosch Gas stovetop/ convection oven and I love it. The convection oven really keeps the cooking even and things don't get burnt. I used to cook on a gas stovetop with electric oven that had the coils showing and that was awful because if something dripped on those it got smokey int he house to no end, but it was also an awful old stove. I wouldn't get a gas stove without convection.

                          I also have a microwave with built in exhaust it is a bosch too and it does any and every job we have wanted it to do well. It's potato sensor is really nice, the popcorn button isn't set for the right amount of time, but we rarely eat popcorn. It does a good job of venting, but is very loud when on the lower setting. And we have a small condo and it sometimes can't get everything vented before setting off the smoke alarm because of the alarms close proximity to the kitchen and openness of the condo. That is my 2 cents for you. BTW don't know how much you are getting, but if you get a dishwasher too get a Bosch of all of our Bosch appliances we like the dishwasher the most it is the quietest dishwasher ever, if it didn't beep when it was finished you wouldn't know it had run.

                          Also my brother has the flat electric stovetop and it is impossible to keep nice and clean if you cook every night and they are easy to scratch up and things will get burnt on and are hard to get off without damaging the surface and his has a special cleaner and really it looks best when you use that but then you have to use that everytime you cook. I like my gas top for that reason I don't have to clean it as often as I cleaned my brother's stovetop when I lived there.

                        3. re: eldergourmet

                          Thermador also makes an exhaust system with remote motor. I have one installed over a Thermador Professional gas cooktop. The exhaust system has three speeds -- low, medium, and typhoon -- and can clear out any amount of smoke very quickly at the medium speed; at the high speed, it will pick up cats and small dogs off the floor. I also am very happy with the cooktop, for three main reasons: (1) sealed burners makes it easy to clean; (2) it burns very hot -- far hotter than a standard home gas range or cooktop; (3) two of the burners have an ultra-low setting, under which they cycle on and off. Using this setting I can simmer things without having to watch -- or, more to the point, stir -- them.

                        4. I have had gas stoves for the past 10 or so years and would NEVER go back to electric. Even my mother was over for dinner the other night, she used to say electric was better and when cooking in my gas stove admitted that it is much better. You simpy have more control. Not sure about the oven, again, I've always had gas, I do find the oven can be somewhat en-even though.

                            1. Gas is nice if you have high performance cookware that can get the heat out of the flame and into the food, while spreading it throught the pan.

                              But if you have plain old stainless steel pans, or thin aluminum, electric will work better, as most electric burners tend to get hot over their whole surface instead of just at the small flame area.

                              Gas pros:
                              Instant response (knob change to heat output), reliable, can use any shape pan, infinitely adjustable betwen max and minimum.
                              Gas cons:
                              A small 'hotspot' at very low heat settings, open flame is an ignition source, heat input is limited by the size of the pot, needs high performance cookware for best results, needs more venting than electric. Not an option if you don't have gas service.
                              Electric pros:*
                              More even heat at lowest settings, potentially more powerful than gas (can boil water faster, as long as pot bottom and burner are flat and have good contact), easier cleanup (on flat-tops), easily reproducible heat settings, unaffected by drafts, no flame so less potential fire hazard (ignition source), less venting needed than gas.
                              Electric cons:*
                              Slow heat output response, less reliable than gas, warped coil-type burners severely reduce performance, no obvious visual indication of activity or heat level, requires electric service with sufficient capacity, induction requires specific materials, some ceramic smoothtops have 'odd' thermostatic settings (Gorenje, for one) that wreak havoc when using copper cookware and sensitive foods. Horrible performance with curved-bottom pans like woks and chef's skillets.
                              * - not all electric stoves are equal, so some faults or pros may not apply to all types and makes.

                              Gas is nice. I can walk up to any gas stove and cook, as flame size equals heat output, smooth and steady. *Every* electric stove has quirks. Ceramic smoothtops take forever to cool down, and pans with warped bottoms have hot-cold spot issues with them. A bit of grease between the pan bottom and stovetop can cause serious problems. They're less 'efficient' than coil element or induction models. Spiral contact element stoves can have a warped element creating the same hot/cold spot problems, the radiant heat burns spatters making cleanup difficult. Induction electric solves all the above problems, but requires a ferrous pan construction, and may not perform well with square or oval pans.

                              Ideally, my 'perfect' stove would be half smoothtop with one induction and one ceramic burner, and two gas burners that can provide a full range of 1000 to 20,000 BTUs each, plus a built-in double griddle.

                              The induction would be used for boiling water for pasta, and for searing with cast iron. The ceramic smoothtop would be used for low heat large area needs (like a very low heat on a 10 inch saute with no hotspots). Gas for general purpose cooking, and the double griddle/grill speaks for itself.

                              What I've settled for is a gas cooktop and electric oven, with the possibility of buying a single-burner countertop induction element that can be plugged into a wall socket.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ThreeGigs

                                Thanks for your long and thoughtful list. Certainly there's no perfect answer (short of designing your own stove as you are wishing to!). Induction sounds wonderful - but the price of the unit combined with the new to repace almost all my pans is a bit daunting! Right now I am leaning towards gas convection oven and stovetop.

                                1. re: ThreeGigs

                                  I don't think anyone mentioned a profound gas advantage: the possibility of an infra red broiler. These have been disappearing from mainstream stoves (my 1980s Caloric has one) at an alarming rate (there are none left in Toronto), but are available in "professional style" residential stoves for much less than Wolf/Viking prices. The advantages are enormous: instant browning and searing up close; gentle broiling at a distance.

                                  If you are considering all gas, look at Blue Star. You'll get really good gas burners (I believe identical to Garland professional models), simmering capability, a high powered infra red broiler, and convection. It's not very expensive for what it is. Two downsides: an extreme industrial look and no self clean feature in the oven.

                                  Dacor seems to offer the most flexible options: gas burners, a gas infra red broiler, an electric oven element, pure or combined convection, self cleaning, and a sleek look. The burners are much less powerful than Blue Star's, though, and it costs twice as much. Dacor's repair frequency and service satisfaction records are terrible.

                                  Single burner induction warning: you absolutely need 220 volts. I experimented with a beautifully made induction burner from Salton. It went back to the store in a day. The 110 volt circuit didn't generate enough energy to make induction cooking worth a damn.

                                  The burner came with a thin crappy stainless steel pot that was obviously designed specifically for this burner. Water boiled breathtakingly fast, but the prospect of really cooking in this thing was preposterous to contemplate.

                                  When my normal cookware worked, it took as long, or longer, to boil water than on a 9000 BTU gas burner. The pans never got hot enough to sear really well.

                                  The really bizarre aspect of this burner, aside from its low power, was establishing what would work and what wouldn't. I had pans to which a magnet stuck firmly that wouldn't heat. One pan that would not hold a magnet nevertheless got very hot (theoretically impossible). Anything not perfectly flat worked sporadically or couldn't be detected.

                                2. We too have been looking for a new range and the decision that we've come up with is the GE Profile dual fuel convection range with a warming oven. Good luck in your decision making.

                                  1. there is a great article in today's NYTimes food section about heat & the author recommends induction cooktops.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: oliveoyl

                                      Note that induction REQUIRES you to have special cookware. Your normal everday pots and pans won't get hot on an induction.

                                      1. re: Rick

                                        To be fair, it depends on what materials your normal everyday pots and pans contain. If you cook with cast iron or pure stainless steel and the cookware has flat bottoms, induction should work. With alloys, composites, and claddings, it seems much trickier (per my post above).

                                        1. re: embee

                                          I have an induction cooktop stove and have had no problems using my Calpahalon aluminum and All Clad stainless cookware on it. The main thing is the bottom surface has to be flat and smooth (no ridges).

                                          Also, they do not recommend using cast iron or copper on a induction cooktop.

                                          I also have not had any problems with clean up. I have a KitchenAid stove and the cooktop always cleans up nicely, no matter how dirty it gets. And no scratches. I use the cleaner that KitchenAid sells, and clean with a paper towel and buff with a soft cloth.

                                          1. re: CodysMom

                                            I'm not sure what kind of cooktop you have, but if aluminum pans work on it, and cast iron isn't recommended, then it's not induction. Induction uses an electromagnetic field to generate heat in the pan, aluminum and copper won't work. What model number is it?

                                    2. If you decide to get a cooktop and separate oven be aware that gas wall ovens do not install underneath counter tops like their electric counterparts.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: Romanmk

                                        My mother has a gas Wolf six burner range that she loves. She's more of a cooker than a baker and her meats turn out excellent in her oven. But when baking she often will burn the bottom of crescent rolls for example or her cheesecake always cracks. My wife and I have all electric and using the same cheesecake recipe and same baking method hers never cracks. In our opinion gas ovens aren't as good at baking as are electric.

                                        Our old house had a top of the line GE all gas/convenction oven. The convection was nice to speed things up but the disadvantage was that the fan built into the oven actually took up valuable space inside the oven and hindered us when trying to fit multiple cookie sheets in the oven. At our current housw we have all electric. The newer flat top electric units heat up almost immediately without having to wait for the coils to warm up. I've found that after getting over the learning curve I no longer miss my gas stove top. One thing that I really like about the electric is that I have a Lo setting that keeps food warm without overcooking. i.e. I can keep a small pot of sauce warm without making it boil as it would on the low setting of my old gas top. It's also a lot easier to keep the cooktop clean on the electric unit.

                                        1. re: Rick

                                          I am curious to know which electric range and oven you are so happy with. After much, much reading and thinking on this topic, we have decided to go with an electric range and oven. Gas is not a renewable resource and that was the main factor in our decision. We are avid cooks, but going electric we at least have the potential of running of solar power at some point.

                                          Anyway, we are very interested in the JennAir model JES8850BA. We have seen some negative reviews of a similar KitchenAid model--apparently the fan is too noisy. The JennAir meets several of our requirements: had to have 2700 output on two burners, a convection oven, and a warming drawer. I think the only thing it doesn't have that I would like is porcelain/enamel coated racks for the self-cleaning feature.

                                          Thanks for your informative post.

                                          1. re: mjennings26

                                            Um, methane IS a moderately renewable resource, though the cost of collecting methane/biogas from waste water plants, landfills, and industrial farming sites is generally far greater than drilling a well.

                                            That said how do you think commercial electricity is generated? The number one way is burning COAL, a far less renewable resource, or oil. Some utilities also burn natural gas to power their turbines.

                                            The percentage of electricity generated by hydo or nuclear is tiny -- http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfac...

                                            There is nothing on the horizon that would enable you to use solar panels to power a 240v/40Amp range. In fact many "green consultants" advise that for home cooking you should maximize use of a microwave and AVOID electric ranges altogether as gas has less total impact. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environme...

                                            Where did you get that idea that idea that electric ranges are greener?

                                            1. re: renov8r

                                              Hmmm. Thank you very much for that response. I do know that electricity comes from coal.

                                              We have been hearing about potential natural gas drilling on wildlife refuges and in Alaska. I wouldn't say that electric ranges are greener, but there is a finite amount of gas out there, we are exploiting pristine areas to get it, and hence, my concern.

                                              I also read Harold McGee's piece in the New York Times recently that reported electric cooking is more efficient than gas in terms of how much heat actually reaches the pan. Here's the link to that:


                                              Most important part of that article for me:
                                              "Among the major culprits here are inefficient appliances. According to the United States Department of Energy, a gas burner delivers only 35 to 40 percent of its heat energy to the pan; a standard electrical element conveys about 70 percent. Anyone thinking about kitchen renovation should know that induction cooktops, which generate heat directly within the pan itself, are around 90 percent efficient. They can out-cook big-B.T.U. gas burners, work faster, don’t heat up the whole kitchen, and are becoming more common in restaurant kitchens."

                                              Add these things up, and the fact that we don't already have a gas line to our house, and electric seemed like something I could live with (though I do prefer to cook with gas). I think induction is out of my price range.

                                              Thanks for your response. It's helpful. This is obviously a huge decision for me.


                                              1. re: mjennings26

                                                What induction cooktops have you looked at? Sears sells a Kenmore Elite model (made for them by Electrolux) in 30 and 36-inch widths, I got the 30 inch one on sale for $1500. I've seen it priced even lower than that. And of course, with 90-95% energy efficiency, the cost of energy will be less than it will with a gas or traditional electric cooktop.

                                                I think the energy efficiency of a normal electric cooktop may be even lower than McGee states, so leaving the method of electricity generation out of it for a moment, induction is the most energy-efficient method.

                                                Of course it's true that most electricity in this country comes from coal, but my power company gives you the option of getting your electricity from renewable sources. It costs a few extra bucks a month.

                                          2. re: Rick

                                            I'm with you, Melanie. I'm doing a remodel and I'm really fretting over the cooktop. I prefer an electric oven, and because I do a lot of baking, I'm looking at a Jenn-Air double oven with roll-out racks. I found out that a double oven costs less than an oven plus a warming drawer. As for keeping it as green as possible, of course that's a consideration, but baking is what I DO.
                                            Back to the cook top (and thanks to lupaglupa for starting this--it's really been helpful)--induction is out for me--I have a large collection of beautiful stainless lined copper pots and pans which I think my grandchildren will be cooking out of, and they don't work with induction. My husband and I own a restaurant, and he thinks I'm absolutely insane to consider anything but gas. We don't have a gas line to the house, and would have run the cooktop on propane. I'm trying to hold down costs, but since this will be a kitchen to last us for the foreseeable future, I want to be really thoughtful about the appliances. I do most of the cooking at home, so it's essentially up to me. Not too crazy about the smooth top electric either--I am a messy cook and inclined to move the pot around. So, Rick! Please let us in on your choice!
                                            Also, has anyone had any experience with refurbished? Thanks again, everyone.

                                            1. re: marthanell

                                              One thing about propane is that it doesn't burn quite as hot as natural gas. So if the burners on a gas cooktop are rated at, say, 20K BTU, that figure is based on the BTU they'll put out if burning natural gas; if burning propane, it might be, say, 18K BTU.

                                        2. Good luck on your pending remodel. I have noted a bit of misinformation about smooth-top electric cooktops. I have found my 7-year old Amana cooktop very responsive, and quite easy to maintain. I have been thinking recently that it is the easiest stovetop I've ever maintained. In spite of advice about needing metal plates to use a pressure cooker, or a double boiler, I find that the burners hold their heat steadily and well. Make sure that the stove or cooktop you choose has enough room for multiple pans, if you go smooth top, try to find a mottled finish.

                                          Whatever you decide about cooktops, do get a self-cleaning, convection electric oven. I do not note that the cooking time in my oven is shorter than before, but I do note crisp crusts, nicely browned meats and fully risen baked goods. Be sure to investigate whether a convection oven needs to be vented, though. My oven runs fans to cool the electronics, and they vents right into the kitchen. This was a big surprise. Later I was advised that the oven should have been vented to the outside.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                            Thanks for the hint about the venting. We have planned venting for the stovetop (the stove will now be on an exterior wall so that's going to be fairly easy) I will have to look at whether the oven would need venting too. Can you choose not to? Seems like in the winter that extra heat might be nice.

                                            1. re: lupaglupa

                                              The kitchen remodelers did not vent the oven. I was not happy with the oven at first, and when the service guy came out, he showed me the manual which indicated the oven could/should have been vented. The big surprise for me was the noise of the venting fans, and the rush of warm air into the kitchen with every use of the oven.

                                              My oven does work fine, and I always use convection. I just had to get used to it. Ask about this--design changes and improvements are made all the time. My oven is 7-8 years old.

                                              Run the clean cycle at night in the winter, before you go to bed.

                                          2. We have a gas cook top and a electric double wall oven. While the oven is great in terms of eveness of temp. and a great self cleaning cycle, I miss my old gas oven brolier. The electric oven brioler just doesn't cut it. Meat broiled in a gas oven comes much better versus the electric oven.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: angelo04

                                              We also are switching from a ModernMaid cooktop hopefully to a BlueStar 5 burner gas cooktop. My wife is concerned about cleaning the burners after one of my boil overs. Can anyone offer any suggestions which will ease her mind. Also any advice from BlueStar users regarding capacity of a downdraft would be helpful.

                                              1. re: sardis2010

                                                Here in the UK we can source small, two-burner, cooktops in either electric or gas. One each of these, plus maybe a single wok is what I'm going for. Luckily we have room to allow a proper space between each one for resting pans etc. Surely they are available in the States? Here are some: http://www.applianceplanet.co.uk/esho...

                                                1. re: sardis2010

                                                  If your wife is a clean-freak then there may be problems. I'm not, and I use my Bluestar daily and have never cleaned it. The problem is the tops are big, heavy two piece things with lots of protruding "arms" and such, so it's nearly impossible to wipe them off. The gunk just sort of accumulates and burns off as you use it, and it develops a sort of patina. Note however that since the burners are open, big spills drain down to the drip tray below which you can clean from time to time--it slides out like a drawer. It is totally hidden down there so you can just ignore it if you want, ie not at all like a typical home range with sealed burners. You can put the cast-iron top pieces in the DW, but I never have. If your had a six burner model as I do, you'd have 12 pieces to put in there so it would pretty much make up a full load.

                                                  Bottom line---Bluestar is a professional grade machine. It is optimized to make your tummy happy, not your eyes. If making your eyes happy is high on your (or her) list, it may not be ideal for you unless you don't mind a bit of extra cleaning work.

                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                    Thanks johnb this is just the sort of comment which is helpful. Any thoughts on the capacity of downdraft which should be installed. Is 600cfm enough?

                                                    1. re: sardis2010

                                                      I've had downdrafts in the past (pre-Bluestar) and IMO they are nearly worthless. Others' opinions may differ. Steam and such rises from the tops of pots and to reverse that natural upward flow and suck it down would take so much power (assuming you plan to use your BS seriously) the draft and noise would kill you. In addition, with a gas range, it will/would affect the performance of the burner heat--this wouldn't apply to an electric. I installed a vent-a-hood over mine---900 cfm and it does a pretty good job, even tho it's over an island.

                                                      So if you must go with a downdraft, get a big one and one where you can adjust the power widely. I doubt 600 cfm will do much. YMMV. But I still say go overhead if at all possible.

                                                      Search this board for this topic--it has been discussed before. Also take a look at the appliance forum on Garden Net.