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Aug 12, 2013 02:04 PM

help me chose a new range/cooktop

We are planning a long-awaited kitchen addition. We have been making due with the current space for almost 20 years, and look forward to another 20 in the renovated space, so re-sale is not an issue for us. Both of us are avid cooks/bakers, and so we want something reliable and functional. (Our current Kitchenaid range has been nothing but trouble.)

Two questions:

We aren't sure whether to purchase a dual fuel range, or a gas cooktop, and a wall oven (or 2).

For those of you who purchased premium brand, are you glad you did? (We have looked at Wolf and Thermador, but are they genuinely a better purchase than more reasonably priced brands?)

Thanks for listening - this is very overwhelming...

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  1. I'd do a search here for induction and, if you're not familiar with the technology, there's tons of info on the net. I've had it for several years and would NEVER go back (down) to gas.

    1. Really? Why do you prefer it to gas?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Suechee

        Rather than start from the beginning, here are a whole bunch of CH links that can get you started.


        1. re: Suechee

          Hi, Sue:

          If you want to spare yourself hours of (repetitive) reading, the main reasons one might prefer induction over gas can be found at the bottom of the following list. The main reasons to favor gas over induction are at the top.

          Reasons to Reconsider Induction (Over Gas):

          Relies Heavily on Electronics
          --When they fail , it’s commonly a CATO failure—replace the whole unit
          --Accelerating obsolescence/parts issues
          --Vulnerability to power surges
          --While induction itself isn’t new, the sensor, circuit boards/modules and interlock technology is, and bugs remain

          Loses functionality in power outage
          --And/or may overtax backup generator capacity
          --Portable units may require short or heavy-duty extension cords

          Heat Unevenness
          --“Ring” hotspots corresponding to coil (CI, steel, thin pans can exacerbate)
          --No heat delivered to sides of pan—all from the bottom

          No flame for roasting (peppers, tomatoes, etc.)

          Glass top is delicate
          —shouldn’t shake pans
          --can scratch/crack
          --cost of special cleansers
          --may feel need to keep 100% sparkling

          Glass top is flat
          --no warped pans
          --no rounded wok bottoms (except for specialty hobs)
          --reflectivity can make controls/settings hard to read

          --Cooling fan cycling

          Electrical service
          --Some models require 50-amp circuits
          --1800W/110VAC units can overtax circuits in older houses in competition with other appliances

          Pan Limitations
          --No straight-gauge copper or aluminum, conventional bimetal copper, pyrex, ceramic or stone—may need to buy new pans/discard old
          --Not all “compatible” pans perform equally—must learn different settings for same size/shape pans
          --Pan size must trigger detector circuit (can’t be too small)
          --Pans should be nearly perfectly flat

          Complicated/Counterintuitive Controls
          --Heat delivery often not linear
          --Some models can’t pre-heat pans except at highest settings
          --Highest settings often too high except for speed boiling (e.g., 6-10 useless)
          --Highest and “Boost” settings can quickly crack and/or warp pans
          --Discrete, not infinitely adjustable settings
          --Temperature settings notoriously inaccurate (too many pan/sensor variables)
          --Safety interlocks can interrupt cooking and switching pans
          --Digital vs analog familiarity and aesthetic—do you like digital watches, car instruments, etc.?
          --Multiple steps and button-pushes required for simple tasks

          # of Years to Recoup Price is Longer Than Expected
          --Electricity savings smaller than expected
          --Coil doesn’t use much anyway
          --Oven is still resistive electric
          --No home heating offset

          No instant tactile/visual feedback from heat source--you're flying by instruments

          --semiconductor/heavy metal disposal
          --May support “dirty” electricity generation, depending on locale

          On the Other Hand…

          Very fast water boiling—top-end power equivalent to commercial gas
          Most child safe of all
          Very little fire hazard
          Nothing to clean but the glass
          Functionally as responsive as gas; theoretically a little better
          Heat can be made pretty even by using the best, thickest compatible clad (at expense of pan responsiveness)
          Sleek, black, modern, open, tech-y look
          Heat can be set very low (gas and electric may require a simmer plate)
          Cooler kitchen in summertime
          Perhaps no need for exhaust hood
          No combustion gases in kitchen
          Doesn’t require installation of a gas line
          Better models have a wide range of settings—theoretically means finer control
          Theoretically conserves electricity/saves utility costs


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Is the sky falling? The negatives you list are a bit over the top. Noise is not an annoyance to me. The fan is no worse than an exhaust fan. I have no hot spots,explain to me how the heat from induction can crack or warp a pan. I use Chantal plas with a heavy bottom and have a lining of copper and carbon steel. I use Le Creuset, you are more likely to break on by dropping it. Prices are coming down as they become more popular. Sizes? My burner is designed to accommodate different sizes. On or off or change the heat setting, no bells and whistles.Power outages? Your electric range won't work anyway and some igniters on gas tops won't work either. Anyway I could go through your list of negatives and point out why most of what you are listing are no longer (or almost)detraction's. Like COliver I have been cooking for over 50 years and have used a wide variety of cooking surfaces and induction is by far a better option.

            1. re: Candy

              Hi, Candy:

              My list was intended to catalogue the ups and downs of the induction vs. gas comparison as reflected by reports from users here and elsewhere. For example, some induction users *have* expressed annoyance at the noise, cracked and warped pans, overly complicated controls, etc., etc.

              Your and others' experience is obviously different. Your Chantal pans or your particular cooktop may have something to do with some of that. But induction works for you, and you like it. That's great, and I'm happy for you.

              There are ups and downs to all the different cooking modalities. When someone posts that any one has no downsides (or just says "Get induction, it's wonderful!") then they're inviting a response that includes the rest to go along with the good.

              And, for the record, I think that progress *has* been made with induction appliances. The Miele that was linked in this thread is a great example, having two concentric coils. The abandonment of temperature settings is another that is in progress.

              LOL, I've only been cooking for 40 years, so do you think my facts and opinions are worth 80% of those offered by a 50-year cook? Where would this end? Would the opinion of a centenarian with 85 years' cooking experience matter more? I find this whole "decades of experience" comparison a little silly.


              1. re: Candy

                You can light a gas stove with a match, gotta call you out on that one. :-)

          2. Suechee we endured almost 25 years of a livable but uninspired kitchen for two home cooks and a culinary daughter until our cabinets finally delaminated, our Formica counter opened at its seams and a stupid, underpowered, slow to respond glasstop range bit the dust in the same week our jet engine loud dishwasher finally caused a noise complaint from a next door neighbor.

            No any surprises there. We spent at least the prior year looking, test driving, going to cooking demonstrations, and talking to every active chef we knew soliciting their recommendations for tight home kitchens.

            We finally took the plunge ordering a great BlueStar 36" gas range with a huge convection roasting oven and built the rest of a kitchen of our dreams around that workhorse. Added a stack of very precise Miele electric ovens; warming drawer, convection bake oven and a combination speed oven that gets more use than ever imagined. Added a prep/bar sink for a small espresso/coffee counter and a huge wash sink with a minimal garbage disposal side sink. We included a near silent Miele dishwasher that allows us to run a wash cycle during dinners without disrupting a conversation. While we chose not to upgrade our French door refrigerator we detailed the surrounding cabinets and bookshelves to permit us to replace it with an oversized, counter depth unit without the need for a carpenter.

            Bunch of other features that have really made the pain of living for months with construction dust and lots of Chinese takeout an almost fond memory.

            After living with our decisions for several years now, our appliance choices have proven their worth and all the other details that took us a year or more to plan and research still hold great personal value to us. Hopefully we'll enjoy this kitchen for at least a couple decades.

            1. I would pass on dual fuel.

              A premium price for an electric oven that does not cost any more to build than a gas oven. Each type of oven has pros and cons.

              If looking at gas burners I would look at true open burners which are not only very powerful but provide very even heat.

              If looking for a gas cooktop look at Bluestar RNB.

              If looking for a rangetop look at Bluestar RNB and Capital Culinarian.

              If looking for a range with self clean look at All-Gas Capital Culinarian with optional self-clean oven.

              If looking at electric wall ovens 1) Gaggenau 2) Wolf 3) If first two options too expensive look at Electrolux.

              If looking at induction cooktops 1) Themador 2) Gaggenau 3) Miele 4) Wolf

              I have cooked on a Thermador induction cooktop that had the most powerful hob on the market at 4.6kw.

              I bought a 36" Capital Culinarian with self-clean oven and a 24" Gaggenau wall oven with side opening door(no need to reach over hot oven door) and catalytic air cleaner that cleans air of grease before exiting into kitchen.

              Small oven for most daily jobs and baking.

              Big oven for big jobs like roasting large cuts of meat.

              7 Replies
                1. re: DeeAgeaux

                  Please explain why you wouldn't have a high end electric oven in a range but you would on a wall. Some people only have room for a range or want the functionality of a high end electric oven on all ovens they own.

                  A high end electric oven does cost more to build due to additional elements and fans and the computers to coordinate them. There are often additional refinements and to do it well, it costs money. I find it amazing that people will spend as much as they would on a high end electric on an gas oven that does not have these functions. To each his own.

                  As much as I love the way they fuction I could not recommend Wolf or Electrolux due to the chipping of the enamel. How did you arrive at these ratings on ovens?

                  1. re: wekick

                    An electric oven does not cost more to build.

                    Gas ovens also have convection and cooling fans.

                    In place of electronics like computers you have expensive to mill intake manifolds and other metal parts.

                    I would pay for an good quality electric wall oven but not pay the huge premium that appliance companies charge to put one in a range with gas rangetops.

                    I have not read of Wolf or Electrolux ovens built in the last three years having chipping enamel. There may be a few but every appliance has a few defects.

                    1. re: DeeAgeaux

                      There are some on gardenweb in the last year.

                      1. re: wekick

                        Made in the last three years?

                        I see people bitch quite loudly for the slightest imperfection.

                        Have not seen these, and as you know I read GW quite a bit.

                        1. re: DeeAgeaux

                          Mine is down to bare metal in places. The problem is that once you have crazing every time the metal heats and cools, the cracks move against each other and the metal and tiny shards of the porcelain flake off and may become airborne.

                          In the last three years

                          I missed this

                          breezygirl here

                          kalapointer first oven cracked at 2.5 years and was replaced in April now cracking again




                          her blog with more details and a photo

                  2. re: DeeAgeaux

                    If you are looking at induction I would suggest Bosch.

                  3. This is all very useful information - thank you so much for taking the time to respond.