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Dec 5, 2013 06:26 PM

Need help with BTU for first gas cooktop

I'm looking to going from electric to my first gas cooktop. My cooking needs are frying, having meat be able to absorb water quickly and basically asian/indian cooking (making tea, curry, lentil soup using pressure cooker). I won't be doing any wok type cooking.

I am very unsure about the highest BTU burner I need on my cooktop. I have seen that the common "power" burners come in the cooktops are 12k, 15k, 17k. And I'd like to get an cooktop for my needs rather than getting something I don't need. Would a 12k get the job done for me or would I need to go higher?

Currently I'm looking at:
Whirlpool 30" has 2x 12k =8&blockNo=8&blockType=G8

Maytag has (1) 15k and (1) 12k &blockNo=13&blockType=G13

Frigidaire (1) 17k (1) 12k 9000P?prdNo=10&blockNo=60&blockType=G60

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  1. Go higher than 12. You want to be up there in the high teens. I went from a high of 11 to a high of 17 or so, and the difference is quite noticeable.

    1. <I have seen that the common "power" burners come in the cooktops are 12k, 15k, 17k. And I'd like to get an cooktop for my needs rather than getting something I don't need. ....

      12K BTU is not really powerful, but it should able to handle most of your jobs -- especially you won't do any wok type cooking. Yes, 12K BTU is low, but it can support the kind of jobs you have listed: boiling water for tea, make curry, make lentil soup in a pressure cooker....etc.

      Do you know your current electric stove power in term of kW? You can do a conversion and see what is that equivalent to in BTU. Most likely the 12K BTU is still more slightly more powerful than your current electric stove.

      If possible try to go for high BTU because you can always use lower power.

      One catch of using a higher BTU stovetop is that you should also pair with a more powerful exhaust/ventilation system.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I don't know if you can help me with this. But I looked under my current cooktop jenn-air ccs446 and found its serial plate and its says 7kw and 5kw. And using this calculator: it gives me 23k BTU! Is this accurate?

        1. re: prapeepkc

          Hi. Thanks for the information. I did some search based on your information: model number ccs446. It looks like you have one of those solid element electric stoves. They are rare these days.

          Anyway, the way I understand is that the 7kW refers to the 240V setting, while the 5.3 kW refers to the 202 V setting.

          Regardless, that is the total wattage can be drawn from this entire stovetop with all the elements turned on -- not per element. In other words, this is the wattages consumption for the entire unit when all four elements are turned on.

          I found your element, but I cannot find the wattage it is rated for:

          Since this is a 4 elements (stoves) cooktop, I am making a guess that the small elements should at least able to draw 1 kW each. This means that the large elements can at most draw about 2.5 kW each. (1 + 1 + 2.5 + 2.5) = 7 kW. Actually, (1.5 + 1.5 + 2.0 + 2.0) seems more realistic to me. Anyway.

          It is rather extreme, but I am trying to guess the maximum kW for your larger element. I am guessing that it is between 2.0-2.5 kW.

          A 2.5 kW, this is equivalent to 8500 BTU. That being said, electric stove is more efficient than gas stove (in term of transfer energy to your cookware), so I will actually put this equivalent to a ~15,000 BTU gas stove.

          More likely, your larger element actually draws in 2.0 kW, and not 2.5 kW. So, it is really closer to a 12,000 BTU.

          I know all these can seem confusing.

          My conclusion is that you will likely get equivalent performance with the 12 kBTU stove, and likely with better performance with the 15 kBTU stove, and definitely better power from the 17 kBTU stove.

          I hope this help.

      2. Just as a point of reference, I put in an Electrolux Icon 36" 6 hob rangetop. It has 2 duel flame 18,000 hobs, a 14,000 hob and a 13,000 hob, along with a 9,000 and 7,500. So in this case, all but the two smallest hobs are higher in BTUs than what you propose. Based on boiling water, I think I would at least opt for the 15k. I can boil water on the 9,000 but it needs to be a small pot and it takes a fair amount of time. The 14k works reasonably well for a 3qt. sauce pan if I want to steam vegies. I must say the 18ks are really nice for a pot of spagetti.

        8 Replies
        1. re: mikie

          would you say you use the 18k as a convenience to bring something up to a boil or high heat quickly and then move it to a 15k or lower the heat on the 18k? if so I might go with the 15k or something in between a 12k and 18k.

          1. re: prapeepkc

            The only time I really need the full power of the duel flame burner is to boil a large pot for pasta. But I'm Italian and pasta is a staple. The rest of the time the burner is probably medium high or medium. Tonight I made Italian sausage and bean stew, I needed to bring it up to a boil, but the cast iron DO was already up to heat from sauteing the vegitalbes, so medium high was all that was needed to bring this up to a boil when the broth and wine was introduced, then it was turned down to just below medium for an hour to simmer. If you don't boil large pots of water for pasta, you may not need the highest rated hobs. Depends alot on what you cook.

            1. re: mikie

              mike says" "Depends alot on what you cook."

              The OP is asking about buying a stove for her house, and that begs the question of whether the OP will be the only one to EVER use the stove? Decisions such as this will play a role in the resale value of the house. Your viewpoint is spot on for buying a one burner portable gas hotplate but way off for buying a stove or built-in cook top for the house.

              1. re: Caroline1

                Although you are probably right, I've never let the type or size of cooktop or range be the determining factor in a home purchase. Say you're purchasing a $250,000 to $500,000 home (depending on where you live), how big a deal is it to replace a 5 or 10 year old stove for $1,500? I've remodeled every home I've been in, replaced just about all the appliances each time. It may be an issue, but I can honestly say I've never checked the power on a stove prior to purchasing a home. Silly me, I guess.

                1. re: mikie

                  Why do you assume you can buy a good stove for $1,500.00 in today's market? My 30" cooktop cost more than that! But rhere is more to the problem. I graduated real estate school in Texas around 30 years ago, then after working in real estate for a bit less than a year, decided it was not the job for me, However, having invested a lot of time with people getting a clear picture of exactly what they want in a home, spending tons of my time scouting homes on their behalf, finding the absolutely perfect home for them, then taking them to see it in my car, only to have them decide not to buy it because they don't like the freaking wallpaper in the dining room, TRUST ME! The kind of stove you install DOES count!

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    "...then taking them to see it in my car, only to have them decide not to buy it because they don't like the freaking wallpaper in the dining room..."

                    Caroline1, I didin't realize you had shown my mother houses! I went with her many times and she would reject a house because she didn't like the color of the spare bedroom. The realestate agent was about to go nuts. I believe it lead to early retirement. As a result, I never look at or care about the things that I can easily fix or change. I can't easily change the number of bathrooms, or the number of square feet in the master bedroom, or turn a two story house into a single story house, but I sure as heck can change the color of paint in the spare bedroom or replace an appliance that I don't like. Now, I do figure that into what I offer for the property, say all the kitchen appliances are 15 years old, I know they will need to be replaced with something more up to date.

                    Didn't you install an induction cooktop, they are always more expensive than conventional electric or gas. I paid more than that for my gas rangetop, but it's a premimum unit. You can get a 30" electric smoothtop for under $500 on Amazon, so I think $1,500 is reasonably generous unless you want something really special.

                    1. re: mikie

                      My cook top is a black no-knobs electronic smooth top that is mounted in black granite on an island that allows me to cook without turning my back on guests with a great custom vent that sucks up from the entire island. This configuration also allows me to clear the island and use it as a buffet for entertaining. Under $500 bucks for the cook top? I don't think so! If you'd like to see it, you can go to my profile page and click on "Photos" and sort through until you find the kitchen with the crystal chandelier in it. That is my current kitchen.

                      Oh, and just in case that really truly was your mother, tell her thank you for me, and give her a BIG hug. I HATED being a realtor!!! Architectural consultant and interior design was a blast, but real estate? Not so much. '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        I didn't mean to imply "your" coocktop was a $500 one, onty that one can be had for that amount. Obviously that's on the lower end of the spectrum and certianly not what you would have in your home. I remember your posts with the black granite, but I thought you were either looking to purchase or had purchased an induction top, perhaps you bought a portable induction hob and that's where I became confused as to what you have in your kitchen. Anyway sorry for the confusion on my part.

        2. Personally, I think you want your power burner to be as high as you can get. Mine is 15 and I love it when I need to get a good sear. A friend doesn't have a power burner at all on hers and I go crazy trying to cook at her house. Takes forever to boil water and get a pan good and hot.

          Gas is different from electric in that when you turn down the burner, you get immediate results. So even though your power burner will get really hot, you can still operate it at a lower btu (so you don't need to be moving pans around). It's going to be a little hard to get used to at first but you'll never want an electric range again.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sushiqueen36

            Did you convert from an electric as well? The one I have now is supposed to be rated for 7kw and 5.3kw which according to a BTU calculator would be 23k but I don't know if thats accurate seeing that I can't find anything that high in the market now.

            I notice that these gas cooktops need an electrical plugin for the electrical ignition. And I was wondering since I might have a 240v connection to the cooktop how extensive would changing it to 110v be?

            1. re: prapeepkc

              We recently converted from electric to gas (Bosch 800 series, 30") and it didn't seem to take much work at all. I do recommend getting someone knowledgeable to install the new cooktop and do not rely on the appliance store's recommendation for an installer. The reason being--we had the double wall ovens and electric cooktop installed (two separate occasions) by the store's recommended installer. Turned out the cooktop and wall ovens were wired together which presented a big fire hazard (unbeknownst to us). Fortunately our guy righted that wrong, ran the gas line up from the basement, installed the proper plug and voila! A wonderful new cooktop! (Another appliance store installer also wired the garbage disposal, dishwasher and clothes dryer together)

              1. re: prapeepkc

                My conversion was the result of a move. Our first 4 homes were electric stove and our current (and all future) is/will be gas. I've never directly compared gas to electric as far as the btu goes but the difference in practice is clear.

            2. For any stove -- gas, electric, induction -- I ALWAYS shop for the maximum heat level on at least one of the burners that I can find. You can ALWAYS turn the heat down, but every burner has a max on how hot you can turn it. There is nothing more frustrating in the kitchen than a burner that won't get hot enough for the job you have at hand!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Caroline1

                I will agree.

                Get the highest BTU that falls within your budget. Not all the hobs will be that powerful, and you obviously don't have to run the big one wide open all the time.

                One other thing I will mention is the grate design. A grate system that gives you a seamless transition across the cooktop is more desirable than individual grates that have valleys in-between. Being able to slide a pot or pan across the cooktop easily is the goal.

                1. re: JayL

                  Amen to that! The PRIMARY reason that I just totally gave up on gas cooking in the home is/was because of trivet design.

                  Nearly every home cooking gas appliance, whether a cook top or stove, high end or low, that is available in the U. S. in the last decade or so has the trivet cooking surface elevated about two inches 9sometimes more) above the adjoining counter level. Water weighs about 7 pounds per gallon. I think my smallest stock pot holds 3 gallons, and they go up from there! I do not welcome the risk of tipping or sloshing 20-plus pounds of boiling liquids because of "elevation conflicts" between the cooking and prepping surfaces I work on. The ideal is always to be able to slide the pot or pan off the heat without lifting.

                  I have seen gas cook tops from name brand manufacturers that have a small diameter raised trivet over the burners that are a genuine danger to any cook who uses them. I would place safe functionality of ANY cook top or stove, regardless of fuel/energy type, equally as important as how much heat the burners can produce. This is critically important if you have young children or plan on living in the house long term.