I need to replace a 1990'sKitchen Aid cooktop on my island. I've like the center grill cartridge but hated the round grills on the gas cartridges. I'm considering a Viking, a Wolf, the Thermador and maybe another Kitchenaid. I have a downdraft exhaust system and don't want to install an island hood.. I'm reading really mixed reviews on all of them. Would really appreciate any comments. As a side note, I'd like any comments on a Blue Star range (for another home) Thanks for your help
Advice on Choosing A Gas Cooktop
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I'm no expert here but there are posts in the archives that go into ranges. American was a highly rated one, but they're not cheap. As to the hood, I'd love to install a bigger hood in my kitchen but I'm just not going to go ripping out cabinets to do it. You don't have that problem with the Island, so I'd really think about that.
I recently did a kitchen remodel at home and went through an extensive research process. I ultimately chose Capital Culinarian series since it is the only home stove to offer 22k btus across all burners. Every other brand has a mix of high and low power burners. This stove can also get a low simmer on all burners. For me it was what I needed. If you get a powerful stove, you need a good exhaust system and there is not one down draft that can capture and move the steam, grease, and heat out of the kitchen. It's just simple physics, you need an exhaust that sits over the stove and has sufficient CFM to pull the fumes out. I chose the Vent-a-hood system that pull approx 1800 cfm utilizing 4 blowers. I use an indoor gas grill and it has never overwhelmed the exhaust system's capabilities.
At the end of the day you need to decide what your needs are and how you will use the equipment.
Good luck !
One thing I do like is the 32,000 BTU capacity of both front burners. I can put a fabulous sear on meat or fish, and cooking in my wok is a breeze. I can bring a huge pot of water to a boil in 15 minutes.
That said, I am decidedly not happy with the lowest settings on the back burners. They run too hot to keep anything at a gentle simmer.
Otherwise, the spacing of the burners is great. I can use four of my largest pots and pans all at once and there is plenty of clearance, which is great for a 36" cooktop, in my experience.
Good luck with whatever you wind up getting.