Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Home on the Rangetop

Thermador 36" Professional Series Gas Rangetop

After my budget eliminated my dream ranges (the Lacanche, and running a close second, the Aga), last summer we finally decided on the Thermador Professional Series gas cooktop with 6 burners (PCG366E) . We knew we wanted a pro rangetop, and we had narrowed the field to include the Thermador, Viking, Wolf and BlueStar. I don't really remember all the features we compared while making our decision, but here are a few.

Sealed vs Unsealed

Viking and Wolf both give you a choice between sealed and unsealed burners, which is nice. The Thermador only offers sealed and the BlueStar only unsealed. What's the difference? Well, true cooks prefer unsealed burners because they give off the most heat. Clean freaks may prefer sealed burners because all the crud is easily accessible and doesn't fall down through the works and into a drip pan never to be seen again (until you decide to clean it 3 years later, like me, and find it is just too gross and needs to be thrown away). I chose sealed, because honestly, do I really need 22,000 btu's? No, I need an easy-to-clean kitchen. Some people are "out-of-sight-out-of-mind" about dirt, but not me. Yes, I do think about all that unseen crud (thanks, Mama Cain), and it bugs me, especially if it's going to take a whole day to clean.

LP Conversion

This was a must. Our house has propane, not natural gas. Maybe all the other brands had a conversion kit (I don't really remember), but the Thermador has one built in (factory ready). No need for a conversion, no extra parts, no contractor necessary. This one also simply plugs in to an outlet - no hardwiring.

Ultra Low Simmer

This is a very nice feature to have if you often do things like melt chocolate (no need for that double boiler anymore), or simmer delicate sauces or soups, or just have a tendency to forget to stir while you're busy doing something else. (How many times have I scraped a burnt crust off the bottom of the stockpot when making spaghetti sauce or vegetable soup? Argh.) The Thermador has one extrahigh (15,000 btu) burner for when you need a lot of heat fast, and two extralow simmer burners, which also heat up to regular temperatures. One of the other brands had a simmer burner, but that's all it did. Simmer. A waste of a burner if you're not always simmering something.

Appearance and Reliability

The Viking, while attractive, has gotten many, many poor reviews from various sources for reliability and service. I really liked the porcelain surface, which comes in different colors and looked easy to clean, but when spending in excess of 2 grand for a cooktop, I didn't want to deal with any performance problems and customer service issues. No time for that. Viking was out.
The Wolf was also attractive, but I didn't really like the shape of the clunky grates. The Thermador wasn't perfect either, since the entire top surface was stainless steel. It seemed like it might be a nightmare to keep clean and free of scorch marks. But DH really liked the blue knobs and the rounded front. I liked the continous grates. The knobs on the Viking and Wolf were more difficult to turn and felt, well... cheap. The BlueStar? A little too industrial for me - just not attractive at all. Besides, at 22,000 btu's and with SuperNova burners, we just might burn down the house.

Burner Shape

Only the Thermador and BlueStar have burners in a shape of a star. Wolf and Viking are round. Why does this matter? Theoretically, a star-shaped burner heats the center of the pan as well as the periphery, giving a more even heat distribution beneath the pan . Round burners heat only the periphery. What this means in terms of cooking is less burning, quicker boil times, and more even heating. You can also use a much smaller pan and still get heat to it. Round burners limit the size of the pan - after all, if your pan is smaller than your burner ring, you're not heating the bottom - only the handle and your fingers. I can cook in a 2 inch pot if I want. Since only the Thermador and BlueStar had star-shaped burners, and we had eliminated the BlueStar over and over on all counts, that left the Thermador as the winner.

So far, we've had no complaints. We love our rangetop!

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Anonymous Ma said...

this is sooo very exceptional!
The SINK is my favorite! just the kind i wanted in my last house. Or maybe my next house??
when can i move in????

6/28/2007 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if things don't work out with the vet thing, you can always sell appliances. Looks great.


6/28/2007 5:27 PM  
Blogger Josh Smith said...

Can you tell how your Thermador rangetop is holding up? I would be interested to know your thoughts on it, especially for cleaning.

7/12/2012 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Hi Josh! We are still loving our Thermador rangetop, and in fact, are planning on keeping it and moving it into our new house (The Someday House).

Cleaning the outside stainless has been a breeze. When grease spots show up, I just wipe them off with a clean soft cloth (no harsh cleaners necessary). The stainless directly under the burners is more difficult, only because we tend to not clean as often as we should, and grease tends to get baked on. When I do a deep-cleaning, I use the spray on Easy-Off oven cleaner, let it soak for a while, then wipe everything off with a soft cloth. It never comes out looking like new, but it does get really clean. I will post some new photos for you soon.

7/18/2012 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what type of ventillation do you have with your thermador range top

8/21/2012 1:02 PM  

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