When it comes to gas cooktop ratings, they can be hard to differentiate. No, really. I sell them for a living and even I have a hard time telling them apart.
But under the hood, there are definite differences between the brands, both in build-quality and in actual feature-set. Over my 12+ years in the appliance business, I’ve both used and sold every cooktop on this list.
Gas Cooktop Ratings for 2016
My goal here is to list them in order of which I would buy for my own home, listing distinctive features and/or disappointments along the way:
#1 – 36″ Wolf Gas Cooktop – CG365T/S
This cooktop is my favorite for so many reasons, but if I had to boil it down to just one it would be this cooktops ability to do a proper simmer due to it’s dual-stacked burner design. This cooktop was not just built for a chef. It was very obviously designed by one.
Every burner is a dual-stack design, with separate gas ports for regular-high heat vs. simmer heat range.
You’ll get five burners in the 36″ configuration and each has it’s very own purpose. The bottom left burner is your highest BTU output for searing and cooking at 18,000 btu rating. Your top row, middle burner is your medium sized burner for once cooking has gotten underway, it rates out at 11,000 btus.
The other three burners are far more versatile, each with a 9,000 btu rating, they can do anything but are primarily meant for working on your sauces and and sweets. Each of those smaller burners can get to a super low simmer setting allowing you to keep a chocolate melted without burning or a delicate sauce heating but prevent it from breaking.
The continuous grates and seamless base pan make clean up of messes extremely easy. The knobs on these can now be had in a round black contemporary style or the classic traditional red knobs. Automatic ignition system will reignite the flame should it be extinguished.
The unit comes with Wolf’s 2 Year Warranty out of the box, and the burners are warrantied up to 5 years. Priced at around $1,999, it’s currently the single best gas cooktop on the market and an excellent value considering it’s bleeding edge design and features.
If you like this, you might also want to check out their latest cooktop variant in our article: New Appliances for 2016.
#2 – 36″ Bertazzoni Gas Cooktop – PM36500X
Bertazzoni USA is bringing the heat with incredibly low prices on some high-quality Italian appliances.
This 36″ gas cooktop might be the best deal in their entire lineup. It features solid brass burners with a high-power/”wok” burner in the center rated to 18,000 btus, (2) large burners rated at 11,000 btus, and two auxiliary burners rated out at 6,500 btus. All of this is controlled by their uniquely shaped stainless steel knobs.
Even at its incredibly low price, this range features child safety knobs which must be pushed in to turn, as well as a thermocouple safety system which will automatically cut the gas supply in the event of flame loss.
This unit can be mounted near flush as well, providing a very sleek and modern look at affordable pricing.
If there is a better deal out there for a professional quality gas cooktop, we have yet to find it.
It ships with a 2 year parts and labor warranty. Priced at $1,299. which is incidentally the same as GE and Electrolux’s cooktop prices.
#3 – 36″ Miele Gas Cooktop – KM 2355 G
In our previous review of the New Appliances for 2016, the Miele 3054 G was featured, and while that looks to be an impressive new cooktop, we have yet to have any real world experience with it yet. This is the sibling it is based on, with the burner construction and internals being almost identical.
One common element you’ll find repeated throughout this gas cooktop ratings is the use of one large, hi-power burner. The Miele KM2355G is much like the Bertazzoni and the Thermador, with one large super / “wok” burner in the center rated at a higher power 16,500 btus, and four smaller burners for regular cooking. The build quality on this Miele is one of the best of the group with not a sharp or unfinished edge to be found anywhere, with beautifully crafted steel knobs.
It also features child safety knobs and a thermocouple safety system to cut the gas upon losing flame. Miele’s typical 1 year parts and labor warranty is included out the box. The unit can also be flush-mounted into the granite for a extremely modern looking application.
Additional 5 year warranty can be purchased from Miele as well. This unit is currently selling for $1,799.
#4 – 36″ Thermador Gas Cooktop – SGSX365FS
While the classic Thermador range and ovens are very popular, their cooktops seem far less so. We aren’t entirely sure why, as their long running 36″ gas cooktop, the SGSX365FS, is a solid workhorse machine. Like the Miele and the Bertazzoni, it features 5 burners total. The center “Power” burner features a large Thermador patented “star” design which puts out 18,000 btus. There are two normal sized burners at 12,000 btus, and two small burners rated to 9,000 btus.
Continuous grates make for easy pot movement, the automatic ignition system only ignites the burner your selecting, and a automatic re-ignition is standard. The control panel is illuminated upon use with a beautiful white backlighting. Very classy indeed.
Couple of small complaints on this unit that keeps it from moving up the list: LP gas conversion is done in the feild, not at the factory, which means that if you’re running LP gas your actual btu numbers are cut down significantly.
For example, on LP the main burner rating drops from 18,000 to 15,000. With each burner losing roughly 20% of its power. Where Wolf and Miele (Thermadors biggest competitors) actually have different set of ports and valves for LP gas applications allowing their cooktops to keep their btu ratings consistent no matter which gas type you use.
The star burners are pretty to look at, but their design is dated and has been lagging behind Wolf’s for the better part of a decade now. For example: In order for this unit to achieve a true 200 btu simmer, it must cycle its smallest burner on and off, resulting in the annoying audible ignition noises.
The “feature” works, but it feels more like a “hack” and not a truly elegant solution to providing a better simmer range.
Warranty is 2 years parts and labor. Selling price currently is $1,899.
#5 – 36″ Gaggenau Gas Cooktop – VG 295
Gaggenau does not often get high marks in our publication and while there are a plethora of reasons, if we had to boil them all down to one it comes right back to the simple matter of price. Their offerings consistently cost much more than every other brand on the market. And while that is not a crime within itself, currently their products very rarely are exceptional enough to warrant the jump in price.
For many years, Gaggenau was the only “high-end” cooking appliance company on the market. In fact, in the late 80’s and early nineties if you had a high-end Kitchen, chances were very good it was stocked full of Gaggenau appliances. But as more competitors came to market Gaggenau has been slow to change, both in their pricing and general business plan.
Case in point: the Gaggenau VG295 Gas Cooktop design hasn’t been updated in over a decade, with a feature-set identical, if not slightly inferior to its Thermador cousin. In fact, the only thing going for it is it’s post-modern looks and bright brass burners.
If you didn’t know any better and judged this cooktop without seeing the rest of this lineup it might not look like such a bad option. But when included in this group, at a price tag over a thousand dollars more than it’s nearest competitor, the luster fades very quickly indeed. There is nothing this cooktop offers that even comes close to warranting it’s price tag.
Ships with a 2 year parts and labor warranty, at a inflated sell-price of $2,899.