The Best High-End 36-Inch Gas Cooktops of 2019By Julia MacDougall, June 29, 2017, Updated April 24, 2019
While most kitchens have a range—that is, a cooktop and an oven built into one unit, it is possible to buy and install a cooktop and an oven separately. Typically, it's more expensive than just buying a range, but it may make sense if you have a kitchen island where your cooktop can live, or if you prefer to mount your oven (or ovens) at waist height.
If you decide to go this route, chances are that your kitchen will need some work to accommodate the new arrangement, but having the cooktop and the oven live in different places can be freeing—you can more easily use one without blocking access to the other. On the other hand, having a separate cooktop and oven can also make them both more visible to guests, so it might make sense to invest a bit more in these appliances so that they look good and match your kitchen's design aesthetic.
When it comes to cooktops, some cooks prefer electric or induction cooktops, but there are definitely those who prefer gas cooktops because of the ability to control the flame and the fact that the heat turns on quickly, rather than taking a while to warm up.
Models from upscale brands like Thermador, Wolf, and Viking promise neat features, better temperature control, and a sturdier build quality than their more affordable counterparts. Our tests show that high-end cooktops actually do perform better—which can’t be said for many other luxury appliances. Our favorite high-end, 36-inch gas cooktop is the GE Café CGP9536SLSS (available at Home Depot for $1,466.10) because of its fast water boiling, wide-open arrangement that can accommodate large pots and pans, and neat features like a dual-ring burner and an included griddle. Here are our picks for the best high-end gas cooktop models you can buy today.
Updated April 24, 2019
GE Café CGP9536SLSS
GE Café CGP9536SLSSBest Overall
The GE Café CGP9536SLSS gas cooktop beautifully balances function, form, and features. It only took 4-5 minutes for this cooktop to boil six cups of water, which is one of the faster times we've seen on gas cooktops in the past. Its right rear burner also excels at simmering, with its lowest temperature clocking in at around 116°F. There is a noticeable hotspot in the center of the burner, but that's a feature, rather than a bug, for a gas cooktop.
As for form, this gas cooktop has five burners of varying sizes, a lovely stainless steel finish, and cast iron grates that are tough to lift but easy to clean. While the grates are heavy, they are continuous, so it's easy to slide a pot from one burner to another without spilling. Best of all, the burners are spread out enough so that you can easily fit multiple large pots and pans on the cooktop at the same time. Some users have had issues with the knobs failing or breaking, but other than that, this cooktop is built to last for a long time.
As for features, well, who couldn't use a dual-ring burner and a griddle? These features add flexibility to a cooktop that is stellar all by itself. If you have the cash, buying the GE Café CGP9536SLSS is an easy decision to make.
How We Test
We rigorously assess cooktops by two major metrics: performance and features.
Because cooking appliances are versatile products that can help you to prepare your food in a number of ways, we have multiple tests that that help us to determine how well-rounded any given range, cooktop, or oven is when it comes to getting dinner (or dessert) on the table.
• Maximum/minimum temperature — What is the maximum and minimum temperature of each cooktop burner? Cooktop burners need to be relatively flexible, temperature-wise; the best burners can both provide a nice sear (high temperature) on a steak and gently simmer (low temperature) a pasta sauce.
• Cornbread — How even is the heating on the most powerful cooktop burner? By measuring the temperatures across a cast iron pot full of cornbread mix, we can determine how evenly the heat is applied across the most powerful burner. Burner evenness is important because it means that you don't have to worry about hot spots in a burner that may overcook one pancake while the others are still puddles of batter.
• Water boil — How long does it take for the cooktop's burners to bring a pot of water to a boil? We put appropriately-sized pots of water on every cooktop burner and see how fast each burner heats up the water in the pot to a gentle boil. Cooktops are rewarded for having more fast, hot burners.
While little things like cooktop knobs quality and grate quality might not affect your meal's edibility, it definitely affects your overall cooking experience. We look at the cooktop's features to try to identify any features that would really enhance or complicate the food preparation process. We love cooktops that have features that are especially useful, or that solve common cooking problems.
A cooktop's primary purpose is to help you prepare your food in a safe and timely manner; as such, the results of the performance tests are given the most weight when it comes time to decide whether we should recommend a particular range or not. For example, a range may have a beautiful finish and lots of neat accessories, but if it takes 10 minutes to boil a pot of water, we may not recommend that product to our readers. Features and usability are definitely incorporated into a product's final score (as mentioned above), but the performance testing is what really makes or breaks a cooktop, in our opinion.
The Thermador SGSX365TS gas cooktop is the successor to the popular Thermador SGSX365FS gas cooktop, and it does the Thermador name proud. This stainless steel cooktop has five gas burners (one of which is the center power burner that maxes out at 16,000 BTU), and those burners are capped with Thermador's signature star-shaped burner covers.
This cooktop really brings the heat; all five burners can reach temperatures higher than 450°F. The center burner runs the hottest, and maxes out at a toasty 518°F. Another high point to this Thermador cooktop is that the burner evenness was better than most gas cooktops we've tested. In this case, the star-shaped burner covers actually divert heat towards the edge of your cookware. This is great for overall cooking evenness, but actually produces a cold spot in the center of the burner. Additionally, Thermador users often comment that the star-shaped burners covers are harder to clean than normal circular burner covers, but for those who want evenly distributed heat, the trade-off may be worth it.
Another great feature of this cooktop is that two burners (the center and left front burners) have the "xlo" simmer option, which allows you to cook at very low temperatures. Just be aware that, in order to maintain these low temperatures, the gas flame actually cycles on and off; this phenomenon isn't a problem with the burner, it's one way that you can maintain low cooking temperatures with a hot flame.
For a one-of-a-kind cooktop that brings luxury looks and performance to your kitchen, look no further than the 36-inch Thermador SGSX365TS gas cooktop.
Viking Professional VGSU5366BSS
Where To Buy$2,099.00 AppliancesConnection Buy
Viking Professional VGSU5366BSS
The Viking Professional VGSU5366BSS hits all the high points: it has a matte stainless steel finish, continuous grates, and a three-year warranty. It also manages to fit six burners in where most gas cooktops only have five. Even better, those burners are hot and fast—we found that one burner could boil six cups of water in just over 4 minutes.
While it's great to have an extra burner on hand, it means that the burners are closer together, which may prove problematic if you have a number of large pots and pans on the cooktop at the same time. Additionally, the layout, while sleek-looking, may be a bit confusing until you get used to it. All six burner knobs are on the right-hand side of the cooktop, so it may take a while before you immediately start to match up a knob to a specific burner. On the other hand, the burner arrangement is benficial because it puts a good variety of burners in the front row for frequent use. The cooktop was easy to clean, but the cast iron grates must be washed by hand.
Lastly, every burner has a "simmer" setting, which is extremely convenient, even if, in our experience, the "simmer" setting was hard to fine-tune. If a sixth gas burner would make your life easier, the Viking Professional VGSU5366BSS gas cooktop is the cooktop for you.
Unlike the other models we tested, the six-burner Wolf SRT366X is a rangetop, not a cooktop. That means that it requires a deeper countertop/cabinet cutout, but in return, it offers a professional, restaurant-inspired look.
The Wolf rangetop makes clever use of this extra depth: the controls for the burners are on the front of the rangetop, like they would be if this cooktop was part of a range. By moving the eye-catching red knobs to the front, it opens up more space for the sixth gas burner, so that you can easily fit large pots or pans on adjacent burners. As for the burners themselves, they are better at maintaining lower temperatures—on the lowest burner setting, each burner was able to hit temperatures cooler than 114°F, which is an impressive feat; this cooktop is perfect for simmering sauces or melting chocolate without burning it. On the flip side, at their maximum temperature settings, the burners struggled to get to temperatures higher than 370°F-380°F; indeed, boiling six cups of water took between 6-7 minutes, which is about average for gas cooktops, in our experience.
If your cooktop if often called upon to warm things gently, rather than blast them with heat, the Wolf SRT366X cooktop won't let you down.
Note: Wolf doesn't allow its products to be purchased online. You'll have to contact an authorized dealer if you're interested in purchasing this model.
Unlike most other high-end cooktops, the five-burner Miele KM3475GSS is better for high-temperature cooking than simmering and melting. In our tests, it got pans almost as hot as some induction cooktops. Two of the burners reached maximum temperatures close to 500°F, which are some of the hotter temperatures we've seen on gas cooktops in the past. With this fast heat comes equally fast boiling abilities: the two front dual-ring burners were able to boil six cups of water in about 5 minutes.
As for its looks, this Miele cooktop is also an outlier in the sense that it favors high-end performance over high-end looks; its matte stainless steel (and fingerprint-resistant) finish is aiming for "minimalist", rather than "luxury". The weighted burner control knobs feel nice to use and are intuitively arranged, but the knobs are close to the burners, so we recommend that you be careful using the knobs when the burners are live.
For those who favor function over form, and who need their burners to get very hot very fast, we recommend the Miele KM3475GSS gas cooktop.