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.
When it comes to cooktops, some people 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.
Models from upscale brands like Thermador, Wolf, and Miele 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 Thermador SGSX365TS (available at Best Buy for $2,399.00) , because of its fast water-boiling, max heat, and wide-open arrangement.
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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.
Very hot high temperatures
Great at maintaining low temperatures
Burners are spaced to accommodate large cookware
Slight cold spot towards the center of the burners
Hi there, my name is Julia MacDougall, a scientist here at Reviewed. I’ve tested a wide variety of products, including rakes, shredders, backpacks, smart thermostats, and coding toys for kids. I'm also part of the team that tests kitchen and cooking appliances. When it comes to cooking products, we focused on 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.
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, but the performance testing is what really makes or breaks a cooktop.
What You Should Know About Buying High-End 36-Inch Gas Cooktops
Are Gas Cooktops Better Than Electric Ranges?
Both gas and electric ranges have pros and cons that may make them more or less suited to your needs.
Gas stoves are generally more expensive than their electric counterparts, and can even cost more than induction, depending on what features are involved. Keep in mind that this initial expense will be offset by a decrease in your electric bill—gas is much cheaper than electricity. If you need to install gas hookups to make the switch, however, the utility bill savings might not entirely cover the cost. Depending on where you live and your home’s design, installing a gas hookup can range from expensive or impossible: We recommend getting a quote before committing to a gas cooktop.
How Do You Clean A Gas Cooktop
While induction ranges get all the accolades for being easy to clean—just wipe down the flat surface with a damp paper towel or sponge—that doesn't mean gas cooktops are particularly difficult to clean. All of the grates are removable and washed individually. If you have any burned-on stains, you can scrub them down with a wire brush and a water and baking soda paste. While that's more labor intensive than a quick wipe-down, it's not any more difficult than cleaning a traditional electric range with coiled heating elements.
How Many Burners Do I Need?
Depending on how much time you spend in the kitchen, it might be worth it to investigate in some extra options for your range. When it comes to the cooktop, anything above the standard four-burner setup is a bonus. Some ranges can have five, or even six burners; however, the more burners a range has, the more difficult it becomes to fit large pieces of cookware, such as a spaghetti pot and a frying pan, on their respective burners at the same time.
Sometimes, those extra burners are specialty burners are designed to accommodate special cookware such as a griddle or a wok; other burners are bridge burners that are meant to keep food warm without continuing to cook it.
Another possibility is to have a dual-ring burner, or a burner that includes a stronger heat source wrapped around a weaker heat source. That way, on a single burner, you can choose to use just the smaller heat source for lower temperatures, but you can add the stronger heat source if you need higher temperatures.
What Is The Difference Between Slide-in And Freestanding Ranges?
In a nutshell, slide-in ranges are meant to sit flush with your countertops, while freestanding ranges are meant to sit on top of any surface. While slotting in and sitting on top of your countertop may seem similar, the main differences between the two involve finish and ease of cleaning. Because freestanding ranges are visible from all slides, they have a more finished look; slide-in ranges are meant to have their sides hidden by the cabinetry, so the finish typically isn't as pretty on the sides.
Additionally, because slide-in ranges sit flush with your countertop, they're a bit easier to clean because they do not have a large lip around the edge. Freestanding ranges often have larger lips around the edge of the cooktop to corral any crumbs that would otherwise decorate your floor. Freestanding ranges also typically have a back-mounted control panel for the same reason.
While slide-in ranges will do fine in a freestanding arrangement, the reverse is less true. If your current cooking setup has the range sitting in a cabinet or countertop cutout, we recommend replacing that range with another slide-in range. Conversely, if your range stands alone in your kitchen, we'd recommend replacing it with another freestanding range to cut down on food debris spilling everywhere.
Should I Get A Front-mounted Control Panel Or Back-mounted Control Panel?
As we mentioned earlier, most freestanding ranges have back-mounted controls, but some slide-in ranges do as well. Both arrangements have pros and cons; on the one hand, having back-mounted controls means you may have to reach over hot food to adjust the oven temperature, the controls are also far enough away that you would have difficulty hitting something on the control panel by accident. On the other hand, front-mounted controls are easier to reach, but that convenience can turn against you if you brush up against a knob accidentally. Consider the ergonomics of using the range when it comes to picking a front- or back-mounted control panel.
Other High-End 36-Inch Gas Cooktops We Tested
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 six and seven 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 five 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.
Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.