Reputation matters, but not as much as pure performance. That's why we brought Thermador's 36-inch Masterpiece series cooktop into our labs for a full evaluation. What we found out was certainly good news: This is one of the best gas cooktops you can buy. At $1,899, it ain't cheap, but it's a strong performer with looks and heritage to match.
Simple and stylish.
The has a simple, easy-to-use design with five burners, and one knob each for control. The black and stainless design features a trapezoidal control panel covered in black glass and accented in blue—just like a gas flame. Raised burners make cleaning easy, and the cast iron grates provide a continuous surface across the cooktop for cooking larger items.
Great boiling and excellent simmering
With five burners, this cooktop had a lot of chances to impress us. For the most part, it did. The center and right-front burners boiled the quickest, taking just 4.7 and 9.1 minutes, respectively, to boil six cups of water. The fastest proved nearly as quick as induction, which is no small feat for gas. The others came in around 10 to 16 minutes, which is pretty good for the B-team.
Thermador's "ExtraLow" feature widened the temperature range on the left-front and center burners, which dipped down to astoundingly balmy temperatures of 84°F and 105°F, respectively. While the left-rear burner managed a commendable 124°F, the others came in at 157°F and 170°F—proof that you should only cook on low temperatures where the owner's manual says you should.
The hot side of things wasn't quite as good, with only the two front and one center burners breaking 400°F. It's not unusual for gas burner temperatures to fall a little low, but we'd have preferred a little more heat.
What our tests can't tell us is whether Thermador's trademark star-shaped burners really do distribute heat to the bottom of the pan better than the conventional circular variety. However, we can say that a good pan will minimize hot spots through even heat distribution. This is probably a good time for a public service announcement: If you're shelling out for a fancy cooking system, don't keep using your warped pots and pans!
The is certainly a stylish cooktop, and the ability to add the phrase "stainless Thermador appliances!" to a real estate listing probably justifies its price for those folks who will never use it outside of reheating soup. But owning this Thermador and not using it to its full potential would be a shame. Our lab tests showed that this cooktop's reputation is well-deserved, with some of the best performance we've recorded from gas burners. If you enjoy cooking, and can afford the $1,899 pricetag, you'll find a 36-inch cooktop that's nearly without fault.
Meet the tester
Ethan writes reviews and articles about science for Reviewed.com, and edits the Science Blog. He's originally from Vermont and thinks the bicycle and guitar are examples of perfected technology. Prior to Reviewed.com, he studied furiously at Middlebury College.
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