Bosch NGM8655UC 36-Inch Gas Cooktop Review
The price is right for a 36-inch cooktop, but temps fall short and boiling time runs long.
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The 36-inch Bosch NGM8655UC gas cooktop (MSRP $1,099), part of the manufacturer’s 800 Series, has a clean, utilitarian look that suggests it could be cooking powerhouse. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving.
Don’t get us wrong—this Bosch can reach gentle simmering temperatures with the best of ‘em. High-heat tasks like searing and boiling are where it falls short. The problem is, only one burner gets particularly hot while another is the only one that can boil water in less than 15 minutes. Almost all the burners are good at low-temperature cooking, but if you'd like to get your food hot on multiple burners at once—if you're sautéing chicken and boiling pasta, for instance—chances are you'll run into some issues. That's the main reason for its low score in our tests.
Still, you can find this cooktop on sale for $980, which makes it a pretty nifty deal for an attractive, 36-inch model. It’s nice to look at, and it can cook your food so long as you use the correct burner for the correct task and don't often use more than one burner at the same time.
Design & Usability
Clean and simple
The NGM8655UC's simple design is reminiscent of professional-style cooktops. The 36-inch stainless steel surface gleams beneath continuous cast iron grates, which can be removed in three pieces for easy cleaning. We were particularly impressed by the layout of the burners, which allows a home chef to use all five at once with nearly any size or style of cookware. Other cooktops crowd burners together, but this Bosch is designed for ease of use.
The cooktop sports five sealed gas burners, and a row of corresponding control knobs is set at the front. A single red indicator light switches on when the burners are in use.
This Bosch lacks any extra features, such as specialized or dual-ring burners, special simmer settings, built-in skillets, or warming zones. However, it has clean lines and should look at home in most kitchens.
High temps fall short, boiling times run long
Most encouragingly, this Bosch mastered minimum temperatures. Ideally, burners should be able to reach low heat below 150°F in order to perform tasks like simmering and melting. The left rear and center burners were especially balmy, cooling down to temperatures around 115°F. The left front burner and right rear burner bottomed out at respectable temperatures just below 130°F. Only the right front burner failed to make the cut; it was unable to hit temperatures below 159°F.
To put it plainly, this cooktop does one thing really well: low-temperature cooking. If you’re looking to stir-fry at sizzling high heats or quickly boil water, however the NGM8655UC may fall short for you.
It's true that gas cooktops just can’t reach temperatures as high as electric or induction cooktops, but we still expect them to reach 375°F or, preferably, higher. The 12,000 BTU left front burner was the only one that did particularly well, climbing to 410°F. The right front and left rear burners weren’t far behind, both reaching temperatures only just below 400°F. The 5,500 BTU right rear burner only got to 289°F, but it wasn't designed to get too hot.
The real disappointment was the 18,000 BTU center burner, which only heated our test pan up to 374°F. You can do some high-heat cooking on this range for sure, but you’ll likely want to stick to that left front burner.
The center burner also had some problems boiling, taking just under seven minutes to get six cups of water up to a rolling boil. That's about two minutes longer than the best gas burners we've tested. Unfortunately, it was still the fastest on this range—the next-fastest took over 15 minutes to complete the same task.
The Bosch NGM8655UC comes with a 12-month warranty that covers any manufacturer defects in both materials and workmanship for that length of time. If any defects do surface within one year of purchase, Bosch will cover repairs and labor free of charge—and even replace the product, if necessary. A one-year warranty is pretty standard in the appliance industry.
The cons are too big
Nothing’s perfect, but the Bosch NGM8655UC has some serious issues that could really get in the way. While it's quite good at low-temperature cooking, thoughtfully laid out, and reasonably priced for a 36-inch cooktop, the NGM8655UC's strengths just aren't enough to put up with its significant weaknesses. Since only one burner gets hot enough, and when boiling takes upwards of 15 minutes, we're inclined to pass by this Bosch in favor of the slightly pricier GE Café CGP650SETSS.
Ultimately, the NGM8655UC lacks the kind of functionality and versatility we hope to see in a cooktop, but if you like the look and the price, you can coax an adequate performance out of certain burners. It’s inconvenient, but possible.
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