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I need a new cooktop - pitfalls and tips?

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    I need a new cooktop - pitfalls and tips?

    So our old KitchenAid electric is going out, the burners want to superheat or cycle on their own anytime they're on. It makes it almost impossible to cook with. This has been going on intermittently for several years, but it's time to replace it. I'd like to say it couldn't come at a worse time, but... well, we all know not to tempt fate.

    We also want to switch to gas in the interim, so The Wife is going to call a plumber today to give us an estimate, and hopefully they can do this in the next week or two - we have family coming to visit and don't have a lot of time. Luckily, directly behind our current electric cooktop, through a wall into the garage, is the furnace (and hot water heater) for the house, which is gas, so I am assuming they can just run a line from that to the cooktop? I dunno, we may find out there is a lot more to it than that, I hope not. If so, we'll be sticking with electric, which would suck. Like, really suck. We hate our electric cooktop and have been dreaming of switching to gas for years.

    So, we'd like to keep costs reasonable, while I'd love a nice Samsung or something, they run up into the $1200-1500 range quickly and I can't really afford that right now.

    For more reasonable prices at Lowe's, Amazon, Home Depot, etc., I see Empava a lot - anyone have any experience with this brand? I know they're probably not fabulous, it's not a Wolf or Viking, but... next up is some Fridgidaire models. I do see a Samsung at HD for $850 that is decent.

    I guess my big questions are, is there some super online discount place to get factory seconds or something that I don't know about and can't find with my Google Fu, and do I really need to stick to 'higher end name brands' - are gas cooktops essentially something you can get great finds with cheaper brands?

    We need black, and 30", so that limits us, some, too. I like the cast iron grates that all connect, not individual ones that are separate - they just look too 1980s home stove to me.

    Am I best just biting the bullet and going to Lowe's or HD, or can someone recommend something online I can get a great deal on something shipped to me? I checked Ebay, too, and for 30" gas and black, the pickings are extremely, extremely slim right now.

    Gimme some advice here, home remodelers.

    quality and longevity.
    My mama told me, "You better shop around,
    Oh yeah, you better shop around."


      I agree, if it's possible. But we're probably already putting this on a credit card - I don't want to finance too much. And I'm not sure we're going to be in this house more than a few more years. We're working on the kitchen, but I just don't have 2 grand to spend on a cooktop right now.


        My new induction cooktop is likely getting installed today. Give some thought to induction. It is said to both heat up and cool down even faster than gas. And is even more energy efficient.

        A potential pitfall for your budget, though, is that you may need new cookware. If a magnet sticks to what you have now, you'd be good to go on induction.


        • RonB
          RonB commented
          Editing a comment
          I know you will do it, but just to make sure, I'm sure a lot of us would like a review of your new cooktop once you have used it a bit.

        Correct. About half our cookware would need replacement with induction. And I don't know what prices are like on induction comparatively, as I haven't been exploring that option. I'll look at some, though.


          Even though you are fond of what you have, is your issue common with your current cooktop where others may have documented the parts needed and how to fix? Then you could get by a while and get what you really want to replace it down the road.

          I wanted gas too, but went with induction a few months ago. The only downfall I’ve found so far is not being able to use pan tricks to be all fancy like TV chefs. I don’t have those skills anyway since they don’t really work on smooth top electric either. So far, no comparison otherwise to regular electric.


            I’ve found Best Buy can be really competitive on appliances so I’d look at them as well. But I haven’t found a kitchen brand like Speed Queen for washers/dryers that is "professional grade" for "consumer budgets".

            Even Wirecutter starts with recommending GE.

            The GE JGB735 has the best looks and build quality of any affordable gas range we found and does not skimp on cooking performance.
            Last edited by IFindZeroBadCooks; November 3, 2021, 07:32 AM.


              what others said, consider induction. Gas is fun, but induction seems to have a number of benefits over electric. I mean, you can't roast a pepper or tortilla by placing it directly on the induction burner, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made.,

              do the normal Lowes/Best Buy/Home Depot tour, and feel free to bring your "normal cookware" you'd use with you to the store to see what the stovetop would feel like if you have two or three pots going at the same time. You may appreciate the control knobs in a specific location, or you may find that the burner layout on one model is more tightly spaced for your preference than the burner layout on a different model

              think about Sams or Costco's appliance offerings too.

              It's times like this that one misses what Sears brought to the appliance table. Sure, their salespeople were mostly commission-annoying, but they had product to compare.

              Check to see if there's an "Appliance Depot" (or similar) in your neck of the woods; they tend to do more of the refurbished equipment vs new stuff. Of course, there's always the $$ stuff like Viking or other, but sometimes a stovetop is a stovetop.


                Check local appliance stores sometimes a floor model can have a scratch or dent but if it slides in and is hidden between cabinets who cares? I got a deal on a fridge that way years ago.

                Also check your gas line to be sure it can handle additional appliances. Sometimes the line in is too small.


                • smokin fool
                  smokin fool commented
                  Editing a comment
                  My brother found a GE Cafe model high end gas range in big box stores scratch and sale last month.
                  Apparently an $2800 unit for $700 cash, he has a pick up so we went and got it.
                  The thing is gorgeous and cooks are amazing.
                  Small dent on one side at the rear of the unit you could barely notice, had a piece of stainless cut to size to cover it.
                  My wife brought a Samsung electric glass top range last year, new, I'd like to take that thing outside and beat it with an iron bar....whadda pieca junk.

                • DogFaced PonySoldier
                  DogFaced PonySoldier commented
                  Editing a comment
                  What's wrong with the Samsung???

                • smokin fool
                  smokin fool commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The burners take forever to get up to temp then once they are up there’s no real temp control
                  1 on the dial is the same as 7 so if you put something on to simmer it’s a full boil before you know it.
                  Real pita
                  On positive note the convection oven is really quite remarkable. Really like it.
                  Last edited by smokin fool; November 3, 2021, 04:47 PM.

                You mentioned Frigidaire. We bought a Frigidaire range in 2011 or 12. Held up well until we sold the place last year, and is probably still going strong. Of course, a lot could have changed in terms of quality in the 10 years since we bought ours. We have a couple places in the area that refurbish old appliances that we've had pretty good luck with when we've needed something in a pinch. If you only need to get by for a couple years, maybe there's something like that in your area?


                  Originally posted by Old Glory View Post
                  Check local appliance stores sometimes a floor model can have a scratch or dent but if it slides in and is hidden between cabinets who cares? I got a deal on a fridge that way years ago.

                  Also check your gas line to be sure it can handle additional appliances. Sometimes the line in is too small.
                  Yeah that will be up to the plumber to tell us if we can get one out. Wife is calling our home warranty people today to see if they will come out. It'll cost us $100 copay, but if we can demonstrate the (intermittent) problem, they will either repair or replace or give us the money they value it at so we can apply it to our new purchase. Did this with our old dishwasher a few years back. This cooktop is likely 20+ years old, so I'm HOPING it can't be repaired.

                  We did have them out a couple years ago to check it, and the stupid thing wouldn't misbehave while the repairman was there, so we've just dealt with it intermittently since then. Wife says it is happening most all the time now, so... we'll see. If it'll do it when the guy is there, it'll be covered.

                  On our 20 year old dishwasher, they gave us something like $350 or $400 which we applied to a newer model. It worked out well.


                    Induction would be nice but it's going to be out of the price range.


                      +1 on induction depending on what the cost to run a gas line is. It ended up being cheaper for us to go induction and replace our cookware than running a gas line. I’ve had good luck with scrounging the Scratch and Dent section in the big box stores. If you look in high income areas, you’ll often find high end stuff marked down pretty heavily because of small cosmetic issues. The scratch on the $1800 Fridge I got for $900 was in the protective film on the door not on the door itself.


                        Check your area for some kind of "Warehouse Discount" or some such discounter. We have several near us. Have you checked Amazon? They have an Empava 30" induction cooktop for $429.00. Nearly 200 reviews with an aggregate rating of 4 stars. Empava turns up on several "best of" reviews as the best "budget" choice.


                          Top of the line (ish) can be issues as well. I had a Frigidaire glass top for a little over a decade which the people who owned the house before me used. It was great! So, I went with Frigidaire again - newer model of my old one and a glass top. It does not heat properly at all... neither the stove top nor the oven. I've learned to cook with it, but it requires much more attention. The Quick Boil burner is damn near impossible to run at a simmer. Actually, none of the burners run at a simmer well at all. It's either no simmer or it's boiling.
                          The oven varies in "On" range by up to 50 degrees above the set temperature. The "Off" temp usually only drops to 10 or 20 degrees below set temp.
                          I can't get logged into HD so I am unable to give you the exact model. If I get it later I will edit this post.



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