Reviewers say gas cooktops excel at temperature control, and many owners like the ability to adjust the gas flame by sight. However, experts say gas cooktops aren't as good as their electric counterparts at maintaining consistent cooking temperatures, particularly at high and low heat settings. Most gas cooktops are 36 inches wide, but many 30-inch models are also available. Some manufacturers also make professional-style cooktops that measure up to 48 inches wide.
We found good reviews for several different gas cooktops, chief among them the GE Café CGP650SETSS (Est. $1,450). This 36-inch stainless steel cooktop gets excellent feedback from experts, including Best of the Year and Editors' Choice awards at Reviewed.com. Another, independent reviewer also likes the cooktop enough to grant it Recommended status, User feedback is strong, including a 4.4 star rating at HomeDepot.com based on roughly 200 reviews, and a 4.2 star rating at Amazon.com based on more than 75 reviews.
All experts are pleased with performance, though some are more pleased than others. One reviewer notes that it's not the fastest performer when it comes to getting things to the boiling point, but is otherwise impressed, especially in its ability to perform more delicate tasks, such as melting chocolate or simmering tomato sauce. James Aitchison at Reviewed.com has no reservations at all. "Alongside some seriously good looks, the CGP650SETSS offers phenomenally low temperatures and excellent boiling speeds," he says, adding that overall, it's "one of the best gas cooktops we've tested."
There are five burners on the GE Café CGP650SETSS, ranging from a low-power one with a rating 5,000 BTUs, to the tri-ring center burner with a maximum output of 20,000 BTUs. Like all pro-style cooktops, it features continuous grates to make it easy to move pots and pans from burner to burner as need, and Aitchison notes that the grates are easy to remove and are dishwasher safe. You can also swap out grates for the included griddle.
All agree that the CGP650SETSS is a good looking cooktop. "It's easily one of the best-looking pro-inspired appliances we've seen, Aitchison says. He also loves the relative value, noting that it looks and works as well as other pro cooktops, most of which sell for more … or lots more. If you like all that the GE CGP650SETSS has to offer, but only have the space for a 30 inch cooktop, GE has you covered with the GE Café CGP350SETSS (Est. $1,350), which save for size, is identical. Reviews are equally positive.
If you are looking for something a little more upscale, our former Best Reviewed choice, the Thermador Masterpiece SGSX365FS (Est. $1,900) remains available, and remains excellent. It does very well in professional tests, though again with a few differences in opinion. One reviewer rates its high-heat performance a bit better than the GE's, but at Reviewed.com, Ethan Wolff-Mann wishes that its highest output burners put out just a little more heat -- however not so much that he doesn't bestow Editors' Choice and Best of the Year honors on it anyway.
Styling, like the GE's, is gorgeous. Reviewers praise this 36-inch stainless steel cooktop's continuous cast-iron grates, which allow them to slide a pot from burner to burner without lifting it. Its five sealed burners -- ranging in power from 9,100 to 18,000 Btu -- have a distinctive star shape, which Thermador claims provides better heat distribution without cold spots. Reviewers also praise the 200-Btu "ExtraLow" setting, which cycles on and off to maintain a precise temperature for simmering. Other features include single-point ignition (which delivers a spark only to the burner being lit, rather than to all burners at once) and automatic re-ignition, which turns the flame back on if it is accidentally blown out.
Small quibbles aside, reviewers are near unanimous in their praise of the Thermador SGSX365FS cooktop. Wolff-Mann says that "If you enjoy cooking, and can afford the $1,899 pricetag, you'll find a 36-inch cooktop that's nearly without fault."
Owner reviews, however, remain hard to come buy -- not surprising considering this cooktop's price tag. What's available from authorized sellers is highly positive, but no site has more than a handful, and that gives us a little pause. Based on that, plus its notably lower price, we tip the scale in our recommendations toward the GE Café CGP650SETSS, but if your sense of style demands it, and your pocketbook allows it, you also can't go wrong with the Thermador SGSX365FS.
We didn't see many expert reviews for gas cooktops costing less than $1,000, but the Maytag MGC4436BDW (Est. $480) gets good comments from users. This 36-inch model comes in white, but is also available in black as the Maytag MGC4436BDB (Est. $480).
The low price does come with some tradeoffs, especially when it comes to style. Unlike most 36-inch cooktops, stainless steel is not an option, and it lacks the continuous grates found on most high-end cooktops. However, it does have automatic re-ignition and five sealed burners, ranging in power from 9,500 to 14,000 Btu. The control knobs are mounted front and center on top of the cooktop.
The Maytag MGC4436BDW has not been included in any professional tests, but it gets generally good feedback at sites such as HomeDepot.com. While the nearly 80 reviews that can be seen there includes some originally written at Maytag's site, it nonetheless earns a 4.6 star rating, with 92 percent of customers noting that they would recommend this cooktop to a friend.