A Guide to Rangetops
Here’s what you need to know when you’re considering rangetops.
The basics of rangetops.
Rangetops are fueled by gas (or propane, when converted to LP) for exceptional cooking power and precision. Jenn-Air® rangetops come ready for natural gas use; an LP conversion kit is included with each rangetop. Designed differently than cooktops, which lie flat on a countertop, rangetops extend through the front of cabinetry, with knobs located on the rangetop’s front side. Many people enjoy the ease of control that this knob position offers, especially when cooking at high heat. (A code compliant gas connection must be available in your home to select a rangetop.)
A rangetop gives you the flexibility to position it against a wall or on an island. If the back of the rangetop rests close to a wall, a backsplash or backguard is typically recommended to protect the wall itself from the heat generated when cooking.
The basics of BTUs.
BTUs (British Thermal Units) are the measure of a burner’s energy output, and refer to gas burners. Each burner has its own BTU measurement. Higher BTU output means higher heat—important for cooking techniques like searing and wok cooking. Lower BTU output means lower heat—important when melting butter or simmering delicate sauces.
Jenn-Air® rangetops (with the exception of modular downdraft models, which offer 10,000 and 8,000 BTU burners) feature at least one special high-BTU burner offering 20,000 BTUs to achieve high heat as well as a low-BTU burner for greater control.
A griddle offers more versatility for rangetop cooking.
A griddle offers the flexibility to sear, sauté, brown and more, on a flat surface versus in a pan. Several Jenn-Air® rangetops offer a griddle featuring a high-performance element for even heat distribution along its surface. Its durable chrome surface, inspired by professional kitchens, allows for faster cooking at lower temperatures and is exceptionally easy to clean in order to maintain its shine. This innovative unique surface material, designed for performance, also adds distinctive style to the rangetop.
Select the right configuration for your cooking style.
Downdraft rangetops feature a built-in ventilation system that captures smoke and odors right at the cooking surface. This means you don’t need a hood, which offers flexibility in kitchen design and in the placement of the rangetop itself. The absence of a hood also adds to the sense of openness in the kitchen, which many designers and homeowners appreciate. Many people choose to install a downdraft rangetop in an island, which allows them to interact with people as they cook.
If you live in an apartment, check to see if your building has drafting requirements. You may want to consider using a downdraft option with a duct-free ventilation kit to accommodate any requirements.
Traditional rangetops feature set burners (and griddle, when selected) offering several levels of power to accommodate high-heat cooking like searing and wok-cooking as well as more delicate techniques like simmering and melting.
Modular rangetops feature interchangeable cartridges that allow you to customize your rangetop. You can select different burner types and griddles, and configure to suit your cooking preferences.
Rangetops need ventilation. There are several options.
When you select a rangetop, you’ll also need to choose a hood for ventilation, unless you opt for a downdraft model. The type of hood you choose will depend largely on the location of the rangetop in your kitchen. Also consider how you like to cook. For instance, do you frequently sear, blacken or flash fry? This determines how much ventilation power you’ll need.
Wall mount hoods are a good option when your rangetop is positioned next to a wall. They offer powerful ventilation.
Island mount hoods essentially “float” directly over where your rangetop is placed within an island, for powerful ventilation right where it’s needed.
Low profile hoods offer a more minimal-looking installation but offer slightly less powerful ventilation than other hood types. They install directly underneath the cabinet situated above your rangetop.
Perimetric hoods, designed to hang on the wall like a work of art, offer powerful ventilation and will make a dramatic statement in your kitchen.
Custom hood liners are ideal to achieve a distinctive ventilation look. They feature a ventilation system mounted to the inside of a custom vent cover. This cover can be made of metal, wood, plaster or tile, and designed to complement cabinetry or make a bold statement.
The power of commercial style.
Jenn-Air® Pro-Style® rangetops offer bold commercial-style design and cooking power inspired by professional kitchens. Style details include a stainless steel finish, heavy-duty grates and bold knobs with diamond etching.
If you prefer less of a professional-style look, Jenn-Air® also offers the Pro-Style® modular gas downdraft rangetop, which has a sleeker profile, smaller knobs and more refined grates.
How does a rangetop differ from a cooktop?
There are several fuel type, installation and esthetic considerations. Rangetops give you exceptional power, while cooktops offer many options and styles.
Both rangetops and cooktops are stand-alone “tops” that feature heating elements or burners only—they don’t feature an oven beneath.
Rangetops fit above and over a countertop with controls positioned vertically. Cooktops lie flat on a countertop to become flush or nearly flush with it; controls are positioned flat upon the cooktop surface. (Because of this, cooktops offer more installation flexibility. They have fewer infrastructure requirements and can be installed in smaller spaces with or without support from cabinetry.)
Rangetops are typically gas-powered, while cooktops offer several fuel-type options. Jenn-Air® rangetops offer high-power cooking options like our most powerful gas burner, along with professional-style details like heavy-duty knobs and grates. Jenn-Air® cooktops offer a variety of fuel types and styles: gas, electric and induction.
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