You really have two choices in kitchen design. You can buy a range and have burners, or a cooktop and an oven in one general area.
However, separate wall ovens and cooktops have the advantage of being spread out if two people like to cook in a household. You also do not bend at the waist working with a wall oven like you would with a range.
It can be argued that wall ovens have more features and better controls than ranges as well.
Both are good options, but we will look at rangetops in this article. Click Here for the Best 48-Inch Ranges.
Cooktops vs. Rangetops
Rangetops are a type of slide-in / drop-in appliance. They are covered on each side by the countertop.
Unlike cooktops, rangetops extend through the front of the cabinetry, and the control knobs are positioned on the front of the unit. Knobs on the front add usable space on the top, so typically a 36-inch space will have 6 burners on a rangetop versus 5 on a cooktop.
Pro Rangetop Installed
Regular Cooktop Installed
The rangetop will also have the commercial style appearance and more powerful burners than a cooktop along with grill and griddle options.
Lastly, there is a huge difference between rangetops and cooktops in terms of installation as they are installed completely differently.
Here are some of the most notable and popular brands.
The 4 Best 48 Inch Rangetops
The original Jenn-Air Products Company was founded by Louis J. Jenn in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1947, later becoming simply Jenn-Air. In the early years, the company focused on manufacturing and marketing of industrial fans for use in a variety of commercial and industrial applications. In 1961, Jenn-Air's integration of one of these fans to a cooktop range lead to the invention of the first self-ventilated downdraft range.
Unfortunately, the brand languished after being purchased by the Maytag Company as well as the demand for downdrafts dissipating in the 1990s. With a 300 Million dollar investment from Whirlpool specifically in cooking, once again, Jenn-Air is a brand to be considered in the professional range category.
This exceptionally versatile Jenn-Air Pro-Style rangetop, with six burners, offers the power and precision for different cooking techniques. Two 20,000 BTU stacked burners offer the power for high-heat cooking. A simmer burner offers precise control at lower heat and a high-performance chrome griddle provides even more flexibility.
- Electric Griddle - This high-performance, 1,320-watt chrome griddle provides even heat distribution for consistent cooking along its entire surface. Its durable chrome surface allows for faster cooking at lower temperatures, and is by far the easiest to clean.
- 20,000 BTU Stacked PowerBurner - This luxury rangetop’s powerful burner delivers exceptionally high heat for cooking methods such as flash frying and wok cooking.
- Three 15,000 BTU Burners - Three high-heat burners offer powerful output, allowing you to cook several dishes at maximum heat at the same time.
Miele is the largest family owned appliance business and based in Germany. They are known for reliable products like their dishwasher and quality of manufacturing. They are new to the professional range category since 2014.
Miele KMR1135 - $4,499-$4,799
- Stainless steel backlit knobs
- Dual Stacked burners with TrueSimmer
- 19,000 BTU power burners
- 8 Burner or 6 Burner with grill or griddle options
- Clean touch stainless steel front
- Dishwasher safe grates
- 1 year mfg. warranty
Thermador is part of BSH Home Appliances Corporation, a fully owned subsidiary of BSH Bosch. Did you know they are the 3rd largest appliance manufacturer in the world? Thermador was originally founded in 1916 in California by William E. Cranston, and began as a manufacturer of electric products, most notably portable and built-in heaters.
In 1932, Thermador established its appliance manufacturing as Cranston merged with business owner H.H. Fogwell to form the Thermador Electric Manufacturing Company. Much like Jenn-Air, they languished until being purchased by the Bosch Company in the late 1990s.
Thermador prides itself on its industry leading extra low simmer at 100 degrees on two of their burners. It is also the only cooktop with a star shaped burner, which provides a more even heat on the pan. Burners were upgraded to 18,000 from 15,000 last year.
- Exclusive, patented Star® Burner – most even heating, unsurpassed flame coverage
- QuickClean Base™ designed for easy surface cleaning
- Every burner 18,000 BTU (NG)
- Precision simmering capabilities as low as 100°F (375 BTU) with 2 ExtraLow Simmer burners
- Professional style, continuous cast iron grates
- Continuous porcelain, easy to clean cooking surface
- Widest range of simmer options from 375 BTU to 3,000 BTU
- Star® design delivers superior heat spread for any size pan
- Simmer without stirring/scorching with exclusive ExtraLow
- Superior griddle results-6 pass, 1630 watt electric griddle
- Titanium surface non-stick, rust-proof cast-aluminum griddle
- Removable griddle and grill accessory for easy clean-up
- Grill accessory-thermostatically controlled for even heating
The Sub-Zero Freezer Company was founded in 1945, by Westye F. Bakke in Madison, Wisconsin. For more than 70 years, Wolf has been synonymous with professional cooking equipment for restaurants and hotels. In March of 2000, the company became part of Sub-Zero and was adapted for the serious in-home cook.
Adapting to an ever growing kitchen design segment, Sub-Zero reinvested in Wolf and completely redesigned the line with better simmers and double convection technology in the ovens.
- Dual-stacked, sealed surface burners, all with simmer capabilities and automatic reigniting at all settings. Wolf has the best grill of the 4 and the most grill, griddle and Frenchtop configuration
- Classic stainless steel exterior finish with island trim
- Comes standard with Wolf's signature red control knobs and stainless-finished bezels surrounding each knob - a second set of black or stainless steel knobs is available at no charge at the time of purchase
- Bezels with stainless steel finish surround all knobs - chrome or brass bezels optional
- Porcelain-coated cast iron continuous top grates
- 20,000 Btu/hr (4.4 kW) burners with 950 Btu/hr (.3 kW) delivered at simmer
- 9,200 Btu/hr (2.7 kW) burner with 325 Btu/hr (.1 kW) delivered at simmer and melt
- Stainless steel cover included with griddle, char broiler and French Top.
As I look at all the brands, all were independent niche brands. All were acquired by much larger companies interested in selling premium products, mostly because they could not sell with their existing portfolio, and all have been successful.
Jenn-Air and Thermador will offer similar rebate programs of free dishwashers and hoods or cash back with qualifying purchases. At times Sub-Zero / Wolf has rebate for $1,000 and points for pots/pans or countertop appliances for qualifying products with the purchase of both brands. Make sure to ask about current offers as they do change sporadically.
Which is Best?
These four rangetops are the best in the game currently. Depending on your cooking needs, one of these should have a configuration that works for you. It really depends on what you want.
The Wolf grill is the best as the infrared most closely mimics an outdoor grill. Wolf also offers a Frenchtop so you have the ability of cooking many items in one surface. Lastly, you can simmer on every burner of a Wolf at a constant temperature of 500 BTU and their burners are powerful at 20,000 BTU.
Miele, while relatively new to the market, is built with some of the highest quality control standards in the industry and routinely come in as one of the least serviced brands industry wide. Its grill and griddle are infrared gas like the Wolf. The grates are dishwasher safe.
But do not underestimate the Thermador and Jenn-Air. The star shaped burners and extra low simmer on the Thermador rangetop are great for even cooking and delicate sauces. Plus, you have the same high powered 18,000 BTU burner.
The Jenn-Air is great as well, as you get a 20,000 BTU burner (the most powerful of the 4 with Wolf). Jenn-Air has the chromium infused griddle, which is the easiest to clean.
Both Thermador and Jenn-Air offer free dishwashers and hoods with other qualifying product purchases.
So it really depends on whether you like to simmer, need a more powerful burner, grill or griddle.
Looking for more information on pro ranges? Download the Yale Pro Cooking Buying Guide with specs, features and detailed profiles of all the best brands. Well over 185,000 people have read a Yale Guide.