Before you buy any of those high-end gas ranges or cooktops with super power burners that boast of 25,000 BTU (British thermal unit) or more, you might like to stop your excitements and think logically.
If you’re not opening a restaurant anytime soon, is it worth to pay so much for super high BTUs just to boil water at a record breaking speed?
You won’t need that kind or power to actually cook at home even when you have guests. In fact, while preparing most dishes don’t we use the medium and the lower flames more often than the higher ones?
So, how much BTUs do you need for home use? Well, before we dive into that let’s understand what BTU is and does more BTUs guarantee better cooktop?
What do you mean by BTU?
BTU or British thermal unit is a unit of measurement for energy. According to Wikipedia, it is defined as the amount of heat used to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. To check the heating competence of gas burners, it is calculated in BTU per hour.
Do more BTUs mean better gas stove?
Not really. Even if you’re buying a professional ranges or cooktops, high BTU is not the primary concern. There are other factors that influence your cooking performance.
The higher the BTUs, the hotter the gas burner can get in lesser time. But then, blazing hot burner is not the only factor when it comes to effective heating of the burners. Constant distribution of heat, focus heating, consistent low heating, simmering; all these are very important for a good cooking performance.
When you buy cooktop with high BTUs you’re not only paying higher price for the unit, you’ll be paying higher gas bills ever month, investing on bigger ventilation and worse you’ll struggle every time you cook to get a consistent low heat.
Some cooktop alternate between low-heat and turning-off to deliver low temperature cooking but not an ideal method to give consistent heat. These days you get plenty of stoves that work great for simmering, you just need to be on the lookout.
So, looks like the trend that focuses so much on BTUs is not helping much to decide on a good stove.
The only time you’ll genuinely need higher BTUs stove than the standard home use stove is when you cook outdoor. The open and windy environment of outdoor cooking makes higher BTUs stove a necessity. This is the reason why outdoor stoves such as Camp Chef stoves features burner of 30,000 BTUs or more.
What BTUs do we recommend?
On being realistic, not many homes will need super power burners with crazy BTUs. But you know your cooking needs better.
I don’t do wok cooking, nevertheless people who do claimed to cook best on burners that gives 60,000 BTUs or higher. Now, that’s something.
For home cook, in an example of 4 burner gas cooktop, one power burner of 15,000 or a little higher, paired with 2 mid strength burners and one low burner for low temperature cooking and simmering is good enough. Most of the popular brands will provide sufficient BTUs with their full-size cooktops, but not when you buy two burner gas cooktop.
Besides BTUs and burners you need to consider other important factors as well to get hold of a good stove. The design, the body, parts and features are all important factors while shopping for the best cooktop.