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Opinions on having cooktop on island in kitchen

vacox
7 years ago
I am considering putting my cooktop in the island in a future kitchen remodel. I like the idea, but I'm wondering about splatters and other practical considerations. If I did this, I would want to use one of those pop-up downdraft vent systems, not an overhead vent. I cook a lot, and do fry, so there would be splatters. Do those pop-up vents also act as backsplashes so that some splattering is contained? Thanks for any opinions and/or personal experience with this!

Comments (84)

  • PRO
    Michael Lee, Inc
    7 years ago
    total mess! Downdrafts not the greatest! I had a jenn-aire in the island once and thought I would fry, oh my what a mess! I would not recommend doing this
    vacox thanked Michael Lee, Inc
  • melwishes
    7 years ago
    I also have cooktop on an island and, as well as reasons already mentioned, I don't like it because I can't leave my utensil holder out or have oil, salt or other frequently used items close by. If I do leave things out it looks very messy/cluttered. Good luck.
    vacox thanked melwishes
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  • kec2013
    7 years ago
    I love my Jennair on an island. I grill fish on the grill and never have a problem with smells or splatters. With my cooktop on an island and my sink in front of the window I never feel closed in. I had a Jennair for 10 years and the built a new home where the kitchen plans were for a Jennair, but not on an island. When I moved into a rental while my house was being built it was only 2 weeks cooking looking at a wall when I redesigned my kitchen in the new home to put the Jennair on a island. I never fry so I can't comment on that, but with a grill and a griddle I don't see the need fry anything.
    vacox thanked kec2013
  • PRO
    Legacy Millworks, Inc.
    7 years ago
    There is a splatter issue just like any cooktop, the popup downdraft vent will help some but from my experience the down draft doesn't do as good of job will smoke, fumes and grease.
    vacox thanked Legacy Millworks, Inc.
  • kedzugan
    7 years ago
    We purchased a house furnished with DCS kitchen appliances and have had nothing but problems with all of them. The downdraft hood on the island is especially disappointing--no suction whatsoever. We paid to have a technician check it out, only to be told that there wasn't anything he could do to improve the performance. On top of that, the control panel lights on our oven have gone out twice in 5 years (and it isn't a cheap part to replace). All in all I have been majorly disappointed in DCS.
  • doglover18
    6 years ago
    We are currently remodeling our kitchen. We have a 1997 Jennair gas downdraft cooktop. The downdraft has been utilized infrequently due to how it effects the flame. Unable to move to another location due to layout of kitchen. Downdraft ventilation exists in island. After extensive research, I am trying to decide between telescopic vs built in downdraft. Our home is a cottage design with an L shaped kitchen and island. I think the professional style ranges over power the space. Leaning towards Jennair drop in again due to DuraFinish. Are you happy with your choice Kec2013? Any advice applianceguy?
  • abubnic
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have an induction cooktop at one end of my center island and I absolutely love its placement there. It allows me to face family/friends who are in the kitchen or congregated in the family room. It has never been a problem, even when I have the rest of the island set up for a buffet. I had a Jennair glass cooktop before that.

  • Chelsi Yarger Weedon
    6 years ago

    I just had to make this decision and ended up choosing a smaller/standard size slide in range to go against my wall. I spend most of my time prepping food, not cooking it. I will do my prep on my island as my garbage drawer will be there. I also am looking forward to having a large blank space not broken up by a cooktop. It pained me a bit to give up the 36" range for an open island. But I'm happy with my choice and just keep reminding myself that I'm remodeling not designing my dream kitchen.

    Good luck with your decision!


  • racerdinah
    6 years ago

    When we designed our house in 2008 this very thing was what held up construction for over 2 months while I agonized, planned, spec'd etc. We have a 48" Bluestar cook top on a 12' island...the cooktop is 1.5' off one end of the island, and a prep sink 1.5' off the other...with 48 or so inches in between as a prep area. We do a lot of entertaining and my philosophy is that I want to face my guests while prepping and cooking, and NOT while cleaning, so the cleanup sink is equidistant between the cooktop and prep sink on the wall behind me. Also my husband and I often work back to back, and the cleanup sink is sufficiently deep that no-one sees what's in it. It was one of the best decisions we make in our kitchen design! No issues with spatter or the cooktop being a strange magnet to people or things being burned, and it fits with our very modern decor and entertaining lifestyle.

  • abubnic
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Our center island is quite large and I often use it to serve food buffet-style. I have a 30" induction cooktop installed on the end of my center island. It was installed in 2006. It is very efficient and boils water in less than a minute. Prior to that I had a Jennair glass countertop in the same space. I love cooking this way - facing people. I wouldn't want it any other way. I have a Braun downdraft system. The Braun runs at 3 speeds but I keep it on the middle speed. It does get loud at the highest speed. Our downdraft runs underneath the floor/under the house so it doesn't take up any space. It was professionally installed. There is about 4 ft to the prep islands on all three sides. The sink is behind me. Note: my cooktop is 9 years old and I have never had any problems keeping it clean. It is *always* "showroom clean." Why? Because if something boils over onto an induction cooktop, the cooktop surface is not hot, so it's never going to get burned onto it like with a hot stove.

    Don't be afraid. I don't consider any of the issues raised to be a problem. It's all good.

  • abubnic
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    BTW, someone mentioned the dilemma of not being able to have your big utensils nearby. Here's how I solved that problem. No need for ceramic crocks at all!

  • Laine Montgomery
    5 years ago

    Hi! I heard at least one person mention a strong updraft hood that they placed 72" off the ground @designdetails - could you tell me what brand is the one you have and say works well? thanks!

  • PRO
    Design Details
    5 years ago

    My go-to is Vent-a-Hood. Their Premier Magic Lung has a weird name but is amazing. They also do custom work.

  • flowerchat
    5 years ago
    Most people don't think twice about having their sinks on the island-- until the pretty piece of marble gets filled with dirty dishes, all on display. I much rather cook on the island and serve straight away in a casual manner, using the induction cooktop for hot dishes and the rest of the island for salads etc. and deal with the dirty dishes by the sink against the wall. Like this you can also organise your storage accordingly; plates and glasses etc. near the sink/dishwasher, and spices&oils, pots&pans by the island.
  • Sheila Matthews
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    This looks great! I'm planning to put in an induction cooktop on my peninsula (for safety reasons since I have little kids). I was told that I should have the same brand downdraft as my induction cooktop? Can anyone shed light on that subject? Also considering the Bosch cooktop but the GE downdraft had the motor included so it was quite a bit cheaper. I'm also worried about how loud they may be.

  • abubnic
    5 years ago

    I have always had a cooktop on my center island and love being able to cook while facing family and/or guests. I have a Broan downdraft, which runs on three speeds. It disappears into the island when not in use. I have a Kenmore Elite induction cooktop and getting the two to work together has never been a problem. When considering the cooktop, be aware of how much clearance you will need. Mine only requires 2" but some models want as much as 6.75". This can be a problem if you have drawers in place. (I recently discovered this when I went to replace my 10 yr old unit).



  • Misha Mishka
    5 years ago

    we bought our house two years ago and it has a JaneAire electric cooktop with downdraft. I will never go back to facing the wall while cooking! The stove was the original to the house (like everything else) - about 40 yrs old or so. But just last week we replaced it with a "newer" option which is half that age because some of the burners were getting too old. It works well and we cook a lot. I also like that it comes with the griddle and the gill which are easy to switch . As for cleaning comments...... You have to clean around the counters regardless where the stove top is. This one is not any more messier then the wall facing stove. But I love, love, love looking to our great room and not miss any action. We will be remodeling our kitchen in a year or two, so I am looking for ideas of how other brands are rated. My hubby wants a gas range now and we still want downdraft. Thank you for sharing your pictures. I will make sure that we have a utensil drawer near by. Not sold on having a preparation sink. Cleaning two sinks instead of one?

  • Jeanette Newman
    4 years ago
    I am planning a remodel, putting a Thermador or Miele Induction cooktop in the island. I will downdraft. Does anyone have experience with the new Best Cattura downdraft? http://www.bestrangehoods.com/cattura
    It is advertised as the most efficient and quiet downdraft available. It's only been on the market about 6 months and I have not been able to find a store where there is a live display. Does anyone know how loud it is and how well it works? How easy is it to clean the filters?
  • michelle M
    4 years ago

    I am doing a kitchen remodel in my *tiny* NYC apt. The island is also my "kitchen table" - I have bar stools that pull up to it. If i put the cooktop on the island, will it disrupt the space for those eating at the island? Even if the cooktop is turned off, it might be hot or messy over there. Would it be weird looking to have the cooktop at one and of the island and the stools at the other end? Thoughts?

  • PRO
    Steve Paoli Fine Art
    4 years ago

    I will be building an island w/cooktop because I like to chat with my guests while cooking. Also, watching the cook at work is fun for them.

    I would definitely use a split level top with the eating area 6" above the cooking area so the sense of space is separate.

    I will be using a hood hanging from the ceiling but not too low. Hoods can be interesting and a nice architectural focal point.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Cooking is 10% of the time spent in a kitchen.

    Cleanup is 20%.

    Prep is 70%.

    If you want to face your guests, then create an island that has at least a 42" section of clear space to prep, preferably next to a prep sink. Prep requires water. If you want the cooking zone there too, that brings the time spent looking out to those guests to 80%. But, if you don't have enough room to prep next to the island cooking zone, that puts your back to your guests 90% of the time. So plan carefully. Most don't have enough space to really do island cooking and prepping justice.

  • Dipali Desai
    4 years ago

    Thanks for all these comments. I need to decide between cooking on the island or cooking facing a wall. I really want cooking on the island so as to face family/friends (all comments above). I will definitely have an updraft hood whether I put it on island or hood. My one concern is due to the width of the island (66-70 inches), I will only get 1) 18 inches on each side, 2) the cooktop/range can only be 30 inches. The length of the island is also around 6 feet and I plan to put bar stools at the end for everyday dining. Prep sink will be behind me. I have been dreaming about not facing a wall for years....but I have these two constraints. Do you think 18 inches on either side is enough space? THANK YOU.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler
    4 years ago

    Not nearly enough space. You will have your back to everyone, prepping for 70% of time, and 20% of cleanup. So, 90% of the time, your back is turned.. You will only face family for that brief 10% that you are applying fire to food.

  • efrasier
    4 years ago

    I do agree that it doesn't seem like enough space surrounding the cooktop. But here is one caveat: I have a 36" induction cooktop and can use the part(s) of the cooktop that aren't in use/hot for prep when I put down a cutting board, so that's something to keep in mind re: the amount of countertop or prep space you'd have. I don't think that would work with a gas cooktop, tho--it gets too hot.

    I also see a lot of people repeating this mantra of 70% prep, 20% cleanup, 10% cooking. I'm a home cook who cooks every day and I don't know where those numbers are coming from! I think it's way more balanced than that from my experience. Most dinners take me about 45 mins to 1 hr from start to finish, and I'm prepping and cooking simultaneously for *most* of that time. That's one of the reasons I wanted my cooktop in my island, not against the back wall. My recommendation would be to keep track of your own habits while you cook for a week to really see how much time you'd spend with your back to the room.

  • ninigret
    4 years ago

    i have island cooktops in both of my homes and will never ever change that decision in future remodels. ever.

  • PRO
    Steve Paoli Fine Art
    4 years ago

    Cook time depends on what I'm cooking.With steaks I have minimal prep but mostly watching and waiting the perfect moment to turn the meat.

  • momowac
    4 years ago

    I lived with a cook top/downdraft in a kitchen for 15 years and absolutely hated it. The downdraft was a joke, and the ceiling above where I cooked was constantly slathered in grease. The downdraft was impossible to clean thoroughly, and grease spattered on the surrounding countertop. In my opinion everyone needs a good ventilation system in their home if air quality is important to you, especially if you have gas.

  • Kate H
    4 years ago

    Those of you who posted pictures of your cooktops and downdrafts with the drawer storage in the base cabinet, does that mean you installed your downdraft with the blowers in a reverse position? I want to have an induction and downdraft against a wall -- we have very limited space and cannot vent up. But with this, we also can't install the downdraft with reverse blowers, because a pocket door will sit in the wall behind the cooktop. . . If you did install the downdraft regularly, did you sacrifice storage space below?

  • ninigret
    4 years ago

    the cabinet below our cooktop is only half depth, the downdraft is behind it but the motor is actually in the basement, just before where it vents out the wall. such an arrangement might save you some space. its also a fair bit quieter, we have whooosh but no motor sound.

    the storage is so efficient, its all 'one pot deep' so nothing to dig around for.


  • Anthony C
    4 years ago

    I think the question is less island or counter and more downdraft vs vent hood. We replaced our downdraft on the island with a venthood with a very high CFM and it made a huge difference. When cooking steaks we use a cast iron pan heat it as hot as possible and then sear the steak. This produces a ton of smoke. Often times salmon or bacon would make the whole house smell. With the high CFM vent hood we have no smells.

  • D
    4 years ago

    Anthony Chen, would you be willing to share what vent hood you have and comment on the "noise" factor?

  • abubnic
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    ARTICLE: The next big trend in kitchen design? Downdraft ventilation.

    Get rid of your range hood. The open plan kitchen is in.


    http://ovens.reviewed.com/features/the-next-big-trend-in-kitchen-design-downdraft-vents

  • tjgr62
    3 years ago

    Cook top located in the island with a downdraft ventilation system?? TOTAL deal breaker for me. It's ugly and impractical.

    The overall open floor plan design drives me bonkers anyway.

    - Open kitchen floor plan means Cooking smells permeate the entire house

    - Can't hide your kitchen mess if someone pops over

    - Open designs are flat out sensory overload. Too much going on all over one big room. Looks more like a ski lodge than a home.

    - Cook top in the middle is messy and dangerous

    - Cook top in the middle right in front of barstools is just dumb. It gets hot and is dangerous esp if frying - it's like a hibachi grill.

    We're shopping for a house now. I look at the kitchen pics first. If the cook top is in the middle of the island, we go on to the next house. The rest of the house could be perfect, but that is just one big fat Deal breaker. Too expensive to fix, too annoying to live with.



  • smileythecat
    3 years ago

    Lots of opinions, I have had three houses with the cooktop on the island over the last 30 years, never have faced a wall. I really like them, but I have to say that the downdrafts have really improved over time, currently have a gas cooktop paired with a KD downdraft that rises 18", works quite well thank you. Usually the design of the house dictates whether you have a hood or a downdraft, that is how you can vent, if that makes any sense.

  • plchap
    3 years ago

    I notice everyone is focused on a downdraft ventilation system. If you want an island setup, why not install an island range hood over the top of the range? The ceiling for the island setup is the same ceiling for a wall operation.

  • racerdinah
    3 years ago
    Here is ours.... love it!
  • ninigret
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    as i have one of each.... i prefer my downdraft...its more effective as it makes a backstop for passing air currents... its quieter (motor in basement). its easier to clean, the whole part facing the cooktop is removable filters, so no reaching to clean grease off of it. and it looks better... no hood hanging in your face 24/7. and i have a pretty slim island hood.

    oh, and i've never bomped my forehead on the corner of my downdraft.

  • Beth Cooke
    2 years ago

    Looking for a home now. Aghast at the fact 90% of kitchens in our price range seem to have the stove in the island. I survived with it in my last house and it was awful - it is messy and ugly. If you really, really enjoy cooking go for an island free of the clutter of a stove in the middle.

  • Kay Gordy
    last year

    My last house had a Thermadore gas cooktop with downdraft in a 4x8 ft island, all one level. I loved it! While I was cooking I could chat with family/guests and they loved it too - the 4 counter stools were the most popular seats in the house! I now have a large island in my kitchen. Great for serving but I so miss having the cooktop there. I’m currently building a house and will put an induction cooktop with downdraft vent IN THE ISLAND! Can’t wait!

  • skatermom
    last year

    thanks for starting this thread-its been a huge help! We have a Jenn-air on the island and gutting kitchen -will keep cooktop on island and go with induction/downdraft. I enjoy being with my guest like have to sprawl out when cooking and have all my tools on the island. It was fun and nice to read through everyone's comments. Its nice there are options out there for everyone.

  • Barrie Bowers
    last year

    We are planning a new kitchen now, and will have a 5'x8' island, which is where we will need to put our cooktop. Trying to decide if it should be centered, or at one end of the island. Any suggestions?

  • pitbulls
    last year

    I love islands but would not put a cook top on it. When people gather it's nice to have that space open for food drinks ect

  • Misha Mishka
    last year

    @Susan Barrie We have it centered now and are planning on centering again when re-doing our kitchen in a few months. Our new island will be about 5'x10'. It it is facing our living room and panoramic windows with the views of the mountains.

  • Sara V
    last year

    I am remodeling my kitchen. It is ‘L’ shaped with 65”x51” island. Refrigerator and sink are on one wall (looking in-on left) and microwave/oven wall unit the opposite wall. I would really like to have the cooktop facing the family room, but that would mean the refrigerator would be out of work triangle. My triangle would be sink, cooktop, and micro/oven. Where would you suggest the cooktop go?

  • Sara V
    last year

    Here is a copy of the kitchen layout

  • HU-466062058
    last year

    I have had my cooktop on my island for years, converted to gas, got a sleek hood and I love it so much we are doing it in our new home!

  • larazb
    11 months ago

    @Anthony C, how high in CFM did you go? how many BTUs do you have on your cooktop?

  • Lakewoodsouth Palmer
    8 months ago

    We have had a gas Dacor cooktop in our island for 15 years and LOVE it. Not only do we face guests and people sitting at the island counter, but when guests aren't here we cook while watching the news. Love it. And our downdraft has worked like a charm. With three settings we keep it on the middle setting which works well and isn't as loud. Getting ready to remodel and are doing it all over again. I also don't agree with the % times that someone mentioned--I spend most of my time cooking, not prepping, but that could be because I took a knife skills class that really upped my game ;-)

  • Elena Butler
    8 months ago

    @Lakewoodsouth Palmer which downdraft did you use? I am still deciding on brands