Wolf cooktops rank among the most beautiful, well-designed, and high-performing cooking appliances on the market. Gas, electric, and induction models are available in a variety of styles that you can customize to the size, layout, and décor of your kitchen as well as to your cooking needs.
But with so many choices to pick from, you can easily get overwhelmed. You don’t want to miss out on a great feature just because you didn’t know about it or understand what it is.
That’s why we’ve put together this Wolf cooktop guide to help you understand all the possibilities, from the sizes that are available to the different styles. We’ll also cover rangetops and the cooking modules that you can add on to create a truly custom kitchen.
Design Flexibility with Wolf CooktopsWhat’s The Difference Between a Wolf Cooktop and Rangetop?
Most people aren’t super familiar with appliance jargon. Therefore, it’s easy to get confused when you visit the manufacturer’s website and see references to cooktops vs rangetops. You might think they’re the same thing, and we don’t blame you. But there are differences that’ll impact your kitchen’s design and functionality.
Let’s quickly review the terminology.
A cooktop is dropped into a precise cutout in a countertop or island and can be flanked by the countertop on all four sides (in some parts of the US people refer to cooktops as stove tops). For power, it can use gas, electricity, or induction. Wolf electric and induction cooktops have electronic controls set right in the glass surface of the cooktop. On gas cooktops, you’ll find knob controls, which can be located either on the side or front of the cooktop or below the cooktop facing front.
A rangetop looks exactly as it sounds—like the top of a range without an oven below. To install one, a section of a countertop needs to be omitted or taken out so it can slide into place. Wolf rangetops are available exclusively in gas. They’re designed to give you the look of a professional-style gas range with bulky grates and large knobs that are front facing. You’ll find that they have more powerful burners for faster cooking and better searing.
Wolf cooktops vs rangetops5 Reasons You’ll Love a Wolf Cooktop or Rangetop
1. They’re All Extremely Well-Built and Durable.
When you go shopping and compare cooktops and rangetops, we have no doubt that you’ll be impressed by Wolf products from their appearance alone. You’ll notice their high quality immediately from the materials of which they’re made and the overall design and build. They’re finished beautifully with smooth, well-fitted edges and have a solid, durable feel. You can depend on them to give your kitchen an impressive look and to last a long time.
2. You Can Get the Iconic Wolf Style in Less Space.
If you love those signature red knobs but have a kitchen layout that requires building your burners into a countertop or island, you can get the look with one of the brand’s gas rangetops. They come with the same forward-facing, statement-making knobs as a Wolf range, but are more flexible and allow for storage underneath.
These rangetops come with powerful burners and like all Wolf gas cooktops, have dual-stacked burners that are equally good for making Hollandaise sauce or frying hamburgers.
The continuous grates make it easy to move pots and pans around on the rangetop.
Pro Tip: If you don’t like Wolf’s red knobs or they don’t go with your decor, you can choose either stainless steel or black knobs instead.
Wolf cooktop knob options3. Going for Gas? You’ll Love the Burners and Grates.
The dual stacked burners pretty much guarantee that you get great results whether you’re simply melting chocolate or searing a porterhouse.
Since the grates are continuous, you can easily move cookware from one burner to another.
Wolf cooktop burners and grates4. Interested in Induction? Wolf Makes It Look Good.
Induction heats about 25 percent faster than electric or gas. That means spaghetti water will come to a boil quickly and you can get dinner on the table that much sooner. It’s energy efficient because no heat is released into the air.
You’ll love the responsiveness of Wolf’s induction burners. When you’re browning garlic and the burner reaches the precise shade of golden brown you want, you can turn off the heat and cooking will stop immediately so there’s no chance of burnt bits.
The smooth glass surface is particularly easy to clean as it doesn’t get hot and grease, spills, and boilovers don’t burn onto the surface.
5. Need Electric? You Won’t Find a Better Option.
If you don’t have access to a natural gas line and aren’t interested in having a propane gas tank in your backyard, an electric cooktop will give you the quality and cooking control you expect from Wolf.
The smooth ceramic glass surface with electronic controls is easy to clean. It’s less expensive to purchase than an induction model, and works with the cookware you already own.
However, you should know that electric heating elements are not as responsive as gas or induction burners. If you’re investing in a new electric cooktop and have the budget, we recommend stepping up to induction.
Wolf induction cooktop with a grill module
Why Induction Cooking Is the Future
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that produces carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas causing climate change. In order for the U.S. to become carbon neutral, it will be necessary for us to phase gas out of our homes and buildings. Berkeley, California, was the first city in the country to ban natural gas in new buildings. Other major cities including San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and New York have either enacted or proposed measures to ban or discourage the use of natural gas in new homes and buildings.
Professional and home cooks alike prefer cooking over gas because it is so responsive. Turn off the heat under a bubbling sauce and it stops cooking immediately.
Induction gives you the same responsiveness but is much more environmentally friendly, making it the best choice for cooks who love to cook with gas but are passionate about saving the planet.
Wolf rangetop with vent hoodWolf Cooktop Options
To begin to narrow down your options, consider the fuel type, style, and size cooktop or rangetop you want.
The very first thing you’ll have to decide is whether you want gas, traditional electric, or electric induction, or a combination of the three. It’s easiest to go with whichever fuel source is available where you live. However, if you want gas and a natural gas line is not available in your area, you do have the option of installing an LP tank in your yard. On the other hand, if you have access to natural gas, and you want to switch to electricity or a combination of the two, you can have electrical work done in your kitchen to make it possible to install an electric cooktop.
Style: Wolf Professional, Contemporary, or Transitional
Regardless of which fuel type you select, Wolf offers a selection of styles to choose from.
The Professional style, which is available only in gas, helps make the cooktop the centerpiece of your kitchen. It’s available with the iconic red knobs for which Wolf is known.
Contemporary styling can be had with all fuel types. These fit flush with the countertop and has electronic controls or unobtrusive knobs below the cooktop, so it blends in and helps create a clean, sleek, modern looking kitchen.
Can’t decide? You might like Transitional, which combines elements of Professional and Contemporary. It has a border in either black or stainless steel that lifts the cooktop slightly above the countertop and either touchpad controls or unobtrusive knobs. This style is noticeable but doesn’t call excess attention to itself.
If you want gas, you have the choice of a cooktop or a rangetop. A cooktop gives a sleeker, built-in look, while a rangetop has the heftier appearance of a pro-style range, signaling that cooking is front and center in your kitchen.
Our advice: Don’t assume bigger is always better. If you don’t cook elaborate meals, you may not need a cooktop that is larger than 30 inches wide—and you might enjoy having more countertop space.
On the other hand, if you cook often, prepare large quantities of food, love to experiment with new cuisines and recipes, and/or enjoy entertaining, you’ll find it very useful to have more than four burners and perhaps extras like a steamer, wok burner, or steamer.
By choosing Wolf, you can mix and match various modules with a cooktop to give you all the cooking space and functionality you need.
Gas, electric, and induction cooktops come in a 24-inch width that includes three burners. These units are perfect for small urban kitchens. They’re also available in a 30-inch size, which offers four burners. If you do a lot of cooking and want an extra burner, you can opt for a 36-inch 5-burner cooktop regardless of your fuel choice.
Rangetops vary in width from 30 to 36 to 48 inches. The 30-inch size comes with four burners. If you opt for a 36-inch rangetop, you have a choice of one with six burners or one with two burners and a wok burner. Step up to 48 inches, and your options increase. You can have either four burners with a wok or six burners combined with a grill or a griddle.
Modules measure 15 inches wide and are available with two gas, electric, or induction burners, one high-powered burner that can be used with a wok, a steamer, fryer, or a grill. These small units help you customize your kitchen according to your needs. While they can be used as standalone units in a very small space, they can also be installed next to each other or to a cooktop or rangetop to give you additional cooking capabilities.
Pro Tip: Because Wolf modules have a stainless-steel trim, they pair best with Transitional cooktops if you are looking for an integrated look.
What Makes Wolf Cooktops and Rangetops Unique?
Wolf has thoughtfully designed ranges to make the most of the fuel type, whether you choose gas, electric, or induction, or add on a module.
Cooking with Gas
Did you know that the quality of the grates is actually more important than the BTUs of the burners? Wolf cooktops and rangetops feature high-quality cast iron burners. This means they hold in heat well and transfer it efficiently to the bottom of pots and pans. In addition, they’re highly durable and unlikely to ever need to be replaced. The designs of the grates vary to match the style of the cooktop.
All Wolf gas burners are dual-stacked. This means they have rings of flame on two levels. The upper one delivers maximum power while the lower one is less powerful. This gives you a lot of control over the heat level. You can pump up the heat to bring water to a boil quickly for pasta or stir fry beef and broccoli but dial it down to maintain a steady simmer for cooking chicken soup or Bolognese sauce.
Cooking with Electric or Induction
When shopping for an induction or electric cooktop, inspect the trim. Wolf models that are edged with stainless steel are trimmed on all four sides, not just two as on many cooktops from other brands. This so-called full trim is much more attractive and also helps prevent chipping on the edges, which can happen if you accidentally knock a heavy pan against an edge.
Cooking with Mix-and-Match Modules
Wolf modules let you customize your cooking experience. Instead of a cooktop, you can install the specific modules that meet your needs. You can have a combination of gas, induction, and electric burners as well as a steamer, griddle, or grill. You can also install one or two modules next to a cooktop. Perhaps you love cooking on gas, but want to have one induction burner for bringing spaghetti water to a boil fast or making Bearnaise. You can have that flexibility by adding an induction module to your countertop.
3 Reasons You Might Not Love a Wolf Cooktop or Rangetop
1. On Gas Cooktops or Rangetops, the Grates Require Care
The cast-iron grates on Wolf cooktops and rangetops are heavy and require hand washing. They need to be dried immediately and thoroughly. (Basically, you need to treat them like a cast-iron skillet.) To keep them looking dark black and new, rub in a light coating of oil after you’ve dried them.
2. On Gas Cooktops, the Knobs Take Up Burner Space
Consider the 36-inch gas cooktop, a popular size. With Wolf, the knobs are positioned in the front right corner of the cooktop, taking up space that might otherwise be a sixth burner. And the five burners and grates you do get are all the same size.
Many brands have a similar design for their cooktops. But there are others who place the knobs in a line at the edge and fit six burners or who give you a larger fifth burner at the center.
If you cook a lot and want the extra room for your grates, this design might be a con for you.
3. The Induction Controls Aren’t Super User-Friendly
This is not knock on Wolf but on many induction cooktop makers. The smooth surface of the induction cooktop has integrated touch controls, which can be difficult to use. That’s especially true when your hands are greasy from cooking.
Also be aware that, as with all induction cooktops, you need to have cookware that’s made of a magnetic material like cast iron or stainless steel and has a flat bottom. If most of your cookware is aluminum, you’ll need to invest in new pots and pans to use with your new cooktop.
Wolf Cooktop Installation Tips
Have Your Kitchen Inspected
After you’ve narrowed down the possibilities to a specific cooktop model, find out the dimensions, electrical needs, and other specifications, and discuss them with your designer, countertop fabricator, appliance installer, and an electrician.
We strongly urge you to have professionals take measurements and assess your kitchen rather than make determinations yourself.
It’s critical to make sure your new cooktop will fit in your space and that you have the necessary wiring before you pay for them and they’re in your home ready to be installed. Make sure that whoever is doing the installation has experience with Wolf appliances.
Don’t Forget About Ventilation
It’s essential to have sufficient ventilation in your kitchen to capture heat, smoke, odors, grease, and steam.
Your vent hood should be at least as wide as your cooktop.
The power or air movement for range hoods is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The nonprofit Home Ventilating Institute recommends that you have at least 100 CFM for every linear foot of your cooktop. That means for a 30-inch cooktop, you need a minimum of 250 CFM. If you are installing your vent above a cooktop in an island, you should increase the CFM figure by 50 percent.
For the best ventilation, choose a hood that vents to the outside.
You can choose from a wide variety of styles from hoods that make a statement to ones that are concealed in cabinetry. Hoods that can be installed over an island are available. However, if in your home it’s impossible to install a hood that vents to the outside, you can choose a downdraft vent that’s built into your countertop behind your cooktop and rises up when you turn it on.
We know you’ve probably been dreaming about and saving up for a new kitchen for a long time. A Wolf cooktop will take a big chunk out of your budget, but if you’re looking for the tops in both beauty and cooking performance, it’s well worth the splurge. And with so many options, you can have exactly what you want to create the look you want in your kitchen and suit your cooking style.