The Cooktop Dilemma

The husband and I are in the midst of planning for our new kitchen, and one of our biggest headaches at the moment is finding the right stove. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but we’ve got a few criteria that needs to be fulfilled and despite the wide array of stoves available to us – both Australian- and European-made – this has proven to be a much greater challenge than we imagined!

First off, these are the things we look for in a stove:

A. 90cm, 5 or 6 burners
B. Must have a wok-burner of at least 15mj/h, but ideally 17mj/h and above.
C. The wok-burner must be on the side panel and not the middle, and if coupled with a smaller burner in the same panel, it needs to be in front
D. The dials should ideally be at the front and not the side. Dials on the side just mean space wastage.

Just 4 simple criteria and almost nothing we’ve seen really meets them all. Now meet the Highland cooktop:

The 6-burner Highland Cooktop

There is the Highland that we’ve been looking at and ogling over – it is perfect. It truly is a work of art with 6 burners, 2 x 22mj/h wok-burners, and is about 98cm long. There is ample room on the stove with each burner well-spaced out from the other, and the husband and I can finally work side by side without a fight! But with a price tag that could afford us a trip to the moon and back, we’ve unfortunately had to shelve away any hope of owning one and explore other options.

Then there’s the Ilves. The Mieles. The Boschs. The Blancos. The Smegs.

We’ve pretty much ruled out the common-brand Blancos and Smegs. Price-wise, they don’t come cheap but they are not much different from the Electroluxes or Westinghouses. So that leaves us with Ilve and Miele.

We’re leaning more towards an Ilve because we just like to be anti-establishment – there’s too much hype about Miele and the specs don’t seem to justify the price tag. I’ve heard that Miele is a good brand, but how good is good and are they really worth the price? On the other hand, while Ilve seems like a good brand to go by, I haven’t heard much about it.

So Ilve? Miele? What other brands are worth checking out? What would you recommend and why?


4 Responses to “The Cooktop Dilemma”

  1. I just stumbled across this post so its probably too late now but I thought I’d add my 2 cents worth. I re-did my kitchen last year and looked pretty hard at appliances, although I didn’t spot the Highland gear until after I’d made my choice. I’d seen a lot of good and bad feedback on the Ilve gear. Seems that they can be a bit tempramental. I agree with your assessment on the Blancos and the Miele stuff didn’t seem good value for money.
    I ended up with a St George 5 burner which had the 22mj wok burner offset to the side. Apart from the Highland, its the only other one I’ve seen at 22mj.
    The St George stuff isn’t cheap either, but I did get mine as part of a package that included a double oven and range hood and was put together for one of the home shows. I spent more than I planned to, but I’m really glad I streched and got the better appliances.

    • thepseudoepicurean Says:

      Thanks for your input Paul. We decided to bite the bullet and go with the Highland in the end, and you’ve certainly helped to validate our decision! We were also deciding between the St George and Highland but St George lost out due to poor customer service at the shop.

      We didn’t like the Ilve knobs and we’d read so many negative reviews about Miele that we didn’t even bother continuing our research. The Highland is the only one that the husband and I could agree on (space, design, gas output) and we decided to scrimp on other areas instead. We got a fairly cheap but good rangehood (1000m3/h Auscrown, a lesser known brand but really gives Robin Hood, F&P and Whirlpool a good run for their money) and an average Ariston oven.

      We’re now really excited about our kitchen. Glad that you are with yours!

  2. You should be with them all just the same because in the end, you will become who you are because of those interactions.

  3. So as someone who is ogling the Highland did you go with it in the end and if so was it worth it?

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