Installing a cooktop and wall oven typically costs more than buying a range so when you make the investment to customize your kitchen you want to make sure the appliances deliver when company is coming. Unfortunately, some don't. Jenn-Air was the more repair-prone brand of both electric and gas cooktops according to 11,000 of our readers who purchased a cooktop between 2008 and the first half of 2012. That's what we found in the latest Annual Product Reliability Survey from Consumer Reports National Research Center.
Gas and electric cooktops from GE, Frigidaire, Kenmore, Whirlpool, KitchenAid and Wolf required fewer repairs than Jenn-Air, according to the survey. We didn't have enough data to include the brand reliability of induction cooktops, but the data does suggest that as a cooktop type, induction models are about as reliable as electric smoothtops.
Poor reliability kept the electric Jenn-Air cooktops we tested off our list of picks. The two 30-inch models in our labs were very good at high heat and excellent at low heat. Of the two 30-inch gas models we tested, one performed better than the other but both were mediocre at best.
Our latest Annual Survey also found that no one electric wall oven brand stood out as the most or least reliable in 2012. Although we lacked sufficient historical data for all years to include Jenn-Air, our data indicate that it has been a repair-prone brand.
Keep in mind that models within a brand may vary and changes in design or manufacturing may affect future reliability. That said, choosing a brand with a good repair history can improve your odds of getting a reliable cooktop. And if you need a tie-breaker when comparing cooktops that scored similarly in our Ratings, pick the one with the better repair history. You'll find more than 40 models in our Ratings of electric and gas cooktops.