What is the Best BTU for a Gas Cooktop?

Last Updated: 2/14/2023

Author: James Zhao, Sr. Tech Specialist & Alex Park, Product Specialist

When choosing a gas stove or cooktop for your home, choosing one with the highest BTU capacity may be tempting. However, more isn’t always better, especially for the home cook. 

Higher BTU burners get hotter faster, which is suitable for cooking styles like frying and boiling but less beneficial for gentler cooking methods such as poaching and braising. A hotter gas range may also make your kitchen stuffy quickly, requiring efficient ventilation

However, lower-heat cooktops also have advantages and disadvantages. You may be able to simmer a stew to perfection or easily saute delicate fish but have trouble keeping up when cooking for a crowd. 

The answer to buying the right cooktop isn’t necessarily high or low BTU heat burners, but a capacity matching your preferred cooking style and your family’s needs, such as the FOTILE Tri-Ring gas cooktop. This cooktop features a three-ring central burner with a maximum capacity of 21,000 BTUs—a temperature usually reserved for restaurant-style searing or stir-frying. 

Ignite all three rings for maximum-capacity BTUs, or stick with the central ring only for even, gentle heat, perfect for warming sauces, glazes, and just for making risotto. 

What Are BTUs and What Do They Measure?

BTU measures heat production. The acronym stands for British thermal unit, a measure of heat output generated by gas stoves and ovens. One British thermal unit equals the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In other words, one BTU of heat could raise the temperature of 2 cups of water from 33°F to 34°F. 

Total BTU for a gas range or cooktop is expressed in BTU per hour, with high-quality ranges averaging 15,000 to 25,000 BTUs. This range of temperatures is ideal for most home cooks because it can be adjusted to cook many different styles of cuisine and either large or small meals.

Closeup of the flame on a FOTILE gas cooktop burner

Why Flexibility is Important in the Number of BTUs for Cooking

Professional chefs in industrial kitchens generally prefer high-heat cooktops and ovens because they need to cook a lot of food quickly in a short time. This isn’t the case for the average home cook, who requires the flexibility to prepare meals for varying numbers of people, depending on their lifestyle and family size. 

In the domestic kitchen, a versatile cooktop with a powerful tri-ring burner allows you to shift easily from boiling and stir-frying to simmering and steaming. The central tri-ring burner is capable of delivering professional-level BTUs for quickly warming cast iron pans and cross-burner griddles. However, the smallest central ring—when lit alone—provides the low, steady heat needed for more delicate dishes. Think pancakes and sausages, which benefit from higher heat, versus the perfectly-set egg, which requires lower temperatures. 

FOTILE tri-ring burner on a gas cooktop

How Many BTUs Should My Cooktop Have?

Older stovetop models usually have four burners with the same BTU capacity, around 10,000. The modern gas range offers more variety, typically featuring one high-powered burner capable of 12,000 BTUs or more, several mid-range burners between 7,000 and 10,000, and one or two low heat burners capable of no more than 2,000 BTUs.

However, today’s domestic cook doesn’t have to settle for a standard number of burners and BTU outputs. Instead, they can choose from various burner types—including high or low heat capacity and size—and gas stove options that include anywhere from four to six burners in multiple configurations.

For instance, the FOTILE Tri-Ring cooktop features four fully enclosed burners and a 21,000 BTU capacity central burner with three concentric burner rings. These rings may be ignited individually or combined to produce professional-grade heating.

The Importance of Ventilation for High BTU Cooktops

Ventilation is essential for every gas range or cooktop, but it’s especially important if you’re installing a high-BTU appliance. Insufficient ventilation can cause toxins like carbon monoxide to build up in your home, posing a serious safety issue. 

FOTILE range hood absorbing steam from a pot cooking on a gas cooktop in a white kitchen

With ventilation, it’s always better to have more than you need rather than less. If you need new ventilation to accommodate a more powerful stovetop, such as a range hood, choose one capable of removing approximately 100 cubic feet per minute for every 10,000 BTUs of heat output. For instance, if your burners can produce 60,000 BTUs, your ventilator should be able to remove 600 cubic feet per minute (CFM)—or more. 

FOTILE’s Pixie Air under-cabinet range hood series are a perfect match for our 30” Tri-Ring gas cooktop. These quiet, low-profile hoods can be connected to a ventilation duct or converted to scrub and recirculate clean air back into your home. With 800 CFM capability, these hoods efficiently remove up to 94% of oil and grime from the air in your kitchen, leaving it clean and odor-free. 

FOTILE’s Slant Vent range hoods are also an excellent option. With 800 to 1,000 CFM and a 95% oil separation rate, these wall-mounted range hoods use the latest technology to cleanse the air in your kitchen, making cooking more pleasant and safe for your entire household.   

For more information, read our cooktop FAQs article.