The Fresh Loaf

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oven range purchase recommendation

bfb's picture

oven range purchase recommendation


I'm looking for a white freestanding range with convection oven. I currently own a Frigidaire range which has been in my townhouse, but temperature knobs start being loose and I can't control the temperature anymore, very annoying. 

I love cooking and have participated in farmers market to sell my Asian artisan breads, so oven is very important. My friend recommended me Viking, Wolf, or Jenn Air though they are too expensive for me. My budget would be less than 1K. 

I didn't know much about oven nor range, so I did window shopping at Lowes, Sears, and Best Buy, and learned about the cool features/specs I didn't know. I learned alot from window shopping, but it also confused me what is reasonable for spec&quality. 

-convection (it was new to me... there are also "True convection" or "Third element convection")
-hidden bake element (easy to clean, taking longer time to heat)
-single/double oven (I'm not sure about this... double sounds good to be able to bake more, but no storage space)

-smooth top (although, I read reviews of some products and learned it's slow heating, such as taking forever to boil)
-touch panel control (instead of knob... sounds like a spaceship feature to me!)

This is the one I'm considering, Kenmore from Sears:
Although, some people says Kenmore brand breaks after 1 year, and have to pay to fix it if you don't buy extra warranty. 

Does anyone have any recommendations for range to buy? Or any spec/brand I should look for? (oh, it's gotta be an electric one, not a gas)

Jo_Jo_'s picture

Just a couple suggestions since you are looking at a glass top range.  If you use heavy cookware like cast iron skillets you won't be able to use them on this cooktop.  Make sure that your cookware is a kind approved of for use on it.  The other thing is if you have a cabinet above the stove you will need to make sure that it doesn't  contain anything heavy that could fall on your stove top and break it.

I have had good luck with Kenmore appliances, but their service techs are not very good.  It used to be they had the best service, but I have a large family and have had several that have had really bad problems with them.  I also love my glass top stove, just a lot less work to clean it if you use the products that they recommend.  My only other thought though is that the black top is a much better deal then the lighter colors for the cooktop, because eventually you will have a few small spots that won't come off.

Other than that I love my Kenmore and wouldn't trade it in, unless someone wanted to give me a brand new gas stove....


pmccool's picture

and go a step further to suggest that you stay away from any model with a glass cook top.  You'll find it much easier to position pots and pans effectively if your stove has exposed burners.  You will also have better control of temperature without the glass between the pan and the burner element.  Too bad about not being able to use a gas range; they offer the best burner control of all.  My favorite is a dual fuel model with gas cooktop and electric oven but those are north of your budget requirement unless you find one used or in a "scratch and dent" shop.


jstreed1476's picture

"If you use heavy cookware like cast iron skillets you won't be able to use them on this cooktop."

Really? I have a glass-top stove and use my cast iron stuff all the time without any problems. Neither do I have a problem poisitioning pans--I just center them on the circles. I grant that temp control isn't as nice as a gas burner, but cleanup ease takes the sting off that.

One issue I think worth considering is steaming and its effects on digital controls. My digital control unit stopped functioning about a year after I started creating steam in a 450F+ oven on a regular basis. I can't say for sure that the steam infiltrated the unit, but I wouldn't be surprised. The repair guy said the same. I've since switched to the "magic bowl" technique for most breads, and it works at least as well as the other steam tricks I tried.

Unfortunately, just about every oven seems to have digital controls these days. Two appliance repairmen I talked to said they recommend picking up a refurbished older stove, if possible (note: they weren't even in that business).

Jo_Jo_'s picture

According the manufacturer of my stove, it told me not to use cast iron unless it's the kind that is coated with porcelain or some such thing.  They said it would cause marks on the glass.  I have also heard of people breaking the glass top because they are so heavy.  I have a ton of regular Lodge dutch oven skillets that I would love to use on my stove, but haven't because I didn't want it to mark the stove.  How long have you been using yours and have you noticed any marks on the surface from them?

The thought of dropping one on the top is a little scary to me, since my hands don't work as well as they used to!

I want to repeat, I LOVE my glass top stove, even with the minor problems.  The oven allows me to adjust the temp, so even though I am at a high elevation it is adjusted to read exactly what it should per my thermometer.  The glass top is much easier to keep clean and it gives me a great surface to do some of my initial bread making work on.  It's almost like having another counter, in my way to small kitchen.

BTW, I would however give it up for a gas stove, but would never go back to the old coil things!


jstreed1476's picture

I guess, thinking on it a bit, it's not odd for different makers to have different recommendations about their products' use.

I've used cast-iron stuff for several years now without noticing marks on the glass. Most of the marks are from stuff like boiled-over soups that I didn't attend to closely enough. The specialized cleaner I use seems remove 97% of the scorched mark--so every time it happens, that leftover 3% hangs around.

I hear you about the fear of breaking it, though! I've semi-dropped heavy pots on it several times; no damage yet, but I'd be mortified if it cracked.

silkenpaw's picture

...and yes, I have a few scratches on the stove (which is over 10 years old) but the stove is there to be used, not to look pretty, so I live with the scratches. They don't seem to affect performance or ease of cleaning and don't detract from the appearance of the range that much.

Jo_Jo_'s picture

Me too, but I would really love to use my cast iron again.  There is nothing like it when you are cooking certain foods.  We used to camp a lot, but don't so much anymore so it sits neglected and unused.  Maybe I will put it out and see what I think, as long as I am careful not to drop it on the top. 


SourdoLady's picture

I just purchased this same stove that you linked to, except in stainless steel. I will be picking it up and installing it tomorrow. I am hoping that it is a good one, also.

bfb's picture

thank you for your reply! Seems like there are pros and cons for glass top range. I would like to have a strong power heat for cooking, and I would definitely use iron skillets.

how about oven features? Convection feature is a must? I thought a hidden element is nice, but didn't feel like I have to have it. I'm still thinking of which I should go to either single or double oven. 

Jo_Jo_'s picture

Personally I always thought the convection feature would be a good thing, but I have no experience with it.  I was hoping some other people would chime in on that.  I have heard of ovens that actually have steam functions too, but not sure what they would cost and who makes them.


Chuck's picture

temperature knobs start being loose and I can't control the temperature anymore...

Well my Mr. Fixit sub-personality surfaces here and says to get the slack out of the knobs rather than replace the whole range! (But then I'm the kind of guy who picks old appliances out of the neighbor's garbage and takes them home and fixes them and uses them, which I've been told is not exactly typical:-)

It might take a screwdriver, or an allen wrench, or some epoxy, or a set of new knobs, or...  but I'm almost certain any reasonable fixit person could handle this for $5-$15, which is a whole lot cheaper than a whole new range.

I can understand your not being a fixit type yourself - quite a few people aren't. But doesn't your circle of acquaintances include anybody who could handle some loose knobs? Even baking several nice loaves and a batch of sticky buns to trade for fixing your oven would be a whole lot cheaper than buying a new one. (It would be much "greener" too:-)

bfb's picture

yeah, that was my 1st thought, "oh I need to buy new knobs" (all 5 of them are loose). Well, it's just a plastic simple knobs, don't you think they should cost about $5 each or so? They cost $17(each) or so! For oven knob (with temperature print), it's over $20!! So replacing all knobs will cost almost $100 total, and that fact just turned me off about this range. I know it sounds silly, but I was wondering what if I buy a new one, and started searching, then found some wonderful features which my stupid loose-knob oven doesn't have, such convection system. Since I bake a lot of breads/pastries for farmer's market, bigger & evenly bake-able oven helps my work.

Thank you for your advice though!

sphealey's picture

=== ell, it's just a plastic simple knobs, don't you think they should cost about $5 each or so? They cost $17(each) or so! For oven knob (with temperature print), it's over $20!! ===

When buying parts such as knobs, it is better to avoid both the original manufacturer's parts department and the big-box stores and go straight to industrial supply houses.  You can generally find industrial-grade parts that are either less expensive (due to no brand name, no fancy eteched logo) or the same cost but vastly more installable and durable.  You do end up paying fairly high handling and shipping charges since you are ordering 1 instead of the 100,000 they would prefer to sell, but it generally works out better in the long run.  (sorry I don't have time to search for an industrial knob supplier right now; if I have time later today I'll give it a try).