|Item model number||PHS920SFSS|
GE Profile PHS920SFSS 30" Profile Series Slide-in Electric Range with Smoothtop Cooktop, in Stainless Steel
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This item GE Profile PHS920SFSS 30" Profile Series Slide-in Electric Range with Smoothtop Cooktop, in Stainless Steel
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The GE Profile PHS920SFSS slide-in induction oven with warming drawer provides the most innovative and efficient cooking capabilities on the market. With true European convection and 5.3 cu. ft. of oven capacity to cook an entire meal at once, you will have perfectly even results every time you cook. Additionally, the oven has glass touch controls, self-clean roller racks, and stainless steel finish to compliment any kitchen design. Available at AppliancesConnection
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ORIGINAL REVIEW - I can't believe I haven't reviewed my range yet. After waiting for this model (slide-in) to be released, I took delivery of mine a year ago and have used it daily since. I've had excellent performance. The induction cooktop is the star of this show and GE got it right. TIP: shop layouts and coil sizes before committing. I really like having the largest hob in front, along with a mid-size burner. These are the two most used. I also insisted on a slide-in range, because I want all my controls up front. I had a free-standing model once, and hated having to reach across hot pots to reach the controls. Never again.
Controls are pretty intuitive and very easy to use. For each hob, heat ranges from L to H, with half step increments from 1-9 in between. That's 19 power levels per burner, if you're counting. Power Boil takes the largest hob straight to it's highest setting and Simmer moves the mid-size hobs to level 2. The small induction burner has a Melt button which sets it to 1. There's also a Warming Zone, a small radiant burner that is designed to keep sauces warm. Note that 5 (med) is the perfect starting point. If you're using higher heat for most applications, it's time to rethink the way you cook. Medium heat will get most any stovetop job done right. I have a hand-made Cen brothers Cantonese carbon steel wok. My big surprise is that I can use it on a mid-size burner, with it's wok ring turned upside down. I never need to go higher than 8. My wok begins to smoke in under a minute. This means there's no need for a flat-bottom wok, if you prefer traditional round bottom woks. At the other end, bakers will love this range because on the lowest settings, it's possible to melt chocolate without a double boiler. Another neat induction trick; when melting butter to toss croutons or for wings, I melt it right in the stainless steel mixing bowl I'll be tossing the bread or wings in. Be sure to use an oven mitt, the bowl will be hot!
Don't forget that this is a more powerful cooktop than most. Your average electric coil or radiant cooktop will have burners with max wattage ranging from 1200W-2400W. Gas cooktops have similar numbers, but expressed in BTUs. GE's induction cooktop uses 2500W-3700W. "Medium" heat takes on a whole new meaning. Dial back the heat from what you're used to. You'll be glad you did.
The oven is just as easy to use as the cooktop, and GE takes steps to make things very intuitive. After selecting Bake, for example, the buttons to select temperature light up, leading you to them naturally. This is true of all functions: the buttons for the next step light up so you'll know what to choose next. The one flaw the oven has, and shares with most others, is that the temperature it displays when it's finished pre-heating is not accurate. I strongly recommend an inexpensive oven thermometer, like the Cooper-Atkins, that can be left in the oven and used to accurately gauge temperature. http://smile.amazon.com/Cooper-Atkins-24HP-01-1-Stainless-Thermometer-Temperature/dp/B00125TABM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421244143&sr=8-1&keywords=oven+thermometer
The oven will heat to 550ºF, hot enough to make a pretty nice pizza. If you're still buying frozen, you ought to check out fresh. Dough is readily available, and even using jarred sauce will (but it's so cheap and EASY to make your own) give you better pies than all but the best take-out joints. My pizza stone lives on my gliding rack, up near the broiler. BTW, this oven is quite large, and will take the largest 28-30lb. turkey with tons of room to spare. My racks all slid very well until I cleaned the oven before Thanksgiving, now they're a bit sticky, but not worth losing a star over. (update - after ordering and applying some graphite, as suggested by Neon Cactus in the comments below, my oven racks glide effortlessly).
I've got standard cabinets with granite tops. My range fits well, with only a small gap between the counters and the glass cooktop. We had to adjust the legs to get just the fit we wanted, but that was (with the aid of a level) a 2-minute job at most. Easily done. The only 2 features I haven't used are temperature roasting with the probe (we use a grill thermometer or our Thermapen) and the warming drawer. The warming drawer is very roomy, though, and easily stores my various broiler pans and small sheet pans for easy access.
A word about cleaning. If you're new to glass cooktops, you'll want to buy a few microfiber kitchen towels. After wiping down the glass with soap or soft scrub, I dry it, then use glass cleaner (I make my own, so cheap) liberally and wipe it with microfiber towels that I use for this one purpose only. This is the best way I've found to keep it streak-free.
To avoid scratches, wipe the pan bottom with a towel, your sleeve or your bare hand or arm before setting it on the glass. Make sure there's nothing on the glass, either. Finally, if you have rough cast iron cookware, lay down a paper towel or sheet of parchment or newsprint. At high prolonged heat, the paper will burn (but not catch fire), but it will still protect the glass. Lift pots to move them, don't slide them. It's not hard, taking only 1 second for every pot or pan. It's become automatic to me. My first glass top broke. I've had it's replacement for 6 months and it remains scratch-free, not even any fine scratches. Clean it every night after dinner, wipe dust/grit off your pans, use paper when needed, don't slide pans, and you'll have a gorgeous cooktop.
Finally, I'll say a few words about cookware, to help you avoid some of the mistakes I made. People will tell you to test pans with magnets, and that works, to a point. But it doesn't tell the whole story. Poorly laminated clad and disk bottom stainless steel pans can emit a nasty buzzing sound, especially at higher power levels. Many, if not most, aluminum pots and pans have questionable amounts of magnetic steel in their bases, and may not work, or will only work poorly. All of the brands I list below do very well.
If you're a fan of aluminum nonstick cookware, I advise going with Circulon Infinite or Anolon Nouvelle Copper Aluminum. These are the only two lines I've found that appear to work well on every induction top. Check reviews here for other brands, there isn't another aluminum line I've found with universally excellent induction ratings. Other pans work great on some cooktops, but not on others, or they work on them all, but they're slow. Or they only work on smaller hobs than they should. I don't have the Circulon pans, but my small Anolon Nouvelle saucepan is the one I reach for when heating thick, creamy sauces or making oatmeal. It never, ever scorches and cooks like a dream.
For really good clad cookware that won't blow the budget, consider Cuisinart French Classic, anything by Zwilling, or my personal favorite, Vollrath Tribute, a commercial line that outperforms all but the very top end of high end clad cookware. It blows away All-Clad and does it at a killer price. Buy it at Wasserstrom.com or your neighborhood restaurant supply store. Honestly, although it's never going to be mistaken for stove jewelry, you'd have to pay about $200 more per pan to get better performance. All-clad, Calphalon, Cuisinart MCP and most of the boutique store brands (Sur La Table, Le Creuset stainless, etc...) also work well with minimal/no buzzing on high power. If weight and budget are no issue, go with Demeyere Atlantis/Proline or All-Clad Copper Core. They're the only pans that best Vollrath Tribute.
If you like disk bottom saucepans, consider Vollrath Optio or Update Interantional SuperSteel (same pans), another restaurant line. It's a bargain priced workhorse. Check Staples.com for excellent prices on Vollrath, the Update International can be cheaply had here on Amazon. Bonus - the lids fit Tribute pans. For a bit more, you can get the very nice Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless. It should be almost the equal of it's aluminum twin. For high end bullet-proof stuff, try Paderno Grand Gourmet or Demeyere Atlantis.
Please read up on how induction works before buying an induction range. It's nothing like ordinary electric cooktops.
- The induction range is amazingly fast and responsive. With a very thick, 7-ply Demeyere skillet (which normally takes a while to heat up even when empty), the medium-sized burner can boil 1cm water in under 10 seconds. When you turn the heat down, the response is nearly instantaneous -- even with the large heat capacity of this skillet, the water slows its boil in less than 3 seconds, and that's on a smaller burner that does NOT have the "power boil" feature.
I read numbers like this when I was researching induction and they didn't impress me. Really you have to see it in action to realize how much time it saves.
- I heard complaints about "buzzing" on GE's previous model of induction range. Some people even returned it for that reason. Here's the skinny:
> When on low heat, below 5 1/2, the range "clicks" as it (presumably) turns on and off. The click is about as loud as lightly tapping a Bic pen against the counter. I don't find it distracting or annoying.
> When on high heat, you can hear an "electric" sound. It doesn't sound much different to me than the sound I hear when I turn on high-powered standard electric cooktops, except that the electric cooktop is usually silent after a short time while the induction range keeps making the sound.
> The sound itself isn't loud, and I wouldn't describe it as "buzzing." What it sounds like is an electric transformer. I'm sure you've heard one before -- they are the giant grey cylinders on some power lines. You hear the same sound near high-tension power lines. It's exactly like that (in fact, the sound is probably coming from a transformer in the range), but it isn't as loud. I don't have sound measuring equipment, but i'd say that it's noticeable in the kitchen but not in the adjacent dining room except for when everything else is silent.
- While arguably the greatest benefit of induction is that the range can vary temperature with even greater control than gas, this range does do the "on/off" switching at low settings (those below 5 1/2 out of 10). In practice, this hasn't reduced temperature or caused hot-spotting like it does on a electric glasstop, but it might when using very cheap, thin pans.
- GE's range detects pan sizes and won't turn on if the pan is off the burner or is too small. This prevents accidentally heating a stainless steel wedding ring, for example, or a steel spatula. It also prevents you from using small pans on large burners, though this isn't a problem in practice... Except for the very large burner. We don't have any pans large enough for it to turn on. Not a problem though, the other burners work perfectly (Update: We now have a few pans large enough for the big burner and they heat up even faster than the other burners. According to the C-Net review, the large burner is the fastest-heating burner they have ever seen by quite a bit).
- On changing pans: This was surprisingly cheap and easy for us. T-Fal has a whole set for under $99 (as if this writing) that works perfectly on induction. See http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GWL8T4/
We have some "nicer" pans, like Demeyere, but they don't seem to work any better and cost a fortune (A single skillet, while clearly well made, cost three times more than the entire T-Fal set!).
You still want to do your homework on induction. If magnets do not stick to your pan's bottom, they probably won't work at all. The pan's bottom surface must made from one of: Most types of stainless steel, mild (ordinary) steel, or cast iron. Aluminum pans work only if the bottom is made from one of the above--all aluminum or all-copper pans do not work at all
On the oven:
- If you are worried about changing all your cook times with a new oven, note that you can adjust the thermostat of the GE to match your old range.
- The racks don't seem to be especially well designed/manufactured, The slide-out rack was very difficult to fit into the oven, even with significant force, and scratched its sides a little. The other racks seem to be a little too wide as well and are difficult to pull out. They also make a rather unpleasant grinding sound as they slide along the oven walls.
(UPDATE December 2015: The racks have "set" and are now easy to slide in/out. The aforementioned scratches were not deep and did not penetrate the protective powder coating of the inside of the range).
- The oven doesn't preheat especially quickly, but it does tell you its temperature in realtime as it heats.
- We haven't used it much at all and probably need more practice, but we did try cooking two pizzas at the same time with convection mode. The top pizza did not cook as much as the one on the bottom, though it did have slightly thicker toppings. Technically for 2 pizzas, we are suppose to position two racks equidistant from the center of the oven. We kept the 3-rack configuration because, as mentioned above, shifting racks is awkward.
- The oven's window is larger than almost any oven's I've ever seen. It seems larger in person than the photo makes it look.
- The oven light is near the door of the oven, so I guess it's easy to replace. I've never had to replace an oven light, though, so this is speculation.
- The convection fan is audible but not loud, high-pitched, or distracting. It sounds more like white noise.
On the controls:
- The entire control surface is capacitive touch glass, like on a smart phone. It works very well and rarely misses a tap. It is a little sensitive, though. When leaning over the oven (which admittedly is not done often), it sometimes thinks the "set timer" button has been pushed. The controls do have a lock-out feature to prevent this from happening and presumably to prevent kids from playing with it.
- Range settings start at 5 of 10 when you turn them on. You then change the power with +/- buttons that shift the value by 1/2 with each press. Thus, it's slower to set the a burner to "2" than it is with old-style knobs. This problem is partly resolved by special buttons. One burner has a "simmer" button, which immediately sets power to 2. Another has a "Melt", which sets it to 1. The large burner has a "Power broil" button, which presumably sets it above 10/10 for a time. (Update: It just sets it to 10/10)
In practice, changing settings is still pretty fast. The GE Monogram cooktop has a slide-to-set feature which I like even better, but it hasn't trickled down to the mid-range line.
- Overall I am happy with the design of the controls. They feel intuitive, and give you hints as for what to do next. For example, when you set the timer and enter the time, the "Set timer" button blinks to remind you to tell the oven that you are ready to start the timer. There are many small touches like that which tell me that the GE engineers spend some time thinking about how to make their range easy to use.
UPDATE: After two years, we have had zero problems with the unit. The glass surface still looks good, with only some very minor scratches.
- Quiet. It is much more quiet than the Wolf.
- Powerful. It heats faster than the Wolf using the same cookware.
- Better load. It can handle two element on high easily. The Wolf, sometimes I could not boil a pot of water when another one was on high or two were on medium.
- Oven slider. I like that convenience.
- The size of the left elements get the most use for me, but I wonder why they have to have them both shortcut to "simmer"? I would rather have the outside shortcut to "boil".
- When using both left elements on high enough power, there is a strange high pitched sound. Not sure what to make of and whether it is normal. Never encountered that with the Wolf.
- The back side is not designed to fit very well on an island.
- Oven does not ship with any broiling/baking pans.
Overall it is pretty good at current price point. Talking about price point, while my range was still in shipping, the price dropped by $50. Talked to the seller and they would not reduce the price.
EDIT: After cooking a turkey (which turned out perfect) the oven door showed failed seal and a few screw rusted! Failed seal I can chalk it to individual, but rusted screws? How many corners are cut? See pictures.
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