Need help finding suitable range

amelia_pepper_ladyJune 10, 2012

My electric slide-in range died over a week ago. Actually, the broiler died.

I have been trying to find a replacement but have been unable to find something suitable.

My requirements:


Slide-in - 30" width

Coil elements (not a smooth-surface cooktop)

Self-cleaning oven

Convection oven

I can find gas ranges that I would really like to have. (Prefer gas) BUT, the costs of running the gas line and installing a 120 V line combined with the cost of the range just don't make sense since we probably won't be in the house for 10 more years.

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I apologize in advance if I am going to sound rude, I don't mean to. But I gotta ask, and we'll want to know, why are you insisting on coil elements? Setting aside the circa-1977 appearance, what about cleaning around them? What about the slow uneven heating? Plus there is no electric range made that has both coil elements and a convection oven.

Have you considered a range with an induction top? Frigidaire makes a 30" slide-in induction range with a convection oven with self-clean for about $2000. Gets great reviews on AJ Madison. If that is too pricey for you, I understand, since an electric range can cost half that.

But regardless, you must decide which of your requirements for an electric range you can give up--either the coil elements or the convection oven. You can't have both.

Here is a link that might be useful: Frigidaire 30-in Slide-in with Induction Top

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Believe me, electric coil elements aren't high on my list. However, they are the best option considering the choices remaining.

I use copper and cast iron for cooking. I also bake a lot --- sometimes 8 to 10 cakes in a day for special events.

As I said, I would truly prefer a gas range. It just doesn't make sense to spend over $3000 when I don't expect to be in the house for much longer.

As for the next house, I will have my 1956 O'Keefe and Merritt refurbished. I will probably also have one or two built-in convection ovens. (The next house will be my LAST house.)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Sophie Wheeler

There is zero problem with smooth cast iron or copper on a glass top range, so I'm confused as to why you want a coil range.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 12:23AM
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I would not get a coil range now for all the tea in china. Not to be mean but no one wants those anymore. you say you are not planning to stay in the house real long well to me that's not a good reason to go too cheap. when you sell the house buyers are going to expect or want a nice modern kitchen they don't have to totally replace. seeing a nice smooth top or gas range is what they want. getting one that will appeal to buyers would help.

cast iron works fine on smooth I had it in my last single family house, just don't drag them over the top as with any pan and your good.
If gas is what you really want then do it. sure you may not get you $$ back but there is value in enjoyment too. All you need is to have a gas line run and the outlet and breaker can be changed over to 115 volt with out pulling new cable. A good handy man and/or could do that for you.

I have learned to cook on gas then cooked on electric coils, then smooth top and then back to gas. If I were given a choice I'd pick gas. if I could only choose electric coils or smooth top well then smooth top wins.
I never tried induction but hear it's wonderful

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 8:04AM
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I have the GE induction 30 inch range with convection. Love it. If you are worried about scratches just put a paper towel under the pan when cooking. You can do that on induction, but not radiant heat.

They also have a slide in model, as does Electrolux. There is a good thread on the forum about them, probably on the first or second page.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 9:54AM
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While I have nothing against coils, the simple fact is that technology has moved on from there and coil ranges available today are made for the bottom of the low end. The ones out there now are not anything like the ancient Magic Chef I'll be replacing in my remodel was in its heyday.

Get a smoothtop if you don't want induction. The frigidaire linked above is a hybrid model which is generally spurned here, although it wouldn't bother me, but if you don't want to spend that much they have several similar looking models with convection but not induction for much less.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 10:18AM
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This has been interesting.

I have asked 15 to 20 people about smooth-top ranges/cooktops. All immediately said, "No! Don't get one!"

Complaints were: scratching, difficult to clean, requires special cleaners, stains, requires special tool to remove food debris, stays hot too long (not induction, of course).

Most of these had replaced the smooth-top ranges/cooktops within one year. And, they all said they would NEVER have another one. In fact, one co-worker purchased a house with a smooth-top range last week. She has already made arrangements to replace it.

I wonder why the extreme difference in responses on-line.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 6:17PM
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Sears has been selling a Kenmore coil burner freestanding stove with a convection oven. The model number is 02290313000.

As for why the extreme differences between the responses you personally collected and those received here, consider that you are asking about things on which people have strong personal preferences. The predominant preferences here run against coil burners but it is the opposite among you friends, neighbors and co-workers. The market for electric stoves has favored smoothtops but there is still a strong enough minority market, that Sears is offering a variety of them including with convection.

The advantages I see for coil burners are simplicity, durability, ease of rapair, and relatively low purchase cost. (Although, if you check out the current coil burner offerings at Sears, there are some up around $1000 or more).

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:15PM
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I still see coil ranges in stores and most of them are not very expensive, $400 - $600. I don't understand why anyone would dissuade you from buying one. The reason they are so cheap is because the technology is fully mature and there is no market for the latest bells and whistles at that price point. It's simple marketing and has nothing to do with whether coils are good or bad. Good grief, people have been cooking on them for almost 100 years.

Why can't you just have the broiler fixed? It would be a lot cheaper than buying a new range. I've fixed my stove twice in the last ten years while waiting to remodel. It seems you have managed just fine with your old stove so far. When you get your new house, then you can splurge on the latest and greatest. I'm sure there will be some wonderful technology to drool over in another ten years.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 12:47AM
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I think a smooth top looks great when its clean and not in use. the thing is you have to almost wipe it off after every use.mine heat way faster than the old coils did. the "special tool" is not much more than a razor blade in a holder so you can scrape with it. the cleaner can be bought in any wal-mart, target or grocery store. Boiling over things is what really makes a mess but it all stays on top no place for it to go but starches can burn requiring the cleaner.

the only thing that was a drag about it when I had one is the time my mother lived with me. when she cooked she didn't pay attention to things and boiled things over a lot plus never cleaned up after herself very well so the stove top no mater what kind would look like world war III was fought on it when she was done and it does at her house now with her coil stove.

So I guess if you don't want to care for it which is not hard just a little different they are not for you.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 8:08AM
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What was the question you asked the people in real life? That could greatly influence the response you get. In this post, you make it very clear that gas is not an option and so it comes down to coil versus smooth-top. Did the other people you asked think gas was an option?

Also, if you just ask "should I get a smooth top", you will get a response focused on the goods and bads of smooth top electrical stoves (just like here you got a response focused on coil's goods and bads because you specifically referenced coils). The other people you asked might have thought gas was an option, and may well not be familiar with or even know about induction as an option.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Following up on what rmtdoug said about replacing the broiler element, the fix might be inexpensive or not depending the age of your stove and what went wrong with the broiler.

The most likely thing is a burned out element. Inexpensive and easy to fix. A replacement will likely cost less than $75 ($US). Many cities have electrical supply houses that carry them. The elements are available on-line and may well be cheaper there, although the cost of shipping may bump it back up to what you would pay locally.

Very easy to replace. Almost takes longer to write down the directions than to do it. Unplug the stove. Get a light so you can see into the back of the oven. Remove two screws from a plate on the back wall and pull the broiler element forward. (The front is probably supported by a bracket that allows it slide.) A wire is screwed to each end of the element behind the plate. (The wires are stiff and will not flop around). Remove the wire retaining screws and pull the old unit out. Just the reverse for the new one. Not quite plug and play, but easy and cheap.

Of course, that does not get you the convecton oven you wanted. But, then, I'm not sure that anybody in North America is currently selling a slide-in coil burner with a convection oven. The only coil burner w/ convection that I know of is that freestanding Kenmore I cited above.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:44AM
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I agree repair should be looked in to in the least. Repair maybe reasonable. but if parts are not available or expensive then replacement is what it comes back too.

She said in her first post that she would prefer gas if it were not for the install cost which she did not say that she investigated that cost or not. If she might want gas I think she should maybe see how much getting the gas piped in will cost before ruling out a gas range.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 12:24PM
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JWVideo - the Kenmore model 02290313000 you cited is a freestanding range, and one of the OP's requirements was that the range be "slide-in". As I said, the OP has to decide which of her requirements she can give up, since there is no range manufactured that has everything on her list. The OP has not responded which, if any, of the items on her list she is willing to forego.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Well, I purchased the electric slide-in with coil elements, no convection oven. I did look at the Kenmore free-standing but it didn't seem to be the quality construction as in the other ranges I was considering.

I also checked on the cost of having the gas run --- almost $1k to run the line less than 20 feet. Then, the electrical work would have cost around the same or possibly more. At the end, I would have paid approximately $4k to have a gas range. That would have been out of the ordinary for a house like ours.

As far as asking friends and co-workers, I asked what they knew/thought about the smooth-surface cooktops. Most did recommend a gas range.

Replacing the broiler element wasn't feasible as it was just the last "drop in the bucket." One of the burners was hit and miss as far as heating. Oven temp wasn't controlling well. Buzzing noise constantly from the timer -- not the loud buzz signaling end of time but a constant buzzing.

Thanks to everyone for sharing information and opinions.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Near $1000 to run a gas line 20 foot? Boy either you were way over quoted or I was way under charged. I only paid $275 for the same job and that required drilling through a brick wall to get the gas where I needed it for a range in a rental. My work was done only a few years ago so cost could not have gone up that much.

I hope you like the range you got now though

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:34AM
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I "gasp" bought a coil top, slide-in GE range and I love it!
I cannot afford induction, and like amelia, could not manage a gas run. The coils heat up faster than any electric smoothtop I've tried, and it is nice even heat, very exact, for simmering, saute, and everything else I do.
The oven is also very true to temp, and though not convection, has heating elements in top and bottom. I can bake two pizzas or two sheets of cookies without needing to switch them mid-bake.
Cleaning the top is no more difficult than cleaning a smoothtop, just wipe up after cooking. Since mine is black, I also use a spray of 1/2 water and vinegar and a soft tea towel to get rid of streaks.
So, there IS an option, and it isn't necessarily only for "low-end" housing. They are timeless and proven.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:11AM
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I cooked with a coil top (actually 2) for 27 years and they were fine - many good meals. Now we have a smooth top in the house we are renting. A CC manual clean is waiting in the GCs workshop for the time when it will be installed in the house we are building. I also cook regularly on a Force 10 propane range (2-burner on a boat).

The propane range is my favorite so far - hope the CC works at least as well. I much prefer the coil top over the smooth top. If I had to cook with electricity I would join Amelia_Pepper_Lady and Prairiemom in choosing a coil top.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Glad to hear that there are happy coil-burner owners.

Prairiemom's post hits important points about coil burner's advantages, I think. I can add a few comments, and do so with this caveat: every stove reflects engineering and manufacturing tradeoffs and the choice of the mix is a matter of personal preference as well as experience. For every one of us who likes one kind of stove, there is somebody else who abhors that kind of stove and has a detailed list of reasons and/or bad experiences.

Personally, I like coil stoves. I live at altitude where electric stoves can work a bit better than gas in terms of speed of bringing things to heat. I happily used a GE coil burner for years until it died of old age and heavy use. The death rattles were symptoms similar to those described by ameilia.

For the last ten years, I've had a GE dual fuel with a convection oven, both of which have been utterly reliable. The gas cooktop has a different set of advantages and disadvantages. For me, the disadvantages are a consequence of our high altitude location, the variable quality of the natural gas supplied here (BTU content seems to vary from week to week,) and getting rather more more heat in the air and goo on exposed surfaces notwithstanding a good range hood. The extra heat is okay in our cold winters but unpleasant in the two or three hot months we have here. (Seems unfair that a place so cold in winter can be so hot in summer.)

Personally, I find cooking on coil burners to be a lot like cooking with cast iron except that you can get quick heat adjustments by moving a non-CI pan off the heat.

For me, the primary advantages of gas cooktopa lie in the flexibility of controlling and adjusting heat. With a gas stove, I simply adjust the heat up or down as needed. Plus, the flames give visual feedback and the burners work during the inevitable power outages.

As for evenness of heating, I've found trade-offs that ultimately did not make much difference to me. (This is purely personal, I might add; I recognize that these things may make huge differences to others.) My personal observation is that gas burners provide a steadier heat but tend to concentrate that heat in the burner shape while coil burner electrics give an more even distribution with heat that is not as steady because the coil cycles on and off to maintain an average for the setting. I've found that heavy-bottomed pans pretty much even out the heat swings on coil stoves as well as spreading the heat from gas burners.

The reason that I personally do not care for radiant smoothtop stoves may seem trivial to some: (a) goo and over-boils easily bakes onto the hot cooktops which I then find annoyingly hard to clean; (b) they do not work well with large canning kettles; and (c) I cannot fix them myself when something goes wrong (as things inevitably do when you keep appliances for more than a few years.)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Oh, and in response to the post above about the OP wanting a slide in, I merely suggested looking at Sears because I ran across the reference to a free-standing coil-burner convection stove on Consumer Reports. I thought the OP might find something else at Sears. I have since had some idle moments to see if Sears or anybody else sells a convection coil-burner in a slide in model. I can now confirm that nobody sells such a slide-in at any accessible store or web site in the US.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:09PM
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