After purchasing our new home last summer, we decided to buy some new furniture and appliances, including a new range. The old one was in desperate need of an update. Not to mention, it was ugly. Can't have an ugly stove in my newly remodeled kitchen, right? When it came to shopping criteria, most of it was pretty easy. We knew we needed a "drop in" style range since that is how the home was constructed (the range slides into the middle of the cabinets and counter in the kitchen). The unfortunate thing is, drop in style ranges are few and far between and you have to make sure you get the right size or it won't fit! Lucky for us, the brand that made a drop in range in the size we needed was Whirlpool. Whew! That certainly could've turned out badly. All our other appliances are Whirlpool so I was thrilled. I also knew I wanted a white in color range to match my other white appliances.
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Next, and finally, I had to decide whether I wanted a standard, electric coil type range, or the more modern smooth top, ceramic range. Decisions decisions! Obviously, there is a huge price difference between these two types and so we had a choice to make. We finally settled on the ceramic, smooth top style because of it's modern, sleek design, durability and the fact that it is considerably easier to clean than the ranges with the coil type burners.
So, the decision was made! We settled on the Whirlpool RS696PXG Ceramic Top Electric Self-Clean AccuBake Drop-In Range in White on White. The retail price for this beauty, at Sears, was $1400. We did get it on sale though, for $1260.
I was quite nervous about the installation since it wasn't the standard set-it-up-against-the-wall-and-plug-it-in type of range. The drop in styles have to be wired up properly and installed like it is part of the cabinetry! Thankfully we only had some minor hang ups with some wiring issues and trimming off a small part of the counter top in order for it to fit perfectly. But it was finally IN and ready to go.
The range is absolutely gorgeous and very appealing to the eye. It made a huge difference in the appearance of my kitchen, giving it a modern edge that it didn't have before. The white on white color scheme goes well with my decor and other appliances. The top (the ceramic smooth part) is black though which I wasn't quite sure about at first but it has worked out fine.
First I'll tell you about the ceramic top and the burners. Like any other stove top, it comes with 4 "eyes" or burners but instead of steel coils, the top is smooth ceramic glass. It reminds me of a glass tabletop. There are round sections to show you exactly where the burners are located and the control knobs are on the right side of the range. There are 4 knobs that are arranged vertically from top to bottom. They can be adjusted from Low to High, or 1 through 9 with 9 being the hottest. When a burner is turned on, that portion of the glass will become red as you can see the coil heating up through the glass. A neat feature with this range is that even after you turn off the burners, there is an indicator that lets you know the ceramic glass top is still hot! It has a little red light and it says "Hot Surface". Once the glass is completely cooled, the light will go off by itself.
Cooking on the smooth top is a breeze and I really love it! It works quickly to bring liquids to a boil or just to a simmer. The temperature control knobs are accurate and I can trust that when I set it on "Low", the food isn't going to burn or boil over. I can use any type of pot, pan or cookware (Corningware, etc.) on my smooth top range. The only type that the manufacturer warns against is anything that has ridges in the bottom or anything that isn't smooth or flat across the bottom. You do have to be careful when placing pots or pans on the smooth top to be gentle. Slamming something or dropping something could result in a broken ceramic top! Replacing the smooth top ceramic glass can cost upwards of about $200, so there is always that risk. But, when you purchase a smooth top you have the option of insuring the glass for replacement should something happen to it. And for the record, I did drop something pretty heavy on it recently and it didn't break. I'm not sure if that is due to durability or luck :) I don't plan on trying it again though!
Around the edges of the glass top is a SpillGuard frame. This frame will contain spills if something boils over or spills on the glass. This allows for easier clean up and prevents large messes that can come with overflow off of a flat surface onto the floor.
One must take special care when it comes to cleaning a ceramic smooth top range. You cannot use anything abrasive or it will scratch the ceramic glass. The smooth top ranges come with a bottle of cleaning solution from the manufacturer and you can always purchase more when you run out. This cleaner looks like a lotion in texture and you simply squirt a little onto a spill and let it sit for a few minutes. Then you use a dry cloth and rub the solution in circles to remove the mess. It will wipe right off! If it doesn't come off the first time you can reapply the solution and let it sit for longer before trying again. I've had a few pots boil over (my own fault) and the bad thing about a smooth top is that you need to wipe it up quickly or it'll cook onto the glass. I learned this the hard way! Once it cooks on there it can be tough to remove. I've only had one instance where I had difficulty removing the spots completely, even after multiple attempts with the cleaning solution. Thank goodness for the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers! I decided to try that since they aren't abrasive and they remove practically anything. Sure enough, it got the spots RIGHT off my smooth top range.
The oven section of the range is very nice and I use it a lot since I bake and decorate cakes. The oven controls are on the front of the stove and they are push button computer type controls, not knobs. They are very modern. The display of the oven temperature, the timer and the clock are all digital. There are timer buttons, a clock button (to change the time), a light button (to turn on the oven light), an off button, a Start button, up and down arrow buttons to adjust time (in hours and minutes) and temperature, a self cleaning button and lastly there are buttons to set the oven for baking or broiling. The oven also has a timed baking feature so you can set it to turn on and off if you aren't going to be home or awake when something needs to cook. Since the oven controls are there on the front of the range where children are tempted to play with them, there is a safety feature that locks the controls. By simply pressing the "start" button and holding it down for 5 seconds, all the buttons are locked and won't operate if pressed. To unlock the controls, you repeat the same action. When it's locked, a picture of a lock appears on the display to let you know it's in "Locked" mode.
So far everything I've cooked in the oven has turned out beautifully. It cooks evenly and thoroughly without any problems. Nothing has come out lopsided or deformed either, which is good since nobody I know wants a messed up birthday cake! There is a window in the oven door so you can see inside without opening the door. One feature I like on the oven is that when you open the oven door, a light comes on (whether you have the oven light on or not). When you want to bake, you simply press the "Bake" button and it automatically comes on at 350 degrees, the default. It also has a preheat countdown on the clock display screen to let you know exactly how long the preheating process will take. The oven also has an AccuBake system feature that controls the oven temperature and allows it to maintain exact temperatures to give you accurate cooking results. The racks inside the oven are movable and adjustable.
The oven does have a self cleaning feature to allow for easy maintenance. The oven door is also easily removable to allow for easy access and cleaning.
For those who might be interested in the manufacturer specs on this range, here they are from Whirlpool.com:
No. of Elements/Cooking Zones 4
Large 1-8 in. radiant element, 1800W/1350W
Large: 1-9 in. radiant element, 2500/1875 watts
Standard: 2-6 1/2 in. radiant elements, 1200W/900W
2 adjustable oven racks
Bake Element - 2000 watts @ 240V/1500 watts @ 208V
Broiler Element - 3000 watts @ 240V / 2250 watts @ 208V
Capacity - 4.24 cu. ft.
Self-cleaning (takes 2 1/2 to 4 hours)
Heating Type - Standard (thermal)
Interior Dimensions - 25 in. W x 16 in. H x 18-1/2 in. D
Light(s) - 2 incandescent
Depth, with Handle - 25-15/16 in.
Height to Cooktop - 31-3/8 in.
Maximum Width - 30 in.
Height, Floor to Countertop - 30-3/4 in.
Width, Opening - 29-3/8 in.
Max. Amp Load - 40
Total Connected Load - 11.8 kW @ 240V / 8.8 kW @ 208V
The range comes with a 1 year limited warranty, and of course you can purchase additional warranties through the manufacturer or retailer at the time of purchase.
I really like this range and have had only good results from every use with it. I highly recommend it and would re-purchase it again in a heartbeat. I'm totally happy with it!
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Amount Paid (US$): 1260