I purchased and installed a KitchenAid model KESC300HWH6 about a year ago. It is a white electric slide-in range with a black Ceran (smooth ceramic glass) top.
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There were several factors that had motivated me to buying this particular model. First I wanted a flat smooth top cooking surface. And I wanted the controls located in front because the range was going to be located in an island in my kitchen. I had also wanted to coordinate a matching dishwasher and an over the range microwave with the range.
I considered combinations from Maytag, Kenmore, and Whirlpool as well. When I looked at each brands dishwasher and microwave and considered price, features and ergonomics, I settled on the KitchenAid. (Note that KitchenAid is owned by Whirlpool). It wasn’t a hard decision for a couple of noticeable differences.
The range has four control knobs located at the front. The angle employed for the control panel is very shallow meaning it is tilted down just few degrees from being completely horizontal. The neatest feature about this model is that with the exception of the knobs, the entire control panel, lights, oven control buttons and all, is under a fitted sheet of smooth glass. The keypad is electrostatic controlled. So you aren’t actually pushing onto a pad. Just a light just touch a finger over the glass much like a touch pad on a computer monitor engages a function. It is quick and gives an audible beep to confirm activation.
But it can also be too much of a good thing. It is possible to inadvertently start a key pad function with an errant hand. To add a measure of safety, the oven controls can be locked to prevent accidental engagement (from kids too). To do this, open the oven door and depress the “control lock” button for five seconds. A beep and an icon on the oven display indicate the control pad is now locked. To reengage the functions, just reexecute the process. Note that the oven light control is not overridden by this feature and can turn on or off at any time you wish.
I really like this control pad because it is so easy to clean. Just spray with Windex and wipe off. There are no nooks or crannies to pick debris out of. And the buttons will never fade or peel or get scratched up. This design is really worth considering.
On the surface of the oven are four radiant elements. Actually the element on the front left is a dual element so technically there are five. The front right element is 7” in diameter, the back right is 8”, the back left is 6”, and the front left (the previously mentioned dual element) is 5 1/2” in the center and 9” for the total area.
If you are new to ceramic top technology it is important to note that the cookware should be flat and extend no more than one inch outside the perimeter of element. Also note that spilled and burning sugar can pit the element surface if the spill isn’t cleaned while the element is still warm (wait for the hot indicator light to go out). And you can forget about cooking with those stovetop aluminum popcorn poppers. Aluminum foil cooked on the surface can permanently mark the element. To some folks, this might seem like a shortcoming, but in reality, the benefits of easy cleaning and a rapid heating cycle more than make up for it.
And the elements do get hot quick. When turned onto Hi, the burner instantly glows a bright red and you can go from zero to third degree burns in about 3 seconds. Keep your hands and anything you don’t want melted off of the surface before you turn it on. Otherwise this instantaneous blast of heat will roast. Depending on the metal pan you’re using, it is possible to start sautéing within a minute.
The oven is not as quick to incinerate, but it does heat up well and cooks evenly although my model lacks the convection feature. I don’t bake very often, but when I do, I like to look through the large window opening to monitor the progress of what’s going on inside. This KitchenAid does have a pretty big window.
It is nice to know that if down the road the oven starts to overcook or undercook it is possible to recalibrate the temperature. It can be changed in 5 degree (Fahrenheit) increments. Recalibration can also be helpful if you live in a high altitude environment. And if you’re a fan of the Celsius measurement, the display can be programmed to show that instead.
As much as I like this range, it is not without its shortcomings. One quirk is the hot element indicator. It is located in the front and center part of the range in a small ~2 inch x ~2 inch square. It would have been nicer to locate the warning light right next to the hot burner. Another quirk is the control knobs themselves. I like to cook using the front burners. They are controlled by the two knobs on the inside. The two outside knobs (located on the farthest left and right) control the back burners. I feel it would have been a little more intuitive if the functions of the knobs were reversed. I’m getting used to it though. The last shortcoming is the price. At a $1000 this slide in ranges costs hundreds more than its comparable free standing counterpart. Go figure. But the freestanding wouldn’t fit properly for my application so I had no choice but to pay the difference.
The appliance comes with a one year bumper to bumper warrantee that also covers the labor charges. “On ceramic glass ranges and ceramic glass cooktops, in the second through fifth years from the date of purchase… KitchenAid will pay for factory specified parts and repair labor for the ceramic glass cooktop. KitchenAid warrants that the ceramic glass cooktop will not discolor, the cooktop pattern will not wear off, the rubber seal between the ceramic glass cooktop and porcelain edge will not crack, the ceramic glass cooktop will not crack due to thermal shock and the surface elements will not burn out.”*
This range has a lot of neat features, including its easy to clean surface, and modern looks and functionality that make it stand out. But the high price kept it from getting a perfect score.
* quote taken from KitchenAid Electric Range Use & Care Guide, copyright 2001.
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Amount Paid (US$): 1060