On a mission to remodel our 1980s kitchen, we visited the home improvement store. I was thinking counter tops, sink, faucets, and hadn’t given a thought to anything else.
Recommend this product?
Then, I saw it.
The sleek flat surface of the GE Clean Design cooktop looked straight out of science fiction. As I ran my fingers over the thick glass, I thought about never having to clean a crispy electric stove burner pan again. No more soaking rings and trying to re-seat the burner element. Yes, this was the future of my kitchen.
If you also like this look, just be aware of a few important points of use and maintenance before buying.
You can go with a completely flat top with buttons, but I chose this model (#JP356BMBB) with the control knobs. ( I had heard that some models have problems with water getting in the buttons and shorting them out) Check your countertop to be sure the stove will drop in properly. Some tops have to be modified with extra wood underneath to hold the heavy glass stove, or have the hole cut wider to accommodate it.
This model has four burners and one of them is a “power boil” for quick heating, and one of the large burners has a dual surface element. This simply means you can choose a smaller area on the burner by clicking the knob. The burners make a little clicky-click noise while heating, turning themselves higher and lower, depending on the level of heat chosen on the knob. At first I thought this meant the stove was malfunctioning, but it is touted as a power saving function.
The stove has an extra light to show that a burner is still hot. (approx. 150 degrees and above) This catches your attention for awhile, as the old stove only had a light on when it was still on. It took a few weeks to stop reaching for the knobs to see if they were still on. It’s a useful light when you get used to it, so you don’t put something on the burner while it’s still warm enough to singe it.
Maintenance has not been as carefree as I hoped. If you are a neat freak, and live in a hard water area- you will be sponging this stove off after every use. There is a special “cerama bryte” cream- a sample of which will come with the stove- but I find that vinegar and baking soda do a fine job. Be careful not to use a rough scrubbie or a regular powder cleanser on the glass. If a pot boils over on the stove, clean it as soon as possible, because any water on the glass leaves a film and spots that are very hard to clean.
It also matters a great deal what sort of cookware you have. Do NOT use porcelain enamel on steel, as the enamel can melt and bond to the glass. (Le Creuset comes to mind) Also do not use thick stoneware or cast iron, according to the instruction booklet.
Also do not use a wok with a support ring. It won’t heat on the glass element. Only use the flat bottomed wok types.
They DO recommend stainless steel, heavy weight aluminum (more on that in a moment), and copper bottomed pans, and admit that you can use porcelain enamel on cast iron- IF the bottom of the pan is coated.
I have Revere pans, and they work well. My pots are somewhat lightweight aluminum, and they start hopping when the heat is on high. Instructions note that the element can turn off if this happens, as it will not be "sensing" the pot properly. Pots and pans with ridges on the bottom can also have this problem. Try to use only flat bottomed cookware. (good thing it doesn't sense the cook!)
One other item of note- crumbs will wedge themselves between the cooktop and the countertop around the edges, since it's just sitting in the counter. When I'm vacuuming, I just run the attachment around the edges to suck out anything that might have escaped a sponge. Not a big deal, but again, if you're a neat freak and you know a crumb is on the loose...
I’ve used the cooktop for over a year now, and I think it was worth the money for the good looks. If you start with the right kinds of pots and don’t mind cleaning spots, this is the upgrade you want for a 21st century kitchen.
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Amount Paid (US$): 675.00