Pros: The Frigidaire Gallery Smooth Cooktop Convection Slide-In offers unparalleled features for the price.
Cons: Minor quibbles: gimmicky chicken nugget button, burner control knobs could be richer
I purchased the Frigidaire Gallery FGES3045KW Smooth Cooktop Slide-In Electric 30" Convection Range over one year ago and am still thrilled with it. It is a sleek, attractive, and reliable range. The cooktop has five burners including a warming area. Accurate, feature-rich, and easy to maintain, it is also an excellent value among slide-ins (which tend to be more expensive than free-standing offerings).
This was purchased to upgrade a small kitchen that offered no space for a built in wall oven. I find that placing built-in ovens beneath a drop-in cooktop (as are recommended and shown frequently by Ikea and other designers) means the oven door opens too low to make accessing the oven comfortable for me. Who wants to pick a cooked turkey up from practically floor level?
Slide-in ranges offer the best of both worlds if you must use a range instead of separate appliances. Having a bottom drawer offers storage for pots and pans and also allows for the oven to be up almost one foot higher than a built-in wall oven mounted directly below a drop-in cooktop. Since this Frigidaire Gallery has an edge-free ceramic cooktop that slides in and overlaps the countertop on three sides, it gives many of the benefits of a drop in cooktop, including the sleek look. Even better, the separate, integrated cooktop/oven front mounted control panel leaves the cooking surface one large expanse of uninterrupted, clean, smooth, white ceramic (with grey lines delineating the burner zones). There is nowhere for dirt to hide!
Feature rich and highly recommended.
This range has every feature I wanted and some I didn't know I wanted (or thought I would never use) but I have grown to enjoy them.
Front-mounted controls mean no reaching over the cooktop, and risking burns, to adjust burners. I only by cooktops/ranges with side or front-mounted controls because I have never understood why designers would think I want to stick my arm over hot pots and pans to adjust burner temperature. The large digital display and warning lights are clear, concise, and easy to read. The control panel on this range is simplicity itself. *Update* - Though it shows finger prints readily, the control panel still looks great, is scratch-free, and still cleans with a wipe of a cloth.
The Ceramic Cooktop with four burners, one adjustable "quick boil" burner, and a fully adjustable warming zone (for keeping food hot or just warming the dinner plates!) is wide, generously sized, and overlaps the countertop for easy use and an integrated look. The layout, with controls on a front panel away from the cooktop, offers wide spacing between the burners for less crowding when preparing multiple dishes on the cooktop.
Configurable burner allows for expanded cookware options by selecting the appropriate burner size.
Warming zone, configurable via the touchpad front-mounted control panel, keeps everything from hamburgers and roasts to gravies and rolls hot and ready to eat without burning. My favorite feature of this zone is that on "Lo" you can warm empty platters and dinner plates prior to serving. I do not like warming drawer on the bottom of a range because I had a KitchenAid with that option and often forgot things in there until after dinner or the next day! With this, there is no need for a warming drawer and the items you are holding at temperature are right before your eyes.
A Full Feature Oven
The Frigidaire Gallery FGES3045KW Slide-In Electric Range offers a full 4.2 cubic foot oven and comes with three full size racks. This is a large oven that, with convection cooking, offers whole meal cooking with ease. I find this oven cooks evenly and quickly. *Update* A year later and I am thrilled with the overall ability of this oven to cook an entire meal at the same time; I've cooked a turkey, corn bread, and casserole simultaneously in convection mode and all came out perfectly (obviously had to remove them at different times!). The interior of this unit is more generous than any of my 30" in-wall ovens and there do not appear to be any uneven hot spots.
The main selling point for me of any oven is the convection cooking features. I find convection cooking yields faster, better results with everything I cook so I use this often. The FGES3045KW has some exceptional features for people that like convection cooking:
- hidden elements (only the topmost, broiler, element is exposed inside the oven) with an extra element for the convection mode means heated air from outside the oven is injected via the fan for true "European style' convection cooking
- "convection bake", "convection roast", and "convection broil" settings automatically configure the oven elements and bring the oven to default temperatures which may be overriden at any time via the keypad
The FGES3045KW's self-cleaning oven is configurable and works very well. Simply selecting the button repeatedly toggles through the option sof 2, 3, or 4 hour cleaning cycles. I love this feature as some lesser ovens I have owned do not allow for shorter pre-programmed times and I have to remember to stop the cycle after 2 hours (recommended for light cleaning). There is no manual latch to throw. As with everything else, this unit does it all for you automatically.
Almost every setting of this range is adjustable, even the oven temperature calibration can be tweaked if you desire your food to cook slightly faster or slower. The oven's various elements turn on and off automatically based upon the type of cooking you select, allowing for customized environment and heat delivery for baking, dehydrating, broiling and roasting. This range even has a Sabbath mode that allows for safe non-control based operation of the oven and cooktop.
A feature I think indicates the thoughtful design that you don't find in lesser ovens is the Frigidaire Gallery's hidden heating element under the floor of the oven. No splatter and grease gets on the heating element itself so cleaning is complete and easy as only the flat oven floor will catch drippings. Just wipe up or self-clean and no more smoking bottom elements.
*Update* I have used the chicken nugget button and I must say that it cooks them to perfection from a cold oven to completion with the touch of one button!
Need More Features? Get the next model up...
The Frigidaire Gallery FGES3045KW has everything I need but is missing several features that are available on more expensive Frigidaire models:
- Two oven lights (versus this model's single oven light)
- Warming drawer under the oven (versus this model's storage drawer)
- Pizza button (versus this model only have a chicken nugget button)
- Multiple configurable burners (versus this model having only one configurable burner)
- Multiple "quick boil" burners (versus this model having only one "quick boil" burner)
- Flexible half size oven racks (versus this model's standard oven racks)
EASY TO USE / EASY TO CLEAN
Even though this range has every feature you could possibly want and then some, it is simple to use. Controls are all located in a single, wide, front mounted touchpad control panel with clear easy-to-read controls that wipe clean.
The ceramic cooktop, especially in white, does take a bit of getting used to and a bit of effort to keep clean. But this is true of ALL ceramic cooktops in white. Having no knobs on the cooktop means everything wipes clean. There is NOWHERE for dirt and spills and other cooking mess to hide. The main thing is preemptive cleaning and polishing. You really, really need to use the products made for these cooktops to keep them clean and prevent scratches and cooked-on food. But this is true of all smooth cooktops, not just Frigidaire. With regular cleaning, the cooktop stays immaculate, with a mirror shine and does not scratch. However, the owner's manual warns against using exposed aluminum like aluminum foil that can permanently mar the surface. *Update* Still beautiful a year later, I probably have to clean with ceramabryte after every other use.
Displays are bright and easy to see. Tones and displays are adjustable to meet your own needs. The owner's manual is small, concise and helpful. Interior and exterior finishes are easy on the eye and the hand and generally feel solid and durable. The plastic burner control knobs could be a bit more substantial but they slide off easily for cleaning.
Manuals are thorough, well written, clear, concise and include details for installation, connections, use, and service.
Shop to Save Money
I purchased this oven at a large national home supply chain and recommend you shop around. So-called discount appliance stores in my area had this model for sale for $1499 or more and I got it for only $1199 delivered. So shop around and you can get a much better price. By the way, as all these new appliances are run by electronics, I got the extended warranty although the standard warranty is a full year.
The manuals include detailed installation information, including measurements for cutouts and electrical requirements. According to the manuals, a single 240 volt connection on a dedicated minimum 40 amp circuit runs the entire range. The Frigidaire design seems to like placement of the connection physically lower on the wall than most other ranges. I had a licensed electrician who knows the codes and requirements for my area verify and make all electrical connections and I recommend you do the same.
I like Frigidaire appliances in general and would buy this range again. As Frigidaire is made by Electrolux, I find their products have a slightly better design sense and better features for the money than the competitors.