Pros: Lots of features for the money, consumer reports thumbs-up
Cons: It isn't a Wolf, a Viking, or a Thermador. But I don't care anymore.
NOTE: Usage Update is at the bottom of this review
My husband and I are the anti-Bob Villa. We shudder at the words "home improvement." Needless to say, we've owned our home 8 years, and the most ambitious thing we've had done is adding a skylight in the kitchen.
Finally, we're going to do a bunch of stuff. And at the top of my list is a kitchen re-model (re-facing, really), including a new stove.
I have a 1970s-era "high-low" Frigidare electric range, in color green. It has a small conventional oven on top, attached to a range, with a flourescent light in the middle. I don't want to rip apart my kitchen, lose any counter space, or lose my top oven. So my only choice is to fit into the existing space. I needed to find a conventional range for the bottom and some sort of smaller oven with a hood for the top.
Fortunately, GE makes it easy to solve my problem. I am putting an Advantium Microhood Oven on the top, and the GE JGB-910 on the bottom. Finally, I am going to have a gas range!
I did a lot of research before buying the JGB-910. I went to several stores which sell the upscale brands: Thermador, Viking, Wolf, Dacor, etc. I looked at all the 30-inch ranges that could safely fit under the Advantium oven I was going to buy (nothing over 14,000 BTUs). They were very expensive -- in the $3000 range. I was trying to decide between the Dacor and the Thermador, when I saw the JGB-910 and JGB-920 at another appliance dealer.
At first I thought, "GE. Not a 'designer' brand. Looks more like any other ordinary gas range." Then I looked at the features. This range is loaded! The sealed burners have varying BTU's for all types of cooking, from powerful 12,000 to low simmer. The digital touchpad looked easy to operate. There is a flourescent light on the top of the backsplash (I will need all the extra light I can get!)
The oven is a large 4.4 cubic feet, with three baking racks, and convection.
And then there was the kicker: a warming drawer. None of the high-end designer models I saw had a warming drawer. It takes the place of the storage drawer under the oven. I must admit, I like storing my baking sheets under my oven. But I'd like a warming drawer even more. I'll find another place for those baking sheets.
The oven is nice looking. Not as "commercial" as the designer brands, but still very nice. (It does come in stainless steel, by the way). The grates are very heavy and "continuous" vertically, with space in the middle for my spoon rest (which is where I like to keep it).
There is one model above this one, the JGB-920. It is essentially the same, with the addition of a Ceran glass cooktop under the gas burners. This cooktop has one electric burner in the middle, for keeping pots warm. It looks really nice, and I thought it was an interesting and useful idea. However, I didn't choose this model because I thought the glass cooktop complicated matters. I was afraid I would accidently break it or something. And I know they are expensive to repair. So I chose the next model down, the JGB-910. It has a plain, regular gas cooktop.
(Update: The manual says that you must be careful with the ceran glass cooktop. If you have a spillover of hot syrup, for example, you must clean it up immediately or it may damage the cooktop).
Another reason I chose the GE was price. At $1249, it was much more affordable. And GE is giving a $100 rebate, in addition to a $200 rebate on the Advantium, and an additional $50 rebate for buying both ovens at the same time. So I am saving $350!
Finally, what convinced me to buy this stove was Consumer Reports magazine. My parents subscribe and sent me the ratings for ranges. The GE JGB-910 was number one on the list. Can you believe, the pricey Dacor was down near the bottom, under Kenmore?! It just goes to show you: just because it looks great and is the trend, doesn't mean it is the best.
I bought my ovens today and I have an incredible shopping rush. When I start cooking on them, I will add to this review. Hopefully, they will live up to my anticipation.
If you've never heard of the Advantium oven, there are about a dozen glowing reviews here on epinions. Check it out. It's expensive, but I wanted more than just a microwave for my top oven.
The final price for both ovens was around $2500 plus tax and delivery. My dealer gave me a 5 year extended full warranty on both appliances for $149 (a great deal)!
It will cost $100 to install the Advantium and $60 to install the range. I also must get a little electrical work done for the Advantium, and bring a gas line into the kitchen for the range (that will be about $1,000). So it's not cheap, but I'm getting what I really want.
Now I can move on to my cabinet refacing, my new floor, my new sink fixture, etc, etc.
Bye-bye old electric green stove. Hello GE gas convection and super fast Halogen cooking!
UPDATE January 19, 2002
Well, I've been cooking and baking with my new GE Range for a couple of weeks. I must say, I really love it. For one thing, it's really nice to cook with gas again. Water boils so much faster, and I love being able to instantly control the heat on the bottom of a saute pan or wok.
For baking, it is also very nice. I have used both the plain bake and convection bake/roast features. I have gotten great results with cookies (haven't done a cake yet). I really love the huge view of the oven window; you can see the entire interior of the oven. The light is very bright, too. And the three baking racks are very convenient.
When you bake or roast using the convection feature, a little propeller icon spins on the digital display. The convection fan shuts off when you open the oven door. I haven't done enough baking to tell you whether the convection feature improves the outcome of a dish. It must, though, by blowing the hot air around.
I haven't broiled in the oven yet.
I used the probe to roast a small leg of lamb the other day (using the convection roast feature). The probe is a little tricky. You must ensure that you insert it into the thickest part of the muscle, not touching bone. Because of this, the probe can sometimes give a misleading reading. I think it's just a matter of me getting the hang of it. Nevertheless, after a little trial and error, the roast was perfect, and I didn't have to worry about it not being done in the middle. The nice thing about probe cooking is: the oven senses the internal temperature of the meat, and when it reaches the temperature you set (165 degrees for that leg of lamb, for example), the oven beeps at you and shuts itself off.
The warming drawer is a nice feature and I'm glad I have it. One thing I don't like about it is: it takes a long time to heat up. Kinda weird, but true. If you know you'll want to use it, you must plan to heat it up at least 15 minutes, or even up to a half hour for high heat (200 degrees).
The controls for the oven are on the top backsplash. They are flat pads behind glass. Sometimes it takes a little bit harder push to get the control to work than others. The knobs for the gas are on the outside front.
The florescent light isn't really bright enough to help you see into a pot. It is mostly meant as a night light. Fortunately, my upper Advantium oven has two bright lights that remedy this problem when I'm cooking at night.
The oven vents through the backsplash, onto the surface of the range (where the burners are). This isn't a big deal unless you put soft plastic materials in that area (which isn't recommended anyway, since they can catch fire from the gas flame).
Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase. In tandem with my Advantium oven, I feel that I have done the best I could do with the space in my kitchen. I'm extremely satisfied, and I would definitely recommend this gas range.
Be sure to read my Advantium review for more information on that oven.