Pros: Good layout, great lighting and visibility, excellent heating, no cold spots
Cons: Cost, reliability, after-warranty service, parts, repair cost.
Update: 13 October 2012:
Unbelievably, the story gets worse: after the THIRD replacement (having a home owner's repair policy is a must), and complaining to Fisher-Paykel in writing (no response) and then verbally, their comment to the repeated failure of the oven heating elements after using the self-cleaning function: "the elements are not designed to be used more than five times"....and that was it! The oven is advertised and sold as a double oven with self-cleaning functions - but apparently F-P does not consider the idea that a homeowner may want to use that function more than once a year.
The repair group that is sent each time the unit must be repaired confirms that the heating elements, in the limited number of F-P ovens in the Houston area, do fail after 5 - 10 uses of the self-cleaning function, but they also state that several other brands (not named) suffer the same design flaw).
Summary: before purchasing an oven, check on the reliability of the self-cleaning function
Update: 10 October 2010:
After having the oven for about 5 years, the final verdict on the Fisher Paykel oven is: POOR durability and service. Get a double oven other than Fisher-Paykel.
The oven functions and other aspects still stand as originally written. Great oven as far function, visibility, ease of use. The problem: Fisher-Paykel has a serious reliability issue and servicing is now next to impossible.
1). This is a double oven with a dedicated electric line/circuit breaker with more than enough amperage to cover the oven load. After 5 years, only one oven can be used at a time! The F-P service center claims that the issue is that the power source is insufficient- not true. Both were working for 4 years without a problem...and never has the circuit breaker tripped. Sorry guys.
2). The oven has been replaced using an after-service Home Owners Major Appliance warranty, twice. Both times because the replacement parts were not available but a replacement oven was available...2 months later.
3). The electronic sensors are intermittent in their function, meaning sometimes one of the ovens doesn't work, but will operate later. Clearly a slowly decaying electronic component is causing this but...and this is the "big but": the warranty service people do not have the tools to trouble shoot the cause and order new parts. The statement: we don't know how to service these units as no one has these.
4). When the oven was under warranty, the 24 hour service center was very helpful, supportive and positive. Now that the warranty period is over, Fisher-Paykel's service center states bluntly: "the unit is no longer under warranty and is no longer our responsibility.....".
Summary: reliability, durability - too low and poor for a unit of this cost. As we had issues during the first two years, the long-term viability of the Fisher-Paykel oven is clear: poor.
I have to lower this oven rating to NOT Recommended.
Update: 28 January 2007:
We've had the oven for 2-1/2 years now; time for a real review:
As I originally wrote, the oven operations are great; the oven durability is now in question. The self-cleaning unit failed twice in the last two years. Both times, parts were replaced. The unit failed again, recently, with yet new parts, both mechanical and electronic, to be replaced. Fisher Paykel claims that the failures are very unusual and that they are as perplexed with the failures as we are. However, the first questions the F-P service, center asked were: "what did you do to the oven?", implying that we may have caused the failure. As the self-clean function is used only when necessary, i.e., about every three months, this is not an over-used function.
Fisher-Paykel's local service is now handled from a multi-brand repair center; parts are not stocked at all in the southeast part of the USA with the waiting time for parts is up to six weeks.
We are still impressed with the oven's functions and efficiency but not necessarily with its durability and reliability. After a 2-1/2 year test run, I rate the oven as a high performance unit with a reliability and repair issue. Still recommended but with a caveat: check with your local repair center, first, to see if parts are available and their ability to repair the unit.
Very important Update: 6 June 2005: Warranty: The oven comes with a 2 year warranty. In addition, it comes with a lifetime "no chip" warranty. We had a problem with the lower oven: when self-cleaning, a safety feature is that the door is mechanically locked during the self-clean cycle. Well, the locking is done via an electronic actuator and the actuator failed. A call to Fisher & Paykel (toll free to Australia 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - nice!) got us a follow up with their local service group. When he came over to make the repair, the agent noticed that the oven interior had a chip on the shelf rack support. Get this: we received a new oven! Seems that Fisher and Paykel truly back their products.
The word: slick
is used around this oven a lot in our house. Slick design, slick appearance, slick feel, slick use. It is SLICK.
We started off looking for a replacement to our 30 year old 24 inch Roper double oven. Nothing wrong outside of it taking a long time to heat up, of always being space limited, of burning ourselves on the heating elements due to the limited light (couldn't see the element edge unless we were at eye level), the incredible amount of heat leakage and planning to redo a 30 year old kitchen. The Roper was dated but worked and did have a number of very positive aspects which we needed to retain with the replacement unit: electric, good temperature maintenance, no cold/hot spots and it was a double oven. The parts to update: size (30 inch was the desire), visibility through the door glass, interior lighting, racks (only 2 per oven), external appearance. We wanted to switch to gas but that changeover was prohibitively expensive so we decided to stay electric which constrained the search nicely.
The search was revealing: to get what we needed plus wanted, we would have to go up in price. Convection ovens were viewed as a nice to have item but, as the convection blower used a significant amount of the back, it reduced the usable oven depth considerably. We were about to give up when I heard "Oh, you've got to see this!" - blue/purple interior with halogen lights so bright that you can't help but see everything and that is with the door shut! Opening the doors, you feel like you can drive a truck into the oven.
Each oven comes with 3 racks; there are 13 positions for each oven, the vertical positions based on what you are cooking, whether or not you are using convection, the type of baking, broiling, roasting, etc. The external appearance is sleek but with a classic appearance. Overall, visually appealing. Go back to the interior: despite being double oven, and both being full convection, both are full depth - one of our criteria. The bottom heating element is below a metal shield, preventing one from accidentally burning oneself accidentally. The upper broiling element is recessed enough to where you really need to be trying to touch it to make contact - another nice safety feature and benefit. The racks, even when heavily loaded, slide smoothly. Completing the unit, self-cleaning with digital logic preventing you from doing both at once, a safety feature so that you don't overload your electrical capacity or heat flow; the self-cleaning reaches in excess of 500 F.
As with other Fisher Paykel products, a lot of thinking went into the design and manufacturing - the knobs are anodized, heavy and will never break. The clock is well positioned and logical. The selectors rotate very smoothly and easily. Timers, if you choose to use them, are almost simple to use - but a very complete owners/users manual comes with the units - READ IT. As a note, this is the first oven where I've had to read the directions prior to using it!
Installation is not trivial - the unit weighs 480 lbs. Yes, 480. Three very strong people are needed to lift it and slide it into place. Make sure (verify definitively) that the wall oven container CAN support this much weight - many are designed only for lighter ovens (less than 200 lbs). The electrical connection is trivial but have a licensed electrician do the connection and continuity test. The unit then simply slides into place. A forty page manual (read it!) tells you everything you wanted to know about baking, roasting, the oven and anything else you might need to know. Two probes, one for each oven, along with a pizza stone and cookie sheets (top quality) complete the package. Nice touches.
Warm up is fast and easy: set the oven to the function desired, set the temperature. The digital display is orange-red with the internal temperature displayed until the set temperature is reached; the oven beeps and the display goes green. We tested the interior heat range. Wow! Seven thermometers spread across the interior vertically and horizontally all showed the same temperature plus or minus a few degrees!
We just did a 22 lb. turkey in the upper oven with the probe function: set the desired interior meat temperature, close the door. The oven beeps when the temperature is reached. While doing the turkey in the upper unit, I had the lower unit also on probe for a completely different requirement - no problem. By the way, the oven racks, which are unique to Fisher Paykel, seem to be much stronger than the conventional racks with other ovens as I did not see any sort of rack bending with that large bird.
Most ovens are warm when you are next to them; some are simply hot due to poor insulation. The Fisher Paykel unit has minimal heat seepage, far less than others which translates into a cooler kitchen and house.
The exterior: stainless steel/iridium. As with all stainless steel, cleaning is required but, as with the rest of the oven, the surface design is good, allowing fast and easy cleaning. A two year parts and labor warranty rounds out the oven.
At $3,600 plus tax, this is not a trivial purchase. If you can afford this oven, do it!