Advantages Cheaper than most
Disadvantages Casing is quite tinny and thin
|Ease of use|
|Cleaning & Maintenance|
|Value for money|
A couple of years ago we had to totally renovate my kitchen as the bottom of the bases were totally disintegrating. So, I thought, as I was going to have a brand new kitchen (we did it ourselves as my husband does all our DIY work and I am a brilliant labourer!) I thought it was time to have a new cooker especially as my NEFF oven had decided to "give up the ghost". Now, we didn't have endless funds and we had to be very careful with our budget. We had allocated £1,000 for the cooker/hood. Now I had looked at the ranges in the shops and absolutely drooled over them but I knew I couldn't afford one because they were £1,500 + and then the cooker hoods were an extra cost.Then one day I was looking through the local free newspaper "The Advertiser" and saw a local company (supplier to the hotel trade) advertising Stove ranges for approximately £795. So the very next day off we went to visit the showroom. They had some fantastic ranges in but they were totally way out of my price range. However, they had on display a Stoves 100GDL freestanding range with hood. The range was £795 and the hood was £250. The range was cream with the double hob section in black and the knobs/handles were in black/gold (see my picture in this review). The range has a traditional enamel finish and it looked beautiful. I was totally smitten - here was a range with matching hood and I could afford it! The range didn't have a glass top which I would have preferred but it was affordable on my budget. And it was gas! I didn't want another electric oven as I had always preferred cooking with gas. It had two ovens which benefit from "zoned heat" which means that it is hotter towards the top of the oven and cooler towards the bottom, therefore a number of dishes can be cooked at the same time - even if they require slightly different cooking temperatures, a grill and a storage drawer. The oven doors had the added feature of opening from the centre. The ovens also had easy care oven interiors. The hob had eight variable burners with a cast iron griddle on top of two of the burners. This was ideal because I had always wanted a griddle too! The griddle should always be lightly greased before and after cooking so that the cast iron doesn't rust.
The hood was cream with gold trimmings and had lights and also a venting system so that any steam could be sucked up into the ventilation tube.I just had to have this range with matching hood.
So, a deposit was put down with the remainder to be paid on delivery. The promised delivery date came and went but it eventually arrived a couple of days late. I came in from work one evening and there was my beautiful range in situ (although it could not be used because we were waiting for the Corgi registered plumber to arrive to connect it). **One important fact when installing a gas cooker is that you employ someone who is Corgi registered. Anyone installing gas equipment without this qualification is illegal and it is a dangerous practice**. I chose gas because I think it is more controllable than electric, economical and I think it is really perfect for roasts and cakes.My kitchen was completed and looked absolutely fantastic - all the hard work, the arguments, the late nights, the torn to shred fingers, all of this worth the completed look. And in pride of place was my oven range.
One day whilst sitting at the table eating my lunch I looked at the range and noticed that there was a dent in one of the oven doors. I was in shock! My lovely range was dented. I rang Stoves and told them about the problem and they were very quick in sending out a new skin for the oven door. However, a few weeks later, I noticed another dent in the door, again, they were quick and sent out another skin. The longer I owned the range the more I began to see its faults. Sometimes I have to actually slam the oven door closed because it just doesn't close quietly. It sometimes sounds quite tinny and the casing of the whole unit is quite thin and I am very careful not to push the oven door closed with my knee or anything like that because I could possibly dent the skin.I did not take out any extended insurance on the cooker because I remember it was quite expensive.
One of the first things I did was to cook bacon, sausage, tomatoes and eggs on the griddle. My first time ever! Virgin griddle cooking! I have only used this griddle half a dozen times because, quite frankly, I have to clean the whole of the hob and the tiles on the wall because the fat spits all over the place - there is actually more mess than if I cooked in the frying pan. I am sure the griddle would be perfect for cooking pancakes etc. but I must be honest and admit that I haven't tried it for this purpose. At the moment the griddle is used for holding my scented candles!I have found the ovens to be invaluable especially when cooking for the extended family - to be able to have the roast and potatoes in one oven and then cook the Yorkshire puddings in the smaller oven is great.
When using the grill I find the knobs directly above the grill getting extremely hot and I have to try and remember to use either a tea-towel or oven gloves to turn the grill knob off otherwise I could get quite a nasty burn!This range is the really a cheap, basic model - you actually get what you pay for. It doesn't have a timer although it does have a fan at the back of the range which automatically switches on and off to keep the back of the range cool and so that the oven doesn't overheat.
However, my little one year old grandson is always attracted to the grill door and has a happy knack of pulling it down and banging it shut. Consequently, when I switch on the electric for the lights on the hood the fan comes on permanently. His banging the grill door continuously has done something to the fan and the constant noise drives me crazy. Unfortunately, the range is out of guarantee now and, as I mentioned previously, I didn't take out extra insurance cover. In hindsight, I wished I had but I didn't.All in all, it looks fantastic (although I must also add that when I wipe the hobs - which are black - I then have to use kitchen towel to wipe it down again to clear the smear marks from the black surface) but I really did get what I paid for. I got the look but not the quality. If I ever had to do this again then I would definitely pay more money for the range so that it was more sturdy and had more of the features I had originally required and to cut back on some of the other features in the kitchen. The range is an important piece of kitchen equipment and therefore you should really stick to your guns and pay that little bit extra and get quality.
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