Let's talk Electric Ranges
OKAY I KNOW gas is vastly superior to electric, have cooked a lot on both and I was surprised, after years of swearing by a gas cooktop, to find that the electric one I was stuck with in a rent house actually worked just fine. Sure you can't slam it down to zero in an instant but so what, your pot doesn't dissipate heat much faster than an electric heating element anyway -- that's one of the things that a heating element is designed to do btw, dissipate heat -- and maybe an electric element doesn't heat up as quickly as a gas burner or maybe you just need a bigger electric element. I don't spend a lot of time blistering peppers and I find that I can keep track of whether a burner is hot without the reminder of an open flame to help me.
SO my new (to us) home has a really crap old electric range that I would like to replace, but I don't want to go for a really badass new one because for the big money I think that gas might still be the way to go. Also our dream kitchen is still very much a dream so anything really great is a long way off. In the last house we owned I had a low-priced (list ca $750) GE gas range with one high-capacity burner and one supersimmer burner and I was very happy with it. I am looking for a comparable electric range, freestanding, 30", and I am not sure what features to seek.
I might be willing to spring for a convection feature but it kind of freaks me out. Smooth burners/slicktops/flush whatever rangetops also kind of give me the willies, as I use iron skillets a lot and over the long term I don't see how that could work out. I mainly want something that I won't want to throw out when I decide to upgrade. I have always kind of wanted a second stove, stashed away in the corner of the Dream Kitchen or even out in the garage, for baking while roasting, for my all-day adventures with stocks and whole hams and carnitas... you get the idea. Also I would like to get something that might convince me that I never need to bother installing a propane tank, plumbing our house for gas, and otherwise dealing with running a gas stove where there is no gas service -- in short, convince me that the differences are negligible and easily overcome. I am already leaning that way, as you can tell.
Any reccommendations for a high-quality, low-price, freestanding electric range?
I recently purchased a GE self-cleaning electric range (model JBP35) that Consumer Reports rated a "Best Buy" (either the Feb or March 2006 issue). It's got 3 porcelin-coated oven racks and 7 rack positions, as opposed to most of the other ranges I looked at which come with two racks and 4 or 5 positions. Two 8"/2600 watt and two 6"/1500 watt coil burners.
List price is $550, but got it on sale for $388 at Sears.