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jehanne_hansen

Do you have a hidden bake element in your oven

I have been on and off the fence for months now about buying a new range. The old gas one is on it's very last big toe, not even a whole foot!

I have cooked with gas for decades, but life is forcing some changes, and switching to electric is one of those changes.

So I have not looked at electric ranges in.....forever! There is one thing that just completely took me by surprise and I had never seen this before. That is that there are now several models from all makes that have a hidden bake element UNDER the floor of the oven, as opposed to being ON the floor of the oven! I was shocked, and remain totally puzzled by this. Maybe this has been something for a while and I just was unaware of it?


My first intuitive assessement is that is not right. The floor of the oven will have to heat up to radiate heat into the oven, which means that the heat has to first transfer to that before it radiates into the interior of the oven. What am I missing about this? How can you possibly heat an oven up to something high like 450 and have to let that temp radiate through the oven floor like that?


My intuition tells me that it would require a longer preheat time and that it would not have that direct radiating heat that you want to have circulating around. Of course, they are all convection now, but some are coming with what the industry is calling "true convection". What I am understanding is that they are now adding a third bake element for use with that setting. The third being after the top and the bottom element.


Again, bring on the intuitive suspicion that this is a flawed concept. My suspicion is that the under the floor element does not give enough direct radiant heat to perform well as convection so they just add a third element and call it "true convection" to make a design flaw into a perceived feature with advantages. But, it is unclear just where this extra third element is. I suspect that it is also under the oven floor, or perhaps incorporated into the upper element?


My second thought about this is that it may be a feature that some opt for due to the fact that the floor of the oven is free and clear and smooth and easier to clean, in theory. You have no exposed heating element to have to clean around. But, I remember the last time I had an electric oven and I remember thinking that the problem was that the heat just did not radiate as well as a gas one where the gas flame passively radiated the heat upwards. This was before convection.

I think that hidden bake elements is of wide appeal to those who have a notion that being clean and shiney is an advantage to an oven . I want one that does a good job of baking, above all else.

You dont have to be an engineer to realize that that oven floor has to heat up first and that is added time to run up your energy usage.

Even my gas range has a cover over the flame at the bottom, but it is not solid and has vents and is raised so heat does rise nicely from it.


So, who of you have one of these solid floor electric ranges, and what are your thoughts? I have found some opinions and reviews that do reflect my own suspicions. There have been times before when I realize that my initial intuitive reasoning was sound but I let my self be lured by the idea that surely the established manufacturer would not risk their integrity and reputation on selling something with such a flawed concept. But, they did. I should have followed my own reasoning and experience Unless there is something about the floor of this oven that makes this one different, I have to hard question it.


I wish that there was more technical information about appliances other than simple user reviews that are, basically, very subjective . They can be helpful to highlight common issues but none of us know anything about the "innards" of it and what it is really made of and is there that one little cheap two buck part in there that is going to be a two hundred bucks repair.

I welcome your imput and opinions. Whatever I buy , there is a wait time involved so I will carry on with this half a range option for a while

I am looking at a GE, glass top and double oven. The double oven is a must for me. I have no use for a big full sized oven. I would just use it to store cookware. I also dont want a "smart" oven. I just want to cook with it, not send it text messages! This particular model of GE seems to be popular and most of the reviews that I have read are pretty positive. I dont want an investment range as we will probably not be here long enough for that . I just want a new and nicely functional one.

Comments (24)

  • dadoes
    19 days ago

    Yes, my 20yo GE range has a hidden bake element. It increases preheat time by a few minutes, I plan ahead and have never considered that to be a problem. I let it go for 10 to 15 mins after the initial preheat cycles off, which is a good idea with any oven to insure the temperature of the cavity has stablized for proper results with cakes, cheesecakes, brownies, etc. Not as important with frozen pizza, biscuits, most cookies and meats IMO.

    My unit has two convection Bake modes, labeled as Multi-Rack which runs the convection fan with only the 3rd element, and Single-Rack which runs the fan with the bake element plus the broil element at a lower power level. Also Convection Roast which runs the fan and broil element at full power.

    Conventional Bake runs the bake element at full power and broil element at reduced power, of course without the convection fan.

    I checked it several months ago with a typical low-cost analog oven thermometer. Spot-on at 375°F.

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  • boba1
    19 days ago

    I don't see any big difference in how my ovens bake. The 3rd element is on the back wall of the oven for convection. I have a KitchenAid double oven range. Induction in fact. Has similar response to that of gas cooktop.

  • chispa
    19 days ago

    Having the element covered prolongs the life of the heating element and makes it a lot easier to keep the oven clean.

    I just bought a new Breville Toaster oven and the one complaint is the exposed lower elements and keeping them clean, as you aren't supposed to clean them with any cleaning products. The toaster oven gets great reviews for everything else.

    Yes, you definitely want to be looking at Induction ranges.

  • wdccruise
    19 days ago

    "How can you possibly heat an oven up to something high like 450 and have to let that temp radiate through the oven floor like that?"

    Answer: metal conducts heat.

  • rwiegand
    19 days ago

    I expect the metal cover makes for more even heat in the oven. Seems like a good idea.


  • RoyHobbs
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    I didn't read your entire OP, it was too long for my short attention span haha. But I think I got the gist from the first 5 paragraphs. Anyway, your statement "Maybe this has been something for a while and I just was unaware of it" is correct. I think range ovens have been constructed this way for 25 years at least. Also where you said "there are now several models from all makes" - I actually think the vast majority of range ovens are made this way. It might be hard to find an oven not made this way.

    We have a 20-year-old oven with a bake element under the floor of the oven, and never gave it a thought. It's better than the coils on the floor of the oven from my youth that would get something dripped on them and burn. The preheat to 350 takes about as long as it would have taken to read your entire OP. Going to 450 would be a little longer and your fears about 450 are unfounded.

    If you are going all-electric, stay away from the dated and slow electric-coil or ceramic "glass top". Get an induction range. But if you are switching from gas, you will need to upgrade your electrical wiring, so include the cost of an electrician in your purchase cost.

  • Charlotta Brower
    19 days ago

    I have an electric stove in my summer kitchen with a hidden bake element. It works just fine and actually bakes more evenly than my gas stove.


    I would think about induction rather than electric. There is a big learning curve when you go from gas to electric and I find that it is harder to control the temperature.


    When we did our remodel I was using the summer kitchen and I found that I had forgotten that it takes so much time to adjust the temperature and I holding a simmer is much more difficult. Getting it hot for a sear is more difficult. I guess I just really don't enjoy cooking with electric.

  • claudia valentine
    Original Author
    19 days ago

    So many here seem to like the induction range and dont seem put off by the hidden element. I appreciate you sharing your opinons. When I have had to use an electric range I have found it not to my liking, but, on the other hand I have friends who use electric and find that it works just fine for them.

    It is my understanding that the more transfers of heat that have to occur, the less efficient it is. That is one of the advantages of induction that I have heard stated. It doenst rely on the transfer of energy/heat to the pot. It heats what is in the pot, instead.


    So, this hidden element is not new. I have had no reason to look at ranges for the last 30 years and certainly had no interest in electric, until now.

    I know that when I had to use electric I was not thrilled with it. But, on the other hand, my mom used electric and she cooked and canned and fried fish and just anything that she wanted to do.


    When it comes to making a purchase for appliances we are still looking at wait times for delivery.

  • Ilze Kuplens-Ewart
    19 days ago

    Couldn’t believe my oven had an element on the surface of the oven floor when we moved to N America from Europe decades ago. Hadn’t ever seen that “design” feature. Guessed the only reason they were produced like that was to make the element easier to switch out if you lived in the middle of nowhere and had to order parts from Sears and fix it yourself. The same applied to dishwashers. Now all we need is for Neff to distribute their “slide and hide” ovens here.

  • KW PNW Z8
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    Claudia, I cannot add anything much to replies already here. I do want to say that I’d forgotten electric ovens ’used to have’ an exposed heat coil at the bottom! I’m sure I must’ve owned one like that but I can’t remember - I do remember my mom’s oven having that feature. I do want to repeat what’s been suggested here about getting an induction cooktop type range since you’re making switch from gas to electric. I did that 5 years ago & have not once regretted it. Years ago I had a radiant cooktop and was very underwhelmed by the heat control of it. My induction cooktop heat control on my range - with hidden oven coils - is so much better & easier than my gas cooktop was. The huge additional personal benefit is the ease of cleaning the induction cooktop over gas cooktop. There’s a safety element too - a person has to have left a gas burner on a low simmer flame level overnight only once to understand that! Induction burners not turned off manually will turn off automatically a short time after the magnetic pan is removed from the burner. I agree that all the whizzy features of being able to turn my oven on remotely via WiFi etc are a real waste. But the oven control does offer some nice features for multi rack baking & roasting. I also have 3 oven racks which I didn’t have before & the oven itself is larger than my not too old gas range’s oven was. Better insulation that takes up less space = larger oven which is a plus. You’ll get that with a double oven feature too. Prices on induction have come down a lot over the past few years as demand increases & more are produced. I have a GE Profile & like it. Not an exhorbitant cost appliance but nice look & function. I’m not an ’investment appliance’ type person either - it’s not a $ issue it’s that I’m not a hobby cook or baker - I’m a gardener. My vote is go induction! You might need new pots but that’s not a bad thing, Check yours to see if a magnet sticks to the bottom - if yes, they’ll work.

  • awm03
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    I've owned 6 electric ovens over the years, the last two were convection w/ hidden bottom element. They were superior to the nonconvection ovens with exposed elements. The two modern ovens baked cookies & cakes much more evenly. And for the first time I didn't have to pull out hot pies to put foil on the crimped crusts so they wouldn't burn in the final 15 minutes. Maybe the better baking was from heat radiating evenly from the metal floor, maybe it was the convection fan, perhaps it was a combination of the two. I always hated cleaning around the exposed elements. Yes, the preheat takes longer, but I think you'll enjoy a modern electric oven.

    I like the wifi! It's nice to sit on the deck with guests on a summer's day & monitor the oven cook time via phone. Or start the oven while at the pool with grandkids. Or start the oven from the grocery store. My GE wifi lets me set a delay start, so if I'm tied up with errands, I can set the oven from phone to turn on in an hour, for example. I'm enjoying the air fry feature too.

    Let me join the chorus: Get induction! It's cooler & more comfortable to cook by. Clean up is so fast. It stays pretty & new looking. You'll love the steady heat, the precise control, & instant response.

  • claudia valentine
    Original Author
    18 days ago

    Once again, I truely appreciate all of your opinions and insight! Maybe I should reconsider.

    I have one more question....what do you think might be the "cons" of induction? Surel it cant be that perfect. Nothing is. Honestly, what have you found that might be a downside to induction?


    For myself, one thing that is more important is that I have a double oven, not so that I can bake more at the same time with different temps. Rather, so that i have a small oven to use on a regular basis. Most ovens are a huge space to heat to use for a small pizza, or pie, or sheet of cookies or pan of cornbread ,or whatever! All that wasted space heated up just for that!

    That IS a definite requirement for me..a double oven. And, I will probably only really use the small one, just as I have done all of these years of having a double oven. I dont know one person who regreats having opted for that having that small oven feature. All of these years of raising a family and doing all the normal things that families do, I have used the bigger bottom oven very infrequently.....hardly ever! Basically two times I cooked for an event and , of course, for the requisite holiday turkey . The smaller oven got used all the time.. And I used to bake all of our breads, also! So, I DO cook and bake. I use the small oven as the main one, not because it gives the opportunity to cook two different things at the same time with different temps, but because I only need the smaller space and I am watching my energy usage/. Having only one large oven is something that I know with certainty that I dont want.


    So, my search does start with the requirement of having a small oven. And switching to electric from gas was a hard decision but the right one for me at this time . I wont even bother considering any but one that offers that small oven. My daughter got one also and she loves it. They do actually use both at the same time becasue their house is the party house.

    When my parents got old and mom was cooking and baking just for them, she got a small countertop electric oven and she used it all the time instead of her regular big oven. Now I know why she did that . The countertop one was perfect for just the two of them.

    I love,love, love my small oven.

  • KW PNW Z8
    17 days ago

    Hmm - cons? Some have complained about the humming or buzzing noise they hear when the pot is heating on the cooktop. Is that a con? Don’t think so as there are so many more who say they don’t have that noise or can’t hear that noise or if they do it’s so minor & one adjusts & it quickly stops. Seems to have something to do with undersized pot on a larger burner or brand of cookware or, ??? many theories. Another con might be having to hire electrician to install plug for range if space set up for gas only. And, maybe a person has to buy a new set of cookware if theirs isn’t magnetic? Is that a con? Don’t think so! There are so many more pros - safety, reduced gas useage, cleaner air, better heat control, easier to clean etc etc. I will say that I wasn’t looking for a double oven so I sincerely hope that feature is available on an induction range in the price range you want. I do understand the benefits of the double oven. I also now have better understanding of the ”whizzy features” after reading @awm03 post! Sounds like she makes great use of them.

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    17 days ago

    I e had the double oven setup and we liked it, but more important to me was having a slide in range with a lip that hides the joint between the counter and the stovetop. We all have different things that matter. Go to an appliance store and tell them you want to see the options with Induction top and double ovens. There might be a handful only because double ovens in a range hasn’t caught on. To your recent question the downside to I suction is having to have iron pots (only a downside if you don’t have them already) and the occasional buzzing. When pasta boils over being able to wipe it up immediately with no scorching is a huge win.

  • M Miller
    17 days ago

    I had an induction cooktop and was happy to go back to gas. That is an unpopular and minority view on this forum where people are fervidly pro-induction. To me, the big advantage of an induction cooktop is the easy cleaning. And that is a very big advantage certainly, compared to a gas cooktop. It's just wipe and go. And you can even put paper towels down while cooking since the cooktop does not get hot, then just gather the paper towels and you are done cleaning. Another advantage that was discussed on another thread recently is that induction may be better for seniors who might forget to turn the burners off; induction cooktops have some safety features like overheat protection.

    The cons, at least for me:

    - the controls can be finicky and take getting used to.

    - the pan must be sized correctly to the induction burner it's on, or there may be problems.

    - the buzzing as mentioned above - though this is very individual as some people don't hear it whatsoever and some people are very sensitive to it, and the cause of the buzzing could be several things that no one has been able to pin down.

    - if you are someone who when sauteing in a fry pan you like to shake and toss the ingredients, be aware that the instant the pan is not in contact with the cooktop the heat stops.

    - I didn't care about the oft-mentioned boiling water faster, since usually I am doing other things in the kitchen while water is boiling and don't find it hard to wait for it.

    - as mentioned here, you will likely need an electrician to run the wiring for the induction range.

    - as mentioned here, some of your pots and pans may not work with induction. I don't know that I'd use the term "iron pots" that Hallett used above. The pans/pots need to be magnetic - just get a small magnet like a fridge magnet, and see if it sticks to the pot/pan. If it does not stick, that pot/pan will not work on induction. When shopping for induction cookware, you want to look for the term "induction-ready" cookware.

  • wdccruise
    17 days ago

    @M Miller: "if you are someone who when sauteing in a fry pan you like to shake and toss the ingredients, be aware that the instant the pan is not in contact with the cooktop the heat stops."

    This can be misinterpreted. The pan must be very close to the induction element to "heat" but the induction element does not shut off immediately after it no longer detects a pan. On my LG induction range, the the element shuts off after about 25 seconds after a pan is removed.

  • dadoes
    17 days ago

    " - if you are someone who when sauteing in a fry pan you like to shake and toss the ingredients, be aware that the instant the pan is not in contact with the cooktop the heat stops."

    That doesn't seem appreciably different from gas or radiant/coil electric. Lifting the cookware off the burner also de-couples it from those heat sources. Induction has a safety time-out after which the burner turns off and must be manually turned back on. Seems that tossing/shaking a pan during stir-frying reasonably is done quickly enough that the time-out wouldn't trigger and the magnetic field resumes immediately when the pan is back within range (pun intended or not as per the reader's individual humor). The magnetic field generates heat within the material of the pan, not by heating the burner surface and conducting heat into the pan by physical contact. Does lifting a pan off an induction burner result in the mass/material of the pan losing heat more quickly than lifting off a gas or radiant electric burner, thus taking more time to reheat it?

  • HU-16168550092
    17 days ago

    I’m glad you asked your question Claudia. My mother’s electric range had exposed baking elements on the bottom which rested above the floor and they could be lifted up gently about five or 6° in order to clean under them. It is my understanding that the calrod style elements which are still used for baking and broiling and now hidden in modern electric ranges are still very similar to the old elements. Only the location has changed. In addition to easier access to be able to clean the floor of the oven, another reason given, for this change was due to the fact that when food spills on these elements, it can shorten their life or damage them. In spite of my mother using her oven Multiple times a day for many years and never having an issue with elements burning out prematurely, it does make sense as a possible reason for ‘hiding’ the elements underneath the oven floor.

    There are two major issues with hidden baking elements. The first is that they are not quite as easily accessed when needing replacement as they used to be. Although you can still access hidden baking elements in a range by sliding the range out and accessing it from behind, wall ovens are another story, and the vast majority of those must be uninstalled from the cabinet , in order to get the elements replaced. Manufacturers do not care about externalizing or passing on inconvenience and cost to their customers when future repairs or maintenance are required and there are many examples of this that you will see in the forum here.

    The other primary concern about hidden baking elements, though is that they put extra stress on the Porcelain coatings that are used to line, the oven floor, and walls compared with the old style elements that sat on top of the oven floor. I mention all of this to suggest and highly recommend that you avoid using your self clean cycle on any range that you get. When self-cleaning ovens first came out, the elements were not hidden, and many ranges could withstand the high temperatures of a self cleaning cycle without destabilizing the porcelain coating on the oven floor. While it is certainly no guarantee that you won’t have porcelain flaking issues due to a compromise of the coating on the floor of the oven, you will increase your chances of not having that issue if you avoid self-cleaning cycles, and this has been observed by a number of commenters, when discussing the issue of wall ovens, hidden bake elements, and porcelain failure. Porcelain failure is more than an aesthetic issue in spite of what manufacturers tell angry consumers when they are denied compensation for flaking porcelain. Convection ovens can easily send flakes of porcelain flying around, which could have serious health implications, if ingested. Although some people have commented in the forms that they have had porcelain planking, even without running a self clean cycle, it is a lot less likely to happen, then with regular use of self-cleaning.

  • KW PNW Z8
    17 days ago

    Interesting points @HU-16168550092. I’ve read some of the discussions you mention about the issues caused by temps of self cleaning. My induction has a steamm clean method & that’s the only thing I’ve used - not the self cleaning - because of these concerns with heat destroying elements for cooktop

  • awm03
    17 days ago

    Why would a heating element sitting an inch below an oven floor put more stress on the enamel than a heating element sitting an inch above the enamel? If the element is heating to 700 degrees during a self clean cycle, I can't believe there'd be much difference if it was above or below the oven floor.

  • Steven Eckstein
    17 days ago

    I've had electric stoves for well over 50 years. Sixteen years ago I remodeled the kitchen with double built-in ovens and covered elements. I never had one problem with the exposed elements of the past. Never had to replace an element. Any food dripping would just burn off. It was easy to lift the element to clean under and it was also possible to place aluminum foil flat under the element to catch any spills. Never had to clean the oven bottom! Unfortunately, covered elements eliminated that option as the under mounted coils are extremely close to the porcelain bottom, heating that surface to much higher temperatures than with the exposed elements. Foil on covered element bottoms fuse/melt to the floor with normal baking temperatures. I only used the self-cleaning cycle once on the ovens. Worked ok with no blue porcelain chipping but decided possibly frying the electronics wasn't worth it especially since I have to remove and manually clean all the rolling racks anyway. Final negative - longer preheat times, almost double unless I preheat with convection. To sum up my opinion on this matter, the only advantage to the covered elements is that it's a bit of a simpler oven bottom look.


  • dadoes
    17 days ago

    I've run self-clean several times. The most recent was within a couple months ago. No failures thus far. No flying porcelain chips. The racks are porcelain so can stay in during cleaning.

  • Trapped
    13 days ago

    i just going to mention what Steven just mentioned . You cannot put foil at the bottom of an oven with a concealed element the way you could with an exposed element. That saved on a lot of cleaning.

    I just replaced a 30 year old wall oven and I find myself being annoyed about not being able to use foil. And couple that with the worry that my oven will experience a fatal event if I use the self cleaning function.

    I used the self cleaning function on my old oven several times a year for 30 years without that worry. Can't say that about these new ovens.

    I do not notice that the oven is slower to heat up or that is doesn't hold a temperature as well with the hidden element.