Ovens Without Visible Bottom Elements

A close-up of the interior of a clean oven

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A concealed bake element may sound rather trivial, but this electric range design feature is big on consumer appeal and that's not surprising. No more spills that are difficult to remove from the bake element and must be tackled immediately, nor those nasty burnt smells if you try and defer that chore to a more convenient time.

Easy to Clean

There's no more having to disturb and lift the bottom element in order to clean spills or when doing routine oven cleaning. That means you no longer have to worry about an element that has become loose or needs replacing simply because of interference, which is a common occurrence over time. It's easier to clean or wipe the oven without this element getting in the way. There's also something to be said for the look of a clean, element-free oven bottom.

Things to Consider

There is a slight downside to a hidden bake element, besides a little higher purchase cost which, by the way, has declined since its earlier introduction to the market. It takes longer to preheat the oven and baking time required may be just slightly longer than with a traditional bake element. How much extra time will vary by brand and model, so it's hard to peg down.

Replacing the element will also be much more difficult and will not likely be your usual DIY change-out. It more than likely will require an appliance technician to complete the repair or replacement, and that will cost you for parts plus labor. You'll also want a technician who services your particular brand of stove because they will be better prepared to deal with any brand-specific workarounds.

This feature is now available on many models, not just high-end ranges. It's usually listed in the stove features but always confirm before buying if this is a desired essential. Range prices vary considerably depending on features, brand and design style, cooking technology, baking oven specifications, type of cooktop, number of burners, exterior finish and whether it is electric, propane, or natural gas fuel.

Hidden Feature

If having to work on the bottom element when cleaning or wiping spills is your biggest range pet peeve, you'll love this new hidden bake element convenience design. Another convenient range feature is a self-cleaning cycle. Once you've had one, you won't want to be without it. The same holds for the hidden bake element design; it's a keeper.

Want to cut your kitchen cleaning even more? Consider a smooth-top cookstove on your next electric stove purchase. Note that there are mixed reviews when it comes to smooth glass or ceramic cooktops, especially how much work it can be to maintain them. But once you've found a cooktop cleaner that works well for your specific range, you'll breeze through that cleaning.

Some find these more work overall and especially when it comes to keeping them spot or stain free. And there are things you cannot do on a smooth top cooktop. So this style of range does, unfortunately, have a learning curve. That said, others love these sleek, stylish look (regardless of the added cleaning) and wouldn't consider returning to a coil element style, ever.