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I wanted an inexpensive oven to replace our previous one that rather untimely ceased functioning one month before Christmas (2009). With a kitchen in need of updating, I was reluctant to buy an expensive model that may not be suitably integrated into new units and could potentially be rendered redundant within a couple of years. I opted for the Indesit FI31KBIX, costing at the time of purchase around £225.00 from Currys with free home delivery. The oven also came with a two year manufactures warranty, although this seems to vary depending on retailer with most offering a standard twelve months.
---- Dimensions ----
The FI31KBIX is a single cavity fan assisted electric oven with a 56 litre capacity that can be fully integrated into a pre designed shelf unit. Catagorised as medium sized the unit measures 56.7cm high x 55.8cm wide x 54.5cm deep although dimensions of the front panel are slightly larger at 59.5cm high x 59.5cm wide x 54.5cm, figures that appear to be omitted from every website I've seen the appliance advertised and quite important as the panel overlaps the edge of the cabinet that houses the oven creating a means of securing in position.
---- Aesthetics ----
Our oven has a stainless steel exterior which combined with the tinted window offers the appliance a fresh, contemporary appearance. Clean lines and a fuss free exterior provide a stylish, modern finish allowing the oven to fit inconspicuously into any kitchen although alternative exteriors are available in white or black. The Indesit is not high spec as the price would suggest yet it's appearance is of one more expensive that it actually is. In fact the only suggestion to it's low retail are the black function dials which would have been better suited in silver to match the surrounding facade as I think black cheapens the look and the lack of an LED display, digital clock and pre set touch functions.
The tinted double glazed window, a smart contrast to the stainless steel consumes the majority of the drop down door allowing a clear view of the contents, saving cooking time as the need to frequently open the door when in use is reduced which in the long run also saves electricity a feature I lacked with my previous oven as the glass was so darkened it was pointless being there at all. Viewing is aided by a 40watt internal light that although situated on the right of the back panel, provides adequate lighting to the entire oven and can be cheaply replaced for around £7.99. The toughened multi layers of glass are heat reflective and can be removed for cleaning and like most ovens, when in use the glass gets hot yet not excessively so but enough to burn if the cooker is set to max.
---- Equipment ----
The oven comes with two standard shelf racks and a generously sized grill tray. There is enough room for an additional rack which can be purchased for around £10.00 from Indesit part stockists. The grill tray itself is particularly useful, in our house mutli functional as it expands the entire width and depth of the oven cavity not just providing ample grilling space (around six average sized slices of bread can be accommodated on it's surface) but can also double as a shallow roasting tray as it is moulded with a ridged edge which provides a 1cm or so deep recess, perfect for collecting excess oils. I usually add a small grill rack (not included) for roasting meat and then just use the remainder of the surface for the potatoes and some vegetables. The oven is currently advertised as containing one telescopic runner for shelving but our model doesn't have this, a shame as I think they make removing items from the shelves easier and safer so I assume this is a new feature added to models manufactured later than mine.
---- Functions & Features ----
The Indesit offers nothing exciting by way of functions although it's basic settings are perfectly adequate for daily family cooking. Three rudimentary manual dials at the top of the oven provide uncomplicated use, just a turn of the dials, basic but effective and particularly useful if you suffer dexterity problems or are not interested in complicated electronic settings.
Fan assisted, the oven quickly heats to maximum temperature (around 240 degrees) in approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Integral variable grill settings provide flexibility without the need of a separate unit and can be used standard with the oven door open or with the door closed for fan assistance, arguably the quickest of thetwo options.
Alarming with the crude din of a continual bicycle bell the timer is time accurate although the clanging is too faint and doesn't ring for nearly long enough, no more than thirty seconds so if your not in the room you could miss it and the oven won't cut out to compensate. A far from effective mode of alert that borders useless.
For around an hour or so after the oven has been turned off the fan assisted cooling will kick in. The dull whirring in the background, although not loud is annoying and to avoid I tend to switch the appliance off at the mains. There is also a defrost mode, I won't bother to comment as I have never used. The thought of wasting electric to defrost an item is in my book wasteful, particularly if it can be defrosted in a couple of hours without assistance.
---- Installation ----
The unit requires a gap of approximately 4cm between the back of the oven and the wall for ventilation and the panels that form the cavity to which the oven will be positioned must be heat resistant with glues used during the assembly able to withstand temperatures up to 100 degrees C, something I imagine most kitchens units comply with but worth mentioning in case you build your own unit.
Installation was performed by myself and hubby and was incredibly easy although awkward due to the overall weight which is a hefty eighty or so kilograms un-boxed. Lifting and moving was a definite two person job as the sheer bulk creates a dead weight and cumbersome to maneuver into position, particularly in limited space. Personally, I think if you've the capabilities to move yourself then avoid home installation charges as lifting, placing and securing is a reasonably quick procedure (around twenty minutes) in spite of the weight and once secured in position (by means of two screws (included) to each vertical side panels) there's no programming or set up other than to plug into mains electric with a 2.4KW (13amp) connection, unless, of course you prefer the unit hard wired.
---- Performance ----
The large capacity means the oven is perfectly suited to cooking large quantities at one time, easily accommodating the meat and vegetables for a family roast with plenty of space to spare, a larger turkey for Christmas and the like and thanks to the five height adjustments for the shelving, large stock pots and trays can also be fitted with ease.
I have noticed the fan assistance does speed the cooking processes such as roasting and works equally as well on low temperatures,. I don't have a slow cooker so stews and curries are cooked large oven safe stock pans for around 4 hours at 100 degrees or slightly under (depending on the menu) and it gently cooks to perfection without over boiling or using too much electricity and keeping the heat circulating for even cooking. Fan assisted cooling also kicks in when the oven is in use, controlling the internal temperature by forcing warm air through the ventilation grate above the door, which on high temperatures can cause the kitchen to become very warm, as too can the function dials although thankfully not so hot that you can't touch them.
Grilling has two options. Either standard with the door open or fan assisted with door closed, the latter being my preference however, both have the same downsides. The temperature can be controlled by the manual dial but seems to only be effective if set to maximum, anything less and it doesn't work well. The grill also fails to disperse heat evenly because the elements do not expand the entire width of the roof of the oven. The result is any items on the outer width of the grill tray take longer to cook resulting in constantly moving food around to ensure it all cooks at the same time. A frustrating procedure, particularly when grilling multiple items or catering for larger gatherings. The grill is effective (to the areas it reaches) just restricted.
---- Efficiency ----
It's really the only major downside to the Indesit but even then it's not a huge problem. With an energy rating of B the indesit is not the most efficient of ovens but in it's defense it doesn't fall too short of the A rated alternatives using 0.85KWH. I cook daily so the oven can be in use for up to two hours a day everyday and after some rough calculations I estimate my running costs are in the region of around £100.00 or there abouts annualy. It's hard to provide the accurate figure I would have liked but my cooking varies depending on meals, climate and whats in season so I have simply provided a rough estimate based on last years usage.
---- Maintenance ----
The internal chamber is coated with an easy clean enamel that, so long as you don't allow too much grime to build up, cleaning can be limited to a soapy cloth, anything more stubborn requires oven cleaner. The side panels and back are easily accessible and cleaned however, like all ovens attempting to clean the roof and around the heat elements is a near impossible task and so it's inevitable that grease collects there. I get round this problem by refraining from sticking my head in the oven and directing my sight upwards! out of sight, out of mind! I use oven cleaner once a month to remove blackened heat stains from shelves and the grill tray has a good wipe clean coating so very easy to clean although showing a little wear now to the colouring but that's all. The stainless steel front is a magnet for small children's paw prints, that permanently mark if not cleared quickly enough, a tiresome task. The glass window is easily removed, however I have only needed to do this on one occasion as it can handle a scourer without having a detrimental effect. In all, cleaning in no more or less complicated than any other oven.
---- Overall ----
As a hasty replacement for our old oven, I wasn't bias to any one particular brand or model only size and delivery schedule. I have to confess that when we do finally replace our dilapidated kitchen the Indest will be re-homed into the new units as I have been impressed with it's ability and performance. Suffice to say, I'm surprised at just how good this oven is, providing a regular and reliable service for the past eighteen months and I see no reason why it won't continue and apart from a couple of niggles it does the job and it does it well. There's no child safety lock but these can be picked up fairly cheaply and although the window does retain most of the heat in the oven the glass would still be too hot for a child to touch so the usual caution must be applied when in use.
If you looking for a high spec model that has every conceivable setting pre programmed on a touch screen this is not the model for you. If your looking for a smart, functional oven that provides loyal service for under £250.00 then, in my opinion you cant go wrong. There are price fluctuations, so it's best to shop around for the best deal. One star has been dropped for the niggles but apart from that a thoroughly good buy!
I bought this oven just last thursday from comet for £199 i could actually have got it cheaper from Currys but as they made a complete mess of my order i decided i would rather pay more elsewhere. This same oven actually comes in Black as well but i chose the white option. The price for this oven is very reasonable because prices for these things can be very high but as we had an indesit before that had been very reliable over a number of years i decided this was enough to pay. Its a fairly basic oven but meets all my cooking needs. Its a single fan assisted oven with a grill and as a minute timer dial that goes up to 60 minutes. Inside it comes with a drip tray and two shelves that can be slotted into five different positions. Inside it also as a light that comes on when you start cooking (or at least its meant to).The inside of the oven is designed to be easily wiped clean. As soon as we got it we put the oven on for 30 minutes without food in it as when first used the new oven can give off some bad smelling fumes, this was all as per the instructions. At this point all was well. When we turned the oven off an extractor fan continues to run for a few minutes to cool the oven down, except in this case it stayed on and would not go off. It actually stayed on for the next 3 - 4 hours spewing cold air out into my kitchen. After reporting the fault to Comet i was informed to turn the oven on and off again and it might re-set itself something to do with it being a new install ? I did so but it stayed on so they said an engineer would come in 2 days, meanwhile the extractor fan would be on for 2 days. That evening we cooked our first meal in it and the internal light failed to come on, probably just the bulb to be replaced but with the fan problem as well i was not impressed, when buying a brand new product one at least expects it to be perfect on the first day. Miraculously after turning the oven off after cooking our meal within a few minutes the extractor fan turned off as its meant to and as worked fine since.
In the past 3 days since, the oven (apart from the light inside) as operated properly. The food is cooked very well and evenly throughout and the oven seems to heat up very quickly. All in all its a good basic oven that cooks well, but beware the possible extractor fan problem if you do decide to buy. Oh and i am still waiting to have the light replaced.
I was looking for a cheaper oven to replace our broken oven. I'm moving house so wasn't looking to break the bank. Including delivery I paid £162 from Pixmania which I thought was a bargain considering it can cost up to £40 more elsewhere.
The oven, although never going to win any style awards, still looks good and is very easy to install.
It heats up very quickly and as it is fan assisted, cooks the food evenly and in the times suggested on the packaging of food.
It has 2 shelves and a grill tray, which are easy to move and have different levels to set them at. It also has an internal light so you can see what you are cooking without opening the door.
It's settings are a temperature gauge, grill setting also has a manual timer (minute minder) so for the money it has all you need and are very easy and straight forward to use. One fault is that as it is only a minute minder, the oven doesn't switch off automatically so you need to make sure you do this so you don't waste electricity (and money).
The oven also has an air filter on the door so the door itself doesn't get too hot and the oven itself cools down quickly so you can clean it quite soon afterward if you spill anything!
There is very little noise that comes from the oven, in fact, if you didn't see the light on then you wouldn't know that it is on. That may not suit everyone
So in summary, don't let the cheap price put you off, you are getting a lot of oven for your money and I would recommend this to anyone.
The Indesit FI 31 K Electric Single Oven has a capacity of 1.98 cubic feet / Short name: Indesit FI 31 K