At the end of last year we decided to replace our kitchen by completely gutting the old one and replacing everything. I will just say that it is a small kitchen so that statement isn't quite as ostentatious as it sounds!
Two of the things that we needed were a combi microwave and an oven. These were to be stacked on top of one another in a specially designed unit and so needed to be the best for our requirements but they also needed to match or the whole thing would look odd.
Hubby did a lot of the investigation for all the appliances as he has far more patience than I do. What we were looking for was a microwave and oven that both had drop down doors as we thought that these would be more convenient and easier to use.
Whilst visiting his mom Dave went into a large branch of Curry's and found two matching Neff appliances which he thought would meet our needs so he made a note of the reference numbers and let me know. As it happens they were exactly what we had been looking for and this review is all about the oven.
The make and the price
The oven concerned is the Neff Series 3 B45E42N0GB and once Dave had done the initial investigation as to whether the oven would do everything we wanted it to it was over to me to find the best price. I made myself a little spreadsheet for all my appliances so that I could take into account the initial price, delivery charges, discounts, Quidco cashback, Advantage points etc.
At the time the very best deal was available at Boots Kitchen Appliances where the cost was £759 plus £19.99 delivery which wasn't too bad since we actually purchased three items from Boots. As it happens the delivery charge was doubled and refunded to us as £40 because the delivery men managed to scratch the washing machine in a place that wasn't even visible - but that's another story!
The price of £759 meant that I got £30.36 in Boots Advantage Points and I also got 2% cashback from Quidco which was another £15.18. We paid with our Tesco Visa card so there was a further return there too so the real price on 9th November 2010 was nearer to £700.
Incidentally I have just taken a look at the Boots Kitchen Appliances website and the cost is currently £749 so I assume that it is still one of the better prices available.
We decided to go for the best that we could afford as we wanted to do the kitchen once and do it properly first time.
The look of the oven
The oven is a built in single integrated oven with a brushed stainless steel finish. The buttons are set across the top of the unit with the large one in the centre and two smaller ones either side so it looks symmetrical and smart. Above the row of buttons is the LED panel where the current time is constantly shown. The brushed stainless steel trim and handle looks good and the oven has a large double glazed glass door so that if it is set at waist height as ours is it is easy to see what is going on inside.
The dimensions of the oven are 59.5cm tall by 59.4cm wide by 55cm deep.
The functions are all accessed via the long central button which lies flush with the facia of the oven until you are ready to use it. To use the oven you press the long button which then stands proud of the facia so that it can be turned to one of the following twelve functions - working clockwise:
Fan assisted (circo therm) cooking for baking and roasting
Non fan assisted cooking with heat from the top and the bottom of the oven for baking and roasting
Fan assisted cooking with added bottom heat for readymade products which need the added bottom heat
Circo roasting for poultry and larger pieces of meat
Full grill for when you have lots to cook
Half grill for when you only have a small amount to cook
Non fan assisted cooking with heat from the bottom of the oven for food and baked goods that require more browning or a crust on the bottom
Low temperature cooking for tender pieces of meat needing to be cooked rare or medium
Gentle defrosting for all items including cakes and pastries
Oven cleaning for regeneration of the self cleaning surfaces in the oven
Lighting with no heat to aid with the cleaning and maintenance of the oven
The oven also has a timer which is set by using the same buttons which are used to set the clock.
Inside the oven there are 4 sets of metal rods across the sides of the oven providing 4 different positions for the cooking racks. Included with the oven were two wire racks, a grill pan and a further stepped wire rack with a close mesh to use with the grill pan for grilling, roasting and baking.
To use the oven
First of all the clock needs to be set and this is done using the two buttons to the left of the main button. I won't explain in detail but suffice it to say that the directions in the instruction booklet are clear and easy to follow.
The insides of the oven need to be cleaned with warm soapy water and the oven has to be run with top and bottom heating on 240 degrees for half an hour. The oven is then ready to be used.
To operate it you just have to press the central button so that it stands proud of the facia and turn it to the type of cooking that you want to use.
You then press the button on the far right to make it stand proud of the facia and turn it until the temperature that you want appears on the LED screen about the button. If you press the button next to it the display will show the current temperature of the oven so that you can see when it is getting hot enough to use.
Once the oven is hot enough you just put the food in the oven until it is cooked, then remove the food and switch off the oven by pressing the buttons back in until they are all flush with the surface of the appliance.
The sides and the top of the oven are self cleaning and this happens when the oven is running at a high temperature.
The base of the oven and all the wire trays can be cleaned with hot water, Cif or an oven cleaner such as Mr Muscle.
I have to say that even though oven cleaning isn't my favourite job it is made easier by the fact that the oven is set at waist height and that the light can be used inside the oven even when the heat is not switched on.
The instruction book
The instruction book is all in English so there is not sorting through it to find the correct language.
It covers the installation of the oven, the preparation for use, the use, recipes, cleaning, fault finding, maintenance and repairs.
The language used in the book is clear and very easy to understand and the information in the book is well laid out. There are lots of clear diagrams to help you to understand the instructions given in the book.
My feelings about my new oven
Basically I love it!
It heats up quickly, it is easy to clean and it cooks very well indeed! Even the instruction book is really useful and you can't always say that can you?
Having so many functions is really useful. I use the fan oven for most of my cooking but when I fancy a snack of fish fingers on rolls I just use the smaller part of the grill and then when I am doing bacon sandwiches for both of us I use the full grill. There is plenty of room in the oven to cook a full Christmas dinner with a bit of help from the combi microwave as the hob hadn't been connected by Christmas!
Cleaning is easy, especially being able to have the light on inside the oven. My previous oven was at ground level and I used to find cleaning it an absolute pain!
When I was trying to find the best deal to purchase the oven I found what I thought were two identical ovens with different reference numbers and upon investigation I found a really neat addition to the more expensive of the two.
The oven door opens and then slides underneath the oven back inside the unit making it so easy to get thing in and out of the oven. We decided to go for this added extra and I have to say that I have found it invaluable. I thought it might be a bit stiff to operate particularly at first but not at all - it is so smooth!
The oven is A rated for energy efficiency which is pretty much the best you can get and the oven has a two year manufacturer's warranty.
When the oven has been used and switched off a letter H appears in the LED display to show that there is residual heat remaining in the oven. This changes to a lower case h as the heat reduces and disappears completely once the oven is cool again.
I would have to say that I am thrilled with my oven and I am really glad that this was the one that we chose.
The stainless steel design of the multifunction Neff B45E42N0GB single oven will make a distinctive centrepiece in your kitchen / Its stylish, oval shaped electronic control knob is retractable, in keeping with the streamlined look / The other thing you'll notice is the innovative SlideAway door / By sliding neatly under the oven as you fully open the door, it saves space in your kitchen and provides easy access to the inside of your appliance / Perfect for ‘bijou' kitchens where space is a premium! Inside is the CircoTherm Super 8-way cooking system with 8 cooking functions, including Defrost, Full and Centre Surface Grill and Circoroasting, as well as a rapid pre-heating function / The oven has excellent visibility, thanks to its extra-wide viewing window and includes all the benefits of triple glazing / The CircoTherm system uses a powerful fan to draw in air from the oven interior / Neff introduced CircoTherm to the UK over 30 years ago and it remains one of the very best cooking systems around / The air is heated and forced out of strategically placed air ducts and circulated around each shelf / This forced air system of the B45E42N0GB means lower temperatures can be used and little or no pre-heating is required / The method is ideal for roasting, batch baking and hot air grilling / Catalytic liners on the back wall, roof and sides of the oven interior take the hard work out of keeping the B45E42N0GB clean / With variable grill, defrost setting, 3 shelves, enamelled pan and triple insulated drop down glass door / Please note: Requires 20amp fuse box and cooker point / Short name: Neff B45E42N0GB