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When I moved into my new house, the kitchen was fitted with all kinds of new Neff appliances. I had a Neff oven at my old house, and I don't think I could ever live without one, so it was lucky that this oven was already in my new house. In my opinion, and many, many others, Neff is the king of kitchen appliances. They are fantastic quality and are very reliable, and this oven definitely lives up to the standard you would expect from them.
I suppose it will be wise to start with it's looks and external features, so, I will. As with pretty much all Neff appliances, this oven is a luxurious, shiny silver with black tints around the edges of the glass panels. At the top, there is a black strip across the width of the oven which displays the time, and a few other lights such as the one which tells you if the oven has reached the desired temperature. Underneath this, there are three twisty knobs and 2 buttons. These are for setting oven and grill temperature as well as standard grill options which allows you to choose which grill parts are on, or you can use it as a second oven. The buttons are used to set times and alarms, one to choose what you want, and the other is twist-able to set times.
Now, on to what I think is the best part about the oven - All of the knobs and buttons can be pushed in so that you are left with a flat surface, making it easier to clean, and just a bit neater. You then just push them again, and they come back out. I always keep them in, and only pop them out when I am using them. Whenever I have people round, I just have to show them this, I know, sad, right?
On my old oven, it used to take quite a while to heat up, it wasn't slow, but it definitely wasn't quick. However, with this oven, I turned it on to 190 degrees Celsius, and it was there in 10 minutes. I was absolutely amazed as I didn't expect it to be that quick. Also, since it is a fan assisted oven, it cooks food very quickly by spreading the heat round. For example, something that used to take 45 minutes to cook in my old oven, only took 30 minutes in this one. But I think that's weird bearing in mind that my old oven was also fan assisted.
This oven isn't the newest of Neff ovens, so it doesn't have all of the fancy features and settings that you get on the top of the range, brand new ones. All it is is an oven and a grill. But like pretty much all recent ovens, the grill can also be used as a second oven, however it is not fan assisted.
For a family, even a large one, the oven provides plenty of space for what you need to put in it. It has lots of slots for racks and can easily fit three, maybe even four in at once. However, if you were having guests over, and were cooking for far more people, you may find that you need to use the grill, as the oven is not terribly wide, and actually isn't as wide as my previous oven. But like I said, it has ample space for cooking for a large family and wouldn't cause you any hassle on a day to day basis.
After reading a review of the previous model, it was pointed out that the exterior got quite hot and was potentially unsafe. However, I feel that with the new model, this issue has been addressed, and the outside stays relatively cool. I will have to admit that the top of the oven door does get a bit on the hot side when it is turned on, but this is mostly covered by the handle (which by the way stays very cool.)
Cleaning the outside is pretty much a piece of cake. It hardly gets dirty in the first place, but all it needs is a quick wipe down every now and again and it's fine.
Cleaning on the inside however, like all ovens, is a bit of a task. I have noticed that it seems to get unusually dirty, so I wipe it down every week or fortnight before it gets too difficult to tackle. Unfortunately, I learnt this the hard way, because after having my previous oven for seven or eight years, it was never properly cleaned inside at all. So one day, I thought that it was just getting ridiculous, and I attempted to clean it. A few days of constant scrubbing later, I managed to turn my black, crispy, disgusting oven into a shiny, clean and new looking one. I wish I could say the same about my finger nails though, because I spent hours cleaning them after most of the dirt was moved from the oven to my hands, even though I was wearing gloves! Sorry about putting that horrible thought into your head!
The oven and grill comes with interior lights which turn on when you are cooking, so that you can see inside through the glass panels. But I seem to be very unlucky when it comes to these, because I can't remember the last time I've had an oven with both lights working. This oven is no exception, because the grill light needs replacing. I can't blame myself though, because it hasn't worked since I moved in.
Since I did not buy the oven, I cannot tell you it's price, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was extremely expensive with the rest of its Neff brothers and sisters.
Overall though, I would definitely recommend this oven as it is very fast at heating up, very luxurious and very attractive in any kitchen. If you can look past the price, then there are pretty much no flaws to this oven.
Two, nearly three years ago I said a not very tearful goodbye to my old Creda cooker. It had served me well but was a monster to keep looking clean. As part of a new kitchen, we had to choose a Neff oven. The kitchen company we chose only fitted Neff but we were assured they were great and that was the reason they only worked with them. We chose a built in double electric oven model U1721 and a separate gas hob (see review : Lovely Hob Knobs). Model U1721 has now been upgraded to U1722 with a fe minor changes to the panel and an upgrade to Energy Efficency A.
# Pear Shaped #
You could say that this oven is a bit pear shaped having a small but pretty top oven with a larger but very hot bottom. It is a pretty good looking model with transparent windows and some stylish buttons. The outer shell is matt stainless steel with a nice smooth frontage and a couple of slim lovely handles for easy access into the ovens.
# The Top Panel #
At the top of this model is a panel with all the controls. There are three oval shaped manual turn knobs and six teeny round buttons. All in all this makes for an easy wipe clean panel with no difficult groves or hollows to clean. On the left of the panel is the control for the main (bottom) oven, a dial control with a maximum heat setting of 200 degrees C. Turning this knob slightly clockwise switches on the light in the bottom oven without turning the oven on. I suppose this could be useful if you clean the inside of your oven (ahem). Moving swiftly towards the middle of the panel, there are six small buttons which operate the timer and the digital clock which is in the centre of the panel. It is not immediately obvious how to use the timer but a quick read of the instructions reveals that it is very simple. The cooking timer emits more beeps into our kitchen which are loud enough to be heard in other rooms (useful if you forget you have things cooking in the oven as I often do).
To the right of the panel are the controls for the mini (top) oven and grill. There are two oval knobs on this side, one to choose grill or mini oven, the other to control the oven temperature which heats between 50 and 250 degrees C. As with most ovens, there is a small red light which glows until the oven has reached the set temperature.
# Pretty Top #
The top oven is a conventional oven and can take one shelf although there are three different positions where this shelf can be slipped in. I rarely use the top oven as it takes longer to heat up and only one shelf can be used. It is great for long, slow baking cakes such as a Christmas cake. It is also useful when you are entertaining because it can be used in addition to the bottom oven.
The radiant grill is also located in the top oven. The element heats to red hot when a very hot temperature is selected. I rarely use the grill though as I have a habit of being distracted during cooking and often return to a smoke filled kitchen when grilling. Why does the milkman always call for his money at tea time? As a safety feature to myself and family I use the circotherm feature in the bottom oven for most of my grilling. The top oven does not have a light but is a useful extra oven / grill when required.
# Hot Bottom #
The bottom or main oven is really hot. I noticed a huge difference immediately when I started to use this compared with my previous oven. The oven heats up to the set temperature very quickly aided by the circotherm system. Now I have got used to my oven, I always select a lower temperature than that recommended. There are three positions for setting your shelves in the bottom oven. The middle position should be avoided for large casserole dishes and the like because this can prevent sufficient airflow to the circotherm.
One thing I like about the bottom oven is that there is a see through window and a light which is always on when the oven is in use. This allows you to see your food cooking without opening the oven door. When opening the door of the bottom oven in particular, which opens downwards, beware a rush of steam. This can sting your eyes if you have your head too close and it hurts.
The circotherm system of this electric oven can be used as an alternative to grilling. Foods are cooked on the shelf over the roasting / grill pan at 180 /190 C. The circotherm system is great because it creates less messy splashing in the oven and cooking on two shelves is possible at once.
There is also a defrost option on the bottom oven which I have never used.
One negative point to note about this oven is that with a stainless steel exterior, the outside does get quite hot during cooking. Toddlers touching the door could get a nasty shock. In fact I think I would not want small children in the kitchen at all with this model. Our children are old enough to know better.
# Techy Stuff #
This hot electric oven has an energy efficency rating B. The slightly updated U1722 model which has now superceded this has an A rating. It is a standard size, height 77cm, depth 55cm.
# Keeping it Tip Top #
This oven is delightfully easy to keep clean from the outside. The interior glass panels do get greasy. This does not show from the outside but does show up when you open the doors. If you let the grease build up, its not easy to get off. The interior of my oven has never been cleaned but it isnt too filthy since I tend to gather most debris in the grill tray which is usually at the bottom of the oven. The instruction booklet recommends regular cleaning with non abrasive or corrosive cleaners. Burnt on foods should not be scraped off with a knife but soaked with a damp cloth and washing up liquid. The doors can be taken off to aid cleaning should you have such an obsession.
# Niggles #
The oven only comes with two shelves but luckily I saved a shelf from my old oven and it was a perfect fit. If you need to use top and bottom together, two shelves may not be enough. My other main dislike is that the outside of the oven heats up, a worry if we have toddlers visiting. Within the guarantee period, the element for the bottom oven went midway through cooking a fruit cake. The Neff man said I was just unlucky and had the equivalent of a bad lightbulb. He replaced it under guarantee.
# Summary #
I am pretty happy with my oven. It looks really smart, cooks things really quickly and it is easy to use and operate. It is worth reducing the temperature to less than that recommended and also checking your food sooner than recommended to avoid burnt offerings. I love being able to check the progress of the contents through the windows, especially the bottom one as it is illuminated. I can bake nice cakes, cook a good sized family roast in it and cook three pizzas at a time in the bottom oven alone. What more could you want from an oven? In summary I award this oven four stars out of five, losing one star for a few minor niggles. It retails for around £650.
Thanks for reading.
Neff built in double Series 2 Circotherm oven with automatic programmer & triple glazed door / AquaCleanse setting in main oven / Short name: Neff U1722