The GE Profile PGS950SEFSS is the centerpiece of our kitchen. This bad boy has a dual-oven, convection cooking, and a five-burner top. Read on for the full review.
The first impression is striking. It feels much like a professional style range in features and finish, largely due to the front-mounted controls, wider cooktop, and lack of a back tower. Coupled with an equally attractive hood, this range will definitely be the star of your kitchen, too. Pro-line models have a reputation of having reliability issues over time, but my experience with the stainless-set (higher end appliances that aren’t quite “pro” in style or price) actually yield a much better value. The first impression with the PGS950SEFSS is no exception. Its low-back design is distinct yet thoughtful. Each feature is the result of much consideration, and it shows.
This range is categorized as slide-in (as opposed to free standing) because the cooktop overlaps the counter on both sides by about 3/4″. It is not a drop-in range, which requires the cabinetry to be built up around the bottom of the range.
The minimal back tower and extra wide top provides a lot more usable space. Whereas your typical gas range will have a 2″ inset between the outer edge of the appliance and the cast iron grates, the PGS950SEFSS grates actually extend beyond the 30″ appliance width, giving you almost 5″ more room from side-to-side. I’ve seen 36″ “professional” ranges that don’t have that much cooking width. As if that weren’t enough, having the controls out in front means the cooking space is deeper as well. Compared to our previous range, there is an extra 1.5″ of depth.
All of this extra space means that you can perform some serious cooking. I was able to fit a large canning pot, two frying pans, a sauce pot, and still access the built-in griddle. Long gone are the frustrating days of hanging pots over the edge of the stove in order to get everything cooked at the same time. The top oven is capacious enough to fit a quartet of layer cake pans while the bottom will convection roast a huge turkey–all at the same time. Our first night with the oven, I baked bread in the top and made a crispy thin-crust pizza in the bottom. The double-ovens have been a huge boon and I’ve found that every time we’ve had both fired up at once, they were operating at different temperatures.
The cooktop is a Swiss army knife for cooking types. The star of the show is the 20,000 BTU Tri-Ring power boil burner. Then there’s the 10,000 BTU oval with a drop-in griddle/grill replacement for the middle grate. For your precision jobs, there’s a 5,000 BTU simmering burner, and finally there is a pair of 9,100 and 11,000 workhorse burners for daily cooking. All of this power means you’re going to need a lot of ventilation capacity. Plan on no less than 450CFM for your hood. You’ll also need to install a linked make-up air damper into your HVAC system so your house actually has the capability to let in the amount of air the fan is trying to suck out. We went with a 630CFM hood and it automatically kicks into overdrive on a regular basis when things really get cooking.
The PGS950SEFSS is the successor to the GE Cafe CGS990SETSS. The design influence is obvious, and it is clear that GE took the best things about the older Cafe model and expanded on them for the newer Profile line. In the new model, they improved the controls by making both ovens controlled by the digital touchpad. The controls are angled upward for better viewing. The new knob angle also helps prevent passers by from brushing up against the knobs and turning on a burner. Finally, the slide-in design mentioned above gives you more room to work your magic. The all-digital controls allow you to easily make temperature adjustments if you find that your unit is baking too hot or too cold. The ovens also show a real-time temperature reading during the pre-heat cycle, so you have a very good idea of how long you’ll have to wait before you’re ready to bake.
The capacitive touch glass controls certainly lend an air of elegance, but they take a moment longer to react than they should. In a world where people are used to touching glass phone screens and getting instantaneous reactions, a half-second to register each button press is an unwelcome hitch to fast-paced cooking and button pressing. The one feature that is glaringly absent from a range at this price point is a temperature probe. Its predecessor, the CGS990SETSS had a probe and the lack of that feature nearly put me off of this one. In the end, I was able to get over it and buy a traditional probe, but that one will never be able to control the oven as my roast’s temperature reaches the ideal point. C’est la vie. The compact low-back design may be problematic if you’re placing this oven in an existing kitchen. Often times the backsplash installers might not do finish work all the way down to counter height behind the range. If that is the case, you may have to install another course or two of tile so you don’t have a blank area where the tall back of your old stove once stood.
The Profile PGS950SEFSS is nearly a perfect 30″ range, and clearly the best option available in its class. If you want the best you can get to fit a 30″ space, look no further than this model. MSRP: $3,299 Street price: $2,300 (amazon.com)