FirstBuild's modded GE oven gets a new door (hands-on)

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While drawer microwaves are fairly commonplace nowadays, drawer ovens still largely evade us. FirstBuild's designers and engineers found this unacceptable and decided to spearhead the drawer-style oven-door movement. The team started with GE's $1,899 Profile Series 30-inch Free-Standing Double Oven Range with Convection (model number PB950SFSS), totally gutted the upper oven, and redesigned the door to slide open like a drawer.

The PB950SFSS has a total capacity of 6.6 cubic feet; that's 2.2 cubic feet in the upper oven and 4.4 cubic feet in the lower one. The small upper oven is limited to traditional cooking, whereas the midsize lower oven is also equipped with convection modes. The 5-burner electric cooktop is made of black ceramic glass.

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Colin West McDonald/CNET

These features are common among electric double-oven ranges, and online customer reviews suggest that the PB950SFSS and competitor models like Whirlpool's $1,699 30-inch Smooth Surface 5-Element 4.2-cu ft/2.5-cu ft Self-Cleaning with Steam Double Oven Convection Electric Range (model number WGE755C0BS) and KitchenAid's $1,899 Architect II 30-in Smooth Surface 5-Element Capacity Electric Range (model number KERS505XSS), are selling (even with their dual pull-down oven doors).

Even so, FirstBuild wanted to re-imagine the traditional design found on these models -- injecting some custom work into the mix might just improve the overall usability of this particular GE oven -- and if popular, the new drawer oven door could make an appearance on more of GE's double-oven ranges.

I got some hands-on time with FirstBuild's modded oven door earlier this week and think the design makes a lot of sense. At 2.2 cubic feet, it isn't small for the upper oven of a range, but it's still a small capacity oven. Single-oven ranges, like LG's $1,400 Smart ThinQ 6.3 Cu. Ft. Capacity Electric Single Oven Range with Infrared Grill (model number LRE3027ST) have much larger capacities.

Pulling open a full multi-racked large capacity oven like the LG LRE3027ST or even the 4.4-cubic-foot lower oven of FirstBuild's GE mod could get unwieldy, but smaller ovens have different usability requirements. First, they weigh less, so sliding the door open isn't a challenging prospect. Also, small-capacity ovens don't leave much of a buffer between your reach and any top, bottom, or side heat elements. That makes them harder to spot clean, too.

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Colin West McDonald/CNET

FirstBuild's Easy-Slide Door lets you slide open the oven and lift out your food. It also has a "peek" feature, so you can tilt open the oven door and look inside without engaging the drawer's slide mechanism. And you can remove the entire "floor" of the oven for actual at-your-sink scrubbing.

FirstBuild's Oven with Easy-Slide Door will be available for sale on FirstBuild.com later this year. No pricing information has been released yet, but I would expect to pay a premium over GE's $1,899 template model. (Availability outside the US is not yet announced, either.) And, if you're interested in seeing more from FirstBuild, be sure to check out the Smart Pitcher -- a pitcher that automatically fills with water and stops when it hits max capacity.

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FirstBuild Oven with Easy-Slide Door

Part Number: CNETFirstBuild Oven with Easy-Slide Door
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