Hidden Bake Element Pros Cons | Everything You Need to Know

Hidden Bake Element

Are hidden bake elements better than traditional coils and worth the higher price? Hidden bake elements have advantages like even heating and easy cleaning but also downsides like higher costs. Below we dive into the key pros, cons, prices, and alternatives to help you decide.

Across the oven industry, manufacturers have been gradually transitioning from traditional electric coils to hidden bake elements. But are these newer hidden elements worth the hype and premium pricing?

In this post, we’ll compare the pros and cons of hidden bake elements versus standard coils. You’ll learn:

  • How hidden bake elements work
  • The advantages of even heating and faster cleaning
  • Downsides like longer preheat times and expensive repairs
  • Average pricing and cost comparisons
  • Top alternative oven types to consider

Let’s start with an overview of what exactly hidden bake elements are and how they differ from the traditional exposed coils found in most ovens.

What Are Hidden Bake Elements?

Hidden bake elements are electric heating units located underneath a smooth glass-ceramic surface. Unlike traditional coils placed visibly on the bottom of the oven cavity, these elements are concealed below the stovetop surface. The smooth glass surface creates a cleaner, more modern aesthetic compared to exposed coils. It also makes the cooktop easier to wipe down after spills and messes.

Hidden elements allow for more even heating distribution inside the oven cavity. The heat radiates upward from below the glass surface, avoiding hot and cold spots associated with coil ovens. Manufacturers market hidden bake elements as a high-end premium feature. These ovens carry a significantly higher price tag than basic coil ovens.

Now let’s dive into the key benefits and drawbacks of hidden bake elements to help inform your buying decision.

Pros of Hidden Bake Elements

More Even Heating and Consistent Temperatures

The hidden elements distribute heat evenly from below the oven cavity, preventing hot and cool spots found in coil ovens. You’ll get more precise temperatures and consistent heat, which is especially important for baking when temperatures need to be just right. No more dealing with burnt edges or undercooked centers! The even heating allows you to achieve uniform baking and roasting results across every rack.

Easier Cleaning of Smooth Glass Surface

The smooth glass surface wipes down easily after spills and messes. You can use a single wet cloth to clean the entire cooktop. Compare this to traditional coils which have grooves and crevices where food particles get trapped. Cleaning exposed coils requires scrubbing each individual burner and crevice.

The hidden elements don’t get grimy or coated in baked-on residue. You’ll spend less time scrubbing your stovetop after heavy cooking.

Safer Cooking Environment

Hidden elements create a safer cooking environment in several ways:

  • No open flames – Unlike gas burners, there is no risk of open flames when cooking over hidden elements.
  • Lower risk of burns – With elements concealed below the surface, there’s less chance of accidental burns from touching hot coils.
  • Kid-friendly – The smoother surface and lack of visible red-hot coils make hidden element ovens safer for households with children.

Increased Durability and Lifespan

The heavy duty glass surface of hidden bake elements withstands daily wear-and-tear, heavy pans, and abrasion better than exposed coils. Elements concealed and protected below the surface are also less likely to get damaged by spills, leaks, and cleaning.

With proper care and maintenance, hidden element ovens can last over 10 years, while coils often need replacing every 5-7 years.

Higher Resale Value

The sleek aesthetic and smoother cooktop make hidden element ovens look more modern and updated. This higher-end look can boost your home’s resale value versus dated looking coil ovens.

In general, newer ovens with upgraded features hold value better and are what most buyers look for when home shopping.

Cons of Hidden Bake Elements

Now let’s explore the downsides to weigh:

Significantly Higher Upfront Cost

The improved performance and premium features of hidden bake elements come at a steep price. Expect to pay $500 or more extra compared to a basic coil oven. In some cases, a hidden element failure may require fully replacing the entire oven rather than a cheaper coil repair.

For buyers on a tight budget or looking for an oven just to get the job done, the high ticket price could deter choosing hidden bake elements.

Longer Preheat Times

Hidden elements generally take 10-15 minutes longer to fully preheat an oven versus coils. This can be frustrating if you need to bake something quickly.

The extra preheat time is a result of having to heat from below rather than exposed coils radiating heat directly into the oven. Plan accordingly if you’ll be doing lots of quick oven uses.

Potential for Cracks in the Glass Surface

While durable, the glass surface could crack from slamming the oven door or heavy objects dropped directly on it. Repairing or replacing a broken cooktop glass costs several hundred dollars – far more than simply replacing a coil. Be prepared for this potentially expensive repair if you or someone else cracks the cooktop.

Electronics More Prone to Failure

Like all electronic appliances, hidden elements rely on control boards and electronics that can fail over time. Once out of warranty, these control board replacements cost in the $400-700 range.

Compare this to a simple coil replacement for $150-300 that even handy homeowners can often tackle themselves. The electronics make DIY repairs far more difficult.

Difficult for DIY Repair

Speaking of repairs, hidden elements are not DIY friendly like coil ovens. Repairs virtually always require hiring a professional oven technician, driving up the cost. Between lack of access to elements and the electronics/programming involved, repairs are best left to the experts. Don’t expect to easily troubleshoot and swap parts yourself.

To summarize the cost differences:

Repair/ReplacementNew Oven Cost
Standard Coil Oven
Coil Replacement$150-300
New 30″ Coil Oven$400-800
Hidden Bake Element Oven
Element or Control Board$400-700
New 30″ Hidden Bake Oven$900-1500

As you can see, the hidden element ovens carry about a $500+ premium for both repairs and new oven cost.

Top Oven Alternatives to Consider

Hidden bake ovens aren’t the only option. Here are two other top oven types to consider:

Induction Cooktops

Induction cooktops offer a similar smooth ceramic surface as hidden bake ovens. But they use magnetic induction heat below the surface rather than baking elements. They offer the same precise temperature control and easy cleaning benefits. And induction starts around $800 for a built-in cooktop.

Standard Electric and Gas Ovens

Good old electric coil and gas burner ovens get the job done on a budget. Electric starts around $500 and gas around $650. While coils can’t match the even heating of hidden elements, gas gives you more immediate and fine-tuned temperature control.

If your budget is tight or you just need a basic oven, coils and gas burners are far cheaper alternatives.

Key Takeaways – Are Hidden Elements Worth It?

Hidden bake elements clearly provide advantages like:

  • Even heat distribution for better baking
  • Easier cleaning of the smooth glass surface
  • A more updated and durable oven

However, you have to weigh those benefits against the higher upfront costs and repair bills compared to coils. Induction cooktops offer a cheaper way to get a smooth surface and precise cooking. And standard coil or gas ovens work well for budget buyers. Analyze your budget, how you use your oven, and repair costs before deciding if hidden bake elements are worth the investment for your needs.

If you found this hidden bake element comparison useful, be sure to bookmark our site for more oven buying tips and kitchen remodeling guides.

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