GE Cafe CT9050SHSS 30 Inch Electric Wall Oven Review
An oven of the future you can live with today
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For years, we've been promised smart kitchen appliances that can make our lives easier. Instead, we usually end up with clunky smartphone apps that frequently get in the way of making a meal.
That's why we're so impressed with GE's flagship wall oven, the GE Café CT9050SHSS. It not only features hands-free tech that's actually useful for cooks, but it's also a pretty darn good oven—even if you never connect it to your Wi-Fi network.
All these features don’t come cheap: Sale prices of $2,699 could make it a tough sell. But if you're interested in future-proofing your kitchen but also care about future resale value and proofing bread, we think this GE is a great choice.
How It Looks
The GE CT9050SHSS electric wall oven is the first cooking appliance that can be controlled by voice commands through Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. If your hands are tied up with cooking, you can just tell Alexa to set a timer or change the temperature. It’s a simple system that worked remarkably well when we tried it out, and we’re amazed that no one thought of it before.
The CT9050SHSS also comes equipped with true European style convection, steam and pyrolytic self-cleaning, a self-clean safe gliding rack, as well as closed door broiling, and Notification Lighting—a red strip of lights that pulses during a preheat and slowly fades from left to right as a timer runs down. We think Notification Lighting is genius—no more squinting at the display from across the kitchen to see how much longer before a recipe is done.
The oven has two cleaning options: steam cleaning for minor spills, and pyrolytic cleaning for encrusted heavy stains. Unlike those found in other products, the racks can be left in the oven during the self-cleaning cycle.
Altogether, this GE is one of the most feature rich wall ovens we have ever tested—but it never felt overwrought or hard to use. If you're against the proliferation of bells and whistles on appliances, this GE lets you simply ignore them. Its transitional aesthetic blends in with nearly all kitchen styles, and we thought its construction and materials felt quite sturdy.
How It Cooks
If you want to learn more about our extensive testing process, you can read our How We Test page for ovens.
We baked batches of cookies and cakes in this GE using both the standard and multi-rack convection bake settings, then measured whether the results were overdone, underdone, or just right. Our tests revealed a slight hot spot towards the right side of the cavity that was particularly pronounced using the standard bake setting. We recommend keeping food in the center, or rotating large dishes mid way through cooking.
We baked two sheets of cookies at once using multi-rack convection, and found the cookies on the upper rack were almost perfectly even. However, the cookies in the center of the lower rack were overdone compared to those on the edges.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the CT9050SHSS was pretty much perfect at producing a juicy, evenly cooked pork roast. The 10-pass broiler was also impressive: It cooked evenly across the top rack, and can even be used with the oven door closed.
We weren't surprised that the GE's preheat was a bit sluggish. We find this is often the case in ovens with thick, slide-in racks (they act as heat sinks) and the CT9050SHSS is no exception. The oven took 14 minutes to reach 350°F using the standard element, while the convection mode took 13 minutes. If you need a faster preheat, take out the sliding racks first.
Should You Buy It?
If all you want in a wall oven is good design that matches your kitchen, there are a multitude of products other than the GE CT9050SHSS that should do the job just fine.
The Bosch HBL8451UC, for example, is cheaper and even baked better in our tests. However, if you want an oven that helps you cook with thoughtful technology, we think there is currently no better choice than the CT9050SHSS.
Even if Alexa integration were just a party trick, the CT9050SHSS would be a solid bet. But, considering that it also offers exceptional broiling and roasting evenness, some pretty good baking options, as well as an extremely appealing design, this is one smart oven we feel comfortable recommending.
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