Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ikea quality - The Oven's Tail


Ikea is well known for their affordable furniture. You may dislike the style or wonder about the quality, but in general Ikea is considered value for money.

Yet...? Let's tell a tale about an Ikea oven and its tail...

Quality in general

This story is about power and bolts and ovens, but every tale has a beginning.

Once upon a time Ikea sold Faktum kitchens, and they were of great quality.

Many Ikea products invaded our home. They were everywhere, perhaps not all recognizable as such, but they were there. From chairs to tables to kitchen supplies. From dishes to dishwasher. As the years passed on, we were getting used to their appearance and existence. They became part of our happy life.

And then, things changed.

Price versus quality

One day the overlords of the Ikea empire publicly proclaimed their goals: bring Swedish style and sensibility (and meatballs!) to every household in the world, and do so at great prices. And where the ugly ghosts of inflation crossed into their domains, they always managed a counter offense. Typically by adjusting the product. Of course this should not fall upon the small shoulders of the consumer's wallets, so, if the need would so require, adjustments would have to be made.

Sometimes in the quality department.

Some examples: the earlier Faktum kitchens were particle board, so were the later ones. But the particle board in the older series was much denser, and less prone to damage. It's a small detail, but if you do some 'happy Ikea hacking' and mod your kitchen, then you might find out that it became just a little harder to get things done properly.

The newer Method kitchens are even worse. They use the same softer, cheaper material, but the board is thinner.

My current Ikea kitchen (all Faktum, mostly the older series) is in use since 2005, and was actually moved one time after the initial installation, from ground floor to first floor. It's mostly fine, even after all those years of every day use. I had one (one!) refrigerator hinge fail on me since 2005, and three of the larger doors are getting a little warped (routed MDF simply isn't the best material there is).

Another example: the Kaustby chair. Cheap, and I've got a lot of them. (That's because I have two large tables, and by using the same type of chair I can seat many people if need be.) Although the price of the Kaustby chair has stayed pretty much the same over the years I've seen many changes in the material they are made of, and the way they are stained. Weight difference between older and newer chairs is incredible, the material (dare I say wood? it's almost too soft to be wood) has been getting worse, and the surface staining gets 'soft' when, for example, a wet towel rests on them for an hour or so.

(Ikea) kitchen equipment

Well, if the old Ikea Faktum kitchen was of good quality, the kitchen equipment (mostly Ikea) may have been slightly lesser quality.

Over the span of 13 years, some of it failed on me:

  • Ikea refrigerator (after 9 years)
  • Ikea oven (after 13 years)

We also lost a non-Ikea Insignia dishwasher after 5 years. And I have a Siemens induction cooker which starts behaving weirdly. Need to check that one soon.

In hindsight not that bad though the induction cooker worries me. (That thing was expensive!)

I am, however, pissed about the oven.

The fall of Anratta

Once my beloved oven fell in the heat of kitchen combat I jumped onto my trustworthy steed (yeah, I drive a GTE, so sue me) and set course for Ikea. I liked the old oven (nice and simple) though pre-heating took ages. I picked up a new Anratta. Done.

So, back home I first had to modify the cabinet a bit (sigh). I planned to use the old brackets, but the dimensions of the Anratta are slightly different compared with the old oven, and I had to adjust the height of the brackets. Not my first rodeo, so some time later...

Adjusting... Done.

But then I discovered Anratta's tail. Or better put: the lack of it... In all their endless wisdom the wizards at Ikea decided to change the cable entry point of the power cord, from right bottom to left top. And to make it as inconvenient as possible, they kept the power cord nice and short, just 90 cm's...

And of course, my power outlets were in the wrong place...

Duh. That's where Ikea now expects the power outlet. Sigh. Again not my first rodeo, so I decided to replace the power cord. Or such was the plan...

Not so.

The old oven had screw terminals, so a replacement of the power cord would have been possible. The new oven uses a very weird kind of 'Faston' style power connector which can not be replaced. (Yes, I know, I am not supposed to open the oven, warranty and such, but in a moment you will find out I was very happy I actually did open it!)

I called Ikea. Nope. They could not send a longer replacement cord, and I should not open the oven, and I couldn't return the oven as it was already unpacked.


No other option but to add another power outlet then. So I was about to close the oven when I spotted this:

What the f...

It's nice of Ikea to include spare parts, but a loose bolt in an electric oven?!?!?!?

No oven, no pizza
Not good. But there had to be pizza, and without an oven there is none, so I had to get very creative to add an additional power outlet, and as it is an existing kitchen with concrete walls it had to be 'on-wall' (opbouw) instead of 'in-wall' (inbouw).

Resulting in this:

The End

All's well that ends well, but I still feel a bit uncomfortable. Yes, this new oven appears to use less electricity, and its pre-heat cycle is way faster than the old one. But installing it took way more time than expected, I don't like the new (smaller) display, and now I have lingering doubts about (modern) Ikea build quality...

Let's hope we and our new oven live long and happily ever after...


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