KitchenAid Architect Series II KGRS303BSS Gas Range Review
It has that commercial look, but does it have the power?
In a sea of stainless steel ranges, sometimes it feels like unique offerings are few and far between. However, we’d argue each range has a few quirks, and the differences just tend to be on the subtle side. The KitchenAid Architect Series II KGR303BSS gas range (MSRP $1,449) is a good example of this.
Serious cooks will love the almost-commercial look, as well as the continuous grate and simplified feature set. In some ranges, a lack of special settings might indicate cheapness, but given the professional appearance of the KGR303BSS, the message seems to be that this range is for those who want to cook their Thanksgiving turkey without a computer helping out.
Unfortunately, performance wasn’t quite as appealing as the range’s looks. We found some problems during both rangetop and oven tests. That being said, so long as you take the time to get to know its quirks, the KGR303BSS could serve you well.
Design & Usability
Pared down to what you need.
The KGRS303BSS combines the functional appearance of a pro-style range with the size and convenience of the range you grew up with.
The stainless steel body provides a sleek, classic look and is topped by a continuous black grate. The gas rangetop also features a nonstick griddle that should come in handy whenever you’re hit with an emergency bacon craving.
Rangetop controls come in the form of knobs on the front of the range, while oven controls on the backsplash are digital. Features are kept fairly basic so your cooking can do the talking: There's broil, keep warm, self clean, and bread proof, but the rest is up to you.
The rangetop boasts four standard gas burners and one simmer burner. The moderately sized 5.8 cubic-foot oven will fit that Thanksgiving bird without issue, and a lower storage drawer should have enough space for pots and pans.
Quick to boil, but sticks to middle temperatures
If you boil water frequently, you’ll be pleased to know that the most impressive aspect of this rangetop is how quickly it can boil that ol’ H2O. The front burners were the fastest, both boiled six cups of water in less than six minutes. The remaining burners took some additional time, but only the simmer burner kept us waiting unacceptably long. Of course we don’t expect specialized simmer burners to perform well in our boiling tests, and with four solid boilers, it seems unlikely you’d ever be in need of a fifth.
The range’s ability to hit high and low temperatures was not quite where we would have liked it to be. Only the left rear and center burners were able to raise the heat above 400°F, while the remaining three burners reached their peaks in the upper 300°F’s. This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise given that gas rangetops just don’t get as hot as electric or induction. We don’t think you should have much of an issue heating the oil in your wok to stir-fry temps, but we’d recommend you stick to the left rear and center burners when you need that kind of heat.
Burners hit their lowest temperatures in a range of 137°F to 274°F, with only the rear burners dipping below 200°F. Simmer and melt on the rear burners for the best results.
Oven, Broiler, & Convection
Cookie-bakers, this one's for you.
If we judged an oven by the broiler alone, this one would earn a spot on our do-not-buy list. Luckily, the broiler’s inability to reach a high enough heat during our 16-minute test was not indicative of the rest of the oven's scores.
Cakes we baked in the oven scored poorly due to uneven browning, but the cookies hit it out of the park, emerging from the cavity evenly baked all across the board. The high cookie scores and low cake scores point to a possible problem with air flow in the cavity. It seems that the oven may do better maintaining a solid temperature during shorter bake times, such as the time required to bake cookies.
Oven preheat times were pretty good—only 8 minutes 50 seconds for the regular oven settings and 11 minutes 40 seconds for convection.
Why We Liked It
Iffy, but charming.
The KGR303BSS isn't the best gas range we’ve tested, but it has enough charm to appeal to us anyway. An attractive, practical design makes it a joy to look at, and a few thoughtful features (such as a nonstick griddle) give a home cook more space to work than a slew of fancy settings ever would.
Performance-wise, the range does some things better than others. Boiling water quickly and baking cookies evenly seem to be its strong suits, but it struggled a bit baking cakes and reaching very high and very low temperatures.
With a retail price around $1,300, it may not be the best deal on the market, but what you’re paying for is that subtly unique package and some sleek good looks.
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