Maytag MER8880AS Review
The Maytag MER8880AS makes it possible to find high-end features without breaking the bank.
When spending under $1,000 for an oven, it can be hard to find extra features such as bridge elements, keep-warm elements, convection, and adjustable broiling. Fortunately Maytag's MER8880AS, a freestanding electric range, makes it possible to find high-end features without breaking the bank (MSRP $1,100, on sale for $990). Heck, it even has that stainless steel finish everyone's been jonesing for.
Though it dazzles with special effects, this Maytag is downright middling when it comes to performance. It didn't fail any individual test, but its cooking abilities certainly didn't impress us in any way.
Design & Usability
Clean, stainless design language with the Whirlpool look
The Maytag MER8880AS is a 30" freestanding range with a single oven and stainless trim. Its control panel and design are in-step with Whirlpool-made ranges of the past few years. Stainless trim and a stainless door panel blend with black porcelain enamel. There's a grainy, substantial handle, which is quickly becoming part of Maytag's design language. But what differentiates this model from other, similar Whirlpool-made ranges is the AquaLift technology, which uses water for a shorter self-cleaning cycle without the high heat of the traditional pyrolitic method. The rangetop is set up in a unique way, with a bridge element as well as a triple-element power burner.
Below, the 6.2 cubic foot oven is divided by three racks, one of which is of the max-capacity variety. The "EvenAir True Convection" feature uses a heated fan to circulate air around the oven to attain even cooking temperatures throughout, and better heat transfer to the food. This is especially useful on this oven—it's the default setting—due to the unfortunate drawbacks of the conventional oven mode.
Maytag concentrated on features over performance.
Though the rangetop has tons of features, such as a three-sizes-in-one main element, keep-warm element, simmering element, and two bridged work-horse elements, none of them helped during performance testing. There weren't any bad boiling results; every burner was at least decent. But there weren't any stellar performances either. No quick boiling for the big pasta pot.
The simmering temperatures weren't very reliable, as with most electric ranges. Only the rear left simmer burner impressed us, which is odd, because electric ranges usually have superior temperature range, while gas ranges have superior control. The upper end of the temperature range did fall in line with the standard, though, as searing temperatures were decent in this case.
Oven Broiler & Convection
Convection > Convention
In an attempt to mitigate the annoyance of preheating, Maytag added a "Power Preheat" feature, which turns on the broiling element as well as the main oven element to heat the cavity more quickly—in eight minutes. That's not bad, but we've seen ovens without any special feature get to 350°F more quickly.
In conventional mode, once preheated, the oven had difficulties matching its internal temperature to the number on the dial, coming up too hot in almost all of our tests. The temperature evenness wasn't that acceptable either, as the oven didn't correct itself enough, often just overheating, and then cooling off slowly for periods.
Switch on the convection fan, and you've got a whole different story. Hitting the 350°F temperature within one degree, the convection oven delivered even heat and redeemed the oven in general. We recommend this setting for almost all baking with the Maytag MER8880AS. The other piece of business conducted in the oven, broiling, was very satisfactory as well, producing grill-like radiant heat quickly and powerfully.
This Maytag is a decent value, but one that lacks rangetop power and a quality conventional oven.
Encased in stainless steel, and on sale for just under $1,000 (MSRP $1,094), the Maytag MER8880AS offers a glut of features on its electric range. After throwing it into our testing process, we developed a complex opinion about this oven, but all in all, we view it in a favorable light.
Missing from the long list of features is at least one element with quick-boil capability, although the average boiling time for all of the elements was strong. Similarly, despite all the oven's great features—its capacity, its racks, its cleaning system—Maytag missed the mark on the conventional oven, as it produced horrible results for consistency and evenness of temperature. The convection setting, the default option here, is quite satisfactory, however.
The bottom line for the Maytag MER8880AS? This oven is a fantastic value, and if you prefer convection cooking, consider taking it home.
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