Ovens

Amana AER5630BAW Electric Freestanding Range Review

High performance at a low price

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From the Lab

We subject the ovens and rangetops we review to a barrage of tests, scrutinizing everything from water boiling speeds to baking performance. While its rangetop was average, we were pleasantly surprised with the AER5630BAW's excellent oven performance.

The Amana AER5630BAW (MSRP $549.00) is an affordably-priced electric freestanding range. What it may lack in features and looks, it makes up for with some truly surprising performance.

As consumers, we tend to equate low cost with low quality. The superb AER5630BAW burns such fallacies to a crisp in it's reasonably priced oven cavity.

Oven & Broiler Performance

We test our ovens for accuracy and precision. Accuracy is determined by how often the temperature in the cavity matches the setting—whether it be 170°F, 350°F, or 450°F. Precision, on the other hand, is determined by how far the temperature strays from the ideal. The AER5630BAW's oven did not perform perfectly in either category, but made up for it in real-world baking.

The Keep Warm setting exhibited excellent accuracy, but only average precision. It averaged 176°F, 6°F above the target temperature of 170°F. In our 350°F test, temperatures averaged 383°F, 33°F above the target temperature of 350°F.

Oven accuracy and precision tests are all well and good, but we place more emphasis on actual cooking performance in deciding which ovens to recommend. When looking at the cookies we baked in the oven, we noticed that they were all a similar color regardless of where they were placed. Even the tops and bottoms weren't burned or underdone, indicating a well insulated oven with no noticeable hot or cold spots.

Our cake tests also indicated that the oven has excellent air circulation, as there was barely any difference in color between the tops and bottoms of our test cakes.

Meanwhile, the broiler was sluggish at best, taking 8 minutes to reach 600°F. The oven itself took only six minutes to reach 350°F.

Design & Usability

It doesn't get in the way, but it doesn't stand out

It's white, and that's about it. Joking aside, the AER5630BAW isn't going to win any design awards. So it isn't a range you buy for it's looks, but that doesn't mean it's completely bereft of features. The AER5630BAW has a variable temperature broiler that can be adjusted in increments of 5°F, as well as a self-cleaning mode that can be adjusted to handle light and heavy messes.

The range also has a fairly large oven capacity as well as a large oven window that makes checking on your food an easier task. Unfortunately, the baking element is exposed, so do your best to avoid any major spills.

Rangetop

Could be better, could also be worse

The AER5630BAW's ceramic cooktop features three standard burners and one dual-ring burner for large or small pots. As is the standard with electric models the AER5630BAW's burners offer a wide range of temperatures. We recorded a positively mild minimum of 94°F, as well as a blistering maximum of 729°F.

Sadly, with the exception of the dual burner, the AER5630BAW's boiling speeds where sluggish at best. The aforementioned dual burner managed to boil six cups of water in a fairly rapid six minutes. Meanwhile the remaining burners took between eight and eleven minutes to boil the same amount of water. If you're boiling two things at once—lobster and pasta, maybe?—you might have timing issues.

Rangetop Performance

While electric rangetops lack the responsiveness of their gas counterparts, they usually make up for it with fast boil speeds and a wider range of temperatures. The AER5630BAW offers an extremely wide range of temperatures. The front right burner reached 778°F, while the front left burner reached 701°F°. The burners also excelled in the low temperature cooking: we recorded an impressive low temperature of 82°F from the left rear burner, while the remaining burners were all comfortable around 100-110°F.

The AER5630BAW's boiling performance was less impressive. The front right burner was the best of the bunch, boiling six cups of water in 6 minutes. The front left did it in 8 minutes, which is a little below average.

Oven, Broiler, & Convection

Bake with confidence

Considering the price, one might assume that the AER5630BAW offers average performance at best. However, this range is a textbook example of the lack of correlation between cost and performance when it comes to ranges. Baking enthusiasts have a lot to be happy about as this oven excelled in our real food cooking tests with evenly-browned cakes and cookies—results that indicate good circulation and airflow.

The oven matched the excellent performance with some pretty impressive speed as well. The cavity took only six minutes to reach 350°F. The broiler was less impressive, though, and took eight minutes to reach 600°F.

Conclusion

Budget price, high-end performance

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If you don't really care about looks or features and want a well priced workhorse of an oven, you could do far worse than the AER5630BAW. While the boiling speeds were nothing to shout about and the broiler was average at best, we were extremely impressed with its general cooking performance.

Make no mistake, the Amana AER5630BAW is not the kind of range your dinner guests are likely to gather around and coo over. But if you have the kind of friends who are more impressed with good food than a fancy oven, this Amana will do the trick.

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