Amana AGR5630BDW Gas Range Review
Low on features, low in price
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Sometimes a range is just a range, and sometimes it’s so much more. In the case of the Amana AGR5630BDW (MSRP $699), what you see is what you get from this gas range, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Plain to look at and simple to use, the AGR5630BDW is a good choice for those who want something that can cook food, plain and simple, minus any fussiness or extra buttons. Its performance in our testing was far from great, but with a retail price that dips below $500, we’d say you could do a lot worse.
In fact, we might even say you’re looking at a bargain.
From the Lab
We run our ranges through a series of tests to measure everything from their water boiling capabilities to how well they bake real food. The Amana AGR5630BDW received mediocre results overall, but nothing proved unworkable.
Oven & Broiler Performance
The most important piece of our oven testing is the real world baking tests we perform to see how well the ovens can actually cook food. In our cookie tests, we bake sugar cookies in the oven and then measure the difference in browning between the cookie tops and bottoms, as well as the difference in browning from one cookie to another. In our cake tests, we take the same types of measurements as we do in our cookie tests, while also noting the degree to which different spots in the same cake vary in doneness.
The AGR5630BDW struggled a lot with evenness in both the cake and cookie testing, resulting in a great deal of variation in doneness between the tops and the bottoms. The cookies in particular showed a large visual difference there, emerging from the oven with dark-to-burnt bottoms and significantly lighter tops.
The cakes baked through more in some spots than others, so evenness was a big problem all around, although the cakes did fare slightly better than the cookies.
The good news is that each individual cookie had the same dark bottoms and light tops as all the other cookies. Each cake too showed the same degree of uneven baking as its neighbor. This means that the baking issues we measured should be somewhat straight forward to address. We’d recommend using parchment paper or a glass pan in order to reduce some of the browning on the bottom of your food. You may even want to place thinner items, like cookies or a pie crust, on a higher rack to create some distance between them and an overzealous lower heating element.
As always, it’s important to check the food you are baking towards the end of the bake time to ensure that it doesn’t overcook. Cook time does vary from oven to oven, and this oven in particular does seem to have some issues with hot and cold spots throughout the cavity. It’s not a death sentence for your quiches and tarts, it just means you might have to be a bit more vigilant until you’re fully familiar with the oven.
Design & Usability
A plain white slate for your culinary creations
This is not a range you buy for its looks. Is it ugly? No. But it is boring. A plain white body and black grates make the AGR630BDW an unassuming addition to most kitchens, but it’s not going to stand out unless the rest of your appliances are stainless steel.
Four gas burners sit atop the range, above the control knobs that can be found on the front of the oven. Digital oven controls can be found on the backsplash and include only the most basic functions. No convection to be found here, although the 5 cubic-foot oven does feature a Self Clean option that can be adjusted depending on how badly the cavity is soiled.
A storage drawer below the oven provides extra storage space, and the range comes with a convenient LP gas conversion kit, common in gas ranges but potentially handy nonetheless.
The AGR630BDW has four burners to its name, and while none of them stood out during our testing, none of them will let you down.
Our water boiling test went well for all but the right rear simmer burner. The remaining three burners boiled six cups of water in 6-8 minutes, which is solid, if not lightning-fast. Skip that right rear simmer burner if you’re boiling, though. It’s no huge loss—who boils four pots at once?
Maximum temperatures fell short of “great,” but we expect as much from gas rangetops, which typically don’t get as hot as electric or induction. In the case of the AGR630BDW, every burner but the simmer burner peaked in the range of 468°F to 485°F. The simmer burner barely broke 400°F, but we don’t expect a dedicated simmer burner to hit a very high maximum temp.
The simmer burner did come in at the head of the pack when it came to low temperature cooking, as it should have. However, the AGR630BDW’s rangetop didn’t drop as low as we would’ve like. Minimum temperatures stayed between 138°F and 182°F, which is a lot warmer than the 100ºF temperatures we got on more expensive ranges. This could make delicate low-heat tasks like melting chocolate a bit more challenging.
In our boiling test, we track the time it takes each burner to boil water. The left front burner was the fastest, boiling six cups of water in 6:17. However, the front right and rear left burners were close behind. Their times fell between 7 and 8 minutes. Only the rear right burner took impossibly long to boil water (20:48, to be exact), but that’s not a bad thing. the rear right burner is a simmer burner, not meant for high-heat tasks like cooking pasta. The three other burners should have your poaching and boiling needs more than covered.
We also test rangetops for their ability to reach high and low temperatures. The AGR5630BDW had decent high temperature scores, especially considering it’s a gas rangetop. Gas rangetops typically do not get as hot as electric or induction. The AGR5630BDW’s highest temperatures mostly fell near—but below—500°F. The hottest burner (front left) peaked at 485°F, with the front right and left rear burners hitting within 17°F of that temperature. Only the simmer burner struggled to leave 400°F behind, which of course is good enough for that kind of burner.
Low temperature cooking scores were also not fantastic. The simmer burner won this round with a 138°F minimum temperature. The three other burners failed to drop more than 25°F below 200°F. Not exactly what you want to see when you’re trying to melt butter without burning it, but it should simmer sauces just fine.
Oven, Broiler, & Convection
An impressive preheat
This oven started strong with an incredibly fast preheat, requiring less than five minutes to reach the 350°F set temperature. Unfortunately, the broiler did not follow suit—a ten-minute heating process had us impatiently tapping our feet by the time it finally passed 600°F.
Cakes and cookies that we baked in the oven weren’t at all even, but were at least consistent in their unevenness from cookie to cookie or cake to cake. Cookies in particular had very dark bottoms and much lighter tops.
Because each individual cake and cookie had the same variation in doneness as their neighbors, the problem shouldn't be too difficult to address. Using parchment paper or glass pans may help. It’s times like these when we wished the AGR630BDW had a convection fan to improve airflow.
It can cook, albeit not perfectly
This is a basic, inexpensive range. Did it ace all of our tests? Not even close. But for a range you can scoop up for less than $500, it’s pretty darn good.
The rangetop didn’t get as high or low as models that cost twice as much, but it boiled water quickly enough. Cakes and cookies showed a difference in doneness between the bottoms and tops, but the issue was consistent enough that some experimentation should allow the user to compensate. Both the rangetop and oven will absolutely be able to cook your food.
After all, that’s really the point of the range, isn’t it?
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