Ovens

Electrolux EI30EF55GS Freestanding Electric Range Review

An odd assortment of some of the highest and lowest praise.

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Introduction

Running over $2,000 on sale (MSRP $2,243), the straddles the line between mid-end and high-end ranges. Unfortunately, this range reminds us that price and performance aren't always so correlated and while this was certainly a decent range, two grand seems excessive.

While its rangetop did exhibit a great temperature range and had no weak burners—all under twelve minutes to boil six cups of water—there weren't any effective power burners either.

The conventional oven definitely had some issues averaging the target temperatures, but the oven's broiler and convection mode had some of the best results we've ever seen.

This range seems to have very little that's just average about it, with some impressive aspects and some unimpressive ones. Before reading this review, think about what you need in a range. This may have it, or it may not.

Design Overview

The 's design certainly borders the mid-end and high-ends. Eschewing the typical design language of $2,000+ machines—stainless steel everything, no drawer, and industrial style— shoots for a post-full-stainless high-end range with more black than stainless finish.

Front

Front Photo

A modern take on the stainless ethos.

Range-top

Burners 1 Photo

The active elements. Note the keep-warm element does not light up red.

 

Upper Oven

Upper Oven Photo

The oven cavity is divided by three racks. The center rack slides out.

Upper Oven Detail Photo

Here is the convection fan at the back and broiling element on the top.

Broiler

Broiler Photo

This broiling element is quite powerful.

Warming Drawer

Warming Drawer Photo

The beautiful cobalt keep-warm drawer can also be used as storage.

Cooking Performance

Every test result has us raising something—whether it's the glass or the eyebrow. There were hardly no middling results. The convection oven was absolutely superb, but there weren't any fast-boiling rangetop elements. The broiler was great, but the oven temperatures didn't quite match up with the dial. An odd mix of competent and incompetent indeed.

Range Performance Overall

The takes advantage of the electric edge, exhibiting a superb range of temperatures that gas can't provide due to the minimum temperatures of natural gas or propane combustion. Unfortunately, the cost of this is control, and there is no flame to see in an electric element. Electric ranges also lag a bit after adjustment unlike the instant reduction of flame in the gas. It's a trade off that each user must consider.

Burners 1 Photo

The active elements. Note the keep-warm element does not light up red.

Water Boiling

The water boiling was a bit of a disappointment. While we do see a great average boiling time—there aren't any weak burners—the doesn't have any very speedy boilers, with the front two boiling six cups in eight minutes. Sure, the rear elements can boil six cups in eleven and half minutes—awesome for the b-team—but most folks would appreciate a fast boiler.

Range-top Water Boil

We didn't find any slow boilers, but we didn't find any quick ones either.

Low Temperature Cooking

Here we found excellent simmering results, as every element could provide gentle heat under the exceptional temperature of 90°F. Good for simmering small quantities of liquids, melting chocolate without a double boiler, and much more!

Range-top Temperature Range

Range-top Temperature Range

Excellent temperature range for searing and simmering.

High Temperature Cooking

The searing situation makes it possible to handle whatever high-temperature job you need done. Our sensors recorded temperatures no lower than 527°F: completely satisfactory for making that satisfying hiss from the skillet.

Overall Oven Performance

While the oven preheated to 350°F in under twelve minutes, we weren't too happy with much else. Temperature consistency, temperature target accuracy weren't very impressive for the conventional oven. Fortunately, this oven has a plan B.

Target Temperature Accuracy

Set to the keep-warm temperature of 170°F and 350°F, the oven consistently stayed far above the designated temperature. The average temperatures we saw for those two were 200°F and 369°F, twenty and thirty degrees above the proper temperature. This is a bit troubling. The maximum setting was better, though still hot, at 562°F against the appropriate 550°F. We advise prospective buyers to invest in a thermometer if they go with this range. Fahrenheit and Celcius degrees are preferable to Electrolux degrees.

However, all this changed when the convection fan was activated. Set to 350°F, the oven hit an average temperature of 350.5°F, spot on indeed. The convection fan also circulated the air providing more even cooking and no oven hot spots, so the deficiencies of the conventional oven may not be so grave considering this alternative.

Temperature Fluctuation

The temperature fluctuation for these inaccurate temperatures wasn't good at 170°F, but it was excellent at 350°F. Though it was based around a temperature almost 20°F above the target, the temperature went only 10°F below and 17°F above the average. A silver lining indeed. The maximum temperature setting had the oven into the 580s as well as falling to 533°F. Not great, but when you're over 500°F, very hot vs. very, very hot may not make such a difference.

When we activated the convection fan, we found extremely satisfying results and one of the finest variances we've seen: the oven went just eight degrees above 350°F and six below. This is incredible, and we hope chefs will be able to take advantage of this supreme performance in new and interesting ways to cook delicate food.

Oven Temperature Variance

Here we see excellent variance control, though the 350°F target was not hit for the left figure.

Broiler Performance

In our tests, the broiler hit temperatures over 600°F in just under five minutes, which is incredibly fast for a broiler preheat. Obviously, it's not necessary to wait until a broiler has reached its full operating temperature to begin cooking your meat, but it's always good to have a machine that doesn't operate on the edge of its abilities.

Broiler Photo

This broiling element is quite powerful.

Broiler Features

The also features a fully adjustable broiler that can be set to anywhere from the default 550°F to the 300°F, giving the user different options for the amount of radiant heat.

Overall Efficiency

Since EnergyStar doesn't certify residential range efficiency, it's up to us to give users an inkling of the range's energy use. Efficiency isn't always a huge question for ranges, as a gas rangetop is oven less efficient, but the benefits of gas cannot be measured well for chefs who need the precision.

Anyway, we do check to see that the range uses the amount of energy the manufacturer says, and then compare it to the performance scores. Our watt verification test verified that the uses the amount of power it says it does, except for the oven, where it used 500 more watts than the 3000 it was supposed to. That notwithstanding, the 8762 watts of the rangetop and 7490 of the oven and broiler elements is not bad for the performance it gave—especially that broiler's.

Features

The features a few slight changes to the typical four burner setup. Included here are a keep-warm element in the center and three dual ring elements. The dual ring elements accommodate a variety of different stoveware, as the pot should generally match the element.

The 5.7 cubic foot oven's main and best feature is the convection fan, which salvages a mediocre oven, turning it into one of the finest we've seen. The fan circulates the air well around the oven, providing more efficient heat transfer and shorter cook times. Additionally, the has a sliding rack and a oversize rack in addition to the regular rack.

Besides the typical bake, broil, and the array of convection combinations with the various oven elements, there are also some additional odd features that some may enjoy. For instance, the dehydrate setting blows the convection fan at around 120°F—drying out whatever is inside the oven—and the slow cook setting cooks meat slowly like a crock-pot. The less-rare bread-proofing feature is also available, providing a warm ecosystem for the yeast to work.

Below the oven, a keep-warm drawer keeps things warm if the food gets done before dinner. Of course, it can also be used for storage as well.

Oven Controls Photo

The oven options and timer touchpad.

Like most ovens these days, the timer can do cook time, delay bake, and automatic off, which greatly enhance the timer's usefulness beyond a simple meter.

Controls

Unfortunately, the has abandoned the classic staple of range convenience, the knob. Instead, graced us with the peculiar control panel with touch buttons. Furthermore, the touch buttons aren't immediately responsive, making the user hover over them for a moment and spend more time over a potentially scalding stove. To us, this is an example of technology failing to be useful. This odd system is certainly inferior to the simple knobs that tuned in the proper temperature without a thought.

Range Controls Photo

The backsplash has the oven and range controls.

You can find the oven and broiler controls on the backsplash, on the large control panel. To one side, the array of oven and broiling options are available, and to the right a keypad is ready for temperature input.

Oven Controls Photo

The oven options and timer touchpad.

Cleaning

For general cleaning, soapy water and non-abrasive cloth should do the trick, but for the delicate ceramic cooktop, a special cleaner is recommended. For residue that is burned on really well, it can be pushed off with a razor blade. However, consult the manual well before doing so as scratching happens easily.

The oven cavity has three cleaning settings "lite," "med," and "heavy" cleans, which offer two, three, and four hour cycles of a very hot temperature, burning off stains in the typical pyrolitic method. Do consult the manual before undertaking this procedure.

Conclusion

Clearly, this is an odd oven. As a borderline luxury brand with all that European flair, the Electrolux entered our domain with expectations as high as its $2,000+ price tag, on sale.

The performance results were downright bizarre. For half the criteria, we saw a work of engineering genius worthy of our highest praise: the broiler, the convection oven, the precision at 350°F, the rangetop temperature range. But for the other half, we saw ineptitude as the oven had trouble hitting the right temperature and staying there for most settings, and the boiling results were less than impressive.

Unfortunately, we don't think this is a particularly good use whatever budget the perspective buyer has assigned for their kitchen. If this range were half the price, we would give it a sitting golf clap and remarked that if your use matches up with the 's fortes, then go forth and buy this oven. But until then, our standards remain as high as the price.

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