Frigidaire FPIF3093LF 30-Inch Induction Range Review
It's not perfect, but this Frigidaire makes induction affordable without too many sacrifices. That just might help it catch on in the US.
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Though induction ranges are common in Europe and Asia, their high prices have kept them out of most American homes, despite the advantages in safety, power, and control. Fortunately, we've been seeing induction prices slowly fall. The $2,025 MSRP may have just what it takes to give induction a foothold in the US. Specifically, a sale price that frequently hits $1,600. It's not perfect, but we're pleased with Frigidaire's contribution the induction invasion.
Design & Usability
The Toyota Camry of ranges.
The plays it safe with a vanilla mid-level range design. Instead of moving the rangetop controls to a more convenient location, Frigidaire has left the buttons (alas, no knobs) on the backsplash, so be careful when reaching over the stove. For the oven, Frigidaire unfortunately has joined Samsung in including gourmand-insulting buttons for "pizza" and "chicken nuggets" on the control panel.
The 6.0 cubic foot self-cleaning oven has four racks, rather than the typical two or three. It's important to note that it's much easier to clean an induction rangetop than anything else. It's a flat surface like electric, but it doesn't get hot itself—only the pan gets hot—so food doesn't get baked on.
The same induction performance we know and love.
Induction rangetops consistently deliver stellar performance, so it's no surprise we recorded near-perfect boiling, simmering, and searing results in our tests. Of course, the downside to all induction cooktops is that you need to make sure a magnet sticks to all of your pots. If that's not the case, you just might find that easier cleanup, better performance, and a clean look are worth updating your cookware.
Oven, Broiler, & Convection
At this price, a middling oven is acceptable.
While it's certainly not as impressive as the rangetop, we're not counting out this range just because of its oven. We've seen ranges with marvelous induction rangetops fail completely in the oven department, so we welcome the 's middling performance. The convection and conventional 350°F settings do alright in averaging the proper temperature, but the temperature fluctuation was greater than 20ºF too hot or too cold — the standard we like to see for evenness. Variation wasn't that far from the ideal, but it wasn't as good as it could be.
We'll give this range a nod, but you might do well to wait for a sale.
Even waiting for a sale, there aren't that many induction ranges to choose from under $2,000. So when a decent one comes along, we're happy about it. This one's MSRP is $2,049, but we found it on sale regularly for under $1,700, which makes it one of the most affordable induction ranges on the market.
The only major weakness was the oven temperature variance, which we'd liked to have been reduced. It's only a fatal flaw for the most serious bakers, but the average user likely won't notice, especially in the face of the rangetop and price. However, if you can hold on a bit longer, it might be worth waiting, since this is a growing market here in the U.S. The selection can only get bigger, and the prices can only fall.
From Our Lab
Like most induction ranges, we found incredible rangetop results—an average of 3.4 minutes to boil six cups of water—superior to most of the gas and electric competition. With all the concentration, neglect of the oven often produces a hole in the performance. The wasn't immune to this induction trope, but its Achilles heel may not be a dealbreaker.
Middling—not bad—oven performance.
Set to 350°F the oven averaged 359°F (355°F with convection fan), which is reasonably close to the target. However, the oven temperature did fluctuate substantially, operating in a rather large 54°F window. Again the convection fan slightly moderated the variance down to 50°F, making it the better choice if the cuisine allows for convection.
At 198°F, the keep-warm temperature was hotter than the 170°F we liked to see, but it stayed very constant throughout the test. The maximum temperature setting of 500°F yielded an average of 516°F from our sensors, but satisfied us with low variance.
Instead of sacrificing control for temperature range—gas for electric—induction really makes it so you don't have to. Since induction burners don't heat up themselves, they can bring water froma boil to a standstill in seconds, unlike many electric ranges. But like electric, three of the burners hit searing numbers above 560°F, and all burners could run under 113°F. That's low enough to melt chocolate without a double boiler! Speaking of boiling, the front two elements teleported six cups of water to a boil in under three minutes. The rear two weren't too shabby—under four and five minutes for the left and right respectively.
Generally, people prefer broilers with more twisty elements—8-pass being the elite standar—as they distribute the high temperatures more quickly and evenly. However, the 's 6-pass broiler handled itself better than many 8-pass models, shooting to 600°F in just four minutes.
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