GE JGB697SEHSS Freestanding Gas Range Review
This GE cooks as well as it's priced, but be sure to check the competition.
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From the Lab
The GE JGB697SEHSS held its own in our tests. The rangetop, while unremarkable, should get the job done. Meanwhile, bakers will love the oven's excellent convection mode.
The GE JGB697SEHSS (MSRP $999.00) freestanding gas range is an attractive option if you want an affordable gas range that features convection, a center burner, and an included griddle.
The range boasts an appealing transitional style, and did well in our baking, broiling, and boiling tests. It's a great choice, but it exists in a crowded segment. So be sure to make sure this GE meets your needs—and your aesthetic—before taking the plunge.
Oven & Broiler Performance
We test how long it takes the oven and broiler to preheat, as well as overall cooking performance. The oven reached the target temperature of 350°F in only 6 minutes. Unfortunately, the broiler was sluggish by comparison, it took 9 minutes to reach 605°F.
To test cooking performance, we bake a batch of cookies and two cakes. We then use these baked goods to suss out any temperature or circulation inconsistencies. The standard bake setting did a fine job cooking our test cookies, we noticed little difference between them individually. The bottoms of the cookies were considerably darker than the tops, but that's par for the course with most ovens. Our test cakes were less uniform, we noticed a moderate amount of dark and light variation across the cake surfaces.
The convection setting had little effect on our test cookies, but it did result in more uniform cakes.
Design & Usability
Nothing to see here...
If you're considering a sub-$1,000 range, it's important to temper your expectations regarding extra features, as most mid-priced ranges just don't have many.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the JGB697SEHSS boasts a few useful conveniences, including a convection setting which should prove a boon for busy bakers.
The cavity also has a steam clean option, along with the more ubiquitous pyrolytic cleaning setting. While seemingly redundant, both settings have a purpose. The pyrolytic cleaning will blast away all encrusted dirt, but it'll take the better part of a day. The steam cleaning option—while less effective against baked-in grim—takes less time. It's perfect if you're expecting guests and the oven needs a quick clean.
We're also fans of the included griddle and center burner.
The JGB697SEHSS exhibited decent rangetop performance, but was far from exceptional. The front right burner boiled six cups of water in five minutes, which is an excellent result for any burner, especially gas. However, the remaining three standard burners and the centeral oval burner proved less impressive. The front left and rear right burners boiled 6 cups of water in 10 and 14 minutes, respectively. You'll want to stick to the front right burner for pasta.
Gas burners can't reach the high temperatures that electric and induction ranges can, but the JGB697SEHSS's front right burner hit a respectable 368°F, while the remaining burners averaged 362°F.
The one area where the JGB697SEHSS's rangetop truly excelled was in low temperatures: We recorded 108°F from the left rear burner, while the remaining burners averaged 118°F.
Stellar low temps, and a boisterous boiler
The JGB697SEHSS front right burner proved itself worthy by bringing six cups of water to boil in five minutes. By comparison, some of the best gas ranges we've tested take around four minutes.
Unfortunately, the remaining burners were considerably slower, with boil times ranging from 10 to 30 minutes for the same amount of water. If you frequently boil two things at once, check out the Frigidaire FGGF3054MF, a similarly priced range with two burners that can boil in under six minutes.
On the other hand, the JGB697SEHSS really excelled when it came to low temperature cooking. Any range can sear a steak, but there's nothing more frustrating than burners incapable of reaching low cooking temperatures. The JGB697SEHSS's simmer burner dipped as low as 108°F—about 15 degrees lower than the Frigidaire while the remaining burners averaged 118°F. Home chefs, simmer with confidence!
Oven, Broiler, & Convection
Now you're cookin' with convection!
The GE JGB697SEHSS's oven flirted with greatness on several occasions, but results ultimately varied, with the oven earning exemplary scores as often as disappointing scores. Fortunately, the good outweighed the bad—albeit, only by a hair. The oven sizzled through one of the quickest preheats we've ever seen, and both the standard and convection settings reached 350°F in just 6 minutes. The broiler, however, was sluggish: it took 10 minutes to reach our target temperature of 605°F.
When it comes the all-important area of baking performance, this GE has plenty to offer—provided you use the convection setting. The standard bake setting, while usable, resulted in food that was overdone on the bottom. Luckily, the cookies and cakes we baked were evenly overdone, so you can adjust your recipes accordingly.
The convection setting alleviated this issue for the most part, but we've seen better convection bake test results.
A decent choice, but weigh your options.
Considering the strong overall performance, reasonable price, and attractive design, you'd think the JGB697SEHSS would be an easy recommendation. Unfortunately, while this GE is quite good, there are similarly priced competitors out there.
Consider the Frigidaire FGGF3054MF. It matches the GE for features and boils water quickly on two burners instead of one, but its simmer temperatures just can't keep up.
Alternative options aside, if you can't resist the GE's forward thinking style—not to mention the capable convection setting—GE's JGB697SEHSS can be had for an affordable $899 online.
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