Ovens

GE PGB910SET Freestanding Gas Range Review

We found a strong oven but a weak rangetop.

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Introduction

The is a single oven gas range from the classic American brand that brought microwaves, ovens, Seinfeld, Friends, and 30 Rock to into so many homes.

While we expected another The Office, our test results indicated we found a bit of a Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a middling performance from this member of the GE family, though not completely bad. The main issue was the weak rangetop that might alienate some users.

Despite the difficulties with the underpowered stove, the range exhibited a solid oven on all temperature settings and did have good simmering abilities—obviously not affected by the underpowered rangetop.

If we had seen this performance on a cheaper range, our opinion might have been different, but for the price of around $1,375 (MSRP $1,559), there are better options for your money.

Design Overview

We don't often see stainless steel combined with curvy design language, as most ranges we've seen have been more stocky. But for this single oven gas range, Jack Donaghy's company has added a few curves: the contour of the back splash, and the eye-shaped oven window. We find users appreciate the rangetop's continuous grates—a design that accommodates oversized cookware—and makes even more sense considering the fifth center burner, that is griddle-ready. Knobs on the front garner our approval, but we didn't think the backsplash's look was quite as appealing as the rest.

Front

Front Photo

The curvy oven window is an interesting design touch.

Range-top

Burners 1 Photo

This GE has continuous grates covering the entire rangetop.

 

Burners 2 Photo

The center burner has a griddle attachment.

Upper Oven

Upper Oven Photo

The oven cavity is divided by two racks.

Upper Oven Detail Photo

The broiler element is on the roof of the oven. The convection fan is visible at the back.

Warming Drawer

Warming Drawer Photo

The keep-warm drawer can be used for storage as well.

Cooking Performance

The 's performance did not live up to its price tag. In our tests, the rangtop didn't boil, sear particularly well, and the broiler barely missed timing out in our preheat test. Obviously, this range functions just fine and would suit most people's use, but people interested in rangetop high performance should look elsewhere, especially because this is pricey.

Though the rangetop and broiler performed poorly, the 's oven should satisfy heavy oven users as the temperature control to be very competent.

Range Performance Overall

While the performance wasn't at the level we like to see, the 's rangetop does carry the benefits of natural gas. Being able to see the flame makes it far easier to control the stove's temperature because you can see its flame's size and intensity, something obviously impossible with its electric siblings.

Burners 1 Photo

This GE has continuous grates covering the entire rangetop.

Burners 2 Photo

The center burner has a griddle attachment.

Water Boiling

In our water boiling tests, we found the front right "Power Boil" burner to be very fast to the boil, revving up six cups of water to 212°F in around four and a half minutes. However, the rest of the four elements were not particularly successful in the boiling arena. The left burners both came in around sixteen minutes—very slow for typical silver and bronze winners. We don't recommend the rear right burner for boiling—it boiled six cups in sixty-eight minutes—but it's meant for simmering not boiling so that shouldn't be a mark against it.

Range-top Water Boil

The rangetop isn't particularly strong. After the quickest boiler, the rest aren't too good.

Low Temperature Cooking

The low temperature cooking situation was better, as the underpowered nature of a rangetop shouldn't affect the lowest power settings. We found solid results here with the rangetop's four burners keeping our test pans between 119°F and 129°F, appropriate temperatures for keeping a steady simmer. While gas rangetops can't quite get as low temperatures as electric ones can—due to the inescapable issue of fire being very hot—this range exhibits exemplary simmering skills.

Range-top Temperature Range

Range-top Temperature Range

This rangetop didn't get our test pans very hot, though the low simmering temperature was satisfactory.

High Temperature Cooking

The underpowered nature of the 's rangetop came out here, as the burners maximum settings only got our test pans to 297°F for the front right burner, and 360°F for the front left burner (the other two were in the middle). This is certainly on the cool side, and isn't the best we've seen for searing meat and other high temperature cooking applications.

Overall Oven Performance

Despite the underpowered performance of the rangetop, the oven showed off its strength in the preheat, hitting 350°F in just over six minutes, making sure the wait from freezer to cooked pizza isn't any longer than it has to be.

Target Temperature Accuracy

The is able to average the proper temperature. When set to 350°F, our sensors found an average of just that, which was a welcome find after the relative weakness on top. At the maximum and keep-warm settings, similar success was seen: 557°F vs. a set 550°F, and a 182°F against a setting of 170°F. All in all, these are good results that should yield good roasts and baked goods.

With the convection fan on, we found an average of 326°F when set to 350°F and confirmed that the oven automatically adjusts for the superior efficiency of convection by subtracting 25°F. Consider the target hit.

Temperature Fluctuation

After examining the average temperatures in the oven cavity, it's important to examine exactly how much the oven strayed from those averages. At 350°F, we found the oven to be about average in its field, straying down to 335°F and up to 76°F. This perfectly acceptable variance was similarly exhibited up at the 550°F setting, cementing our respect for this oven. The keep-warm setting strayed a bit more than we'd have liked, but that is a generally forgivable error.

On the convection setting, we saw very respectable temperature fluctuation between 312°F and 355°F. We generally expect ±20°F from conventional and slightly better for convection, but this should be perfectly fine.

Oven Temperature Variance

The oven temperature variance is quite satisfactory.

Broiler Performance

Two minutes shy of our time-out mark of sixteen minutes, the broiler made it to 605°F. While this was a while to the maximum temperature, it isn't generally necessary to preheat a broiler more than four or five minutes—according to most oven use guides—because it's alright to start at a lower temperature than maximum.

Also, this model's broiler should be used with the door closed.

Broiler Features

This broiler has a "Hi/Lo" button that allows for two different broiling settings.

Overall Efficiency

Before talking about range efficiency, it's important to recognize the difficulties in calculating it. There are no Energy Star standards to help the consumer, only the rather abstract means of comparing the performance to the power it drew. Due to the weak nature of the rangetop and the its use of 41,831 BTUs/hr, we weren't so impressed. But the oven seemed efficient as we contrasted its strong preheat with the relatively few BTUs/hr it consumed (15,563 BTUs/hr).

Features

The rangetop has a few additions that are often standard to other ranges in this price range, but are still extras. A system of contiguous grates covers the burners and seems solid and industrial enough. These grates are especially useful as they permit the use of over-sized stoveware, and with the addition of the fifth burner, most of the rangetop surface has access to the flames. The center burner also accommodates a griddle which many users would rather use than a cast iron skillet. Options.

Burners 2 Photo

The center burner has a griddle attachment.

The oven's main feature is its convection ability, in which we found decent performance. Two standard racks divide the 5.4 cubic foot, a cavity that should be plenty big enough for the Thanksgiving feast.

Below the oven, the drawer is available for storage as well as for keeping warm already cooked food or for "crisping crackers, chips or dry cereal" as the manual humorously states.

Oven Controls Photo

The oven control panel is on the back splash and is fairly simple.

Like most ovens in this class, the sports a timer with timed cook and delay start options. It's intuitive to use, even if it has an oddly organized key pad with two horizontal lines of buttons.

Controls

The knobs controlling the range's five burners are located conveniently in front of the rangetop. GE has also made things even easier by slightly canting the knobs up toward the user.

Range Controls Photo

The burners are located on the front.

Located on the backsplash, the oven controls simple as GE has shown restraint in not putting too many buttons on the control panel. Still, the controls bear a passing resemblance to toy "computers" for preschoolers.

Oven Controls Photo

The oven control panel is on the back splash and is fairly simple.

The broiler is controlled by the oven control panel on the backsplash and is very easy to use, especially with its own "Hi/Lo" button.

Cleaning

The uses the traditional pyrolitic method for cleaning its oven, using the oven's intense heat to burn off messes.

The rangetop's surface isn't quite as easy to clean as a standard gas rangetop often is, due to the continuous grates (more grate space equals more to clean). You may also clean the racks in the oven with the self-cleaning pyrolitic cycle, but consult the manual before doing so for details.

Conclusion

This is a very complicated oven. Fortunately, it's made simpler by the relatively high price of $1,375, preventing our recommendation.

Though it showed decent baking results for at almost every setting: keep-warm, 350°F, maximum, convection mode, we weren't impressed with what we saw on the rangetop, despite its fifth burner, griddle plate, and sleek, continuous grates. The boiling results were slow compared to its brothers in price, and high temperatures were exceptionally low. This is puzzling due to the relatively high gas draw, but the data "are," as my old biology lab teacher used to say, and we can only interpret, not argue.

The ideal user of this oven would be someone who doesn't need the high-performance from a rangetop, but could use the oven excellence. The baker, the frozen-pizza enthusiast, the casserolist. But for the price, we simply can't recommend this when there are so many other solid options out there.

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