Ovens

GE PB975STSS Review

Features are the name of the game.

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Introduction

In a nutshell, the GE PB975STSS is an electric range that heaps a host of features into one cohesive package. With an impressive set of five varied elements—including one powerful three-stage burner—and bolstered by dual ovens, you can cook up a storm with this thing.

Moreover, this rangetop can get as hot as a steel furnace in 1950s Allentown. But down in the ovens, the thermostat seems to lack some honesty. For an $1,899 MSRP and a $1,699 lowest sale price, other ovens are more precise, but few offer the versatility of this GE. Still, it may be right for you if you're looking for a feature-heavy oven with acceptable performance.

Design & Usability

This GE, for all its features, is mostly easy to handle.

While this dual oven does employ a hefty amount of shiny stainless steel in its design—the control panel and oven handles look like they're off a baby blue Continental—the other half of it is covered in black enamel and tinted glass. It's an unusual, vaguely futuristic design that should fit into most modern kitchens, and it doesn't try to mimic the sort of professional range you might see out back in an Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, all of the controls—knobs, buttons, and screens—are on the dashboard section at the back, so don't disregard the danger of reaching over a boiling pot or pan to set the timer or turn off a burner.

Complex features are useless without a low learning curve, and this stove more or less succeeds.

The range isn't simple, but it recognizes that users are only human and breaks the control panel down accordingly. For instance, the most complex element—the front right ring with three different segments—is essentially three elements in one. Its control knob is also divided into the same three segments, with certain portions responsible for controlling one, two, or all three sections of the element. Complex features are useless without a low learning curve, and this stove more or less succeeds.

The dual ovens—the 2.2 cubic foot upper oven is half the size of the lower one—are independent of each other, and controlled by the central console. Here, you have an almost perfectly mirrored button layout. Despite the somewhat cluttered panel, though, the buttons are all clearly labeled.

Rangetop

This rangetop got the job done.

With five different elements, the provides plenty of spaces for pots and pans. There is one regular six inch heating element in the back right corner; to its left is another six inch area, specifically designated as a warming zone. On the left hand side are two seven inch burners with an optional bridge function in the No Man's Land between—often called a "fish burner" because it's ideal for a long pan. Lastly, the front right plays host to a tri-ring burner which can be used to heat an area of six, nine, or twelve inches.

The front right burner is a real big shot, powerful enough for searing or quick-frying.

The rangetop's spectrum of temperatures proved quite impressive. The front right burner is a real big shot, powerful enough for searing or quick-frying. On the other end of the spectrum, low temperatures were steady and reliable across the board for simmering sauces or stews, with exceptional performance from the back left burner in particular. Our only complaint: When it comes to boiling water, other ranges we've tested are faster.

Oven Broiler & Convection

At the top and bottom of its temperature range, this GE was a little shaky.

As with most dual ovens, the smaller oven is on top. The larger portion is twice the size of the upper oven and equipped with a convection fan, too. Both sections were very reliable in terms of temperature output. Typical degree shifts were acceptably small, and turning on the convection mode made the lower oven even more consistent. What does this mean for you? In short, you can expect evenly heated food, cooked properly throughout.

You can expect evenly heated food, cooked properly throughout.

What the oven lacked, however, was range. The "keep warm" setting ran hot, and the maximum temperature barely maintained. It's also worth noting that the electric broiler in this model took a fair amount longer than we expected to get to its peak temperature. It'll get the job done, but this oven takes more time to preheat than other machines.

Conclusion

Like pure adult contemporary pop rock, this oven melds a decent performance with plenty of pizazz.

With five electric range heating elements and two reliable ovens—not to mention a convection fan—the allows for a lot of cooking at once. Performance on the stove top is great all around, and while the dual ovens have stiletto-sharp temperature accuracy, their range is lacking.

For $1,899, you get great features and satisfying performance.

And so it goes: For $1,899, you get great features and satisfying performance. It's up to you to decide whether the GE PB975STSS deserves a place in your kitchen.

Science Introduction

The numbers we found for the were excellent...except when they weren't.

When we weren't pushing this model to its limits, temperature consistency was fantastic. There's no question that with mid-range, everyday heat levels, this oven is smooth and reliable. Once we tried pushing some boundaries, though, we found that the borders of its proficiency were disappointingly limited. If you prefer cooking on the range, however, our tests indicate that this is a very worthy appliance.

Oven & Broiler Performance

With everyday, average cooking tasks, this GE shows reliable performance, but when it comes to this oven's extremes, results start to waver.

Temperature consistency over time in these two ovens was very strong. Setting the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, our sensors detected an average fluctuation of no more than 25 degrees. This is definitely within our margin of error, and indicative of a reliable appliance. Not too, that when we activated the convection feature in the lower oven, that already small degree shift was reduced to less than 10 degrees. Incredibly steady heating like this will result in effective cooking.

We like our "keep warm" function to run around 170 degrees, but this GE nearly hit 250.

The main problem with this was its restrictive degree output. Regardless of what temperature we set the oven to, consistency was never an issue. The main problem with this was its restrictive degree output. Generally speaking, we like our "keep warm" function to run around 170 degrees, but this GE nearly hit 250—unquestionably too hot. If you plan on keeping food warm by storing it in the oven for a while, you're going to wind up with a very dry meal.

Another problem was that it took over 20 minutes for the appliance to reach a high of 564 degrees. That's hot, but we've seen ovens that can do better, and in less time, too. The broiler had a similar issue, taking over 15 minutes to reach 608 degrees; it gets hot, but it simply takes too long compared to other similarly priced models.

Range Performance

This is a commendable range.

This model's electric range did a truly excellent job in terms of steady heat output. In each case, there was clearly one heating element best suited to low or high temperatures, compared to the rest. For instance, the back left element was able to emit a steady, low heat of just 92 degrees Fahrenheit, while the rest came in at just under 130. Conversely, the powerful tri-ring burner on the front right delivered a scorching high of 728 degrees—more than enough to quickly pan sear something—but the others weren't too far behind.

The powerful tri-ring burner delivered a scorching high of 728 degrees—more than enough to quickly pan sear something.

Boiling times were acceptable, as well, if not particularly amazing. A small pot of water boiled in just under nine minutes, with a large pasta pot full of water taking about 24 minutes.

Energy Efficiency

Many claim that bigger is better, but in this case, it also means more energy usage.

This oven uses a lot of electricity, sucking down over 11 kW-h for the range and over 17 kW-h for the ovens. That makes it one of the thirstier appliances we've tested, and seemingly a result of the large number of areas requiring power.

This GE is one of the thirstier appliances we've tested.

The five range elements alone need a lot of juice: the tri-ring element is rated at 3,000 watts, with the seven-inch segments going for 1,800, and the smallest, six-inch element rated at 1,500. For the money, that's a little under the mark, with the tri-ring element actually pulling a hefty 4,394 watts when operating at full power. The large ovens also crave energy. The manufacturer doesn't provide a rating, but we found that the upper compartment needed 3,837 watts, with the lower oven rating at 3,886—both definitely fall on the high end of usage.

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