Ovens

KitchenAid KERS208XSS Freestanding Electric Range Review

A solid all-around performer, with just a small convection weak spot.

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Introduction

At around $1,400, the electric range is on the lower end of the KitchenAid spectrum, with more proletariat looks than some of the more expensive machines. Stock of the KERS208 may be limited, but the KERS206 seems to identical with the absence of the warming ability in the drawer. It can currently be found for around $1,040 off an MSRP of $1,459.

Despite the low price, we found splendid all-around performance from the in our tests, finding its rangetop, conventional oven, and broiler performances quite satisfactory, in addition to a few potentially helpful features like split oven racks, a keep-warm drawer, and a keep-warm burner.

The only real negative thing we found from this oven was the convection mode, which failed to average the proper temperature and varied more than we like to see.

However, this may be the oven for you, if you don't need superior convection performance. Read on for more.

Design Overview

One of 's most inexpensive models, the does look a bit more utilitarian than some of other KitchenAids we've seen. But then again, that may be simply because electric ranges don't look quite as professional. (Name a restaurant that uses electric—you can't, can you?) While the rangetop controls are located at the back—necessitating the reach over the boiling stove--we do appreciate the fact they are knobs and not something else like a digital display. It seems self-evident that manual controls of a rangetop provide simpler control—and more of it—than +/- buttons.

Front

Front Photo

A stainless steel finish, but a standard residential design.

Range-top

Burners 1 Photo

The rangetop in operation. Note the different sizes of elements.

 

Upper Oven

Upper Oven Photo

The oven has three racks and a convection fan to circulate hot air.

Upper Oven Detail Photo

This is a split rack, which enables unique configurations in the oven cavity.

Broiler

Broiler Photo

The broiler element at the roof of the oven cavity.

Warming Drawer

Warming Drawer Photo

The keep warm drawer, shown with its removable rack.

Cooking Performance

We deliver moderate praise to the , finding that it performed well in our tests. The boiling, searing, simmering results from the rangetop and temperature accuracy and variance from the oven were all solid, but nothing stood out particularly as spectacular. A good all-around performer.

Range Performance Overall

We found the 's range performance quite satisfactory, with the electric advantage certainly used. The electric advantage—over gas—is the ability for a broader temperature range, something a user will probably have to weigh against the gas advantage—the superior control.

Burners 1 Photo

The rangetop in operation. Note the different sizes of elements.

Water Boiling

The water boiling abilities were impressive: all four burners came in under eleven minutes, including the simmering burner. With the front right hitting four and a half minutes to boil six cups of water and the rest coming in between nine and eleven minutes for the same task, this rangetop will especially prove useful to chef who uses more than a single burner to boil a pasta pot.

Range-top Water Boil

The front right element is exceptionally quick.

Low Temperature Cooking

The exhibited strong simmering abilities. Though not as impressive as we've seen from electric other rangetops, the front burners managed 114°F and 76°F (left to right) and the rear 111°F and 124°F. We generally like to see things under 130°F, so this should definitely satisfy users. These low temperatures enable simmering of very small quantities of liquids as well as melting chocolate without a double boiler.

Range-top Temperature Range

Excellent temperature ranges across all burners. Perfect for simmering and searing.

High Temperature Cooking

The high portion of the stove elements' temperature range were quite satisfactory. At 567°F to 783°F, these temperatures are certainly hot enough to sizzle and sear. Just make sure you remember to turn off the rangetop when finished. It's not difficult to leave a flameless element on.

Overall Oven Performance

The oven's performance was satisfactory in almost all areas, and should be fine for most chefs. And for those in a hurry who prefer a frozen pizza, the quick ten minute preheat is sure to be appreciated.

Target Temperature Accuracy

The ability for the to average the target temperature was okay. Set to 350°F, the oven's average temperature was 340°F, ten degrees off. This isn't terrible, but the oven ran cool at 350°F. The keep-warm setting missed its the target of 170° by 33°F, running a bit of a fever. Despite these two misses, the oven struck the maximum setting of 550°F quite well, at 556°F, only one percentage point off.

The convection oven—often a beacon of progress in temperature control—did very poorly here, averaging a temperature of 328°F. Sometimes, ovens automatically subtract the typical 25°F to compensate for the convection mode's superior heat transfer, but that wasn't the case as it was set to 350°F without the "EasyConvect" feature.

Temperature Fluctuation

Set to 350°F, the oven did a fine job of suppressing too much variance, skating between a low of 328°F and a high of 359°F, a difference of just 31°F. Despite the poor accuracy of the keep-warm setting, we found strong temperature control and very evenly delivered heat. The maximum setting had a bit of variance, but that's less important at such high temperatures and should be forgiven by users.

On convection mode, the oven showed some solid variance control, staying in the 36°F window between 312°F and 348°F after overshooting the preheat into the 370s. So even though the average was less than it should have been, the temperature was fairly smooth.

Oven Temperature Variance

Variance in the last 8 minutes of testing at the two 350°F modes.

Broiler Performance

The 's broiler did exceptionally well, hitting a temperature over 600°F in just over five minutes.

Broiler Photo

The broiler element at the roof of the oven cavity.

Broiler Features

The broiler can be set to between 400°F and 550°F. According to the manual, the oven door should be open to the broiler position as well. Additionally, the manual has a useful guide to broiling rack positions depending on the food.

Overall Efficiency

Weighing the quantifying power performance numbers (boiling and preheating, not the quality of the oven variance) against the power consumption we tested, we found an oven with decent efficiency. The rangetop drew 8920 watts and the oven 3540, both on par to the manufacturer's specifications. Since there isn't any EnergyStar testing done for household ovens, the standards of energy consumption aren't so clear cut. Efficiency probably isn't a huge concern when buying an oven, but making sure the specs match to performance certainly is. For that, this oven passes with an A.

Features

Besides the four main elements, a fifth 100W warming element sits in the middle of the rangetop as an added option for keeping food warm before its trip to the plates.

The features a few potentially useful features. Inside the 5.8 cubic foot cavity, three racks racks, one of which is split, accommodating unique and inventive ways of cramming more food in. And with the convection heating, the oven's internal temperature loses its hot spots providing more even heating, though the temperature control wasn't spectacularly impressive.

Below the oven, a keep-warm drawer is available to warm food and plates or for storage.

Oven Controls Photo

The control panel may have a bunch of buttons, but it's fairly straightforward to use.

The timer and controls are pretty self-eplanatory. We did however very much like the addition of the "Add 1 Minute" button, like a snooze button for an oven. Other than that, the timer is fairly standard and comes with all the trimmings of auto-shutoff and delay start.

Controls

Unfortunately, the rangetop controls are located at the rear of the oven, necessitating a perilous reach over a potentially scalding stove. However, they are at least knobs, which is something not all electric ovens have these days.

Range Controls Photo

The range controls are on the backsplash, meaning you have to reach over a hot stove. We appreciate knobs over buttons.

The ovens control panel sits on the oven's back splash, so the user is subject to the similar dangers of reaching over a hot stove. Because the oven doesn't use a dial—because it has features—the user's hand does have to hover for a few moments longer, keying in the proper temperature.

Oven Controls Photo

The control panel may have a bunch of buttons, but it's fairly straightforward to use.

The broiler controls are just like the oven's, located on the back panel. Unlike many broilers, the temperature is adjustable, though changing rack positions might be a better way to adjust the broiling processes.

Cleaning

The cleaning situation of the is the fairly standard pyrolitic method: heating up very hot for a few hours to to burn off the messes.

The rangetop isn't always the easiest to clean, despite the smooth surface. KitchenAid recommends the use of the special cooktop cleaner (item number 31464 according to the manual). Remove sugar spills immediately when they cool off with a razor blade at 30°. Consult the use and care guide for more.

Conclusion

For around $1,400, the does exactly what it should do.

With the prestige of this higher-end Whirlpool brand, the has good enough looks for most kitchens, even if this stainless steel model looks a bit like it was simply painted shiny.

We found solid all-around performance in the rangetop, oven, and broiler, something which we don't often see. In the pro column, we feel silly naming almost all aspects of the range's performance, but we'll do it anyway: water boiling, searing, simmering, broiling, oven precision at all temperatures, efficiency, and preheating time. In addition to those great performances, this range boasts a fifth keep-warm burner, a warming drawer, and special split racks.

The only things we didn't love were the keep-warm setting running hot and the oven when set to the convection mode. Significantly missing its target temperature by almost 25°F, it also varied a bit more than we would have liked.

If you aren't concerned with the sketchy convection capabilities, we heartily recommend the .

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