Ovens

KitchenAid KERS306BSS Review

This is one of the more expensive single-oven electric ranges out there, and one of the most robust.

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Introduction

At $1,350 (MSRP $1,500), the is one of the more expensive single-oven electric ranges out there, short of the "prosumer" offerings of Viking, Wolf and the like. This robust stainless steel beauty boasts a large 6.2-cubic-foot convection oven, five burners, a warming drawer, and Whirlpool's proprietary AquaLift Self-Cleaning technology.

Our testing process revealed the to be an excellent performer in almost every area, from the well-equipped rangetop—which boiled water very quickly—to the gentle and precise oven temperatures and decent broiler. We found only two weakness in the : low-temperature operation was sub-par when we set the oven to keep-warm, and when we set the burners to simmer. These are minor quibbles, but they kept this gussied-up Whirlpool just shy of reaching perfection.

Design & Usability

Unusually robust design and feel for an electric range

The has a sturdier design than most of its electric rivals, perhaps living up to that "stainless" attitude—an attitude characterized by a spirit of industrial elegance and efficiency. From a distance, the square but not overly boxy oven gives the illusion that it doesn't have any controls. This peculiarity, which many other new ovens share, is a result of replacing the classic knobs with buttons. You may like the look, but we feel it makes it harder to operate.

You may like the look of the button-driven control scheme, but we found it harder to operate.

The rangetop has a fifth keep-warm burner in addition to the usual suspects in the four corners. Of the main burners, one is a triple-element that can accommodate different sizes of stoveware. It's a ceramic cooktop, which looks good initially but may be harder to keep spotless—those shiny flat surfaces are easily scratched. Make sure you follow the cleaning instructions in the manual to the letter, lest you wreck your fancy new appliance.

Down below, the 6.2-cubic-foot oven has a heated convection fan, which circulates hot air to provide more-even temperatures throughout the oven cavity, as well as more-efficient heat transfer. In addition to the regular rack, there are two specialty racks: a "SatinGlide" roll-out extension rack that makes it easy to check on items without pulling out the pan they're on, and a maximum capacity "U"-style rack that will hold the densest of Thanksgiving turkeys.

Rangetop

A powerful rangetop with superb boiling results

While gas certainly has an advantage in rangetop control (a flame offers a lot more real-time feedback than a glowing electric burner), electric gains ground in low-temperature output, where gas is limited by the minimum temperature needed to achieve combustion.

Interestingly, the failed to take advantage of this discrepancy, exhibiting simmering performance more akin to gas burners. That performance, while lackluster, will likely be fine for almost all applications aside from simmering small quantities of liquids and delicate sauces, or melting chocolate without a double boiler.

Fortunately, high-temperature searing is no problem. The front burners boiled six cups of water in five and six minutes each—incredibly fast, for when you need pasta, stat! Similarly excellent, the two rear burners turned in solid B-squad results of 13 minutes each.

Oven Broiler & Convection

Excellent performance on all settings from the .

The oven took 11 minutes to preheat—not perfect, but not bad, either. With the exception of the keep-warm setting, the hit its target temperatures accurately across all three of our tests, though its maximum temperature registered at only 500°F. Once the temperatures we tested registered on the thermostat, they barely fluctuated, regardless of whether we used the convection setting. You should definitely expect evenly-cooked food from this KitchenAid.

You should definitely expect evenly-cooked food from this KitchenAid.

The 's four-setting broiler (High, Medium, Low, and Convection) performed strongly in our labs, heating up to 603°F in just eight minutes. After seeing many electric broilers struggle and fail to hit 600°F altogether, this is quite impressive.

After the cooking is done, it's time to clean. Eschewing the traditional pyrolitic cleaning method for the oven cavity, the KitchenAid uses a water-based cleaning system called "AquaLift." It cleans in a far shorter time than the traditional "scorched earth" pyrolitic method and doesn't involve extremely hot temperatures. Instead, it relies on a proprietary coating, a few cups of water, and a little bit of hand-washing.

Conclusion

You can't do much better than this electric range.

This range gets us excited about cooking. Sure, $1,350 (MSRP) is a little more expensive than some other single-oven ranges, but its performance definitely justifies that price tag.

This range gets us excited about cooking.

The rangetop's spectacular boiling and searing capabilities and the oven's accurate, even temperature control more than make up for the only flaw we found: poor low-temperature cooking across the board. Even the oft-neglected broiler gets our stamp of approval.

With the notable exception of its somewhat aggravating button-driven, digital user interface, it's hard to imagine a better electric range than this KitchenAid.

Science Introduction

With an incredible display of cooking accuracy, this oven is perfect for almost any consumer. Amateur sauciers, though, may be a bit disappointed with its poor simmering capabilities.

Oven Performance

You can expect excellent performance on almost all settings from the .

At the 170°F mark of the keep-warm setting, the oven elected to surge to 210°F.

With the exception of the keep-warm setting, the maintained its temperature accurately. At the 170°F mark of the keep-warm setting, the oven elected to surge to 210°F—just a little bit off the mark. The rest of the settings were more reliable. When set to 350°F, the oven just about averaged what it was supposed to, clocking in at 343°F and 345°F for conventional and convection, respectively. The maximum setting hit the mark exactly; the catch is, that mark was 500°F and not 550°F, the industry standard for maximum settings.

Once at the proper temperatures, our sensors reported very little fluctuation. At 350°F, we found a total shift of 30°F, low by anyone's standards. The convection mode wasn't quite as good—surprising because convection is often better—but still quite acceptable at 39°F of fluctuation (we like to see the fluctuation under 40°F). We also found excellent temperature control in the feverish keep-warm setting and the 500°F setting. This solid temperature maintenance benefits every sort of user; it would, for instance, prevent a roast from overcooking on the outside while remaining raw on the inside.

Rangetop Performance

Impeccable boiling and searing, but not adept at simmering

The rangetop excelled in our boiling and searing tests, boiling water extremely quickly and exhibiting temperatures capable of searing whatever you've got in your kitchen. The rear left element clocked in at 759°F, which is actually too hot by our standards (and was thus slightly penalized in the score). Always use your stove with caution.

However, the simmering situation was a bit weaker than the other performance areas. While the front two burners were able to get down to 125°F and 138°F, the rear burners—including the one specifically designed for simmering—came in around 190°F. This is more in line with what we see in most gas ranges, and would be a disadvantage for certain specialized cooking tasks that require very low heats.

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