KitchenAid KERS505XSS Review
This KitchenAid's two ovens and five rangetop elements are sure to catch the enthusiast eye.
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This flexible appliance has the sort of appeal that extends beyond those who just cook to subsist. On sale for $1,750 (MSRP $2,000), the price tag sets some high expectations. Does it deliver?
The stainless finish (apparently requisite in all modern kitchen design), the rangetop's temperature range, the surplus of features, and the acceptable conventional oven all weigh in on the positive side. Unfortunately, the negative end of the spectrum has its own little list, as well.
Design & Usability
A striking blue interior contrasts with the cheap-looking exterior.
A dual electric range with two self-cleaning ovens, the has a 30-inch front with a thin stainless steel coating on its angular frame. It has a flat, ceramic top and rear knobs. The five-burner rangetop hosts a keep-warm element, as well as a triple element in the front left. Compared to other ranges, this seems a bit less monolithic—which isn't necessarily good or bad, but does give it a markedly different vibe. Two sturdy oven doors open up to reveal a strikingly blue interior with three racks, including a roller rack. As a freestanding range, there's a rear guard at the back, protecting the wall and housing the controls. All in all, this KitchenAid sports a clean—albeit boxy—look.
The range's chief oven feature is, well, the fact that it has two of them. Bakers and roasters alike will appreciate the vast capacity of the combined 6.7 cubic feet of cooking space. The lower oven boasts an "EasyConvect" convection system. Unfortunately, we found this mode inferior to the upper oven's conventional performance. This is too bad, as convection ovens that work properly can cut necessary temperature, reduce cook time, and provide more even heat. Additionally, there's a slow-cook setting that has low temperatures, allowing for four, eight, and 12-hour sauna sessions for food that takes its time.
This range delivered strong boiling times and temperature ranges across all elements.
The 's four elements, enclosed under the ceramic cook-top, demonstrated strong results in two of the three areas we test: searing and simmering. The rangetop certainly heated up our test pans to the point that meat can sear and stir-fry can satisfy the ears with a sizzle.
However, the boiling results were a bit slow—especially for a slightly upscale range. This rangetop is of course electric, which means that although you can enjoy a much higher temperature range than gas, but the visual advantage of a flame is absent, and the turn of a knob does not take immediate effect.
Oven Broiler & Convection
In terms of oven performance, outcomes jumped up and down, leaving us with very mixed results.
The question of whether the performs well isn't necessarily an easy one. We can say it's not the best we've seen, but it's not the worst either. The oven preheated to 350°F in under eight minutes—a decent time—and to 500°F in 12 minutes. But when it came to temperature consistency, we found a great variation around targets. The bottom line is that the conventional oven is decent, but we advise some monitoring. As an old Hollywood man once said, "trust but verify."
Interestingly, the convection mode did poorly compared to the conventional mode. As the convection fans circulate hot air around the oven, they often make it easier to maintain an even temperature. Unfortunately, such was not the case here, as the lower cavity preheated to 350°F at the tortoise-like speed of 18 minutes. To make matters worse, the lower oven eventually became far too hot—poor performance all around.
Despite the oven issues, the fully adjustable broiler did incredibly well, heating up to 600°F in just seven minutes. Oh, and there's two of them.
Overpriced for its looks and performance.
For $1,750 (MSRP $2,000), the comes with two ovens, five burners, and a character as flawed as Harry Callahan. We certainly saw some things we liked, but we didn't see enough to warrant the price.
There were serious problems with the lower oven in convection mode: notably, the incredibly long preheating time and an utter disregard for the target temperature. As most people consider the temperature setting an injunction rather than a suggestion, this performance feels like a deal-breaker. Why bother with a second oven if its convection performance is shoddy?
This appliance is fine for those who don’t care for convection cooking, but otherwise, we found this oven to be a bit expensive for what it can do.
Let's roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty in data. We run thorough tests and come back with quite the data dump, and it's all available here.
Testing revealed that not all ovens and settings are created equal.
The keep warm setting, although quite consistent, was a little higher than we'd have liked, but not unforgivably so, hitting 200°F only for less than five seconds. Generally, though, we like to see an average twenty degrees lower than the 190°F we saw with this KitchenAid.
Then, set to 350°F, the oven kept on past its target temperature and fluctuated up to 363°F, and back down to 331°F, which is admirable variance. But the second fluctuation was a bit higher, with the temperature spiking up to 383°F. So it's not quite clear exactly how consistent the oven temperature is, as the amount of fluctuation seems to vary. Set to the maximum temperature setting, the oven performs quite well for consistency, always staying close to the proper temperature of 550°F. Unfortunately, since 350°F is the most everyday, go-to setting, users will need to continually monitor their food.
Out of keeping with what we usually see, the 's convection mode did poorly compared to the conventional mode. The lower portion preheated to 350°F in 18, sluggish minutes. After the leisurely stroll to this target temperature, the oven elected to continue its travels up to 389°F, tarrying around up there for a bit before cooling off slightly. This abject lack of temperature control is completely unsatisfactory, and your food will punish your taste buds for its poor treatment .
While the rangetop elements effectively capture high and low temperatures, the boiling needs improvement.
The water boiling abilities are a good judge of pure energy transfer, and the demonstrated that it's a middling energy middleman. The front right burner edged out the front left in the race to a boil, bringing six cups of H20 to 212°F in under nine minutes. The rear burners weren't far behind. The left rear element managed to reach a boil in 13 minutes. The smallest rear right burner—designed for simmering—outperformed its kind, boiling six cups of water in just 20 minutes.
The lower end of the temperature spectrum managed to sink pretty low, as two elements reached under 100°F—the front right at 95°F and the rear right at 95°F. The other elements weren't quite as successful, but still turned in very respectable results of 105°F and 127°F. Low heats are major assets of electric rangetops that their gas brethren lack, and this range doesn't waste the advantage.
This rangetop's upper temperatures run quite high, perhaps too high in the case of two elements, which go well above 700°F. Those elements (front right, rear left) should be used on their high setting with care and supervision. However, they will do very well for forms of high temperature cooking, such as searing meat.
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