KitchenAid KGRS505XSS Freestanding Range Double Gas Oven Review
An overpriced and under-performing dual oven packed with features.
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For around $2000 (MSRP $2150), you should expect great things from this range. The has all the features one expects and all the trimmings of the stainless steel style, but it lacks the chops we'd like to see in something this expensive.
It's not a model without some pros; we found the quick preheat times impressive, and didn't have too much criticism for the conventional oven temperature variance. But we did see weakness almost everywhere else: the underpowered rangetop, the abject convection oven, the convoluted control panel, and the chill the oven seemed to be running.
Since many other ranges that we've tested have cost less and performed better, we can't recommend this KitchenAid.
The is a 30 inch gas range with five burners and a double oven. Though it's built on a consumer platform, the seems built to have the look and feel of a more professionally-oriented device. Big, heavy grates look like someone stole them off the 10-burner Garland at the local steakhouse, and stainless trim covers nearly everywhere that cabinets won't. Inside, the enamel is as blue as a well-known performance art troupe's makeup. It's an upscale look for Whirlpool's higher-end brand.
Despite impressing us with handsomeness and clean styling, the performance of the didn't seem to quite match up to its pricetag. One of the range's burners managed to boil water reasonably quickly, but the second quickest boiler was twice as slow and the other two weren't even close. The oven showed a great range of temperatures--from a temperate keep-warm setting of 170°F to the kiln-like maximum well over 500°F--and a competent ability to regulate these temperatures consistently after getting to them with a short preheat.
Range Performance Overall
When people buy a gas range, they generally buy the ability to easily and visual regulate the temperature and get instant feedback. Unfortunately, this user-friendliness is the greatest selling point of this rather middling rangetop, as none of the other results we got from our tests impressed us particularly. All in all, this rangetop reminded us of watching a high school JV basketball game. Sure they score and pass and dribble and someone does win in the end, but they're not particularly good and it's not pretty.
Of the four standard burners on the rangetop, only one of them could boil six cups of water under ten minutes. Although people don't usually need to boil two pots of water concurrently, having the use of two competent power burners can be a useful thing. While the first and second place boilers could boil six cups in six and eleven minutes respectively, the back burners took their time at twenty-nine and forty-five minutes. The slower of the two can be excused as it's a simmer burner, but nevertheless this range isn't particularly powerful.
Low Temperature Cooking
The 's simmering is about as good as its boiling. Only one burner--not the simmer burner--could maintain a temperature below 130°F, which is the standard we look for. This means that to successfully simmer a small quantity of liquid, there might have to be some on/off action. The rear left burner struggled the most, maintaining a minimum temperature of 148°F, and the other two fell between.
Range-top Temperature Range
High Temperature Cooking
After failing to impress us with boiling and simmering, the high temperature continued the tradition by showing some weak maximum temperatures. Of course, nobody with a healthy sense of pyrophobia wants an outlandish maximum temperature, but these burners are a bit too into post-war Miles Davis for our taste. Their coolness was so great that the hottest front right burner only hit 400°F. While fortunately this isn't an ideal temperature for starting a grease fire, it's also not an ideal temperature for high temperature cooking such as searing meat. The other burners weren't better, all in the upper half of the 300 degree range.
Overall Oven Performance
After being a bit disappointed by the range, we gained back some respect after looking at the 's oven. In our tests, the top oven managed to get to 350°F in a spectacular seven and a half minutes. To put that in perspective, most good ovens can do it in around 10 minutes. If you're really trying to run this oven hot, this oven gets to 500°F in fourteen and a half minutes. Whoa. This oven does not keep its users waiting.
Target Temperature Accuracy
The boasts a broad spectrum of temperatures. Our tests found its "keep-warm" of 170°F setting ten degrees below where we like to see it--at 170°F. Having a temperature a little bit higher ensures that bacteria won't grow. Short warming periods shouldn't pose a problem, but for extended heating periods, it might be a good idea to set the oven a few degrees higher, and with the 145°F to 190°F keep-warm range, it's easily adjustable. Set at 350°F, this oven ran 9°F cooler averaging 341°F. On the upper bound, this oven averaged around 533°F on its maximum setting, providing a solid range of temperatures to use.
The consistency of an oven's temperature is important, as no one wants a roast burnt on the outside and uncooked on the inside. This oven demonstrated it had a solid handle on its temperature. Although oven the ran nine degrees cold, the showed little variance on all its lowest and highest settings and an very acceptable amount at 350°F. We like to see a range of less than 40°F and this KitchenAid passed the test well.
Secondary Oven Performance
We tested the lower oven on its convection setting, but were a bit troubled by what we found. Set at 350°F, we recorded the average oven temperature at 507°F ten minutes in. Within three minutes, it was down to 416°F, which is better but still WAY TOO HIGH. A bit later the oven got down to 322°F. It seems the convection oven's ability to regulate its temperature is about as good as Russell Crowe in front of a paparazzo. This completely abject fluctuation will not give appetizing results. Blackened raw brownies anyone?
The 's upper oven broiler heated up to maximum temperature in around 9 minutes, a respectable time to get to such a high temperature. According to the manual, a five minute preheat is all that's necessary. This makes sense, since the broiler is still very, very hot after five minutes. Kitchenaid enjoins users to keep the of the oven door closed when broiling,
While most broilers don't really have many features, the sports a manual temperature control, something which we don't see too often. This allows the user to set their own temperature. We don't think this setting is that necessary, as most food is broiled at 550°F and 450°F, the high and low settings on most broilers.
It's hard to measure an oven's efficiency, as it's hard to tell how much energy an oven wastes. However, we can measure how many watts or BTU/hr a range uses, and compare it to its performance.
While the range didn't perform particularly well, it didn't use that much gas, as the best burner only used 17,045 BTU/hr. While this is a decently high number indicative of power--and slightly reflected in boiling performance--the next best burner takes just 10,000 BTU/hr. However, KitchenAid stated that the power burner only drew 16,000 BTU/hr, a bit lower than what we measured. Additionally, the top right burner was over 300 BTU/hr away from its stated 5,000 BTU/hr. This isn't a great indicator of quality control.
The upper and lower ovens use 10,065 BTU/hr and 15,428 BTU/hr respectively, and are aided by a 9,984 BTU/hr broiler and 15,312 BTU/hr convection element. That quick preheating we found was due to this power.
The rangetop's main feature is the addition of a fifth burner, an oval unit with an interchangeable grate that swaps out for a griddle. This longer fifth burner enables the user to cook with longer stoveware, as they receive better coverage. Being a gas rangetop, the allows the user to visually see how hot the stove is and get instant adjustment, unlike electric. But the main feature this rangetop doesn't have is other decent burners besides the front left one. Many people might prefer four better burners to five middling ones.
The 's most obvious feature are the dual ovens that total 6.0 cubic feet. The 2.1 cubic foot upper oven also doubles as the broiler, and impressed us with those preheat times. The lower 3.9 cubic foot oven has a convection fan with a heated element, although it didn't impress us with its lack of consistent temperatures. The lower oven's top rack has rollers, a sort of luxury convenience we enjoyed using. The oven also has a slow cook function, which keeps food just above the keep-warm temperature, providing an alternative to a countertop slow cooker.
From the zillion buttons on the control panel, users can also select a variety of convection cooking options, such as one that allows the input of a food type. There are convection roast, convection bake, and bread proofing options as well.
The timer is set using a "Timer" button and keying in a number. Hit the wrong key and you'll have to set the timer anyway, cancel it, then start over. There's no back button, remember?
Controls for all the burners are on the front of the unit. The knobs themselves are canted towards the user and have enough heft that it's easy enough to make precision adjustments to each burner's flame.
The oven's controls are as complex as the range knobs are simple. On top of the unit is a flat panel with 31 buttons and a multicolored LED screen used for guiding the user through the motions of each command. Any oven that doles out instructions after each button push is unnecessarily complex.
Each oven can be set individually from its own row of controls. Just press the key to start the respective oven, then key in a temperature. You can type in, say, 432 degrees, but it'll round down to 430.
Our biggest issue on this range is the lack of a "Back" or "Cancel" button. Hit the wrong key, and you'll have to hit the appropriate oven's "off" button. It's definitely on the spectrum between confusing and frustrating.
The top oven's broiler can actually be set by temperature, rather than just a "high or low" setting.
The oven is a traditional, pyrolitic self-cleaning range. It may be a bit hard to get splatters off the range top's cast iron grates, and you'll definitely be busting out the stainless steel cleaner to keep it looking as shiny as it was in the showroom.
For a $1959 hunk of stainless steel (MSRP $2159), you get a whole lot: two ovens, five burners, and a boatload of features. But after looking at the performance test results, the may not be such a good value after all, especially in comparison to some of the other ovens we've tested.
On the plus side, you've got the rolling rack, the oval griddle burner, the extra oven, the string of convection settings, speedy broiler, and quick preheating time. Many of these features and normal oven functions work well, or well enough. But it's hard to get away from the fact that the rangetop and oven had some issues. These issues, such as the convection oven's lack of temperature control, or underpowered rangetop might be tolerable in an oven half the price, but for two thousand dollars we expect high performance, and imagine our readers do as well. Naturally, if you use two ovens frequently without the convection setting and don't need high performance from the rangetop, this might satisfy your needs. This oven clearly stresses features over performance, which is silly because many of those features are dependent on good performance, such as the convection oven. It's probable that someone who doesn't care about the performance might not take advantage of the features anyway.
If you're buying this oven, you better know exactly why you're buying it.
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