Ovens

Maytag MER8880AS Review

The Maytag MER8880AS makes it possible to find high-end features without breaking the bank.

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Introduction

When spending under $1,000 for an oven, it can be hard to find extra features such as bridge elements, keep-warm elements, convection, and adjustable broiling. Fortunately 's , a freestanding electric range, makes it possible to find high-end features without breaking the bank (MSRP $1,100, on sale for $990). Heck, it even has that stainless steel finish everyone's been jonesing for.

Though it dazzles with special effects, this Maytag is downright middling when it comes to performance. It didn't fail any individual test, but its cooking abilities certainly didn't impress us in any way.

Design & Usability

Clean, stainless design language with the Whirlpool look

The is a 30" freestanding range with a single oven and stainless trim. Its control panel and design are in-step with Whirlpool-made ranges of the past few years. Stainless trim and a stainless door panel blend with black porcelain enamel. There's a grainy, substantial handle, which is quickly becoming part of Maytag's design language. But what differentiates this model from other, similar Whirlpool-made ranges is the AquaLift technology, which uses water for a shorter self-cleaning cycle without the high heat of the traditional pyrolitic method. The rangetop is set up in a unique way, with a bridge element as well as a triple-element power burner.

The rangetop is set up in a unique way, with a bridge element as well as a triple-element power burner.

Below, the 6.2 cubic foot oven is divided by three racks, one of which is of the max-capacity variety. The "EvenAir True Convection" feature uses a heated fan to circulate air around the oven to attain even cooking temperatures throughout, and better heat transfer to the food. This is especially useful on this oven—it's the default setting—due to the unfortunate drawbacks of the conventional oven mode.

Rangetop

Maytag concentrated on features over performance.

Though the rangetop has tons of features, such as a three-sizes-in-one main element, keep-warm element, simmering element, and two bridged work-horse elements, none of them helped during performance testing. There weren't any bad boiling results; every burner was at least decent. But there weren't any stellar performances either. No quick boiling for the big pasta pot.

The rangetop has tons of features, but none of them helped during performance testing.

The simmering temperatures weren't very reliable, as with most electric ranges. Only the rear left simmer burner impressed us, which is odd, because electric ranges usually have superior temperature range, while gas ranges have superior control. The upper end of the temperature range did fall in line with the standard, though, as searing temperatures were decent in this case.

Oven Broiler & Convection

Convection > Convention

In an attempt to mitigate the annoyance of preheating, Maytag added a "Power Preheat" feature, which turns on the broiling element as well as the main oven element to heat the cavity more quickly—in eight minutes. That's not bad, but we've seen ovens without any special feature get to 350°F more quickly.

In conventional mode, once preheated, the oven had difficulties matching its internal temperature to the number on the dial, coming up too hot in almost all of our tests. The temperature evenness wasn't that acceptable either, as the oven didn't correct itself enough, often just overheating, and then cooling off slowly for periods.

The convection oven delivered even heat and redeemed the oven in general.

Switch on the convection fan, and you've got a whole different story. Hitting the 350°F temperature within one degree, the convection oven delivered even heat and redeemed the oven in general. We recommend this setting for almost all baking with the . The other piece of business conducted in the oven, broiling, was very satisfactory as well, producing grill-like radiant heat quickly and powerfully.

Conclusion

This Maytag is a decent value, but one that lacks rangetop power and a quality conventional oven.

Encased in stainless steel, and on sale for just under $1,000 (MSRP $1,094), the offers a glut of features on its electric range. After throwing it into our testing process, we developed a complex opinion about this oven, but all in all, we view it in a favorable light.

This oven is a fantastic value, and if you prefer convection cooking, consider taking it home.

Missing from the long list of features is at least one element with quick-boil capability, although the average boiling time for all of the elements was strong. Similarly, despite all the oven's great features—its capacity, its racks, its cleaning system—Maytag missed the mark on the conventional oven, as it produced horrible results for consistency and evenness of temperature. The convection setting, the default option here, is quite satisfactory, however.

The bottom line for the ? This oven is a fantastic value, and if you prefer convection cooking, consider taking it home.

Science Introduction

Why was the conventional oven so bad? What exactly were the boiling results? Well, here's our data dump, curated for your convenience.

Oven Performance

Is this Maytag pointing to convection as the future?

As we often see, this Maytag's conventional setting is markedly inferior to its convection one. With each preheat—getting to 350°F took just under 10 minutes—the oven got way too hot, reaching 400°F before cooling off. Upon cooling off, the temperature would drop far below 350°F, making the average 350°F, but with a very shoddy standard deviation from that mean. There is also a "Power Preheat" selection that activates the top broil element to enable a slightly faster preheat—eight minutes, according to manufacturers.

The oven temperature range isn't what we normally see, as the maximum setting of 500°F is below the industry standard of 550°F. While most people don’t ever need to cook at 550°F, and it’s probably safer not to have the option, some may want it anyway. On the lower bound of the temperature range, the keep-warm setting was a bit too warm, running a fever well into the 200s, straying from the preferred keep-warm setting of 170°F. Sure, you can turn on the keep-warm setting and just turn it off after a few minutes, but it would be nice to have a setting that just did the job on its own.

This Maytag was unable to properly regulate its temperature as a conventional oven.

The 's temperature consistency showed a classic trope from today's ovens and today's youth: fine modern abilities, but none for the conventional activities, like dancing, singing, playing sports, or baking. This Maytag, which performed well in the convection mode, was unable to properly regulate its temperature as a conventional oven. Fortunately, the benefits of convection cooking make for an attractive solution, but then what's the point of that conventional oven?

Rangetop Performance

This doesn't quite lance the boil.

The water boiling results differed on this Maytag compared to many other ranges we've seen, as every element gave us a steamy performance. While the quickest boiling element wasn't the fastest we've seen, it did boil six cups of water in 7.5 minutes. To this range's credit, the other three boiled in 10, 11, and 16 minutes. Very few rangetops have so many capable burners, and the average boiling time for all of these proved phenomenal. Even the simmer element—not intended for boiling a pot of water—performed well. Unfortunately, depending on cooking habits, a stellar average boiling time may not be as useful as one express boiler, since users are unlikely to boil four pots of water at once.

Unfortunately, a stellar average boiling time may not be as useful as one express boiler.

The 's simmering situation proved satisfactory, with the rear left simmering burner maintaining temperatures as low as 80°F—an incredible low. This is low enough to melt chocolate without a double boiler, and again proves that electric stoves have advantages over gas stoves—though many people still prefer the instantaneous temperature control and visual feedback of the blue flame. The rest of the burners did moderately well on the simmer, all achieving temperatures of 132°F or 133°F.

We found very satisfactory high settings on this rangetop, as well. The temperatures of all the burners were high enough to sear meat properly, all attaining temperatures over 650°F. The front right and rear left burners even got a bit too hot, and should be used under supervision, as they reached temperatures over 700°F.

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